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Calendar >  Robust Defense -Thomas Calabrese

Robust Defense -Thomas Calabrese

By   /  March 10, 2024  /  6 Comments


God’s Law Always Supersedes Human Law

Thomas Calabrese – Reece Johnston was abandoned at an Oceanside fire station when he was only three days old by a mother who was a career felon and a drug dealing father who moonlighted as an enforcer for the Tinaloa drug cartel. Both of his parents were completely devoid of decency and having a child was not in their plans. I guess he should consider himself lucky that he wasn’t thrown in a dumpster.

The infant was placed in the foster care system for the next eleven years and bounced from one home to another, never staying at one for more than a year. The young boy never developed any emotional connection with any of his foster parents and when Reece was twelve years-old he was placed in an overcrowded group home in Escondido. It was a volatile situation and he did not get along regularly with the other boys. Two of them had serious impulse control issues and should have been on medication while another was a sadistic bully who liked to instigate trouble. When Reece was attacked by these three individuals, he fought back with all his might and put two of his assailants in the hospital. The three boys lied about who started the fight and Reece was scheduled to be transferred to a youth detention facility when he ran away.

 At the age of twelve, he joined the growing ranks of the America’s homeless youth. Bouncing around San Diego County, trying to avoid the police and being attacked by predators, Reece self- survival skills sharpened to a razor edge. While scavenging for food in a dumpster behind a strip mall in Vista, California, he was approached by a Chinese man.  

Wah-leong ‘Wally’ Gee, was an American martial artist who primarily studied and taught jujutsu and judo. He was the founder of the technique called Fendai Budo and the groundbreaking Turning Circle JuJitsu technique. He casually inquired of the young boy, “Are you hungry?”

Reece was naturally suspicious of strangers, but from the way the man spoke to him in a calm reassuring voice reassured him so he answered, “A little.”

            “Please join me for dinner,” Wally said.

In the back of the dojo was a small kitchen and Wally had a pot of chicken wonton soup simmering on the stove and suggested, “Please be seated.”

Reece pulled out a chair from a small table and sat down. Wally placed a large bowl in front of the young boy, got one for himself and sat down. Reece inhaled and the scent of the soup was intoxicating. As hungry as he was, Reece did not touch his eating utensils until Wally began to eat. Reece savored every spoonful of the soup as he ate slowly. Without asking Wally refilled the young boy’s bowl two more times. When Reece was full, Wally said, “Let me show you something.” They walked down the hall to a small locker room that had two showers, bathroom and two sinks, “You can shower here.” Wally and Reece walked over to a small storage room and the Chinese man set up a cot and placed a pillow and blanket on it. “You can sleep here.”

Reece replied, “Thank you very much.”

Wally handed Reece a blue judogi (judo uniform), “You can wear this while your clothes are being washed.”

            “Why are you doing this?” Reece asked.

Wally smiled, “Old Chinese proverb say, if you always give, you will always have. We will talk later, now is the time for rest.”

Early the next morning, Wally found Reece dressed and inside the training area of the dojo. Reece apologized, “I’m sorry if I’m not supposed to be in here.”

            “Last night I gave you food and a place to sleep. I want something in return now.”

            “You can have whatever I have, but I don’t have much,” Reece said angrily, assuming the man only helped him because he had ulterior motives.

            “I want your word,” Wally said.

Reece was now as confused as he was angry, “Word…what do you mean word?”

Wally handed Reece a list, “Look carefully.”

Reece glanced at it and inquired, “What’s this?”

            “A list of chores…if you’re looking for a job…it includes room and board,” Wally said.

            “I don’t have any experience,” Reece said.

            “Old Chinese proverb, “Everyone can give a perfect effort,” Wally said.

Reece’s response was honest and straightforward, “Perfect has never been part of my vocabulary or my life.”

Wally offered another proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Big goals are achieved through many small actions.”

Reece’s journey began by doing menial chores and janitorial work at the dojo. What he didn’t know, Wally taught him and after six weeks, Wally began teaching Reece the fundamentals of martial arts. The only thing that exceeded Wally Gee’s mastery of the Martial arts was his hunger for knowledge. He home-schooled Reece in all aspects of education and often while they were training together, Wally would quiz the young boy on a variety of subjects from economics to world history. By the time he was 18 years-old, Reece was proficient in a variety of martial arts styles including Hapkido Judo, Wushu Kung Fu Taekwondo and Jeet Kune Do. When Reece took an exam to obtain his high school diploma, he got a perfect score.

The time had come for Reece to move on and Wally felt it too, “The world awaits you, but no matter where you go or what do… remember this will be always your home.”

Reece had a proverb of his own, “Sensei, you are the tree of strength and I am nothing but a leaf and fallen leaves always return to their roots.”

Reece Johnston enlisted in the Navy and became a SEAL. His legend grew with each passing year as he completed dozens of missions all over the world. His citations included the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and six Purple Hearts. Despite his fierce loyalty to his teammates, Reece Johnston was basically a loner. His childhood had hardened him and Wally Gee had strengthened his character. After leaving the SEALS, Reece became a valuable asset in the civilian security contractor sector. He chose his assignments carefully and was well compensated for his efforts. The only person that Reece stayed in routine contact with was Wally Gee. Sometimes they would speak for extended periods about a variety of subjects and other times it would be a few words like, “Just checking in.”

