Thursday, January 31, 2013

Once Again In New York....

A couple of days ago the New York City Council overwhelmingly voted (44-4) in favor of allowing unemployed residents to sue companies and business owners, with which they had an interview, if they do not get the job. 

You read that correctly.  The City of New York has opened the door to people suing a potential employer because they do not get hired.  I guess the City Council believes it is helping the unemployed but in reality it will most likely result in fewer interviews being granted and fewer people being hired.  Of course, if a person can show they were denied an interview they can probably sue the potential employer for that as well. 

Think about the possibilities.  An unemployed person could lie on his application about his experience, completely fail the interview and if he doesn’t get the job he can sue the interviewing company.  Makes perfect sense to me….

I am beginning to wonder why anyone wants to live in New York City besides liberals who live off of government entitlements and who enjoy government control.  In the last year Mayor Bloomberg has outlawed smoking in public places (such as parks and the beach), has passed new, stricter gun laws, has decided citizens cannot buy soft drinks in cups bigger than 16 ounces, has told hospital Emergency Rooms they cannot give out more than three pain pills to a patient, and now the City Council wants to allow people to sue someone if they don't get a job.  Ironically, Mayor Bloomberg says he will veto this bill if it comes to his desk.  That truly surprises me since Bloomberg has been working hard to turn New York City into a nanny city.  The mayor should jump at this chance to level the playing field!  But it doesn’t really matter because the City Council says if he vetoes the bill they have a large enough majority to override the veto and pass the bill anyway.

One has to wonder what may be next to come out of New York…

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Hypocrisy In The Debate On Gun Control....

The other night I was watching FOX News (I know I just put some of my readers off...) and there was a report by an independent reporter who tried to interview Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, about gun control and the new gun laws in New York.  The reporter, who was immediately demeaned by the left, asked Mayor Bloomberg if he would be willing to give up his personal security team to support the new gun laws in the State of New York.

The man was intercepted by five, (count them) FIVE armed security personnel surrounding Mayor Bloomberg.  You can bet their weapons had more than 7 bullets each in their magazines.  The reporter wasn't a threat to the Mayor.  He merely wanted to know if the Mayor was willing to practice what he preached.  The security staff would not let the man near the Mayor.  They even chased him down the street. 

It seems Mayor Bloomberg believes that while the average NYC citizen should not be able to protect himself from violent criminals, he and others who share his stature should be.  It's the same as the President sending his girls to a school that has armed guards protecting them while he says your kids should not be protected by armed security in their schools.  Of course, people will say that the President’s kids should absolutely be protected because he’s the President.  But in all seriousness, why are his children more special and important than others?  After all – regardless of what some people may think – regardless of what office he holds, he’s a man.  That’s all.  And sorry, but his kids are no more special than any other child in the country.  Certainly no more special than mine.

Dianne Feinstein's predictable anti-gun bill takes almost all guns away from the average law-abiding citizen while exempting her and other government employees from that restriction.  Isn’t that special…? 

It also seems noteworthy that New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo was the first to pass new, more stringent gun legislation following the Sandy Hook School shooting, limiting the number of bullets you can have in a magazine and increasing restrictions on “assault rifles”.  Before signing the bill the governor said "You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and common sense."  I’m not sure if he was talking about pro-gun “extremists” or pro-gun criminals but anyone want to bet the governor’s personal security team carries more than 7 bullets each in their weapons?  It wouldn’t surprise me if they even have an assault rifle or two in their vehicle(s).

But then, politicians are always quick to let us know we are just not as important as they are.  I don’t begrudge Bloomberg or Cuomo their security teams.  God knows in this day and age they probably need them.  But why do they want to limit their constituents’ ability to protect their homes and property?  Who are they to decide what weapon is best for home protection?  Fully automatic weapons are against the law in this country, as are multiple burst weapons, and that’s OK in my book.  A person could do a lot of damage accidentally if they had a weapon that fired on automatic.  (Can you imagine what would have happened to Dick Cheney’s hunting friend if that were the case?)  But an AR-15 for home defense makes perfect sense.  Light weight, accurate, great stopping power and plenty of ammunition if needed.  Some people prefer a shotgun but honestly, a shotgun can cause far more damage, both to a person and a home, than a .223 round. 

