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  • kevinhorganbooks

VETERANS and the Law, Today.

Thank you for attending our first quarter 2023 VETLANTA SUMMIT, SPONSORED BY OUR FRIENDS AT THE WARRIOR ALLIANCE AT THIS BEAUTIFUL VENUE HERE AT BATTERY PARK. AND THANK YOU TO ALL OUR GUESTS AND SPEAKERS AND OF COURSE, OUR VENDORS. AND THE VA, AND THOSE HERE TODAY WHO ARE TRULY DOING GOD'S WORK.


IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE ARE MANY AGENCIES THAT WILL COACH AND COUNSEL US ALL IN LEGAL REMEDIES, ADVICE, DIRECTION, REFERRAL AND MENTORING THAT WILL BENEFIT OUR LIVES AND THAT OF OUR LOVED ONES FOR FREE, OR A NOMINAL PRICE. ALL GOOD STUFF, ALL GOOD INFORMATION THAT CAN TRANSFORM LIVES.


BUT LET’S EXAMINE THE LAW, THE LEGAL STANDARD. THE LAW IS THE LOWEST ACCEPTABLE STANDARD AND SHOULD APPLY TO US ALL. WE PUSH THAT AGAINST THE MORAL STANDARD, THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG, JUSTICE AND INJUSTICE, WHICH IS A HIGH BAR, INDEED.


AS VETERANS, WE RESPECT THE HIGH BAR. WE EXPECT IT FROM OURSELVES, OUR PEERS, AND OUR BOSSES. WE EXPECTED OUR OFFICERS TO GIVE LAWFUL ORDERS, A LOW BAR ESSENTIALLY, AND THERE WERE A FEW OF US WHO WERE GIVEN NOT JUST STUPID ORDERS, BUT WRONG ONES, IMMORAL ONES, AND WE TRIED TO ACT ON THOSE, TO DO THE RIGHT THING. BUT THOSE OCCURENCES WERE RARE.


I THINK WE WERE MOST DISAPPOINTED NOT BY THE WRONGNESS OF LAWFUL ORDERS, BUT BY THE CAVALIER ORDER, THE ORDER THAT THOUGH LAWFUL WAS CONVENIENT TO A LAZY SUPERIOR AND SIMPLY CREATED BUSY WORK FOR THE LESSER RANK. THE ORDER YOU CAN NOTHING ABOUT…THERE IS A MORAL QUANDARY IN THAT.


WHEN I WAS IN LAW SCHOOL AFTER THE MARINE CORPS I HAD A CONTRACTS PROFESSOR WHO SAID THAT CONTRACT LAW IN ITS SIMPLEST TERMS COULD BE ILLUSTRATED BY A COUPLET FROM THE POEM “THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE” WRITTEN BY ROBERT SERVICE OVER 100 YEARS AGO. HIS POETRY AT THE TIME, BEFORE RADIO, BEFORE TV OR FILM, EVEN BEFORE VAUDEVILLE, PASSED AS POP CULTURE, UM, THINK BOB DYLAN. MAN, I’M REALLY AGING MYSELF HERE.


THE POEM IS ABOUT A MAN, SAM MCGEE FROM TENNESSEE, WHO IS PROSPECTING FOR GOLD IN THE CANADIAN YUKON AND IS PARTNERS WITH THE NARRATOR, A MAN KNOWN ONLY AS “CAP.”


SAM MCGEE HATES THE ARCTIC COLD AND SUCCUMBS TO DESPAIR, ASKING THE NARRATOR, CAP, TO CREMATE SAM’S LAST REMAINS IN THE EVENT OF HIS DEATH, A VERY TRICKY JOB IN A FROZEN TUNDRA WITH NO WOOD. CAP RELUCTANTLY AGREES..



SO THE ESSENCE OF CONTRACT LAW IS YOU MADE A PROMISE AND EVEN IF I CAN’T HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE, SOCIETY WILL, EVEN IF NO ONE IS LOOKING.

“A PROMISE MADE IS A DEBT UNPAID, AND THE TRAIL HAS ITS OWN STERN CODE.”


SURE, THE LEGALESE OF CONTRACTS IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT, BUT THE LAW ITSELF IS A LOW BAR – YOU AND I AS CITIZENS AND ESPECIALLY AS VETERANS UNDERSTAND THAT THE GLUE THAT HOLDS ALL OF SOCIETY AND EVEN WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS NOT JUST LAWS… IT’S THE MORAL CODE WE LIVE BY. RIGHT VS WRONG.


WHICH EASILY STARTS WITH THE TRUTH.


REMEMBER GEORGE COSTANZA? THE WALL STREET JOURNAL RECENTLY USED ONE GREAT SEINFELD EPISODE WHERE GEORGE IS LAMENTING HIS DECISION MAKING, WHICH IS INVARIABLY ALWAYS ALWAYS AWFUL. SO HIS FRIEND JERRY TELLS HIM TO DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE IS NATURALLY INCLINED TO DO. GEORGE THINKS ON IT AND AGREES TO GIVE IT A TRY.


