Sunday, December 30, 2012

Suicide and guns

Today, Utah's premier Liberal newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, cherry-picked and misinterpreted data to show the relationship between guns and suicide.

According to the World Health Organization South Korea has the world's highest suicide rate. Guns aren't readily available to the average Korean -- North or South.

The people of Japan have no guns, yet double our suicide rate.

In fact, guns aren't much of a factor in any of the countries with high suicide rates. So, gun-control advocates, don't you dare blame suicide on guns!

Are guns used in suicides in the US? Yup. Far too often. But, does any rational person really believe that the suicide rate would go down if there were no guns in the hands of responsible people?

Suicide is a spiritual and emotional problem -- not a gun problem. Let's focus on the real problem: The spiritual death of society and the death of the traditional family.

More than 30% of children grow up in broken homes. Children from these broken homes account for:
• 90% of homeless juveniles and runaways
• 85% of behavioral disorders
• 75% of all drug abusers
• 71% of teen pregnancies
• 71% of high school dropouts
• 70% of those in juvenile detention
- 63% of teen suicides
• 57% of all prison inmates

Read that again, 63% of teen suicides come from broken homes!

Suicide is yet another evidence that our respect for life is so shallow that we tolerate, legalize, even endorse, the legal killing of over 3,300 unborn children every day -- most often because the child is an annoying inconvenience! Ya gonna blame that on guns too?

Suicide is still another evidence that our respect for our own bodies is so degraded that we even disfigure our own bodies -- which are the temples and the image of God -- with grotesque tattoos and piercings! Ya gonna blame that on guns too?

If Liberals really want to do something that will make a difference, ban broken homes, encourage parents to take their kids to church, and stop banning God from schools and the public square. It would be much more helpful.

Old pilots and an inept airline regulatory system

The high cost of training makes learning to fly prohibitive. The low starting pay for airline pilots makes entry into that career field unattractive. Consequently, airlines are facing a shortage of trained pilots. To make matters worse, the FAA is increasing its arbitrary standard of experience and skill (flying hours) for airline new-hires.

A few years ago, the mandatory retirement age for pilots was 60. It was increased to 65 as a band-aid fix for the pilot shortage. Those older pilots are now again reaching the new mandatory retirement age. I hear rumors that the retirement age could be raised again as another band-aid fix. (If Orrin Hatch and Strom Thurmond can serve forever in Congress, why can't a pilot fly forever?) While I support that change for pilots who meet mental and physical fitness standards, I am disappointed that Congress and the FAA are not looking for a better solution.

It seems to me that the best solution for nearly all problems, including this one, is to get government out of the way!

Congress must encourage the airlines, pilot unions, flight attendant unions, and consumers of aviation services to join hands in forming an independent, industry-owned and controlled standards association much like SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute for the firearms industry), UL (Underwriters Laboratories for a variety of other industries), and ANSI (American National Standards Institute). This private aviation organization would establish training, safety, and security standards that would be agreed to and followed by the airlines, pilots, security screeners, etc. (It goes without saying that the airport security screening process (TSA) must be returned to the private sector immediately.)

Such an organization is very likely to be more responsive to the real safety and transportation needs of the public than the entrenched bureaucrats of the FAA and heavily-lobbied congressmen.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is an AR-15 an assault rifle?

Most people seem to be unaware that the "AR" in AR-15 does not stand for Assault Rifle. Instead, the "AR" is an abbreviation of Armalite, one manufacturer of the AR-15. The name "AR-15" was never intended to represent "Assault Rifle"! Since "AR-15" is a trademark of Armalite, it is not even properly applied to similar or identical rifles made by scores of other manufacturers including Colt, Bushmaster, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and Rock River.

Although so-called "assault rifles" look like military weapons and frighten cry-babies and fraidy-cats with a control fetish such as Senator Diane Feinstein, they function exactly the same as millions of other civilian firearms that don't look like military arms. They fire only one shot per pull of the trigger -- they are not automatic weapons (ie machine guns) and therefore are not used by military forces anywhere.

The "news" media likes to illustrate its commentary on these guns with video in the background of a machine gun shooting and spraying, but that is not how civilian AR-15 rifles operate. Contrary to many claims, civilian firearms, by design, cannot be easily -- or legally -- converted to fully automatic.

Civilian ownership and use of fully automatic weapons (an essential characteristic of a light military "assault" weapon) are severely regulated by the Gun Control Act of 1934 -- an early edition of many unconstitutional gun control laws in the US. That act requires fingerprinting, background checks, and federal approval of anyone who seeks to own any of the scarce fully automatic arms in civilian hands (prices $15k and up for a firearm that costs a few hundred dollars to make). The sale of new fully automatic arms to civilians was completely banned in 1986.

So-called "assault rifles" are used in less than two percent of gun crimes (except for the legally owned ones, which are used in approximately zero percent of gun crimes) including assault.

So, let's get this definition straight: Assault is a crime. Assault is a verb. It is not an adjective to be applied to anything owned by responsible people.

A related issue: Many have grown accustomed to the term, "high-capacity" magazines. "High-capacity" is not an appropriate term for the capacity of a magazine that the manufacturer intended to be used with a particular firearm. What is commonly called a "high-capacity" magazine is more properly called a normal-capacity magazine. On the other hand, a magazine that holds less (ie 10 rounds) than the manufacturer's design is properly called a "limited-capacity" magazine. Restricting the capacity of magazines does not somehow make a person with criminal intent less lethal, but it does impair the ability of the rest of us to respond to an attack on our lives.