How do liberals continue to support such biased politicians and legislation believing those politicians really care about the people?  These politicians care only about retaining their positions come election time and making enough noise to keep their faithful voters on their side.  And in the meantime we law-abiding Americans continue to lose our rights to an ever growing government that is beginning to reek of tyranny.  I believe the President will go all out on his far-left agenda in the next four years.  I only hope the Republicans will find some cojones and stand up to him instead of bending over.  Otherwise it may not matter who we elect in 2016…

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Obama: "If Not For FOX News and Rush Limbaugh Republicans Would Do What I Want." Really?

A couple of days ago in an interview President Obama basically said the only reason some Republicans oppose the things he's doing is because FOX News and Rush Limbaugh make them worry about their seats in the House and what their constituents might think of them.

"The truth is that most of the big issues that are going to make a difference in the life of this country for the next thirty or forty years are complicated and require tough decisions, but are not rocket science. We know that to fix our economy, we've got to make sure: that we have the most competitive workforce in the world, that we have a better education system, that we are investing in research and development, that we've got world-class infrastructure, that we're reducing our health care costs, and that we're expanding our exports. On issues like immigration, we have a pretty good sense of what's broken in the system and how to fix it. On climate change, it's a daunting task. But we know what releases carbon into the atmosphere, and we have tools right now that would start scaling that back, although we'd still need some big technological breakthrough. So the question is not, Do we have policies that might work? It is, Can we mobilize the political will to act?"

"And I think if you talk privately to Democrats and Republicans, particularly those who have been around for a while, they long for the days when they could socialize and introduce bipartisan legislation and feel productive. So I don't think the issue is whether or not there are people of goodwill in either party that want to get something done. I think what we really have to do is change some of the incentive structures so that people feel liberated to pursue some common ground. One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."

Really?  Is that what you really believe, Mr. President?  Are you so blinded by your left-wing partisanship that you believe anyone who opposes your views is influenced not by their own rational beliefs but by Rush Limbaugh and FOX News?  Or are you just so narcissistic that you believe no one could disagree with you unless they are forced to disagree by radical right-wing nutjobs?

As much as I hate to bad mouth the President of the United States, after 30 years of serving my country both in the military and in Civil Service, I must say that you, Sir, are displaying the characteristics of an idiot.  Is that a politically correct enough way to express my opinion of what the President says?  I'm trying to be as respectful as I can but it's difficult when the man makes statements like that.  It's interesting how the President attacks the only right leaning news outlet and right leaning talk show hosts because they don't support and agree with his agenda.  The other media outlets seem to have fallen in line with the President.  They never criticize him, don't question his actions, intentions or motives.  They let him do whatever he wants to do and praise things like the "60 Minutes" interview, after which Steve Croft really needed to wipe his face with toilet paper.

It's truly sad that most of the media in this country has become so far left, so in the tank for Obama that the only people in media who oppose him get attacked by the President himself.  It seems beneath the office of the President to attack individual media outlets for not supporting him.  At least, it seems beneath the office of the President if Obama wasn't in it.  I'm not surprised by anything this man does.  If he and his cronies succeed in getting him a third term in office I will be forced to decide if I still want to live in the United States of Obama.  Sad but true.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wisconsin Sheriff Asks Citizens To Help With Their Own Safety

In Wisconsin recently, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., took out a controversial 30 second radio ad telling the citizens of Milwaukee County that "Your safety is no longer a spectator sport. I need you in the game."

His advice: Take a gun course and buy a gun. And be ready to use it.

"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.  You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared?  Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.  You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.  We're partners now.  Can I count on you?"

