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My Books

This is the post excerpt.

I have been writing since I was six years old. I now have six novels and seventeen stories in print.

My first published book, Friendly Casualties, was a novel in short stories derived from experiences in the thirteen years I trundled between the U.S. and Vietnam to provide signals intelligence support to U.S. Army and Marine combat units fighting in South Vietnam. The first half of the book is a series of short stories in which characters from one story reappear in another. The second half is a novella that draws together all the preceding tales. Originally published as an ebook, Adelaide will be publishing a hard copy version in June 2022.

No-Accounts came from my years of caring for AIDS patients. It tells the story of a straight man caring for a gay man dying of AIDS. I got into helping men with AIDS to help me cope with the horrors of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury. When I was with my patients, men suffering more than I was, my unbearable memories went dormant.

Next came The Trion Syndrome. It begins with the Greek Trion legend about a demigod so brutal to the vanquished that the gods sent the Eucharides, three female monsters, to drown him. The protagonist, Dave Bell, is haunted by half-remembered visions of the war in Vietnam. At his lowest point, he recalls that he killed a child. Dave considers suicide, but a young man appears and helps him. It is his illegitimate son, a child he had tried to kill through abortion, who now helps him find his way home.

Last of the Annamese was published in March 2017. I used this novel to confront my memories of the fall of Saigon from which I escaped under fire. Once again, the image of the boy-child recurs, as the protagonist, Chuck Griffin, a retired Marine, grieves over the loss of his son, killed in combat in Vietnam. He returns to Vietnam as a civilian intelligence analyst after the withdrawal of U.S. troops and encounters Vietnamese boys whom he tries to save during the conflagration.

Secretocracy, published in March 2020, tells the story of an federal intelligence budgeteer persecuted by the Trump administration because he refuses to approve finds for an illegal operation. Coming to Terms, out in August 2020, is a new collection of short stories about people trying to work through the downturns in their lives.

Recognition

For reasons unknown, I am suddenly receiving widespread recognition. Who’s Who worldwide and Who’s Who national have both recognized me as one of their luminaries for 2022. They also named me as a top artist and a top professional for 2022. My novel Last of the Annamese was just named the Human Relations Indie Book Awards 2022 Gold Winner for Historical Realistic Fiction. And I’ve been invited to do a total of four radio interviews on CUTV News Talk Radio with Doug Llewelyn.

I did the first of the interviews on Tuesday. You can listen to it at https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/578249458/best-selling-author-tom-glenn-to-be-featured-on-close-up-radio   After you get to the site, scroll down until you find a box with a regularly changing pictures of my books. Click on it, and you’ll hear a recording of the broadcast. Please let me know your reaction.

I’m mystified as to why all these honors are being bestowed on me all at once. But I am grateful. The thing I like best about the publicity is that it will encourage more people to read my books. These days, that’s one of the things I care the most about.

New Gun Legislation

The recently passed and signed national gun control legislation is a step—more like a gesture—in the right direction, but it won’t have much effect. It includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. It also expands existing provisi0ns to prevent people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun and expands background checks on people between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun.

But it does nothing to reduce the number of guns in the hands of U.S. citizens and will, therefore, do nothing to reduce the number of deaths due to gun violence.

The ratio between the number of guns in the hands of citizens and the number killed by guns is the same for all modern democracies worldwide—the more guns, the more who die from gunfire. The U.S. has the highest number of guns owned by citizens of any modern democracy—more than 120 guns for every hundred people—and the highest number killed by gunfire—21,653 so far this year as of June 29, 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

I don’t know what it will take for Americans to realize that they must reduce the number of guns in the hands of citizens to reduce the number killed. I can only pray that my children and grandchildren are not among the victims.

Self-Reliance

I depend on myself. My children will be the first to tell you that I am uncomfortable counting on someone other than myself to get urgent jobs done. With me, self-reliance has become so extreme that it’s a flaw.

Take my recovery from my recent surgery on both eyes. Unable to drive, I was forced to ask a friend to take me to the doctor to have bandages removed. That dependance—it felt like weakness—hurt. And I am deeply grateful to that friend who went out of his way to make the trip easy for me.

But I refused to ask anyone to take me shopping or buy groceries for me. Instead, as I ran out of staples, I substituted. In place of rice, I ate noodles. When I ran out of orange juice, I drank tea. Short of fruit, I ate vegetables. I made do.

My excessive self-reliance comes from a deprived childhood. My deficient parents too often left me without food or clothing. By the time I was six, I knew my well-being was up to me. I learned of necessity to care for myself.

That made me leery of depending on anyone other than myself for necessities. My insistence on self-reliance served me well during my years in combat and made me more than willing to help others. I came to understand that while having to depend on someone else was hard for me, helping others was a source of great fulfillment.

Now I’m growing older. As I become more feeble, less sure on my feet, and less able to trust my own memory, I will be forced to depend on others. I will face a new challenge: humility and willingness to change.

The results so far don’t look promising.

Democracy at Risk

I fear that my fellow Americans have taken too lightly the assault on democracy carried out by Donald Trump and his Republican supporters. The January 6 attack on the Capitol was and continues to be a direct attempt to overthrow the government installed by the 2020 election. It was and still is an endeavor to empower in place of the elected president a tyrant who would take power in defiance of the will of the people.

