How Should I React as an Adult In an Active Shooter Situation?

With or without a gun, we may very well find ourselves confronted with someone with a gun and the intent to inflict  much mayhem. Teachers, students and school adults seem to be in the front lines these days, but many of us attend large events such as church, concerts, sporting events and even large block parties. We are not immune to attack.

Maybe we should rehearse in our own mind what we would do in these situations.

What I intend to do if confronted with a shooter is to charge the shooter with as much noise and hollering as possible – with or without a gun. Charge and create a bit of confusion and uncertainty in the shooter and hopefully save lives in the process.

Is this not what our young soldiers , sailors and Marines are trained and expected to do, and in fact do? Reading military award citations, this is what typically happens when a soldier charges an enemy position and often times turns the tide of battle. School shootings are a battle and take place in a war zone – they don’t take place in a gun free area … there is no such thing as a gun-free area.

So that’s my plan – run to the shooter. If I have a gun, shoot him first, but at least cause him to shoot in my direction.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13



A eulogy of Billy Graham from atheist/evolutionist Jerry Coyne

“In all honesty (but I’m always honest, of course), I didn’t know Billy Graham was still alive. It turns out he was 99, and died today at his home in North Carolina.  He was known as the “Pastor to Presidents”, and was there for every American President from Harry Truman through Barack Obama. One of the first televangelists, he was a Southern Baptist estimated to have preached to more humans than anyone in the history of Christianity.  Through his “crusades” (400 of them in 185 countries), he’s said to have persuaded over 3 million people to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior.”

What a waste of a life—preaching fiction and delusion to the masses. My sympathies go to his family and friends, but at least one of his sons is continuing the charade.”

This from a man who spent a career fiddling with fruit flies trying to “evolve” them to something else, better and higher on the tree of life.

He failed!

Read the story of Louis Zamperini and the influence of Billy Graham on this WW-II veteran and Japanese POW, then tell me whose life was consequential.

Don Johnson – February 2018

My book and the upcoming Tom Hanks movie.

I’m looking forward to seeing this Tom Hanks movie. Actually, the star of the move will be the Fletcher class USS Kid.
I served on a Fletcher, the USS Porterfield DD-682 in the 1960s as well as the USS Shields, DD-596, a reserve ship.

Click on the link below to learn of the film plans to date.…/tom-hanks-wwii-movie-set-to-film-at-uss-kidd/


A couple of years ago I published a book which highlights much of what a sailor goes through at sea, and what those left behind on shore may not know about. Take a look at —…


as well as a companion video at —

Yearning for Liberty – My New Book

I’m pleased to announce a new book I’ve written and published. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve embarked on in my post retirement writing career.

Preview and buy at:

About the book:

“In Yearning for Liberty, the author explores various facets of Liberty. Relying heavily on first person accounts, history and some of his own personal experiences and friendships, Johnson examines a broad sweep of time and geography beginning with the Biblical Exodus through modern day events and nations such as the Normandy invasion of World War II, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the stunning contrast between the two Koreas. Combining first person accounts with plenty of pictures, Johnson tells an eye-opening story of what having liberty looks like – its value, as well as the grim reality of what the lack of liberty brings to nations, individuals and the world at large – its cost. “


Having visited Paris and Normandy this past year, and walked in some of those places where tyranny was pushed back and liberty regained, I was greatly moved and inspired. This book is the result.

Also in this past year I tracked down and visited an old Navy shipmate who at the tender age of 7 was a World War II veteran during the siege of Budapest Hungary. Adam von Dioszeghy was also a freedom fighter during that 1956 Hungarian Revolution against communist oppression and tyranny. Adam and his wife Aliz now live in Budapest and are dear friends – the story of Adam von Dioszeghy is in the book, and I hope his story inspires you as well.

Don Johnson – February 2018

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?

I am including in total this article from Imprimis, the monthly publication of Hillsdale College. 

