Time to Preview! “The Ghosts of ‘Ukuthula’ !

Now is the time to begin watching for the actual publication date! Only weeks away!

This link will take you to the Create Space page where you can actually read sections of the book for preview, respond to questions that will give the author (that’s me) feedback and finally actually put a rating on what you have read and seen. Hope you like it!


To the Politicians Afraid of Gun Control – What would a Civil War Veteran say?

A uniques personal history of the last months of the Civil War and the life of a young man as he then continues his military career and then moves on to the Deadwood Gold Rush.
A uniques personal history of the last months of the Civil War and the life of a young man as he then continues his military career and then moves on to the Deadwood Gold Rush.

I wonder what my great grandfather, who fought in the Civil War would have thought of the people who kill unarmed men, women, children and students in schools, businesses, airplanes  and on the streets of our country? I think he would be as appalled as I am that we have corrupted our thinking about what it means to have a right to bear arms. I think he would agree with me that the 2nd Amendment has so responsibilities, not just rights to do what ever we please. Here’s what I think.

I’ve spent a week reading the platitudes and published regrets by politicians and others concerning the horrible murders that occurred in Roseburg, Oregon this past week. They aren’t much different than the platitudes and regrets of the collateral damage of gun massacres in the USA since the Columbine Massacre. So here we all are saying the same stupid things and still doing absolutely nothing about gun safety or gun control of some kind in our country.

As a voter and adult member of society, I would like to know specifically where you as politicians now stand on doing something about these happenings rather than hearing your apologias once more and then seeing you once again sitting on your thumbs.

All of your political statements on this subject are directed towards pleasing an audience rather than trying to solve a very large and complex problem that continues to haunt our country. You speak from ignorance because you don’t allow data to be collected and published by law enforcement agencies or the Center for Disease Control about the violence or numbers of deaths caused by guns. You don’t know what types of persons and personalities are involved in those killings, you don’t promote a culture that will bring these persons to light before they kill others and you aren’t willing to even try to do anything about finding out this information. You bow down to a twisted view of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and are not even willing to admit that the “right to bear arms” has some very deep responsibilities attached to it unless you believe that our founding fathers were just as ignorant and unwilling to act as you are.

Because you refuse to allow collection of information, you know no more than I do about the gun situation in our country, so my opinion has as much value as any of yours in this whole morass of trying to figure out what to do. So instead of shooting off your mouths so much about to get attention, why don’t you try listening to an ordinary gun owner who has used weapons for over 50 years and has some distinct opinions about how we might begin to fix the mess we have gotten ourselves into with guns in the U.S.A.

First of all, you, as politicians need to realize that we didn’t get to this point in our society overnight, so you aren’t going to solve the problem overnight. The genie has been coming out of the lantern for over fifty years, so you may as well accept that it may take that many years or more to even get the lid partially back on the bottle. Face it, you aren’t ever going to take the guns away from the people, so you need to fix what you can about them having guns as one of their rights as a citizen.

Secondly, since you speak from ignorance because you have no data, you need to pass legislation that allows both the collection of data on shootings of all kinds and the kinds of people who perpetrate these acts. In this legislation you need to fund the FBI, the CDC and law enforcement to collect the data and then fund the researchers to analyze and draw conclusions from that data. If you do this for ten years you may have enough real information and recommendations to draw conclusions about the people who kill themselves or others and the guns they use. This might then lead to some sensible legislation.

Thirdly, while you are waiting for this data to be accumulated, you don’t just have to keep sitting there on your thumbs, there are other areas you can work on which may yield some results immediately. How about looking at gun safety from the standpoint of the “right to bear arms” having some responsibilities that go with it? For instance the responsibility to:  a. be trained by professionals to use your guns before being able to buy hunting licenses.

  1. keep your guns in a child and burglar proof safe place.
  2. have safety lock on all guns at all times unless the owner is using them.
  3. have liability insurance for your guns if used inappropriately by anyone.
  4. make parents responsible for any and all actions of their children with respect to guns.

These kinds of actions aren’t unconstitutional, and they aren’t things that most of us who own and use guns from time to time will have any problem doing or obeying. They will make our country safer, they will make more people aware of the uses of guns. We need to teach in our homes, schools and even churches that guns aren’t something you go strutting around town with to try to make yourself feel more important. Guns are tools, which when properly used can be assets to the individual or to society. When they are misused, they are just as dangerous as any other tool, whether it be an automobile, a power saw, or …. you name it. Society has a right to prescribe, and require certain behaviors of its citizens. When we are talking about a constitutional right that is affecting the safety of our children, youth, schools, transportation and country as a whole, we have an obligation to fix it even if it takes fifty or a hundred years.

