Sunday, December 23, 2012

Guns in America - Part 3

Okay have we lost the capacity for all rational thought?  One of the options being floated around is to arm our teachers.  That allowing our teachers to carry guns in the classroom will prevent future "Sandy Hooks".  On the surface this would appear logical.  But let's look below the surface and think this out, rationally.

Do we really want over-worked, underpaid teachers in schools with guns?  Our children lag so far behind other nations in critical learning skills, that we now want to add fear to their everyday existence.  Teachers spend just as much time baby sitting our children as they do teaching them math, science, reading, etc.  Now we want to add defending them against armed intruders to their list of duties.  I don't think so.

The gun lobby and gun shop owners want to arm everyone.  Some people for religious or other personal beliefs don't want anything to do with a gun.  I have seen some remarks on Facebook and other social media sites that portray these people as victims waiting to happen and deserve what happens to them.  How much farther does this nation need to fall when we under value people because of personal beliefs. Does this not fly in the face of what our founding fathers established this country for?  Have we become a nation so enamoured of our own wants and needs that we cease to care for others?

If we do arm everyone, then we really do not need police or our armed forces or the court system.  We can settle our own disputes, small or large, ourselves, without due process.  Is that the kind of nation we want our children growing up in?  Do we want America becoming another 3rd world nation? 

Once again, I do not oppose responsible gun ownership.  I believe that those individuals who hunt for food or have guns for protection should have them if they want them.  But I also believe that we need to treat them in the same manner we do responsible automobile drivers.  In order to maintain your driver's license you are tested every year or five years to insure that you are still capable of driving a car.  Is that too much to ask of someone who has a loaded gun next door?

I do not have an answer to what to do about guns in America.  I do believe that we must take emotion out of the discussion and think like rational human beings and find common ground.  If we don't then I am not sure that any of us will like the outcome.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guns in America - Part 2

With the latest tragedy in Connecticut there will be the usual knee-jerk reactions to pass more gun control laws, lock down our schools, etc, etc.  Let's hope that a more thoughtful and realistic path will be chosen. 

 Let's more effectively enforce the laws that are already on the books.  Let's eliminate the sale of the AKs or AR type of weapons on line, at gun shows, in gun shops, anywhere they are now sold.  These weapons should not be readily available for purchase by the man on the street.  They were designed for the military or law enforcement and those should be the only people to legally own them. 

While I believe in the Second Amendment I also believe that not everyone is capable of owning weapons of mass destruction such as the assault rifles.  Since the shooter in Connecticut did not have a criminal background, legally he could purchase his weapon and that portion of the law could not have protected the innocents in that state.  Only prohibiting the ownership and purchase of such weapons will suffice.

The NRA and other gun lobbyists will try to hide behind the Second Amendment.  The gun manufacturers will cry loss of business; as will gun shops.  I ask them only one question:  "What if this had happened in the school your child, grandchild, niece or nephew attended?"

People kill people and they use many weapons.  A gun is just one but it is one that we can to some extent control access to.  Responsible gun owners should have nothing to fear from more stringent enforcement of existing gun laws.  I do not feel a complete ban on all gun sales will solve the problem nor is it necessary.  But I do feel that we must limit access to assault rifles and look very carefully at how many guns one person or one family feels the need to own. 

A gun for each member of the family is over-kill.  But I feel that if you have a gun in your house, everyone should know the proper way to handle it. 

Nothing will bring back the innocent lives taken in Connecticut or Colorado.  But we must act rationally to make our schools, shopping malls and other public places safer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guns in America

The Second Amendment allows people to bear arms and to form a militia.  But let's look at the point in time in which this amendment was written.  Armies were predominately volunteer or had vast areas to patrol, organized police forces either didn't exist or were small in size.  Our nation was vast and mostly rural in nature and remained so until the advent of train travel.  It took days or even weeks to get anywhere so in order to have some protection, our founding fathers decided that it was necessary to be able to defend oneself and our neighbors without having to wait on help that might never come or come too late.

Does it apply today?  I feel that anyone who wants to carry a gun and is trained to use it should do so.  I believe that personal use weapons such as handguns, rifles and shotguns should be legal for the average person to own.  Weapons of mass destruction such as AK 47s and such should not.  It should be illegal to sell them in gun shops, on the internet, gun shows or anywhere else.  Their only function is to kill people and a lot of people at one time.  They were designed for the military and that should be the only place they should be used.