I'd like to know what is it about "shall not be infringed" that politicians and other hoplophobes can't or won't understand? Those four simple words make it very clear that there is no room in the Constitution for compromise on the issue of the right to keep and bear arms. Yet, politicians have already compromised far to much on this issue. It is past time to push back on those compromises -- hard!

The anti-gun politicians and members of the so-called "news" media exploit the public ignorance of the meaning of "AR" to the disadvantage of responsible Americans. People need to get better educated so that they can't be pushed around and indoctrinated by those who are eager to obliterate your rights and the rights of your neighbors and family. Don't count on the "news" media or politicians to do that educating.

Unfortunately, even many gun owners, including owners of so-called "assault rifles" allow the anti-gun crowd to misname their guns and even wrongly use the term themselves.

All that said, I really see nothing wrong with civilian ownership of fully-automatic firearms. If somebody can afford to feed a machine gun, what's the harm? People need to understand that causing harm to another is the crime. Not possession of an inanimate object that cannot possibly harm anyone when used responsibly -- unless someone needs harming (eg an attacker).

A New Hampshire police captain and trainer, Massad Ayoob, has some more thoughts on so-called "assault weapons": Part One

Monday, December 24, 2012

Where most of the guns are

The Journal News, a newspaper serving eastern New York state has posted Internet maps of persons who have a handgun license!

This was an act of hate and selfishness -- not journalism. To be fair, these miscreants aren't the first "news" outlet to do this sort of thing to law-abiding gun owners.

The Journal News has unwittingly reinforced yet another reason to oppose gun registration and even licensing of responsible adults who carry concealed firearms.

Of course, their maps do not show where the criminals with guns are. Why not? The US Supreme Court ruled that criminals need not register their guns because doing so violates their 5th Amendment rights. So, what's the point of requiring it of responsible adults? As a politician from my town wrote, "Law Enforcement needs to be able to know where most of the guns are....I do not believe that it is appropriate to have a large number of unregistered guns floating around...." (Emphasis added.) Now, the whole world knows "where most of the guns are" in parts of New York. My local self-misdescribed "Reagan-Conservative" politician would surely be proud!

My employer's headquarters is near White Plains. I checked the maps for names of my fellow employees. Sure enough, their status as a handgun permit holders shows up on this new map. Now, every burglar in the world knows their homes are likely to have at least one handgun. That could be a deterrent -- if they're home. If they're not home, it's a magnet for anyone who wants to steal a gun and then do what ever they want with my coworkers' wives and children.

Can you imagine being a cop or judge who has locked way some evil people who want revenge? Or imagine being a woman trying to hide from her ex who wants to kill her? This website tells the bad guys exactly where to go! Unconscionable! Just how low is the so-called "news" media willing to go to create "news" and foment hysteria?

People are not inherently evil simply because they have a gun or a gun permit. But "news" people who do this to innocent, law-abiding fellow Americans meet my definition of evil.

If you have a pastime or religion or occupation or national origin or favorite sports team or political opinion or lifestyle or blog or skin color or book or car/truck or alma mater that isn't politically-correct, beware! The next map might have a dot with your name and address on it!
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
-- Attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
Every employee and officer of The Journal News should be ashamed. But, the fact that their maps are still up indicates they have no conscience or soul. I pity them.

None of the above

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, has proposed a new political party -- the Anti-Incumbent Party. His idea has much merit in a nation where nearly everyone is unhappy with government, yet we somehow reelect over 90% of incumbents with the notion that everything will change.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

I have an idea somewhat similar to Scott's. I've long thought that each ballot should include a line for "None of the above."

• If a majority of voters select "None of the above," or
• If the number of "None of the above" voters plus the number of people registered to vote but who don't vote is greater than the sum of voters for all candidates in that race,
• Then that entire branch of government would be disbanded including all politicians and bureaucrats therein who have "served" longer than 2 years and their retirements and other benefits forfeited.

That would followed by a new election to fill the vacated political positions. Anyone who has served in any political or bureaucratic office longer than 2 years would be forever banned from elected office, government employment, or employment as a lobbyist.

After the new politicians are seated, they would conduct a full audit of all government agencies, programs, laws, etc. to purge everything they deem unworthy. Only then could hiring of fresh government employees begin to staff the newly reorganized bureaucracy.

Or, we could simply have smarter voters. Now.

Friday, December 21, 2012

On the NRA's ideas for school security

Today, the NRA had a press conference (see video below) wherein it announced a plan to deal with mass shootings in our schools. The ideas presented were generally good, but I'm disappointed that the plan seems to add to the notion that the central government needs to be a part of school security. That's wrong-headed! When has the central government done anything to make anything better?

Even the idea that the federal government can or should simply provide funding is wrong-headed because state and local governments have their own taxing authority and can raise their own money with better accountability to the public -- without all the strings, rules, and mandates attached to federal money. School security and safety, like all aspects of education, is a local and state issue only! (See Constitution, Article I, Section 8 and Amendment 10.)

The only role for the central government to play in school security is for Congress and the President to immediately repeal all the federal legislation and regulation that infringes on the right of parents and school staff to defend themselves and the innocents around them.

The NRA's plan seems to be largely built on in-school police officers. The problem here is that one or two officers cannot possibly protect more than a small portion of the people in a school building and surrounding property that covers acres of land and often has a maze-like floor plan. In a shooting spree, distance = time = additional death. In his portion of the press conference, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre even admitted that an in-school cop is "a minute away"!

