The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘gun control’ Category

REFLECTIONS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

As usual, last week on the 4th of July around 5:00 a.m. I arose and Gracie and our houseguest Zeus headed over to the dog park.  Apparently, for dogs as well as humans, bodily functions do not recognize the significance of official Holidays.

We went to the park but stayed only briefly because by 6:30 it was already beginning to get hot.  I could see that the fire that has now consumed about 7,000 acres north of Las Vegas on Mt. Charleston was still out of control.  Large almost cumulus-like clouds hung in the air, but rather than being white they were charcoal in color.

Perhaps it was the poor air quality that started me sneezing.  To my knowledge I don’t have any allergies.  I also didn’t have any tissues with me nor did any of my friends at the park.  So, getting tired of snorting the mucous back into my throat,  I decided to stop by the little convenience store on the way home and pick up a small pack of tissues.

It took me a few minutes to find these and pay for my purchase – which I began using in the store before I had paid for them – ah, what a relief – and when I went outside there were three teenage boys standing at the side of the door.  One of them very politely said, “Excuse me.  Could you help us?”

I thought that they were going to ask for some change.

“How can I help you?”

“Well, we was wondering if we give you the money, would you go inside the store and buy us a can of malt liquor?” said the one I took to be the oldest – perhaps 15 years or so.  Of course, doing so is a violation of our liquor laws, and more importantly is just wrong.  So that wasn’t going to happen.  But I didn’t say that.

Instead, it being the 4th of July I said, “I’ll tell you what.  I’m going to ask you a question about America – this being Independence Day – and if you can give me the correct answer I’ll think about buying the malt liquor for you.”

They seemed to perk up with the hope that I had given them.  But before I asked them my question I inquired what grades they were in at school.  Two were in the eighth grade and the oldest had completed his freshman year of high school.

“Okay, guys – name any one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.”

I thought this was a pretty easy question and I know that at their age I would have had no difficulty naming quite a few of them.  But instead of a response, I got a dazed look from all three.  Then came the most telling statement from one of the eighth graders.

He looked at me and said, “Foundin’ Fathers.  I don’t knows none of dem.  Hell, I don’t even know who the M*ther F*cker was whoz my own  father.”

To dredge up the old aphorism, “You could have knocked me over with a feather,” at this response.  I’m sure that my mouth was open wide enough that you could have easily fit a large pizza in it and had room left over.

But I recovered and told the boys that by asking an adult to buy them liquor, everyone could get in trouble and there were reasons that we didn’t allow minors to drink.  I doubt I made much of an impression as they were still hanging out at the front of the convenience store as I pulled away with the dogs.

Perhaps this is what we now consider the new “normal”.    One of my dictionaries defines “normal” as “conforming to the standard or common type; usual; regular; natural.”   It goes on to give a secondary definition:  “free from any mental disorder; sane.”

I would put forward the argument that there is nothing sane about any government’s policies which encourages mass reproduction in an already over-crowded world and rewards those who conform to that normality with increased compensation which is insufficient to raise a child in a wholesome manner; at the same time, mandates the universal availability of abortions in the event the mother at that particular moment has something more pressing to do than bring another offspring into the word; that then provides an inferior education – if any at all – to these offspring who are allowed to be born, leaving them with little alternative but to repeat the mistakes their mothers (and absent) fathers made; and then preaches that the greatest threat to planet Earth is global warming.

Or perhaps we are missing something from the equation.

I don’t want to sound cynical but I do not believe that the government’s concern for this underclass that they have created over multiple decades goes to the welfare of these slaves.  But they serve an important, albeit momentary, purpose.

That purpose is to allow those in office (and who manipulate their strings behind the scenes) to seize more power for themselves.  Once entrenched, propelled into their positions by a mindless electorate, fawning, as though they were dogs at their master’s table, hoping that a crumb or two will drop for them to devour, the great unwashed will have fulfilled their purpose and at that point become irrelevant and their continued existence unnecessary.

And tyranny will have come to America.  But a far greater and more brutal one than the world has ever seen.

Why the dichotomy between rewarding the natural process of child bearing through government subsidies and, at the same time, offering unnaturally to terminate that process?  Might it not be to condition our thinking into “normalizing” the idea that an unborn fetus has little worth and no rights.  And if something unborn that merely looks human has no worth – why not apply the same principle to those who have been born but who do not produce or contribute anything that society deems important and of value?

