Thursday, February 15, 2018

GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE

You've heard this before and I'll say it.  Guns don't kill people.  People kill people with guns, knives, sticks, vehicles, poison and so on. 

That means it doesn't matter what the gun likes like.  Plenty of people use an AR-15 to hunt with, as it is a light efficient hunting tool. 

The rub comes with capacity.   I agree that bump stocks and high capacity magazines are not necessary both for the safety hunting and reduction of damage in an event like this school shooting.  Yet, one person killed is one too many and seventeen killed is seventeen too many.  That takes us back to the person.

We have a long list of people not able to own a gun.  The reasons are because they are felons and have lost the 'right' to own a firearm, and for mental health reasons that get documented and because of being a potential threat like a restraining order for a few.

The problem lies, not with the gun or its type, but the access to guns legally and illegally.  There is a big black market for illegal guns.  The reason is that felons mostly can't get a gun any other way.  There is also an undocumented source of guns not tracked and that is guns handed down and across family members and friends as gifts or simply loaned.  And then, there are thousands of guns stolen from homes and cars.  Those are certainly in the hands of criminals and if the thieves don't use them they sell them to bad people that do. 

We can't get a handle on opioids that kill more people in a week than one of these school shootings.  The difference is the addicts' simple pass away quietly in a corner somewhere.  Too bad, so sad.  Moving on.  But let someone shoot someone with a gun and the sky is falling.  Well, hell the sky has fallen for the poor person shot.  I got off point there a little.  Point is opioids aren't even protected by the constitution like guns.  Meaning we have way more control how to handle drugs killing people than we do people with guns and we don't. 

We as a people are smart.  There are guys that can set a Volkswagen size space vehicle on an asteroid traveling at thousands of feet per second millions of miles away and send back pictures of it.  So, why don't we put some thought into how to control the 'access' to guns. 

If I want an AR-15 to hang on my wall because that was the type of gun I used in Vietnam then there is no one to say I can't.  But, were I to start posting online how much I want to shot up the town with it, then it's all bets off and I should be blackballed and have it taken away from me if I already have one.  That's reasonable.  If my doctors say I'm psychotic and enters me into a database that says "Don't give this nut a gun", then I shouldn't have one until I can appeal with more evaluation from more doctors or don't ever get a gun, period.

Why is there so much push back from the right on these emotional knee-jerk declarations from the left?  It is just because of the tone.  Ban guns, ban types of guns - it's always the gun.  Perhaps a person ought not to have an AR-15, but it isn't because of the type of gun, it's because of the person that has or wants it.  I think a lot more progress can be made on controlling guns if the focus goes to the problem of the people getting these guns and forget about the gun.  As I said before it is reasonable to sensibly restrict peripheral stuff like bump stocks and high capacity magazines.   There is no difference in shooting a Browning 30 caliber deer rifle and an M1, except for the look.

So, let's all take a deep breath and turn our attention to the root of the problem, people.  How do we keep people that shouldn't have a gun from getting one?  There is where our ire needs to be directed.

Friday, January 5, 2018

My take on Scalia Dissents



For the past week, I've been listening to Scalia Dissents.  The thing that has struck me about his view on the Supreme Court rulings he hasn't gone along with is how aligned I think he is with the framers of the Constitution.  As he details his reasoning for a dissent, I keep thinking, of course, why doesn't everyone go along with that? 

The reasons an activist court doesn't go along with it is that they don't care about the rule of law or the constitutionality if it doesn't fit their liberal agenda or looks to be in line with the populist thinking at the time, which generally equates to the most vocal.   Antonin Scalia minced no words in denouncing his fellow supreme justices when they stray from the Constitution, historical precedent which is grounded in longstanding acceptance by the people, especially those that wrote the Constitution and bending interpretation of the law to include classes of people supposedly harmed that were never considered harmed before.

There is some argument that is if one person is harmed that there has to be five more like him that didn't have the resources to bring an argument all the way to the Supreme Court.  Then, to rule in that person's favor sets a precedent that millions have to suffer with for decades to come.  The Civil War came about partly because of a Supreme Court ruling by the Dred Scott decision.  Roe vs. Wade has killed millions.  A fact, regardless of which way a person falls on the issue of abortion.  I equate it to cutting off one's nose despite his face. I think because of untended consequences the Supreme Court has the right to refuse to hear certain cases. 

