Cain Pence
Where the pen of a poet meets the destiny of America....

Pen of Pence: Poems, Prayers, Politics.  
The Christian Church
The Christian Church
By Cain Pence

Escaped a tyrant seeking to murder a child
Survived the barren desert and the northern wilds

Crossed the sea and settled the continent
Welcomed the lost sinner and penitent

Hope of martyrs and refuge of the poor
Took the refugee at her door

Two thousand years made her age like wine
Better the vintage, best with time, ever fine

Scandal and betrayal it did know
Judas was real, always a foe

Mission and mercy it did provide
The truth of Christ it would not hide

Fed the hungry, clothed the naked
Helped the poor, protected the sacred

Built the hospital and the school
Healed the wise and taught the fool

Gave us science and great art
Enlightened our mind, enhanced our heart

Helped free the slave and defend the unborn
Prayed with the farmer to harvest wheat and corn

What has inspired from the time of Paul?
What has redeemed Man from Adam's fall?

The Christian Church did show us God’s face
The Christian Church gave us strength and grace

The Christian Church raised sinful man high above
The Christian Church gave us redemption and love
By Cain Pence
February 2018
I'm Dreaming of a Purple Christmas
I'm Dreaming of a Purple Christmas
By Cain Pence

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all thru the Barr
Not a Norseman was roaring, not even a Quigley was ajar

Sam's knee had gone out, but Santa's Elflein didn't quiver
The Rhodes passes were blocked, but red headed Rudolph would deliver

A warm Case of whiskey, much stronger than Bridegewater
Would soon arrive and the cold North started getting hotter

The Cook's Trae of Hamm in the kitchen started to simmer
"Well done young man!" Yelled the master chef Zimmer

The Barr took down the headcheese and the Norsemen enjoyed the feeling
Riley was higher than the Reiffs and the smoke rose to the Thielen

Outside in the cold a long-suffering Viking family started to hurry
They escaped Bears and Lions and arrived to cheers of Murray

Joseph and his Harrison arrived looking for some warm Diggs
The General Manger arranged a Forbath for their tired legs

The wise Wilfmen arrived from the Easton with news to Sherels
No longer would they be Hunters, they were Newman and heralds

The newborn boy would Treadwell and nobody would Robison this night
With faith, hope, love and the Wilfmens' gold all would be Wright

The Apostle Paul Allen Sendejoed good tidings to all in the Northland
The Everson had been born and a Superbowl lay in his blessed hand

Mr. Pence wrote this poem on a dare if he could write a Vikings Christmas poem in a hour. 
By Cain Pence
December 2017
Grandpa's Christmas
Grandpa's Christmas
By Cain Pence

He sat there, quiet and proud, a sad joy
Great grandkids played with gifts, smiled at a new toy

Grandkids spoke of jobs and the weather beast
His own kids hurried to make the festive feast

It was his first Christmas in over 60 years
Without her.....his silence spoke the hidden tears

I saw his sorrow and asked him how did it feel
A silent prayer, his tired knees need not kneel

He told me it was like losing a finger
Life gave you gifts and sometimes a ringer

Sixty years of marriage down to a single digit
His analogy was strange, but his logic legit

It was there over half a century and then
One day it was gone

Yet in the laughter of his daughter her
Life lived on

In the kindness of his granddaughter her
Goodness was still found

In the smiles of his great grand daughters her
Joy was still unbound

And in the birth of Christ,
Her life was reborn

The finger was gone, but the soul lived on
In Christ, we are not torn

I wanted to share my small insight
But on his face I saw the light

He looked down on his work weathered hand
He smiled, he didn't need my words to understand

Mr. Pence wrote this poem about his girlfriend's grandfather who recently lost his wife of 63 years.
By Cain Pence
December 2017
The American Cheeseburger 
The American Cheeseburger 
By Cain Pence

Went to Rome and ate the pasta
Ventured to Spain and sampled the tapas

Journeyed to Israel and tasted the falafel
Adventured to Mexico and enjoyed the real Taco Bell

Loved the croissants and fresh soups of France
Devoured the beef of Argentina while in a drunken trance

Traveled through all fifty states and much of the world
Grubbed down on BBQ with homeboys and wined a pretty girl

