Firewood and Breast Milk

If it was a real person, you’d accuse me of clickbait!

I sell firewood at my house. I cut down trees on my property (or cut up trees blown over by a storm), saw them into 16 inch pieces, split them with a hydraulic log splitter, and then dry them on a rack in the sun for almost a year. After that, I put them out in a nice, lighted stand at the end of my driveway. Most people pay me with cash, although quite a few are now paying me with Zelle. I give them more firewood then the 7-11 does for the same price, and everyone walks away happy.

Recently on the NextDoor App, some lady made the mistake of complaining that she couldn’t find any nice, split firewood for free. I and many others reminded her that properly split and dried firewood takes time and effort, and as such people like to be compensated for that time and effort. She scoffed at that notion.

I was going to ask if she stayed warm at night under a blanket in the form of the flag of the People’s Republic of China…but I decided against that.

Plenty of people want something for free. Americans are generous people, and while the pandemic drove down charitable donations, a majority of Americans still donate in some way. But donations are gifts, and you shouldn’t fault people for wanting compensation for their time and talent.

That brings us to breast milk. The expectation from quite a few people is that breast milk should be donated to a breast milk bank. That’s all well and good, but as I noted in my book (which you should absolutely read!), when my wife attempted to donate to our local bank, the number of rules and restrictions were outrageous. For example, if you take any supplement outside of prenatal vitamins, it precludes you from donating. I find it absurd that taking glucosamine sulfate means that you should dump perfectly good breast milk down the drain because the milk bank won’t take it.

Then there is the fact that breast milk donations get sold. At non-profit milk banks, this is touted as a way to cover freezers, employee pay and other expenses. Most milk banks sell breast milk at around five dollars an ounce.

To help defray the costs of screening donors and managing donated breast milk, nonprofit milk banks typically charge recipients a fee of about $5 per ounce of milk. “Although the milk is donated, there are expenses, such as milk processing, milk distribution, and buying of pasteurizers, freezers, and bottles,” Noble said

Healthline.com

Insurance coverage is hit or miss, and you’re stuck with the bill if your insurance says no.

Now, you can always buy formula…oh wait, not right now. Hence the increased interest in breast milk banks. And, hence the increased interest in purchasing breast milk through websites like Only The Breast (yup, that’s a real, non-pornographic website). Which has sparked lots of debate on whether people are justified to sell their breast milk.

To which I say, if you want to sell it, you’re 100% justified in doing so.

It is a pain to hook up to a breast pump, put everthing in a nice bag, freeze the milk and then store it. To make substantial milk, you’re eating more calories then normal, which costs more money. All this work, and yet some people think its unethical to pay people for their time and effort. The fake science studies people have even “questioned” the safety of purchasing breast milk, but can’t point to any significant cases where someone sold dangerous breast milk. While, on the contrary, there are plenty of cases of bad formula, but that hasn’t stopped hospitals from pushing it on mothers.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, linking this push of formula on mothers, and then a shortage of formula spiking the price which brings more money to formula companies, would be pretty easy. Did we create this crisis to further some other agenda? It doesn’t look good.

Selling breast milk undercuts milk banks and makes it easier to get milk locally. It compensates women for their time, effort and calories, and it encourages money to stay locally instead of fueling some big corporations that have every incentive to profit from formula shortages and breast milk donations that they can markup on their own.

Which is exactly why many interested people want you to believe its unethical. People that, just like my firewood example, don’t place any value on your time or effort.

Moms, if you’ve got extra milk, check out OnlyTheBreast, or talk in your mom groups about selling or donating your milk on your own terms. Don’t feel bad asking for some compensation, if nothing else for the time it took you to bag everything and stay hooked up to an uncomfortable machine. You could help solve the formula crisis, since its not like the US government is going to anytime soon.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. While you’re getting ready for Memorial Day, why dont you buy one of my books on Amazon and help me out?

Starry perks and suicide

Easy to miss in the midst of the Ukraine Conflict and Supreme Court leaks is the fact that the Navy is dealing, poorly, with a suicide epidemic (at the time of this article we’re up to 7 Sailors) onboard the USS George Washington (CVN-73). Now, you might think “Is the George Washington underway on another long, stressful deployment?” That would be an intelligent question to ask, and sadly the answer is “no.” George Washington is in the shipyard in Newport News, VA.

