Ducks and Congressmen – How They Differ

 Congress, Crack Pots, Crime, Featured, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Ducks and Congressmen – How They Differ
Jun 142017
 

Today, I was contemplating the story of the shooting at the Congressional Baseball practice session (and later in the day after another workplace shooting at a UPS facility in San Francisco), and something occurred to me about our priorities. Reports from the scene of the Congressional Baseball practice say something like 50 shots were fired, meaning the gunman had a relatively high-capacity magazine in what has been described as an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.

Here’s what got me to thinking. My Grandfather’s shotgun, which came down to me and which I used for some bird hunting, was a “Sportsman” model. It gets the “Sportsman” designation because it is designed to hold only three shells at a time. This is to comply with Federal and most state laws regarding the hunting of migratory birds. (I’ve quoted Florida’s below, but North Carolina and most states have the same regulation.) Continue reading »

Jun 132016
 

4-LiesThere’s much I can say about the massacre in Orlando, and will write more about that after some reflection, but this one topic was too clear and obvious to need any reflection. It is time to end the NRA claim about how a “good-guy-with-a-gun” will rush in and save the day, if only there’s one around.

I don’t believe a single event should set a precedent or make a point, so I’ll start with another example. A Facebook “friend” posted an article about one of these always-armed ammosexuals, who was claimed in the article to be a hero. Apparently around May 30, 2016, in a Houston Mall, a 25-year-old Army veteran allegedly suffering from PTSD opened fire. Concealed carry permit holder Byron Wilson drew his handgun and engaged the shooter. The article she posted claimed Wilson was a hero because he ran towards the shooting and not away.

Wilson was shot three times, along with seven other people. It took the local SWAT team to take down the shooter. It doesn’t appear Wilson ever even hit the guy. Continue reading »

The Crazies of Guns

 Constitution, Faux News, Featured Video, Media, Politics, Television  Comments Off on The Crazies of Guns
Feb 152013
 

Some time has lapsed since the horror that was the Newtown shooting, and now there have been even more gun deaths, and five people were shot accidentally on “Gun Appreciation Day,” hastily thrown together by the gun nuts. I grew up hunting with my Grandfather and other friends. I know my away around guns, and believe they are something that responsible people should have for sporting purposes, but extremists have gone entirely too far with the rhetoric, and their arguments that every person should have totally unfettered access to any kind of gun. So I want to put my spin in the discussion and dissemble the arguments that I keep hearing circulated.

funny-christmas-cards-second-amendment-christmasFirst, let’s cut right to the chase on the primary argument that seems to be implied by nearly every gun nut out there. They seem to think that any regulation whatsoever results in them having their guns “pried from their cold dead hands.” I’m tired of hearing this. None of the laws I’ve heard proposed make anyone surrender any guns, and nothing that’s been proposed includes the elimination of all gun sales. We have always had regulations for the sale of guns, and there are still plenty of guns in circulation.

As a society, we have, for nearly the entire life of the Republic, recognized that many things we are entitled to as rights, can still be reasonably restricted to make sure we can all get along. You have a right to free speech, but can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. We live by the principle famously attributed to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

So stop already with the claim that any regulation would somehow prohibit you from owning a shotgun for shooting quail, or even a handgun. It’s just not true.

The other continuing meme that Obama is preparing to take all our guns is beyond ridiculous. His base has been in favor of stricter gun control for the entire time he’s been in office, but up until Newtown, his Administration had never touched the subject.

I’m also tired of the argument that the Constitution provides carte Blanche for gun ownership. Let’s take a look at the language of the Bill of Rights. Amendment I famously begins with the prohibition, “Congress shall make no law…” The founders clearly gave thought to the wording of these original documents. They proscribed the making of laws that regulate some of the rights they believed we inherited, and they used very specific language to do that. They did not, in Amendment II, make any statements limiting the authority of Congress to regulate the ownership of guns. I believe, given the wording of other Amendments, had the people of the time intended for gun ownership to be completely without regulation, they would and could have written it right there in Amendment II. Continue reading »

Back with My Thoughts on the Aurora Shooting

 Crime, Featured, Gay Issues, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Back with My Thoughts on the Aurora Shooting
Jul 232012
 

I haven’t been posting anything really in a long time. I’ve been writing so much for work, that even though there are lots of things I want to write about, I just haven’t been able to find the motivation. However, there are a couple of stories lately I would like to share some thoughts about, and one is the horrible event at the movie theater in Aurora, CO this past weekend.

Here is my primary thought. To everyone who was actually touched by this calamity, my prayers are with you and your families.

