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“Lambs To The Slaughter”

Our elected officials expect us to believe they have the solution to school shootings. They want you to believe the solution is gun control. You’d have to be a special kind of stupid to believe that solution will ever work; ever. If you believe that then I’m sorry but you are the largest part of this problem.

When a person(s) makes the decision to shoot up a school that person no longer has the right to anything. That person should be shot dead at the front door. I don’t care about his life. I don’t care how sad he was or how he was bullied. I don’t care about him or her at all in that moment. Shoot him dead and we can discuss his poor life later with all the kids that are still alive. I’d rather have the difficult conversation with my kids about why someone was gunned down at school, than stand over a casket saying goodbye to them because they were lambs to the slaughter.

We send our kids to “gun free” zones daily. Criminals are jackals and our kids are prey. That is the simple truth. Until this fundamental concept is realized we’ll continue to see grieving parents mourn their babies. This is not a law problem; this is a common sense problem. Guns aren’t going anywhere. The tables will turn only when a wrongdoer is met with swift and deliberate justice for his action at point of incident.

If we sit by idle and let our children’s safety be debated by others then what does that say about us. My heart breaks for those families that mourn their loved ones. However this fallacy that gun control will protect them is lunacy. It’s time to wake up.

 

History provides all the evidence you need for the “anti gun” movement agenda, but this rant is over for now. Take it or leave it.

 

 

-Chris Crider

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“WHY THE TREES FELL”

“WHY THE TREES FELL”

By Chris Crider

 

 

     One sunny afternoon near the edge of the forest, two trees had a very interesting conversation. One tree was old, tall, and wise, and the other was young, small, and pretty new to the earth. From where they were they could see far and wide across the flat land in front of them.

     A loud clap of thunder shook the quiet afternoon as a big storm approached from off in the distance. The little tree shook with fear when he heard the loud thunder. The big tree noticed that the little tree was shaking. A few moments passed and the little tree spoke.

 

“Is it true that a long time ago some of the trees just fell over to the ground?” he asked.

 

“Yes, Lil Sap, that is true” said Stalwart, the bigger tree.

 

“But why? Why did they just fall over, Stalwart? Were they old, or did something knock them down? Was it a big storm like the one that is coming this way?”

 

“That’s an interesting story Lil Sap, and it’s quite the opposite of what you think.”

 

“Why did they fall over then, Stalwart? What do you mean opposite?”

 

     Stalwart replied “Well, Lil Sap, it happened far off beyond the open field in front of us, and it happened a long time ago. A group of humans wanted to make a beautiful forest inside a glass dome. They wanted to build what nature had built and thought that they could do just as good a job. They did a very good job indeed, and almost matched nature perfectly. Flowers grew and other plants too. It was magnificent. Trees began to grow and reach high into the air. They were given plenty of water and had lots of beautiful sun to help them grow. Over time they got taller and taller. Everything was going just as planned, and the humans were very pleased with their creation.”

 

     Another loud crack of thunder followed by lightning interrupted Stalwart while he was speaking. The little tree trembled, and was very anxious as he looked at the big storm headed their way.

 

“Stalwart, was it………. was it a storm that knocked the trees over?” asked Lil Sap.

 

     Noticing that the little tree was scared, Stalwart reassured him that he didn’t need to be afraid.

 

“No, Lil Sap, it’s not like that at all. During the process of creating their own beautiful indoor forest the humans neglected to give the trees the one thing that made them strong. They forgot to give the trees wind.”

 

“Why wind? Why did the trees need wind, Stalwart? The wind looks scary and tries to blow us down” interrupts Lil Sap.

 

     The storm was getting closer and the little tree grew more anxious by the minute.

 

“Well, Lil Sap, without wind, the trees didn’t know how to be strong. As they grew taller they looked strong but were weak underneath. They had no foundation because they had weak roots. Some of them fell over just simply because of their own weight. It is the wind that pushes on us that makes us strong. It is the same wind you fear that makes your roots dig deeper into the ground. When your roots dig deeper into the ground, you become stronger. A life with no wind may seem desirable and safe, but a life without wind will make you weak; even the slightest breeze will push you over.”

