Embracing God’s moral imperatives changes reality.
Not just anything or everything, but moral obedience does change how things in this world go for you. There are no nifty formulas and direct exchanges; it’s not that simple. There are no lists you can check off. The whole thing assumes a mystical viewpoint foreign to Western Civilization. It’s not easy to get there. However, it does work on something which might seem to be a sliding scale. Your level of commitment and investment of effort does make a difference. The farther you dive into this ocean of truth, the wetter you get. Instead of pretending you are some rock on the shore, which seems to weather the storm but is actually slowly dissolved, you are part of what Creation does naturally. Find your place and float with it. Let it carry you and you’ll be far better off than ignoring it or fighting it.
First, an example of moral justice on a national level. Defying God’s moral code guarantees a nation will be destroyed eventually. It’s not simplistic. For example, there’s nothing wrong with spying so long as your spying on other governments is simply a matter of getting information. Should there be even the slightest effort to steer anything that government is doing, you are already evil. There is no sin in using tactical elements of surprise in warfare, but that’s not the same thing is secrecy. There is simply no need for end-to-end secrecy, because God’s moral justice says it won’t matter if the enemies knows about your troops, equipment, capabilities, etc. God has more than once defeated an enemy despite such openness. If the war itself is justified, open honesty is not a weakness. It is the moral strength to win regardless, because nature itself, even their own human nature, will oppose your enemy.
You’ll notice almost no one has tried it in a couple of millennia at least. Instead, the US is destroying itself by casting off everything God has offered for protection. Now the US is His enemy.
On a personal level: Try out the power of forgiveness. Yes, it has a known psychological power. You’ll feel better and act better if you can get over things you can’t fix. But it’s more than that. The power to forgive according to God’s moral justice changes how nature acts with you. It’s not some silly sentimental absolutist proposition of letting everyone get away with anything. That reflects the evils of Western rationalism. Rather, you gain insight into when it just doesn’t matter; there’s nothing wrong with fighting when it does matter. The point is to understand how to evaluate what matters. Whatever you lost will be replaced and then some. That’s how the moral laws of the universe work.
This is what Christian Mysticism is about, claiming the very real power of God that changes reality itself.
Most people have no idea how government works, much less clandestine government agencies.
Moral excellence includes not being easily fooled — wise as serpents and harmless as doves. You know you are being taken for a ride, but you go along because there is little to gain by fighting some things. You might know the drunk is going to blow your contribution on more booze, but giving him your loose change may still be the right thing to do. It’s less what you do and more how you do it, in the sense of what you value. Saving the world is the stupidest hope anyone can have. You should know striving to make life better for folks won’t really change anything if you are gripped by the divine moral imperative to focus on the higher plane of existence. Don’t believe the lies; they are aimed at consuming your soul. You can’t fix this world.
You can only show this isn’t the whole story. We live in the Shadowlands. This is a prison of falsehood, billowing curtains of deception and smoke intended to keep you from seeing any truth. A thousand half truths and lesser truths are routinely offered to prevent you thinking about what really matters.
The government of the US is not a monolith. The plutocrats are not all friends, keeping to one sheet of music and following a single script. They are more ambitious than the general run of the population, more likely to cut each other’s throats than you can imagine. It’s highly competitive, and they accept the risks because it’s how they get more of what they want. They have no sense of unity and trust is always conditional. They use each other all the time. The competing agendas are seldom a matter of genuine belief in some greater good or even a genuine evil dream. The agendas are virtually always a collective aspiration of personal benefit. People join a team for what it offers them personally, and switch to another team if the offer seems better. The partisan squabbles are almost entirely fake; what you see in the news is seldom the real point of contention.
The best of us are fake in one way or another. It’s part of being human, and you need to get used to it. That way it’s not so hard to imagine someone like Ron Paul has his own moral blind spots, as would any other of the legendary sterling statesmen of our time. Ron Paul is better than just about the entire range of other politicians, but he’s still willing to play by the rules of a fixed and tightly controlled game in which the rules are for suckers and losers. He should know that, but acts like he doesn’t. The system cannot be fixed; belief in the system guarantees you’ll be fodder for the grinding. That includes Ron Paul. I don’t support him because he isn’t radical enough; he doesn’t begin to understand the biblical message and morality. He’s just another Westerner supporting a dying Western Civilization, a wholly and utterly lost cause.