Reece and his team had just completed a daring rescue of a wealthy businessman’s family who had been kidnapped from their hotel in Costa Rica. Reece personally killed six of the abductors with his bare hands, showing the ruthless gang members no mercy.

The team separated after the successful mission and Reece took a flight to Washington D.C. to see one of his former SEAL teammates, Robert McCall who was in Walter Reed Medical Center to receive a kidney transplant. After leaving the facility, Reece decided to get something to eat at a local restaurant that was recommended to him. After finishing his meal, he was casually walking back to his hotel when he saw a group of men and women waving American flags and singing patriotic songs. Reece sat down and listened to several speakers talk about the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and corruption behind the decision.

Toward the end of the rally, a group of instigators began arriving and antagonized the peaceful protesters. A riot broke out and when three men attacked Reece, he easily defended himself by disabling his assailants. They suffered some broken bones and multiple contusions and Reece left the area. The fight was caught on tape by a surveillance camera.

Two weeks later, a federal special weapons and tactics unit arrived at the dojo in Vista, California to arrest Reece Johnston. He was practicing with Wally Gee when they burst in with guns drawn. Reece could have taken out the team if he had chosen to, but instead peacefully surrendered. He was transported back to Washington D.C. where he was placed in solitary confinement in a maximum security detention facility. The guards taunted and insulted Reece, but they were amateurs dealing with a professional and he merely smiled and continued meditating.

When he was brought before partisan judge, Joe Ryerson, the charges were read by the bailiff, “Three counts of assault, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and disrupting an official proceeding. How do you plead?”

            “Not guilty,” Reece said.

Judge Ryerson was a pompous bureaucrat and he mugged for the courtroom camera and snickered, “I was hoping you’d say that…your lack of remorse is only to increase the length of your sentence. You will be held in confinement until next Monday at which time I will pronounce sentence. One more thing… I’ve been informed that you are a veteran. If you expect leniency because of your military service…you are badly mistaken.”   

Reece responded calmly, “The only thing that I expect is for you to do your duty …otherwise there could be a problem.”

Judge Ryerson bristled, “That sounds like a threat to me.”

            “Chinese proverb says, ‘Man with something to hide sees most things as a threat,” Reece responded.

            “Get this man out of my courtroom!” Judge Ryerson ranted.

Two nights later, Reece received a visit at his cell from a guard, “Judge Ryerson is a very bad man, the only thing that exceeds his arrogance is his ambition. He’s been ordered to throw the book at everyone at the rally and he plans to make an example out of you.”

            “I appreciate the heads up, I assumed as much,” Reece said.

            “They are going to bring you in shackles for the dog and pony show,” The man handed a key to Reece, “The Special Operations community is not going let you go to prison. Here’s the plan…”

 Reece’s ankles and wrist were shackled and he had the key hidden in his mouth when he was led into the courtroom. After sitting down at the table, Reece inconspicuously unlocked the shackles on his ankles and wrists, but left them on.

Judge Ryerson ordered, “The Defendant will stand,” Reece stood up and the judge continued playing to the camera, “There is no use wasting taxpayers’ money on a trial. There is  no doubt about your guilt so I have the pleasure to  sentence you to the maximum amount allowed by law on each count plus an additional amount of time because of your lack of remorse. The total is 47 years and your sentences will run consecutively so there will no chance for parole or early release. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll killed in prison before you die an old and broken man behind bars,” The Judge laughed sadistically then posed for the camera, “In my courtroom, I am the law! Does the Defendant have anything to say?”

Reece replied in a slow measured tone of voice, “During my career in the military, I’ve had the displeasure of meeting men like you, drunk with power, cowardly, evil, incorrigible and beyond redemption. On a few occasions I’ve had the opportunity to send them to hell. You’ve already done enough damage in this world and every breath you take is an insult to this country and you need to join them.” Reece turned around and nodded his head. The guard who gave him the key for his shackles had a remote detonator in his pocket and pressed it.  The entire frame of the large window blew out, fell to the ground below and shattered. The courtroom was filled with smoke and pandemonium. In an instant Reece jumped over to the table, ran over to Judge Ryerson, wrapped the chain from his wrist shackles around his neck and snapped his cervical vertebrae.  He went over to the opening in the wall and saw a dump truck with an inflatable stunt bag beneath him. He jumped from the second floor and landed softly and the truck drove off.

Two blocks away, the dump truck parked at a construction site and Reece and the driver got out and into a waiting car with tinted windows and disappeared into traffic. One of his former Navy Seal buddies joked, “You’ve given an official pardon.”

For the next month, every law enforcement agency in the country searched in vain for Reece Johnston. This former Navy Seal was an expert at avoiding detection and he had dozens of comrades who were willing to help him.

Reece’s former commanding officer, retired Captain Ryan Gallagher was interviewed by two FBI agents at his home in Conroe, Texas.