GEORGE SEES A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN DINING ALONE IN A RESTAURANT. HE APPROACHES HER AND SAYS, "MY NAME IS GEORGE, I’M UNEMPLOYED, AND I LIVE WITH MY PARENTS." IN LESS THAN A MINUTE HE HAS A DATE WITH THIS GORGEOUS WOMAN, PUNCHING WAY ABOVE HIS WEIGHT CLASS.


TELLING THE TRUTH. WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO START.


ABOUT THE LAW, THE MORAL HIGH BAR, THE TRAILS’ STERN CODE: WE SEE AND HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO INJUSTICE, IT IS ALL AROUND US, A FACT OF HUMAN EXISTENCE. BUT I REMIND MYSELF OF A MENCKEN QUOTE, A GENERATION AFTER THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE… “INJUSTICE IS RELATIVELY EASY TO BEAR. WHAT STINGS IS JUSTICE.”


TO TELL THE TRUTH, TO THINK AND BELIEVE AND ACT ON THE MORAL STANDARD, THE HIGH STANDARD, DOES NOT TAKE GREAT EFFORT. IT TAKES DESIRE. WHAT I BELIEVE, WHAT WE ALL BELIEVE IS OUR TRIBE’S DESIRE, THE HIGHER, TOUGHER ROAD.


SO YOU KNOW, THE VETLANTA BOARD MEETS FORMALLY QUARTERLY AND ALL THE TIME INFORMALLY, AND SOMETIMES WE TALK ABOUT GREAT AND WEIGHTY THINGS AND SOMETIMES IT DEVOLVES INTO ALL THE DIGNITY OF A THREE STOOGES PIE FIGHT. WE GENERALLY AGREE ON EVERYTHING, THE IMPORTANT THINGS.


ONE IDEA THAT WE HAVE KICKED AROUND IS WHETHER TO HAVE A BENEDICTION CLOSE OUT OUR SUMMITS. AND WE HAVE ALL AGREED THAT WE ARE NOT THERE… TOO MANY VARIABLES AND SENSITIVITIES. WE ARE HOSTING OTHER EVENTS THAT TALK ABOUT FAITH AND VETERANS AND ALL THAT MAY ENTAIL, SO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE INFORMATION IN THAT REGARD.


(See our website vetlanta.org for a Veteran Faith in Community meeting being held on March 4th, 2023, but you must register).


IN LIEU, TONIGHT, OF A BENEDICTION, YES, ANOTHER ANALOGY. REMEMBER THE MOVIE PATTON? GEORGE C SCOTT PORTRAYS PATTON, IT’S A TREMENDOUS FLICK, LOTS OF TRUTH, LOTS OF “DISNEY-FYING” THE MATERIAL AND PATTON’S MYTHIC LEGACY. SCOTT WAS AMAZING.


IN ONE SCENE, MEMBERS OF THE PRESS – BACK WHEN JOURNALISM WAS RESPECTED AND RESPECTABLE – THE PRESS WAS LOOKING FOR GOLDEN QUOTES FROM THE DYNAMIC AND FLAMBOYANT GENERAL PATTON.


A JOURNALIST ASKS: “GENERAL, DO YOU PRAY?”


AND PATTON SHOOTS BACK IMMEDIATELY, “EVERY G D DAY.” ONLY HE DIDN’T SAY G D.


IT IS BOTH PROFANE AND PROFOUND. WE LAUGH AMONGST OURSELVES AND WE DON’T HAVE TO REPEAT IT. WE WOULDN’T SAY IT TO OUR CHILDREN, OUR GRANDCHILDREN, OUR MOTHERS, OUR PASTORS OR THE CHURCH LADIES, BUT…


WE GET IT. PROFANE AND PROFOUND.


“A PROMISE MADE IS A DEBT UNPAID, AND THE TRAIL HAS ITS OWN STERN CODE.”


NO MATTER WHAT OUR FAITH TRADITION, WE DO TALK TO OURSELVES ALL THE TIME. THAT IS SOMETIMES PRAYER, RIGHT?


BUT WE DON’T JUST PRAY FOR OURSELVES… WE PRAY FOR EACH OTHER, FOR YOU, THAT Y

OUR BURDENS ARE EASED, THAT JUSTICE FOR ALL PREVAILS, THAT THE TRUTH WILL GUIDE US, THAT THE TRAIL’S OWN STERN CODE WILL, IN FACT, SHOW MERCY WHEN IT MUST.


WE PRAY FOR THE STRENGTH TO RISE TO THE MORAL HIGH GROUND, EVERY G D DAY.


THANKS TO ALL OF YOU BEING HERE, SAFE HOME, AND WE HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT TIME.


If you made it this far let me make an editorial plea for our friends at Operation Rally Point oprallypoint.org here in Georgia. This combat veteran founded organization provides counseling and housing assistance to homeless and down-on-their-luck veterans and is a 501c3. Consider giving to them generously, or just lunch money for one day. Check out oprallypoint.org . Thanks much.


Peace. Out.



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