The things we can and should do under God’s moral laws are not what the majority of humanity would expect. That’s because the vast majority of humanity thinks in the wrong terms completely. See the world, not on its own level, but from a much higher level. Live with your commitments outside this world and you’ll begin to understand what you should do.
The clandestine services of the US government are loaded with the same competitive, conniving lost souls as the rest of government. Bradley Manning? He knew to keep back from disclosure the material that would genuinely threaten security. He might not have known what his superiors knew about that, but we can see in his selective disclosure an educated and trained eye on what was actually too much. That was part of his training. The IRS persecution of certain political groups was not news; it’s been going on for decades. It was known for decades, if people bothered to pay attention. It’s been in plain sight the whole time. Snowden and the NSA Powerpoint slides? Controlled release to distract, because we were told as much a long time ago.
Snowden and his ilk are professional liars; deception is the whole job. Maybe Obama is being thrown under the bus. He was always an empty suit, a man for sale to the highest bidder and slimy enough he wouldn’t even stay bought. His predecessor was too stupid to run a business even with a masters degree. And so on back down the line. All of them had handlers, often from competing teams, and the only thing they all have in common is some invisible wavy line marking what they won’t reveal about government inner workings. You don’t betray your meal ticket, but you might betray some of the food handlers. Somebody in the system is still sponsoring Snowden and helped select just what, or what version, of information he would leak.
Never believe any leak was unplanned. Things like that make a good bargaining chip for infiltration. Credibility with your espionage target is critical. Somebody in the system, with whatever agenda they might have, sponsored this whole charade and we still don’t know the worst of it, nor will we ever.
What difference does it make to a committed Christian Mystic? Recognize a distraction for what it is. Don’t be suckered into lending moral support to a false cause. Chances are Manning is the real deal, but being used as yet another propaganda tool. The system was waiting for someone like him to come along for just this purpose. Those revelations of IRS persecution? The IRS itself is a fraud, never legally ratified in the first place, but a fact of life under which all Americans live. It’s a private agency with government powers. DHS and tons of bullets ordered? That’s more complicated, serving multiple agendas. It really boosts the profits for the big arms dealers and their investors, and exposes the erstwhile patriots willing to resist. Upper level bureaucrats know they don’t have the manpower to do anything the screamers fear they might do.
One of the biggest lies of all — Modern Israel — is really little more than a huge distraction to keep genuine faith and morality off track.
Most Americans aren’t cynical enough. They care too much about what doesn’t matter and are careless about things to do matter.
There are some people you cannot help.
I rode my bicycle on the bike path. As I approached the cutout for a street crossing, he carefully pulled his small pickup against the curb, blocking the path. I could have ridden across the grass and jumped the curb, but something in my spirit said to be patient. So I denied him even eye contact, and simply turned my head to stare at the clover growing among the grass blades on my left. I waited calmly, betraying no emotion at all. Eventually he drove away.
Who knows what motivates high school kids to be so hateful? It’s not as if he didn’t see my graying beard or that I was twice his size with an ancient tattoo on my arm. I wasn’t going to play his game, but played my own. My flesh wanted to confront him and “teach him a lesson” but my spirit warned me it wouldn’t happen that way. So I gave him to God and rode on to my destination.
Then there was the lovely single lady who lived nearby, young enough to be my daughter. I would never kid around with her because she was always trying to analyze everything I said, looking for a subtext that simply was not there. She lost her well-paying job and slowly her life fell apart. It didn’t matter if she used drugs, because she lost control the same as any addict. She would ask for me to fix things on her house, and I would agree to help her, doing it with her, but not to do it for her nor let her pay me. She never called on me for those things. As she sank farther into crisis, she began acting crazier. She was not above trying to play seductive, played it well and had the assets for it. But I kept her at arm’s length, because I could see she was out of reach. That is, I knew if I got close enough to actually help, she would consume me, get me twisted up in her crazy life. I helped her move out, though.