I can't support a plan based mostly or entirely on full-time in-school police for a few reasons:
1 - Cost
2 - There is less than a one in a million chance that a mass shooting will occur in a school on any given day
3 - Appearance of a police state
4 - An incredibly boring assignment for the cop
5 - Uniformed police will likely be the first target -- then what?
6 - The cop is unlikely to have the best tool for the job -- a rifle or carbine
7 - If the officer isn't taken out first, who has the gun and where, the shooter will simply go to the other end of the school to start shooting. Considering the size and the maze-like floor plan of many schools, it could take even an in-school officer at least a minute or two to reach the shooter.

I do support local police making random appearances throughout the school day -- especially during recess or breaks between classes so they can interact with the students and staff and go to the cafeteria for a free donut during lunchtime.

A friend suggested we simply lock the school doors. That seems like an easy and cheap solution. The doors at Sandy Hook were locked -- didn't help. The doors at Virginia Tech were locked -- didn't help. Classroom lock-downs alone fail to protect the children and adults who continue to be murdered before the police arrive. Plan on a determined criminal or terrorist to come prepared to deal with known and identifiable obstacles.

It is my opinion that the best option is what we do in Utah. All persons who hold the Utah Concealed firearm Permit, including teachers and other school staff, are trained and licensed to possess a firearm in federal so-called "gun-free" school zones within Utah -- even right into the classroom. Thousands of Utah's school teachers and staff have and use this permit to protect themselves and our children every school day. Unlike a cop, their response time is seconds -- not minutes. Time saves lives. While a licensed teacher or janitor won't have the above mentioned best tool, teachers are in every classroom and on the playground. They are positioned to stop an attack in seconds. Not all school staff will, or need, be armed, but the attacker has no way of knowing who has the gun(s). That uncertainty is a huge deterrence. And, it won't give our schools the appearance of a police state as NRA's proposal would do.

I oppose the imposition of a firearms-training burden on teachers and staff above that necessary to obtain their State's concealed firearm permit. But, optional training needs to be available to them at little or no cost. For example, our teachers must take continuing education throughout their career in order to keep their jobs and teacher certification. I suggest that the NRA's school-security proposal include developing supplemental firearm and classroom-defense training that would satisfy their continuing-education requirements.

The NRA's plan must be expanded to include the teachers and janitors who are everywhere in our schools and who can respond in seconds while awaiting that officer who is "a minute away." The school staff and parents must to have their Second Amendment rights restored and to be full partners in protecting themselves and the children until the police arrive from the other end of the school property! It works in Israel, Thailand, and in Utah. It'll work in the other States.

Another area that must be explored is mental health. We need to identify those who are having mental health problems and get them help. All of the mass-shooters that I've studied have raised more than enough red flags to warrant intervention. People are ignoring those flags in their neighbors, friends, and family. Even a university psychologist ignored the flags put up by the Aurora theater shooter! However, watching people around us for mental health red flags reminds me a lot of Stalin. We gotta be very careful.

With input of NRA's thousands of trainers and members, I have full confidence that the NRA can and will expand its training programs to include a well-thought out school-security training program. Many of us firearms trainers already provide free or discounted training to school staff because we understand that they are the best and only true first line of defense in our schools. Armed school staff (supplemented by police officers), is what will keep our children safe -- not gun control laws or expansion of federal intrusion into our lives.

Most importantly we need to work on restoring the moral fiber of our nation. We need to blast that secularist "separation of church and state" scam out of the water. We can't shove God out of the schools and the public square then wonder where he went when innocent people start falling. Every time the bullies at the ACLU, the NEA, and similar Leftist anti-American hate groups threaten the morality and religious liberty of our students and teachers, our school boards and executives need to tell then to go pound sand, then call liberty Counsel and/or the Pacific Legal Foundation! The same goes for our mayors, city councilors, and county commissioners.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Emotionalism vs "common sense" gun laws

Here's the fact – bad people are going to have guns. And if you've ever smoked a joint, you are disqualified from arguing that prohibition works. -- Kurt Schlichter
Legislation that relies on emotion to get enacted is always bad legislation (eg PATRIOT Act). It is never "reasonable nor "common sense." This can be seen more easily in gun control than perhaps any other area. Much of federal, state, and local gun law is based on emotion and is therefore ineffective in accomplishing the purported goal: to control violent crime. The only people who are really affected by gun laws are those who obey laws. That compliance leaves the good people defenseless against those who, by definition, disobey the law: criminals. (If you have ever smoked a joint or if you have consumed alcohol or tobacco while under-age, you cede to me the argument that prohibition does not work.) The misinformed and uninformed seem to believe that the best way to fight gun crime is to make it harder or impossible for the good people to fight back. That's hardly reasonable nor common sense.

Those who seek to advance gun control know that a substantial portion of the nation is ignorant on the Constitution in general and gun rights in particular, the criminal's mind, causes of crime, crime deterrence, self defense, and gun safety. Typically, those who seek to further regulate firearms and ammunition are, themselves, ignorant in these same issues. This sinister combination is extremely dangerous to liberty and to innocent life.

If anything is to be done about guns, it must be to reasonably reevaluate the infringement of the gun rights of responsible Americans. For example, so-called "gun-free" zones can be found in and around schools, post offices and other government buildings, churches, businesses, and even military installations. The vast majority of these "gun-free" zones provide no substitute for the responsible individual's self-defense firearm. Very rarely is there any security screening and effective armed guard to counter a violent criminal attack. Over and over again, these unreasonable "gun-free" zones have proven to be extremely dangerous places. "Gun-free" areas must be abolished in all cases where effective security screening and armed protection are not provided by the entity creating the "gun-free" zone. Government "gun-free" zones such as post offices and other government facilities must set the example by restoring the reasonable, common sense, and clear intent of the Constitution: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed!"