Seen it all and had so many different foods
Drank mochas when tired and ate chocolate in dark moods

Sushi, French dip, jumbo omelette, enchiladas, pad Thai
Gyro, shawarma, Italian pizza, Dunkin Donuts, sugar high

But the best I've ever had, had onions and fresh melted cheese
The meat was juicy and the bun buttered toasted to please

The American cheeseburger remains my favorite cuisine
Whether at a shack in Memphis or in a Fifth Avenue limousine

I've had it with egg on top and slaw down below
Comforted me in Florida sun and in Minnesota snow

You can keep your European delicacy and fancy fare
I'll take my Omaha angus beef against any foodie's dare

Give me a double with Wisconsin fresh cheddar
Throw in some fries and a cold Coke only makes it better

The grill gets hot and the greasy beef starts shakin
Get some garlic pickles, heck, add on some smoked bacon

A food truck in Vegas or a fine chef in San Fran
Swiss is fine but I prefer my queso American

McDonald's McDouble, Hardee's Frisco melt, combo at Wendy's
White Castle or Culver's, Burger King Whooper, delicious isn't spendy

At an old school drive in or a local diner
Beef with bun and cheese, nothing is finer

Travel the world and eat like a spoiled King
The American cheeseburger remains my favorite culinary thing

By Cain Pence
November 2017
When Men Battle in the Trenches
When Men Battle in the Trenches
By Cain Pence

When men battle in the trenches,
Coaches plan, owners plot, quarterbacks lead offenses

Friday night lights, Saturday college glory, Sunday tradition
Man cave parties, cable package specials, big screen addition

Pads and tackles, helmets and hits, hardcore fans, smash mouth
Vikings and Packers, Steelers and Ravens, NFC North, AFC South

Scheming coordinators and pass down defenses
Interception and fumbles, touchdowns clear the benches

Wealthy owners, taxpayer funded stadiums and a glorious Super Bowl
Yet, these trophies are not the highest goal

Men who fought upon the gridiron seek glory Monday night
But we remember other brothers in a far tougher fight

Bunker Hill and Valley Forge, Iwo Jima and Midway
Gettysburg and Antietam, Vietnam was no easy day

From the Revolution to the bloody Civil War,
World Wars One and Two, a chaotic Korean tour

Persian Gulf, deserts in Iraq, mountains in Afghanistan
Whatever the challenge, the American soldier can

Warriors who come up short, whose legs go lame
Warriors who lose arms play more than just a boys' game

Lombardi believed in struggling for the hard fight
As Americans we also believe in fighting for what's right

Brady, Montana, Bradshaw, Unitas led the team to score
Washington, Jackson, Grant, Eisenhower led the nation to more

When we stand for our home team we shout and cheer
When we stand for America we remember values most dear

American football is great, fight hard for your team
American freedom is greater, honor those who protect the American Dream
By Cain Pence
October 2017
Intro Video
The Market
The Market
By Cain Pence

Spice from India and silk from China
Steel from Damascus and perfume from Persia

Traded in bazaars and bartered in stalls
Breaking barriers and toppling down walls

Swap meet in Texas, flea market in Kentucky
Merchants move the world, sellers shape the economy

Make a buck and make some deals
Goods for home and food for meals

Traders overcome challenges and topple hurdles
Cross the sea and connect the distant world

Gold on ships and oil on trains
Jewels on camels and cargo on planes

Wheat from Montana turned to flour in Minnesota
Coal from Appalachia turned to energy for America

Trade, buy, sell, keep the economy flowing
Barter, bicker, banter, keep the Nation's machinery going

The color of choice is green money, we are told
The universal tongue is not English, it is gold

Muslims in Istanbul, Jews in Tel Aviv, Hindus in Mumbai
Catholics in Rome, Protestants in London, Confucius in Shanghai

The world turns on hard work, fortune and luck
The market is where everyone makes a buck

Ancient marketplaces traded spices, jewels and bones
Modern marketplaces sell on EBay, NASDAQ and Dow Jones

Change the world, create a fortune, take risks to start it
Bring your ideas, capital, goods and dreams to The Market

By Cain Pence
September 2017
Intro Video
The Storm
The Storm
By Cain Pence

The old Chief gazed out and cracked a weathered smile
The storm was near, the racing clouds within a mile

Anticipation rises, the air becomes tense
The call of action beckons, animals and man can sense

The tribe left him alone to die in peace on a sick bed
As he walked outside, the thick air cleared his tired head

In the distance the dark shadows loom
The noise, the energy, the action, Boom!

