Guns are not the problem

I made the post below on a local news forum in response to a letter written to the editor.  I’ve gotten a bit grumpy in my old age.  I don’t suffer fools anymore.  Not that I ever did, really, but I’m more vocal about it now.  Damn kids need to get off my lawn!  🙂  In this case, I was frustrated mostly be the fact that both sides of the debate refuse to come together to discuss the actual issues, and both attempt to sidestep the fundamental rule of individual responsibility.

 

Guns are not the problem and never have been. It’s the people behind the guns that determine the problem, and always will be. I don’t care if you label them felons, criminals, extremists, deviants or the mentally ill, the reality is that they are the ones electing to use a tool to kill people. Take that tool away and you will find other methods to achieve violence. This isn’t something in question, this is fact. You can look at the histories of disarmed civilizations across the world and you will find the unique ways in which they have found to defend themselves- and to do violence against once another.

“But Dan!,” you cry. “Guns allow people to commit violence against many people in a short amount of time!”

Well yes,- Yes they do. And it was guns that took down the Twin Towers, the planes used to crash into them and the Pentagon, Pan Am 103, the Federal Building Oklahoma, the subway in Tokyo… I could go on and on, stretching back 100 years! Except that it wasn’t guns used, was it?

You know what the major problem of the whole gun control issue is? When fools on both sides of the aisle stand there and threaten each other instead of sitting down and talking about the real issues and achieving real results. The Left threatens to restrict guns, the Right threatens violence to defend their right to own guns. Both claim a second civil war- never mind the pure idiocy of that statement. You cannot legislate free will away. No amount of law, rule or control will prevent a human being from acting out- sometimes violently. Nor can you threaten violence while decrying that you are doing so for peaceful purposes. If you’re going to sit there and make your Facebook posts about how you plan to shoot any “Federal” that comes to take away your guns, congratulations, you’ve just demonstrated that you choose violence as a first response to panic. How about both sides stop their idiotic posturing and sit down for a bit? Maybe then we can learn to move past our nonsense.

Thoughts on the President’s Speech

Loved his comment on, “the origins of people’s names.”

Good comment regarding mob rule.  There has been a lot of mob think going on these past few years.  I think maybe I’m more of aware of that than I was even a few years ago, and maybe that colors my view, but I also think that having Obama as a president has also caused such thought to be far more apparent, also.

Good call to arms regarding updating our infrastructure.

Good call to equality utilizing the little girl.  Racism is still too much of an issue in this country, and it has extended itself.  If you’re not white, you’re the enemy has become a common refrain among the far far right.  Ignorance is no longer acceptable.  If you want to be a bigot, go right ahead, but I don’t condone it, and I do not have to accept you as a person because of it.  I will be civil with you, as befits your status as a human being, but that is all.

Cute jab at those who still disavow climate change…loved it!

I agree with his views on the environment, that’s what I’ve thought for a long time.

Good comment about, “No greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.”  I just don’t think we should be doing it solely through our military and economic handouts.

Good call on immigrants.  Our nation has been founded on the principle that new people are its strength, not its weakness.  Cooperation, new ideas and new cultures are the great things our nation must work together towards, within the framework that the American Dream can be had by all.

“Name calling as reasoned debate.” -Ha, I’ve been thinking this same thing for months!

“An oath to God and Country, not party or faction.” -As it should be, not as it really is.  I’m glad he pointed out that Citizens, Presidents, Congress are as important to the nation as our soldiers.  I support our soldiers always, but they are not the only defense of freedom that we have.

One a completely different note, Lee Greenwood sings, “I’m Proud to be an American”– Not Kenny Rogers.  30 years later, I finally know who sings that song!

Letting the past go

When I was a teenager it was a common practice to assume that nobody ever changed.  What I mean by this is, if somebody had stated an opinion on something a year ago, it was common knowledge that they still felt that way today.  Growth, evolution of thought and philosophy was not a big part of our world then.  I find that interesting because the crowd I ran with contained some very bright people.  Very flawed, each fighting our own demons, but bloody bright.