Agent Arnold Willis asked, “Captain, I thought you might be able to help us find Reece Johnston.”

            “Absolutely, he keeps a small a house on top of Mount Everest and if he’s not there, you might find him in his submarine at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.”

            “Is that sarcasm?” Agent Adam Bruner asked.

Ryan said, “To paraphrase Colonel Troutman from the movie Rambo, Reece is a heart attack wrapped inside a brain aneurysm. He may be the toughest Seal that I’ve ever served with and if you go after him, you’d better have a lot of bodybags. Compared to Reece Johnston, Rambo was an Eagle Scout.”

Three months passed and Reece Johnston still had not been captured.  The White House Chief of Staff, Bruce Feldman met with Pentagon, CIA, FBI and Homeland Security officials and was adamant about finding Reece Johnston, “I’m raising the reward to one million dollars. The President wants results!”

Jeff Guzman sighed, “Money is not the issue. Johnston is a warrior and he is surrounded by professionals. Nobody is going to sell him out. We’re out our depths with him.”

Bruce Feldman ranted and raved, “You’d better learn to swim in the deep end mighty quick or I’ll be expecting your resignations!”

Reece was staying in a small beachfront cottage in Southern Thailand under the alias of Luke McCain. The Phuket Province is located on the Andaman Sea and has a large Chinese influence with many Chinese shrines and temples.  Being a big island, Phuket is surrounded by many magnificent beaches such as Rawai, Patong, Karon, Kamala, Kata Yai, Kata Noi, and Mai Khao. Laem Phromthep and has some of the most beautiful sunsets in Thailand. Reece picked up some lucrative jobs working with former Special Operators in the area and this gave him more than enough money to support his simple lifestyle. He was training at one of the local dojos when he received a phone call from a friend working at the Pentagon, “The White House is pushing hard to capture you…be careful.”

            “I’m always careful…but I appreciate the heads up.” Reece said.

That night while meditating in the moonlight, an idea came to him. Two days later a video was posted on the internet of Reece speaking to the world, “This is my official statement. I am innocent of the charges that I have been accused of and I am not going to prison for crimes I did not commit.

As for killing Judge Ryerson, he was a very bad man. He was bought and paid for by the cartels and the deep state and was actively involved in human and drug trafficking. A thorough investigation of his life will confirm my accusations. He deserved to die, it is that simple. As for my fellow Americans, especially those in law enforcement and the military, you have to decide if you really want to come after me. You are under no obligation to follow an unlawful order, in fact you are sworn by your oath to disobey it. I am innocent and will be not taken alive and if you come after me then I will assume accept the risks that comes with that decision and act accordingly.

The video went viral and the American government had an extremely difficult time finding anyone who was willing after Reece Johnston. Dozens of Navy Seals were threatened with severe disciplinary action for disobeying an order. Commander Lon DeHavilland explained, “If Reece Johnston says he’s innocent, that’s good enough for us…we’re standing down.”

The White House realized they couldn’t court martial a large amount of the military or terminate members of law enforcement for their refusal to go after an American hero. Having no other choice, they contacted China and made a deal to use some of their most vicious and dangerous mercenaries

Reece heard about the offer through his confidential sources so he released information that he was hiding out in the Philippines. One hundred heavily Chinese mercenaries landed by helicopter on a remote island and were caught in a deadly crossfire. Dozens of former Special Operators under the command of Reece Johnston killed them all. The bodies of the dead Chinese mercenaries were dumped into the ocean, never to be seen again.

Reece thanks his fellow warriors with these simple words, “I appreciate your help.”

One former Navy Seal yelled, “The only thing I love more than a well-planned offense is a robust defense!”

Reece swallowed hard, he didn’t get emotional very often, but he couldn’t help himself this time. With tears in eyes he said, “We live and die by a code because that is who we are and what we choose to be. No matter we are told to do, we must never forget that God’s law always supersedes human law!”

The current administration realized that they had lost and never mentioned the legendary Reece Johnston again. When questioned by persistent reporters, their official and terse reply was, ‘No comment’.

The End


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  1. Robert says:

    another good story. Thanks

  2. John Michels says:

    Thrilling story. Very enjoyable

  3. bob wolf says:

    I enjoyed the story.

    Like the Karate Kid it appears that everyday household chores are key to becoming a martial arts master

    I vacuum and load and unload the dish washer.

    I wonder if I obtained any subitaneous skills.

  4. Tom says:

    A Navy SEAL bucking the judicial establishment…a corrupt judge to boot! I’ve always been a huge fan of the TV show “The Equalizer” and this story personifies that concept. Well done and thanks for bringing it to life!

  5. Tony says:

    Mr. Thomas Calabrese has penned a very entertaining story but a powerful message for the Sunday Vista Press. It is true we have people with some big ego’s that fail to recognize right from wrong and ignore such documents as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Laws of the Land. We as Americans standing together are important and we must preserve these rights to the best of our ability with all legal means in our power for the preservation of America. Thanks to great men and women of past and present, although they may not be named Reese Johnson they are cut from the same cloth.

  6. marty says:

    Any relation to Wally Jay? Enjoyed the story Tom.

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