As prelude, here is a response to President Trump’s State of the Union address by Joy Reid of MSNBC. The Reid comment and Professor Wax’s article  directly relate to one another, and to what many of us are experiencing in todays leftist culture of hateful smear in lieu of thoughtful discussion and dialogue. Can you relate to any of his?  Please feel free to comment on how this mode of “free speech” may have effected you.

Reid’s Tweet reads:
“Church … family … police … military … the national anthem … Trump trying to call on all the tropes of 1950s-era nationalism. The goal of this speech appears to be to force the normalization of Trump on the terms of the bygone era his supporters are nostalgic for.

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?

Amy Wax
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Amy WaxAmy L. Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she has received the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. She has a B.S. from Yale College, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is a former assistant to the United States Solicitor General, and her most recent book is Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 12, 2017, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with plenty of lip service being paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas. What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them.

The op-ed, which I co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego Law School, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9 under the title, “Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture.” It began by listing some of the ills afflicting American society:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

We then discussed the “cultural script”—a list of behavioral norms—that was almost universally endorsed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s:

Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These norms defined a concept of adult responsibility that was, we wrote, “a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.” The fact that the “bourgeois culture” these norms embodied has broken down since the 1960s, we argued, largely explains today’s social pathologies—and re-embracing that culture would go a long way toward addressing those pathologies.

In what became perhaps the most controversial passage, we pointed out that cultures are not equal in terms of preparing people to be productive citizens in a modern technological society, and we gave some examples of cultures less suited to achieve this:

The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.

The reactions to this piece raise the question of how unorthodox opinions should be dealt with in academia—and in American society at large.

It is well documented that American universities today, more than ever before, are dominated by academics on the left end of the political spectrum. How should these academics handle opinions that depart, even quite sharply, from their “politically correct” views? The proper response would be to engage in reasoned debate—to attempt to explain, using logic, evidence, facts, and substantive arguments, why those opinions are wrong. This kind of civil discourse is obviously important at law schools like mine, because law schools are dedicated to teaching students how to think about and argue all sides of a question. But academic institutions in general should also be places where people are free to think and reason about important questions that affect our society and our way of life—something not possible in today’s atmosphere of enforced orthodoxy.

What those of us in academia should certainly not do is engage in unreasoned speech: hurling slurs and epithets, name-calling, vilification, and mindless labeling. Likewise we should not reject the views of others without providing reasoned arguments. Yet these once common standards of practice have been violated repeatedly at my own and at other academic institutions in recent years—and we increasingly see this trend in society as well.

One might respond, of course, that unreasoned slurs and outright condemnations are also speech and must be defended. My recent experience has caused me to rethink this position. In debating others, we should have higher standards. Of course one has the right to hurl labels like “racist,” “sexist,” and “xenophobic” without good reason—but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Hurling such labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify, or educate. Indeed, it undermines these goals by discouraging or stifling dissent.

So what happened after our op-ed was published last August? A raft of letters, statements, and petitions from students and professors at my university and elsewhere condemned the piece as racist, white supremacist, hate speech, heteropatriarchial, xenophobic, etc. There were demands that I be removed from the classroom and from academic committees. None of these demands even purported to address our arguments in any serious or systematic way.

A response published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, our school newspaper, and signed by five of my Penn Law School colleagues, charged us with the sin of praising the 1950s—a decade when racial discrimination was openly practiced and opportunities for women were limited. I do not agree with the contention that because a past era is marked by benighted attitudes and practices—attitudes and practices we had acknowledged in our op-ed!—it has nothing to teach us. But at least this response attempted to make an argument.

Not so an open letter published in the Daily Pennsylvanian and signed by 33 of my colleagues. This letter quoted random passages from the op-ed and from a subsequent interview I gave to the school newspaper, condemned both, and categorically rejected all of my views. It then invited students, in effect, to monitor me and to report any “stereotyping and bias” they might experience or perceive. This letter contained no argument, no substance, no reasoning, no explanation whatsoever as to how our op-ed was in error.