I have argued since the advent of Roe v. Wade how that decision leads us down the slippery slope toward that kind of “ultimate solution.”  That argument was not based on any religious philosophy or morality which is, essentially, unarguable.  It was based on a doctrine of self-preservation.

We have already marched in the direction of being able to discriminate about who it is we allow to be born (in the same way that Hitler proposed eugenic solutions to the world’s problems).  And while those choices, however heinous they might be, are presently left to the individual, it is not a far reach to imagine that soon that choice may be made on our behalf by those “enlightened” ones who will be running our healthcare system.

At one point, with a limited population and comparatively primitive methods of producing food, we needed an underclass to spend their lives in slavery, in the fields, bringing in the crops that the privileged required to survive.  They may have been second class citizens but they were a necessary part of the economy.

Today, technology has largely eliminated the need for this group of people.  And rather than being important, though humble contributors, they are now devouring the fruits they once brought to the table by the sheer numbers in which they exist.  In other words, they are more of a burden than a benefit to society.

Is it really difficult to make the transition from the concept that “abortion is a woman’s right” to “it is the right of the government to determine how many children may be born and to whom?”  China went down that road.

And from there, is it really all that extreme to imagine a government which has taken to itself the right to determine “for the common good” – not only those who might be allowed to reproduce – but which of those who have already been born, serve a meaningful purpose that conforms to the government’s concepts of what is in everyone’s best interests.  The step toward euthanasia is a very short one from where we are today.  Obamacare and its equivalents in other countries where the state runs medical care are the first step down the path to darkness.

So in light of all that, it shouldn’t surprise us at the President’s statement that “Global Warming” is the greatest threat to planet Earth.  Assuming that he actually believes that, what better way is there to reduce human impact on our planet than to cull and reduce the human population?  Problem solved.

Like the Founding Fathers who girded themselves for the battle, let this be an open statement to the future Eugenics Police who may come for me.

I’m armed and won’t go down without a fight.

Happy belated Birthday, America.

BANG BANG

It’s a dangerous world.  It always has been.  Thank you, Lord that I was lucky enough to be born into a family who recognized that and did everything they could to protect me from it by teaching me how to fend for myself against many of the evils that might cross my path.

There is nothing like the safety net that comes from living in a cloistered, loving family environment.  Long before we toddle off to school, where our teachers hopefully continue that nourishment, we are taught by our parents the basics of being civilized children who will hopefully grow up to become civilized adults.

The behaviors that we learn to emulate are formed early.  If we are exposed to love and compassion, it is naturally easier for us to become loving and compassionate people.

If we are exposed to anger and selfishness, it is no surprise if we grow up to become violent and self-centered adults.

When I was growing up, divorce was a relatively unusual event (other than for Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood celebrities).  Even rarer (or at least we never talked about it) was a child’s being born out of wedlock.  Yes, it happened, but it was unusual rather than being what  today is quite customary.

Of course, this was before DNA tests which would reveal the paternity of the child had been discovered.  But in those days, even the most promiscuous generally knew who the father was, rather than having to guess among a field of twenty or thirty possible studs.

Today, rather than looking to address the question of civilized behavior as something which should be taught by parents, we have abrogated the role of the family and handed over that role to government.  (That is the progressive way).  What a tragedy.

We have replaced family values with government values – and it is hard to imagine how any institution can effectively micro-manage the lives of hundreds of millions who are, in essence, no more than statistics on a pie chart.  Even worse, it is hard to understand how an intelligent, informed citizenry would ever allow them to seize this responsibility.

It’s staggering to consider that currently nearly seventy percent of all black children born in America are born out of wedlock; for Hispanics it is fifty percent and for white children the rate is thirty percent.  A high percentage of these children will be raised in a single parent home – and a high percentage of those households will be dependent on social welfare programs for their subsistence.

If you look at the statistics on those who are most likely to be murdered by a gun, you will find that the those who are killed in hugely disproportionate numbers to their percentage of the population are black people – usually murdered by another black person.

Is there a connection between being born into a single parent home, violence and murder?  It’s always easy to manipulate any single statistic to substantiate a person’s point of view.  But when the same theme continues to recur, the prudent and honest person should at least consider what this might tell us.

We can have a long, emotional and heated debate about guns, gun control and violence.  It will offer both sides of the argument the opportunity to enjoy a cathartic moment.  But at the end of the day, it is not guns that kill people but people who are raised in impoverished family environments who are primarily responsible for the vast majority of the shooting.

