Gun Control in America

We have a Second Amendment. That’s a fact, an uncomfortable fact to some.

Some people act like we don’t have it in America, but we have it.

Some people act like it’s the most important thing ever. It isn’t.

We can have regulation of firepower, but it should be in line with our Bill of Rights. Today’s far right wing says anybody can have any gun they want with very few exceptions. Today’s left wing says government needs lots of permissivepermissive
➤ (a) not preventive
➤ (a) granting or inclined or able to grant permission; not strict in discipline
…by BeeDictionary.com
leewayleeway
➤ (n) (of a ship or plane) sideways drift
➤ (n) a permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits
…by BeeDictionary.com
to decide what kinds of weapons we should have. Neither fits with the Second Amendment.

Our right to bear arms isn’t about hunting. It isn’t even about castle defense, which is home and personal protection.

There’s a bit of evidence that the Bill of Rights includes bearing arms because they needed votes from Virginia. They wanted militias to hunt escaped slaves. That isn’t pleasant today, but there’s evidence to prove it. Founding fathers Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were clear about this.

Here are the other main reasons for bearing arms:

 

Each of those were as compelling to Americans in the 1790s as slave hunting.

From that list, you can see that so-called “assault” weapons are key to the Second Amendment. The early federal government noted that farmers didn’t own many muskets. Farmers wanted a rifle they’d use, and muskets were way too big to be useful to them. Muskets were mainly to kill lots of people… like an invading British military, which would happen again in 1812. Pesky red coats.

The American government bought muskets and gave them to farmers.

We also had “semi-automatic” guns, such as Puckle, Girondoni, and others. George Washington would have faced flintlocks and other “assault” weapons that the British had in the Revolutionary War.

The Founding Fathers would have been in favor of assault weapons because they face some in the war. They knew about fancy and deadly firepower when they wrote the Second Amendment.

Puckle Gun, patented in 1718 by James Puckle (1667–1724)

Puckle Gun, patented in 1718 by James Puckle (1667–1724)

But they wanted to make sure things weren’t bizarre here. They tried to walk a narrow path. How does government protect citizens while letting the population deter tyrannical government? Carefully and with deliberate due process.

It’s great that the American government keeps nuclear bombs and gonzo explosives out of the hands of everyone other than those with training. A tight chain of command helps.

By “due process,” I mean that government has to let me own and use whatever weapon I want unless they can prove that I’m likely to murder someone or scare little children.

I am personally in favor of preventing felons and those on no-fly lists from purchasing pistols, long guns, automatic, semi-automatic weapons, and ammunition. If I’m on one of those lists, there has to be a well-defined and timely way to appeal. There has to be due process. I am an American citizen, so I am entitled to due process.

Other citizens are entitled to a life without fear. I shouldn’t be allowed to frighten children or their mothers. Using a formally specified path, government should be able to keep scary people (felons, insane, and domestic abusers) from buying or owning guns). I don’t think non-citizens have a right to arms in the US.

My opinion isn’t shared by many of my fellow citizens. There will be blistering flame wars, but it’s what I believe.

Why Orlando is Different

After the massacre in Orlando, I heard a few sad people say they were glad we have fewer “sodomites” in the world. They were in a tiny majority.

The Lt Gov of Utah came out and apologized to all my brothers and sisters. He admitted that the Republican Party and his own life hasn’t been positive for LGBTs. I’ve put a story from CNN about the Lt Gov below.

I’ve been thinking through all the things that made the post-Orlando massacre different.

Yes, it was so grizzly that we all had to recoil in shock and disgust. But it’s different somehow. Society is different.

I’ve come up with three groups that have changed the landscape.

 

YEARS OF TOIL AND BLOOD

The old farts have been fighting for years and years. We had Harry Hay, Mattachine, Gay Lib, Stonewall, Queer Nation, and so many other groups. I jumped on board that train with Gay Lib in the 1960s.We had years of good queer/bad queer going on. The drag queens at Stonewall Inn in New York got lots of press for being intransigent. Years before that, the fairies in Mattachine took to the streets wearing suits and ties to show gays aren’t gutter scum.

Queer Nation was always fun. We’d take surveys at local malls in Dallas. One was “at what point did you realize you were straight, and did you ‘come out’ as straight to your family?”