Now, why would Navy Sailors be so stressed out that they would end their lives if they are home and not deployed underway? Well, because shipyard life is pretty tough, according to the dad of one of the Sailors:

“He loved his job. He did his 12-hour shifts. And how do you sleep on an aircraft carrier with jackhammering and smoke and smells during the day? So, he would sleep in his car,” John Sandor said about his son, who was 19. “It is just awful. No sailor should even have been living on that ship in those conditions.”

-John Sandor

You might be wondering if these poor conditions are something new, to which I will sadly tell you…nope. I had the same issues at the same shipyard 16 years ago. The 45 minute walks to get to work…that’s a thing, because the Navy never built enough parking or bus options. The article didn’t mention many other stressors, such as the rampant car break-ins, since most of the parking lots are located off the secure facility and aren’t patrolled. For female Sailors, I’ve had more than a few tell me shipyard workers regularly get away with overt catcalling during the day.

Shipyard life, with its long days and crappy working conditions, sucks.

Instead of trying to fix the housing situation, or the driving situation, or the working conditions, Big Navy’s response is…suck it up!

“What you’re not doing is sleeping in a foxhole like a Marine might be doing,” he said, adding that much of the crew goes home each night, something that can’t be said for a deployed carrier.

-Master Chief Russell Smith

I can’t make that up, go listen to the audio at the link. I give Master Chief credit, he’s not yelling at the crew, but as a senior leader, you have to know that trying to minimize the issue isn’t ever going to look good.

The Commanding Officer seems to have taken matters into his own hands, and moved 200 Sailors off the ship. Keep in mind, there are still 2,700 Sailors onboard, and if you move off, you still have the long walk and long drive to get to work. So its a catch-22: move off the ship and you add a long drive and walk to work, stay on and your sleep and off-time is horrible.

It’s also not the Commanding Officer’s job to build sufficient rooms at the shipyard. A better advocate for that would be the admiral in charge of Naval Aviation, in this case Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell. So where has he been?

Watching Top Gun.

VADM Whitesell with Tom Cruise

Yup, can’t make that up either. While the George Washington is suffering, VADM Whitesell spent this weekend watching the premiere of the new Top Gun movie with Tom Cruise. Now, I’m not knocking on Tom Cruise, because he spent part of the time talking with Sailors onboard the carrier Carl Vinson. But for VADM Whitesell, its not the best look.

Tom Cruise onboard the USS Carl Vinson

OK, so the immediate response doesn’t look very good, but maybe Big Navy put together a more comprehensive response?

The Navy plans to host a day of team-building activities and has asked each department to submit ideas for how crew members could interact off the ship, according to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers, a Navy spokesman. “It could be anything,” Myers said. A Super Smash Bros. video game competition and a soccer tournament are some of the suggestions that have been floated, according to one George Washington sailor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

NBC News

Super Smash Brothers! That’ll cheer them up! They’ll stop killing themselves if they just get to play video games!

However, that sailor doubted whether such events would fix what appears to be a mental health crisis on the ship. The sailors spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press and feared retaliation.

– NBC News

Ya think?

This whole thing makes me cry. We have Sailors in the United States that should be working in decent conditions and building themselves into warriors, and instead the conditions are so bad that they are taking their own lives. Then we have leaders that care more about the perks they get with the stars on their shoulders than about the young men and women entrusted in their care. But to top it all off, we have a Navy bureaucracy that is focused on running some morale events to patch the problem.

Nobody in this entire situation is giving us answers on how to build more housing, build a better transit service or fix the onboard sleeping conditions.

Since you’ve made it this far, do me a favor and email your Congressman. Tell him or her that if Congress can make millions of dollars go to Ukraine, it could spend a bit of money to fix glaring errors at our nations shipyards.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency, because those agencies would have you believe video games and soccer tournaments will suddenly fix years of neglect to our Sailors and the infrastructure they work on. If you enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing a book by the author or donating to this blog.

The Air Force’s double standard on sexual assault

Recently I wrote a few articles about how reforms to how the military would prosecute sexual assault would likely not make any difference, and how the military abuses the non-judicial punishment system, especially on young enlisted servicemembers, while not doing much to hold members of higher ranks accountable. Those are great articles and you should go back and read them, as this article is going to build off of that information.

