Monday, November 23, 2015

Fallout 4: My new full time job

Hello everyone. My name is Eccentric Cowboy, and I have an addiction. It has been about twelve hours since I last played a Fallout game, but I don't know how much longer I can last. I've tried pills, counseling, group therapy, even a camp, but nothing seems to work.

What can I say? Fallout is hands down my favorite game franchise ever. Nothing else comes close. I've dumped so much time across Fallout 1, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and now Fallout 4, that I could have probably made millions in high frequency stocks trading. I can't help it though! The writing is fantastic, the worlds are huge and have an insane amount of depth, and there is an almost endless variety of things to do. This won't necessarily be an objective super informative review, and more of my personal thoughts and a shameless love letter to the game, so if you like hearing someone gush for a few pages, then you'll probably want to keep reading.

Since Fallout 4 got released on the 11th, I've racked up 79 hours total. That's just in two weeks. That's pretty much a full time job worth of game play. I confess, the first three days were a bit slow as I tried to adapt to the new setup, but after awhile it gained momentum and I began having an insane amount of fun. No, Fallout 4 isn't perfect. There are a few kinks that get in the way, but dangit, what's good is really good.

One of my issues with Fallout 3 and New Vegas was the aiming. It always felt stiff and clunky, not what you want when a deathclaw is trying to pull your spine out through your anus. The best way to describe it is if you have a broom tucked under your arm, and have both arms extended until your elbows are locks and aim by swiveling your torso at the hips. But here the aiming is just plain smooth and reflexive. I can swing on target quickly and start de-braining Gunners with surgical precision. Now we're talking!

One of the biggest changes that took me by surprise was that I didn't need to repair my weapons. Say wha-? I've been so used to lugging around extra weapons to cannibalize or weapon repair kits that it's almost impossible for me to not grab every weapon I see lying around. I've been programmed to grab everything not bolted down, so weight can be a big problem fast. At least for me anyway. If you just want swag and a few weapons, you should be fine. Me though? I instinctively grab enough weapons, armor and ammo to outfit my own army company. And wouldn't you know it? In this game I can finally do that!

There have been a lot more games with construction parts to them, thanks Minecraft. I was a bit worried about how that would work out here since I mostly play Fallout to level up and shoot mutants in the face, but thankfully it's not a huge hassle. It doesn't handcuff you to the building part and punish you if you don't want to do it. I mostly engage because I like the idea of building my own mini-empire in the Wasteland, and have fortified the Castle to the point where I can handle most invasion attempts and outfitted a good number of my settlers to the balls with combat armor and decent weapons. Bring it on Wasteland!

Oh, and you have some extra goodies here. You can call in sodding artillery strikes. Artillery! Throw a smoke beacon and your guys will rain fiery death down upon your enemies. Frigging. Awesome. The primary limit to what they can do is their range is limited, so you'll often want multiple settlements with an artillery piece and someone to use it. I haven't used it much, just because I'm conservative to a fault when it comes to gear. The artillery beacons are pretty much unlimited if you grab them, but they weigh me down and I only wanna use them for heavy targets. 30 ghouls coming at me? I've got that.

Oh, and the gear modding? It's awesome. You have a LOT of options on what you can do. My favorite weapon right now is a highly customized bolt action rifle that I've renamed Slayer. A 50 cal bolt action with a large magazine, bayonet, marskman stock and reflex sight, I have a killer short to medium range combat gun and can butcher most things that come my way. 50 cal is great medicine for deathclaws and just about anything else you can come across, although it's not as good for large numbers of enemies, although it still works for them too. I have an obscene amount of fun with the bayonets in this game. Firing a volley of shots and then rushing them like a World War 1 bayonet charge, then stabbing and shooting at close quarters really gets the blood pumping.