How interesting - a government worker actually telling people they should buy guns and be ready to use them.  Apparently Sheriff Clark lives by the adage that "When seconds count the police are only minutes away."  Once the bad guy has broken into your home and is coming toward you down the hallway, or once he has put  a gun in your face on a public street, is not the right time to call 911 and hope the police get there.

It's also interesting how Delaware's Attorney General Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's son, just stripped all Delaware County Sherrifs of their arrest authority.  Apparently they cannot interfere with federal agents if they (the feds) want to take guns from citizens.

Our federal government and some states (including New York and Vermont) have or are passing legislation banning "assault rifles".  The term assault rifle is misleading at the very least, since it is merely a semi-automatic rifle that fires a .223 round.  The only difference between a .223 hunting rifle and a so called "assault rifle" is what is on the outside of the weapon.  "Assault rifles" or personal protection rifles as they are rightly called by the manufacturer, are styled to look like a military AR-15.  They do not function like a military weapon however, as in they do not fire fully automatic or even a multiple round burst.  One round, and only one round, is fired each time you pull the trigger.  Like a semi-automatic pistol, you can fire single rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger but only one round will fire.

Some may say you don't need a semi-automatic weapon to protect your home.  Ummm - why do you think all law enforcement agencies now carry semi-automatic weapons?  In a gunfight you don't know how many rounds you need until it's over and you walk away.  Never having been in a gunfight myself (fortunately) I can't speak from experience but from the stories of people I know well who have experienced it - the magazine can empty very quickly.  You should always have enough ammunition to stop your opponent.  And it should not be up to some nutcase elected official to decide how many rounds that needs to be.  Period.

I have taken several law enforcement combat shooting courses in my lifetime, including some with simunitions where it feels like the bad guy is shooting you (because he is.)  Even in a situation that you know is not deadly it's easy to get carried away and empty a magazine.  As I said - you shoot until your opponent stops his attack.  And if you empty a magazine you have another one fully loaded to take its place.  The greater capacity the magazine the greater chances you have of stopping the attack.

The focus in Washington still seems to be on the weapon instead of the person behind it.  Car accidents kill hundreds of thousands of people a year in this country.  Yet there is no focus on the car being the problem.  It's always blamed on the operator.  In like fashion - no gun has ever killed anyone without a person using or misusing it.  So why do we blame the gun for those deaths instead of the operator?  That seems to make anti-gun activists look a little silly...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Would You Save A Life If You Could?

"If you knew someone was going to die and  you had some information that would save their life would you not be obligated to share it with that person?"

That's the question our pastor asked us this morning in church.  Over the last four weeks he has been talking about stewardship in a series of sermons called "The Secret To A Happy, Healthy, Productive Life."  Today's message was called "The Forgotten Treasure".  It was about stewardship of the Gospel and what we're supposed to do with the good news.

In Paul's letter to the Romans (Chapter 1, verse 14-17) he said "I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome."

"I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew and then the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as is written: "The righteous shall live by faith." 

As our pastor said - are we who are saved not obligated to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others?  Do we not have an obligation to save someone's life by sharing the gospel so they too might live?

How many of us, besides my good friend Mark Atterson, actually do this on a regular basis?  As believers we are expected by God not only to live His word but to share His word and inform non-believers about the saving grace of Jesus.  In this day of secularism it is difficult, at best, to put yourself out there and talk to non-believers about Him.  Many people don't want to hear what you're saying and, in fact, probably consider it a violation of their rights. Our government certainly doesn't encourage it.  Instead our government is trying to stifle religion.  The health care law forces business owners to do things that are in direct violation of their religious beliefs.  And sadly the court upheld it.