Lighting blazes, the thunder crash, the storm surges
Must seek shelter, animals obey the primal urges

Flee and live or stay and die, the bold man ponders
Safety or danger, watch firsthand the wild wonders

The storm brings rain, the rain brings life
Man cannot survive without this natural strife

Let the animals and the children hide
The warrior will not go to safety inside

The wind rushes and the river flash flood
The body reacts and excitement stirs the blood

Drenching the earth and plenishing the soil
Inside the adrenaline starts to boil

Better to die outside than in a covered tent
Return to the ancient wind a life well spent

Let the Spirit claim me with the howling wind
I shall die with Mother Earth, buried by natural medicine

The tribe came to lay him in the ground
They looked far and wide, no body was found

Young warriors cursed and maidens wept
One old woman laughed, remembering how the Chief slept

He was one with nature, returned to dust at peace
Man came from the wind, a good death returns to the breeze
By Cain Pence
July 2017
Intro Video
American Genius
American Genius
By Cain Pence

Split the atom and tamed the tide
Voyage on the wind, near and wide

Created the iPhone, computer and plane
Crossed the continent by wire, Internet, car and train

Created states and settled the West
Freedom with tech creates the best

Cowboy grit will face enemies at high noon
Settler determination will lead to the moon

Take the refuge and scoundrels from a hundred different lands
Shape the world's future with the gifts from free mens' hands

General Electric, generator, generic drugs, Microsoft, software, moonbeam, laser beam
Amazon, aircraft carrier, airplane engine, Apple, hardware, Google, nuclear submarine

Freedom all across the fertile plains
Liberty hard won greater than the growing pains

American ingenuity gives the old a bold new look
Hoover Dam in the desert, from a dorm room comes Facebook

Free to live and free to create
That is what makes America great

Break the bonds of atoms and unleash energy
Break the bonds of slavery and unleash creativity

Princeton professor and New Orleans jazz musician
New York City banker and Southside Chicago beautician

American genius is found in university labs and the Bill of Rights
Found in Midwestern farmers and garages during California nights

Scientist in Austin and constitutional lawyer in Washington
Gifts from soldiers in Arlington and patriots from Boston

Breathe free, create commerce, industry, music and art
American genius is forged by open minds and pioneer heart
By Cain Pence
July 2017
Intro Video
The Creator
The Creator
By Cain Pence

In the middle of the night
In the top of the morning

In the midst of a storm
In the sun on a beach

In the Beginning and in the end
In the Darkness, Let there be light

The artist is struck by the urge to create
The poet is inspired by the need to relate

The weight of thought can lead to madness
The crush of the dream to prolonged sadness

Yet the thrill of art is the new creation
The joy of the creator his own inspiration

Reach into the void and shape sculpture
Enter the realm of possibility and create culture

A pen, a brush, a writer, an artist, some words, some paint
A book, a canvas, a bronze relief, a hater, a saint

In the Savannah of Africa, in a monk's cell in England
In the wilds of Australia, along the rocky coast of Iceland

Does the gift come from above?
Does the torture come from love?

A madman and an artist are often the same
The creative genius can drive a man insane

Yet the urge to create still finds a way
Life, like art, will still win the day

The Master of the Universe called forth creation
The Creator's greatest gift was man's imagination
By Cain Pence
June 2017
Intro Video
More than Gambling in the Sun
More than Gambling in the Sun
By Cain Pence

Tahoe, silver, desert, Bunny Ranch
Reno, gold, mountain, last chance

Gambling, mining, hustling, no win
Bugsy, Tesla, Newton, Elvis, Wynn

Busted, broke, bender, no dough
Cirque du Soleil, Ace in the hole

A wild canyon harnessed by Hoover dam
A wild night harassed by hookers, damn!

