Friday, November 10, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

5 Major Gun-Control Positions

Group F believes there is nothing we can do to stop gun violence. All suggestions, even one so slight as banning large capacity magazines, is immediately rejected for various incorrect reasons. All suggestions for reducing gun violence are immediately dismissed as unworkable by the members of Group F. They have a very large gun safe at home, a membership at a gun club and go to the local firing range so often they have measurable hearing loss. That might have happened in the military. They still go bow hunting, though only every few years. They stopped paying NRA dues long ago but keep the sticker in the window of their old pickup. They do not care about stopping the plague of gun violence, in fact they sometimes buy a new gun when a mass killing event occurs. The only horrible event Group F fears is the possibility that military assault rifles may one day become illegal, again.

Mitchell B-25J Bomber Machine Guns 081537

Group E believes there are some things we can do, like re-open state hospitals and lock away the disabled. They own several guns, each. They can talk a blue streak about guns & ammo, belong to the NRA, know a Ruger from a Sig Sauer. They wish they could own a Heckler & Koch. They are willing to maybe start running background checks at Virginia gun shows, someday, but not right now. They never served in the military but they love to play GTA. They’ve actually seen the statistics the New York City Police compiled regarding guns from Virginia used in NYC crime. Maybe someday we could start those background checks. They vote for the candidates the NRA recommends. Otherwise, Group E feels they should be allowed to carry concealed guns everywhere, in all 50 states, except maybe on airliners. They go hunting almost every year. They do feel really bad whenever these shootings occur, but see no connection at all to guns.

Gettysburg Pennsylvania 17080685

Group D stays quiet about everything, they don’t want to incur the wrath of their neighbor, boss or friends. We have no idea what their opinions are.  Many people remain in Group D because they are very afraid to speak out about anything for fear of losing their jobs. Group D people work in government, military, large corporation and local business jobs. City police officers typically belong to this group, even if they rarely speak up about it. All have seen what happens to people that stick their necks out. The grapevines are too healthy. They have families to  raise, bills to pay, and consider it best to stay home and watch TV rather than get out and change what they don’t like in their world. Group D lives in more heavily populated areas. Their husbands go off hunting, sometimes.

Group C would do anything to see the shootings stop in churches, schools, movie theaters and just about everywhere else. However, Group C keeps voting for the politicians that side with Group E and Group F.  They may lend their support to a particular candidate for other reasons, but ultimately they are voting for a leader that refuses to try a single thing, one single thing that might stop the weekly carnage. They might own a gun or two but never go hunting and rarely practice using their guns anymore.

Group B wants to do whatever it takes to stop gun violence. They have never owned a gun. Their kids do not own guns. They live in peaceful places, for the most part, the suburbs. They volunteer. They vote, in major elections. The cops in their town usually arrive promptly when called. They think about gun violence some mornings as their kids go off to school. These massive shootings really upset the members of Group B, often for several days. They would vote for candidates that support laws designed to reduce gun violence, if such politicians ever actually ran for office.

Group A has had it with the ongoing violence. It happens in their communities, despite tough gun laws. The local bad guys drive to Indiana, Texas or Virginia to buy their weapons. This group includes the survivors and relatives of all the horrific acts that have happened in recent memory. It includes activists, writers, and people that really do turn out to protest. This group includes people that took the time to learn about what Australia did after the Port Arthur Massacre. Group A lives and always votes for candidates in places that support tougher gun laws. The crime from other states spills over into their communities too often. Group A may own a hunting rifle.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

NRA Racks Up Wins in Congress. The ATF Wants to Give It More

This is what Las Vegas and the region around it looks like. It attracts people from all over the United States and all over the world.

