Upon hearing of Otto Warmbier’s passing, I immediately placed blame on Barack Obama. Although I believe he could/should have done something for Otto, I want to offer another perspective that may not be so popular.
In January 2016, Warmbier was detained at Pyongyang Intl. Airport and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel in North Korea. Obama failed to get this American home during his last year in office.
Being from Southern California, it is known that traveling south of the border is risky for Americans. The Mexican Federales are known to hassle tourists, pulling them over for bogus infractions and shaking them down in order to avoid a ticket or being arrested. Before we needed passports to enter Tijuana, I’d walk across the border and come back with no problems. I understand that driving into Mexico would pose a personal or financial risk, so I have decided to never do it.
Back to Otto. One would think Warmbier would have learned about North Korea through his parents, school, media or at the least through Hollywood films like Team America, Olympus Has Fallen, or The Interview just to name a few.
Although he was just 21 when taken into custody by the North Korean regime, he should have been aware of the risk associated with Westerners traveling to a region ran by a murderous dictator. The actions of the North Korean regime were extreme, considering the alleged offense. Otto Warmbier should have known better. Like others who have successfully traveled in and out of North Korea, the University of Virginia student made the decision on his own to enter the regime and ultimately paid the price for the “adventure.” Americans and global citizens alike have no business risking their lives or contributing to the North Korean economy. Young Pioneers Tours, based in China, is also to blame for marketing North Korea to Warmbier and other Westerners.
Going to North Korea is not an adventure. It is a risk, not matter how you cut it. If you want adventure, go skydiving, or travel to a country that is not run by a volatile leader who uses violence and murder to discipline his own family, leadership, and Americans.
My thoughts and prayers are with Warmbier’s family and friends. My prayers are also with our government as they weigh the political consequences of an American’s death at the hands of this violent, unpredictable regime.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_North_Korea
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Gracie 3 and Olivia 1 are growing up in such an interesting word. As a dad, I want to keep and protect them forever. I want to equip them with the knowledge and tools they will need to live in this volatile environment. I can’t imagine what the world will be like for them when they are old enough to drive (or fly). They will need to be strong mentally, physically and spiritually. My hope and prayers are that they grow up to be accepting, kind and humble, yet bold and driven.
As I type this, the world is at the brink of what could be a nuclear war. Our country is in the midst of a civil war between Democrats and Republicans, the left vs the right and the resistance vs “Trumpsters.” Those which once preached acceptance, openness and being different is okay are misguiding our youth about how to deal with defeat, change or opposition. Double-standards are the norm for any political party or “movement.”
At the rate we are going, one thing is for sure. We cannot and should not put our faith in one man or woman, the government, or your highly educated neighborhood shrink. At some point, in some way, they will fail us. In most cases, they already have. For me, there is one answer. Take one day at a time, keep my eyes looking above, my heart with my family, and my feet on the path of righteousness. If we all stepped back, threw out our “agendas” and focused on the things that really matter in life, we might then begin to see the change we need to unite our country first, then the world. How can we bring peace to the world when there is so much turmoil within our own borders? United we stand, dis-unity we crumble and are weak.
As individuals and as a civilization, our days are numbered. Who knows how much time we as a global community have left? The passage below speaks of the signs of the end of days. This should not be interpreted as scary but as a reality of what is at hand and what may come in the near future if it hasn’t already. These are interesting times. Be vigilant and have faith.
Matthew 24:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places.