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What kind of world do we want…part 1

January 15, 2013

guns

Hey Y’all,

I have been debating about this post for a month. I am not ashamed of what I believe. The internal debate that I have experienced is the simple question. Is what I believe is important enough to post for the world to see? Does anyone really care and more importantly will I make a difference? I don’t know but I do think it is important to encourage responsible, legitimate debate. If in the course of that debate, I can persuade you to change your beliefs. That would be fine with me.

What if you can persuade me to change my beliefs? That would be great, I highly encourage all of you to try and I am open to all arguments.

I have always tried to be honest with you guys. I strive to be fair to everyone and I my goal is to be encouraging and uplifting. That is not a something I ever want to risk and I hope after you read this, you will still be my friend. I welcome all visitors to this site. I believe that a visitor is a friend that I haven’t met yet. If anyone feels the need to make a comment, please do. Say what is on your mind and I promise I will post all comments without an edit. I only ask that if you decide that you must be critical of any view, use your real name. Be a grown-up, be proud of your beliefs and stand by them. No one likes it when people rage away and hide behind an anonymous nickname. Make your comments like a man or woman as the case may be.

Debate is encouraged, insulting a person is not encouraged. Say what you think, offer facts to support your belief and if you just feel that something is true, that is okay. But don’t be offended if someone presents facts and logic to counter your feelings. If your feelings are so fragile and your beliefs are so thin that you can’t stand to hear an opposite view, then you should probably not comment, but you are always welcome to come back another day. I can be friends with anyone no matter what they believe. I hope you can still be friends with me.

These are my beliefs as of 15 January 2013. I reserve the right to change my opinions as the facts present themselves. We live in a dynamic world and to expect a person to cling to any belief over the course of their lifetime is unfair. A person can and should change their beliefs as they gain knowledge and experience. Some things I believed when I was 20 have changed now that I am 44. Some things I believed when I was single have changed now that I am married and have children. I do have some core beliefs and I have questioned them all in my life. Some of my original core beliefs have changed as I have matured. Some have solidified. That is okay and normal. I find it hard to trust someone who says they still believe all the same things since they were twenty.

Before I say what you all think I am going to say, remember that I am speaking as a citizen of the United States. I am not qualified to speak about any other countries’ system of laws or beliefs. I think every country is like a house. We can look from the outside and make qualified guesses about what life is like for the family that lives in that house. But we never really know. I do not judge my neighbor because I don’t know everything that is going on within the walls of his home. He doesn’t know what is going on within the walls of my home. The only way we can understand is if we communicate. If you are not a citizen of the USA, please comment but remember that things may not be exactly the way you think it might be. I promise to respect your countries culture as well. The world is a small place and if we can talk with love and respect, together we can make the world a better place.

I do believe in conspiracies and I believe that there are some very evil people in leadership positions within the Government of the United States. I do not believe that the President of the United States is one of these people. I think he has an agenda and I think he is doing his best to implement that agenda. But I do not believe that President Obama is an evil man. He does not see the world the same way that I do and that is okay. Anyone who has a shred of intelligence can see that the political, social and economic world is changing. The successful person will figure out how to navigate this new world. The angry, inflexible person will wish that things will go back to how they used to be and they will complain about the new direction the country is heading. It is your life and you choose how you will progress in this new world.

Hope that is clear as mud. Now to the issue of Gun Control. This is the issue that is the most vexing to the country right now. And I think it should be. I welcome the debate and in light of the number of massacres in the past year, we need to get this issue sorted out. To me this is a problem of trust. Neither side trusts the other side and the arguments are framed like this: If you own a gun, you think the President is going to take your gun, tonight if not sooner. If you don’t own a gun you think you think that school, church, office building and movie theaters are the new Wild West.

Do I think the President would ban all guns forever if he had the power? Yes, and to be honest that would be fine with me.

Do I think the NRA wants every citizen to be armed with no restrictions? Yes, and to be honest many people are not qualified to ever own a gun, to me that is scarry.

We all live in the real world and I am under no illusion that guns are going to be here today, tomorrow and forever. There are too many guns in this country to ever confiscate them. There are too many people on the side of supporting the armed population and those facts mean that guns will always be here.