I volunteer to help my neighbors with things I can do. An equally lovely lady across the street from me lives alone and often asks for help. She jokes with me and doesn’t take things too seriously. She tries to manage on her own, but sometimes can’t quite get it. I have no trouble doing stuff for her because it’s a gain, not a loss. Helping her does not breed an unnatural dependence; it builds friendship and blesses me more than her. If I can’t help, she thanks me for listening and somehow works it out.
There are others who use me and even abuse me, but as long as I can afford it, there’s no problem. Jesus warned there would always be poor people on this earth. Fallen humanity is just that way. It won’t matter how you calculate a redistribution of wealth, because redistribution changes the variables. Besides, some folks never get enough. It’s not that we can’t create enough for human need; we cannot create enough for human demand. Some people are poison to the whole world; some are simply poison to you.
The point is, you should know your limits. How much has God put in your hands? If He does not build in you the faith to tackle mountains, stay in the foothills until your path higher is revealed. He most surely can and does tell folks to back off and don’t mess with something He didn’t fit them to handle. If you are not disciplined in the ways of the Spirit Realm, you’ll never understand where to draw the line. The spirit-Spirit communion always knows where to find the threads of God’s moral fabric.
There are some people in your life whose sole purpose is to test you, to tempt you into folly — they are poison to you.
If I knew what it was, I’d probably mess things up.
I’m waiting. I don’t know what for, but I’m waiting. Whatever it is hasn’t come yet. The biblical concept of time is ripeness. The proper attitude is that there are some things you don’t control. You can do all kinds of things that make you feel in control based on any number of myths, but constructing a schedule is often pointless. In the New Testament we are warned that all our plans are tentative — “If the Lord wills we shall…”
No, I have no explanation. At least, not in the sense that I can describe any kind of results for when it finally happens. That’s because waiting is the command; it’s faithfulness. It could be until I die for all I know, so the what is not important at this point. The imperative is certain, though: wait. And no, I cannot explain how I arrived at the conclusion that God wants me to wait. All I can say is God told me to take care of a certain limited range of things, and let the other stuff rest.
My flesh is not at all happy. My human side wants to jump into action and make things happen. My flesh likes to ignore the spirit side of things. I’d rather not go back to the days when I lived like that. I suppose in some broad terms I can explain that what keeps me occupied is a powerful sense of peace with higher things. Now that I have a grasp on the corner of whatever this “peace” thing is, I’m not willing to let it go. It’s worth more than living, worth far more by a long stretch. In a manner of speaking, my flesh can just go to hell. It’s not in charge any more. I don’t let mere intellect run the show.
Yep. I’m waiting on something. I’ll know what it is when it arrives; I’ll know what to do with it. That’s enough for now.
Reason gets in the way of a lot of godly things.
Kindness is a command. It is a motivation unto itself in the sense it seeks no particular outcome. If we tie things to outcome, we fail God completely. Seeking an outcome is rejecting His rule; it gets in His way, seeks to limit His hand. The outcome is always in His hands; He said so in many ways and places in the Bible. It’s included in this blog’s title: Do What’s Right. Do it because it is right, not for any other reason. Our search for divine justice is the end in itself. Justice is not an end product; it is the living grasp at the vital divine element still within reach in the fallen realm of existence.
I would have thought this was obvious, but I keep seeing references that seek to constrain kindness or other virtues to some reason for doing them. Stop that. It’s the wrong approach from the start; it’s evil. It reduces things to instrumentality and clings to the fallen nature of our humanity. Need a motivation? God’s glory. That’s the only reason He hasn’t taken you home to your reward already. He isn’t done with you in His glory. There is no end point on this side of eternity in the sense God is pointing at some goal. The “goal” is His glory all day long. He seldom bothers to reveal to us when His glory is finished with us. Let Him take care of the results and stop trying to steer things to a conclusion. What’s right is right regardless of human disappointments or celebrations.
