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David Churchill Barrow

David Churchill Barrow is a Massachusetts “Swamp Yankee” descendant of William Bradford and Myles Standish of Pilgrim fame, who grew up on a farm that has not been sold since first built in the early 1700s.  In that farmhouse still hangs the commission of James Churchill as a captain in the Massachusetts militia signed by John Hancock, and the sword of Thomas Churchill, a Navy engineer who served in the Blockade of the Confederacy.  David’s father, David Bradford Barrow, was a Marine gentleman farmer who commanded a flame-thrower tank in the Battle of Saipan in WW II.

David’s childhood was mostly spent in the woods and swamps of Southeast Massachusetts, building forts and pretending to be Daniel Boone, the Little Drummer Boy of Shiloh, or just an unnamed “Minuteman” making ready to “fire the shot heard round the world.”  He has lived and breathed history since first opening his eyes.

He met his wife MaryLu in high school.  They were married in 1979 and have three adult children.  MaryLu is a former elementary school teacher working on her first children’s book.  Today they live just outside Tampa, Florida, with their Berger Blanc Suisse Attila and their two cats, Minnie and Tink.

David has written non-fiction historical pieces and columns for The Tampa Tribune (now the Tampa Bay Times), The Marine Corps Gazette and the “Lore of the Corps” section of The Marine Corps Times.  He has been a regular contributor of both short stories and posts to Liberty Island Magazine since its inception.  He and MaryLu co-authored Silver and Lead and are working together on a YA novel centered around the so-called “Boston Massacre.”

TV Review: The Meaning of the NCIS Franchise’s Recurring “Off The Books” Plots

Return to a “State of Nature?”

“…the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” – John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chap.VI, Sec. 57

For years now, whenever our daughter comes home from her adventures (which included West Point, Afghanistan, Iraq, law school, law clerk and now Supreme Court Fellow, thus explaining her interest)  we binge watch the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) franchises: NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New Orleans.  These shows have been highly rated for decades, though you don’t read or hear much about them.  I suspect that is because there is entirely too much patriotism, classical heroism, and American exceptionalism for the cynics in the media to swallow.

TV Review: “Mixed-ish” and Tribalism in American Culture

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.  He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for his decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold his deliberate decision. — John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

When I need to forget about life’s responsibilities for a time, I will watch with my wife some of the sitcoms she enjoys. Blackish, a widely acclaimed show focused upon the foibles and mishaps of trying to stay in tune with American black culture, has spawned the prequel Mixed-ish. Here we are taken back to the childhood of mixed-race Rainbow (or just “Bow,” the wife on Blackish) who started life in an idyllic commune, where supposedly race (among many other distinctions) was completely ignored. This wondrous paradise (with no flushing toilets?) was abruptly ended by an FBI raid, for undisclosed violations.

“Red Queen” Reasoning – The Spreading Mental Disorder of the Post-Modern Era

“No, No!” Said the Queen.  “Sentence first – verdict afterwards!”

“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly.  “The idea of having the sentence first!”

Look about you and you will see it everywhere – from this latest impeachment frenzy to “living Constitution” jurisprudence – we decide a priori the result we want, and reason backwards from there.  A more modern and more clinical term for this phenomenon is “confirmation bias.”  Both the right and left are subject to it, and becoming more polarized by it.  Each side sits in its own high-tech echo chamber.  We watch and listen to different news outlets and opinion pundits, and realtors will tell you it has gotten to the point where buyers are asking if a neighborhood is conservative or liberal, as if the wrong answer is disqualifying.

“Self-Image” Issues? Your Parents Were “Narcissists” and “Toxic!” – Convenient Excuses and Cultural Dry Rot

“Certified Life Coaches” are springing up across the country like dandelions (and you, too, can become a “Certified Life Coach” in as little as 90 days!).    Lisa Romano is one “who specializes in codependency and narcissistic abuse.”  She was challenged by a viewer for encouraging the alienation of adult children from their parents, and to her credit Romano gave a detailed response.  In it, there is a glimmer of self-awareness when she considers that her views on “abuse” might in turn be abused by self-centered offspring, but it quickly fades.  After all, she’s not talking about parents “who ask their kids to clean up the dishes after their friends were over to teach responsibility,”and she goes on to cite far more serious cases.  As for all that may lie in between?  Well, if it wasn’t “validation of your feelings,” if it didn’t “fan the flames of the light inside you,” then it was abuse, “dear ones.”

Remember This About D-Day: It Could Have Failed…

D-Day: 6 June 1944…. When we look back upon the mighty armada the allies threw ashore on that day, it is tempting to believe overwhelming victory was inevitable. Not so. In a series of small matters God smiled upon the endeavor.

Memorial Day Memories and Small Town Virtues

Memorial Day in the sleepy little Massachusetts town where I grew up was a big deal (not so much here in Florida or elsewhere in the south, since its origin was a commemoration of  Union dead).  Next to Christmas it was also my favorite holiday, despite the somber ceremonies.  It marked the beginning of summer – cook-outs, the filling of swimming pools, flowers in full bloom, and fresh clean air.  Not long before school’s out!

2 Photos: Sisterly Love In Nature

Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.

The Cult of Bonnie and Clyde: Lessons On How To Avoid the Worship of Today’s Killers

In Robert Arrington’s review of The Highwaymen on this site, he laments the cult that idolized this murderous couple in their day, and wonders if much has changed. There is more to the fascination, then and now, with these two than just the “Robin Hood” and “stickin’ it to the man” memes (which was also falsely attributed to the James & Younger gang of the previous century) and, as Eastwood’s character in The Unforgiven observed; “Deservin’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

First, there is the “star-crossed lovers” angle (though Bonnie was married to someone else serving time, and wore his wedding ring up to the day of her famous death). This was amplified by Bonnie’s poetry, which was discovered in one of their hideouts, and made public. They make sport of it in this movie – and she was no Whitman or Longfellow – but it ain’t half bad if we’re honest, especially for common folk.

Cute Animal Photo: Same Smile – Different Dental Plans

*Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

Shouldn’t We Be Teaching the Constitution in Elementary School?

How many adults, let alone children, know that while state power is plenary (a state can do anything not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution or its own) federal power is limited; the federal government can only do that which is expressly provided for in the Constitution? How many adults, let alone children, know that the founding fathers’ greatest fear was not that which is prohibited by the Bill of Rights (which were amendments; i.e. afterthoughts) but the combination of powers that ought to be separated?

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