The effort to install a dictator continues. According to the Washington Post, more than 100 GOP primary winners back Trump’s false election fraud claims. And 147 Republican lawmakers, including Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, voted to overturn the 2020 election results. A Washington Post analysis of results in federal and state elections shows that an embrace of former president Donald Trump’s baseless theories about the 2020 vote has become the price of admission in most Republican primaries. Trump and McConnell are pushing 425 Voter Suppression laws in 49 states. In addition, 43 Republicans voted to acquit Trump of all charges in the Senate Impeachment Trial. Nearly every Republican in the Senate voted against forming a commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection. And Republicans have sworn to impeach President Biden if they win Congress in 2022.

In short, the Republicans are doing everything in their power to overturn a legitimate election and install a dictator. Their most spectacular effort came on January 6, 2021 when they attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to reverse the 2020 election.

Be warned, Americans. We face a direct assault on our democracy.

Interviews

My upcoming interviews on CUTV New Talk Radio (June 28 and July 5, both at 1:00 p.m.) are getting a lot of press attention. The most recent announcement (https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/578249458/best-selling-author-tom-glenn-to-be-featured-on-close-up-radio) goes into some detail about me and quotes me. I’m not used to all this attention. Please let me know what you think.

Please do listen to the interviews when they’re broadcast. You can access them at BlogTalkRadio.

Unionization

Membership in labor unions is finally starting to grow again in the U.S. after a long period of decline. Whereas unions were once a major force in U.S. politics and the economy, in recent years they have grown weaker. In 2020, the percentage of U.S. workers in unions was only 10.8 percent, down from 20.1 percent in 1983. The greatest loss has been in the private sector—union membership in the private sector has fallen to 6.3 percent, one fifth that of public sector workers, at 34.8 percent.

But now unionized activity is on the upswing. Between October 2021 and March 2022, union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) increased 57 percent from the same period a year ago. Unfair labor practice charges increased 14 percent during the same period.

A big factor in the growth on union activity has been President Biden’s support. Early in his term, Biden revamped the NLRB, firing former President Donald Trump’s NLRB general counsel Peter Robb shortly after taking office. Biden then installed the new general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a former union attorney, who has been using her enforcement powers widely.

I was unable to find reliable figures on recent union growth, but the press reports unionization of workforces at a variety of leading companies including Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, and Verizon. It looks like the time for the working man to prosper is at hand.

AIDS Caretaker

I mentioned in passing in a recent blog the time I spent during the 1980s as a volunteer taking care of AIDS patients. A reader asked to know more about that time. Over the years I’ve told the story several times in this blog, but at the risk of repeating myself, here it is again:

In the middle of the 1980s, men were dying on the street of a disease called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), otherwise known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), because no one would go near them or touch them for fear of catching the disease—no one knew how it was transmitted, and it was fatal. I couldn’t tolerate the massive cruelty of leaving people to die alone uncared for. Unlike the vast majority of Americans, I had faced death often during my years of working with troops in combat. I told my wife that if I worked with AIDS patients, there was an unknown likelihood that I’d become infected. If I came down with AIDS, so would she. And the disease was fatal. She told me to go ahead.

I spent the next five years helping AIDS patents die. I worked with seven men, all gay, and all died. During that time, we learned that the disease was transmitted from person to person by the transfer of bodily fluid from an infected patient. The reason that most victims were gay men was that they transferred infected semen through anal intercourse. The closest I came to being in danger was that I once punctured myself with a hypodermic needle I had just used to inject a patient. After the required six weeks incubation period, I was tested and found to be free of the disease.

I knew nothing about the gay community when I first volunteered to help. I was the only straight volunteer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. I came to understand that homosexuals were just people like everyone else. I loved every one of my patients, as if they were my sons or brothers. I knew nothing I could do would cure them. My job was to help them die peacefully, with minimum pain and maximum dignity.

My experience helping men die reaffirmed my belief that the most satisfying experience in life comes from helping others. And we must do unto others not as we would have done unto ourselves but as they wish to have done unto them.

When Is Suicide Justified?

Suicide horrifies me. The prospect of choosing to end one’s own life is shocking to me. But to be fair, I have to ask myself under what conditions might suicide be acceptable. As I think it through, it seems to me that taking one’s own life might be warranted only in the following two circumstances:

—When one is about to die anyway. When death is near and there are good reasons not to prolong life, one may justifiably choose to die. If one is in great pain or extending one’s life is a great burden on one’s loved ones, choosing death might be warranted.

When death is the only escape from being forced to reveal information that will harm others. When captured by enemy forces and being subjected to torture to force the revelation of information that will lead to the death of others, one can choose to end one’s own life.

To my way of thinking, there are no other justifications for suicide. Killing oneself is still killing—in other words a form of murder. It is not defensible as a way to escape unhappiness. We are morally required to live as long as we can, to do what fulfills us and makes us happy, to care for others, and to do all we can, for as long as we live, to help others.

I believe to the depths of my soul that the way out of unhappiness is helping others. If your existence has lost all meaning and unhappiness has become a way of life, find someone worse off than you who needs your help and help them. The greatest rewards in my life have been the result of helping others.

Yes, life can inflict what feels like unbearable sorrows. But it is incumbent upon us all to bear those sorrows and go on living. And the greatest source of happiness is doing unto others as they would have done unto them.

If my readers see things differently or believe that there are other justifications for suicide beyond the two I cited, please comment.