So, I am taking a communications class at school. We are spending some time on amateur radio because out teacher has his license. Upon studying some of the antennas I noticed a house right behind mine with a couple mounted on a shack out back. (I'm trying to move the story forward quickly so it may come across a bit "choppy".) I knocked on the door and introduced myself and asked the old guy if he minded showing me his ham setup. We talked for a couple hours and I was fascinated. He has all kinds of awards and has contacted every single county in the nation SIX times. Fast forward....... He invited me to a local amateur radio club meeting. I went last night. These guys are impressive. They pledge to the flag before every meeting. They conduct the meeting with old school etiquette. They are patriotic givers. They participate in all kinds of fund raisers, volunteer to track bikers on rides for charity, and spring into action when all other communications fail in an emergency. And here is where it got really interesting. Government regulations have pretty much forced many of them out of any official readiness organizations. These old guys have been at it for decades, and yet to be able to VOLUNTEER your services in an emergency, you now have to take four courses, apply for additional licenses, and subject yourself to both criminal AND FINANCIAL background checks. Well, any of these guys could cakewalk through the courses. None of them are criminals. But they feel strongly about not subjecting themselves to financial background checks to be able to help in an emergency (and I don't blame them...... it's ridiculous). Many are doctors and lawyers. They don't have financial skeletons in their closets. It's just a privacy issue. So, here's what they spent all night doing. They clearly understand that the network set up by the government is doomed to fail in the event of an emergency (never mind the technical lingo but let's just say they are right to suspect this). Rather than saying "screw them" and staying out of it, they decided to spend their own time, energy, and money to build THEIR OWN network in case of an emergency. In the event that the government network fails (and it will) and the government contacts the local ham community, they will be ready to jump in and assist in whatever capacity they are needed. People don't act like this any more. People don't THINK like this any more. They tucked their egos away and got to WORK on a SOLUTION rather than letting their pride dictate that they stay out of it. These old guys are the real deal. They have manners, back bones, knowledge, compassion, patriotism and leadership skills. I fear what will happen to this world when that generation is no longer here.