S. B. Shine’s new book PAIN AWAITS is aptly titled since it reflects the pain that the American government, economy, and people are experiencing as we begin to fear that, like the Roman Empire, we are in our decline and fall. Shine discusses many of the causes of this situation, ranging from illegal immigration and government overspending to the drug culture and a lack of strong family values in the younger generations, but he does not dwell on the problems so much as the solutions.
How to solve the problem of America’s current situation is easily an overwhelming topic to ponder, but Shine breaks the problem down into manageable chunks. The book is divided into several parts, each of which takes on a major aspect of the problem, including Financial, Security, Economy, and what Shine calls “The Dirty Dozen.” This Dirty Dozen includes topics like whether taxes are too high or too low, the US’s acting like a charity toward other countries, regulation, voting, unions, government-owned property, Russia, and the importance of volunteering.
The book’s title is also fitting because implementing the solutions—doing the hard work of solving America’s problems—will not be easy. It will likely be very painful, especially to politicians who may need to accept lower pay, to government employees who may no longer have cushy jobs, and to many taxpayers.
Nor will everyone agree with the solutions—some will not even agree about what the problems are. That said, this book was very eye-opening for me on many topics, and while I did not agree with all of Shine’s opinions or solutions, I found that he never held back in telling it like it is, and he always argued his points very rationally, backing them up with research and numerous citations. In truth, this is no small book, and the depth of Shine’s research into his topics really amazed me.
One topic Shine discussed that made me change how I thought was the subject of immigration. I’ve never understood the need for a wall or why we should have such a strong anti-immigration policy when we are a country of immigrants and should all be grateful that our ancestors were allowed to enter this country. However, Shine shows that today’s immigration situation is not a discussion of what America stands for as a country willing to take in the world’s teeming masses longing to be free. Instead, the illegal immigration problem is one in which gangs and drug smugglers are heavily involved.
These are not people like our great-grandparents who were looking to find a better life for themselves and contribute to our country. These are hard-core criminals looking to profit at the expense of our country by getting our citizens addicted to drugs and taking their money, without paying taxes on it, back to their own countries. Despite this reality, Shine doesn’t advocate for President Trump’s wall, per se, but rather offers rational solutions for how to protect the border. Here again, I admired Shine because he does not come off as a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, but simply as a true patriot with common sense who wants to help.
Another topic that was very eye-opening to me was foreign aid. It made me realize how the United States acts as if it’s a charity by the aid it gives to other countries. As Shine reveals, the amount of foreign aid the United States gives, who that aid is given to, and the reasons for giving it are all truly astonishing. I’m all for helping people in need but not at the expense of our own financial or political stability. With our $20 trillion-and-counting national debt, Shine’s argument that we should eliminate unneeded foreign aid and use the money instead to improve our infrastructure and national security, which would benefit all American citizens, is hard to argue with.
One of the more controversial proposals Shine makes has to do with the prison system. His belief is that prison systems need to impose tougher penalties; they should not be like country clubs for criminals. One of the harshest suggestions Shine makes in the entire book is that the worst prisoners should be shipped to prisons overseas (overseen by the United States, of course)—this exile would make people think twice about committing crimes.
I have to admit this sounds a bit cruel to the prisoners, but as Shine points out, families could still visit or Skype with prisoners, and it would be cheaper to operate prisons off American soil. Shine doesn’t pretend this or any of his solutions will be easy. Some decisions will be difficult and cause pain if we want to turn around the mess our country has gotten itself into, but in this situation, these people are, after all, criminals so they deserve to do their share in bearing that pain.
And then there is terrorism. This topic is one of the scariest, if not the scariest, facing the United States today. Shine offers an excruciating scenario of how terrorists could easily take over an American school, just like the psychopathic school shooters we have today, only these terrorists would do so not just to kill children and kill themselves, but to hold our children for ransom and then kill them anyway after they received the ransom money — and despite the government policy not to negotiate with terrorists, how could they do otherwise when a few hundred children are at stake? If you read this book for no other reason, you have to read what Shine has to say about terrorism and our best hopes for stopping it from happening in our country.
Overall, PAIN AWAITS is a surprising, maybe shocking, but completely realistic look at the state of our union. It would behoove every American to read this book, and it should be required reading for anyone in a local, state, or national government position. If our politicians would even implement just a few of the well-thought out suggestions S. B. Shine makes, I believe America could return to being a stable country that we can once again all be proud of.
Even if you don’t agree with Shine on most points, you will benefit from reading PAIN AWAITS because it will get you thinking about possible solutions and hopefully encourage you to be a good citizen by taking action, and that will make much more of a difference than just complaining about the way things currently are. After all, change has to begin with each of us.