Highlife, Luxor, Venice, Paris, New York
Lowlife, drugs, guns, broken champagne cork

Greed, cash, gang, liquor, organized mob
Casino, buffet, pool party, poker room, unruly mob

Canyon, red rock, barren land
Magic, Mysterious women, slight of hand

Ghost town, full house, empty room
Boomtown, Downtown, Velvet room

Jiggle joint, jackrabbit, jackpot, jackass
Wiggle room, winning streak, wine glass

Mustang, BLM land, solar energy, pawn stars
Land broker, hotel room, rental cars, porn stars

Union job, Bellagio, roulette, market rates
Atomic testing, Mirage, house advantage everyone hates

Area 51, high rollers suite, final table, VIP, pedestrians no go
Lake Mead, public park, shopping mall, fast food, everybody go

UNLV Runnin Rebels, blackjack, white tigers, kids only
Caesar's Palace, adult playground, superhero phony

Rich and poor, old and young meet for fun
Far more than gambling in the sun

This grand adventure stays open very late
Come to Nevada, experience the Silver State
By Cain Pence
June 2017
Intro Video
The Joy and Struggle called Michigan
The Joy and Struggle called Michigan
By Cain Pence

Rivers, Land, Sky, Farms, Mackinac
Sand dunes, Forests, Pasties, Saginaw

Fort Pontchartrain, Dearborn, Timber! Joe Louis fist
Ford, Chevy, Dodge, GM, Cadillac list

Tough winter, Deep snow, Red Wings, Fierce Wolverines
Cowardly Lions, Spartans, Tigers, Automated machines

Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Iron Mountain, Flint
Missionary, Marquette, Michigan militia, Black militant

Green trees, Blue skies, White flight
Jesuit brothers, Holy women, Devil's night

Arab immigrants, Shopkeepers, Hamtramck, Old Polish wives
Bloomfield Hills, 8-mile road, Rust belt, Sharp knives

Grosse Pointe, Lansing, Golf course, Fruited vine
Assembly line, Fishing line, Rail line, Welfare line

Canoe, Horse, Train, Car, SUV, Plane
Tree, Cattle, Steel, Aluminum, Rubber, Chain

Farmer, Priest, Factory worker, Professor, Bum
Friend, Padre, Manager, Student, Chum

Motown, Mo money, Grand Rapids, The UP, Downtown
Ypsilanti, Ojibwa, French trappers, Muslim merchants, Greektown

High tech, Low wages, UAW needs innovation
Football fans, Magic Johnson, Detroit needs renovation

Lake water, High water, Polluted water
Lost son Eminem, Holy Father blesses, Madonna favorite daughter

Nature, Science, History, Industry, Please come again
Experience the Joy and Struggle called Michigan
By Cain Pence
June 2017
Intro Video
Prayer of the Wounded
Prayer of the Wounded
By Cain Pence

Dear Lord,

Wounded and weak, I come before You

Help me, Protector of the faithful
Guide me, Shepard to the lost

Help me, like Simon helped Christ
Protect me, like Moses in the Sea

Like Peter, there are times I have denied You
Like Paul, there are times I have persecuted Your people
Like Thomas, there are times I have doubted
Like Ignatius, there are times I struggle to discern

My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak
My heart is true but my mind is troubled

Guide me to You, rest to the tired
Guide me to Christ, comfort to the forsaken

The road is long, Your love is strong
The path is narrow, Your mercy boundless

Help me on my journey, keep my aim true
Help me remember my purpose, Your will not mine

Let my riches be in Heaven, my troubles here on Earth
Let my Glory be eternal, my struggles only temporary

This too shall pass, my sorrow will end
Your love is endless, Your reward never ending

To the mighty Cross I go, my suffering is real
Yet the Resurrection awaits, Your rising overcomes all wounds
By Cain Pence
June 2017
Intro Video
Beauty and Mystery of
Beauty and Mystery of Louisiana
By Cain Pence

Krewe, Crawl, Cajun, Creole, Catfish
Confederate, Catholic, French, English, Spanish