At a minimum, we geezers loosened up the hinges of prejudice.

 

KIDS COMING OUT

Every study I ever saw says people aren’t so homophobic when they personally know someone who is LGBT. Period.

When a gay kid lives life without lies, it helps the entire community.

I’m not sure you have to make any formal statement that you like the same plumbing as you carry. Living life is sometimes enough.

I was never in the closet. Maybe I was too stupid to know you are supposed to lie and cheat and feel you are wicked inside. It just didn’t happen, so I never formally ‘came out’ to my parents. They knew, of course. Back in high school in the 1960s in Texas, my high school sweetheart was a black kid. His race was a much bigger deal to my folks than his gender.

The point is that I never lied or hid my attractions. Oh, the stories my parents could tell about Ricky Nelson singing on TV. I’d almost pass out in a swoon.

 

STRAIGHT WOMEN

Wives and daughters don’t always have their hands on society’s rudder, but they really control things.

The clear majority of people who buy my gay romance books are women. They’re great for suggestions and praise. I love it!

What I’ve seen isn’t twisted or icky. It’s a general affinity. When they want a male friend, we’re there with absolutely zero sexual tension. Not to belaborbelabor
➤ (v) to work at or to absurd length
➤ (v) attack verbally with harsh criticism
➤ (v) beat soundly
…by BeeDictionary.com
the stereotype, but we’re fun and love pretty.

When daddy-the-macho-guy has an attitude problem, I know that the wife and daughter get busy. I’ve seen it. More than once, I’ve seen it.

I have no idea what’s going on there, but I love to know it’s going on.

 

We have so much to be thankful for. Yeah, there was an awful tragedy in Florida. There are plenty of ass wipes and douche nozzles in power positions, mainly in the southern parts of the US.

It’s getting so the good guys outnumber the hate’nado bubbas. And I am so grateful for the guts shown by my brothers and sisters… and for the warmth and shade we get from others.

 

 

CNN STORY ON UTAH LT GOV

Utah’s second-highest-ranking public official says the Orlando massacre has prompted him to apologize to the LGBT community for his role in perpetuating homophobia.

“As I’ve gotten to know more people from the LGBT community, their love, their kindness, their patience with me — it’s amazing when you try to reach out and get to know and love someone who is different than you — you find out remarkably that we’re really not that different,” Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told CNN’s Don Lemon Friday.

Cox apologized at a vigil Monday in Salt Lake City a day after xxxx (Sven doesn’t use the killer’s name) xxx killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando. A video of the speech has gone viral.

“I’m here because yesterday morning, 49 Americans were brutally murdered,” Cox said Monday. “I’m here because those 49 people were gay. I’m here because it shouldn’t matter. But I’m here because it does.”

The Republican told CNN that he regretted not standing up for gay people in his youth.

“I didn’t know they were gay, I just knew they were different,” he said. “Sometimes I would make jokes, say things that weren’t appropriate — not necessarily to them, but about them, on occasion. I certainly didn’t go out of my way to be friends with them. Those are the things I regret the most.”

Lemon asked Cox what he would say to Republicans when it comes to LGBT matters, because, as he put it, “Republicans do not have a good track record when it comes to supporting gay issues.”

“What I would say to them is: Let’s start where we can,” Cox replied. “We have to start looking at each other and caring about each other as individuals and as people.”

Asked about the response he’s received so far, Cox said it’s been “universally” positive.

“There have been nothing but positive comments from the left and the right — just universally,” he said. “That’s the crazy thing, it seems like this is what people have felt, but no one really has said it.”

Sven’s bang bang

After that mass murder in Orlando, FL, politicians have stiffing up a frenzy in both pro- and anti-gun groups.Donald Trump tweet

In Texas, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick (Lt Gov is kind of our Vice Governor) quoted the Bible: “ A man reaps what he sows.” When the internet went gonzo on his ass, Mr. Patrick spent the next few hours trying to un-ring his Twitter bell. I’m not buying it.

Hillary Clinton has mostly stuck to helping the victims and their families.

Then there’s Donald Trump. In all of US history, he’s the only one who could take a victory lap over a massacre.

Tweets: Keith Olbermann and Donald J Trump

Tweets: Keith Olbermann and Donald J Trump

Trump also wants to allow guns into bars. Alcohol plus firearms: what could possibly go wrong?