I also feel that people who wish to own a gun should be trained and licensed and the training should be ongoing.  People should be tested as to whether or not they can safely use the gun every so often.  This could be done in conjunction with the gun purchase, enrolling in a gun safety class.  Granted criminals don't buy guns legally, they steal them or get them from other sources.  But at least the police would know if a gun is in a home and that the occupant is licensed and capable of firing it safely.

Banning guns in the USA won't work.  Guns are too much a part of our culture and our history.  Some European countries have done it with great success.  But I wonder how much a part of their history was determined by the use of guns, except in the time of war. 

I don't have the answer to the question of guns in America.  Could I use one?  I don't know.  Could I take another human being's life to protect my own or that of a loved one?  I hope I never have to find out.  But I believe in being prepared.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Voting in America

The right to vote is sacred.  It was paid for with the blood of the men and women who founded this nation.  The blood of our current military members keeps us free from tyranny and those who would drag this great nation through the mud.

Thankfully I have never known what it was like to not be able to vote freely and without intimidation.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be afraid to vote or to vote for who you want to.  I am also thankful that I was born in the 20th century and not the 19th or the early 20th century when women were treated as property and had no say in what went on even in their own homes.

We owe it to those who fought before us to vote in every election possible.  To be informed voters and gather information from various sources before making our decisions.  Not to blindly believe every sound bite or commercial placed before us. 

Did everyone that I voted for this last election win, no they did not.  But I voted for whom I thought would do the best job.  There will be another election and if those who did win do not live up to their campaign slogans, then they will be gone and someone else will have a chance.

The message is that who you vote for, while important, is not as critical as the process of voting.  The process of making your voice heard.  It is not a perfect system but it beats everything else that I have seen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Ever Happened To ...... Part I

What ever happened to COMMON SENSE?

I understand that it was slowly and painfully eroded by stupidity and laziness and the need to blame others for our own mistakes.  How, you wonder.  Well there was a time when 'if something wasn't broke, you didn't mess with it'.  There was a time when you learned from your mistakes and didn't make the same ones over and over again expecting things to change.  There was a time when you received a hot cup of coffee or tea or cocoa you checked the lid first before putting it to your lips to make sure it didn't spill.  Or if it did spill you didn't sue McDonald's because they didn't tell you how hot it was.  Come on, it's coffee; its been brewing in an urn all morning;  IT'S GONNA BE HOT!!!!!!

Now because some idiot sued McDonald's over spilled coffee there are warning signs on just about everything.  I haven't looked but I am sure that somewhere on my store there is a warning sticker that says that if you turn the stove on the burners will get hot and to keep your hands and extremities away.  We have stickers or language on microwave food warning us that the food will be hot when removed from the microwave.  Well isn't that what you want?  Cause if you want it to be cold or just barely warm, remove it from the freezer and let it sit out on the counter for a couple of hours and ...what for it.... lukewarm food.

There was a time when you took responsibility for your own mistakes.  That was part of growing up, taking responsibility.  You didn't blame the school system, the fact that you came from a broken home, the color of your skin, religion, etc, etc.  You overcame obstacles, you didn't blame them for your poor choices.  Parents believed in making their children take responsibility for doing homework, doing their chores, behaving in class, etc.  They attack the teacher or the school system for "picking" on their child because he/she was black, Asian, white or from a broken home.  I grew up poor.  We didn't know we were poor but we were.  We didn't have a lot of things that other kids had.  But we went to school, were bullied (at least I was) and learned to deal with it.  We lived outside of town on a small farm so I didn't participate in a lot of after school activities.  Mom didn't drive and dad worked long hours and I didn't get my first car until I could pay for it myself after I graduated from high school.  Did I miss out on things?  Yes I did, do I blame them or my parents for the poor choices I made after that?  No.  These were my choices.

Choices and understanding the consequences of making those choices helps sustain common sense.  Unfortunately, we have become lazy and prefer to blame others for the consequences of our poor choices, thus the demise of Common Sense.  RIP Common Sense, you are greatly missed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chik-Fil-A -- Tempest in Teapot?

The recent outcry regarding the personal opinion voiced by the CEO of Chik-Fil-A reflects just how far removed we have become from the nation formed by our founding fathers.  I could understand the outrage if they had indicated they would not serve openly gay individuals, or hire openly gay individuals.  But by merely stating that he believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman he is stating just that.  He believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.  This is in line with their Christian operating philosophy.  To me this is equivalent to boycotting them because they are closed on Sundays.  Personally I would love to see the old "Blue" laws reinstated.  Businesses would either be closed entirely or open after 1 pm on Sunday. 