In this moment, always in this moment, do what’s right. You don’t need any other reason.
They were ready bright and early the next morning to catch the bus down in the village.
There was a simple connection to another line in the south that ran all the way to the head of the kayak run in Houyet. They were hardly alone among the passengers with the same destination, but the morning was still cool and the crowds would not come until later. With the recent rains, the stream was a bit swollen and fast, perfect for this time of year. The only problem was finding the particular vendor who had issued the ticket, as there were several, each with their own color of kayaks. It was easy to find the guys who rented out the red ones and yellow ones, stacked on tall racks all over the place. They eventually found one with blue and white boats that matched the name on the ticket.
Their ticket included the deluxe paddles and a relatively fancy two-seater. Preston knew from experience he had to sit in the rear. They were launched from a rollered track that ran down into the water. It wasn’t all that different from his experience canoeing in the Boy Scouts back in the States. For the first kilometer or so, he talked Angie through keeping the thing aimed down stream and away from obstacles and other kayaks.
They really weren’t that far into the trip when they saw him. There were a handful of serious kayakers who rode their own equipment, and Gary was one of them. They were facing a tight turn to the left and he called to them from the shadows on the right. There was a tiny stream feeding into the main flow, running out from under a small wooden foot bridge up on the bank. Gary had tied up his orange and black boat to a small but solid tree on the bank facing outward. He extended his line for Angie to to tie off on the loop at the bow of their boat. This made for an odd water-borne conference with him facing them both.
“Glad to see you didn’t waste any daylight,” he started off. “Angie, if I really wanted to threaten Preston, what do you think I would do?”
She glance back at Preston behind her and blurted out, “You would attack me.” Preston nodded agreement.
Gary grinned. “You two are an amazing team. Your level of trust is quite rare in this world. Yet people intending evil are forced to use the same means to their ends. They have to rely on people they can trust on some level. Preston, you helped run a business during the worst of the off-shoring days in the US. How did you stay competitive?”
Preston felt he knew where some of this was going. Without hesitation, “Well, fleet maintenance is pretty hard to do offshore, but a couple of companies tried to bring in foreign workers. We beat them on service. Parts are parts and we were all pretty much restricted to using the same basic equipment with so many suppliers closing shop. But the big thing for us was keeping our people happy and motivated to do better work for the money.”
Gary laughed. “Key word there — people instead of personnel. That says it all. It was the same in the Army, wasn’t it?”
Preston shook his head, “It would have been if the system hadn’t promoted bean counters over genuine leaders. I dare say some units I saw, the soldiers might not be too convinced their own superiors weren’t the enemy.”
Gary nodded. “Even bad guys know that. They might be willing to use fear, coercion and slavery, but there have to be a few insiders who run interference for them. A big shot working on his own has to run himself ragged in micromanagement. Smart bosses always find good people and divide up the workload.”
He took a deep breath and waved at some random passing girls hooting at him. “Kids,” he snorted. “You two don’t look too bad in your dark hair. For this mission you aren’t likely to see too many trafficking victims. In a few days there will be what I call a mini-Bilderberg meeting here in Dinant — politicians, business and labor leaders, big investors, and so forth. As you might expect, at least half of them are mere figureheads. We aren’t too concerned with the big shots. We need to know about their lieutenants.”
Gary shifted in his kayak and pulled on the rope a bit. “The paparazzi will be here, too. Did you ever work with them, Preston?”
Preston had, indeed, tried early on to get work with the freelance news photographers, but decided that was the wrong field of operations for him. “That was a cluster,” he snorted.
Gary continued, “In a crowd of photographers at a media event, how many are actually working for their sponsors? Don’t you find some of them always willing to haggle with the competing interests?” Preston nodded as Gary went on. “Yeah, and there’s always a few who actually work for the people they pretend to photograph.” Again Preston nodded.