If we as a people and you as legislators don’t get to work on figuring out how to make the “right to bear arms” work in or country without all the collateral damage, then we probably don’t deserve the “right to bear arms”. Think about it, as if one of those casualties were your own child or family member.

Thanks for listening.


My vote! – A True American Hero – Chris Mintz


Here’s my vote for the next person to receive a Presidential civilian commendation on the level of the Medal of Honor. Chris Mintz, unarmed, yet a trained veteran, had the presence of mind to warn others of the danger of the shooter at Umpqua Community College, and urge them to get out of the area. Then, with complete disregard for that fact that he was unarmed and up against an active shooter, he went back into the room and bare handedly attacked the shooter while taking seven shots that could have gone to killing other persons. This is the true meaning of courage and heroism for Americans of all walks of life to look up to and aspire to. It is not the braggadocio of packing a gun, not the swagger of the step, nor the backing of a gang, nor the picking on the weak and helpless. It is the matter of fact being trained to do a job and then doing that job to the best of one’s ability despite risk to life and limb. That’s what heroism and military training mean to me. Thanks. Chris for your great service to others.

Rick McBee’s works on, in and through Africa

The posts on his site are dedicated to giving the reader an overview of my current book(s) on Africa, the work that I did in Africa during two extended stays, first in Cameroon 1966-68 and then Botswana, 1973-76. It also has information on my travels through Africa during each of those periods of time, as well as an overview of my most recent trip back to Africa in 2014 to visit Botswana and Zambia. I hope you enjoy it.

Book Cover Best JPG  African Sunset - ChobeCape Buffalo and Sable Antelope Skulls - Chobe

Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not to enjoy reading this outstanding descriptive novel of what it’s like to be abandoned on Mars.  Can’t wait for the movie!
Finished! Wow! Talk about a book that gets you into the mind of the ‘nerd’ who becomes and astronaut!<br><br>As a guy who in the 60’s wanted to be a flyer and astronaut, but who found out that good eyesight was a key and 20/200 doesn’t cut it, I found my niche close up with bugs. This guy, Andy Weir, really knows his stuff about Mars and the astronaut world. <br><br>Now back to the Botanist. You can almost smell the inside of the ‘Hab’ after he plows in the night soil and spreads everything out all over the place to grow potatoes. You can feel the reek of 20+ day is the ‘rover’. Yeah, how a simple straightforward descriptive book can take you inside the mind and workings of an abandoned astronaut is great! I even checked out some of the math to make sure Andy Weir wasn’t just throwing numbers around with Mark Watney. Clever solutions to problems that would only come up in space or on Mars and clever working together of the whole plot. <br><br>I can’t wait for the movie to come out. It will be hard to pull off something as good as this book on the big screen.  <br>
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/17209090-richard-jr”>View all my reviews</a>

Writing about Africa – Not for the Meek at Heart!

You want to write about Africa? Then before you pick up your pen, better do a bit of research and hopefully a lot of travel or try living on the continent in order to get the real feel of life. You also better pick a time and place that fit with what you know, because the ‘Old Africa Hands’ who’ve been there and lived there will take you apart if you get your history, time, place, language…., you name it, wrong.  For instance: Take the picture on the right. The center of the village/town of Maun, Botswana.

img004OK, what period of time was this picture taken in?

Well, certainly not in the 21st century because if you’ve been to Maun in the past 15 years it’s got paved roads, most of the houses are now rectangular instead of being rondavels, and you don’t see sand track roads driving just about everywhere because the today they have sidewalks and gutters and the whole nine yards of a city of 50,000 people.

Here’s what modern Maun looks like from street level in the same part of town. Hardly recognizable unless you know the particular tree you are looking at. IMG_0093

Wikki has a good site to bone up on some of the history of this one area if you are interested.


Not only do you have to know place and time, you have to know something about the language, the values and beliefs of the peoples, some of which they will admit to (such as a belief in Christianity), and some that they won’t (You know, the stuff we Westerners try to cut out of our minds and laugh at, but it still keeps coming back up – eg. From bearsies, and ghosties, and long legged beasties, and things that go ‘bump’ in the night….); it’s the same in Africa, each society has it’s own set of tale that would make your hair stand on end.  So do your research.

Then shoot for realism despite the fact that you will probably have to write fiction because no-one will believe what you tell them is really true anyway. That’s Africa – myth, legend, modernism and ancient tribalism all wound up into a million different stories.

That’s what I’m trying to write about in “The Ghosts of Ukuthula.”


New Website Completed “At Last!” Feedback Please!