I just hope they bring in a lever action with DLC. For some reason there are no leverguns in the game at the moment, which makes me sad. But I'm praying to the Fallout deities that they'll have one later on that I can pimp out. Just think of it! A 50 cal lever action with a bayonet and scope? I'll be unstoppable! I'll be the ravager of the Commonwealth, slaying all in my path! None shall stand before the general of the Minute Men!

Oh, and for once I really like the power armor. In New Vegas I almost never used power armor, finding it to be too cumbersome and not worth the repair bill, so I'd always go with medium armor, my favorite being Elite Riot Gear. Looked frigging awesome too. Here? You're a walking tank. You can actually pic and choose how to model your armor for once, and my gosh is it glorious. Just last night I was laying waste to a raider stronghold while their pathetic 38 caliber bullets bounced off of my armor and was playing The Terminator police station music, slowly and methodically clearing the building while spraying them with bursts of SMG fire, cutting them down like mannequins. It felt pretty darned awesome. You still have to repair it, but it's not as much a hassle as before. Unlike New Vegas or Fallout 3, you don't have to pull out your gold fillings to pay someone to repair your armor half-way, nor do you have to cannibalize every suit you get. You just have to find a repair station and use some steel and other components. Yay! You still need fusion cores to keep them powered, which are rare and expensive, but are worth it. I've been stockpiling them, so it's not as much an issue for me at the moment.

Mirelurks are still a monumental pain to deal with. And are creepier than ever. I don't know what it is about crustaceans, but they make my skin crawl. So seeing ones the size of football players rushing at me, joints crackling and seeing their lifeless doll eyes roll at me as they try to rip me apart is less than pleasant. So of course, they are pretty awesome. Also, the Mirelurk Kings now appear to have gone from the Gillman to Deep Ones from Lovecraft. Is Innsmouth near the Commonwealth? That'd explain a bit!
Oh, and Mirelurk Hunters are now giant prawns instead of horseshoe crabs, and they suck to deal with. Mirelurk Queens though? Holy crap. I hit one of those xeno-queen wannabes twice with a Fat Man. She just got mad. That one was pretty intense.

I really like how most of the creatures now have different looks based on what type they are, even within the same enemy hierarchy. So now there's a lot more variety to the terror you experience as well as blow up! Oh, the ghouls? If they didn't scare you before, they might now. Their skin is clammy, shrunken and pulled tight, with lips that look like the Flukeman from The X-Files, and will keep coming even after you've shot their arms off. Those ones aren't very fun. Oh, and they hit way harder now. The combat in this game is WAY harder than in previous ones. I've gotten absolutely wrecked here. In the two before, death was usually due to me being stupid or just bad luck. With having lots of stimpacks, I was generally pretty safe.

The Commonwealth doesn't screw around though. The raiders pack some serious heat, and aren't afraid to sacrifice themselves to take you out with them. Oh, and because the super mutants aren't tough enough already, they have suicide bombers that lug a mini-nuke on a timer while bum-rushing you at full speed. They WILL make sure that you're blasted into radioactive dust within fifteen seconds unless you put them down.

I recall one particular incident with the raiders that was extremely difficult. I exit a building, having run through the gauntlet, and see a mere two raiders up in a bombed out building. Well, I still had some space left and could always use the loot. So I start shooting at them, kill the weaker one not in power armor, then try to move to where I can get up to them at close range. Then I evaporated in a world-shattering explosion from seemingly nowhere. Huh. Odd.
So I start again, sniping the weaker raider and then shooting the one in power armor right in the face. It's then I notice a large weapon on his shoulder and something about the size of a football flying towards me, followed again by an explosion. Oh! He has a Fat Man! Huh. Not used to that. Okay, fair enough. I'll snipe him from farther now!
So I reload and begin firing on him first instead of his puny friend to take advantage of the sneak attack double damage on the headshot. I try to take cover to where he can't hit me, but his shot goes over my head and behind me, leaving me to get caught in the concussion blast. Oops.
By now I'm gritting my teeth. Okay, fine jerk. I decide that since he's using a doomsday long range weapon, I should get up close and deny him the ability to shoot. Surely he's not stupid enough to put ground zero of his mini-nuke six inches from himself. So I pull out my machete and race up the stairs, ignoring the puny raider and attacking the boss, slashing at him like Freddy, backing him into a corner and denying him the ability to flee. I had him! Then he fired anyway, reducing me to radioactive ash on the breeze while he was just a little worse for wear.
... Okay, bullcrap. He was close enough to see his fingerprints on the mini-nuke when it went off, and he didn't take enough damage to die? Agh!
I finally managed to just snipe the bugger by being cheap, but wow it took a lot of effort to get that one guy. Yes, I could have simply left and moved on, but I took that fight personally. How can I see a raider in power armor with a Fat Man and not fight him? That's absurd!

