The Red Line On The Floor

House+of+CommonsI stood on the floor of the House of Commons in 1984.  I was surprised at what a long, narrow hall the House really is, very unlike the colorful, expansive grandeur of the House of Lords.  A newly-promoted sergeant with a northeastern  Colorado municipal police agency, I was s a member of a small post-graduate seminar class, studying and observing the English criminal justice system through the University of Colorado.  Our tour guide was a seasoned detective with New Scotland Yard.  He pointed out Churchill’s bench for us.  It was an experience which gave me a profound sense of where we in the United States came from – and how our way of life, governed by civilized law, came into existence.

Our detective pointed to two bright red lines on the chamber’s floor.  The lines go from one end of the House to the other, in front of both parties’ bench rows where the various members of the House sit opposite each other during debates.  He told us that the lines are there for a very good reason, that they are never to be crossed, either by the members in power, or by the opposition as the arguments proceed.  Stepping on or over that red line during debate brings a sharp rebuke from the Speaker of the House, who barks out a call to bring the offender back to order and get him back on his side of that red line.  The red line is a guarantee that both sides can have their say.  Do you now have an idea where that saying “crossing a red line” in our political discourse might have originated?

But I digress.  You want to know why the red lines are on that floor.

The red lines, my dear readers, came into existence in the early years of the Parliament.  They are placed just far enough apart,our detective told us, so that by standing behind them no two opposing members can get close enough for one to lunge forward and kill the other with a sword.  Because, that is exactly what happened during heated debates in the days when Britain was not so civilized as she is today.  Hence, the debaters may say what they wish without fear of being killed for having said it.

The right to speak one’s mind freely, without regard to giving offense to someone else who may disagree with the speaker’s idea, was not come by easily.  Many bled and died in its cause, some of them on the very floor of the House of Commons.

Comes now a woman named Pamela Geller.  She is an American.  She is a Jew.  Pamela Geller has seen and clearly comprehends the threat which doctrinal Islam, with its misogyny, repression of free thought and speech, its cruel Hadd punishments (floggings, amputations, death by stoning for adulterers) and the institution of jihad – visiting violence and death upon non-believers – represents to Western Civilization.  And lastly for my purposes here, Islam’s law mandates that any written or spoken criticism of Muslim doctrine or its prophet, Muhammad, constitutes the crime of blasphemy.

The punishment for blasphemy is death.

Under Shariah (Muslim law), by sponsoring a contest to see who could draw the most clever cartoon caricature of Muhammad, Pamela Geller committed this capital crime, blasphemy.  Ergo she is now hunted by the soldiers of jihad, whose Quranic mission is to slaughter her.  A death fatwa has issued.  I’ve also seen a report that the artist Bosch Fawstin, himself a former Muslim, whose cartoon drawing was adjudicated the winner of the contest,  has gone into hiding.

By the way, leaving Islam is also a capital crime.  It’s name is apostasy.  Apostates are also to be hunted down and killed.

Contrary to a commonly held belief, this war in which we are now engaged – a struggle for our very existence – began a long, long time ago.  The year was 622 A.D., in fact.  The World of Islam has waged war against all non-Muslims, Infidels, for about fourteen centuries.  It is a war of violence and a war of ideas.

So, here we are, ladies and gentlemen, a nation at war, a nation based upon legal foundations provided by our distant ancestors who came here from Europe – particularly from the United Kingdom.  One tenet of those ideological foundations is that we are free to speak our minds. That red line on the floor of the House of Commons, to which I alluded above, is enshrined in our laws, our Constitution and that Bill of Rights, attached thereto.

In this war of ideas, it’s as though we’re in a huge hall, each side supposedly arguing its viewpoint.  Islam versus Western Civilization.  Which side shall prevail?  The two cannot coexist.  That is mandated by Muslim law.

Each opposing side of this war has its ideology.  Unfortunately for Western Civilization, the red line on Islam’s side of the floor never existed – ever.


About John L. Work

John Lloyd Work has taken the detective thriller genre and woven an occasional political thread throughout his books, morphing what was once considered an arena reserved for pure fiction into believable, terrifying, futuristic, true-to-life “faction”. He traveled the uniformed patrolman’s path, answering brutal domestic violence calls, high speed chases, homicides, suicides, armed robberies, breaking up bar fights, and the accompanying sporadic unpredictable moments of terror - which eventually come to all police officers, sometimes when least expected. He gradually absorbed the hard fact that the greatest danger a cop faces comes in the form of day-to-day encounters with emotionally disturbed, highly intoxicated people. Those experiences can wear a cop down, grinding on his own emotions and psyche. Prolonged exposure to the worst of people and people at their worst can soon make him believe that the world is a sewer. That police officer’s reality is a common thread throughout Work’s crime fiction books. Following his graduation from high school, Work studied music and became a professional performer, conductor and teacher. Life made a sudden, unexpected turn when, one afternoon in 1976, his cousin, who eventually became the Chief of the Ontario, California, Police Department, talked him into riding along during a patrol shift. The musician was hooked into becoming a police officer. After working for two years as a reserve officer in Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado, he joined the Longmont, Colorado Police Department. Work served there for seven years, investigating crimes as a patrolman, detective and patrol sergeant. In 1989 he joined the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, where he soon learned that locking a criminal up inside a jail or prison does not put him out of business. As a sheriff’s detective he investigated hundreds of crimes, including eleven contract murder conspiracies which originated “inside the walls”. While serving on the Adams County North Metro Gang Task Force and as a member of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING), Work designed a seminar on how a criminal’s mind formulates his victim selection strategy. Over a period of six years he taught that class in sheriff’s academies and colleges throughout Colorado. He saw the world of crime both inside the walls and out on the streets. His final experiences in the criminal law field were with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, where for nearly two years he investigated felonies from the defense side of the Courtroom. Twenty-two years of observing human nature at its worst, combined with watching some profound changes in America’s culture and political institutions, provided plenty of material for his first three books. A self-published author, he just finished writing his tenth thriller.
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