I have two topics on opposite ends of the spectrum to present and discuss this morning. The Bad with the Good.
The first is to showcase a beautiful part of Texas that I’ve come to love during my recent travels. As many of you know, I have a deep and abiding respect for the Texas Hill Country and a sincere appreciation of the simple beauty found in these rolling hills and dry valleys. The Hill Country is a part of Texas that calls to me in a way few places I’ve visited ever do. If I’m away for more than a few months, I find myself almost inventing reasons to visit once again.
Hill Country Hills – Vanderpool, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 22mm, f/16 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer and two-stop, soft graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done entirely in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.
The second topic has to do with yesterday’s news that an “alleged” Saudi terrorist with extremest Islamic views was arrested in Lubbock, Texas not far from where my daughter attends school at Texas Tech. According to the FBI, this Saudi national sought to use weapons of mass destruction to harm former President George W. Bush as part of his personal “jihad”. The terrorist in question was in the US legally, posing as a student.
Living close to a large city like Houston, we are used to hearing about gang violence, the Mexican drug cartels operating in our state and the potential for terrorist activity here in the heart of America’s refining and petrochemical industry. Living in close proximity with almost 5 million other people, we have become accustomed and somewhat desensitized to the level of personal risk we face every day.
As a husband and father of four daughters, I take the responsibility to protect my family very seriously and news that an “alleged” terrorist was hiding in plain sight in Lubbock, struck fear into me like nothing else could. For me, this terrorist plot was much too “close to home” and brought back that terrible feeling of helplessness that I first experienced on September 11, 2001. Having a terrorist living in our great state, enjoying the beauty of the Texas plains and canyons and “allegedly” plotting to kill President Bush knocked me to my knees. That this Islamic extremist lived in the same town as my daughter made me more fearful and angry than I’ve been since 9/11.
Which is exactly what I believe a terrorist hopes to accomplish with his “jihad”, to make average American citizens despair. This is what evil does to those that would oppose it. And yes, I said “evil”, because that is what we face. This is not a deranged, mentally unstable individual that wanted to lash out indiscriminately, this is an evil that came to our country and our great state with one single objective, to create terror in his quest for “jihad”. There is nothing holy in this person’s holy war. There is only evil.
My sincere thanks to the men and women of the FBI, the Texas Rangers and all the other LEOs in our great state that work tirelessly to protect all our sons and daughters!
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” — Romans 12:21