Another common sense step that politicians must take is to fully honor the Constitution by restoring the right of all responsible adults to conceal and carry the common sense and best means of self defense -- a gun. States that adopt reasonable "shall issue" legislation or policies typically see an almost immediate drop in violent crime. "Shall issue" must become the law in every State and territory, including the District of Columbia.

It is troubling that a lawfully armed and responsible adult can cross invisible political boundaries (ie from one county to another or from one State to another) and suddenly find himself in violation of the law. This infringes of the right of Americans to freely and safely travel around the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Where is the "common sense" or "reasonableness" of that? Therefore all federal, state, and local jurisdictions must honor the right of all responsible Americans to travel freely throughout the nation and its territories, including the District of Columbia, with a concealed firearm.

Yes, we need to have a discussion about guns. The discussion must be about restoring our gun rights! Reasonable Americans reject and condemn any and all efforts to increase gun control. Instead, it is common sense to take aggressive steps to push federal, state, and local gun laws back to what great minds like Thomas Jefferson knew and advocated:
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." — Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776)

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." — Cesare Beccaria (On Crimes And Punishment, 1764) (Quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book, 1774-1776, p 298-316)
Yes, we need reasonable and common sense gun laws. As America's premier gun law, the Second Amendment meets those standards. Prohibiting violent people from having guns presumably also meets those standards, although such laws are typically ineffective, because violent people will usually get guns anyway -- or employ another mode of violence. Very few of the 20,000 federal, state, and local gun-control laws meet the standard of "reasonable" or "common sense." They must be abolished!

Americans must reject and oppose the irrational emotionalism that always follows human tragedy, fanned by self-serving politicians and so-called "news" reporters. No new gun control! Instead, push it back! There must be no compromise!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We need common-sense condom laws in order to prevent rape

I have long been troubled by the seemingly pervasive crime of rape. Public, political, and "news" media reaction to another egregious crime, murder, has given me an idea of how we can impose "reasonable" and "common sense" laws that will deal with the crime of rape:
• Limit all condom purchases to one condom per month per person.
• Purchases of more than one condom per month per person must be reported to government agents. (Yeah, I know that this conflicts with the one-condom-per-month-per-person rule, but contradictory government rules are the rule.)
• Condoms may only be stored in containers that will hold not more than 10 condoms -- no "high-capacity" containers.
• Condoms must conform to strict color, shape, and other aesthetic characteristics having no relationship to actual function so as to not be too scary to the uniformed.
• Condoms must must have a "sporting purpose."
• Condoms with exceptional effectiveness are prohibited.
• Each Condom must be marked with a unique serial number. Obliteration of this serial number is prohibited.
• Each condom must be used by an inspector before packaging for sale or distribution.
• The "fingerprint" of each condom must be recorded to facilitate the tracing of rapists.
• Each condom must include an illustrated booklet containing safety rules and instructions for approved use.
• Each condom must include a lock or built-in locking mechanism to prevent use by unauthorized persons.
• When not in use condoms must be locked to prevent use by unauthorized persons.
• When not in use condoms must be disassembled to prevent use by unauthorized persons.
• When not in use condoms must be stored separately from other items or materials used in sexual activity.
• Condoms must have safety mechanisms that prevent unintentional or accidental discharges should the safety rules not be followed.
• Condom manufacturers must provide samples to government agents for testing and approval before they may be sold to the public. Each change -- including color, size, texture, shape, etc. -- will require a new sample, new government testing, and new government approval.
• Condoms may only be purchased from licensed condom dealers.
• Condoms dealers must undergo close scrutiny from government agents including background checks, license fees, recurrent government inspections, and eternal retention of all paperwork related to each and every condom sale. Spelling errors or unapproved abbreviations in the dealer's paperwork are prohibited.
• Condom manufacturers, distributors, and dealers must be subject to extreme civil penalties should anyone ever misuse a condom including, but not limited to, the commission of a crime.
• All persons who intend to buy, possess, or use condoms must first take a condom safety class from a government-approved trainer, pass a condom safety test, and possess a Condom Owner's Identification (COID) card.
• All condom purchasers must pass a background check prior to any acquisition of any condom(s).
• Condoms may not be sold or otherwise transferred to residents of another State.
• Condoms may not be possessed or used by persons who use illegal drugs or who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
• Condoms may not be used by persons who are intoxicated.
• Condoms are prohibited in churches establishments that serve alcohol.
• Condoms may not be possessed or used by persons who are the subject of a restraining order.
• Condoms may not be possessed or used by persons who have been convicted of a felony.
• Condoms may not be possessed or used by persons who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
• Condoms may not be inherited by an heir or gifted from one person to another unless the ownership is transferred through a licensed condom dealer.
• All condom purchases must be recorded on a document that is available to government scrutiny at the government's discretion.
• There must be a waiting period of 7 days after a condom purchase before the purchaser may take possession of the condom(s).
• "Straw purchase" of condoms for any person who is not authorized by the government to possess or use a condom is unlawful.
• Condoms may not be sold or otherwise transferred at any public gathering such as a gay pride event, abortion rights rally, etc.
• One must be at least age 21 to buy a condom.
• Condom use by a person under age 18 must be supervised by an adult.
• Persons under age 18 who use a condom must have, in their possession, written permission of a parent or guardian.
• Possession of a condom within 1,000 feet of a school is prohibited.
• Condoms are prohibited in churches.
• Condoms are prohibited in government buildings including post offices.
• Condoms are prohibited in businesses where management has an irrational fear of condoms.
• Employees may not possess condoms in businesses -- including parking lots -- where management has an irrational fear of condoms.
• Of course, politicians, judges, other government agents, and politically-connected non-government persons need not comply with and of the above rules and government agents will continue to have unfettered authority to impose non-consensual sex, with or without condoms, on any member(s) of society they choose at any time at taxpayer expense.
Silly, you say? All these restrictions are imposed or proposed on responsible gun owners somewhere in the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Not one of these 20,000+ "common sense" and "reasonable" laws and rules really has done anything to affect criminal behavior or criminal use of firearms. But, surely, similar "common sense" and "reasonable" regulation of condoms will reduce or eliminate rape.