 

Full disclosure: I own an AR-15 assault rifle and several handguns. It isn’t something that I picked up recently: I was on the rifle team in high school.

My AR-15 (a Barrett REC7) is a hoot. It comes apart easily and offers an unimaginably long list of tweaks and accessories. My Barrett is a 6.8mm, which is a bit beefier than the garden variety offerings.

In theory, I could use my rifle to put down a deer or javelina. The truth of the matter is that I have never put a bullet hole into anything besides paper targets. I don’t even like putting targets on trees because I don’t want to mar a majestic and living thing.

“That’s a military rifle,” they say.
“So?” I ak.

“You don’t need 33 rounds to hunt,” they say.
“True,” I reply.

Let’s review. I have shot guns all my life, but I have never put a bullet into anything that is in the Animal Kingdom (possibly caused by a pathologicalpathological
➤ (a) of or relating to the practice of pathology
➤ (s) caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition
➤ (s) caused by or altered by or manifesting disease or pathology
…by BeeDictionary.com
hatred  of paper).

Some say the Second Amendment was to appeaseappease
➤ (v) cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of
➤ (v) overcome or allay
➤ (v) make peace with
…by BeeDictionary.com
Virginia, a state that wanted to do right by slave owners. The math doesn’t really add up on this because the Bill of Rights already had the votes to pass without Virginia.

Here’s a quote from the first State of the Union message from Pres. George Washing to Congress (January 8, 1790): ”A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

The Second Amendment didn’t come along until December, 1791, almost two years after Washington’s message.

Here are some of the points made during the debate over guns back in the 1790s (as listed by Wikipedia):

Hunting isn’t mentioned. Self-defense is only one of the reasons we have a right to bear arms.

But what about muskets? When the Second Amendment passed, they were talking about muskets, not assault rifles. This is true… and the First Amendment’s right to free speech was passed before YouTube could make speech “go viral” in a split second.

Semi-automatic and automatic long guns were known to the guys who wrote the Bill of Rights, and they didn’t include any “except for” clauses. There was the Belton Flintlock, which never amounted to much. There was the Puckle Gun, patented in 1718 (so the Constitution’s authors would have known about it). Here’s that Puckle Gun—

The Puckle Gun. Patented in 1718.

Reviewing once more:

  • I shoot guns.
  • I have never put a bullet hole into any animal. Not even one.
  • I own an AR-15 because I like tinkering with it. The military version — “M4” — isn’t interesting to me.
  • I own several handguns.
  • If you are in North Korea and want to invade Dallas, do a quick count of how many guns will be pointing at your lousy head.
  • If you want to try taking my guns away, I will become grumpy and may throw a temper tantrumtantrum
    ➤ (n) a display of bad temper
    …by BeeDictionary.com
    your way. I don’t know how I’d react, but I don’t see anything off the table.
  • I’m liberal and a lifelong pacifist. I’m also old, so we have several longterm patterns going on. It isn’t just a passing phase.
  • The gay person’s mottomotto
    ➤ (n) a favorite saying of a sect or political group
    …by BeeDictionary.com
    about guns: At Least I Can Shoot Straight.

Serendipity with my 9-mil

Serendipity. I love serendipity.

I have a Vividian R-series laser on my Glock 19. I turns itself in when I draw it out of a special holster.

Fast forward to my new shelves in the bedroom. I got one of those magnets to hold your favorite handgun to … say, a shiny new bookshelf. (disclaimers: no kiddies here. never ever. I lock it or take it when we’re not home.)

Anyway, first trial. The Glock 19 said “klunk” when I put it onto the magnet. When I took it off, the laser came on. Unplanned and unexpected fun, the very definition of serendipity. It turns out, the way Viridian laser sights know they been taken out of their special holsterholster
➤ (n) a sheath (usually leather) for carrying a handgun
➤ (n) a belt with loops or slots for carrying small hand tools
…by BeeDictionary.com
is a magnet.

My head is working… where would be the best place for a magnet in my Jeep Wrangler… if I get my Vivian IWB holsterholster
➤ (n) a sheath (usually leather) for carrying a handgun
➤ (n) a belt with loops or slots for carrying small hand tools
…by BeeDictionary.com
too close to the wallet, is it going to erase my credit card strips….