And yes, the questing is fun. I just tend to get distracted by the intense desire to destroy anything that looks red. So much good combat going on! <3
The people in your settlements are kind of moronic though. Although I'm the general of the Minute Men, it seems like I'm also the elite special forces, fire department, police commissioner, secretary of business management, agricultural executive and babysitter. I get the feeling that I'm not exactly breeding self-sufficient warriors here. Anytime so much as someone steps on a thumbtack I get called in for help. Granted, I am the most qualified for kicking in the Gunners' front door to rescue hostages or wipe out a horde of feral ghouls, but come on, not one other soldier in my settlement of over a hundred is doing anything but defense. Come on people! We've got the Institute to fight! I can't do it all by myself! I mean, I can, but it'd be nice to have some help now and then.
It would be nice to know which settlers have an assignment and which don't. There's a lot of them and its hard to tell which of them are working jobs already and which aren't. They look a like half the time. Hoping that'll get patched.

I still haven't beaten the game yet. Lot's of killing to do, but I'll get around to it! This has slowed my writing business down a LOT lately. It's hard to focus on writing when a siren is singing to you about Fallout 4 and you're tired. Dangit, this game is too good in some ways! It's too much fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Black Friday Book Discount!

Howdy all! Just in time for Black Friday I'm going to be putting all of my books out on sale for one dollar each! This will last for three days, so even if you get caught up in the borderline apocalyptic rampages that take place during the mall sales you'll still have a chance to get in on the deal. Oh, and for those of you wondering why I didn't schedule it for Cyber Monday, that's because I entirely forgot of its existence and wasn't reminded until I'd already set up the discount time frame. Kind of a hilarious fail on my part. Ah well, live and learn, right? :)

So get ready to buy Primal Frontier: Hunter From the Red Hills, Stalkers in the Storm, and The Mines of Madness together for just three dollars! :)

Any reviews would be much appreciated as well. A single opinion might help swing sales into favor, which I could really use. I only want honesty though, no sycophant behavior here! 

But more importantly, be sure to enjoy Thanksgiving! This is a time to remember all that we are thankful for, especially with all this crap going on in the world today. Prepare for the Christmas season and share all the love you can spare. This is certainly the time to do so!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The return of airships?

Hoping to lighten things up a bit, and thought I'd speak on a much more interesting and uplifting subject. It's uplifting in more ways than one! Back in the day dirigibles were intriguing novelties with some practical purposes, but soon became eclipsed in the wake of faster and safer modes of transportation. The Hindenburg was the railroad spike in the coffin for most directed lighter than air craft.

Interest for them has lingered, but for the most part there hasn't been much practicality for dirigibles. After all, planes and jets are faster, smaller, and overall seem vastly superior. But once again the climes are changing and with advances in technology it seems as though dirigibles might indeed make a return. The setup that sticks out to me the most is a fairly new group, Solar Ship. Take a look!