We have gotten here thanks to government-instituted policies which are the root cause of this and many other of our problems.  And that’s why, despite all the bluster and bravado emanating from our pols in Washington, they will focus on a single, deflective issue rather than address the real cause of the problems which they, abetted by a self-serving electorate, have created.

WHO’S GOT THE POWER? (PART ONE)

Those of us who had the benefit of learning grammar as part of our elementary school curriculum may remember that words which modify nouns are known as adjectives.  An example would be “Fearless Leader” – as it was used by Jay Ward in “Rocky and Bullwinkle” – perhaps the most creative cartoon series of all time.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in journalism.  I’m not sure if this is an intentional attempt to introduce yet another classification into our grammar, but it seems that certain nouns almost always are preceded by the same adjective – as though the two are inseparable.  I refer to this new entry into the English language as an adje-noun.  The most apparent example to me is the “POWERFUL NRA”.

Being powerful means that someone or something has a great deal of inherent strength and exerts that power to achieve its ends.  In the world of politics, at least in the United States, that usually takes the form of lobbying our elected representatives to influence them to vote for those laws which will benefit a company or an association.  A great deal of money is spent by respective organizations to accomplish that mission.

As I have heard so much since the Newtown tragedy about the Powerful NRA’s gun lobby, I thought I would take a look at how powerful that organization actually is, how much they spend on their lobbying efforts and to compare that to other industries and groups which also engage in lobbying activities.

What follows is a list of lobbyists by industry for the calendar year 2012, compiled by OpenSecrets.org:

Opensecretsindustry groups

The original link to this chart may be found at https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2012&indexType=i

If you go to the source and want to review this information, clicking on each industry brings up the companies and organizations which are included in the compilation.  Incidentally, this data is available going back to 1998 and although there is some slight variation on who spends the most money on a year to year basis, the same industries consistently appear at the top of the list.

If you spend a few minutes with this chart, perhaps you will see the same thing that I noticed.  There are four industries, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products; Hospitals/Nursing Homes; Health Professionals; and Health Services/HMO’s which aggregately spent $359 Million in 2012 to advance their agendas.

In addition, if you look at the detail under Insurance, the top two lobbyists in that category were Blue Cross/Blue Shield and America’s Health Insurance Plans which paid an additional $17 Million to lobbyists.  That comes to a total of $376 Million spent in one year by businesses and professionals in the Health Care Industry.

I returned to the OpenSecrets.org website to try to put the powerful NRA’s lobbying efforts in perspective.  Here is the link to that information:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000082

By comparison, the powerful NRA spent only $2.2 Million last year in their lobbying efforts.  That’s five percent of what the defense and aerospace industry spent and five percent of what the auto industry spent; that’s four percent of what unions representing government workers spent; that’s three percent of what unions and others involved in education spent; that’s two and one half percent the amount that the entertainment industry spent; and that’s just over one half percent the amount that people involved in healthcare paid their lobbyists.

I have yet to hear the argument that gun owners are the cause of our anemic economy, our spiraling deficits, our unacceptable rates of unemployment or the out of control costs associated with healthcare, although it is not hard for me to believe that those in Washington who are, apparently oblivious to the facts, might try to advance that case.

Despite the recent comment by President Obama that “we do not have a spending problem,” most people with the smallest grip on reality realize that statement is exactly the reason that we have many of our problems – and at the heart of it is our healthcare system.

Is it mere co-incidence that the industry which is most greatly benefited by our excesses is the largest single contributor to lobbying efforts to maintain their place at the top of the food chain?

Is one of the causes for the murders we commit the fact that more and more Americans are feeling helpless and bereft of hope and turn to irrational, violent acts out of despair?  Or is it the intransigent Powerful NRA which is at fault?

So in America, who’s got the power?  I think the numbers speak for themselves.

AN AMERICAN DEATH

Jeb was a college friend of mine.  It’s hard to believe that 45 years have passed since he was sent to Vietnam and died there, performing his duties in the Army as a medic.  He was a Conscientious Objector.

The two of us met in a History of Western Civilization class and would frequently study together.  He was from Rhode Island, one of two children from a small family who belonged to The Society of Friends or, as most of us know them, Quakers.  He was one of the most gentle, kind and thoughtful men I ever met, a man who truly lived his brief life in a spirit of peace, caring and non-violence.

When Jeb graduated he was drafted, despite his Conscientious Objector convictions.  He was not one who chose to flee to Canada and was willing to do his part in our terribly misguided war effort, but he was not willing to do that while holding a gun – and that is how he ended up in the Medical Corps.  The fatalities among medics ran higher than for your typical armed soldier – and he knew that.