My email was inundated recently with articles about Air Force General William Cooley, who was recently found guilty of sexual assault abusive sexual contact (editor note: he was found not guilty of sexual assault, which is the Article 120 reference in the linked article. My apologies for that mistake, and thank you to the commenter that caught it!). This is a big deal because its the first time in the entire history of the Air Force that a general (someone that is wearing a stars on their shoulders and was specifically approved for promotion by Congress) was taken to court martial and found guilty. Now, this isn’t the first time a general was punished. That normally happens under the radar through administrative means, and can happen even as the person is retiring.

As an intelligent reader of this blog, you might ask yourself “How did the Air Force make it 75 years without taking a single general to court martial? Are they just that good at picking people?” When you consider the size of the Air Force and the large number of generals that have served over its 75 year history, and if you know anything about statistics, you realize that this is nonsense. People committ crimes. It happens. You can’t judge an organization by the fact a member committed a crime.

You CAN judge that organization by how it responds to the crimes, and in the case of the military services, that judgement should be pretty harsh. General Cooley was given a fine of $10,910 a month for five months (total of $54,550) and a reprimand. Now, $54K is a lot of money for little people. But at the low end, a major general makes $191K a year in just base pay, so you can be excused for thinking he got off pretty easy.

Normally, sexual assault abusive sexual contact carries jail time and having to register as a sex offender, which General Cooley apparently won’t have to do. Is this a double standard? The easiest way to confirm is look at the results of other court martials of lower ranking people. Scanning the Air Force’s trial results show an awful lot of jail time for Article 120 (sexual assault) convictions, as well as abusive sexual contact.

Probably more infuriating for the average airman is that Air Force leadership told everyone that sexual assault and sexual crimes in general would not be tolerated and would be punished, despite the fact that sexual crimes in general are notoriously hard to prosecute due to lack of evidence. Inevitably this attitude lead to more than a few innocent people getting NJP, which doesn’t give members a fair trial, and seems to disproportionately affect young enlisted members, and particularly minority members. But when the Air Force has the chance to prosecute a senior member and show it can hold its own accountable…it doesn’t. A fair jury finds General Cooley guilty, and yet the judge goes soft on him.

By the way, not the first time the Air Force hasn’t punished one of its own.

To which I have to ask, why? Why denigrate yourself this way? How can you sleep at night knowing that you botched the chance to prove you really do care about your core values and the service members that serve your organization? The Army lost a lot of credibility in how it handled the Jeffrey Sinclair case. This directly mirrors it, and somehow the Air Force learned nothing from it.

I can’t imagine how this makes parents of kids wanting to join the military feel. The fact that General Cooley did something criminal says nothing about the Air Force, but the fact that he faces no jail time says volumes about the Air Force. It’s just one more reason the military is losing credibility and will have a long road to win it back.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. Those agencies would have you believe everything is great and that nothing is wrong with the current way things work. If you liked this article, drop a donation in DaTipJar, share this story and consider purchasing one of the author’s books on Amazon.

The conservatives at Disney

I just came back from a family visit to Disney. Yes, yes, I’ve been watching the news about Disney’s stupid comments about Florida’s anti-grooming laws. Yes, I know some people totally went on a Disney boycott and canceled their vacations. But that’s not me. I’d been planning a Disney trip since March 2020, and now two years later I wasn’t going to tell my kids we couldn’t go.

So we drove the nearly 12 hours to Disney, stayed at a nearby Marriott and went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Did I see any crazy wokeism.

Nope.

I was looking for it to. Sure, the guy handing us our parking pass to Epcot had a really, really nice manicure (although black just isn’t his color!), but otherwise I didn’t see anything overt. All of my kids interactions with characters were…normal. Elsa didn’t try to persuade my son he was really a girl, nor did Alice in Wonderland try to talk my daughters into kissing other girls. Heck, we even heard “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!” when we were at Magic Kingdom.

Even stranger was the interaction I had with a security guard. Since I was pushing the stroller with two little kids, I went in a separate line to get screened. The guard noticed the Navy command on my hat (which is not obvious, so he was paying particular attention to me) and asked if I was in the service. After I told him I was, he asked me a strange question:

“Are you a fan of the former President?”

To which I replied “In fact, I am.”

Then he knocked me to the ground with a chop across my back, handcuffed me and yelled “F%^&ing J6 insurrectionist!” right in my face!

Just kidding, that didn’t happen. Instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a coin and handed it to me.

Yup, I was not expecting that. That coin is now proudly displayed in my coin rack at home.