My second thought is, everyone else needs to just take a breath, and let’s bring some sanity to the discussion. We all want to know why. We want to understand how this person came to this place. We want to assign some motivation, some identifiable cause. We want to blame someone or something so it will look like we can control these situations. We want these answers because we want to be safe. We want to know how to identify this person in the future, or how to create circumstances where this can never happen again.

There are already those taking to the airwaves and the internets to blame Hollywood’s violent movies, gaming violence, guns — both the lack of regulations and the lack of a gun-toting savior, our mental health system, troubled youth, social media, normalization of gun violence, lack of prayer in schools, gays, abortions. I’ve heard criticism of parents who brought children to the movie premier, midnight openings, and once in a while, even some mention of the alleged shooter.

We search for meaning in madness, and don’t take the time to simply grieve. I understand that very basic human compulsion. But “why” will drive you crazy. Has everyone in the entire country forgotten what it’s like to be around a two-year-old, … Why? Because I said so. Why? Because I’m in charge. Why?….” Sometimes there’s just no good reason anyone can articulate for some of the things that happen in this world.

In my Sunday School class were doing a study from a book called The Psalms for Today by Beth LaNeel Tanner. Coincidentally, This past Sunday’s lesson was “Learning to Live Without Fear.” Appropriate for the time, no? This coming Sunday’s lesson is on Psalm 13, and the Chapter is titled, “Living In A Broken World.” The first five verses of the Psalm are, in the American Standard Version:

How long, O Jehovah? wilt thou forget me forever? How long wilt thou hide they face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Jehovah my God; Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Let mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; Lest mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved.

You see, even David didn’t have all the answers. Sometimes he cries out to God for some sign, for some deeper understanding. The Rabbi in Ecclesiastes often has the same response. They don’t understand why some things happen in this world, yet we desperately want those answers. However, the rhetoric we’re getting so far is not going to do anything to heal anyone, nor the nation, nor the world.

In her book, Dr. Tanner talks about how the Israelites often, for protection, carried a Psalm rolled into an  amulets. We Christians wear crosses and many wear St. Christopher necklaces. Dr. Tanner writes, “We have become a society where fear sells everything from the latest weather forecast to new cars. Much of our economy is fueled by tapping into our fears. If we own the right things, we can protect ourselves and our family from harm, and that will make us happy. We have replaced amulets with things that supposedly will keep us from harm and offer that ever elusive contentment.”

We have this overblown fear when things like this happen that is out of proportion to the real danger. It’s been noted that, while nothing takes anything away from terror and pure evil of this event, the 12 people killed here represent merely one-half of the total number of people killed by guns on an average day in the United States. John Mueller writes: “International terrorism generally kills a few hundred people a year worldwide—not much more, usually, than the number who drown yearly in bathtubs in the United States. Americans worry intensely about “another 9/11,” but if one of these were to occur every three months for the next five years, the chance of being killed in one of them is 0.02 percent. Astronomer Alan Harris has calculated that at present rates, the lifetime probability that a resident of the globe will die at the hands of international terrorists is 1 in 80,000, about the same likelihood that one would die over the same interval from the impact on the earth of an especially ill-directed asteroid or comet.” ((As quoted on American Broadcast Network’s 20/20, Feb. 23, 2007. John Mueller was commenting about his book Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them (New York: Free Press, 2006). These statistics apply to the world in general and not war zones such as Iraq.))

Let’s take a look at some of the rhetoric up to now. Not surprisingly, the krazy kristian kooks have taken to the internets will all sorts of bullshit. Continue reading »

Idiots of the Week for March 7 2008

 Business, Crime, Fun Stuff, Humor, Society  Comments Off on Idiots of the Week for March 7 2008
Mar 072008
 

Sick Leave HotlineMan Has Himself Shot to Get Time Off – AP
Detectives in Franklin County, WA say Daniel Kuch had a friend shoot him the shoulder in order to get some timee off from work and to avoid a drug test. Kuch filed a report with the police saying he’d been the victim of a drive-by shooting while he was out jogging. No word on whether the guy still has his job or not.

Our Darwin Award Winner
TBO.com has a report about Adrian Apgar and his second encounter with an alligator. Just over a year ago, Mr. Apgar was rescued by Polk Country Sheriff’s deputies who waded into a pond and got him out of the clutches of a large gator. He still lost his arm in the attack. Well it appears that this week he was found by deputies again, naked and wading around in a pond with several gators around.

Woman Stabs Boyfriend, Then Drives Him to Hospital
44 year old Jacqueline Barber was chargedby St. Pete police with attempted murder this morning after stabbing her 54 year old boyfriend in the neck. Apparently, they had some sort of argument, and he was dropping her off at her Mother’s house. She turned and stabbed him in the neck, but then drove him to the hospital.

