How many of you have seen the movie High Noon from 1952? I watched it recently and its powerful message resonated with me.
Gary Cooper stars as retiring Marshal Will Kane and Grace Kelly as his new wife Amy. The opening scene shows them being married and leaving town and onto the next chapter of their lives. Marshal Kane has done his job in the small town and cleaned out a vicious gang of killers and thieves who held the town in captivity.
But, as they are leaving town, the gang returns to town, with three of the four waiting for the fourth, their leader, to arrive by train at high noon. On hearing of the outlaws return, Kane turns their wagon back towards town against the pleading of his new wife to “let it go … you’ve done enough.” Kane returns because it is the right thing to do, even though his life will be in extreme jeopardy as the gang seeks revenge on him.
Kane seeks the help of the towns people, but is rejected at every turn with the usual array of excuses, and ultimately faces the gang single handedly and defeats them with the help of his Quaker wife who kills one of the outlaws as he is about to shoot her husband in the back.
The townspeople return to the street as the last of the outlaws lies dead in the street. In dramatic fashion, Marshal Kane looks disdainfully over the crowd of townspeople, takes off his badge and throws it down in the dirt in front of the people. The Marshall and his wife then ride out of town once more to a new life and the movie ends.
This story resonates with me personally because of a stand I took in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. A stand against waste, fraud and abuse in the Navy project I was working on, and in which I was an unwilling participant trying to do the right thing. In this stand, which spanned more than three years and had a potential of roughly $1,000,000 in wasted funds, I was very much alone, much like Marshal Kane. Unlike Marshal Kane, my life was not on the line, but my job certainly was.
This was not an insignificant project, and I recall one program meeting where I counted some 38 participants with the title “engineer” associated with a job description. These folks were a mix of Civil Service and civilian contractors, and not one could see the folly of the project or step up to challenge it. The fact that the project was wasteful and folly was demonstrated when it finally collapsed of its own weight and we successfully continued the larger containing project with a design based on sound engineering and not politics.
I guess it was that episode that steeled me to speak out and stand up for the right and against the wrong, and eventually resulted in this blog. But it has taken an emotional toll and I am emotionally drained.
Dr. Ben Carson is a man of recent prominence who reminds me a great deal of Marshall Kane. A man who rose from extreme childhood poverty to the heights of his medical profession as the chief pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University and has recently announced his retirement. And like the good Marshal, Dr. Carson is not going quietly into the night but is speaking out on the issues of the day, and is receiving considerable flak for doing so, including his removal as commencement speaker at his own Johns Hopkins medical school. His crime? Speaking out in favor of marriage as a committed union of one man and one woman … a union quite like the one that perhaps we each have, and a union like most we all know of, and a union common throughout recorded history. Yet Dr. Carson, and you and I, are now suddenly bigots.
It remains to be seen how much damage will be inflicted on Dr. Carson by those whose views are in opposition to the doctor’s
A friend and I were discussing the movie High Noon the other day, and my friend shared with me the plight of his wife who has taken a stand at her place of work. She works in the deli department of a major supermarket and has discovered that the store is using expired products in the making of deli sandwiches. She has brought this practice to the attention of management, and as a result she is in danger of losing her job, as management and her co-workers are apparently lining up against her. One of the co-workers has even leveled the charge of anti-gay comments from my friends wife.
Thus far this lady is standing tall in her commitment to do the right thing, but she is standing alone.
The liberal left has found a powerful weapon in the labeling of opponents as bigots, and they are using this weapon in a continued cultural war against those of us who would disagree with them.
Take a lesson from Marshall Will Kane, and be willing, if reluctantly, to publically stand for what is right and against that which is wrong.
Don Johnson – April 2013