We hear a lot of talk about role models—people to be emulated, who set a positive example for students and others. In my view, the 33 professors who signed this letter are anti-role models. To students and citizens alike I say: don’t emulate them in condemning people for their views without providing a reasoned argument. Reject their example. Not only are they failing to teach you the practice of civil discourse—the sine qua non of liberal education and of democracy—they are sending the message that civil discourse is unnecessary. As Jonathan Haidt of NYU wrote on September 2 on his website Heterodox Academy: “Every open letter you sign to condemn a colleague for his or her words brings us closer to a world in which academic disagreements are resolved by social force and political power, not by argumentation and persuasion.”

It is gratifying to note that the reader comments on the open letter were overwhelmingly critical. The letter has “no counterevidence,” one reader wrote, “no rebuttal to [Wax’s] arguments, just an assertion that she’s wrong. . . . This is embarrassing.” Another wrote: “This letter is an exercise in self-righteous virtue-signaling that utterly fails to deal with the argument so cogently presented by Wax and Alexander. . . . Note to parents, if you want your daughter or son to learn to address an argument, do not send them to Penn Law.”

Shortly after the op-ed appeared, I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen for a while and asked how his summer was going. He said he’d had a terrible summer, and in saying it he looked so serious I thought someone had died. He then explained that the reason his summer had been ruined was my op-ed, and he accused me of attacking and causing damage to the university, the students, and the faculty. One of my left-leaning friends at Yale Law School found this story funny—who would have guessed an op-ed could ruin someone’s summer? But beyond the absurdity, note the choice of words: “attack” and “damage” are words one uses with one’s enemies, not colleagues or fellow citizens. At the very least, they are not words that encourage the expression of unpopular ideas. They reflect a spirit hostile to such ideas—indeed, a spirit that might seek to punish the expression of such ideas.

I had a similar conversation with a deputy dean. She had been unable to sign the open letter because of her official position, but she defended it as having been necessary. It needed to be written to get my attention, she told me, so that I would rethink what I had written and understand the hurt I had inflicted and the damage I had done, so that I wouldn’t do it again. The message was clear: cease the heresy.

Only half of my colleagues in the law school signed the open letter. One who didn’t sent me a thoughtful and lawyerly email explaining how and why she disagreed with particular points in the op-ed. We had an amicable email exchange, from which I learned a lot—some of her points stick with me—and we remain cordial colleagues. That is how things should work.

Of the 33 who signed the letter, only one came to talk to me about it—and I am grateful for that. About three minutes into our conversation, he admitted that he didn’t categorically reject everything in the op-ed. Bourgeois values aren’t really so bad, he conceded, nor are all cultures equally worthy. Given that those were the main points of the op-ed, I asked him why he had signed the letter. His answer was that he didn’t like my saying, in my interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, that the tendency of global migrants to flock to white European countries indicates the superiority of some cultures. This struck him as “code,” he said, for Nazism.

Well, let me state for the record that I don’t endorse Nazism!

Furthermore, the charge that a statement is “code” for something else, or a “dog whistle” of some kind—we frequently hear this charge leveled, even against people who are stating demonstrable facts—is unanswerable. It is like accusing a speaker of causing emotional injury or feelings of marginalization. Using this kind of language, which students have learned to do all too well, is intended to bring discussion and debate to a stop—to silence speech deemed unacceptable.

As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, we can make words mean whatever we want them to mean. And who decides what is code for something else or what qualifies as a dog whistle? Those in power, of course—which in academia means the Left.

My 33 colleagues might have believed they were protecting students from being injured by harmful opinions, but they were doing those students no favors. Students need the opposite of protection from diverse arguments and points of view. They need exposure to them. This exposure will teach them how to think. As John Stuart Mill said, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.”

I have received more than 1,000 emails from around the country in the months since the op-ed was published—mostly supportive, some critical, and for the most part thoughtful and respectful. Many expressed the thought, “You said what we are thinking but are afraid to say”—a sad commentary on the state of civil discourse in our society. Many urged me not to back down, cower, or apologize. And I agree with them that dissenters apologize far too often.