Important Highlights:

    •    January 20, 2017 - Ronald Turk, the No. 2 official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives circulates an internal white paper suggesting that the agency go easier on the regulation of guns and gun dealers.
    •    February, 2017 - Mr. Turk signs legislation rolling back restrictions imposed by the Obama administration on when certain mentally ill people can purchase firearms. Subsequently he overturns another Obama regulation that had stopped hunters from shooting bears from airplanes on federal land in Alaska.
    •    Turk describes the memo as providing the new administration with options “to reduce or modify regulations.”
    •    Those options include loosening oversight of gun dealers who sell multiple firearms that turn up at crime scenes … the elimination of the ban on importing AK-47 and AR-15 military-style, large-capacity rifles. Another option Turk promotes is making it easier for dealers to operate exclusively at guns shows or via the internet. (Sources: Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Article, U.S. government )

This is not my story, but rather comes from Bloomberg's Paul Barrett and a matter of government records. Public records.
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that it appears a man qualified to be a top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, Ronald Turk, is actually the acting head of ATF.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tread Water

I felt them calling out and awoke in the early morning hours. The victims of the shooting in Vegas. The victims of so many previous shootings. The suicides made easy with a nearby trigger.
I sway back and forth between a desperate need for continuity and a desire to understand why so many people are so angry. Why does the inexperienced leader keep sowing hate in our land? Fires obviously burn among the disadvantaged but they will not be extinguished by hatred. Dividing us does not unite us, it only kills more of us.
Silence soothes me at these times. People want to hear me though, I know that because they tell me. Most do not know where to begin when it comes to understanding mass murder or leaders that deliberately sow discontent. A farmer that plants hate reaps violence. It takes thousands of individuals to explain the importance of love when one major celebrity advocates hate.

Death happens naturally to living beings. They wear out or get sick or grow weary and sad. It is up to the rest of us keep plowing the fields of hope and dreams. Some recommend we leave those who have given up or died behind. They say it is a  necessary step to avoid having the defeated drag us down into that abyss. I dissent.
The optimist within me knows full well plants hide their life through the deep cold winter. People hide their feelings under the fear of rejection. Living beings cling to life even when there is no reason for them to have hope.
I refuse to drown my sorrows under fermented waves. Social I will be, uplifting I will be, myself I will be. No matter that once again the ship appears ready to slide under those familiar seas. I heave the bailing bucket with the same fervor as before.
If this vessel does go down I will swim and tread water until the next raft passes by. My light does extinguish easily. It knows we are all in this water together, the hand that reaches out to me reaches to you as well.
I watched as others slipped under or were pushed down until life left them. It was not my desire but that of malignant forces far behind my strength to oppose at that time. Unable to pull the bullets back out of lifeless bodies I return to serving the survivors. There will always be those and I among them so long as possible.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” - Dylan Thomas

Friday, September 29, 2017

After Watching Novick and Burns' "The Vietnam War"

Dragging my psyche, my body and ultimately, my future through as accurate a documentary as could possibly be created was excruciatingly painful. It was painful to watch Kim Novick and Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War. It made me incredibly uncomfortable. Nauseous. Ashamed. Exhausted.
It was also a very important thing to do.
Vietnam Soldier 1960s
The overarching theme was the incredible and unnecessary loss of human life. The loss of so many Vietnamese, U.S., French, Canadian, Cambodian, Laotian, and other's lives. All for no discernible gain. Show me the gain, I dare you, point out the gain.

For all of the horror and fratricide, at least the U.S. Civil War was fought to end slavery. World War Two brought an end to fascist dictators, imperialists and the regimes that supported them. A distinct purpose registers with WWII.

World War I stands with Vietnam, as wholesale slaughter often for no other reason than for corrupt leaders to save face. For social equality to be denied. For the sake of those who stand to benefit from the sale of so much war material. For one man to express the epitome of hate, by shooting another for no other reason than they were ordered to. For civilizations to be torn asunder, like so much old cloth.

The Domino Theory about nations falling to Communism is often cited in attempts to justify the war in Vietnam. It was cited several times in this recent documentary. Anyone with open eyes can see the real dominos being knocked down were actual humans required to engage in senseless battles for nameless hills. Tumbling down in order, one after another, with so many actually dying in the process. Behind each poor grunt standing in a straight row was a slightly more powerful foe pushing him or her forward. On both sides. The Dominoes that started it all were the leaders themselves.