You say that one need not possess or use a condom to commit rape? True enough. Cannot the same can be said for other forms of violence, including attacks on school children?

How about this: We could simply outlaw rape and murder and imprison or stone all rapists and murderers and simply leave all responsible adults alone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another deadly gun-free zone and why it happened

Once again, an evil person exploited a "gun-free" zone" to kill dozens of innocent people reportedly including his own mother. Once again, the gun was blamed, as if a piece of steel and plastic has a will of its own.

The story reminds us that two of the most dangerous places to be in the US are:
1 - Near a woman with a restraining order against her violent ex. (Note: A restraining order voids the restrainee's gun rights for the duration of the order.)
2 - In a "gun-free" zone such as a school.

Isn't it interesting that two of the most dangerous places are where guns are prohibited?

How is posting an absurd "Gun Free Zone" sign on our schools any different from posting a sign on your home or business that says, "We do not have a security system"?

Ironically, gun-rights advocates were condemned for pointing out the silliness of "gun-free" zones "so soon after the [latest] shooting." No such condemnation awaited gun control activists who exploited this evil to call for more gun control.

A friend and coworker lamented, "Something has to change! I'm so pissed off. This country gets worse & worse."

Her solution: "Maybe we should follow the rest of the world, & close up shop on a Sunday or a Friday. Make Christmas & New Year's a family holiday. Follow the Europeans with a law that all workers have 6 weeks a year vacation, not 2 weeks if you're lucky! Make everyone fast 1 month a year, so they can appreciate what they have."

Some of those ideas might well be worth considering. But it avoids the root of the problem: moral and ethical behavior compounded by mental illness and drugs.

When I was a kid, during recess we played "cops and robbers" and "cowboys and Indians." Today, banned. After Christmas, we took our brand-new official Roy Rogers toy guns to school for "show and tell." Today, banned. We prayed in school. Today, banned. Nobody was afraid or ashamed to talk about religion in school or in public. Today, banned. Any adult could by guns and ammo without a background check -- at the corner gas station! With that influence in our lives, nobody shot up schools, churches, and malls like they do today. Why? We knew right from wrong. Those who didn't or wouldn't were put where they couldn't hurt anyone.

Today, the value of human life has declined to the point where we kill over 3,300 unborn children each day -- most often because the child is inconvenient! Does anyone want to blame that on guns, too?

I grew up in a day of absolute truth as found in the Bible and in writings of other wise men and women. Today, all truth is relative -- what's true for you might not be true for me. Huh? The canary is dying! Society is close behind unless we get out of this poisoned coal mine of moral relativism.

Today, prayer and any mention of God is banned in our public schools. Religious influence on public affairs is taboo. People whine about "separation of church and state" -- a maliciously misapplied phrase found nowhere in our founding documents.

Parents delegate the rearing of their children to babysitters so they can work to buy their kids "things" but not give them time (other than to drive them to soccer practice). By default, TV and video games, with all their violence and immorality, are the primary ways children now learn about behavior, morals, ethics, and even gun "safety". When people have behavioral problems, especially children (more specially, boys), we don't correctly teach them how to behave. Instead, we simply drug them and hope the problem goes away. When things go badly, we don't blame parental and societal failure. No, we take the least responsible path: Blame an inanimate piece of plastic and steel.
You use the name of Deity in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States, and yet you cannot use it in the schoolroom. — Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain
I agree with my coworker that "something has to change" We need to go back to what worked: We need to get God back into our lives and into our society and to get parents back into parenting -- full time.
I don't think it's about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren't taught the value of life. — Samuel L. Jackson

Many of today's youngsters begin the school day passing through metal detectors. Guards patrol school hallways, and police cars patrol outside. Despite these measures, assaults, knifings and shootings occur....For well over a half-century, the nation's liberals and progressives...have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. These people taught their vision, that there are no moral absolutes, to our young people. To them, what's moral or immoral is a matter of convenience, personal opinion or a consensus....Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society....The importance of customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. Police and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct so as to produce a civilized society. — Walter E. Williams
Everyone, regardless of political agenda, who is capable of rational thought knows the problem is not guns. It is our rejection of God and His truth and a complete failure to be our brother's keeper.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

We're broke, but we have money to burn

HR.709/S.3583, the "Community Parks Revitalization Act" would establish four related grant programs to fund urban recreation facilities and to support or establish at-risk youth programs. In order for local governments to receive funds under the Act, they would be required to match the grant amounts with local tax dollars.

The annualized cost for this legislation is said to be $445 million ($2.225 billion over five years). That does not include the matching cost that would be imposed on the state and local governments. Congress has bankrupted this nation with unnecessary social-engineering legislation like this!

I am outraged that Congress would consider another in a long list of legislation that funds state and local programs. Congress seems oblivious to the simple fact that if a local community needs "urban recreation facilities and to support or establish at-risk youth programs", it can identify that need on its own, convince the local voters of the need, then tax the community to pay for it -- without the interference, "help", or strings attached that always comes with federal programs.

It is even more outrageous that state and local governments always seem eager to seek and accept federal money for programs they often don't need or even want along with all the bureaucracy, regulations, and other "strings" that this "free" money entails.

