Archive for June, 2016

Gun Control in America

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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

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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

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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.