Our pastor relayed a story to us last week that fit in with this particular topic.  When Chik Fil A opens a new restaurant somewhere the company President, Dan Cathey, comes to the location for an opening ceremony with the employees of that store.  Being a Christian man and running his corporation by Christian principles, Mr. Cathey always has a pastor or two on sight for the ceremony for prayers and encouragement.  Our Pastor, Dr. Marr, was invited to one of those ceremonies here in Fort Worth a couple of years back.
He said Mr. Cathey got up to speak to the employees about his beliefs and philosophies.  Cathey said they (Chik Fil A) are closed on Sundays so his employees can go to church and/or spend time with their families.  He said other fast food chains and business professionals told him that staying closed on Sundays was absolutely not a good idea for a fast food restaurant.  But Mr. Cathey didn't change his mind.  He said that like everything else in this world, the business belongs to God and he (Cathey) is merely a steward of if for God.  He said God will always come before profit.  Chik Fil A has been extremely successful with this philosophy even after being targeted for boycott by secularist liberals after Mr. Cathey publicly commented on his Christian beliefs pertaining to same-sex marriage .  (Hobby Lobby practices the same things and is closed on Sunday because their founders put God before profit.)

So anyway, there it is.  We are simply guests of our Lord here on Earth and, as such, we are obligated to be good stewards of His belongings.  There are those who believe the things they have here on Earth belong to them and not to God.  For them I will relay another story told to us by our very wise pastor.

There was a very wealthy and successful rancher who owned a huge ranch in Texas.  He went to church every Sunday.  One Sunday morning the preacher spoke of stewardship and said that everything we have here on Earth really belongs to God.  This thought bothered the rancher so he invited the pastor over to his home for lunch and a conversation.  Following a wonderful meal the rancher invited the pastor to get in his truck and proceeded to drive him all over the thousands of acres of his ranch.  He showed the preacher his livestock.  He showed him all of the buildings where he produced milk and beef and pork products for grocery stores.  He showed the preacher land as far as he could see which the rancher had purchased with the money he made from his huge success.  Finally he took the preacher back to his magnificent home and they walked up on the porch and sat down.

The rancher said "Preacher - I just showed you everything I have.  I got it all through hard work, skillful and successful business ventures and perseverance.  How can you tell me that I don't own any of it?"

The preacher looked at him with compassion and said "Ask me that question again in 100 years."

Remember, no matter what possessions or wealth you have here on Earth, you can't take it with you.  The only thing you can take with you when you die is your Jesus.  Or rather....  He will take you.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Women In Combat Positions - Good Or Bad?

My post today will upset some, make others happy and make still others just think about the issue.  It's about Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement yesterday that women will no longer be excluded from combat units in the military. It's a touchy subject that people will disagree on for years to come.  But it had to be addressed eventually.

During the last two years of World War 1, beginning in 1917, American women were allowed to join the regular military and serve as nurses and support staff.  33,000 joined and over 400 died in the line of duty.

During World War II, more than 400,000 women served at home and abroad as mechanics, ambulance drives, pilots, administrators, nurses, and in other non-combat roles. Eighty-eight women were captured and held as POWs (prisoners of war).

In 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act granting women permanent status in the military subject to military authority and regulations and entitled to veterans benefits.

Women stayed mostly in nursing and support roles for the next 40+ years although they were not prevented from being deployed to hostile areas.  Women serving as nurses in Korea were not stationed on the front lines but those lines changed at times, putting them in harm's way.

In 1991, Congress authorizes women to fly combat missions and in 1993 they were allowed to serve on combat ships.  in 1998, for the first time, women fighter pilots flew combat missions off of aircraft carriers in Operation Desert Fox, Iraq.  And in 2000, Captain Kathleen McGrath became the first woman to command a U.S. Navy warship assigned to the Persian Gulf.

In the years since, women have been serving in combat areas and many have already served in combat situations.  It was only a matter of time.

I give you the history of women in the military because it shows their roles throughout the history of the United States military in general.  As for the Defense Secretary's decision - I must say I can't find a reason to disagree with it.  I have listened to the arguments against it with an open mind but find that I disagree with them for the most part.  And I'll explain why.