Scalia has often been accused of being a right-winger Justice.  Without going into a debate about what the difference is between a conservative and a liberal, I find Scalia's Constitutional basis decision making a proper way to rule on cases brought before them.  Scalia was a great proponent of the 14th Amendment where the Constitution doesn't address an issue specifically then the issue lies with the state to legislate.  That hasn't sat well with the liberal mindset where they want the Federal platform to control all behavior along with everyone's money.  If you sense a conservative bias here, you're right.  On that basis, perhaps that is why I relate so well to Scalia Dissents. 

One thing is certain.  The law can be argued, turned and twisted to fit almost anyone's notion of what they want the outcome to be.  The same can be said of the Bible.  Scalia was mostly immune to it and weighed the merits of a case on the Constitution.  An activist court embraces the turns and twists to codify a ruling contrary to the Constitution for the aforementioned reasons. 

From the founding of our nation, the Supreme Court has gotten it wrong fewer times than right.  Still, that doesn't justify the wrong ones.  It has always been an activist court to some degree.  That is why some much emphasis has been placed on the selection of the Justice by the President.  People want the bias to be in their favor, not the opposing party.  Yet, to the surprise of many, the judges appointed by Republican presidents rule in favor of the liberal mindset.  Most of those rulings are grounded in the Constitution.  So, there we have it, not everyone on both sides of the political divide gets their way all the time. Although, I would argue those rulings with the most import have been activist rulings and Scalia would be quick to tell you so and why.

Don't take my word for it.  Go to Audible.com and get the Scalia Dissents for yourself and listen to it.  A person may wrap their arms around it or go into a foot-stomping tirade.  I find most, not all, the logic irrefutable when measured by the way Scalia reasons the issue by Constitution

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

High School kids take the Knee.


Taking the Knee

Taking the knee during the National Anthem is bad behavior.  It is an affront to the men and women that have gone into harm's way to preserve and service the American way of life.  Be it the military, peace corps, fire brigade or law enforcement. 

A protest has its value.  We as a nation of people pride ourselves on the right to assemble and protest too.  That doesn't mean we always should.  And when we do, it should have an effect of pressuring powers to make a change - in the right direction.   Taking the knee is not the right venue, nor does it pressure power to change.  If there is change it is negative - the wrong direction. 

In fact, taking the knee drives a wedge between people.  Where I was color blind, a supporter of equal rights for everyone, now I'm less so.  I grow weary of all the rhetoric about how horrible I am because I'm white.  The news feeds on negativity.  It feeds on the few injustices that police affect on people of minority and ignores the tens of thousands of good men and women that put their lives on the line to protect and maintain order in our society.  These athletics protesting in this manner makes me sad.  Look at the irony of protesting a country and flag and it's national song that blood was shed for to give them the right to protest.  Go to North Korea or China or Iran and try that. 

I'm much more temperate in my response.  I understand those that are more passionate about the taking the knee and give out death threats and take some physical action like tire slashing.  They are wrong to do that.  Yet, is protesting in such a manner supposed to widen the rift of racism or close it?  If those that take the knee think it's going to make things better for them, narrow the divide between races; they are wrong.  They have become part of the problem, not the solution.

Kids are not in school to protest.  Public school is funded so they can learn skills and develop abilities that they can take to the world at large and not have to go on the public dole or have to live with mom and dad the rest of their lives.  Sport is an extracurricular component that develops working as a team, like a group of programmers developing a new operating system. Or, it might be so the entertainment industry will have a well of sports metaphors to use in their programming.  It has it value.  The kids are in school to learn about protesting, not do it.  Yet, a school like Garfield feeds on notoriety.  So, what do they teach their kids?  Seems it's thumb your nose at anything you don't like.  I don't blame the kids.  They are ignorant of patriotism, sacrifice, and selflessness.  Their mentors and teachers do them no good service by letting them act out and support them in it.  

"Thomas, a fit 37-year-old with an infectious grin, a charismatic command, and boyish charm, doesn’t have regrets."

From <https://thinkprogress.org/garfield-take-a-knee-8415e57a7a3e/>


He should have regrets because of the direction he and others are taking these kids one or more of them will accost the wrong people at the wrong time in the name of protest and get hurt or killed.  Although it shouldn't be that way - when you spit in someone's eye a nose is going to get bent.  Is taking the knee, protest, what you want your kids to have as their crowning achievement in life?  If so, you are part of the problem too. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Equality and Empowerment

Here is a post from Dave Higgins and my response.