To condemn an individual or a business because they do not believe the same as we do is about as far away from freedom of speech, religious freedom and probably many other freedoms as you can get.  Personally I believe that love knows no color or other boundaries.  You can't force people to love who or what you want them to. 

Slowly but ever surely many of the very freedoms guaranteed us in the Constitution are being stripped away not by a majority but by very vocal minorities.  In an effort to become more politically correct and not offend anyone, we offend everyone.  I firmly believe in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as written by our founding fathers. They are as valid today as they were over 200 years ago.  You have only to look around the globe to see genocide in countries where freedoms either never existed or were applicable to a few.  Is this our future?  Are we destined to go the way of the Romans, the early Greeks, the Persians and the other great civilizations that flourished and then disappeared?

I firmly believe in the saying "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".  There are many instances in our own history and that of others that we can learn from. 

The Chik-Fil-A controversy:  Tempest in a teapot or Tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Truth or Not

Ever notice that children cannot lie.  They can be brutally honest even when it embarrasses their parents.  Even if they do manage to lie it is obvious.  Something in their demeanor gives them away.  When does that change?

We lie so easily as adults that it is frightening.  Some people are so good at it that it is impossible to know if they are lying or telling the truth. Politicians have become particularly adept at this.  They know how to read their audience and tell just enough truth to pull them in but the rest is pure fabrication.  They are adept at telling people what they want to hear.

When did we become a nation that prefers to hear lies instead of the truth?  When did we lose the capacity of determining when we are being lied to and demanding the truth?  When did truth become a variable? 

There are no degrees of truth.  Just as a lie is a lie.  Is it better to lie to spare someones feelings?  Perhaps.  But, in my opinion, the truth will find a way to come out, if not now then later.  Have I lied?  Of course I have, I am only human and because of that I have tried to either make myself look good or avoid punishment for something I have done.  Time has always found a way to hold me accountable for that lie.

It is harder to lie to our parents because they know us so very well.  They may accept the lie but it hurts them because they want to believe us and once we have lied to them, they know that they cannot have the same level of trust as before.  It is easiest to lie to complete strangers because they know nothing of us.  Until they do, they have no reason to suspect that we can or would lie to them.  We can lie to our friends but they will always hold us accountable for the lie.  If they don't call us out at the time, they will later and want to know why and quite possibly the truth. If they don't get it, the relationship changes and trust is lost.

As I have gotten older, I find it easier to tell the truth no matter how painful it is to myself or to others.  Easier, in that I don't have to remember who I told which lie to and who knows the truth.  People can accept the truth or not.  Harsh, yes.  Brutal, can be.  But if I have told the truth as I understand it, then that is all I can do.  If what I believe to be the truth is proven to be wrong, I can apologize and hope I am forgiven.

Sometimes it is better just to say nothing than to lie. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Primary Season Again

Has anyone noticed how negative the primaries have become.  Not just this year, although, this year has, thus far, been pretty bad, but past primaries as well.  I am sorry to say, that the primaries are a reflection of us as a nation.  We love the reality shows because they show people at their worst.  Sabotaging each other, doing and saying whatever will win the game.

Perhaps I am from a different place in time but I remember when primaries and life in general had a sense of respect.  People were taken to task for their policies, not their personal lives.  We had to way our options and were given the facts to do so.  The job applicants, for that is what they are, were asked how they would solve whatever social problems that we were experiencing at the time, not are you going to release your tax returns or did you really ask your wife for an open marriage?  Some may argue that these questions speak to the character of the individual and perhaps they do.

I was raised that if you said you were going to do something, you did it or better have a really good reason why you didn't.  Apparently that does not apply to politicians because they say one thing and proceed to do just the opposite or tell us we misunderstood them.  I am very concerned about the current group of job applicants for the highest office in our country, The President of the United States of America.  The incumbent has to overcome a lack of confidence in his abilities.  The challengers have yet to prove that they can do anything other than attack each other.  I have heard no clear plan of attack for solving unemployment except for different versions of the old 'trickle down' theory.  I have not heard anything except cutting spending to resolve the budget problems.  I have heard nothing at all about illegal immigration.  Of course, if our economy continues to stumble, that may resolve itself.  No one will want to come here, legally or illegally.

I fear for our country because the very people who helped build and sustain it are the ones being ignored and trod upon by the very individuals supposedly elected to be our voices.