Mardi Gras, 9th Ward, Restored empire
Voodoo, Vixen, Viper, Vampire

Gun, Church, Bridge, Oil spill
Bible, Boat, Alligator, Pain pill

Shotgun shack, Shotgun marriage
Lazy river, Horse drawn carriage

Slave, Salt, Shrimp, Gumbo, Witch
Hurricane, Flood, Katrina was a bitch

Andrew Jackson, Fats Domino, Huey Long
Tobacco shop, Delta blues, Glass bong

Backwoods bourbon, Back country, Backwater
Duck Dynasty, Debauched debutante daughter

Jambalaya, Jazz, June bug, Jackson square
Atchafalaya, Big Easy, Hard times, Nothing's fair

Rich man, ‘Po boy, Trumpet, Big muddy
Captain Jack, Working Girl, Saxophone, ‘Lil Buddy

Saints, Shenanigans, The bayou
Baton Rouge, Bayonets, The LSU

Ursuline Nun, Imperial Wizard, King cake dough
Jesuit Priest, Grand Knight, Queen Marie Laveau

Angola prison, French Quarter brothel
Uptown streetcar, St. Louis Cathedral

Antebellum mansions, Haunted cemetery
New South mindset, Old Southern hospitality

Come see where love overcomes all hate
Come see the beauty and mystery of Louisiana state
By Cain Pence
May 2017
Intro Video
Lessons for Syria from America's Civil War
Lessons for Syria from America's Civil War
By Cain Pence

A long and gruesome struggle that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Two entrenched sides willing to fight to the bitter end. A nation torn asunder. Members of the same religion with deep divisions on fundamental questions of human rights. Foreign nations asked to intervene. A hopeless calamity with no clear end in sight.

I write, of course, not about Syria but about the American Civil War. Those seeking a solution to the ongoing and vicious Civil War in Syria would be wise to remember some lessons from American history. There are
similarities and sharp distinctions between the two conflicts that shed light on the current disaster in what once was Syria. Let me offer a few insights.

Almost all the leaders and soldiers in the American Civil War were Christians. As Linclon noted,"both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God." Abolitionist preachers in the North found their match in Southern clergy who quoted scripture to justify slavery. Members of the same professed religion can have bloody conflicts and very different interpretations of the same text. Yet, both sides can also use religion to heal those wounds. The Civil Rights movement a century after the Civil War was led by religious leaders who appealed to a shared Christianity that taught all men were equal before the eyes of God. Martin Luther King was a minister, not a politician. Shared Christian values led to some measure of racial reconciliation in America and the end of Jim Crow segregation.

Almost all the major players in Syria are Muslim, yet reading the same Koran and acknowledging the same prophet Mohammed does not bring harmony to Sunni and Shia factions or the Alawite minority to which Bashar al-Assad belongs. The American Civil War was fought between two groups of Christians who disagreed on slavery and states rights, not between ethnic factions with centuries of hatred and bloodshed. A shared Muslim heritage will not lead to peace and harmony among the factions in Syria anymore then Iran and Saudi Arabia will become allies because both consider their states to be Islamic. The Shia-Sunni split is too ancient and too raw to lead to reconciliation like Christianity did for North and South in America. I believe a new majority Sunni state will have to emerge in what was parts of Syria and Iraq for peace to occur.

Another important factor in Civil Wars is the role of foreign powers in those conflicts. America's Civil War could not be solved by foreign powers. Indeed, it is a good thing that European powers did not intervene in a meaningful way when asked. Long, bloody and cruel as it was, America had to solve its own Civil War. If you think the images from Syria are gruesome (and they certainly are) then you should spend some time at Antietam and Gettysburg. If American history isn't your thing, relive the Russian Civil War or the hell on earth that was China when Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek tore China apart. Just like fights between members of the same family can be particularly vicious, so too are the armed struggles between warring factions of the same nation. Ugly as they are, those conflicts are often best resolved by those troubled families. England and France couldn't solve the American Civil War. America couldn't solve the internal struggles of Imperial Russia or Communist China. I doubt foreign powers can ever solve the massive issues in what was Syria.

