Losing Our Sons

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The exception was, while we were looking at coverage on the internet, we ran across a comment on a blog about some discussion that occurred on the “After the Show” Show for Special Report with Brett Baier on 3 June 2009. Major Garrett had discussed the asking about the handling of the Little Rock shooting by the White House. He said that Robert Gibbs had explained that the White House had a prepared statement that was by request only, meaning you had to ask for it to get one and that the president’s statement was released to an Arkansas outlet only, and “besides the press didn’t seem interested anyway.”

This made me furious. It was nothing more than political-speak to say “We, the White House, don’t want to speak about it.” We had a contact number for Laura Ingraham, and I decided to return the call. I agreed to do the show but not until Tuesday 9 June, the day after I buried my son. From that, we were contacted by several people across the country. People telling us that they did not get the story about Little Rock until Laura‘s broadcast. That broadcast lead to the Legislature of Kentucky passing a resolution and honoring Andy on what would have been his 24th birthday on 26 June 2009. We were contacted by the O’Reilly Show to air on 11 June 2009. We were grateful for support from them for the Wounded Warriors and his pledge to contribute a large sum of money to the Wounded Warrior Project in Andy’s name. I accepted the invitation as I desired to thank everyone who had sent cards and contributed to the WWP in Andy’s name and the treatment by law enforcement.

We were approached on several occasions throughout the 17 pretrial hearings but were graciously given our space by the local reporters. I told them I would be more than happy to speak to them once the trial was over but not before.

During the media frenzy after the trial, we spoke to several venues.

The Commercial Appeal in Memphis was neutral and objective in their reporting which was a change as The Tennessean, a Nashville paper, seemed to take the trial as an assault on the larger Nashville Muslim population.

Since that time there have been periodic stories in the papers both local and others about legislation pending in Congress over the Purple Heart as well as when I testified in front of the Homeland Security Committee last December.

Since the films debut, we have seen an increase in interest by the local press. A local radio talk show host had me on his afternoon show for 2 hours and agreed to show the film in a local theater with his monthly golden oldie. The theater was pretty full for the event. Since then we have been on the Huckabee Show as well as a hard news interview with Fox on America’s News HQ with Shannon Breem. I know Charles was interviewed on Stackelbeck and a joint letter from Melvin Bledsoe and I was published in USA Today. I never realized it has the largest distribution in the country. The Arkansas State Legislation recently unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Purple Heart.  Then, of course, I was previously interviewed by you after writing David Horowitz on the Fort Hood Purple Heart petition.  I have had several invitations to speak both locally and in other states at several events in the near future.

FP: How do you feel about Melvin Bledsoe, the father of Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the murderer of Andy?

Long: We have formed a bond based on our mutual loss. He lost his son to radical Islam and I lost mine as a result of radical Islam. We did not speak until after the trial. We spent a few quiet moments in the court room after his son had pleaded guilty, our family, the Ezeagwulas, and the Bledsoes. Janet and I feel Melvin and his family are as much victims as we are. I respect that he has been speaking out since the attack. My family receives a certain degree of compassion being the parents of Andy when we speak. He however has had to deal with being the father of the killer. He loves his son but is willing to speak out about what happened with him since his conversion to Islam. He is a courageous man and I am honored to stand with him.

FP: Why did you agree to cooperate with Melvin Bledsoe and do the film?

Long: I watched Melvin each time he was on the news. He has never tried to excuse what Abdulhakim Muhammad did, but has tried to use the event as a teaching moment to identify the threat that radical Islam presents. He comes from a unique perspective, he lost his son in a system that protects and even promotes radical speech and values under the guise of education and diversity. I was particularly impressed with his coolness in the face of being dismissed by the very people charged with protecting the Constitution. Charles had mentioned to me that he had interviewed Melvin as well and was hoping I would agree to participate in a joint message. Janet and I didn’t commit immediately. We prayed about it and then agreed to do the film. We had no idea how it would turn out. Melvin and I spoke together after a pre-release screening of the film in Nashville on September 11, 2011. It was powerful then but nowhere near as strong as it is now. I don’t think anyone connected to it knew what they had until June this year. The message that two fathers from opposite sides can come together to try to accomplish something positive out of this tragedy is important. The message is the same, my son today, your son tomorrow.

FP: Why do you think the Obama Administration won’t give Andy a Purple Heart?

Long: When Andy was killed he was afforded a military funeral with full honors. The Arkansas National Guard is responsible for military funerals and the determination was made that the honors were to be given for a soldier who had died as the result of an attack. The full military honors would not have been given if my son was just the victim of a street crime.