Wondering if one of the reasons sex/gender/race/&c. equality doesn't get as much traction in the middle because so many activists talk about it within a zero-sum framework.

For example, the idea I came across earlier today that men can't be feminists because they benefit from male privilege so lack the ability to genuinely desire women's empowerment. Leaving aside the issue of whether humans are capable of giving up a benefit for the good of others, it assumes empowering someone necessarily requires someone else losing out.

Now, there might be some situations where that is true: if I have a sandwich and you don't, sharing that sandwich between us in any way requires that I lose some sandwich. However, many situations aren't a "there is a small finite number of sandwiches" situation: the idea of hiring practices meaning someone has to lose out on a job is an illusion caused by a belief (i.e. not a physical law) that money should come from work - after all, if benefits were treated as a neutral and sufficient way to be paid, mothers &c. wouldn't be driven into seeking work and some "average" people in work wouldn't seek it, so the number of people seeking jobs would reduce; and the worth of money itself is an illusion caused by the belief we shouldn't just share everything without expecting "fair" recompense.

The idea of work as a double illusion, a mirage seen in a fun-house mirror, is an example not a solution: building a better world requires more complex assessment than simply declaring a specific version of anarchy is perfect. But accepting the premise that giving some groups more than they have requires taking things away from white, cis men is alienating the people who, by the activists own words, have the most power; which might be as daft a strategy for gaining popular support and change as it seems.


~~#~~

I’m not entirely sure I agree with all you put forth as far as why the people in the middle (I'm assuming blue and white collar working class) don’t give equality much traction.

I think the reason the equality issue is ignored by those in the middle is they are busy getting on with life. Traditional roles of male and female are set as they have been since Adam and Eve. The women have the envious job of teaching their children to be God fearing people or at the least to be socially functional in the world of the majority. The men earn the resources to make that possible. Of course, then the lines blur over the centuries between the two, but the basic tenants still hold.

They don't pay much attention to LGBT, bigotry, or gender disparities until forced too. The forcing comes in the form of protests, law suits, and defamatory speech. Some of it is esoteric and some if it is tangible. The idea of someone has to give up something to bring about equality goes against the grain for most that have to be forced to think about it or actually do it.

The protest may shut down the freeway for a while, and a person has to give up some time at home because they can't get there. No big deal, yet if they can't get to the school play starring little darling or make it to the recreation center to sign up Bobby and Susy for Little League then it becomes a bit more serious. Hopefully, not to the point of someone getting run over. When it is over, it's back to life as usual - almost. There is a lingering resentment that lies as an ember in the soul waiting to be feed fuel and flare up. That flare could come in the form of voting no on an LGBT initiative giving same sex couples maternity leave for adopting a baby as an example. That would give them equality with the woman that undergoes natural child birth as far as hours at work are concerned. Gotta be fair - right (wrong).

Application of education, innovation in and out of the work place coupled with hard work, be that swinging an axe or punching a keyboard, has made Americans the best off of all the people in the world. To come to this point has been done predominately on the guidance of the white male. Thus, is the power. That power is shifting. Some through force like protestors and anarchist want, but mostly through demonstration of ability and will of those perceived to be not equal assuming leading position.

Empowerment in relation to women is demeaning by its nature. To be empowered means that someone is giving you the okay to do whatever within the bounds the empowerment dictates. Empowerment has its roots in business. I can empower the cashier to give a ten percent discount on a damaged good presented to checkout without calling me, the manager, to the front to approve it. Thereby, the liberal white male dominated power structure says we are going to empower you women means that the women can do what they want within the bounds the liberals set. That doesn't institute equality.

Your finish is astute. I would even go further and state there is no widespread support to be had for so many of the fringe issues because not all change is good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Colony



"Where are you?  What do you see?"  Doctor Ferris asked Joel.

Joel, lying in a contoured memory foam rack  had his eyes closed.  "Black - Nothing.  Wait, there are specks of white light, for an instant, then they streak by me."

Ferris glanced up at the observation dome overhead.  A hundred grim faces looked down on her from the circular stadium seating surrounding the dome.  She asked Joel, "Are you moving?"

The response was immediate.  "I don't know.  I might be, but I don't feel it."