The War in Vietnam divided the country in the 1960’s.  It was one issue on which virtually everyone had a point of view – whether that was one which supported our military actions or one which opposed our involvement and escalating our efforts there.  What started as a grumbling from our college students escalated to a roar as more young Americans died and their mourning siblings and parents started writing letters to Congress and took their places in the swelling ranks of those who marched in protest.

Perhaps one of the starkest contrasts between then and now is that our print and television media had their own points of view on the subject.  Certain papers actively advocated our efforts in Southeast Asia and others as vehemently opposed them.  The same was true for commentators who reported the day’s events in Vietnam.  We had not yet grown accustomed to the “mind meld” in which our reporters had abdicated their responsibility as journalists, had accepted an official government version of “the truth” and dutifully repeated it for its audience.

And there was one even more significant difference between those times and these.  Underpinning this sometimes heated and angry debate, all of us understood that we had the right to our opinion because of the First Amendment to the Constitution and, protected by this governing document, could say just exactly what was on our mind.  It was precisely because of that document which The New York Times considers “antiquated” and should be abolished, that what began as the song of a small but vocal minority became the theme song for the country and the choir swelled to include the majority of Americans.

In many ways, I attribute my many years of non-gun ownership to the gentle example my friend Jeb set for me.  In many respects, his and my philosophies were identical.  I was not tempted to change my position that violence solves nothing even after I had been criminally mugged by three thugs and beaten unconscious and spent five days in the hospital recovering from a concussion.  By the way, they were able to carry out their violent act while threatening me not with guns but with switchblades.

So why has my position on this issue of guns and one’s right to own them, or perhaps more correctly one’s responsibility to own them, evolved?  Precisely because of the advocacy of The New York Times that we should abandon or, at the very least, modify our ancient relic of a Constitution to reflect today’s world.

There is little doubt in my mind that when the Constitution was adopted there were violent people in this country and throughout the world.  That has not changed.  But if there is no longer any protection for the voices of those in the minority to be heard, then history has shown that the majority, engorged on its own popularity, will have little difficulty suppressing those who have a different viewpoint from their own.

And if, as seems to be the case, they are successful in electing a government which shares their view that dissent is disloyalty, then those conscientious few who wish to hold on to their individual freedoms and their souls had best be prepared and be willing to do battle.

I wish that my friend Jeb had not died in Vietnam.  He was a source of great insight and wisdom and counsel – and I am sorry that I cannot ask him for his guidance.  But he lived his life and gave it up because of something he considered the essence of being a human being – living according to principle.  And I guess that is, in itself, sufficient guidance.  And now it is our turn.

ON GUN CONTROL, MIND CONTROL AND CHICKEN SOUP

Now that the Republican “leadership” has ceded what little remnant of moral authority they might have held to the dark side, it will be time for us to turn our attention to the issue of gun control.  Fortunately, we get a break from Washington “willy wabbering” for a period until the new Congress is convened.  Time to go out and buy some Tylenol to prepare ourselves for the two years ahead.

While I am not an NRA member and have never owned or fired a weapon, this debate has caused me to think whether that is an intelligent attitude in light of the real world in which we live.  So I am going to engage in my own, private gun debate.  I never thought I would ever consider having such a conversation.

It’s estimated that there are far more weapons in the United States of America than there are people.  If it is true that “guns kill people” then we should not be having this debate at all.  Our weapons would have picked themselves up, fired at their owners and they would all be dead., leaving their liberal opponents to say, “See, we told you so.”

While the Founding Fathers, I believe, crafted the Second Amendment with the clear intent of allowing the citizens of this new country to have the ability to resist a tyrannical government, that same principle also applies to their right to defend themselves from those in society who are violent and a menace.  People like Adam Lanza form a part of that group.  I believe that the appropriate PC term is that he was “mentally challenged” which translates into English as insane.

But the insane represent the smallest portion of those who commit violent crimes.  Most of those are perpetrated by thugs who do this for a living, never having learned, as products of our school systems and single family homes, to do anything else.  These are people who have never been functional members of society – and like the devil’s minions, their numbers are legion.

Should there be any liberal readers who stumbled upon this post, I want to prepare you for what’s coming.  Perhaps you should begin Googling from your latest version of the iPhone in your chic white suburban home and look up the number for the Federal Thought Police so that you can turn me in.