The Art of War (GOP Edition)

The latest GOP Fight Club is over, and they beat me down with it. I couldn’t watch it. I tried — tried hard because I am a political junkie — but it was too much. Screaming. Several people screaming at the same time.

The hosts on Fox “News” had no clue how to keep their vertical cage match from turning into an episode of Maury or Jerry Springer. Hour after hour of pure jabberesque.

 

Lovely headline on CNN. Comforting in a way. Missing on GOP debate stage: a future president.

The 3 moderators at the GOP Fight Club (3/3/16)

The 3 moderators at the GOP Fight Club (3/3/16)

I get the general feeling that Hillary Clinton will somehow know how to neutralize the antics. Hopefully. Sure… right?

Recording of last night’s “debate” won’t play well offshore. In my opinion, it shouldn’t play here either.

 

The GOP Cage Match (3/3/16)

Megyn Kelly — Trump’s sworn enemy from an earlier debate — tried to take him down. She didn’t. He’s comfortable with the whole bizarre reality show genre.

Religious freedom was a brief talk. It was all about people who want to pick and choose their bigotrybigotry
➤ (n) the intolerance and prejudice of a bigot
…by BeeDictionary.com
from a cafeteria. Everyone in the lineup hates queer boys and lesbians.

Dick size became a topic at Fox “News” debate (3/3/16). The candidates expressed the hung’ness through hand/finger size. I believe this is where Ms Clinton stands up and says, “Check, please.”
Dick size became a topic at Fox

Go Koppel! Go! Wait… what?

But see the tabs in the mayor’s browser? It looks like Safari running on a device like Apple’s iPad. It has the German Constitution from some website. It’s all legit and patriotic. The mayor is probably stoked because there are no immigrants on the screen.

He posted the whole thing on Facebook, which is a black hole for posting. A FB post never goes away completely.

Those who’ve seen clearer images of the browser than I can find, say the OPEN TABS tell a much more interesting story. All of the tabs (except one) are porn sites — kinky ones to boot. It seems His Honor is into bondage, dom/sub stuff, and S&M.

Mayor Koppel (SvenAndreasWallin.com) Mayor Thomas Koppel — Quickborn, Germany

A new deal

People seem scared of the word “socialism.” I get that, and I understand the reason. Two completely creepy groups used the word in their name: the communist regime in the Soviet Union, and the Nazis. Both claimed to be socialist. Neither was.

Dick van Dyke

Dick van Dyke

I saw Dick Van Dyke interviewed over the weekend. He was in Nevada to make noise for Bernie Sanders. Van Dyke didn’t buy into Sen. Sanders being a socialist. The actor said he was a NEW DEAL DEMOCRAT. That’s absolutely perfect. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Party of the 1930s and 1940s was socialist, but they didn’t use the word often.

People complain about the Sanders vision being too expensive. The New Deal was branded as expensive, but Mr Roosevelt put American workers in jobs… Hoover Dam, Glacier Park, and thousands of other projects that let families have the dignity of a paycheck. In Dallas: the now-infamous Dealey Plaza, Fair Park, Flag Pole Hill, Lee Park. In Fort Worth, there’s the Will Rogers Center, the Botanic Gardens, Farrington Field, and schools all over town.

The American Experiment

America has always been an edgy experiment that’s brilliantly diverse. Forces try to tear it apart, of course. The current “evangelical” politicians are nothing more than a Christian CALIPHATE, but I believe that their silly approach to government will shred itself before becoming ubiquitous.

I support Bernie Sanders for President, but I’d also be okay with Hillary Clinton. Martin O’Malley too.

Compare any of them to the Republican candidates, and the difference is amazing. The GOP sees a country with a tiny government that’s run “like a business.” The land is surrounded by walls and barbed wire.

When I close my eyes, that’s not the country I see. I see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. I see the Rocky and Smoky Mountains. We have been given so much to begin with: fields and growable resources. We have minable resources: dig under Lake Erie or the city of Detroit, and you’ll find the largest salt basin in the world.

yellowstone
grand canyon

We have unprecedented resources entrusted to our care. They belong to our kids, not to ourselves. We’re supposed to use what we’ve been given, but we have to protect and conserve.

