Monthly Archives: October 2015

Family Values

People have been talking a lot about Family Values the last few years.  Mostly it’s been the the far Right Tea Party.  The only problem with that is what they have decided Family Values are – Mom (female), Dad (male), 2.3 kids and everyone the same color.  Nice enough if you’re homophobic or racist or some other flavor of scared-ass hater.  But for everyone else there are other possibilities.

Maybe your family is Mom and Mom or Dad and Dad plus 2.3 kids.  Maybe your family is non-monochromatic.  Maybe your family is Grandma and Grandpa and 2.3 grandkids.  Think about all the possibilities that Robin Williams gave us in Mrs. Doubtfire…then multiply that by a gazillion.

You see, family isn’t some Polly Purebred, sanitized for your protection definition of a family.  Family is the people who love you and who you love.  As I write this I’m sitting at the kitchen table at a yearly family get-together.  I’m here with people who’s opinions I disagree with, people who I argue with, people who argue and disagree with me. But they’re all people I love and who love me in turn.  They’re all family.

What the far-right Family Values crowd doesn’t understand is that life is proof that they are wrong.  Everywhere they turn there are people who are members of families that don’t fit their view.  So they respond by saying that if you’re not in one of their approved types of families you’re morally bankrupt or anti-Christian or anti-American.  But the truth is that they’re the ones who are morally bankrupt and anti-Christian and anti-American.

Moral people are not threatened by people with other views.  Good Christians are open and accepting.  Good Americans support other people’s freedoms…like the freedom to love whoever you love.

At present, my immediate family is my wife and me and our two sons.  At some point I’m sure the boys will find people to share their lives with.  I’m equally sure that there will be some personality quirk of those people that will irritate me or maybe even totally piss me off.  People being people, it’s totally unreasonable to assume that they won’t.  But that’s OK as long as they meet one condition.

The only thing Tami and I want is for those people to love our boys as much as they deserve to be loved.  Beyond that we don’t care what color they are or what creed they are or what anything else they are.  Because if they love my sons as much as my sons deserve to be loved it just won’t matter.  They’ll be family.

Guns in America – A Modest…and Moderate Proposal

Gun Control.  I don’t think there’s ever been two words that could spike blood pressure so high in such a large portion of the population.  Ever.  Half of us want  tighter gun control up to and including completely outlawing guns all together.  The other half wants no gun control up to and including letting anyone buy and carry anything they want to just because they want to.

Or at least that’s what the News wants you to believe.  The percentages are probably more like 10-15% want more gun control and another 10-15% want less gun control.  That leaves the remaining 70-80% of us stuck in the middle going deaf from all the shouting.  That’s not to say that those of us in the middle of the Bell Curve don’t have an opinion.  We do.  We’re just not as extreme or strident about it.

Be that as it may, we still have a major disagreement going on.  One one side of the argument are the people who want stricter gun laws / better enforcement of existing gun laws / guns to be completely outlawed / all of the above.  On the other side are the people who fewer guns laws / fewer restrictions on concealed carry / no gun laws at all.  These two groups of people do not see eye to eye.  So, in an effort to save everyone’s hearing and sanity…and hopefully some lives…I’d like to make a proposal.

Accept reality.  We have a gun culture in this country.  Accept it.  It’s not going to change…at least not any time soon.  The writers of the Bill of Rights mandated that every citizen of this country has the Right to keep and bear arms.  For America that’s a reality right up there with, “The sun rises in the East.”  So…all you people on the Gun Control / Gun Registration side of things…people like…me…accept that guns are here and they’re here to stay.

But…and here I’m talking to the pro-gun / Constitutional Rights people.  You know who you are…people like…me.  Start acting like grown-up, responsible Citizens.  You have your guns.  The Gub’mint ain’t gonna take ’em away.  They can’t.  Do the math.  There’s too many of you and too few of them.  So stop acting like spoiled kids on the playground who think the teacher is going to take away your favorite toy.  It is not going to happen.

Let’s try something different instead.  Let’s try to actually talk to each other and maybe come up with a compromise solution that everyone can live with.  Here’s my suggestion for a starting point.  Oh…and before I get started, a word of warning.  There are suggestions here that are going to piss off both sides.  That’s kind of the point.  Nobody gets everything they want.  One side gives up a little, the other side gives up a little.  That’s why I called it a compromise.