I know that most of the members of Congress think it's funny when we commoners bring up the Constitution, but I see nothing in the US Constitution that authorizes Congress to fund, mandate, interfere with, or otherwise legislate local and state affairs. In fact, the Tenth Amendment specifically leaves those responsibilities with the States and the People and clearly prohibits Congress from doing anything that is best done at the state and local levels.

Moreover, to presume that only government can solve problems is absurd. "[A]t-risk youth programs" are best planned and executed by volunteers in youth programs such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, Big Brother, Big Sisters, 4-H, etc. -- not big government! Yet, for some bizarre reason, many in Congress want to discourage charity and volunteering by cutting tax deductions.
Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem. -- Ronald Reagan
I remind every member of Congress that they took an oath of loyalty to the US Constitution -- not to any political party or leader, not to any lobbyist, and definitely not to bring home pork or to do the jobs of the States and local communities!

I urge every voter to take that first small step toward fiscal sanity in government. Urge your congressmen to vote no on HR.709 / S.3583 and to aggressively fight its enactment.

Friday, December 7, 2012

All the gold in the Bank of England

Below is an interesting video of the gold stored in the vaults of the Bank of England. It helps illustrate just how bad the federal-spending addiction is. The vault shown is stacked high with gold -- 4,600 tons of gold. That vault is only one room in a complex of vaults in that facility.

According to the video, the total value of all the gold in those vaults is $315 billion. That'd pay about 2% of the US national debt. Then what? All that 4,600 tons of gold would do is pay 2% of the national debt! It won't buy anything new. It only paid 2% of the national debt! Or, we could use it or pay this year's budget deficit. Nope, only 35% of one year's deficit. Then what? The gold is gone and we still have to cover the other 65% of the year's budget deficit!

Obama wants to tax the rich "a little more", giving us the illusion that doing so would fix the budget deficit or the national debt. How much will his tax-the-rich scheme bring in? One estimate is about $500 billion over the next 9 years. That works out to about $55.5 billion in new taxes per year -- enough to pay about 6% of each year's budget deficit. The tax he'd take from the wealthy in the first 6 of those 9 years would be a bit more than all the gold in those Bank of England vaults!

By the way, when you filed your tax return for 2011, remember that line for "Alternative Minimum Tax" (AMT)? Although the AMT was originally enacted to target 155 high-income households, it now affects millions of families each year. You're probably paying that tax. Does the fact that you're paying a tax that is supposed to only target the very wealthy make you feel very wealthy?

With that in mind, when the big spenders in DC say they're only going to "ask a little more" from the very wealthy, know that they're talking about you.

So, what are we getting for all this wild federal spending? New tanks, bombers, and aircraft carriers? Most of the equipment our GIs are going to war with is 20-40 years old! Don't blame the huge deficits on the Department of Defense or even on our eagerness to engage in wars all over the globe. Sure, that's expensive, but about 60% of federal spending is on non-defense programs for which there is absolutely no constitutional authority -- so-called entitlements!

We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. A spending problem that almost nobody in DC is serious about -- because half the voters aren't serious about it. Think of all the gold we'd save if we stopped spending gold we don't have on federal programs that shouldn't even exist in the dreams of either politicians or voters!

Liberals, guns, and football

A few days ago, a pro-football player, Jovan Belcher, killed his girlfriend with nine shots from a handgun then killed himself, as cowards are wont to do. A disgusting and atrocious crime.

Later, NBC sports broadcaster Bob Costas raised the ire of shooters everywhere when he took time during a game half-time to express his opinion on the murder-suicide. During his rant, he read from a column by Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock who said: "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

But, the big 25-year-old, 225-pound, 6' 2" athlete in the prime of his life didn't really need a gun. He had the physical power to kill almost anyone in seconds with his hands -- including the mother of his child.

I am bigger than Jovan Belcher in both height and weight. But I'm more than twice his age -- he was three years younger than my youngest child. I have arthritis bad. I'm probably no more than 10% as fit and strong as Belcher was. The disparity in strength is such that he could kill me -- or almost anyone -- in seconds with his bare hands. The only way I (or most other people) could stop him is with a gun.

Now, think about the woman he killed -- probably 100 pounds lighter than him and also probably only 10% of Belcher's strength. Even if he didn't have a gun to supplement his murderous rage, she needed one. Desperately. Costas and Whitlock don't want her to have had that option.

Whitlock also said,
"A gun turns some kids listening to music into a murder scene. And uh, you know, if you don't have a gun, you drive home. You know, kids listening to some loud music, you don't like it, you go home and complain to your wife. But when you have a gun, you open fire, potentially, and take the life of a child."
As a friend (whose privacy I protect) said, "Wow! You don't usually run into that kind of stupid logic...well, except in the lamestream media. Whitlock must assume if we 2nd Amendment supporters spot a fly on the wall, and it's time to bring out the shotgun."

It has long been clear that, with a few exceptions, Liberals think differently from the rest of us. (Dr. Michael Savage calls it a mental disorder.) Liberals like Costas and Whitlock really believe that the mere presence of a gun makes people go crazy and the only way to stop it is more government control.

Bob Costas, Jason Whitlock, and all other anti-gun activists are wrong. Dead wrong.

Yeah, I know that Conservatives do horrible things too. But, Conservatives don't assume that inanimate objects cause crime nor do they assume that everyone is mentally defective like they are nor do they see that ever-increasing government control and force is necessary to keep people in line. Only Liberals think that way.