We were told that the Army was ready to give Andy the Purple Heart in the event it was approved before the funeral. That approval didn’t come. We had already seen the internet article on what the White House Press Secretary had said about no interest on the part of the media. We then received a condolence letter dated June 5, 2009 from the White House. These letters, by policy go only to war dead. It is completely out of the norm for a victim of a street crime to get one. We contacted our Congressman and asked him to look into the matter. The answer was that Andy did not rate it. No explanation as to why. We contacted the Army again and the answer came back they didn’t have enough information to determine his eligibility or not. We asked whether the Army had done the investigation required by regulation in the event of an alleged international terrorist attack. We received no answer.

We had contacted the US Attorney over the issue of federal terrorism charges on three occasions. They have said it continues to be an open investigation as late as December 7, 2011.

We finally submitted a more than 300 page package to the Secretary of the Army providing information obtained from open sources to justify at least an investigation into the alleged international terrorism ties. This was summarily rejected on the grounds that Abdulhakim Muhammad was convicted of a crime and not terrorism so the two soldiers killed and wounded in Little Rock remained ineligible. We have since confirmed that there has been no attempt by the Army to check the international terrorism ties required in the case of alleged terrorism victims.

There has been language included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2011 to award Purple Hearts to the victims of Little Rock and Fort Hood. It failed due in part to objections by Military Order of the Purple Heart in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The issue was brought up again as amendments to the FY 2012 NDAA. This time HR 1544 was introduced by Chairman King of the House Homeland Security Committee and was cosponsored by numerous members of that committee as well as of the Arkansas House delegation. A companion bill, S.2885, was introduced into the Senate by Senator Lieberman cosponsored by Senators from Arkansas and both Senators from Texas.

We then saw an article in the local newspaper that of the many objections to the NDAA that would most certainly bring a veto from President Obama was the inclusion of Purple Hearts for the Little Rock victims because Arkansas had tried Abdulhakim Muhammad for a criminal act and not terrorism, which could result in appellate issues. Arkansas has no terrorism statutes. Terrorism is purely a federal province. The Justice Department has been conspicuously absent in their pursuit of terrorism indictments. Muhammad was allowed to enter a plea of guilty. In Arkansas there is no right of appeal once the court accepts a guilty plea from the accused. Congressman Griffin (R-AR) sent a letter to the White House requesting a clarification as to what they meant by appellate issues.

I have come to the conclusion after over three years of dealing with the Army, Justice and my government in Washington and only receiving deflection over the loss of a soldier killed in a criminal act, there is no desire on the part of this administration to accept that Little Rock was a terrorist attack. I can only surmise that the desired record of the current inhabitant of the White House for successfully thwarting terrorism would be blemished by admitting to the attacks on Little Rock and Fort Hood. As it stands, the victims and their families remain unrecognized as the first to pay the ultimate price on American soil since 9/11 in an admitted act of jihad.

I guess expecting that the leadership of this country would accept what happened, learn from it and get on with protecting us is asking too much. I do not believe for one instant that we are always going to be able to stop a leaker from coming through despite all the hard work and best intentions of those who try to protect us. What upsets me is that when something bad happens, the first inclination of this administration is to circle the wagons and then try to tell us what we saw with our own eyes isn’t what we saw at all and what happened wasn’t what happened.

I am not going to get my son back. Andy’s mother will continue to be a Gold Star Mother and we are left with the absurdity of our government in denial of the truth. We are now residents of Arkansas; around here we don’t have to see the skunk to know when it is around.

FP: What do you hope this film will help achieve?

Long: Wake people up. We desire that the film will wake this country up to the threat it faces from within. The government has tried to cleanse the lexicon by scrubbing words that we are told are considered offensive; the same words used by the perpetrators to describe their actions, in the name of diversity and political correctness. Our education system is complicit in watering down, rewriting history, and scrubbing the truth about The United States and the history of and with the Islamic past. There are people out there who subscribe to an ideology that is a threat to this country giving them a pass on the backs of the many who immigrated to this country in an attempt to flee those same radical views and the oppression they incur. We have a press that does not report the facts anymore but seem to only promote their own agenda no matter how fallacious it is viewed outside their circle.  We have a government that denies the facts in pursuit of its own narrative.

I hope this film begins to raise questions in people’s minds about what Islam is and what it isn’t. The purpose of the film is not to put all practitioners of Islam in the radical pigeon hole but to show that there is a real and present threat and it is alive and well in this country today in part due to a leadership which refuses address it.