When I got out of the Air Force in 1985 women were serving in more positions previously only held by men, such as Military Police.  When I started my career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1986, at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lompoc, California, we had women working in the institution but they were only in support roles, i.e., secretaries, Receiving and Discharge, mail room, etc.  They were prevented from being correctional officers and/or lieutenants in penitentiaries because the job was deemed too dangerous, even though women had been working as correctional officers in state penitentiaries for years.  Women were, however, allowed to be correctional officers and lieutenants in medium level and below federal institutions.  That restriction stayed in place until 1993.  Since 1993 women have been working successfully as correctional officers, lieutenants, captains and even executive staff in federal penitentiaries.

Women have been serving as police officers since 1910, beginning in Los Angeles, California with the appointment of Alice Stebbins Wells, the first woman in the nation to be given full police authority.  In like standard, the first known female firefighter of the United States was a slave from New York named Molly Williams, who was said to be "as good a fire laddie as many of the boys," and fought fires during the early 1800s.  In the 1820s, Marina Betts was a volunteer firefighter in Pittsburgh.  Lillie Hitchcock was made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker Engine Company, No. 5., in San Francisco in 1863, and fought fires for some years after.

Now, I'm not comparing jobs as police and firefighters to combat- particularly since combat soldiers are on duty 24/7 and every area is a hostile area.   However, when you place your life on the line every day as part of your job are you not running the same risk as a soldier - that of dying at any time?

It takes strength and stamina and good physical conditioning to perform effectively as a cop or a firefighter, just as it does to be an effective soldier.  So if women have been successfully performing their duties as police and firefighters (and even correctional officers) for years it stands to reason they can also be effective combat soldiers.  To think anything less, in my opinion, demeans the women successfully performing in all of these positions.

There are those who will say that a male soldier might put himself in jeopardy trying to protect his female counterpart.  But I say any soldier who cares for his buddies in his unit would do the same thing, whether that buddy is male or female.  I don't see the difference.

I'm OK with Mr. Panetta's decision.  I think there are many women who will not only qualify for the positions but who will do very well.  And in this modern world of equality between genders it only makes sense.  I say go for it.  It won't take long to figure out whether it's a good decision or a bad decision.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New York City's Soft Drink Ban Racist?

I heard something on the car radio yesterday that was so unbelievable I had to check for myself when I got home.  It seems there is a new group who opposes New York Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large, sugary soft drinks.  Only this time there is a new twist to it.

According to the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, the ban on large, sugary soft drinks could be racist as well.  That’s right – racist.

“The NAACP’s New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12. With a hearing set Wednesday, critics are attacking what they call an inconsistent and undemocratic regulation, while city officials and health experts defend it as a pioneering and proper move to fight obesity.”

“The issue is complex for the minority advocates, especially given obesity rates that are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. The groups say in court papers they’re concerned about the discrepancy, but the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and “freedom of choice in low-income communities.”

“The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, a network of 100 northeastern groups, say minority-owned delis and corner stores will end up at a disadvantage compared to grocery chains.  This sweeping regulation will no doubt burden and disproportionally impact minority-owned businesses at a time when these businesses can least afford it,” they said in court papers.”

Now I can certainly agree with the part about undue harm to the freedom of choice – but for low income communities?  Is this law not harming freedom of choice for all communities? 

And maybe I don’t understand the whole racist thing but it seems to me if obesity rates are higher among blacks and Hispanics – wouldn’t it be racist to restrict large sodas in white neighborhoods while still allowing them in the minority communities?  I could understand if that was the case.

I’m not in favor of Bloomberg’s nanny administration outlawing Big Gulps for anyone (It seems 7-11 is exempt from the law, by the way) but if indeed he’s doing it to help reduce obesity how is that racist toward anyone?  Biased against obese people but where does skin color and/or ethnicity come into play?