There are now well over 2.5 million who are incarcerated in the United States.  According to “The Sentencing Project”, a liberal dink tank, the rates at which black Americans are incarcerated versus their white counterparts is five times as great and for Hispanics, nearly twice as great.  Naturally, the conclusion that the authors draw is that fat old white conservative SOB’s are far more anxious to punish the darkie or the spic than they are to put away someone who has the potential of becoming a good ole boy.

What a load of crap!  (I hear the phone ringing at the central office of the Thought Police).  Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to go to jail because, for  a very large percentage of both those communities, they are born into, grow up and live in environments which offer poor education, little opportunity and no reason to hope for anything better.

They turn to crime because it is the only “job” for which they qualify and, frankly, if they get away with it, they will make substantially more than their parent or parents.  And if they get killed while performing their activities, well, they didn’t really have the expectation of a long life anyway – so why not go out with a blaze of glory?  This is not much different than the mentality to which a suicide bomber clings.

So how did these communities get this way?  The answer, in no small part, is due to our government organizations which offer the sop of welfare as a way to insure a poor quality of life and to buy their votes.  The Prez has proven the master of expanding the welfare rolls and enslaving even more to become dependent on the state rather than on their own initiative.

As an exercise, I recently went to www.benefits.gov, input a little information about myself as a single, non-parent and found that there were 22 different programs for “assistance” for which I might qualify.  I returned to the site and claimed to be a single mother of three and found that I was eligible to apply for over 56 different programs.  This is pure insanity.

But government is not the sole reason for the horrifying conditions in our black and Hispanic communities.  Look at (I’m holding my breath as I write this even knowing that I’m going to use quotation marks), look at the “culture” of those at the low income end of those communities.

My first exposure to “rap music” was about twenty years ago.  It was gratuitously offered by some picnickers in the park across the street from my apartment.  It was hard to miss because the volume was so loud, I could clearly hear the lyrics from the boom box a half block away.

I also use the term “lyrics” in its broadest sense.  This was before the evolution of “gangsta rap” – and yet there was no lack of the usage of “nigger” and “Mo Fo” and “ho’s” in this particular piece.  That has only gotten worse.  And if you don’t think that constant exposure to that sort of negative, demeaning language has a role in why those who listen commit crimes, you need to go back and take a remedial course in human behavior.

Of course, those on the left will consider this music as “expressive” of the community which has authored it.  In this I would agree – which is exactly my point.  I’m sure that the press, which has no difficulty overlooking the conservative voices in this country, would be horrified if someone were to classify this “expressive music” for what it actually is – toxic waste.  And you can throw in most of the garbage that spews from Hollywood and on our televisions into the mix as well.

This may seem like the greatest work of prejudice that you have seen me write.  And you are correct.

You see, I am prejudiced in favor of anyone, white, Asian, native American, black or Hispanic who has worked his butt off to get an education, become a businessman or a doctor or a mechanic and who has endeavored to raise a family based on old fashioned principles of responsibility and doing what we all know, though few choose to admit, is the “right thing”.  It pains me that they are sadly painted with the broad brush strokes of bigotry because so many others didn’t have the willpower or the gumption to take their lives and make something of them.

So how does a law abiding citizen who works, pays taxes and tries to be an asset both through personal example to his family and as a member of the community deal with people who have never been exposed to, let alone practiced, any sense of morality?  I guess the answer to that for many is that they go out, buy a gun and have the confidence to be able to defend themselves if one of these thugs encroaches on their civil rights and liberties.

And there is good precedence for this – which comes to us from the Bible.  Before that document goes into PC revision, there is one story that I recall – and this is the way I read it.

David and the Israelites were confronted by the Philistines who had a “secret weapon” in the person of the giant, Goliath.  In the original version (1 Samuel:17), David, on seeing his fierce opponent did not say, “Well, hello, Goliath.  My you’re a truly vertically challenged person and you have a countenance of anger, probably as a result of not being breast fed by your Mother.  Come on over to my place and I’ll give you a nice hearty bowl of Range-free chicken soup with some lovely organic whole wheat noodles in it.  Then we can hug and everything will be fine between your people and mine.”

(Sorry, I got the PC version first – but back to the original).

48
”And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.”

49
”And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.”

If you like this piece, please don’t hesitate to leave a reply.  I promise never to share any personal reader information with the Thought Police.  But then, if you do like it, they probably have your name, IP address and more personal information than you would ever willingly give out, in their files already.

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