Insert Conspiracy Theory here: The real reason is that the guns will not disappear is because the politicians in Washington don’t want to solve the issue. They retain their power because of gridlock. They never really solve any issue because once it is solved; they will lose the support of the people who no longer need them. I do not think it is an intentional conspiracy of the elected officials. I think as a group, the members of the House and Senate don’t have two brain cells to rub together. They vote the way their handlers tell them to vote, often without reading the bill. By keeping the debates ongoing, they rake in millions of dollars from the lobbyist, corporations and special interests groups. Because of this gridlock, we suffer while they thrive and the government grows. As the government grows, they gain power and there are more jobs for their cronies and sycophants. It is the most imperfect circle. This is the way the system worked in the past, the way it works today and always will work. There is nothing I can do to change it, so I will not devote any more time to this theory.

Back to the gun debate. I have two guns in my household. At this very second, they are not loaded and they both sit in a locked box with a trigger lock. I will talk about my pistol first. It is a Smith and Wesson 9mm. I have two, eight round clips and an additional 300 rounds of ammunition. I bought it in 1998, using the reasoning that I did not live in the best area of my town. I wanted it for self-protection, at that time I was single, had no kids and kept it loaded in a night stand next to the bed. I took a concealed weapons course even though I was not required too. At that time, in my state I could qualify for the license because I was in the military and held a current weapon qualification card.

I wanted to know the law so I took the class. I shot it four to five times a year with a couple police friends of mine at an indoor gun range. Each time I went to the range with them, I threw a few hundred rounds down range. They taught me a lot about shooting and there was a time when I was almost good and accurate with it. Being a good husband, I took my wife to the gun range and she enjoyed shooting the weapon. Eventually the kids started showing up and my time became more limited. I have not shot the gun in over a year and now I do not even consider it to have any use as a home protection device. I will talk about home protection later.

In September of this year I bought a second weapon. The weapon that has drawn the ire of the anti-gun folks, the Smith and Wesson M&P AR-15. Long story short, I had an extra truck and I sold it to a friend. I took part of the money and bought the weapon, with the full consent of my wife. From the moment it entered my home, it has sat in its case with a lock on it. It came with two high capacity magazines and I bought 100 rounds of ammunition. I have never shot it and it is my hope and prayer that I never shoot it.

I got it for just one reason. Because I felt it was my duty as an citizen to do so. I believe that the rights we have are useless if we do not exercise them. The second amendment basically says that we as American citizens have the right to bear arms. I felt then as well as today, that I needed to exercise that right. I support the idea of legal, responsible gun ownership. I surveyed the politics of the time and determined that if I ever were going to own a long rifle then that was the time to do it. I passed a background check but to be honest it was very easy to purchase the weapon.

I do not hunt. I have no intentions of ever hunting. I do not feel unsafe or threatened by anyone. I do not feel the need to build an arsenal of high powered weapons to protect myself from zombies or the government. I do not think that we are going the way of the cavemen and that civilization is about to end.

Do I need this weapon? No. Do I want this weapon, No. Can I legally own this weapon? Yes. Is it within my rights to own this weapon? Yes. Should there be a balance between the right to own a weapon and the right for my children to go to school safely? YES!

No one wants another Sandy Hook to happen. I think there needs to be an extensive background check to anyone who buys any weapon. A shotgun will cause more damage to a human body than my AR-15. If a person is a felon or has a mental issue, they do not need to own a weapon. I think I should be required to register my weapons with the police. They need to know that I have it and I need to be held responsible for my weapons. If my weapons are used in a crime by someone within my family, I need to be held just as responsible as the person who used them. If I or someone in my household is deemed to have a mental issue that causes concern in the opinion of a Doctor, then I need to have the weapons removed from my house. They could be stored with an approved friend or at the police department, but they need to be away from anyone who might use them to bring harm on others. Finally, if I decide to sale any of my weapons, there should be a mandatory background check performed by the police on the new buyer.

If I am a law abiding citizen, which I am. If I am mentally stable, which I am. If the members of my household are law abiding and mentally stable, which they are. Then I should have the right to own any weapon that I want, as many as I want, and for as long as I want. That is the freedom I enjoy as an citizen of this country and to me the point of the 2nd amendment.