Democracy thrives on talk and debate, and it is not for the faint of heart. I read things every day in the media and hear things every day at my job that I find exasperating and insulting, including falsehoods and half-truths about people who are my friends. Offense and upset go with the territory; they are part and parcel of an open society. We should be teaching our young people to get used to these things, but instead we are teaching them the opposite.

Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country. We live together, and we need to solve our problems together. It is also always possible that people we disagree with have something to offer, something to contribute, something to teach us. We ignore this at our peril. As Heather Mac Donald wrote in National Review on August 29: “What if the progressive analysis of inequality is wrong . . . and a cultural analysis is closest to the truth? If confronting the need to change behavior is punishable ‘hate speech,’ then it is hard to see how the country can resolve its social problems.” In other words, we are at risk of being led astray by received opinion.

The American way is to conduct free and open debate in a civil manner. We should return to doing that on our college campuses and in our society at large.

I Was Not There At The Founding

But had I been there, things would be different now – and a whole lot better.

  • There would have been no slavery since I would have loved the slave owners into freeing their slaves.
  • Since the slaves would have been freed, there would not have been a Civil War had I been there at the founding.  Further, there would be no racism had I been there.
  • All business owners would have been required constitutionally to share equally in the profits of the business. Therefor there would be no class envy or need for labor unions or labor laws. And there would be no income inequality.
  • All governmental leaders would have been required to  be morally faultless and without blemish – as verified by an agency of the new government.
  • Had I been there, all treaties with foreign nations would be entered into with the understanding that all forms of government are equally good and can be trusted to to what’s best for all the world.
  • Had I been there, hate would have forever been abolished. Further, the need for hate would have been abolished since the new constitution would have required total  agreement and obedience to the newly formed government.
  • Hypocrisy and Hypocrites would be constitutionally prohibited to enter any church facility.
  • And more …


Yes – things would have been much better if only I had been there.

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
                 James Madison

Thankfully he was there at the founding.

Don Johnson – February 2018

Don’s Plan For Government Shutdown


Given that – The National Debt is at $20 trillion US Dollars and rising.

Given that – The US Congress is primarily responsible for the finances of the Nation.

Therefore – The following plan is proposed for all government  shutdowns.

  • Active duty and reserve military shall not in any way be penalized by the shutdown. All active duty and reserve military shall retain funding, as will all necessary support personnel directly involved in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of all military units.
    In addition, since the government is “shutdown”, the US will presumably be in a more venerable position relative to national security. Therefore active duty military and reserve personnel will be eligible for an increase in pay as negotiated by the newly reconstituted US Congress following shutdown.
  • Salaries of all US Representatives and Senators shall be reduced to 59% of that salary received on the day prior to the shutdown (59% is close enough to the magical 60% vote threshold we hear so much about.)
  • Congressional staff shall be reduced to one and only one junior level administrative assistant – someone to answer phones.
  • All internet services to the US Capital shall be terminated.
  • There shall be no government funded congressional publications produced during the shutdown period.
  • Government funded Congressional transportation of all kinds shall be terminated for the termination of the shutdown. Travel at the members personal expense shall be allowed.
  • Any and all Congressional per-diem shall be terminated for the duration of the shutdown. 
  • There shall be absolutely no future reimbursement for loss of salaries or benefits incurred during the shutdown.
  • Redistribution of  income from rich congressional members to those less fortunate shall be encouraged to balance out  “Income Inequality”  among the members.

Given that Civil Service agencies are responsible for the expenditure of the majority of tax-payer funds,  the following Civil Service “streamlining” shall be done:

  • For the duration of the shutdown, there shall be a 20% reduction in the top three levels of Civil Service, skewed heavily towards management positions.  . 
  • Post shutdown, Civil Service shall be restructured to achieve a  20% reduction in the head count in the top three levels, skewed heavily towards management positions. 

Note that this is a bi-partisan plan.

The Judicial Branch is not to be affected by this plan.

The Executive Branch, typically being the originator of budgets will be addressed via a separate plan. 

Don Johnson – January 2018