Now, I’m not making excuses for Disney’s actions. They’ve had a woke problem for years. It’s sad because Walt Disney was a pretty great American. At the parks there was a museum devoted to Walt Disney’s artistic talent, and I was surprised by the large number of war related propaganda and cartoons he drew. The man was truly American, and to have to watch lesser men take his company and its legacy and flush it down the toilet is just sad.

But perhaps there is some hope for Disney. Removing their special governance was a solid shot across the bow. Perhaps we’ll see more conservative shareholders and more conservative employees voice their displeasure, and maybe Disney will get back on track. If nothing else, there are far more fellow conservatives at Disney than I would have given it credit for.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you liked this article, consider supporting the author by purchasing one of his books on Amazon.

The Navy owes more than a public apology

The Navy made news, in a bad way, with its plan to decommission 24 ships. If that sounds like a lot…it is. The idea is to decommission ships that cost a lot to maintain to free up money to build new ships. That makes a lot of sense for ships that are old, such as the cruisers that are over 30 years old. But many of these ships are Littoral Combat Ships, and less than 10 years old.

Representative Elain Luria, a former Naval Officer, was quoted as saying

“The Navy owes a public apology to American taxpayers for wasting tens of billions of dollars on ships they now say serve no purpose.”

Representative Elain Luria

With all due respect m’am, that is woefully insufficient.

The Littoral Combat ship was designed around speed. Everyone that talked positively about the ship said “Look, its really fast, like 50 knots fast!!” and “It’s so fast it can chase down pirates!!” The rest of us lower ranking and obviously uninformed people asked questions like:

“If we run fast all the time, doesn’t that use up a lot of gas?”

“Do we really need to drive fast if we have missiles or guns or helicopters, or other long range weapons?”

“Can it fight real enemies besides pirates?”

But these questions were low-browed. We, the dumb people, were told not to worry about this. Then, to nobody’s surprise, we found the LCS couldn’t fight in high end combat. Now, if we simply said “It wasn’t designed for that, that’s what destroyers and cruisers are for,” I could accept that line of logic. But nope! Instead we decided to put missiles and guns and more weapons on a platform that lacked the people and structural support for such weapon systems.

And now, again to nobody’s surprise, we want to decommission them.

In the mean time, no admiral or civilian in charge of LCS, or anyone that made the disastrous strategic decisions to build the ship in the first place, nor anyone in charge of the shipyards that built these ships, was fired, fined or jailed. In fact, the admirals got promoted, and their promotion was approved by Congress.

Worse still, when Congress actually tries to flex its authority and stop a promotion, such as the case with Admiral Losey, the Navy simply walks all over them and promotes the guy anyway.

So the Navy blows billions in ship building money, builds ships that we can’t use in a modern fight, and wants to decommission them so we can build other ships. Congress is MAD, and says they should apologize, but won’t actually punish anyone.

Want to bet that nothing will change? I sure am.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. All those agencies want you to believe everything is great and you should continue to throw money at them without asking questions. By the way, if you liked this article, please consider purchasing one of my books for you or one of your friends.

Father Stu is coming…but will you see a rated R movie?

Not many movies draw me into the theaters. I saw both Dune and Ghostbusters: Afterlife in the theaters, and both were an absolute hit, but pretty much everything else seems either dull, done before, or intent on pushing “The Message.”

In case it wasn’t obvious what “The Message” references

But I was surprised to see Father Stu, a movie based on the true story of a boxer who suffered some horrible injuries and eventually turned himself around an became a Catholic Priest. It stars Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson, and yet the questions on every reviewer’s posts seems to be “Will this be Mel Gibson’s redeeming movie?”

Sheesh, seriously? From the same crowd that defended the likes of Harvey Weinstein for years. I just want to know if he made a good movie.

Well, apparently my bishop thinks so. Our church received a letter today encouraging everyone to watch the movie, saying its an accurate portrayal of the events. The one caution is that the movie is rated “R” and has some coarse language and violence. One of our parishioners commented that maybe we shouldn’t be promoting an “R” rated film.

I immediately asked “Wasn’t The Passion rated R?”

“Oh yeah, but that was different.”

Which brings me to my point: Life is rated “R”. Get over it.

I’ve talked before about how Christian movie ratings are flawed at best, and typically have huge biases based on the person authoring the rating. They aren’t consistent, and thus I don’t see any reason to believe them. But more importantly, as an adult, I get tired of having people tell me I shouldn’t see an “R” rated film because its “R” rated and being “R” rated is bad because…reasons.