Finally allow me to say something about self-defense. Using a gun as self-defense sounds like a great idea. The problem lies in the bullet. If you are threatened and you respond with a trigger pull, you need to hit your target, no excuses. Many times, innocent people are hit by stray bullets. I am not willing to say that a person needs to be tried for accidently shooting a bystander. But I do not want to have to deal with the guilt that I would experience. Inside a house, a 9mm bullet will pass through a sheetrock wall, very easily. In fact, you need to plan that it would travel through an entire house. Do you know who is standing behind that wall on the other side of the house? I do not and you don’t either.

Do you ever wonder why the police shoot suspects so many times? Look it up, many times in a shooting, a suspect will be shot multiple times, ten, fifteen, twenty times. That is because life is not like Hollywood. In the movies, it is one shot, one kill. In real life it takes multiple shots and even experienced police officers miss their target. Before I bought my AR-15, I watched a show about the stopping power of the AR-15 versus the AK-47. The AK-47 holds a round that is powerful enough to immobilize a grown human with one shot. The AR-15’s round is smaller and depending on shot placement, it takes several shots to kill an intruder. People do not die because of the impact of the round, they bleed to death.

I have a plan to protect and defend my home from an invader. This plan does not rely on a gun. I rely on the most dangerous weapon in the history of the world; the human mind. The mind has created ways to kill people since the days of the caveman and because of guns, our minds begin and end with the thought of a bullet when we think of home defense. I know that in the dark it will take, on average 27 seconds for me to get out of bed, go to the closet, unlock the pistol box, release the trigger guard, load the weapon and chamber a round. It takes about 10 seconds to enter my backdoor, run up the stairs and get to the bedroom. I cannot win that fight with my current set-up.

My fight will begin and end at the bedroom door or at the top of the stairs. It will be hand to hand and I will prevail because I have the will to win on my side. The intruder is at best looking to steal something and at worse, attempting to harm me and my family. I am looking to defend my family and I will attack full force with the goal of attacking the weak points of the intruder. Eyes, ears, throat, fingers, groin, inner thigh and knees are all unprotected and open to receive damage. The police say that an attacker with a knife and within 25 feet of an officer is considered to be a deadly threat. I am well within the 25 feet limit and to an attacker, I am a deadly threat.

I have taken a course at my work on self-defense. I think everyone needs to take a course that focuses on hand to hand fighting. According to the media, at least two teachers were able to put their hands on the attacker in the Sandy Hook school. With a minimum of training, they should have been able to disarm him and end the attack. With no training the teachers were not able to disarm him. Even though he was a little slim bag he continued his rampage. If you are fighting a gorilla or a little punk with a gun, you don’t tap them. You hit them with everything you got.

I do not want armed guards in every school. There are too many schools and too few actually qualified people to carry a weapon. I am opposed to pilots carrying weapons on airplanes as well. I have seen armed pilots first hand. When the door is closed, they strap on the weapon like John Wayne. In an attack, I have no idea how many rounds they will fire but I expect all of them. There are lots of people sitting in first class who are waiting to be hit by a stray round. It would be the same in a school. There have been multiple accidental firings on the flight deck as well. How many accidental firings are acceptable to you in your kid’s school? Give our teachers one day of training on self-defense and trust me, they will protect our children. A little bit of knowledge, skill and training is more effective than a gun.

This is a long post and I will end it here. The next post will address several issues that plague society.

Until then, thank you for visiting and again I would love to know your comments. If I am as wrong as a left handed football bat, please let me know.

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From → politics

24 Comments
  1. Rob. This “was” a long post. lol. Seriously. Your opinion and thoughts are well taken. I had no idea the power of a bullet going through sheet rock, or planning on it going through the house.

    I do not own a gun. I did. I went to the FFDO program. I figured if they were arming pilots, I would be armed in the event someone I flew with was, and should not be. But, with that said, there was an interesting reaction to the gun. I never practiced and gave it back.

    We were taught if the gun comes out, it’s to kill. That is my impression of a gun.