Wow! What a good feeling at the end of yesterday when I finally pushed the buttons and my new Weebly Make your own website information actually came on line and worked the way I had planned. Still a lot of work to be done on it, to now get my blogs all coordinated, but it sure feels good! Take a look at My new Weebly web page . I hope you like it and can give me some feedback on what else you would like to see.

A word to the wise on this, watch a couple of the Weebly site videos on making the website so you have an understanding of what you really want and whether you are willing or want to pay for the service or just have a minimal site. I want with the mid-range since I want a place to get people to:

my blog, https://rickmcbee.wordpress.com, my Amazon author page  and my Amazon book page.

I also wanted to start subdividing my blog information, which I have begun to do on the website by activating a link back to my blog through pictures. Now the task will be to increase the actual pages of my blog so that each pic links to the correct topic. Not done yet, but a heck of a lot further than I was a couple of days ago.

Hoping to hear from you in the next few days!

50 years of Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa – Backgound for “The Ghosts of Ukuthula”

My latest book is about the long term development of nations and the struggle both mentally and militarily to get through periods of instability that could fall towards peace and prosperity or descend into the chaos of anarchy and civil war.

Although it is a work of fiction, “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” remains true to the dedication and commitment of thousands of Africans and their supporters, who moved many of the countries of southern Africa from colonial systems of government to peaceful self rule by black African nationals who endorsed democracy. In the case of The Republic of South Africa, this process took over fifty years of struggle, suffering and dedication by numerous players both nationally and internationally. Hence the title words ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Ukuthula’ (the Zulu word for Peace).

The Ghosts of Ukuthula Draft Book Cover Jpeg - Copy

In the early 1960’s many nations throughout Africa became independent of colonial powers. But, southern Africa remained intransigent, and this intransigence gave rise to the African liberation movements of Frelimo in Mozambique, ZANU and ZAPU in Rhodesia and the Militant Arm of the Africa National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. In 1962 the leader of this latter movement, Nelson Mandela was captured and put of trial for terrorism. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In the mid 1970’s, Botswana was still the only peaceful free democratic nation in southern Africa. As such, it became a center of organization for some  liberation movements.  Church Leaders and others met there to help plan their own support and direction agendas for Frelima, ZANU, ZAPU and the ANC. Other groups with more militaristic agendas also met and moved materials clandestinely across the country. When the liberation movements became wars of terror, intertribal, and interracial conflicts many of the church groups withdrew to the sidelines for moral and religious reasons, but continued to lend support for refugees and peaceful aid to the many homeless and oppressed persons in these nations. The pictures below illustrate the level of development in the N.W. Territory of Botswana in the mid 70’s with the largest town/village, Maun showing virtually no paved roads. The Mission run Maun Secondary School at that time had about 300 students going up to age 15-16 for students and was the only secondary school within a radius of 300 miles. The few permanent roads across the country were sand tracks and calcrete, occasionally blocked for weeks or months by high waters in the Makarikari Salt Pans to the East during the rainy season.

img004          img049

Maun Village 1973                                                                  Maun Secondary School 1974

By the 1980’s Southern Africa was ravaged by AIDS which wiped out an entire generation. Almost none of the persons we knew in Maun in the 70’s is alive today. Liberal attitudes about free sex had to change radically. During this time, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola became black African ruled nations when the Portuguese finally withdrew and the civil wars ceased.  Only Namibia and The Republic of South Africa remained as oppressive white apartheid governments which would not allow black Africans to govern themselves.

The war for liberation of these two nations intensified and it is this final period leading up to 1992 that “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” encompasses in a fictional manner to bring the readers to an understanding of the complexity, violence and difficulties of achieving this final move to black African majority rule in these nations, the leaders of which had regressed back to modes of thinking seen in the 19th century with regards to the need for racial separation. The final demise of Apartheid was like the agony and throes of death of a great beast, hence the anger, violence and hard line beliefs that are transmitted and outlined in the book. Hope you enjoy it when it makes it’s debut later this year.

Southern Africa – Still Exploding in the 90’s!

My Latest! Book! Action, and adventure! A fast reading thriller of gun running and revolution in a part of the world that is still one of the most strategic!

I’m hoping to find an agent and publisher at the Willamette Writer’s Conference, August 7, 8, and 9. Hope to see you there!

Here’s a mock-up of a possible cover showing the southern tip of the continent of Africa and the links between subversive actions in the 1990’s when a “Third Force” attempted to overthrow the road to “Ukuthula” (Zulu for “Peace”) and a transition to Black African majority rule in The Republic of South Africa.

The Ghosts of Ukuthula Draft Book Cover Jpeg


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