Finally, recall for a moment the two great leaders of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Both men had honor, both men had a great sense of duty. Lincoln was a great President because he was willing to wage total war. Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeus Corpus and wanted generals who would fight. He admired men like General Grant who won battles despite the cost. The siege of Vicksburg, the Wilderness Campaign, Sherman's March to the Sea and the burning of Atlanta were not exactly Peace Corps operations. Lincoln was willing to kill to secure a divided nation. Yet, he saw the long term good of America, acted in good faith with a strong conscience and he was willing to forgive the secessionists if they would lay down their arms. Bashar al-Assad is no Abraham Lincoln.

Yet, if Syria lacks a Lincoln, it also lacks a Lee. Robert E. Lee could have waged a horrific guerilla war. The Appalachian hills of Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia offered countless hiding places for guerrilla fighters to hide and wreak havoc upon towns, railroads and commerce. An armed conflict between a small, militarized group and greater America could have gone on for decades. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox and encouraged all his followers to lay down arms. He spent his remaining years at Washing and Lee University teaching instead of hating. He was a good man who wanted to heal the wounds of his country. Where is the Robert E. Lee of Syria? I highly doubt the Al-Nusra Front or the Islamic State groups will produce one.

Each country is unique and all Civil Wars complicated. The American Civil War and the Syrian conflict are no different. Yet, learning from our own often bloody history can provide insights into current wars. America's Civil War could not be won by foreign powers. It had to be resolved by Americans. Russia and the United States cannot solve the quagmire in Syria. America was able to heal by appealing to a shared sense of values and achieve some measure of racial equality by turning to a national sense of Christian ideals. The roots of division in Syria are too deep for such reconciliation. A separate Sunni state outside of Assad's control must emerge. Lastly, the American Civil War could end because of two good men who saw the need to end the conflict and heal the wounds of a devastated nation. Syria has no Lincoln or Lee. Without good leaders, both willing to win and accept defeat, I fear the bloody conflict will continue.
By Cain Pence
April 2017
Intro Video
A Cursed and Promised Land
A Cursed and Promised Land
By Cain Pence

Tomb of the Patriarchs, Dream of the Matriarch
Moses led, Christ bled

Wailing Wall, Golda Meir
Wailing widow, Palestinian despair

Ancient ruins, Modern website, Israeli shekels
Tel Aviv, Golan Heights, Arabs heckle

Arafat, Gaza Rocket, Hamas, Jihad ring
Bibi, Shin bet, Mossad, David's sling

Reform, Labor, Kibbutz, Maccabees
Orthodox, Likud, Putz, Land of milk and honey bees

Abraham, Joshua, Isaac, Jacob, Ari
Rebecca, Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Mary

Bank, Bomb, Barren, Business, Bathsheba
Jews, Justice, Jericho, Justify, Judea

Checkpoint, Christian, Crisis, Crucify, Critic
Hate, Haifa, Herod, Hebrew, Hasidic

Paul, Pious, Pistol, Peace Process, Pilgrimage
Sand, Stone, Sinner, Sacred, Sacrifice, Sacrilege

Struggles with God, Triumphs of Man
Israel, a Cursed and Promised Land
By Cain Pence
April 2017
Intro Video
Mother of the Heartland
Mother of the Heartland
By Cain Pence

Father of waters, Mother of the heartland
Pioneer dream, Native stand

The Mighty Mississippi brings life and blood
Fertile farmland, Miserable flood

Breadbasket of America, Fruited plain
Joy when flowing, Frozen pain

Seasons change, Bright golden leaves
Den of eagles and thieves

Fresh water, Flooded misery
Storied banks, Ancient history

Huck Finn, Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer
Riverboat gambler, Tugboat captain and small town lawyer

Fried catfish and Delta dog
Minnesota lakes and Arkansas bog

Barge with wheat, Steamboat with tourists
Canoe with natives, Longboat with Voyageurs

Furs, corn, lumber, iron, grains
Trappers, farmers, jacks, smiths, trains

Saints and sinners did roam her shore
Catholic missionaries and Louisiana whore

St. Cloud, St. Paul, St. Louis, St. Francisville
Farmland, wetland, prairie, rolling hill

Father Hennepin named St. Anthony Falls
General Grant made Vicksburg fall

Davenport, Hannibal, New Madrid
Upon her banks lovers walked and bandits hid

Minneapolis to Memphis, Dubuque to Cape Girardeau
New Orleans all Americans should know