    With that said, I believe there are a multitude of reasons for people to own guns. Location. Necessity. Maybe they like the sport. Or need it for hunting. But the problem is with the crazies who have guns and need to flaunt them and use them to show their power.

    I have a sister who taught my 9-year-old niece to shoot a gun. My sister came to Easter with a gun stuffed into the back of her pants, and wore a t-shirt that said, “My daddy will shoot you.” Her daughter had a shirt that said, “My daddy will shoot you.” The little girl, now eleven, believes that the size of a man’s importance is based on the automatic weapon they own. This Christmas she was showing photos of Gingerbread men holding guns, and others with holes in the bodies, having been shot. This is not funny to me, or my children. They have convinced my mother to get a gun. I fear my grandchildren to be around them, if they fine it. My youngest, a teacher with a small child, got in an argument on FB with her aunt, my sister.

    So, as you can see… this gun crisis has torn my family apart. I believe that some people have more rights to own guns than others. You have the right to own guns because of your stability. My crazy sister, who is going to Nursing School, sends my niece to a Christian School, is a pillar in her church and her husband is her personality times ten on this, and was almost elected as a judge in his county… should not own guns. For them, this is a game and a power issue.

    We do need gun control laws. Lock boxes with fingerprint controls. Mental stability assessment. Unfortunately, my sister and family would pass. But their behavior is anything but normal. Or maybe it is normal and I’m the abnormal side.

    I also don’t think we should be arming schools. Not in the US. When we get to that point, we have fallen to a third world country in war. I don’t want to be there. I too respect cultures, and differences.

    All I have to ask is where in the world, is our world going? We have it pretty nice. I wish all the people who think otherwise could visit another time and see the reality of what they have. Gun laws are not going to take guns away from the responsible. They may just make it more difficult for the crazies to get them. An ounce of prevention….
    Even the FFDO program, we had to visit a psychiatrist.

    • Karlene,

      Many great points and your perspective is refreshing. This is an issue that so is emotional on both sides. I am sorry that your family is so divided but you bring up a great point. Do I want my kids around other kids who are packing? Heck no!

      My wife and I discussed this and we decided that we had to talk to my daughter about guns. She is 8 and so innocent and pure. But she still needs to know about guns. I showed her our pistol and we talked about how it is not a toy. I stressed to her that if she was over at someone else’s house and her friends wanted to play with a gun, we wanted her to leave immediately. If she was too far away to come home then she needed to call us and we would get her. My son is 5 so we will wait to have this talk later with him. But we will do it just like we have spoken about inappropriate touching and all the other dangers to the kids.

      Guns are not inherently dangerous but once the bullet leaves the barrel it can never be undone. When she is older and if she wants, I will teach her about gun safety and shooting. I do like to target shoot, it is a challenge. Under the right conditions it is perfectly safe.

      Again, I thank you for your comments. I am sorry that the post was so long but I felt that it is important to be very detailed when I discussed my views on this topic. I will try to keep it shorter in the future.

      • Hi Rob, Thanks for your comment. I think being responsible with weapons is the key and the answer to the solution. I cannot imagine any gun holders wanting guns in the wrong hands, or keeping people safe. I cannot imagine why everyone is not working together for a solution to make that happen. That’s what confuses my brain. I love these kind of discussions with people you can talk with. Thanks!

    • Erica permalink

      Thanks for sharing this Karlene. I read it with much interest.

      • Karlene is the best!

        Erica is the best!

        Trying to determine who is the actual best is impossible. I declare a tie. You both are the best!

      • Ahh… Thank you both!!

  2. Reasonable debate will not be tolerated. We have learned as a society that it’s far easier to act while emotions are still raw, requiring less effort to persuade people with minimal amounts of logic, reasoning or facts.
    Your thoughts are well appreciated Rob. Don’t let it happen again
    Jp

    • I appreciate your visit. You are welcome here anytime. You are right that our leaders use crisis to implement their agenda. It is much easier to act when everyone is in an uproar. But is also much more dangerous to our rights.

      Consider President Roosevelt and his executive order to round up all the Japanese Americans in containment camps. I believe that he had good intentions but his order allowed those who have less good will to persecute a group of American’s because their culture and looks were different that the vast majority. I am concerned that President Obama may sign an executive order to force stricter laws. That good action may end up denying law abiding citizens our rights. When I say that I want stricter laws, I mean that I want it to be implemented because of the actions of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches working together to solve this issue.