What we do as a country is organized by the American government. It isn’t like a business, where the most important decisions are made in the secrecy of a covert board of directors. We have a government that discusses all sides of issues. Our decisions are made in a public forum.

The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System

The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System

When I close my eyes, I see the Hoover Dam and the Interstate Highway system. Both were started during Republican administrations (Herbert Hoover, Ike Eisenhower), and they are grand creations that benefit lots of people and businesses.

I see the tiny computer chips that power everything from cars to cell phones. We have tiny technology because of NASA. They had to make everything tiny and low powered so they could send explorers to the moon.

The American government gave us the Internet. It was started as a reliable way for defense and military groups to communicate. Because it was governmental, the Internet belonged to all of us, and we shared it with the world.

When we get together to do massive projects, we employee thousands of workers. Infrastructure is good for business, tourists, workers.

obama-hoover-dam

Pres Barack Obama at the Hoover Dam

All of those achievements happened before Ronald Reagan, who changed our national conversation. Pres Reagan said government was the problem. In a nutshell, his approach made grand dams impossible. His legacy is a nation of rusting bridges and potholes because maintaining infrastructure requires feeding the evil government. He wanted to make government tiny and run like a business. Corporations had their foothold in Washington DC, and corporations got busy doing the only thing they’re really good at: making money for the owners. Screw the employees.

Mr Reagan changed the conversation back in the 1980s, and little has changed since his administration. America crumbles as corporations have fed fat-cat wallets instead of infrastructure.

a NASA computer chip

a NASA computer chip

Here’s the bottom line: when our presidential candidates close their eyes, only Bernie Sanders sees the same things I see. Is there a way to twitch a witch’s nose and make wholesale changes to the US? Yes there absolutely is. The first step can happen on the first day of a Sanders administration. He will immediately change the conversation, and that’s the only way to start remembering the real strength of the grand experiment I call home.

Dallas County Computers

Back in October, I got pulled over by a Dallas County constable who said that I ran a stop sign. I don’t think that I did, but Rik says it was borderline. Okay. Whatever. The constable wrote and did punchy things to his handheld thingy. He eventually presented me with a pink sheet of paper. I stuffed it in the center console. The constable said I had 10 days to appear in court.

When I got home, I found that there wasn’t a single word that was readable. Mine was on the bottom of a stack of copies. (NFC? Whatever carbonless carbon copies are called these days). So I called the county. A nice lady said she’d look me up by driver’s license number. I wasn’t there. She said to call back. Fine. Whatever. I waited to call back. Same result: I’m not there. Finally one county staffer told me that it could take 2 months to get me into the system. I asked if I was supposed to wait to be arrested to find out how to pay.

Finally. Today. Paper mail came from the county. It said that I owe $175. It also included a citationDallas County Sheriff number. I went to the Dallas County Online Citation Payments website. It had no idea who I am. I said there was no citation number like mine in the system.

And then I saw the fine print:

The Dallas County Online Ticket Payments & JP Courts Online Payment Center is available Monday through Sunday from 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.

<b>It went on to say that payments can only be made then.</b>

In other words, the county government computers have office hours.

It’s official then: the computers at Dallas County were programmed by 3rd graders.

No wonder we have potholes everywhere.

Best 150 Words on Marriage Equality

Fresno, CA, was frothy with wild Armageddon talk after the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution applies to gay folk on marriage. The sky over Fresno was crashing with locusts, singing devils, and slavery. Carol Fleisig, a resident of Fresno, finally had enough. Her letter is short — about 150 words — but she blew apart all the frothers with class. Here’s her Letter to the Fresno Bee Editor……

What a tempest in a teapot! The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage has no impact on anyone who is not gay: no impact on Christians or those of any other belief system that disapproves of homosexuality.

Let us be reminded that the Jewish religion tells its followers to circumcise their sons. Does that belief preclude other people from not circumcising their sons? Of course not! Is there any public outcry against allowing Jewish people to circumcise their sons? Of course not! There is not public outcry because people recognize that Jewish circumcision is none of their business. Each family is free to circumcise or not circumcise their sons as they choose.

Likewise, gay marriage is none of our business if our belief system prohibits it. If you are against the practice of something, simply do not practice it. Isn’t their biblical scripture about not judging others?