The suit also says it will hurt minority owned businesses.   So it won’t hurt non-minority owned businesses?  Are they trying to say that Caucasians don’t own convenience stores or gas stations?  Certainly there is a long standing stereotype that convenience stores are all owned by foreigners but this suit seems to indicate that it’s may be true.

The law itself has some interesting exceptions that scream of bias and favoritism.  As I said earlier – 7/11, the home of the “Big Gulp”, is exempt, as are supermarkets and some other convenience stores.  That makes no sense to me.  If sodas over 16 ounces are banned from some stores why are they not banned for all?  What’s up with that?

Anyway – I’m having a bit of trouble understanding how this can be turned into a race issue.  It seems everything today has some sort of racial overtone to it, from politics to Big Gulps.  Racism was supposed to be a thing of the past beginning on January 20, 2009.  Instead it seems to be growing worse and the “R” word is tossed into everything. 

The soft drink ban isn’t about racism.  It’s about more government control.  Mayor Bloomberg is slowly but surely turning New York City into a personal rights free zone.  If it continues I see a mass exodus from New York City in a few years.  Their tax revenues will dry up and the poor mayor will be wondering how it happened.  Hey Mr. Mayor…  you better pay attention to California.  Just sayin’…eir son

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hillary Clinton... The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth?

Hillary Clinton finally spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning.  I said "spoke" rather than "testify" because I believed the word testify meant to bear truthful witness.  However, Merriam Webster defines it as "to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief."  In that case, I'm guessing Hillary believes telling the truth about what happened could be dangerous to her political career and her shot at a White House run in 2016.  And I'm guessing she believed that wasn't a good idea.  So based on her beliefs the Benghazi incident was in no way the fault of the current administration nor was there a cover-up.  I stand corrected - I should have used the word testify from the beginning.

At one point in the testimony Republican Senator Ron Johnson asked her to explain how it was that over the course of weeks, the Obama Administration stood by an absurd story claiming that four Americans we're murdered in Libya due to a spontaneous protest gone bad.

Clearly angered by the question, Mrs. Clinton responded:  "With all due respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans. Whether it was because of a protest or because guys outside for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans - what difference at this point does it make?"

Well, Madam Secretary, I can answer that question for you.

IF the attack in Benghazi was known from the beginning to be a terrorist attack that was monitored in real time by the White House Situation Room and the State Department, as has been reported, then you and President Obama are liars to the highest degree.

IF the attack in Benghazi was known from th beginning to be a terrorist attack that was monitored in real time by the White House Situation Room and the State Department and our military and CIA were told to stand down, then it makes whoever gave that order guilty of aiding and abetting the murders of four American citizens.  It also makes anyone in the administration who knew about it guilty of witholding evidence and obstructing justice.

IF the attack in Benghazi was known from th beginning to be a terrorist attack that was monitored in real time by the White House Situation Room and the State Department and nothing was done to protect and attempt rescue of those in harm's way in the Consulate building then President Obama has failed as Commander in Chief and you have failed as Secretary of State.

And IF all of the above things are true and the majority of Americans still re-elected President Obama (and may actually vote for you in 2016) then we are doomed as a nation.

I really did not except anything different than what I observed this morning in Mrs. Clinton's testimony.  Anyone who believed she would be truthful about what really happened, or now believes that she was, is naive and knows nothing about Hillary Clinton. According to columnist Dan Calabreze, Hillary has a long history of lying.

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, now-retired general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, who supervised Hillary when she worked on the Watergate investigation, says Hillary’s history of lies and unethical behavior goes back farther – and goes much deeper – than anyone realizes.

Zeifman fired Hillary from the Watergate investigation "“Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”  She and two other attorneys conspired "in a seemingly implausible scheme to deny Richard Nixon the right to counsel during the investigation"

So I stand by what I said.  If you believe Hillary told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help her God, then you need to do a little more research on the woman.  Otherwise I guess you believe she had to dodge sniper bullets in Bosnia...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 Year Old Girl Called "Terrorist" For Threatening To Shoot Classmate - With Bubbles!