What strikes me most about this company is the utter practicality of not just the ship design itself, but it's intended use. Old dirigibles and airships had torpedo shapes and relied primarily on the lifting force of hydrogen or helium with ballast to keep it under control. This is a fascinating hybrid system in which the balloon itself not only holds the light gases, but also functions as a wing so that when speed it built up in can ascend, meaning that it has no need for ballast and thus frees up a great deal of space for valuable cargo.You can also take off and land on much shorter landing strips than are required for plains or jets. Even in the event of losing propulsion, the descent should be slow enough that the passengers shouldn't be pulverized into jelly. Brilliant!

It's power is also a hybrid system, using the tried and true gasoline engine but also utilizing the large surface area on top of the gas bag to incorporate solar cells, giving these models two different types of power to utilize. Now that is robust, efficient and clever!

All of these help aim towards their goal of having an efficient and reliable means of transporting people and goods throughout Africa. For those of you who aren't bush savvy, there are many isolated territories in the veldt that are hard to reach. Scrub, trees, rough landscapes and the like are extremely hostile to land cruisers and trains. It can be done, certainly, but it's brutal work. So the folks behind Solar Ship decided that utilizing the easy take off and landing capabilities of a dirigible would be a godsend to the folks of Africa, and they seem to think so. I recall reading in this company that people who get injured often die because they can't reach help in time. Transport is of course difficult and slow. Planes are sometimes utilized, but you require a big runway, something not always available in the scrub.

But these airships can land on much shorter runways, and with lower fuel requirements it could lead to saving hundreds of lives, being able to evacuate them with ease in even some of the harshest spots. They also aim to deliver disaster relief supplies to those who are hard to reach in the wake of problems, something Africa is never short of.

I'm very impressed by the wise and practical application of these features into real world scenarios, and hope that they continue to build and become more mainstream.
Dirigibles of this type are actually becoming more attractive to airlines. With fuel shortages growing and the cost of materials involved in making aircraft, they are becoming far more costly to maintain. A dirigible though such as these require far less materials and offer backups for actually moving. They are slower, sure, but these models can do everything from pleasure cruising to large scale cargo transport. They'll have a bit of trouble in a hailstorm, true, but with the advent of carbon fiber nano-tube technology I think even that can be solved.
Modern airships are far safer than their ancestors. Building techniques and advancements in technology have armed engineers with an impressive array of assets that they can use to make craft we never imagined before.

Solar Ship in particular I hope gets further support and becomes successful. I would relish the return of airships, being able to float through the sky and have an affordable way to connect with our foreign neighbors. With prices of things increasing, these might very well be an excellent and cost effective alternative to other forms of transportation. Who knows what the future holds?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How To Fight Terrorism

I've thought a lot about the current goings on in the world, and in the wake of the most recent terrorist attack in Paris, I've decided to share the conclusions that I've come to.

It should be abundantly clear by now that there can be no peaceful co-existence with the likes of ISIS. It doesn't matter how much we want peace, they don't. They want a war. They want carnage. They want conflict. And no matter how passively we react, they'll continue to inflict tragedy on those that aren't one of their own.

And no, this isn't a blanket endorsement against Islam. Nor is it racism. This is specifically aimed at the Islamist extremists, those that will not countenance any other belief. Many people are now rightfully in fear of their lives, not knowing where or when the next attack will take place. This happened with many Americans after 9-11, being afraid to simply take a plane flight.

This is exactly what the terrorists want. They want us good, peaceful people to be afraid to simply go out and do what we enjoy doing. Unable to enforce their laws upon some of us through force of arms, they strive to control us through fear. Notice how these terrorists in this latest attack targeted a concert, a place where people usually go to have fun. This is not the act of someone angry at a foreign government, but rather an aim at the culture itself. They want to make us afraid to do what we enjoy, to express ourselves and do what we wish.