Gary turned to Angie, “Can you spot a photographer who isn’t really a photographer?”
“I think so,” she said with some curiosity in her eyes.
Gary leaned back a bit in cockpit of his kayak. “Don’t shoot pictures or video of the big shots. Shoot everyone but them. This thing should take a few days, so you’ll get plenty of time to figure out who is always there, who is playing maitre d’ for the people who get in the news. We are about to publish some big scandalous splash to shake things up, and we need to know who’s doing the real dirty work. Nobody else in the association has the time and energy to work this on the ground, nor anywhere near your talents — not to mention the obvious protection of God. You two are walking miracles. Don’t fling a needless challenge in His face, but don’t be afraid to keep His angels busy if that’s what the situation requires. Also, don’t stop anywhere and tie up your boat and leave it today. Someone will trade you for their less deluxe accommodations while your back is turned.”
Without another word, he turned and released the line holding them all in place and slipped past them into the river.
Angie grabbed the line and pulled the slack end into their kayak. They turned and drifted back out into the mainstream. Gary was already a distant speck zipping down the river ahead of them in his custom fitted kayak. They focused on enjoying the scenery. At places the bank rose up steeply to stone cliffs. There were a couple of fancy chateaus right on the water.
Preston remembered a warning he read in one review: Somewhere beyond the half-way point was a dam with a sluice. When riding down the sluice, it was critical to line up straight and off on the right side, and then stay to the right and paddle quickly to avoid getting caught in the folks dawdling at the bottom to watch others. The right side was a little deeper and most of those who hung around drifted toward the left where it was shallow.
They managed to clear the sluice without getting overturned. It had become quite warm and they removed their light jackets. At the end, the worker on the reception dock directed them to reverse the kayak, point the bow back upstream, and then sidle over to the quay. Strong hands helped them climb out and took control of the kayak. All they had to do was walk away.
It was impossible to avoid getting pretty wet during the run downstream, both from splashing by others and by water running off their paddles. But after glancing into the shower facility and seeing it was unisex with both genders running around nude, Preston glanced at Angie. “Not my scene, Babe.”
“Mine neither,” she assured him as they strolled toward the main street. They had already begun to dry and were quite hungry for lunch. Angie suggested they not grab the first one near the kayak endpoint, but walk out toward the gorgeous cathedral on the main road. The tourists were already out in force, and they drifted across the bridge eastward over La Lesse and along the street until they spotted a cafe with signs suggesting it was a baker-butcher shop. It seemed the right place at the right time, so they turned in there and picked out some sandwiches and a pair of what Belgians called “chocobollen” — a flaky light popover filled with a rich pudding-like cream that wasn’t too sweet, then dipped in chocolate icing. The coffee was superb, as it usually was in these parts.
Preston was describing a few volksmarches he had made in the area during his first stay in the Benelux. Dinant had become one of his favorite destinations, especially the Two Forts March that took walkers upriver on one bank to Givet, France, and then back down the other bank. He mentioned there were lots of trails in the area not on the bike maps.
“Show me,” Angie challenged him.
Translation of the Bible into English is inevitably difficult. Virtually every translation I’ve read does something I find objectionable. That’s because knowing how to get an English word or phrase from one of the biblical languages is no guarantee you got the right one. There is a substantial culture and history translation, too. There are biases, and not a single English translation approaches it with a genuine Hebrew mindset. They make the assumption someone writing in Greek must have been thinking in Greek, when clearly some of them were not.
So we have words and phrases from the Bible that don’t mean for us what it meant for the authors in many cases. Some biblical language has been imbued with a different meaning by readers far removed, convinced their viewpoint itself is holy. You cannot build a theology from a translation; you have to learn better what the first audience would have gotten from it. Written and spoken language can never represent independent truth, as if anyone centuries later can simply pick it up and get it 100%.
Phrases used interchangeably in most Christian religious conversation: born-again, born from above, having spiritual life or spiritual birth, saved, redeemed. Sadly, those last two are not the same as the others in the Bible. In the context of the Hebrew culture, they could include saved on this level without reference to the spiritual level. In other words, the average American Christian confuses the Two Realms very badly. Even with all the help of folks like Augustine and his Two Cities, we still get it wrong because Augustine himself was a bit confused and too Platonic.