Final Word on Attorney Season In Texas

 Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Politics, Presidency, Society  Comments Off on Final Word on Attorney Season In Texas
Feb 202006
 

Here’s my final word this truly a sorry scandal. I think what happened is pretty clear:

Cheney and his friends sat around the ranch having a few drinks Saturday, then decided to do a little shooting. The VP shot a guy. Cheney’s handlers cover the situation by arranging for Dick to be interviewed by the local constabulary the next morning.

They didn’t release info immediately because if the guy died, they would want to find someone else to pin the shooting on (That’s why Mr. Whittington has been receiving care from Cheney’s very own doctors). It also probably means the guy is injured far more than anyone wants to admit.

The story leaked much to their disappointment. Maybe they were trying to set up the ranch owner to take the fall, and she wasn’t buying, but who knows.

Cheney has never understood the essence of public life (it’s public). He still sees himself as the biggest of the corporate big-whigs, and as such, not answerable to American Citizens. (We just keep getting in his way.) He doesn’t care whether Bush knew or not. Bush isn’t the man, Dick is. W reports to him. He’s certainly not interested in a heart-felt apology, because we know the guy’s heart is dead (not only physically, but spiritually as well). Although he talked on Fox about how tragic this is, and how sorry he is. It was only ONE of his worst days. I’m not sure about you, but I think if I shot someone, especially a friend by accident, it would probably go right to top of my worst day list, and I’ve had some bad ones.

It is another travesty in this lost democracy, and certainly just another example of the arrogance and lack of accountability by the people in this administration. I detest them all as much as anyone, and am sick that they do stuff like this and get away with it.

I think we can all stipulate to the above. However, Dick Cheney getting drunk and shooting someone while hunting is the least of our worries. While the Press has been looking the other way, the Bush Administration has managed to pretty much derail any Congressional Investigation of the domestic spying scandal. Bush is sneaking Healthcare and Social Security privatization into the budget. I think the war in Iraq, the coming war in Iran, the Constitutional violations by the Administration, and the federal budget are issues that have far greater impact on each of us.

Dick screwed the pooch big time, tried to cover it up, got caught, is arrogant and doesn’t believe he has to be apologetic or take responsibility for anything. We can rant and rave here all we want, it will NOT change who Dick Cheney is, and does nothing to protect our Country. We must remain focused on limiting the damage Cheney and team can do to our democracy. Don’t let them sidetrack us with things like extended discussions of the spread characteristics of birdshot, and what time the sun set in Texas that day. It does nothing to protect our Democracy.

Please…Let’s get back to the important stuff. (Karl Rove is loving these threads.)

Dead Eye Dick

 Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Dead Eye Dick
Feb 132006
 

By now, I’m sure most everyone has heard about the Vice President shooting his "friend" Harry Whittington. I’m sure accidents can happen, but a whole lot of this story sure does not add up.

Let’s run down the list. Of course the VP’s office is blaming the mishap on Whittington. He supposedly walked up on the VP without the VP knowing it. So, what’s the Secret Service for. This would mean the Secret Service allowed a man with a gun to sneak up on the Vice President of the United States.

The owner of the hunting ranch, and an eyewitness, was supposedly told by the Vice President’s office to be the person to release the information the press. But of course, not until after she got a late night call from Karl Rove. And then, despite the guy being in the intensive care unit after having taken nearly 200 pellets in his face and torso, she describes it lightly by saying he merely got "peppered" pretty good.

During lunch today I watched Presidential Press Secretary, Scott McClellan’s, press conference. Despite the whole thing happening at 5pm, McClellan says the President wasn’t told that Cheney was the shooter until late in the evening, and McClellan wasn’t told until 6am Sunday. His excuse…they were gathering the facts. Come on, the Vice President shot someone, and no one was sure what happened?

A deputy sheriff was not allowed to interview the VP at the time, and oh, these were two married men on a hunting trip with two women, not their wives. The Secret Service arranged to have the Sheriff interview Cheney Sunday morning.

So my guess is that the VP and his party had been doing some drinking. They might have even thought they just wouldn’t admit that Cheney was the shooter. I’m thinking that Whittington was more injured than we’ve been lead to believe. He was flown out by helicopter. I think they were all afraid he might die, so no one was willing to take the fall for Cheney. So the first report was that someone in the VP’s hunting party got shot, but apparently they weren’t even telling the White House who did the shooting. I’d say they didn’t want any record of having admitted it was Dick until they could try to get one of the other people to take the fall.

No one would step up, and maybe they even pissed this Armstrong lady off in the process, so she went to the press. Then Karl called to smooth things over, so she softened story. I’d say it wouldn’t be a good idea for her to go hunting again with the Vice President.