This is not some children’s game of knocking down rows of dominoes, these are thousands of human futures being pointlessly and brutally ended. It is almost incomprehensible. But attempts to comprehend the massacres and what led up to them are essential, or we will certainly condemned to repeat them.
Korean War Memorial 13552

People in the West, for the most part, do not understand what really happens when many young people are forced on to a battlefield and die. The Christian conception and handling of death fails to explain what happens in the case of war. What happens when so many die an unnatural death?

Vigorous young people typically go around making deep impressions on many people. It is how human society functions and has functioned for thousands of years. As they age, people start to restrict the circle of others they regularly socialize with. This is normal and common.

Yes, there are older people that interact with many others and expand their circles as they age. This is not nearly as common as the number of young people that circulate freely in much larger circles. This truth is understood by nearly every person.

When leaders begin yanking many young people out of society, exposing them to the horrors of war and then bringing them back, alive or in body bags, the leaders fracture the human society of the nation. Those young people that survive are forever scarred. Those that say they are not altered are in denial. Those that say society is somehow stronger, they are also in denial.  Those that say every member of society is damaged when the youth are forced to into battle, and perhaps die there, they speak the truth. The so-called victors of any war carry the same scars as the losers.

Eastern thought, real roots of eastern thought, trace the scars of wars through many generations. The spirits of the unburied young war victims, civilians or combatants, haunt that society. This is not a statement about poltergeists or phantoms. The young spirits live on in the memories of parents, sisters, brothers and friends. In modern times photographs supplant ageless memorials, burial mounds or even rivers dedicated to holding the dead. Cemeteries harbor those same wasted.

You see, when older people die, for the most part that life-giving chi has exhausted itself. We see that as they age, we see that in those last days and some say you can even see it slip away at that moment of the last breath.

When a person dies at the peak of chi, maybe hyper-aware, racing into battle or slowly back at a field hospital, the chi does not dissipate so quickly or at all. If the physical form happens to be cremated, yes, the chi is released to join the eternal. It will still hover among those that knew it well, but it will be free. A life that once thought itself important enough to share with others abruptly cut short, that is a cause for grave concerns.

It is not just mystics and missionaries that are aware of lost spirits. Everyone is, though they may chose not to admit it. For many years it remains hard for grieving parents to say, “I remember my lost son. My lost daughter.” For most such expressions never become easier to say.

All will eventually let the restless chi of lost loved ones go for awhile, otherwise it can be hard to serve those that live on around you. Elderly people are remembered by perhaps two generations at best once they pass away. This too is natural. Of course the truly exceptional may stir hearts for centuries. How long may the memories of a Lincoln or Gandhi or Dr. King or Mother Teresa endure? Can you imagine what it must have been like to be near those powerful spirits?

Many other greats are not great so far as what is written in the history books, but they too used their chance at life to build our future. Their smiles are in the smiles of their descendants all around us. Genetically and anecdotally every new generation carries some of the greatness of the past. It is not necessary that every name be known across the land.

A generation that did terrible deeds is also remembered, but more as a warning of what not to do. To live a long life but to have tormented or harmed others for some significant portion of it, that is also haunting. The fading chi of such people is to be avoided at all costs, other than to educate others not to repeat such mistakes.

The young who die in war never get that chance to make a difference, good or bad. Maybe they knew what they wanted, maybe not. Perhaps they wanted something so badly but then their life was cut short by another. The survivors know that, remember that and it is these very memories that do the most haunting. The memory of what could have been, what might have been, had a bullet or a bomb not cut them down. The photograph in the album, war memorials, cemeteries, the fading memory in our heads, historical documentaries like The Vietnam War, these are just a few of the places where these lost generations endure. It is vitally important for us all that we take time to remember them.