Investment Rarities Incorporated
History |  Q & A  |  Endorsements  |  Portfolios  | Flatware | Gold Coins  |  Silver Coins  |  Contact |  Home


Jim Cook



Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

..Read More »

The Best of Jim Cook Archive


Best of William Histed

December 3, 2012

archive print


The crime scene tape was up for about an hour before I pulled in the parking lot of Lakeland Farmer's Market Saturday morning.
I quickly saw several vehicles scattered in all directions at the front of the open air buildings.   I soon found out why. The white van was a crime scene van; three of the cars were unmarked sheriff's cars and there were two marked cars.
I quickly got my bearings.  A lump developed in my throat.  I saw plain clothed detectives moving around inside where the gun and coin vendors are located.  Three elderly, retired men run the stand.  One had been robbed on his way home from another Florida flea market a few months before when he stopped at a restaurant.He no longer keeps gold at the booth after that robbery.
I quickly asked a vendor milling around outside what had happened. "They robbed Ralph and they shot him.  They rushed him to the hospital. That's all I know."
Ralph is Ralph Harper,who will be 80 on his next birthday. I've known him for several years.  A bystander chimed in, "That takes a real man, to shoot an 80 year old."
The Polk County Sheriff's Office asked the public to report anything suspicious, but they gave no description of the suspects. My newspaper found out. They were all young black men and the victim was an elderly white man.  No one called it a hate crime.
Ralph knows his guns which is his main business at the flea market. He also helps watch the coin display cases.
It may take a lot of guts to shoot an 80-year-old man, but it takes even more guts to rob a gun dealer with a couple of dozen weapons in little more than arm's reach.
But of course, all but one of the guns was ready to shoot, reportedly.
Law officers will tell you that even a well armed and backed up police officer can succumb when ambushed by six men who are armed. The element of surprise can overwhelm even the most ready person as Ralph.  Guns alone cannot always protect you if you are outnumbered and caught by surprise.
The morning started when two young men wanted to buy a gun from Ralph.  He was suspicious of their intentions and would not sell it to them.  "We'll be back," he was told, or warned as it turned out.
Minutes later, six fast-moving young men "in hoodies" and with duffel bags to carry out the guns rushed the stand.  A grandmother selling cell phone chargers the next booth over saw the men and ran to her car.  She did the right thing---if you can't help anyone in trouble---don't add to story so get out of the picture.
The good news is that despite surgery and a stay in intensive care, Ralph will live.
Surgery as that is not easy on an 80 year-old. But Ralph is one old tough cracker.
A lot of people love the guy.  As I stayed at the flea market parking lot for about an hour and spoke to a couple of witnesses.  Of the two other men who run the gun and coin stand, only one was there; at the time.  The other usually comes in a bit later after stopping for coffee. His son and daughter-in-law had just stopped by before the shooting, and left, convincd it would be a low day. They had no idea.
Several people drove to the flea market while I was there, concerned about Ralph's condition after they heard there had been a shooting. Word moves quickly in our day of cell phones, text messages and e-mails.
Ralph should be seen as a public hero.  He did the right thing---he refused to make a buck selling a gun to two young men he felt would mis-use it.  His attackers would prove him right minutes later. He got shot for trying to do the right thing.  The public should praise him the way it would a police officer who took a bullet for trying to protect the public. Ralph should get an award.  You are not always rewarded for doing what is right. Is that an understatement today.
The group rushing this man---his coin dealer counterpart being just a few feet away---these brave punks somehow panicked and got only two guns when they broke into a case.  They left a duffel bag behind as evidence when they ran.
These three senior citizens are among our heroes. They are filling a public service running a legal business.  They are not big time businesses, and they don't do the volume of sales of say, Investment Rarities.  But they educate the local public about such things as self defense and what the government has done to our money.  Sometimes the first education,the first coin a collector gets, comes from such a small shop.   This is a small business that was attacked by domestic terrorists. Do think Washington cares?  No, this "terrorist" crime can't be traced to our government's efforts to go to war for new trading zones abroad.


I own one of the oldest media firms in Florida.  I ask questions, even of myself.
Was this the only shooting of an innocent person in the area or even in the state in the recent past?  No, a security guard in nearby Tampa was murdered making his rounds at an apartment complex two nights before.  He was married and had two young children.   Tampa Bay is the same area that saw the murder of four law enforcement officers within the last two years. That doesn't include two law officers gunned down in the Miami area within the past couple of years.
And it's not just law enforcement that die in the line of duty.  We've had pizza delivery people, convenience store clerks, even a postal employee murdered in the line of duty in Florida in recent times.
Yet, isn't our government taking us broke parading around the world intervening and telling other societies what is wrong with them and why they must need to change or face a war?  Whose paying for all these never-ending wars of the U.S.?
A year ago, a Lakeland Police officer was gunned down.  Yet another private guard was killed at an apartment complex he was patrolling in St. Petersburg recently.  But we can find fault all over the world.
And the day before Ralph was shot, a railroad employee was shot near Orlando--50 miles away---when he asked a trespasser what he was doing on railroad property.
The list of violent crime goes on and on in our country.  We have the largest crime rate in the industrial world. We have more people incarcerated than any other civilized country.
We have become first in a lot of other things, too, such as government deficits, government debt, private debt, anxiety drug use and more. Yes, we're number one, alright. This does not even get into the break-up of the U.S. family, many children having little or no parenting and more.  But any nation that convinces itself it is the greatest nationa that ever existed is not prone to look for ways to better itelf.
I'm a long-term optimist, but I also know present reality.
Why is the United States bankrupting itself starting wars and trouble around the world in the name of "freedom" and "open government?"  We are getting less of them here.  Aren't these wars, as Socrates said about all wars, over money?  Maybe not money for you, but money for someone?  It's over primacy and new trade routes!

 Multiple thousands of people are murdered in the United States every year. Our airports, due to our meddling around the world, appear to be something out of Nazi Germany.  Why do the U.S. people seem to be the defeated ones any more?
Yet, we are creating trillions of "dollars" out of thin air to fight these foreign wars?
Someone told me, "What about 9-11?"  That was a boomerang from Bush War One, in my opinion and our occupation of the region.
Is it to much to ask our politicians in Washington to try their hand at just running the United States first?  And, if they can prove they can do that, then take on the world!" How many countries do we have bases in---110 or so?
From an old movie came the quip, "We sure are going to a lot of work to make trouble for ourselves."  That, to me, sums up U.S. intervention around the world.
I might be rambling here, but this is my point.
Isn't it time we tried to clean up our own massive problems in the United States before getting on our high horse and going broke trying to shove our way of life on other countries? 
Richard Nixon was many things to many people, but he said governments always need "an enemy" to stay in business, cloud the real problems and keep the public in fear. "If you don't have an enemy, you find one," he quipped.  Most of the time, that scapegoat is some "foreign" enemy.
Isn't it time we quit chasing our tail and quit blaming "foreigners" for all of our problems?  I asked myself that questioned as I worried last Saturday if Ralph would make it.  These wars are not about anyone's freedom, they are about expanding the Wall Street global corporate empire into regions that don't want our culture change.
Ralph, statistically, would have been safer last Saturday vending goods on the street in some of "our enemies" who are defiant of our globalist intentions. Maybe some other countries could teach the United States government something?  It's doubtful.