      I will do my best to sink to the level you normally expect.

      Thanks for speaking up.

  3. I am contemplating my comment…and BTW, for what it’s worth, I do not like debate. I like to exchange views, opinions, etc., without malice or a political agenda. 🙂

    • Mrs. Mustang,

      I eagerly await your well thought out, focused and logical remarks. Of everyone I have ever met, I believe that you will speak the truth without malice or agenda.

      Thanks for visiting.

      • The point I was alluding to on my blog on FDR and Executive Order 9066 was directed at the impending regulations on the right to bear arms. The right to bear arms – plain and in simple language – is #2 clarification in the Bill of Rights…right after the first Amendment – guaranteeing the basic rights we hold dear. I’m not going into the language as it should be apparent to the learned reader.

        Lawyers (which are a scourge) in present day America attempt to “re-interpret” the language our wise forefathers wrote with a feathered quill. However, they apply the “current” world situations to suit them in my opinion. That’s just plain wrong.

        Did the forefathers see Star Trek like devices back then – like cell phones? Of course not. But all these devices do is make daily life easier – like running water in homes or backyard swimming pools. Hundreds of children drown in backyard swimming pools every year.

        Will a president sign an Executive Order because 20 children drown all at once because some deranged mother held them underwater? Of course not. But in this case, water is like a gun in the hands of a deranged individual.

        And cell phones… How many of our young people die or get maimed or injured because some angry person decided to text a scathing irate message to another person – while driving? I can say thousands. Does the president sign an Executive Order? No. And if you think about it, cell phones are used by deranged terrorists to set off bombs or arrange drug deals – both which will kill hundreds. Not just twenty.

        So why guns? Please, do not misconstrue my conceptual thoughts here. The tragedy in Connecticut was terrible. I have children, too.

        But a mentally unstable person committed that heinous deed – just as many people will take a kitchen knife to stab someone to death in their own home.

        Our liberal society – exacerbated by greedy lawyers trying to make a name for themselves – now “protect” mentally unstable individuals, allowing them to roam amongst us. The Colorado guy that murdered many in the theater, for example, now has to be evaluated psychologically. For God’s sake. It is bordering on stupidity, propelled by political correctness.

        But an Executive Order is monarchy. Sure, the Democrats will say that there are limitations but we all know what happened with FDRs signing of Executive Order 9066. Craftily worded and buoyed up by national hysteria propelled it into being enforced.

        I do not know how craftily worded Obama’s Executive Order, if signed, will be but it only serves to boost his status. Look at the FBI data: who is killing who? I think you know.

        Which brings us back to the right to bear arms. Criminals will overrun law-abiding citizens as the criminals will NOT adhere to any gun control laws. Period. And the police – who are dwindling in number due to the money being directed to other “socially correct” uses cannot be there to stop them before someone innocent is found on a sidewalk.

        At lets face it – liberal media reporting adds to the hysteria. We had a “turn in a gun for a gift certificate here where I live. The media SHOUTED the program was successful as two rocket launchers were turned in – no questions asked. But they weren’t really effective rocket launchers. They were expended rocket launcher TUBES. Useless. They cannot be reloaded and fired again even if they found suitable ordnance. These tubes are littered about in every battleground and can be picked up if you wish to. Media is part of this hysteria.

        Am I a lawyer? No. But I am an American. My father and relatives were imprisoned in WWII camps on account of Executive Order 9066. They lost everything – even stripped of their rights as American citizens by FDRs Executive Order.

        There is no “answer” but laws countermanding the Bill of Rights is unconstitutional in my law-abiding mindset as an American guaranteed basic rights.

        I’ve written too much to no absolute benefit as it is beyond my control. But this hysteria ignores cell phones, pools and all other means conceptually by which people can be killed.

      • Mustang, Laws in Washington State prevent people from texting and or talking on their phones while driving. Laws in Washington State, prevent people from having un-enclosed pools…open to children to access without assistance. Laws prevent people from drinking and driving. While that appears to be a violation of a constitutional rights… but we do have laws for the things you mention as dangerous.

