Bowe Bergdahl Kris 'Tanto' Paronto Kneeling Athletes
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

The following edition of “Tanto‘s Take” on Gold Star families, kneeling athletes, and Bowe Bergdahl is from the February/March 2018 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine. To subscribe, please visit

Gold Sacrifice

Knowing Gold Star family members and seeing and experiencing their pain, I can say with all honesty that they all need to be treated with respect and honor. They have lost their loved ones in the defense of this great nation and will feel their loved one’s sacrifice throughout the remainder of their lives.

So when I see politicians like the despicable Frederica Wilson from Florida and news networks like CNN using them as a platform to further political agendas, it pisses me off. People like Frederica and CNN correspondents, who conspire to use the ultimate sacrifice for their misguided political gain or faux popularity, are a close second to what I would consider human excrement.

The first, of course, are those politicians and people who lie to Gold Star family members about their son’s and daughter’s deaths, then keep up the charade for political gain and even go so far as to call the family members liars on the public stage.

But I digress. The focus should always be on honoring and respecting Gold Star families and not using them for any type of gain. If a Gold Star family member wants to speak out, then that’s their right to do so. They have earned the right through sacrifice to speak their mind, but they should never be used or lied to by politicians in an effort to further political agendas or hide political failures.

Kneeling Athletes

Who in the world ever nominated these overgrown, overpaid adolescents as society’s role models? If there is anything even more disrespectful than lying to and using Gold Star families, it’s having to stomach these athletes kneeling during the presentation of colors and during our National Anthem in the name of oppression and police brutality. Give me a break. These are the same athletes who are paid in the six to seven figures, who live in excess, and every year have more domestic violence charges than I can count on both hands.

The hypocrisy of their kneeling “movement” holds no bounds. Not only are they incorrectly condemning law enforcement (and for those who might say that’s not what the movement is about, remember that Colin Kaepernick wore pig socks on the national stage in reference his childish feelings about the police when he was employed), who protect them from overzealous fans, but they are also attempting to make a statement about oppression and racial inequality. These are the same athletes who are in an occupation where financial inequality between genders (men’s versus women’s professional sports) are greater than in any other occupation.

So, who is really the oppressed? Millionaire athletes? Give me a break.

What makes it even worse is that their arrogant, self-important actions completely disrespect all who have served and sacrificed for their freedoms. We that have served this great nation see Old Glory as a symbol of what this great country is and what we volunteered to sacrifice for: Freedom, strength, unity, teamwork, honor, patriotism and courage. I assure you that we don’t see race or ethnicity on the battlefield.

Every time one of these “athletes” kneels, he or she is crapping on the flag that we fought for. There’s a reason Old Glory is draped over coffins of our fallen brothers and sisters—it’s the ultimate honor and thanks the nation can bestow on someone who gave everything to protect this country’s freedoms.

I want these athletes and their supporters to serve overseas in war-torn Third World countries, just for six months, away from their cushy lifestyles. Then maybe they will understand and get up off their knees. I’ll be damned if I let these disrespectful overgrown children turn the greatest symbol in the free world into a symbol of oppression. Professional football and basketball are dead to me, and I haven’t lost a wink of sleep.

Goodbye, children, let me know when you grow up—or don’t. I have better things to do than watch pro sports.

Bowe Bergdahl

I have two words for him: Firing squad. His selfish actions violated the Army’s First General Order by quitting his post before properly relieved, and those selfish actions also cost lives and injured others who set out to find him. But again, because of politics, an intelligence agency whose been overrun by left-wing political “yes” men and women, and a pathetic, weak judge, Col. Jeffrey Nance — who should be put in front of a firing squad himself — was found not guilty of desertion.

I’m not going to beat that dead horse anymore; all that have served, stood a post in a war zone and have conducted search and rescue operations know that Bergdahl is the scum of the earth.

Honorable men’s lives were either altered or lost in the search for this piece of crap. What I want to point out is this decision shows that there are no longer repercussions for negative actions in the military, due in part to many years of lowering standards within the military. I can attribute this back to the late ’90s. For example, I remember when the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test standard for maxing the 2-mile run was substantially lowered.

Honestly, since I was blessed with good running genes, I saw it as nothing more than extending my APFT score above and beyond the new scoring scale. In hindsight, I see it as weakening the military, since standards only needed to be lowered instead of a soldier working hard and raising himself to the previous standard.

Then came the piece of work General Shinseki, who had the brilliant idea of giving the entire Army the coveted black beret only worn by the elite light infantry 75th Ranger Regiment. Being a former “Bat Boy” with the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, I know what it took to earn the right to wear the black beret. It was earned through pain, blood, sweat and perseverance, and I wore it proudly. But here’s this general, who never earned the right to wear one himself, issuing a respected symbol to the entire Army, instead of requiring those who wanted the black beret to work hard, sacrifice and earn it.

What I’m getting at here is that the military continually lowered the standard, implementing stress cards, handcuffing drill sergeants’ abilities to discipline basic trainees (I went through basic training at Fort Benning twice, in 1995 and 1999, and experienced a distinct difference in the handling of basic trainees by drill sergeants, but that will be for another article), all of which gave us soldiers like Bowe Bergdahl. Then when we do have the opportunity to enforce a just standard punishment, we have a flag officer in Colonel Nance lose his balls, not enforce the standard and do nothing. This just made the military weaker. It shows soldiers that they can get away with the worst offense and come out unscathed.

Hell, he may just get $300,000 on top of becoming a traitor. I remember when the “Army Values” weren’t just a recruiting ploy. Colonel Nance and Bowe Bergdahl need to be refreshed with what they stand for. Here’s one both forgot: “Integrity: Do what’s right legally and morally.”

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