It is my belief that one step in fighting against terrorism should be done by the average citizen, and an important moral demonstration: Not giving into fear. I recommend going out and doing what you enjoy most, regardless of the threats of these petty barbarians. If we continue to enjoy our lives and not let the vile acts of these scoundrels affect us, then the very aim of their violent actions are in vain. One of my favorite quotes is "Live well. It is the best revenge." I plan to get lots of revenge of this variety, and you should too.
This is something that all of us should do, since most citizens abroad don't know how to actually fight, which brings me to my second point on how to fight terrorism.

The second method of fighting terrorism is much more straightforward: Prepare for combat. This is for citizens who are worried they may be confronted by terrorists, and how they can actively deal with them. Don't wait for the police. It's up to you to deal with the threat. Fight back, even if they are armed and you aren't. Terrorists don't expect resistance from civilians. They got the compliance they desired in the Paris attack, where none of the victims fought back. True, it's difficult to fight against those who have firearms, but it is possible.
People, you need to wolf pack these monsters. Depending on what country you're living in, you have different restrictions and options, but you should take advantage of all of them.

In the US we still thankfully have the Second Amendment and millions of citizens are armed and prepared for such attacks. If you don't have a carry permit already, I recommend you get one now. If possible, carry a rifle in your vehicle with ammunition and have it ready to go. Terrorists by their nature are not up front fighters. They want helpless victims that they can annihilate at their leisure, so don't expect them to announce where and when they will attack. They don't want a fair fight, and neither do we. When encountered they should be met with irresistible and unrelenting force.

Now, for my European neighbors, things are clearly different. A lot of this article is actually aimed at you guys. Europe is far more vulnerable due to the open borders being flooded with immigrants and lack of fighting culture among the citizens, few of who are armed. Europe, now is the time to learn how to fight. Firearms still aren't an option for the vast majority of you, but you have options. Simple items laying around the house can effectively be used to subdue those who wish to do harm. Baseball bats, golf clubs, crow bars, hammers, tire irons, wrenches, ratchets and the like can be very effective. Aim your blows at the skull, neck, wrists, and legs. Blunt force trauma against bone is far more damaging than against flesh. Plus, with tools you can keep them close at hand in your vehicles without arousing suspicion from authorities. After all, metal tools are extremely common and you might need one to fix your car if it has a problem, won't you?

Keep situational awareness. Be aware of what's going on around you, especially when you are out and about in the city, the most likely terrorist resorts where there are lots of citizens and easy escape routes. When someone is getting ready for violence they will be tense. Look at body language. They will likely be sweaty, shifty eyed, maybe doing something physical to help vent pent up energy. Even combat veterans in the military feel anxiety before entering combat. When someone knows they are entering a fight you can often feel it.

What do you do if you don't have any items on you that you can use as weapons? Well, you can even use your cell-phone as a weapon. Grip it with your thumb on one side, your pointer finger on the top, and the other three fingers on the side opposite of your thumb. The bottom you can use as a bludgeon with a fair degree of stability. If you get into close quarters, drive that corner at your opponent's eyes and temple, which is just behind the eyes. This is a vulnerable point and can result in a cracked skull.

I highly recommend researching Krav Maga, a form of militarized street fighting forged by the Israeli Army from Grand Master Imi, a veteran combatant. It is extremely effective but differs from martial arts in that it focuses on raw efficiency and dealing with armed assailants. It utilizes the body's natural reflexes so that one doesn't have to do rigorous and regular sparring, as you are using what your body already has installed. Mind you, this style of combat is relentless and brutal, seeking to overwhelm your opponent with offensive force before he can counterattack. Women, this is particularly useful for you as well, as it doesn't require the same level of physical strength as other forms of hand to hand combat.

Follow the link for some of the basics. This isn't meant as a full run down, but to get you the basics so that if you find yourself in a conflict you have an idea of what to hit and how.