        I taught all my children how to swim. I’m unable to teach them how to live with a stray bullet shot through them. The difference is, a natural event, verses a criminal event. And while every child who has been killed by a parent’s gun, those parents only wishes they had a swimming pool instead. While I understand your point of view and the history your family came through…sounds like a lot of suffering… I’m sure if there was a thought that crazy people would get automatic weapons and kill innocent children, our forefathers may have written a clause on that one.

        I have the right to freedom of speech, and yet there are certain things I’m not allowed to say on a plane, or speak in my uniform at work. I’m afraid our rights are being edited.

        But remember one thing… laws and mandates are made for people without self control. I do not need a law to tell me I can’t walk into a store and take something without paying for it. Nor do I need a law to tell me to not harm someone. But society has evolved and changed the rules because of people who do not know how to control their behavior and their lack a moral compass.

        If we need control over guns, for those who should not, and do not have the right … yes, they lose their rights when they are capable of infringing upon another person body… then maybe we should take a look at how to control them. All laws are designed for people who lack control. Why shouldn’t gun laws be the same? I’m just saying…

      • All valid points of view and concepts… Thank you for posting them.

        The issue is not the weapon, in my opinion. A knife is a weapon. So is a baseball bat. People are killed with them each day. Same with guns.

        The issue I personally see is the Executive Order, exacerbated by the political and social frenzy. The point is, what will the effect be on society (including law enforcement and good parenting) if our rights are slowly being taken away? Will we be a country of citizens or a country made up of government and social/political correctness? Who knows…

        Thanks again for your well-written thoughts.

      • Thanks for your thoughts too. I just think a baseball bat and a knife can’t do a massive killing. The automatic weapons are really the issue. I guess I don’t mind my rights being taken away for something like that. But the fear is… where does it end? But the plan announced this morning, is not a big deal. And very reasonable. And doesn’t appear to violate anyone’s rights. If anyone is pushing back on that, we have wonder why. It’s a shame that the NRA doesn’t get on board and work together to make it work. Thanks again for your comment!

  4. Rob,

    The gun debate is the best example of the debate between Safety vs. Freedom and the Individual vs Government. I’ll take freedom for the individual every time.

    As far as school shootings go…

    My teacher pal and I have ruminated over what we would do in the horrible event of a school shooting. I have a few beliefs, but at this point, that’s all they are. I understand that, in Texas, the staff and students are trained, as a last possible resort, to hurl books at dangerous intruders as they come into the class. Can you imagine being attacked with a volley of dictionaries and history books?

    But I think Texas has it right. Would this tactic work in a real situation? Who knows, but it sends a powerful message to evil wackjobs who wish to inflict pain and mayhem on the innocent and vulnerable. “Do so at your own risk because we are not victims here.”

    • Big Joe,

      I have been looking forward to you weighing in on this topic, especially because you are on the front line. As a teacher, you are the first and last line of defense. No pressure there, but I put my faith in men and women like you. I am not familiar with the rules of engagement in the great state of Texas but the philosophy is sound.

      Allow me to explain. I believe there are three types of people. Sheep, Wolves and Shepherds. To a degree, let’s assume the kids are the sheep and there is a wolf in the school. You are your fellow teachers have been conditioned to be the shepherds. You know it is true, you are the King of your classroom. Nothing bad happens in front of you because you and the other teachers are in control. Your example of throwing books at the attacker may not be tactically sound but it is psychologically correct. The idea that you fight with anything you have at your disposal is exactly right. The idea that you fight with your last breath is also exactly right.

      Do you think anyone will ever hijack an airplane again? I do not. The passengers and the crew will fight back. There are procedures in place to prevent the aircraft from being taken over and the idea is that the Captain will get the airplane on the ground as fast as possible while the passengers fight the hijackers..

      In your case, you will do anything you can to protect your kids and yourself. On your desk, I would wager there are several objects that could be used by you to attack the attacker. Ink pin, pencils, scissors are all instruments to stab with. Cloth ruler, rubber bands, computer cable, telephone cord are all strangling instruments. Stapler, book, and rolled up newspaper or magazine are all striking instruments. Hand gel squirted in the eyes is very effective in temporarily blinding and disorienting the attacker. It won’t last long, but a few seconds is all you really need to disarm the attacker.