The United States of America is slowly losing its collective mind.  Two weeks ago there were two different reports about kindergarten students being suspended from school for shooting another student with finger guns.  You know the weapon - we all had at least one, sometimes two, when we were kids.  You point your index finger at the bad guy and raise your thumb like a hammer and go "Bang, bang!"  Your opponent, if he plays the game correctly, falls down dead (usally greatly overacting the part) and then gets up a minute later and the game resumes.  Really dangerous stuff there.

Now, in a move that seems to be more illogical than the previous suspensions, a 5-year-old girl was suspended from school last week after she made what the school called a "terrorist threat."  Her weapon of choice?  A small, "Hello Kitty" automatic bubble blower.  You read that correctly - a bubble blower.

The kindergartner, who attends Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania, caught administrators' attention after suggesting she and a classmate should shoot each other with bubbles.  That's right - bubbles!  That's terrorism at its worst I tell you!

I can't even begin to imagine how dangerous that can be in the wrong hands.  You could get a bubble in your eye or even, God forbid, in your mouth!!  And if you shoot someone with bubbles with malice aforethought well... I can only speculate.

According to the attorney for the family, the girl didn't even have the dangerous weapon with her at school.  Apparently this "bubble duel" (my own words) was merely suggested by the young girl.  The family is considering a lawsuit against the school because the incident has gone in the girl's "PERMANENT RECORD" and her parents can't get her transferred into another school because of it.

The school district made a statement concerning the incident.  "The Mount Carmel Area School District takes the well-being and safety of students and staff very seriously."  Really?  What about the well being of this five year old girl who can't get an education because she threatened someone with bubbles?  How about the little girl who you, the school district, says committed a terrorist act to be committed with bubbles?  You people are ridiculous.  Do they teach common sense in any of your schools?

It occurred to me today, after reading this story, that Al Queda succeeded on September 11, 2001, far more than they knew.  Twelve years later many in this country are so afraid of terrorists and violence of any kind that we're now suspending kindergarten students for using their fingers to pretend they have a gun (something we adults did all the time as kids) or worse yet, for committing a "terrorist act" by suggesting kids shoot each other with bubbles.  How long will it be before kids are no longer even allowed to play with toy guns in public, pretend to be cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians, or play army?  (Never mind the cowboys and Indians - that's already frowned upon as politically incorrect.)  If this type of reaction continues it won't be long before the government truly does step in and take legal guns from law abiding citizens.  And kids who pretend may end up in a correctional facility.

And gee...  guess which organization will be waiting for America to be disarmed...?

Once Again In The Liberal Media...

Well, it is happening again.  In the news is a report of another multiple shooting in New Mexico.  A 15 year old boy took the lives of his parents, brother and two sisters.  The weapons used vary depending on which network you watch.

According to police the boy has confessed to the murders, stating his motivation was anger at his mother.  By his own statement, late Saturday night 15 year old Nehemiah Griego took a 22 rifle from his dad's closet and shot his sleeping mother in the head.  His 9 year old brother, who was sleeping next to his mother, woke up and was also shot and killed.  The teenager then went to the room of his sisters and shot them as well.  The boy's father was not home at the time.

Young Griego then took an AR-15 rifle from his father's closet and waited for him to come home from work, about 5am.  The father, a pastor at a local church and a volunteer chaplain for the fire department and the county jail, walked unsuspectingly into an ambush.  The boy fired multiple .223 rounds into his father's head and face.  Griego told police he then was going to go to the local Walmart, begin shooting people at random and then die in a shootout with police.  He apparently talked to a friend on the way who talked him out of it and into meeting him at his father's church.  Once at the church the boy eventually told his story to a security guard, a retired police officer, who called 911.