 

“But the storm, Stalwart! What about the storm? It’s getting closer, and I’m afraid”

 

“Do not be afraid, Lil Sap. You must understand that it is in the storm where you get your training. It is in the storm where you get your strength. You can do this, Lil Sap! As the wind pushes against you, dig your roots deep and wide into the ground and be strong. The storms you fear will make you stronger, and the more storms you face, the less scary the next storm will be. Are you ready, Lil Sap?”

 

     Lil Sap nervously replied “Yes Stalwart, I’m ready.”

 

     The storm blew upon them with great force. The wind howled and pushed both trees back and forth. The wind got stronger and Lil Sap held firm and dug his roots deeper into the ground.

 

He shouted “I’m doing it, Stalwart! I’m doing it!”

 

“Yes, my young friend, you certainly are! You’re doing great! Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up. Dig your roots deep! Grow stronger each time the wind blows against you!”

 

     The storm raged on for hours and the two trees stood firm and confident amongst the struggle. A few times laughter could be heard in between rumbles of thunder, and as the storm calmed the two trees stood solid and unmoved. Moments passed and the tranquility of the calm afternoon soon returned. The two trees stared across the open field where the glass dome once stood.

 

“It’s better to have wind in your life than no wind isn’t it, Stalwart?” asked Lil Sap

 

“Yes, Lil Sap. It truly is better to have wind in your life. In fact, your life depends on some wind from time to time. Without wind, all the trees will fall.”

 

The End.

 

 

Chris Crider © 2018

 

The Legend of No Bark Park

 

 

The Legend of No Bark Park is a story of ultimate triumph. Ripped from the tranquility of Melancholy Pond and thrust into action packed adventure, the characters face hardships and overcome impossible odds.

Two turtles set off on a journey that will not only reshape the landscape of a very special park, but will also rewrite their own destinies. Jump into the book and experience what happens when a fast paced, dangerous world collides with the slow determined pace of two best friends. These two experience life, death, adversity and what it means to never give up.
Along with a larger than life dragonfly that moves so fast she almost flies off the pages, these unforgettable characters capture your attention and demand you don’t look away. Blink and you might miss astonishing feats. Dodging death on multiple occasions, they press on chasing a mysterious beast that terrorizes their peaceful home.
Reignite your imagination and return to a time when you believed the impossible is possible.

Unsavory characters and even a crippling injury will not stop The Legend from fulfilling his destiny to soar high in the branches above No Bark Park.
Open the cover and discover the mysteries of this very special place. These characters will grab you by the hand, pull you into their lives and challenge you to revisit your own dreams!

Complete at 28,000 words, The Legend of No Bark Park is a kid’s book written in the spirit of the bedtime story.

Thank you.

Chris Crider

“RUN”

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After I do a quick mental check of my body, I realize the spill I took was over one hundred yards straight down, ending in a blanket of snow, brush and possible homes of certain vermin that have recently escaped. My silhouette, most certainly visible from the ridge above is far from the snow angels I made as a child; it’s a death warrant if I don’t move quickly. I stagger to my feet, grab the small leather messenger bag and make for the tree line as fast as I can; trying to shake the stench of lime from my naked body. Each step in the deep snow becomes like quicksand. The snow all around me bursts sporadically before I even hear the cracks from the rifles above. Which bullet will find my flesh? The cold is blistering and I almost welcome the heat that it will offer me in that fleeting moment before it ends my life.

I just wanted out. All they had to do was let me go. The war is over yet they refuse to let mine end. I bought their propaganda and became one of the best; becoming the worst. Now I run. I’ll do their dirty work no longer. My life is over anyways. Any chance at normalcy was sold long ago; my ghosts make sure of that.

My past stands before me over this mountain and my future is behind me hunting me like a rabid dog that must be put out of service. “Just a little longer” I tell myself; “push forward”. My ankle is shredded from the fall and the pain pushes me past my limit but I run like I did when I was young. The bones fragment beneath my skin and my mind goes to snowy days like this, running through these very woods with the bitter cold stinging my nostrils and my younger brothers chasing me. Our laughter filled this forest and I long to see them again. No laughter here now; only shouts from soldiers and the barking of dogs that are on my scent. The forest is thick and I’m near the border.