A few other fighting methods I recommend include sticking your fingers in an assailant's eyes. It's simple, but ruthlessly effective. A highly underrated technique is simply grabbing an assailant's finger and bending it until it breaks. You'll notice no one does this in MMA fights. That's because it's sickeningly easy and it isn't allowed. Grabbing the finger also allows you to manipulate your opponent and put them in a more vulnerable position. Even when they are holding a firearm, if you can get close enough you can grab ahold and bend it against the trigger finger. This prevents them from aiming and can break the digit. Never underestimate a swift blow to the testicles either. If you're facing a legitimate terrorist, spare no brutality in subduing them. Punch, kick, knee or stab them in the groin, anything to get them down fast. Fight dirty. Your honor isn't in question when dealing with these guys.
I also highly recommend a chisel punch to the throat. The throat is a vital and vulnerable part of the body, and if struck hard enough it can swell and seal off the wind pipe, which can lead to suffocation. Women, pay attention to this one. Even if you aren't facing a terrorist, there are men out there who are still interested in doing you harm in more ways than one. Nothing will slow them down quite like a punch to the throat and making it hard for them to breathe.

On the governmental level, urge your representatives to address these evil people. Upon learning of the mass immigration taking place and refugee acceptance, I actually anticipated an attack like the one that took place. In the hundreds of thousands of unchecked immigrants, I predicted, correctly, that many would be insurgents sneaking in along with the rest of the crowd to get into position to attack. This has proven to be correct. What's more, they are apparently able to smuggle weapons in.

Sweden has had a rash of grenade attacks along with the influx of immigrants, something that is almost unheard of even in the US where we have access to all sorts of weaponry. The attacks in France were done not with hunting rifles, but fully automatic AK-47s, which are insanely illegal throughout Europe. Yet they were brought in anyway. This should come as no surprise. Firearms are much easier to transport than people, as they take up far less space. They can easily be filtered through in duffle bags and backpacks. Or if pressed, they can be broken down into smaller parts divided into different packages and assembled later.

This could be stifled very effectively by simply not letting refugees through unchecked anymore. The open border practice is horribly misguided and is an open door for the extremists, who are putting them to good use. Shut the borders. Shuttle most of the people back. Those that show signs of violence should be prosecuted. I've been swarmed with accounts of rapes taking place in the wake of many immigrants. Sweden is now one of the biggest rape capitals in the world according to some articles I've seen. Rapists in any culture should be treated to the harshest extent of the law. I personally prefer punishment via firing squad, but that might be difficult to get through congress.

Also, this is an extremely important point for the United States as well, as there is a great chance that extremists are flooding into our country through Mexico. I personally believe thousands already have and are preparing for attacks. Border and coastal states are likely to be at the most risk, while those closer to the interior are less suspect. But don't count on it, as these incidents can be unpredictable. US, it's time to finally get this ridiculous border situation under control. At the very least seal the border off to prevent further unchecked immigration. We need to let the FBI and CIA do their jobs, but at the same time not sacrifice our freedoms and our privacy. These guys know what to look for, and it is up to us to assist them. Many breaks are due to simple people being vigilant and reporting important information.

Don't assume that all ISIS fighters will be black bearded caricatures that look like Bin Laden. It appears that some people from America have gone over seas to join the ranks of ISIS. Be on the look out for those on the web that openly endorse these murderers, as they are likely sympathizers or even open supporters. Don't be fooled by thinking such people will remain silent. Even in World War 2 there were Nazi sympathizers in the heart of America proudly proclaiming their support. With the advent of social media and internet anonymity these people can sometimes be pointed out. Now, this isn't to suggest you should look for ISIS sympathizers under every rock and tree. We don't want another Red Scare. Simply be aware of those that seem a bit too energetic about those who are carrying out these massacres.

It's also time for the US and Europe to take a stand against these cretins and take the fight to them. Despite what much of the media claims, the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan weren't repeats of Vietnam. On the contrary, from what I've examined they were some of the most one sided wars in human history. A colleague of mine served in Afghanistan, and when I mentioned the Vietnam comparison he grew indignant and informed me that it was nothing of the sort. ISIS must be fought wherever it takes refuge, including countries that we aren't at war with. Those that race to the borders of other countries to escape the long reach of Western military forces shouldn't be given the luxury of hiding and violating warfare law. They don't abide by the laws of the Geneva Convention, and therefore it does not apply to them and they should not benefit from it. This won't be a short campaign though.

