What kind of world do we want…part 1
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.