Life is R rated. Life throws lots of crazy problems at you. Sometimes its violence. Sometimes its sexual sins. Plenty of people curse and swear. That’s the world we live in. But just because a movie depicts this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t watch it. Father Stu follows a man who wasn’t anywhere close to perfect, but then chose to become better. He’s a guy that laughs at adult jokes, rides a motorcycle and drinks a lot. He’s not perfect. He’s like many of us. And that makes him relatable to us, and his story gives us hope that even our sinful nature can be overcome.

I’ll take a story of a flawed person becoming better over any bland story about someone who doesn’t have any problems doing the right thing.

So yeah, I’ll be seeing Father Stu in theaters. If Hollywood says it won’t win an Academy Award, well, then even more reason to see it.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you liked this article, consider supporting the author by purchasing one of his books.

Ukraine and Korea, more of the same

In January 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech discussing, among other things, where he thought US interests around the world sat. The United States had been supporting the South Korean government with training and arms to quell a communist uprising in their country, and had been so successful that it seemed they would be able to withdraw from the peninsula entirely later that year. Unfortunately for Mr. Acheson, his speech was likely one of several indicators that the Soviet Union used to ultimately decide that the US would not intervene in a Korean Conflict. Josef Stalin authorized Kim Il-Sung later that spring to begin his invasion, which kicked off in June of 1950.

The Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China and North Korea all counted on the United States not intervening in Korea. That turned into a miscalculation that ultimately cost over one million lives between the two sides and countless scars that are still visible in the landscape and culture today. It was a worthy sacrifice, as South Korea has remained a strong and independent country that demonstrates what a real democratic government can look like in Asia.

The Ukrainian invasion came as a surprise to nobody. Russia’s interest in Ukraine has been stated from the very beginning, and it has been calculating the time and place of an invasion for some time. Perhaps the most important reason it launched now, verses in the past, was the assurance that it could invade without interference from the US and NATO. Similar to Korea, the invasion is designed to be quick, precise and achieve victory in a matter of days. Whether it does or not remains to be seen.

Authoritarian governments bent on invasion will never back down from their intentions, but they also aren’t stupid. They all perform the cold calculations of cost when they consider actions, and those costs skyrocket if a country like the US, France, Japan, UK, or other nations intervene. The Russians and Chinese militaries aren’t without faults, and they know those faults well, and they do in fact fear legitimate military intervention by Western democracies. But as shown in Korea, when we telegraph weakness or even indifference, it pushes these calculations in a direction we don’t want.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Candidates are being vetted now…are you part of the process?

With everyone focused on November elections, its easy to forget that right now, as we speak, candidates are being vetted to run at the local, state and federal level. Especially for local elections, where the winner often wins by less than a thousand votes, and frequently less than a hundred votes, now is the time when candidates get setup with the party architecture and start building their campaign and fundraising.

This is also the time where upstart candidates have a chance of booting out the establishment folks in the primaries and caucuses. We hear about this for federal candidates, but surprisingly little for state and local candidates. The big reason is that the local parties are run by very few people, who often wield significant influence.

Which brings me to my main point: are you getting involved now? Are you attending your local Republican or Libertarian meetings? Are you part of that process? Are you asking the hard questions of the candidates? Are you donating to candidates you like? Are you getting signatures to get them on the ballot?

Too many times, we have trusted party leadership to vet a slate of candidates and assume that they will do a good job. That’s how we wind up with the Lisa Murkowskis, Liz Cheneys and Arlen Specters of the world, who win elections but don’t actually support the policies that their party supports. They sneak in because the majority of people aren’t part of the selection process.

Now is the time to get involved. Everyone is busy, but find the one thing you’re able to do. Maybe its walking around getting signatures for your school board and local representatives to get them on the ballot. If so, do that. Maybe you’re more extroverted and are good at asking hard questions at a party meeting. If so, do that. The point is, find what you’re capable of and do it now, while encouraging your friends to get involved as well.

We can’t make the Republican party great in November if we don’t start today.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you like this post, please help the author by purchasing his book.

COVID wallpaper

No, I’m not talking about putting up wallpaper with little COVID molecules on it. Maybe I’ll consider that for a Halloween haunted house though, to scare all the liberals into wearing masks 😉

I’m actually talking about how COVID has covered over a whole list of other serious issues. For the past two years, the main topic of discuss in almost all suburban homes has been COVID and its impacts on the home and family. It’s difficult to have a conversation with any of my friends that doesn’t touch on the disease in some way. The problem with this is it removes focus from a lot of other problems.