Trees around me fracture and bark is thrown into the air mixing with the falling snow. I taste the wood when I gasp for air. The bullets are killing everything around me but me; another dose of sick irony. I navigate the trees blind in the dark as I’ve done so many times and the violence I once embraced is ripping apart the only good memories I have left. I pray I make it to the border. I will not surrender my life to these unworthy jackals.

I stop abruptly and fall to my knees at the edge of the forest. The clearing is about one thousand yards with the border on the other side. I slow my breathing and prepare for my last sprint. My naked body trembles uncontrollably as I stare out across the kill zone. The full moon offers me little cover; at least I won’t die in darkness.

My rest is cut short as the bullets from my old unit rip apart the trees to my left and right. I break from the concealment of the forest, messenger bag in hand and charge out into the open field. I barely make it twenty feet when the whole field turns to day. The lights from the guard towers ahead are blinding. I keep running. “Just make it halfway” I tell myself. “They won’t come after my body this close to the border.” Sirens from the guard towers in front of me ring out and heavy machine gun fire from behind riddles the field all around me. I’m almost halfway when gunfire erupts from in front of me. I run faster with my arms out high and to my sides like an Olympic runner nearing the finish line. The field goes silent. Both sides realizing they’re shooting at the same man finally stop. I crumble under the weight of my frigid body only yards from the border; bones exposed in my lower legs. Redemption is near.

“Stop!….. I know this man” shouts a young officer from the guard tower.

The clatter from the big metal gate echoes through the open field and a shadow approaches me. From the icy ground I see him standing above me. He looks just like his brothers; and his father.

“Stand up” commands the young officer. “Get up or I’ll shoot you like a maimed dog!”

I struggle to stand and the bones in my lower leg rip through my skin. I wobble side to side; my naked body shivering out of control. All my strength is directed to staying upright. I clutch the blood covered leather bag tightly.

The young officer stares at me while his men silently navigate this surreal meeting. He steps closer and un-holsters his sidearm. He raises it to my head with a trembling hand. His voice cracks as he speaks through tears.

“You killed both of my brothers. You took my father away and left me to die; now here are you before me. I’ve prayed that you’d stay alive only so I could be the one to kill you.”

Unable to stand any longer I collapse to my knees.

“Stand up you bastard! Where is your uniform? Did you think you could hide your evil in your nakedness? I know you! We all know you!”

The other soldiers quickly snap their rifles up and eagerly anticipate the command to fire on me.

“Stand up! You owe me this! Stand up and face me!”

From my knees I stare upward at the young man that I took so much from. I’ve stayed alive only to offer him my life. He quickly places the cold barrel to my head and draws the hammer back. I close my eyes and say goodbye to my ghosts at last. His hand trembles and he falls to his knees in the snow with me. Tears roll down his red cheeks. I curse him.

“Damn you! Finish this!”

He shakes his head side to side and gestures to his soldiers to stand me up. He rises to his feet and holsters his sidearm.

“Everything in me says I should hand you over to those across the field or kill you myself. You came here for redemption but you’ll receive no such gift from me.”

As the other soldiers lift me to my feet, a single rifle shot from across the field rips through the quiet landscape and the bullet finally finds me. Warmth at last even for that fleeting moment before my life ends. The blood pools in the snow around my broken naked body. The young officer kneels next to me. I clutch the messenger bag tightly and raise it to his chest.

“The letters inside are from your father. He wrote to you often. I promised him I would get them to you. They’re unopened. Can you please read some to me?”

The young man ripped open the bag, unwrapped the bundle and carefully opened the first sealed letter and began to read out loud.

“My dearest son,”

-Chris Crider ©2018

“Shoes”

My new shoes hurt and the ground scorches the feet of the shoeless,

Why wouldn’t my soul cry out?

If it doesn’t rip when I see suffering, should it smile in the bounty?

Shouldn’t my soul cry out?

Damn these shoes.

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Chris Crider 2018

“The Little Things”

They braved the cold and huddled close hand in hand. Browsing through the rows of Christmas trees, they whispered to each other regarding different ones they liked and contemplated price and size. The cold was wretched but seemed far off in the distance; at least to them.