"Joel, do you see any speck color other than white."

The pause took thirty seconds.  "Yes, I see a red one at 10:00 o'clock."

"Good, focus on it.  Concentrate on the red one.  What's happening?"

"It's growing in size.  Not streaking by like the others."

Ferris took a thermometer from the table at her elbow and wiped Joel's forehead with it and read the digital readout.  102.8 F.  1.2 degrees to go before withdrawal.

"Doctor Ferris?"

"Yes, Joel."

"I'm there.  I just landed.  It's beautiful."

"Describe it.  Is it habitable?"

"Yes."

The stadium observers broke out in a cheer, slapping high-fives and hugging one another.  Ferris raised her arm with an open hand and waved it gently.  The crowd immediately went silent.

Joel, as though he sensed the jubilation paused, then continued.  "I'm in a plain ringed with ruddy rocky outcrops.  Looks like the floor of a meteor strike millenniums old.  The sky has clouds and the color spectrum is right for oxygen.  Wait."  Joel turned the palm of his hand toward his feet.  Water began to bead on the back of it.  "Yes, I feel water.  Not to deep; maybe 18-20 thousand feet.  This will do.  Launch the environmental pod. I can do the rest."

Ferris looked up as a dozen men and women streamed from the stadium.   A few minutes later she heard a whirl of hydraulics as storage bay doors opened.  Seconds later a man reappeared and nodded.  But Ferris had already turned on the camera array and saw the geometric dome floating along the ship.

"Joel, it's out." 

"I'm going to send a cloud of dirt from the planet to cover and insulate it."  As he spoke Ferris and the others watched as red dust, then sheets began covering the dome.  In no less than five minutes it was obscured. 

Ferris wiped his forehead again. 103.4  "Joel, we are running out of time."

Joel's eyes whipped back and forth under his lids.  "No problem.  Is everyone ready for transfer to the dome?"

Ferris looked up and everyone was back in their seats.  "Yes."

Instantly, everyone disappeared.  Ferris looked at Joel.  "It's just me, now."  She wiped his forehead again. 103.9

"Joel…"

"It's okay.  I have them."  He raised his arm over his head as if holding something up. 

The camera display showed the red swirling cloud was gone. 

"Yes, they’re right over me.  I have to set them down before you bring me back." 


She could see the straining of his arm as he brought his empty hand back to level with his waist.

"It's done."  He dropped his arm.

Ferris drove the plunger on the hypodermic into the I.V. line and wiped his forehead again. 103.4.  She sighed.

Joel opened his eyes and looked at her.  "Well, is that all I had to do to get you alone?"  He grinned.


She hugged him.  "Let's head back."  Kissing him, she said, "Well, we don't have to go in suspense right away.  We can snitch a few months of a hundred-year trip for ourselves." 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flash Fiction



My name is Spindly Crabback.  I was skimming along the surface like any other day shaking up some delightful fish eggs,  in a pleasing fog of mud, that went down in a bite or two.  Looked like I was in a good spot for a change.  Of course, I had to dodge a number of fat stocks that seems to always be in pairs that kept shifting around in the atmosphere to plant themselves in the mud only to shift again.  You couldn't see the tops of them as they went up through the atmosphere to disappear beyond the transition showing a pinkish or black haze that seemed to float around in sync with the stocks; more pinks than blacks.  From curiosity, I had scrambled like the dickens one time to try and reach the top of the transition only to get buffeted back down by the churning of the atmosphere cause by the stocks moving.  Some friends that went with me made it to the top and I've never seen or heard from them again.  

Well, I wasn't going to let that bother me today.  I was in pincer heaven when I found a fresh sack of eggs.  I was so engrossed with digging into them that I didn't see it coming.  Squish… That dang stock pushed me a good hundred of my little feet into the mud.  


That really upset me, mad at myself for not watching better.  Not only did I lose my egg sack it's going to take me three days to dig myself out of here.  

