The Bad with the Good

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

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

6 thoughts on “The Bad with the Good

  1. Jeff, spot on assesment. Evil is an ever present force in this world and is growing once again across the globe . It comes in many guises and applications designed to confuse, strike fear and dismantle order and self determination for the sake of chaos and subsequent autocracy in which it thrives. Stay safe and keep the faith.

  2. Jeff,

    Please be careful not to make Islam, Muslim, or Saudi National synonymous with terrorist. I understand that there are extremists from any one of those groups that very much want to do us harm, but (and I’m sure you don’t intend for your post to come across this way) it doesn’t mean that all Muslims have terrorist intentions. In fact most condemn such behavior. Let us also not forget that up until 9/11, the most heinous act of terrorism against our country was committed by two former U.S. Soldiers. Unfortunately hate is all around us regardless of nationality or beliefs. And battling that evil with anger is a poor choice to make. Compassion and education are our only hope…and Luke.

    I respect you tremendously Jeff, and understand your inherent need/right to defend your family from any one that may wish them harm. We all just need to be careful before we cast judgment.



    • John,

      I make no judgements based upon religion. I grew up in upstate New York as an Irish Protestant in an area populated by Irish Catholics. I remember coming home from school as a boy and asking my Dad what a “prod” was and why the other Irish kids at school wouldn’t sit with me. As I grew older and learned more about the history of terrorism in Ireland from the 1920’s until the late 1970’s I began to understand that evil often disguises itself as religion. John, I am a Christian but I am also a man, with all the weaknesses and prejudices inherent in mankind. Much as I may try to be more like Jesus, I am not. I do judge and I do get angry when I see evil in the world.

      I have friends that are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, Christian, Agnostic (although I suspect they don’t really know what that means) and atheist. It matters little to me what a person’s religious beliefs are because I believe the Lord has love for all. But I also believe that evil exists and that those that would kill in the name of religion (any religion, at any time in our history) walk the path of evil. I believe that they do indeed know what they are doing is evil, but they ignore the voice of reason and light deep in their soul and make a conscious decision to be evil. I do not believe that they are misguided and that compassion and education will change their minds. I do not believe that they are mentally unstable and merely need psychiatric help to see the error of their ways. I believe that they well know what they are doing or planning to do is wrong, immoral and evil but that they choose to do it anyway.

      I also believe that evil flourishes because good people fail to recognize it, acknowledge it and fight back against it. I believe that in our quest to seem enlightened, progressive and fair, we ignore the simple fact that evil really does exist and we make up all sorts of excuses for the behavior of those that walks its path. Evil’s greatest strength is its ability to hide in plain sight and it’s only when it stares us straight in the face that most of us acknowledge its existence at all. I believe that when evil knocks on your door, you have two choices. Ignore it and hope that it passes you by or acknowledge its existence and fight against it with all your courage and strength. Which is why I often quote Romans 12:21 – “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good”.

      Your friend always!


  3. I understand your response to what happened, since your daughter goes to school nearby and, as a parent, you get rightfully worried and enraged at the thought of your child being in danger.

    But… I would wait a bit before considering this person a terrorist. I’ve heard he’ll plead not guilty. What if he’s actually innocent?

    I’m not American, but, as far as I know, in a democracy everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And no, the fact that he’s been arrested doesn’t mean he was actually planning something. Until the law has found that this man is actually a criminal, he is an alleged terrorist. Without the “”.
    This said, if he IS guilty he 1) deserves to be punished, and 2) needs help. And I’m sure he’ll get both.

  4. Beautiful scene, Jeff!

    Maybe because I live in very rural area and things are different here or because of my military background, my emotion when I read about the terrorist was just plain fury. It is upsetting to know that our large cities, because they are large population centers, are so vulnerable. It is also upsetting to think that we let this person into the country in the first place: that is inexcusable!

    I appreciate your support of the law enforcement folks! That is one thing each of us can do: support them and make their dangerous and absolutely critical jobs easier!

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