I predict that it will go on for decades in fact, simply by the virtue that these guys will spread and fight in guerrilla attacks, avoiding direct conflict and not having sharply established borders and territories. I don't suggest that we carpet bomb areas. In fact, I heavily believe part of why ISIS is thriving is because the US didn't finish the job during the Afghan and Iraqi wars. Not just the job of ferreting out insurgents, but not rebuilding the infrastructure. Lack of jobs and structure led to anarchy in many places, many people so impoverished that there is nothing else for them to do. Reconstruction and helping a country get back on its feet is paramount to lasting peace. Japan after World War 2 is an excellent example. Far greater destruction was wrought upon the cities of Japan, not just the nuclear bombs, but the air raids and incendiary bombs that set fire to countless buildings. But with the reconstruction they were able to recover and now boast one of the most successful modern economies today.

I don't expect this exact scenario to take place in the Middle East, as it is very different from Japan. But providing stability will help establish allies from the local population and reduce the numbers of insurgents. We don't need vast carpet bombings or nukes, but boots on the ground. We need men who can identify threats and put them down while minimizing harm to those who simply wish to live in peace.

Don't mistake such a campaign as being a threat against all of Islam either. On the contrary, it is for the benefit of peaceful Muslims that such a conflict should take place. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world today, and most of those look down with disdain or disgust upon the actions of ISIS. And yet it is by far mostly Muslims that ISIS is slaughtering in the Middle East right now. Those civilians are just as much victims as those who died in France. There is no good reason that those people should be dying en mass and enduring the biggest rape rampage since the Nanking Massacre. If there has been a bigger surge in sex slavery and wanton rape in the last hundred years, I am unaware of it. Countless young girls are being bought and sold as items on the market, many being savagely beaten and raped by their new 'husbands.'

Don't take only my word for this. Do your own research. Learn what you can about ISIS and what separates them from other Muslims, as they come in infinite variety. But it should be abundantly clear now that ISIS is a breed that is the equivalent of the Heath Ledger Joker. This is not an exaggeration. They have made no demands that most of us would expect. No calls for succession of territory, no demands for money or equipment, not even conversion to Islam. They simply call for violence against all that they deem to be an enemy of themselves, which is the majority of the human race. They don't want to negotiate any terms. They are want to kill. The only way to respond to these men is with the full force of our military prowess. In a joint operation, I believe we can crush these guys. It is time for the good people of the world to stand together and fight against a common enemy.

As a word of caution to us all, we must take care not to devolve and sink to the depths of those we are fighting. No matter where we are we must be mindful of the innocents caught in the crossfire. The greatest danger from foes like these is not the physical threat they represent, but the moral threat, the threat of making us apathetic to others. Becoming callused and not caring about those who aren't involved and degenerating into moral apathy is a much greater threat. We risk ostracizing many innocents in our fear, and even crippling our own rights designed to protect us. Even if we eliminate our foes, if we are still paralyzed with fear and treat every aspect of our lives with suspicion, then they have won. As I said before, we must work to maintain our moral integrity even in the face of terrorism.

While it's easy to be galled by the atrocities being committed, we must remember that even under these conditions the kindness of the human spirit can prevail. Don't be disheartened by those who dwell on hatred. The best weapon many of us have is simply helping up our fellow man, showing love and kindness without any expectation of a reward. It's in the harsh times such as these that some of us can truly shine and show that even under the worst of circumstances, kindness can still exist and even flourish.

I hope that this article has been of some help. I pray for those who are suffering and hope that those of us who are good can pull together. Stay vigilant, stay strong, and most importantly stay hopeful.