Ego and Writers Groups

Roland Boykin, a Fantasy writer, blogged an article about Critique Groups: A Slice of Life that sparked my thinking on egos.  He looks to an even bigger picture by equating the small writers group as a reflection of society as a whole.  I'm not there quite yet, so I just want to shell out a few thoughts on ego.  Here is Roland's link:   https://rolandboykin.blogspot.com/2016/06/critique-groups-slice-of-life.html?showComment=1466694796209#c5816437649711390468


There is a difference between a overly large ego and being filled with confidence.  I think, that at first blush, it is hard to tell the difference.  With time and exposure, the large ego rears its ugly head or the confident person emerges.
 Image result for ego and writing
I suppose it could be argued that they go hand-in-hand where the ego and the confidence coincide.  Perhaps, that is true, but I think not.  I think they exist like the right and left arm; a part of the whole, but doing their own thing and come together occasionally to collaborate.  The ego tends to be fragile, easily offended and hurt.  It resists criticism which in a writers group setting comes in the form of critique. Confidence on the other hand is tough and resilient, where critique is considered against an existing base of knowledge and experiences and acted upon accordingly.

New aspiring writers have a low level of confidence, not a large ego.  I don't think that, as most arguments would have you believe, it takes a huge ego to be a writer.  If you wonder if your ego is unhealthy give yourself this test.  Do I get upset when that other person, the testy, cranky, insufferable person in the Writer's Group publishes a gosh awful work and you don't?  Do you secretly wish they would slip on the tire iron when changing a tire and break a finger?  Does the steam build In the back of your head when someone says about your perfectly crafted prose that they don't understand it, or it's preachy or telling or clique and you defend it, of course?  Answer yes to any of these and you probably have a overly large ego.  An over-sized ego breeds envy.

Image result for ego and writing

Ann Lamott wrote in her book on writing, Bird by Bird:
If you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with [envy] because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know—people who are, in other words, not you . . .You are going to feel awful beyond words. you are going to have a number of days in a row where you hate everyone and don’t believe in anything. if you do know the author whose turn it is, he or she will inevitably say that it will be your turn next, which is what the bride always says to you at each successive wedding, while you grow older and more decayed.
It can wreak just the tiniest bit of havoc with your self-esteem to find that you are hoping for small bad things to happen to this friend—for, say, her head to blow up.

From <https://killzoneblog.com/2012/09/a-writers-ego.html>

 That takes me as to why write if we are not confident and our ego isn't overly large.  I for one, like to express my thoughts and feelings in print.  It may be for myself, solely (which is actually rare) or for the convincing of  others as to my point of view or to be thought provoking by providing an interesting piece that someone would like to read.

If, as a writer, we want to provide work for people to read.  Then, I think that we have to be respectful of the audience.  We, over time, have a responsibility to write in such a manner as not to put off the reader.  Foremost, this comes in the form of good construction of the written word.  Now, on to content;  to present interesting material that draws in the reader and builds on the argument or plot, if you will. 

I think that there are very few of us that are looking for a place in history like Poe or Hemingway to be read, studied and remembered for all the rest of time.  I, for one, would like to spin a yarn that a reader would enjoy as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I don't care if Hemingway thinks writing, at its best, is a lonely life (as I sit here in the dark by myself, when everyone else in the household is in bed).  I am comfortable with myself, I'm my second best friend after my wife.  I would feel successful if my book was in the bottom of the barrel at Goodwill for Twenty-five cents.  But, I have to write it before it gets there.  Perhaps, the best validation of our writing is if someone gives us some money for it, from time to time, and we transition from amateur to professional.

Already, in the few sessions I've attended at the Kitsap's Writers Group, I like to think that my writing has grown and/or matured.  Insights given are spot-on.  The time and effort put into the depth of the critiques I have received is not to be under appreciated.  In times past I have had a series of epiphanies that brought me to the realization that I am flawed.  I don't always have the right answers to any given topic regardless of how passionate I am about it.  I think disjointedly and truncate my writing as though I'm doing an "Operators Manuel" rather than a robust descriptive piece with depth and emotion.  The aggravating thing is I can't see it until it is pointed out to me by the group. Then yippee… I can fix that. 

As I read posts by published authors(on Google+), I smile when they comment about a discussion or debate they've had with their critique group on, say, Point-of-view, or Tense, or author intrusion, or whatever.  I agree fully with those that feel a group is important; birds of a feather do flock together and everyone who writes would write better when swimming in the pool with other writers. 

Ego is okay if healthy.  Confidence is even better and if the confidence level is low, study, practice, and more practice will grow and strengthen it.  So much the better for building confidence when a group of like minded souls lovingly contribute their two-cents.  If you are a fledgling writer like I am, join a writers group.  If you are seasoned and at the top of your game, join a writers group and share.