All the time, I read and hear anti-gun activists cry about what's to stop them from buying a gun to go shoot up a school or a mall or a church or "kids listening to some loud music". Sane people simply don't think like that. When sane people think about guns, shooting up schools or malls or churches or "kids listening to some loud music" never crosses their minds. Instead, sane people correlate guns with shooting targets and/or hunting and/or defense against Liberals who dream of shooting up schools or malls or churches or "kids listening to some loud music". We just like to be prepared when and if potentially deadly violence happens to us.

I agree that sometimes, unstable people start killing when they get upset and a gun or other weapon is handy. But don't blame that on a chunk of plastic and steel. Blame it on the person with the unstable mind.

It is good that people like Costas and Whitlock recognize their own flawed thoughts concerning violence and stay away from guns. But, they shouldn't assume that the rest of us think like they do. Because we don't. We're sane.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food stamps aren't' enough to live on

In the news lately are stories about a rapidly-rising portion of the US population that is dependent on "Food Stamps." Part of the story is how small the amount per person per meal is -- allegedly around $1.47 per meal. I agree, that's not much, considering what the Federal Reserve and American politicians have done to the value of the US dollar.

Nevertheless, I've known families whose "food stamp" allotment gave them much more food than they could possibly eat. Somebody isn't telling the truth.

Nevertheless, I have a couple of observations:
1 - Do "food stamp" recipients really believe that, as a hard-working taxpayer, I am supposed to pay their entire food bill? Why can't they be expected to pay at least some portion of their own food bill?
2 - Do "food stamp" recipients really believe that, as a hard-working taxpayer, I am supposed to ensure they are comfortable in their dependency?

Lest any reader think I am cold and uncaring, I hereby disclose that,
1 - I give far more than the national average to charity -- both money and time. Contrary to what Liberals who want to tax me more heavily think, I already am giving my fair share -- far more than they are! Don't you dare say I'm not doing my share unless you give more than me!
2 - I've been broke, too. While trying to provide for a family of 6 children, I've had a couple of long stints in the unemployment line. I know what it's like to go from a fairly comfortable living to no job to a new job at the bottom of the seniority list and pay scale and work my way back up -- multiple times. I know what it's like to not have even a penny to brighten Christmas for my children. I know what it's like to not have health insurance when a child needed an emergency appendectomy. I know what it's like to see my children wear worn out and too-small clothing. I know what it's like to not even have bus fare to get home from work, having to walk several miles home in Alaska's winter. I know what it's like to hide my car because I feared it would be repossessed. All these, I have experienced in the supposedly lucrative career of an airline pilot (where I've been paid as little as $835 per month)!

I got through all those trials by living off savings and some stored food as long as they lasted. I got through it by liquidating my 401k and IRA retirement accounts -- twice. I got through by having the resilience of a decent education (although I've been rejected for jobs that were "beneath me" because the employer didn't want to hire someone who was over-educated). Yes, I got through it by working jobs that were "beneath me." I got through by working a second job. I got through it by not having expensive habits such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and expensive cars.

I never expected the taxpayer to give me "food stamps" or pay my utility bills or pay my mortgage or rent or any of the other "entitlements" politicians give freely to buy the votes of the moocher class.

By my own experiences, I know that responsible adults can get though financial struggles. I know they can maintain some dignity and self-respect by being self-reliant. The problem I see is that we have awfully few really responsible, independent adults these days.

I acknowledge that sometimes people need a hand. That's one reason why I give to charity. I also am convinced that charity does a far better job of helping people than does government. But if any person who is not severely disabled relies on or accepts any form public assistance or charity for more than a several weeks, there's something morally wrong with that person. He or she needs to repent and/or grow up! Being His sons and daughters, we are created in the image of God. Being a slave to dependency on government or charity brings disgrace on ourselves and on God. Get some dignity!

Too few people really care about retaining some true dignity. Too many think that dignity means having a large-screen TV, cable, and an ObamaPhone, and lots of "food stamps." Too many think that society "owes them." We have bought into the delusion that we are "entitled" to the fruits of the labors of other people. We demand our politicians buy our votes with money extracted from our neighbors. In fact, we even think that our neighbors should pay our entire food bill -- not a mere $1.47 per meal!

We don't have a safety net for those who need help. We give them a hammock.

We need smarter voters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Abbot and Costello on the unemployment statistics

A friend just shared a transcript of a conversation between two eminent economists discussing the current high unemployment statistics:
COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.
COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.
ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.
COSTELLO: Wait a minute! Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?
ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are out of work!
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are all out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how Obama gets it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. He doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.
COSTELLO: That would be tough on his reelection.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have Obama's supporters stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like the Obama Economy Czar.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like Obama.

Threat or mistake?

Congress creates an average of one new federal crime every week! The mindset that all Americans are presumed to be as corrupt as congressmen is carried throughout government agencies at every level. So, federal regulatory agencies add even more federal crimes, unchecked by a corrupt and incompetent Congress. The same behavior is repeated at the state and local levels. The result is that, statistically, the average American commits three felonies per day!

There are countless examples of how this affects us commoners in daily life:

A campaign staffer for presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul was transporting several thousand dollars of recently donated campaign funds. While checking his personal effects for threats to aviation safety, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) found the money. Instead of asking themselves how this find related to their job (protecting the safety of the flight), their mindset (let's catch this guy in a crime) took over. They presumed that any person with substantial cash is a drug dealer, bank robber, or terrorist and must be punished. The traveler had other characteristics that The DHS (Department of Homeland Security, parent agency of the TSA) and other government agencies have determined to be typical of terrorists:

It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr. -- Warning to law enforcement issued 20 Feb 2009 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (DHS has issued similar notices)
Nobody ever asked the simple question, "Is this guy a threat to the flight or is this an honest mistake or is this even legal and proper?" That is, after all, the TSA's job!