Here we go…

  1. Universal Gun Registration.  I have to register my car.  I have to register my house.  If I ever get rich enough to afford an airplane I’ll have to register that.  Why is it so terrible to have to register a gun?  Oh, and no loopholes!!!  UNIVERSAL.  Pro-gun people keep saying that registered gun owners aren’t responsible for most gun violence…which means that unregistered gun owners ARE responsible for most gun violence.  So why not stop unregistered gun purchases?
  2. Universal Carry Permit availability but with mandatory training on safety and all pertinent laws before a Permit is issued and mandatory, periodic relicensing.  I can get a Drivers License in any State and use it to drive in any State.  But first I have to take a class to learn how to safely operate a motor vehicle and then take a test to prove that I can safely operate a motor vehicle.  Then, I can get a license…which I have to periodically renew.  Same with a plane.  Why not with a gun?  Oh, and a standard drivers license does NOT allow me to operate a tractor-trailer rig.  That requires a different class of license…and training…and testing.  If a gun owner wants to own more powerful guns they should have to receive more stringent training, undergo more stringent testing and be subject to more stringent penalties.
  3. Stricter penalties for gun law violations patterned after drunk driving laws.
    • 1st offense – temporary lost of gun license, fines, short jail time and a criminal record.
    • 2nd offense – permanent loss of gun license, mandatory forfeiture of all firearms, much higher fines and longer jail time.
    • 3rd offense – thrown them in a hole and thrown the hole in after them.

Gun ownership is a Right.  There can be no argument on this.  But rights have responsibilities.  A gun owner must be willing to accept the responsibility for keeping his guns safe, carrying them safely, being knowledgeable in the pertinent laws and using them in full accordance with those laws.  And he must also be prepared to accept the full consequences of his actions if he screws up.

There you go.  My suggestions on Gun Control.  Personally, I don’t think they have a chance in hell of ever becoming law.  But what do you think?  Let me know.

The Gun Control Nuts are Assholes…and the Pro-Gun Nuts are Assholes, too!

Nine people are dead. Nine! Some pathetic, psychotic nutbar decided that he didn’t like something so he started shooting people. The reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is that nine people are dead.

So of course, the Gun-Control Lobby – including President Obama – are calling for tougher gun control laws. To quote the President, “…we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.” This is true. The other countries that have mass shootings like this are vacation spots like Syria, Iraq and Libya. Meanwhile, nine people are dead.

At the same time, the Pro-Gun groups are saying that if we didn’t have Gun Free Zones  and all the restrictions on gun ownership and carry permits then someone else with a gun could have shot the shooter before the shooter shot the victims. So we don’t need more Gun Control, we need more guns. And the nine people are still dead.

At the time I’m writing this there are unconfirmed reports that the nutbar was asking people what religion they were. Non-Christians got shot in the leg, Christians got shot in the head. Conservative Christians, in a country founded upon Freedom of Religion, get upset when people of other faiths use the Constitution to secure equality and religious freedom for their faith.  Someone singling out Christians for a hate crime is terrible, unfathomable, unpardonable…and proof that Christianity is under attack.  I wonder if any of those so-called Christians bothered to pray for the victims or their families.  You remember the victims?  The nine people who are dead?

Everyone is so caught up in pushing their own agenda these days that we’re turning into a nation of Us vs. Them.  We’re losing the willingness to listen…REALLY listen…to other opinions and give them due consideration.  We’re losing our soul.  We’re losing what makes us great because we’re so busy tearing the other guy down that we can’t be bothered to build ALL OF US up.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Now is not the time to talk about Gun Control or Religious Hate (two words that should never be in the same sentence).  Right now is the time to weep.  Right now is the time to mourn.  Right now is the time to embrace, the time to keep silence, the time to heal and most especially, the time to love.  And maybe…just maybe…if we do that then there will be time to listen and time to talk and time to understand and time to come together as a people…as a great nation…and find acceptance of our differences and find solutions to our problems.  But right now is not that time.

May God Bless the families of those that died.  May he heal their hearts and comfort their souls.  And may He guide us all to a better tomorrow…together.