The inland fountain brings food, adventure and trade
The American homeland the Mississippi made
By Cain Pence
April 2017
Intro Video
A New Approach to Guns and Young Urban Males
A New Approach to Guns and Young Urban Males
By Cain Pence

America is stuck in a futile gun debate. Liberals argue that less guns and more gun control will create less violence and more safety. Conservatives believe that more guns in the right hands will stop criminals and create less situations for mass killings. Missing is a discussion of using better and differently the guns we already have. Also missing is an honest assessment of young men and their natural desire to hunt and fight. America needs new ideas and new solutions to gun violence.

Young men have always been violent. Anthropologists and sociologists can debate the evolutionary origins of this fact, but it is real. Whether having to fight a lion on the African savannah or a jaguar in a jungle, young warriors crafted tools for hunting and protection. As mankind advanced and came to dominate his territory, weapons became essential for protection not only against wild beasts, but against other groups of men. As tribes and protective groups formed, weapons advanced as group competed for resources and territory. Competition between large organized groups led to more advanced weapons. The most advanced weapons, nuclear weapons, arrived through the martial competition between advanced nation states, in this case America and Germany. As long as there have been Homo sapiens there have been weapons.

Young men in inner cities are often raised without biological fathers. Looking for guidance and acceptance, it is natural to join a group of older men who teach and help them. Gangs take the place of father figures in many urban communities. Often tied to geographic territory, many urban gangs also control a desired resource, drugs. Young men in America's cities are not taught gunmanship, sport shooting or hunting by fathers, police or military veterans. They are taught gun violence by fraternal but often criminal organizations. This needs to change.

I believe one answer to urban gang and gun violence is a new way to teach young men about guns. We need to teach young men responsible virtues associated with gun ownership. Shooting and hunting clubs should form and be sponsored by local police departments and veteran organizations. Guns used at the shooting and hunting clubs will be kept safe at the clubs and not allowed to be used outside organized activities. Guns should be viewed as valuable tools to protect and provide, not weapons in gang wars.

Is this a good idea or just a crackpot suggestion? The idea has merit on more than one level. There is a great mistrust of police organizations in inner city minority communities. Fostering bonds between young urban men and police departments is more important than ever. Teaching young men to shoot and hunt is an excellent way to build bonds between inner city youth and protective organizations. It is far better to have young urban males and police officers shooting together and having fun than shooting at each other and fostering more animosity. Guns can be part of the solution not more of the problem.

Federal grant money, local police department revenue and most certainly private philanthropy can help pay for this venture. Police departments all have weaponry and already have ranges for target shooting. Police departments have a vested interest in bringing young males into the protective class. A successful gun shooting and hunting club could not only foster goodwill between youth and police, it could serve as a breeding ground for future officers and protectors. We need new ways of thinking about guns and young men. We need new approaches to foster better relationships between minority youth and police departments. More stringent gun control efforts do not work. Chicago, Baltimore and Washington DC have some of the strongest handgun laws in America and some of the worst homicide rates. Trying to ban more guns will not work because the gangs do not follow the laws in the first place. We need a different approach.

Both liberals and conservatives tend to look at social problems through socioeconomic lenses. Liberals believe better education and more job opportunities will decrease crime and poverty. There is truth to this position. Conservatives believe stronger families and more fathers at home will decrease gang violence and encourage more responsible personal behavior. There is strong evidence to support this argument. Missing in the gun debate is an acknowledgment about the innate desire of young men to fight, hunt and to be attracted to weapons. It is time we take human nature into account.