      I believe it is imperative that our teachers need to know that you are not powerless. You can fight back and you can win the day. Armed with the proper attitude and a sharp mind there is no limit to what you can do. I bet you teach your students something like that every day.

  5. Erica permalink

    Thanks for sharing your views.

    I will consider my response before posting, but straight up, I will say that I am not a U.S. citizen, but a U.S. resident, and I believe that sometimes it takes people from the outside to recognise cultural ‘things’ (I will not use words like ‘faults,’ or ‘strengths’ to imply good or bad at this stage), that denizens may have difficulty seeing because they are embedded in the culture. I feel this about certain religious rituals and traditions, too, but hey, that’s not the issue here.

    (And if you think I don’t think this applies to me, I’ve had plenty of people say stuff about Oz where I’ve reacted with, ‘Really? You think so? I’d never noticed.’)

    Another point, while I think about my real response:

    I suspect that few ‘normal people’ are emotionally stable all the time. Depression, grief, PMS, drunkenness, the turmoils of adolescence, a ‘short fuse,’ bad hair days, can and do touch every person’s life at one stage or another. Mentally ill people and felons are one thing, but normal people who snap under the pressures of everyday life (or those obsessed with power and control, and there’s plenty of those people about) are another kettle of fish altogether.

    Sincerely, your pal,

    Erica Eastick

    • Erica,

      You are truly a lady of honor and integrity. I get visits from folks all over the world every day. I am excited to see a hit from Guam because I know that you are hanging out. My remarks about those from other countries were not intended for you. I should have sent you a private e-mail and said this earlier. I didn’t, please accept my apologies.

      You make a great point about normal people flying off the handle so to speak. That is a very valid point and must acknowledge that you are causing me to rethink my arguments. That combined with Karlene’s comments about her family are causing me to spend some time mediating about my initial comments. Thank you and like Mrs Koji, I eagerly await your real response.

      • Erica permalink

        No apology needed. I get it.

        I lived in nthn Idaho before moving to Guam (no shortage of weapons or opinions there), but I will never pretend to know or understand what it’s like to grow up in the U.S., because I didn’t.

        I’m finding some of the attitudes quite intriguing, actually. You are the second person this week who has told me they have absolutely no faith in their (U.S.) government. When I asked the other person, ‘Why do you have four handguns in your house?’ his reply was ‘because I can,’ which is not dissimilar to ‘because it’s my right.’

        (My flippant reply to that is: I have the right to run around naked in my backyard, but I choose not to (except on full moons, of course). Knowing that I can is quite enough, thanks very much.)

        I’m intrigued because, like you, the other person I’m speaking of has travelled extensively, and seen first hand what, in my mind, is ‘repressed freedom.’ Okay, so politicians and governments have agendas, sure, but, I’d like to learn more. What exactly is the fear? That you can’t buy a 16oz soda in NY?

      • Of course I can only speak for me, and not your friend. So I will try to answer your question.

        I find it difficult to trust the Government because it is the nature of the job and the people who do those jobs. You know that I served in the military for 13 years. This experience gave me a great insight into the mentality of the inner workings of the government. Each department has its own way of performing it duty. Each person within each department had their own way of dealing with people from outside the department. An example is getting an identification card made might take three trips to the personnel section. If the person whose job it is to take the pictures is in a meeting, not at work or otherwise busy, there may not be anyone “qualified” to take the picture and that means a return trip later in the day.

        The bureaucracy is like an onion, with layers upon layers of redundancy. As you get deeper into the onion you will find people who get paid more but actually do less. The deeper you go within the onion, the less willing you will find someone who really exists to be a public servant. The government grows at an astonishing rate. Washington DC is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA. It is a deep, dark black hole that consumes a large part of the income of the people but gives back very little.

        The elected officials are key players in the problem. They use their title to secure money for their district and for their friends. This process continues the longer the official stays in office. It is a gravy train for all involved. Their job is to do, say and be whatever it takes to represent their side. That includes lying, fabricating and misleading the public. Add to that a willingness to vote themselves a pay raise while only working half of the year while neglecting the real issues. They will drag their feet, delay making a decision and pass the problems to others while voting on a bill that they have not read.