FP: Daris Long, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. Our hearts are with you . We encourage all of our readers to see the documentary, Losing Our Sons.

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  • Chezwick

    QUESTION: "Crystallize the problem for us."

    ANDY LONG: "The easy answer would be to blame radical Islam. The honest answer is to blame poor leadership on our side."

    There is an even MORE honest answer than Andy Long would venture to acknowledge. While he seemingly tries to mitigate the perniciousness of Islam by assuring us that there are "many interpretations" of the faith, the fact is that the only way to truly "crystallize the problem" is to draw the appropriate linkage between the violence and intolerance that are so endemic to Islam…and the core teachings of the Quran and Muhammad.

    There may indeed be "many interpretations" of Islam, but the stoning of adulteresses, the killing of apostates and blasphemers, the amputations and other barbarisms, these are undeniable characteristics of every Sharia regime ever in existence. In other words, the "problem" is ISLAM itself!

    Andy Long suffered an irreparable loss….and he deserves our deepest sympathy. But the Afghanistan he once knew and admired is gone….submerged by the re-assertion of Islamic identity that is remaking the entire Muslim world (and the West, for that matter).

    Yet, even when Andy was there, Afghanistan was undoubtedly a violent, intolerant, barely civilized society, hardly worthy of the respect and admiration of a civilized man. When are we in the "enlightened" West finally going to rid ourselves of our 'noble savage' sensibility?

    • PhillipGaley

      It may be that, for Islam, the seeming appearance of faith, is but a masquerade, . . . maybe, Islam is a criminal ideology, . . .

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Anyone not sure about it needs to check for themselves.
        What does the koran teach?

        9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

    • jim

      you are a hater, aren't you.
      To administrater, please don't delete this one.

      • Chezwick

        No Jim. I'm a lover….of human freedom. And by all theological and historical evidence, Islam is antithetical to human freedom.

        • Janet Long

          Chezwick, I believe you need to re-read the interview and pay closer attention. For one thing, my son Andy is dead. He never went to Afghanistan. Pay closer attention to the 'evolution' of learning my husband addresses. And finally, take careful note, that when a person takes a stance that all people who adhere to such and thus – even 1.6 billion are evil – you've built your house on sand. For example: America is a great country – has been from its inception, however, it has not nor ever will be 'perfect'. We must be forever diligent. We have had and still have places in the United States where it is dangerous to traverse both literally and figuratively. This understanding and application to the system from the hierarchy all the way to the individual will tell the whole story. Unless we recognize that, we're wasting breath.

          • Chezwick


            Thank you for your input.

            Allow me first and foremost to express my deepest condolences for your loss. The absence of bitter recrimination in your husband's essay and in your comment above towards the ideology that motivated your son's killer suggests a tremendous character on both your parts. I'm certain that if I were in your circumstance, I would be incapable of such equanimity and fair-mindedness.

            Having said that, I want to clarify a couple of points…

            1) I was indeed conscious of the 'evolution' in your husband's thinking, but it doesn't mitigate what comes across as at least a degree of apologia towards Islam that he conveys.

            2) I never for a moment wrote that I believe all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are "evil" or that America is in any way "perfect". I freely acknowledge that all men – Americans and Muslims alike – are capable of both good or evil. But it is my firm contention that the religion of Islam – based on its core teachings (Quran, Hadith, Sira) – is antithetical to the values of human freedom that I hold dear, just as I believe that the American Constitution embodies those values more closely than any political doctrine in existence.

            Above, you mentioned "the application to the system from the hierarchy all the way to the individual will tell the whole story." Such an analysis speaks only indirectly to the ideology (in this case, religion) that is so often determinant of behavior in a way that transcends hierarchy. For example, the local Imam may teach benignly, but the individual can (and often is) moved towards violence and/or intolerance as a result of the exigences specified in the theology itself. He perpetrates evil NOT because of the proclivity or inclination of his personality (as might be the case for an American criminal), but because of the specific dictates of his creed.

            In a sense, you and I are touching directly on the core of the quandary facing the non-Muslim world: Trying to understand exactly what is the nature and essence of the threat – if any – that Islam poses? Charles Krauthammer for example (whom I otherwise admire) goes out of his way to differentiate Islam and "Islamism", as if the latter exists outside the parameters of the former.

            I couldn't disagree more. While Islam is obviously much more than JUST the barbaric hudud punishments and the doctrine of Jihad, these are unequivocal (and undeniable) parts of it.

            Your husband expressed an admiration for Afghan culture. I have no doubt that certain facets of that culture are indeed admirable (such as the hospitality that he mentioned). I also have no doubt that it is a primitive, violent, and sexist, culture – and was so long before the Taliban.