For example, our military is facing a manpower crisis. If you only read some headlines, you’d see that the Navy met its recruitment goals for the year. But that covers up the fact that its hemorrhaging manpower at a higher than normal rate. It can’t fill its sea billets that contribute the most to its ability as a fighting force, and it can’t keep Surface Warfare Officers.

Evaluating personnel data from 2004 to 2020, the agency found from Navy data that retention for SWOs was so low that the service changed how it inducted junior officers to ensure an adequate number of department heads for surface ships.

USNI News

In my community, my detailer already announced that there were significantly more retirements than expected, and they will simply be gapping billets. I’m not even mad at the detailer, he is simply working with what he has.

Gee, who could have seen this coming?

What about our economy? Everyone is focused on COVID’s impact to the supply chain, but there has been little focus on the brittleness of our economy. The fact that most of our advanced microchips come out of one country (Taiwan), or that most if not all of rare earth metals come from one country (China), or that our infrastructure has been ravaged for years by poor management and maintenance with nobody held accountable (see multiple dam collapses that past two years), or that we can’t seem to manage water in the state that produces most of our produce (California), or that we have a massive power crisis because we’ve been shutting down nuclear power plants (even Vox! says its a problem).

These economic problems have solutions that take years to implement. Some solutions are finally coming, such as Intel’s new chip plant being placed in Ohio. But its woefully behind schedule, and a glance through Biden’s “Build Debt Better!” plan didn’t show much resolution for any of these. In most cases, its not financing that is the issue, its holding the people responsible for the day-to-day management of these problems accountable, something that government in general has a bad track record of accomplishing.

But probably the worst bit of COVID wallpaper is cultural. COVID has become the excuse for people to live out their worst tendencies. Want to publicly shame people online and in-person? Want to kick people out of their jobs for personal medical decisions? Want to make demands of other people’s children? Want to do all this from the isolated safety of your home while you work on your laptop? Then COVID was just the thing for you! It’s no surprise that so many people don’t want the COVID restrictions to go away, because it removes their ability to boss others around.

COVID is like cheap wallpaper. It’s covering up a whole magnitude of other problems, and as the crisis goes away, we’re going to realize that we have always had much more important problems to solve.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you like this post, please consider supporting the author by purchasing his book.

Why my kids are still masked

On his first day in office, Governor Youngkin signed an executive order repealing the mask mandate. Contrary to popular media belief, he didn’t make it illegal to wear masks in school. You can in fact still have your child wear a mask if you want to. In typical liberal fashion, people began suing the governor for providing the freedom to choose whether to mask your child or not. The list includes plenty of people that I personally know.

Now, you might think I’d be the first one to tell my kids to remove their masks. And yet, I’m not.

Why is that? Did I suddenly get cold feet when all this freedom was given to me? Am I secretly a germaphobe that has been called out into the open? Did I suddenly lose my spinal cord like so many senior military members?

Nope, none of that. The simple reason is that while the mask mandate is gone, my school district has some insidious rules that punish students for not wearing masks. Not directly of course, because that would open the spineless bureaucrats to lawsuits and more public shaming. These are instead indirect consequences, conducted in a sort of administrative warfare that is most often found at your local DMV.

If your student doesn’t wear a mask, and there is an outbreak, then he or she (or meow, or whatever you want people to call you) will have to quarantine at home for at least 5 days and take a bunch of COVID tests. But if your student is wearing a mask….no quarantine.

Yup. So if you choose freedom, you’ll get punished if anyone tests positive for COVID in a classroom. But keep that mask on, and you can still go to school.

So for the parents that want their kids to stay in school, rather than be virtually schooled, you take a massive risk of 5 days of at-home babysitting if your kid doesn’t wear a mask. If both parents work, or its a single parent family, will you risk that? Will you tell your job you need more flexible hours? Will you risk the hassle of losing another week due to some kid testing positive for COVID, even if they aren’t showing signs of actual sickness.

Some people might. Most won’t. So it’s not a surprise that most parents in my school district are still sending their kids with masks. Its not because we don’t want the freedom. It’s because the school district decided to impose its will anyway via administrative means. And until we dump these people to the curb like the trash that they are, all the executive orders in the world won’t bring the freedom they promise to the average family in Virginia.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing my book on Amazon or Audible to help me and my family.