Conversion and spiritual birth are not synonymous.
Because of my years of training and experience in psychology, chances are good I could convert most people. Given sufficient time and clues to what motivates them positively and negatively, I can eventually sell one kind of religion or another. Add enough enthusiasm and it would be whole herds of people.
The problem is, it has to have some measure of falsehood in it. There has to be some sort of fundamentalist edge to it, something about it that removes very real choices from your frame of reference. If I do it well enough, there’s a very good chance you’ll be committed for life. Right up to the day you die, you will believe and act accordingly.
But what about after that?
There is a correlation between conversion and eternal life, but no causal link. Indeed, the saddest part of my imaginary scenario is a virtual guarantee that a convert will believe he is going to Heaven and it doesn’t happen. Instead, he brings his assurance that he has the Holy Spirit and a genuine faculty of faith into the church and proceeds to implement his false faith.
That’s because “conversion” is a very well established term in behavioral science. We can explain how it happens and duplicate the effect in the majority of people we encounter on the street. It’s a form or manipulation, a purely psychological effect. When I attended college as a preacher boy, that’s what I was taught to do through my sermons, lessons and various “evangelism” skills.
Who remembers Evangelism Explosion? How about The Four Spiritual Laws? Since those came out, I’ve seen a huge number of personal evangelism training curricula with all kinds of cute or edgy names. If you can package it, it’s fake. It’s manipulation, brainwashing and it brings about mere psychological conversion. It produces a vast sea of “Christians” who remain spiritually dead and are utterly certain they are not. It’s a cultural Christianity with it’s own language and habits. It explains the buttonholing manipulation programs, the memorized/canned spiel with its compelling logic, which have angered so many who aren’t that easy to manipulate.
It’s called “decision theology.” The language of “Jesus’ offer of salvation” and “invite Jesus into your heart” is not in the Bible. It’s a Western rationalist approach people read back into Scripture. It’s efficiency and efficacy from an alien perspective. It’s about bringing the mighty miracle powers of God down under human control. That ain’t happening.
I would love it if there was anything at all you or I could do that would bring about spiritual birth. Sorry, but God keeps that entirely under His hat; He refused to explain how it works on His end, on what basis He chooses. He does not surrender Himself to our sense of justice and logic. The problem is on our end. He does what He does, and the one thing He put in our hands was the call to repent coupled with the power to live that same repentance ourselves. Spiritual birth is not a choice anyone but God can make.
If I offer the truth, and do so truthfully, you remain totally free of my control. I recognize the results are not in my hands. I refuse to do the things that would bring about a result that satisfies my fleshly intellect. God alone can make His Laws winsome with or without spiritual birth, so spiritual birth is surely His alone. All I can do is talk about it and tell you what I experienced, because there is a part of me that encounters God personally on some level. I can’t afford to fake it.
He opened the door to their apartment slowly.
The small, thin transparent plastic chip he always placed on top of the door when they left fell exactly where it should have. Unless someone was looking for such a thing, they would never see it. They closed the door. Virtually all exterior doors in the Netherlands lock automatically. They could be opened from the inside, but only with a key from the outside. They had also installed a deadbolt, and Preston locked this, too.
After checking the sparely furnished apartment and seeing nothing out of place, they dared to breathe a sigh of relief.
Preston smiled and took her in his arms. “Here’s hoping it was nothing, just someone you had seen before somewhere. A strange coincidence, maybe.”
She said nothing for awhile as she snuggled against him. Looking up at him she said, “It really bothers me why I can’t place her, because I’m normally pretty clear on such things.”
“Yes, you are. But there is nothing we can do. Maybe I should give you some of the lessons my supervisor taught me back when I worked over at the storage site. He had a long tour in Korea and earned his first level black belt in Taekwondo.”