  • modernminuteman

    the ultimate insult to america was when Obama referred to fort hood as a workplace incident. if my son had died there i would be in prison now for i could not let that go unchallenged. my heart goes out to this father and hero and his family.

  • kblink45

    "We have the Constitution waved at us when we discuss terrorism and are accused of playing into the hands of terrorists when the objective is to get at the root of the terrorist phenomenon. We can’t get there if we are not allowed to discuss it in an honest frank way."

    Substitute "race" for "terrorism" and you've just discovered the other half of our plight.

  • Beth

    In the Article above: "a true understanding of the Koran with the Hadiths and Sunna takes years of training and study. The average practitioner leaves that part of their religion to their Imam"

    2Cr 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from – the simplicity – that is in Christ.

    Thou shalt not Lie
    Thou shalt not Steal
    Thou shalt not Cheat
    Thou shalt do no Murder
    Thou shalt not Covet

    And that's the end of the Carnal Commands in Christianity. The Siritual Command is to study the Book of the Lord and to love Him with all of our hearts. It is promised, that if we do these things, and wait for His return, we shall be saved.

    For all true Christians, here is how to know if the Koran is truly from God or not…

    The Koran specifically calls the Son of God an abomination and denies Him: 009.030 – 037.151 – 037.152 – 019.088 – 019.089 (chapt and verse given for proof).

    In the New Testament:

    1Jo 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    According to the New Testament (which was written well over 600 years before the Koran was) the religion of Islam is the ant-Christ. For any who claim that Chritianity is provoking Islam – it is the other-way around – Because the New Testament was given first.

    "The 'tree' is known by his fruit"….

    Commands of the Koran:

    047.004 – Beheadings

    033.052 – Gang Rape of female 'infidels'

    005.033 – Crucifixions

    008.067 – Treason (perjury in a non-muslim court is commanded when defending islam)

    033.061 – Genocide "without mercy"

    005.041 – Racism ….(one of many examples – you be the judge)…

    005.041 O Messenger! let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: whether it be among those whosay "We believe" with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie – (change the name "Jews" to the name "Muslims" and watch the murderous raging temper tantrums take place world-wide. That is how to know that that teaching is racism)

    Here are a few more for the muslims who lie and say the words are being taken out of context (be your own judge)…


    005.033 The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet. – {meanwhile – It is the Muslims who are commanded to initiate the fight} 002.216 – 009.039

    (At any time in mankind's history – from his beginning to the very end – How merciful are crucifixions? It's cruel and evil….especially if you had to watch a dear loved-one suffer like that. There is no justification for such evil acts. There never was and there never will be.)

    More….(koran chapters and verses given for proof)….

    002.216 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing [war] which is good for you and that ye love a thing [peace] which is bad for you?

    004.104 And slacken not in following up the enemy: If ye are suffering hardships, they are suffering similar hardships.

    009.039 Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.

    And this is what they are told to do with those commands (world-wide, but be your own judge of what the words are saying)…

    004.094 O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to any one who offers you a salutation: "Thou art none of a believer!" Therefore carefully investigate. {they are to keep their intentions hidden)

    004.100 He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds – in the earth – Many a refuge, wide and spacious.

    004.101 When ye travel – through the earth – there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear '''the unbelievers''' May attack you: For '''the Unbelievers''' are unto you open enemies.

    003.028 Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless it be that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking as it were security. {telling lies to non-Muslims is the spirit of Islam)

    008.067 It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war [slay them first] until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. {Treason in all non-Muslim nations


    • Beth

      There's more – but if these facts aren't enough to convince anyone who claims to be a Christian to stay far away from Islam and its followers…then nothing will.

      Christian enemies – are those of our own House…

      Mat 10:36 – Mat 10:36 And a man's foes (enemies) – shall be they of his own household.

      Mic 7:6 ….a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

      But strangers?…

      Jhn 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

      Mat 12:30 He that is not with Me – is against Me (There is no in-between)
      These facts are good to know – for the vulnerable who can be easily swayed into believing that Islam takes years to study and learn, being led to believe (of whom, are many) that those of us who are speaking the Truth – are either liars – or mis-informed.

      Know this:

      1Jo 2:27 But the anointing (His Word) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you (thus, fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah… "They shall teach no more, Saying, Know the Lord…")

      Because of the simplicity of the Laws that are in Christ, (of which, are easy to understand, by considering, how you would want others to treat you) – those teachings of the Koran stand condemned, on a level that any simpleton can undstand.