As time marched on, I personally was forced to move beyond my past.  I had to learn to let go of anger, of the depression that had gripped me since I was a kid.  In order to find some semblance of life, I had to change a lot of who I was on the inside.  Part of that change led me to an acceptance of change in others, to an understanding that they didn’t have to hold to the same beliefs for years or decades.  Mistakes are made, lessons are learned and people can grab on to new ideas and let go of those that are holding them back.  This concept in action didn’t really stand out to me, it was just a reflection of my own internal struggles to accept who I was.  I counted it as a normal part of life; a benefit of maturity, perhaps.  I think I was wrong…

For much of my life, I have observed that my country is deeply obsessed with the past.  You see that in politics, film, literature, the press and people themselves.  Terms such as “Golden Age”, “Gilded Age”, “Classic”, “Retro”,”Timeless” and “Back in the day” all refer to events far removed from the present.  But even more, they are substantive terms, words with weight to them, as if, somehow, what they represent should in some way be more valuable and significant than recent events.

Our politics demands that we review every spoken word and action of our representatives, yea even unto birth.  Should we find discrepancies that indicate change from a decade or two ago, their entire works are often challenged.  A flexible, intelligent mind is portrayed as weak and unable to hold conviction.  Our current authors are constantly held to a higher standard set forth by those long dead.  Great literary works cast a palpable shadow of today’s author, rendering them less than their talents deserve, especially if they have achieved commercial success.  Many of our actors face type cast roles, forever defined by their first crowning achievement.  More so, they find themselves unable to comment on serious public matters without facing considerable backlash from the public- ironic considering they often act as the face of American gravitas,  highlighting in their works that which is important to us internally.

Our nation is a nation of rebels, dissidents and failures- and of opportunists.  We came to a new country, forsake all that we knew, in order to reinvent ourselves and lift ourselves beyond our pasts.  We achieved that, as a people and as a nation, by freeing ourselves from our pasts, of learning from history, letting it guide us as we made decisions, but we refused to let our history define our future.  My how times have changed….

Agree to disagree- No, just don’t be an ass

I don’t care if you agree with me, I welcome all dissent and criticism.  I don’t even have to like you as you tell me I’m wrong- in fact, I might think you’re the biggest damn idiot on the planet.  And if you give me lip about how everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I might just tell you that, “No, in fact, not everyone is entitled to an opinion- but it sure does seem like everyone has one.”

And that’s O.K.

What I won’t do, and I think this is an important point, is degrade you, call you stupid, condescend you or otherwise treat you as subhuman.  I don’t need to, to win my argument- or lose it, if I’m actually wrong.  It turns out that, wrong or right, being an asshole is completely an optional package when it comes to debate; even serious debate within politics, religion or beer.

*Below is kind of an internal monologue I had with myself that led to the above post*

I am a registered Republican.  This might be news to some of my friends, and I am sure it is to the whole Obama campaign, who, when they found out I was voting for him, vigorously tried to get me to go out and get more Democrats to vote.  I’m not a registered Democrat because I align more closely with a lot of the stated aims of the Republican party.  I’m not a Libertarian or Tea Party person because I’m not crazy, just more conservative than a Democrat.  I bring this up because as we went through the last couple years of campaign hell, I witnessed a lot of back and forth among the various factions.  Conservatives liked to yell a lot.  Boisterous, vociferous intimidation was the main tactic of their communication.  Liberals liked to condescend a lot. There was always the implied, “You’re stupid and can’t understand me,” tone to their rhetoric.  Their arguments weren’t anymore intelligent, usually, but damn if they didn’t try to act like it.  The Independents, of which I am primarily talking about your Tea Party and Libertarian variety seemed to utilize the worst of both sides.  Theirs was the true truth which only a select few were smart enough to understand. You could tell one of their arguments as it usually started with, “Well, it’s quite clear to anyone who understands the finer point of ( insert gold standard, Consitutional Law, economic theory)”  What I didn’t see was a lot of actual debate where people put forth actual ideas for the purpose of talking about them.  It was mostly about who was the biggest Alpha in the room, as if that had any bearing on intelligent discourse…

Hmmm….