This was a return trip after looking around town for better deals. The young kid running the operation was glued to the small stove that fluttered barely enough heat to keep him warm but just enough to give him hope of warmth.

This is their first Christmas together. They found the perfect tree and discussed quietly the offer they’d make as they approached the kid up front. The price marked on the tree was fifty dollars.

“We found one we like” as they clung to each other tightly.

“Show me which one and we’ll take a look” replied the young man.

Quietly they walk to the rear of the rows and he pointed.

“This one right here.”

The young man paused for a few seconds and replied “How about twenty bucks?”

The woman squeezed the man’s hand as he considered the price, knowing quietly their offer was thirty five dollars.

“That sounds fair. What do you think baby?”

She nods her head in agreement and the young man drags the tree up front. He struggles to get the chainsaw running and asks if the two were in a hurry. They glance in each other’s eyes. These are the memory burn moments; the slow motion moments.

“Take your time we’re in no rush.”

They nudged closer together and excitedly whisper like kids about what a good deal they got. The tree was perfect; right shape, right height, beautiful; perfect. Only twenty dollars!

He finally got the saw running and buzzed off about two inches from the base of the trunk and powered off the saw. The cut off piece fell to the ground and had a hole drilled in the center so that the tree would stand up straight on the rebar rods.

“Need any help loading up?”

“No thanks, I got this.”

The man grabs the tree by the trunk and looks at her with a big smile and wide eyes. She smiles and nods yes. He takes about three steps with tree in hand and stops. She wasn’t at his side. He quickly turns around. She’s brushing the sawdust from the cutoff piece and holds it close to her heart. He looks at her a bit confused at first then she holds the small piece of wood out to show him. She looks at him with big joy filled eyes and nods yes. He nods yes and in that moment the small irrelevant piece became larger than the tree…

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“Cries From The Pumps”

 

As fear from patrons escalates in regards to having to potentially pump their own gas, some pumps have come forward with shocking claims. In a recent interview with a pump that wishes to remain anonymous, horrifying tales were revealed. Once adored and depended on, these pumps have now become the target of hatred and racism. At a gas station at an undisclosed location somewhere in Oregon I got a chance to speak with a pump. When asked about his feelings his reply was quite disturbing. (Warning: some of the language may shocking)

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“Where are the marches for us? Why should we be shunned and demonized because of they’re irrational fear of us?”

 

“I’ve lived my whole life in this community, now I’m afraid to come to work. The same faces and pleasant smiles that I’m used to seeing on a regular basis have now become violent and unstable; almost psychotic. One lady screamed obscene language at me this morning and protested I was a danger to her and her family. I mean… I don’t understand…. One day she’s comfortable sitting a foot away from me and now she’s in fear for her life. What have I done? Why do they hate us now? All I’ve ever tried to do is help. Our fuel powers their vehicles and makes enjoying life possible. Why us? Why now?”

As the interview continued a few people gathered and continued to shout angrily and hurl racial obscenities at the pumps. I approached the deranged group cautiously in an attempt to interview them. One lady shouted

“I had to pump gas once and almost died! That should be left to qualified people!”

I asked her if she felt qualified to drive a vehicle on her own which is far more dangerous and was met with great hostility

“@%#$ you! You’re just a pump sympathizer! Go back to wherever you’re from!”

I walked over to a gentleman that had a sign in his hand that read “NO MORE GAS”. When asked about his reason for protesting he replied

“I don’t even know how to pump gas!! What am I supposed to do now?”

I suggested he learn and take classes to get more familiar with the process and his reply was a swift

“Go to hell! I ain’t doing none of that!”

The group became unstable and appeared to be on the verge of violent irrational behavior. Back at the pump island another pump was brave enough to speak to me on the record. It was quite heartbreaking to hear her story.

“We are scared. We feel like we’re being abandoned and left to face this hatred and racism on our own. Where’s the outrage from our community? Where are the marches for us? Why should we be shunned and demonized because of they’re irrational fear of us?”

This situation certainly has the potential to become deadly but will it be due to untrained people pumping their own gas or mob mentality? Stay tuned…….