All of human history has shown us that young men are naturally aggressive. Instead of trying to change thousands of years of human biology, let's deal with it. Natural male aggression should be channeled into positive activities like sports and yes, shooting and hunting. Young men enjoy weapons and guns. They always have and this is entirely natural. The desire to hunt and protect is what led mankind to conquer the earth. Let's channel those innate desires into responsible gunmanship with trap, sport shooting and real hunting trips. It is far better to have young men shooting clay pigeons and live ducks than at each other. The values learned in hunting are ancient and important. These values can be taught by local protective groups to the young men in their communities. It is an idea worth considering. Something needs to change. Organized groups and police departments working to foster responsible gunmanship can be a big part of the solution.
By Cain Pence
March 2017
Intro Video
Music, Music, Music
Music, Music, Music
By Cain Pence

Stir the soul and awaken the heart
Move the spirit from mankind's start

Conquer the mind with no drug
Pull the heartstrings with a tug

Trumpet, sax, piano, polka band
Every culture in every land

Birthdays, funerals, dances, baptism
Create a smile, heal the schism

Universal language of mankind
Where there's humans, music we find

Gift from God when in a church
The Devil's workshop when in a bar

Changes behavior, moves the body
Shapes the mind, man's favorite hobby

Foots start stomping, hands start clapping
Friends start loving, bodies start slapping

Love song, death march, military band
Nothing better than a guitar in hand

Rock n roll, jazz quartet, folk singer
Pumps up the athlete, relaxes the thinker

Bluegrass, country, hip hop and gangster rap
Wakes you in the morning, makes a child nap

Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, wedding bash
Elvis, The Beatles, Springsteen, party, Johnny Cash

Violin, flute, clarinet, harpsichord
Creation of man, great gift from the Lord

Up on the mountain, down in the valley
From the rooftops, out in the alley

Food for the heart, drink stronger than ale
Music, music, music, tells the whole human tale
By Cain Pence
March 2017
Intro Video
Pen of the Poet
Pen of The Poet 
By Cain Pence

Pen of the poet, soul of the writer
Stronger than the best prize fighter

Endures long after empires crumble
Castigates the strong and uplifts the humble

Mightier than the sword, overthrows many kings
Worth more in the right hand than diamond rings

Outlives the tyrant, brings fear to dictators
Poems for lovers, treatises for haters

Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain
Describes loves, explains pain

Started a Revolution, Healed a nation
Dreamed of the moon, fires the Pioneer imagination

Wins a woman's heart, starts a Civil War
Brings news to the railroad, advertises the car

Inspires the  young man, comforts the old
Aptly Tells The Greatest Story ever told

Paul used his pen to tell the world of Christ's incarnation
Jefferson used his to write a Declaration

Luther used his pen to start a Reformation
Madison used his to defend a Constitution

Marx wrote a Manifesto that inspired Communists
Lincoln wrote an address that inspired Abolitionists

The Grimm brothers gave us Little Red Riding Hood
Mao gave a billion Chinese a Little Red Book

From the capitols of nations and Roman church steeples
Expresses the whims of Pontiffs and the will of the people

Turns the tides of history and the strings of the heart
Transforms politics and religion, shapes drama and art

The writer can change history and overcome any hurdle
He who wields the pen of the poet can transform the world
By Cain Pence
March  2017
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It's Called Federalism, Not Treason
Bold mayors standing on courtroom steps proclaiming their opposition to actions in Washington. Proud Governors declaring their desire to resist federal officials.  Large groups of voters willing to fight national policy to protect their local way of life. State legislatures taking matters of citizenship into their own hands. Where have we seen this bad movie before? In the Jim Crow South and Civil Rights Era many local officials defied Washington and rallied their political base in opposition to Washington directives.

The great genius of American politics, federalism, also creates the great tension in American politics. It always has. How individual states would share and grant powers to a federal government was one of if not the most difficult issue facing the Continental Congress. States maintained certain rights, the national government had authority in certain areas and states and the federal government shared certain powers. This political compromise reached a great crisis with the Civil War over the massive issues of slavery and whether states could leave the collective political body. The tension between local and national authority has appeared numerous other times in our national history. This tense dynamic is back in the national spotlight with the new Trump administration's executive orders on immigration and the state and local response to such directives.

Most of your life is governed by state and local decisions. The speed limit on the road, building and construction regulations and zoning, control of local schools, police, fire and regulation of most parks, bars, entertainment and shopping are much more determined by local and state regulations than federal mandates. States and the federal government share in some health and education regulations and spending. Many public works projects, such as bridges and roads are also shared by state and federal agencies. The light rail lines here in Minnesota are a fine example of state, local and federal agencies working together to accomplish a worthwhile project.
By Cain Pence
January 2017
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