A wise person with a concealed firearm permit uses that permit daily. He or she is in the habit of carrying a gun everywhere allowed. It becomes as natural as putting on socks when getting dressed. Occasionally one of these poor souls inadvertently carries that gun into an area where the gun is prohibited. Some of those gun-free areas make sense. Others are purely arbitrary. When a person who is in the habit of carrying a gun at all times is found doing so at an airport, the TSA pounces on him as if he is a living Mohamed Atta. Nobody ever asks the simple question, "Is this guy a threat to the flight or is this an honest mistake and can we simply have him put the gun in his checked luggage?" That is, after all, the TSA's job!

What is the root of this let's-find/create-a-criminal-at-all-costs mindset? A desire to control the people and the evils of asset forfeiture -- a topic for another blog entry.

Reject the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The US already does more than any other country to ensure equal rights for its people. The rights of Americans with disabilities are well protected under existing law. These rights are enforced by a wide range of state and federal agencies. Joining the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) merely opens the door for foreign "experts" to interfere in US policy-making in violation of the principles of American sovereignty.

The treaty doesn't even define disabilities, but says that "disability is an evolving concept." This is consistent with the nature of UN treaties, which often extend the organization's reach beyond the original treaty concept.

The treaty attempts to guarantee certain economic, social, and cultural "positive rights," such as the right to education, health care, and "an adequate standard of living for [persons with disabilities] and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions." In other words, instead of relying on the charitable nature of Americans (a characteristic most politicians -- especially at the UN -- either despise or fail to comprehend) to help the disabled and truly needy, the treaty would guarantee another new man-made "positive right" of forcing you to pay another person's bills through taxation and "wealth redistribution" -- if that is the current mood of government.

Neither the UN nor any other country can begin to compete with the safeguards America already has in place for the disabled. As a global traveler, I see how poorly even the most advanced foreign nations adapt to the needs of the disabled. Inviting the UN and other international groups to come in with authority over America's treatment of its citizens would not help people with disabilities and would have many harmful and costly consequences.

The CRPD is nothing more than another tool for the UN to interfere in American law and liberty. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be soundly rejected. As a disabled military veteran, I urge every US Senator and every US citizen to aggressively work for its defeat in the Senate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The symbiosis of politicians and government unions

In most cases, government workers are paid more than private-sector workers with similar skills, experience, and responsibilities and they get better benefits. Nevertheless, federal employees are asking for even more money from taxpayers.

I predict that government workers will get their pay increase because they only have to justify the increase to the very politicians they helped get into office -- unlike private-sector workers who must justify pay increases to owner(s) of a business that needs to make a profit to survive. Those politicians who make the decision are only accountable to, and were elected by, a majority of the voters. That majority of voters is composed of:
1 - Government workers who will benefit from the pay increase, 

2 - Ignorant voters, 
3 - Voters who vote based primarily on race and/or political party affiliation, 
4 - Voters who vote based on feelings rather than sound reasoning and facts,
5 - Government-dependent voters, or 
6 - Voters who have two or more of the above characteristics.

It is that group of voters that is responsible for our out-of-control government. Some of the voters who voted for the politicians who cheerfully throw more money at already over-paid government workers will say that none of the above five characteristics fit them. But, they do -- probably three or more of those characteristics.

We need smarter voters.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Divisiveness in the US and what to do about it

Leading up to recent presidential elections, some celebrities have promised to leave the United States if the other guy wins the Whitehouse. Other Americans have threatened violence.

Since the 2012 election, the Whitehouse has been flooded by petitions for secession of all 50 States.

These phenomena are only two indicators of serious, possibly fatal, divisiveness in the nation.

All this talk of secession is silly. Ain't gonna happen. And, it avoids the real problem: Voter ignorance, apathy and immorality.

Most voters are ignorant of the Constitution and what it would do for them if followed. Even worse, they don't care -- so long as they get whatever they perceive to be benefits of big government. Worst of all, too many voters want the government to force someone else to pay their bills -- that's immoral.
Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -- John Adams
Those who say the US Constitution is obsolete or that it should be interpreted according to modern, evolving standards -- not according to the original intent of those who wrote and ratified it -- are making a tacit confession that we are the immoral people in Adams' warning. Hence, divisiveness.

We have a lot of divisiveness in this nation -- divisiveness that is fomented by, and only benefits, those in power in big government. And, the divisiveness is rooted in the immoral desire to have free stuff -- lots of free stuff. Statist politicians of both major political parties are only too eager to oblige and exploit the voters' ignorance and immoral selfishness.

In spite of the divisiveness, and although they don't realize it, most Americans really want the same things:
1 - We want and need the government to leave us alone as long as we respect the rights of others and
2 - We want and need the government to protect our rights from encroachment by immoral people.

I said most Americans above because far too many people think freedom means free stuff from the government at somebody else's expense and confuse liberty with libertinism.

Contrary to what most people seem to think, bipartisanship is not the antidote to divisiveness. Bipartisanship is generally where the politicians in the two major political parties agree to team up against the People (eg No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, various Gun Control Acts, etc).

When a solid majority of voters know and understand the Constitution and vote only for politicians who will follow the Constitution as originally intended we will have what we want and need from government:
1 - A government that leaves us alone and
2 - The protection of our God-given rights.

If the government were limited to those two essential roles plus the small handful of others listed in the Constitution, our taxes would be minimal, our opportunities would be increased, and we'd be better able to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. But, if we keep voting the way we've been voting for the past several decades, we'll keep on getting what we've been getting: Divisive big government.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein
We need smarter voters.