She pulled back and looked up at him. “I thought you didn’t like violence.”
“I don’t. But just because I try to avoid it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to do it. Had our Israeli man gotten out of that car, I might not have beaten him, but it would not have been easy for him without a weapon.”
“That’s good to know. I’d rather rely on my running ability.”
She pulled away and headed to the little office. “I’m going to take a look at our photos from Valkenburg first. I need to see if I can recognize her face.”
“And I’m going to make myself remember that not even dessert in a ritzy hotel should separate us,” he said with a strained chuckle.
Angie did manage to recognize the face of the woman they thought tried to sabotage the SUV up in Margraten, but it was not the woman at the buffet. After several hours of this, she decided her mind was too tired and strained and had lost any hope of recognizing much of anything.
Preston had been working beside her most of the time, processing the photos they had taken that morning on their tour of Brunssum and Schinnen. He was viewing some touristy websites when she turned to face away from the computer.
Rubbing her eyes, Angie said, “No luck. I give up.”
He turned toward her and spun her chair around to face him. Taking both her hands, he reassured her. “There is only so much we can do. The one thing of which we can be certain is our angels were warning us not to break the rules again.”
She smiled and nodded.
He continued. “How about some kayaking? We can catch a train over to Maastricht, Liege, Namur and change to Dinant. There’s a place to lock the bikes there, then we ride the train up La Lesse to the launch point. It takes half the day if we start right after breakfast.”
She was suddenly excited. “Oh, I’d love that!”
“Good,” he said. “Let me check with our boss.”
Angie watched with some interest as he logged into their email account. Preston posted a message about images from the day’s ride in the dropbox, then asked if there was any reason they couldn’t go kayaking in Dinant.
They had a quiet dinner, then went back to check the email again.
Good shots. No reason to avoid Dinant, but not now. Get ready for Roermond. Check the dropbox.
The script spat out a PDF and then a text file. The latter was sort of a cover letter that said at the top, “Read the study first.”
So they read it, this time in English. They weren’t surprised the topic was human trafficking, their primary mission. The study explained it as a business, which happened to be illegal. Mostly it was background on what sort of factors affected the trade. Over the past decade, they had gone from coaxing kids to travel alone or in twos and threes to some destination where they were “broken” and made compliant. This was often the same place they first worked, but someone with a good business sense was trying to make things more efficient. So they began corralling the kids close to where they were found, then confining them in large groups and moving them all at once.
This was what they had witnessed with the bus. Holding them in the bus out in the woods near Aachen, the kids were sold off, but still had to be broken and it wasn’t easy convincing them without some force to leave with a pimp. They had tried using tents for the breaking action, but there were too many risks. So the crooks had begun reaching out to other criminal businesses, looking to find better facilities.
The study went on at length, and when they were finished, Angie and Preston discussed how this helped to explain better what they had been doing. Major crime bosses were often spies, too. Spying had gotten expensive and the heroin and weapons trade of days past just didn’t pay enough any more, so human trafficking was a new profitable sideline.
Finally, they went back to the cover letter. In essence, it explained that a couple major shipments of kids had come down the Rhein River on barges. Roermond was a city that had long suffered a rather high crime rate, and corruption in the city and district officials didn’t help matters. However, the barges would normally have to travel as far north as Nijmegen, then up the Maas canals (south) to Roermond. Whatever the flaws of the very left-wing government in Nijmegen, child welfare was something they pursued with ferocity. After catching a shipment of kids, the officials had made sure barges were checked pretty well. It was quite certain the kids weren’t going through there any more. Yet, they were ending up in Roermond at a large rural manor near the city where they were broken in large batches.
Preston and Angie were supposed to see if they could figure out how the kids were moved, possibly from Düsseldorf straight west. It was a rather short drive by autobahn to Roermond. The previous use of buses was now too risky, so it had to be some other means. Closing down the breaking house would prove exceptionally tough, but if they could expose who and how they were getting there, it would starve the business for awhile.
Preston sighed. “I doubt we can do any serious kayaking on the Maas canal.”