        The real power brokers in the country are the staffers who work for the elected officials. They are the ones who get to meet with the lobbyists and actually make the decisions. The reap the rewards and enjoy the same benefits that their boss has, but they don’t actually have to make any official decisions or make a stand for anything.

        Finally, the President has no real power other than the ability to speak directly to the people for as long as he wants. In theory he is forced to work with the legislative branch to make laws but he can write an executive order that effectively allows him to do anything he wants.

        It is the system we have and although flawed, I love it but don’t trust it.

        Hope that helps a little.

      • Erica permalink

        Thanks, Rob. You know what? From my own experiences, I actually agree with most of what you said in relation to the nature of bureaucratic systems.

        I’ve not yet figured out why handguns are allowed in homes and on the person if occupation doesn’t call for it, though. I respect (what I think) the Bill of Rights stands for, but I have difficulty accepting so many avoidable deaths because of a document written over 220 years ago (no disrespect intended – I have similar views about my own Constitution. Times change).

        Simplistic and naive? Perhaps, but when I see figures like this example: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/us-mass-shootings-2012/, my brain instantly says, ‘there’s a real problem here, and something needs to be done.’

        ‘What kind of world do we want…’ is an excellent question, Rob. Choices abound.

        Okay, so I didn’t end up drafting a real response, but let me say that I am mightily impressed with the quality of comments you’ve attracted, from people much more knowledgeable and eloquent than I. You hang out with some cool people.

    • Erica, That is a very good point. You never know when someone is going to snap. My first book was about that very issue. How far could you push a pilot before he mentally broke? Mental health is huge and one day we are healthy, and the next we lose it. I have seen many drunks that I would be scared to death to be in the room with them and a weapon.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Good read Rob!

    On this issue it is interesting how so many of us differ on our views surrounding how to protect our kids.

    Here is what many see including myself:

    On one hand we have We The People NOT massing up and totally squashing the federal government from pilling massive un payable debt onto our children killing them in the future with starvation and economic slavery…

    While on the other hand we have We The People disarming our kids protectors and then advertising our kids being in a “gun free zone” (translated means defenseless prey gathered here).

    We are in deep trouble and need to turn back to the God of our fathers in all our ways!

    • Thanks for coming over and joining the pool party. I happen to agree with you and your thoughts on the national debt. It is scary to me when I think about the amount to debt our country has built up. I have some thoughts about this issue and will post it sometime in the near future.

      About guns in the schools, I just cannot find any justification for allowing any guns into a school. Having seen first-hand how the military and the FAA has trained and qualified pilots about how to use a weapon. The training may be okay for some people but not for all. Even when the FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) program has qualified hundreds of pilots to carry a weapon on the flight deck, there have been multiple accidental discharges of the weapon, while the airplane has been in flight and many more when putting the gun on or taking it off before the flight. When I was in the military, I know of three times a weapon was discharged at the front gate.

      Additionally, if I am a crazy person and I know that one of the teachers is packing. That is the first person I attack and they brought the gun past security for me. Additionally there are no secrets in a school. Once a teacher starts packing, the kids will know. Once the kids know, the parents know and soon the entire community knows who is and isn’t wearing a weapon. A criminal can use that information to better plan their attack. I don’t think it is the deterrent that you do. Additionally, if I just want to shoot kids, I will pull the fire alarm and when they kids start filling out I will be able to harm them without worrying about any teacher who might or might not be carrying. To me, tactically there are too many ways to work around the problem of teachers who are carrying a weapon.

      I prefer for the schools to have a good relationship with the first responders. Random patrols by the police and involvement by the parents who randomly roam the school ground during the day. The teachers need to be trained to spot the kids who might be emotionally troubled and have the resources to get these kids help before they snap. If something like Sandy Hook happens, the teachers need to know how to defend themselves and their students.

      I am all for protecting the kids but I do not want to turn the school into a prison. Sandy Hook happens .001% of the time. It is very rare and tragic, but I fear a teacher who accidently fires their weapon much more than crazed snot nosed punks.

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