Origins of Sexism

My wife was watching some National Geographic video on Netflix the other day.  It was about various indigenous tribes in New Guinea.  What I found really interesting about the show was that each tribe invariably placed women in lesser roles.  It wasn’t that the women were not integral to the success of the tribe, obviously they were, it is just that either they were valued less than the men, from a comfort/social standing point of view, or they were viewed as “weakening” the men by their presence.  This lead to the tribe to some form of segregation in each instance.  Sometimes it was just separate jobs, other times they did not share food, and in one tribe, they did not sleep or live together.  Sex was viewed strictly as a necessary function of survival- at least according to the show.  As this was a documentary, I’m sure there was editing to portray everything in certain a light, but it was quite obvious that there were deep rooted sexist issues.  This really makes me wonder, though, that if sexism could exist in such isolated, primitive cultures, how the hell does it originate in the first place?  What fundamental human process seems to lead to placing a lesser value on half the human race?  I want to explore these ideas more, work out some additional questions.  Hopefully I can find some research that isn’t too damn dull to read that can shed some light on the origination of these wrong sexist values.

When I throw a dog a bone…

The quote goes, “When I throw a dog a bone, I don’t want to hear how good it tastes.”  This quote occurred to me as I was reading some posts regarding the health care that Congress and the President receive versus what some people will be receiving as a result of the new health care law.  Let’s lay out a few points, shall we?

1) The health care law isn’t about mandating some perceived notion of equality among people with health insurance plans, it’s about covering those that don’t have insurance.

2) Many people use Congress’ and the President’s health care plans as a foil for pointing out how bad the health care plan is.  These same people are usually the ones vehemently protesting socialism…  and yet, what they are effectively saying is, we want everyone’s plan to be like everyone else’s.  In other words, the rich should be just as the poor.  There’s some irony for you.

3) The health care plan isn’t there to make you content to be at the bottom, it is there for you to have a base to rise to the top.  In other words, if you want something better, you now have a better opportunity to go out and get it.  Good jobs will carry better health insurance, and you will compete to get them via your ability, your education and the opportunities that life affords you.

Mandated health care is not the socialist/communist demon that it is made out to be.  Hell, in its current incarnation in the U.S., it’s barely useful at all, much less a social juggernaut that will take down our Republic.  We need real reform with intelligent debate, not watered down legislation put forth by people whose sole understanding of the issue are the talking points on the cards that big media and big business have handed to them.

Congress- a house divided

In the last several years, I think Congress has come to truly embody the phrase, “a house divided.”

The Fiscal Cliff issue is just the longest line in a series of events the demonstrate how little Congress has been able to collaborate in order to accomplish their job of effectively administrating the nation.  I like to think about what the causes and solutions are, but I am sure there isn’t anything too simple to proclaim.  We can generally agree that much of the division is political in nature, to the point that I would say it is more politics than ideology that prevents Congress from coming together.  Both groups agree that more debt is bad, but they have differing views on how to close the gap.  The frustrating thing for me is that they want to balance a budget but what our country needs is to pay down the debt, which requires far more than just a balanced budget, it requires significant changes in our priorities for the long term.  It is a tough economic challenge, as we understand current economic theory, to reduce spending while growing our economy.  Most of our theory is based on the idea that spending is growth, and the challenge for the government is that they cannot rely on the private sector to lead the way with the spending, so they often “go first.”  I think the last 5 years have shown that this does not always work as anticipated, as the the government has spent money while many corporations have hoarded it.  What to do…