Not surprisingly, the articles by NBC and CNN reporting this terrible tragedy only report that an AR-15 "assault rifle" was used and don't say anything about the .22 caliber weapon that was used to commit the first four murders.  In their effort to aid President Obama's assault on the Second Amendment they report only the truth they want you to know.  Why not tell the truth and declare a .22 rifle and assault rifle as well?  And when are they going to begin blaming the .22 instead of the boy?  After all, the boy had no prior record of involvement with law enforcement so that AR-15 and the .22 must have combined to make him kill, right?

It may sound like I have no sympathy for the dead but that is wrong.  I feel terribly for that family and I feel terrible for that 15 year old who not only decided he needed to kill but had also decided he needed to die.  What terrible things must be going on inside his head to make him do the things he did and was going to do.  Some will say that if his father didn't have guns in the house it wouldn't have happened.  But I'm guessing if his thinking was that bizarre and violent he'd have found a way.  People who decide to kill don't normally change their minds because they simply don't have a gun.  They find a way.

So the assault on assault rifles will continue, now with the media and left wing politicians having even more "ammunition" to "target" those weapons.  (Wait - haven't those words been outlawed by the Democrats as dangerous and violent?)  Instead of focusing on the problem at hand, which is obviously the mental health status of that boy, they will focus on removing guns from the general public.  And those who want to kill will find other ways.

There is a definite need to do something about multiple shootings.  Even as I type this there is a report of another active shooting at a college in Houston, Texas.  Something is definitely wrong in this country.  I'm guessing rather than it being the ability for people to arm themselves it more likely is because God and the 10 commandments are being pushed aside by those who believe they're not needed anymore.  Fifty years ago, when most people in the country still believed in God and family and doing the right thing these types of incidents were very few and far between.  They were a very rare exception in our society.  These days they seem to have become a part of the norm.  But it's still not the fault of the weapon.  After all - over 81 million legal gun owners didn't kill anyone today.  That says something.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Memories Of My Son...

My sister-in-law, unwittingly, put a huge smile on my face and gave me a wonderful memory this evening.  She liked a picture on Facebook of a “See and Say”, a toy that my son had when he was little that we played with all the time.  It made him laugh and smile and brought joy to us all.  I remember us playing with it and can still remember some of the sounds of the farm animals.  It was a great toy!

He’d hate me for telling this but Christopher also was a huge Billy Ray Cyrus fan when we lived in Leavenworth in the early 90s.  He had memorized all the words to "Achy Breaky Heart" and would sing it at the top of his lungs without shame when we were riding in the car.  There were other country songs he liked at that time, fallout from living in Alabama for 18 months, but when he got older he would never admit it and would tell me to be quiet about it.  Since he’s no longer able to stop me – I can talk about it all I want! 

When we moved from California to Alabama Christopher became “Southern” more quickly than he knew.  In a local restaurant one evening one of our friends was talking to him and asked his name.  At age 4 he still called himself Christopher, which is what we always called him.  He responded to David that his name was Christopher.  David said “Christopher?  That’s a good name.  But we’re going to have to give you a Southern name.  I believe we’re going to call you Bubba…”  His mother and I witnessed this conversation and he was “Bubba” for a couple of years, at least.  He didn’t seem to mind.

When we moved to Puerto Rico in 1993 Christopher got more interested in pop and new wave music.  In just a couple of years he was embarrassed by his former love of country music – even though he ended up living in Oklahoma.  He never really went back.  He liked KORN, Green Day and even Led Zeppelin.  The first two didn’t mean much but his request for Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits the last Christmas he was alive meant a lot to me.  I still have that CD collection I bought him that year.

Anyway – thank you, Theresa, for putting that smile on my face this evening.  I miss Christopher very much but occasionally I am handed a very happy memory that cheers me more that it hurts.   Tonight was one of those occasions.  And I’m very grateful!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ending Gun Violence - Serious Business or Political Posturing?

Yesterday, in a grand political move that made many of us (who do not worship at the alter of The Great Obama) ill, the President went on national television, surrounded by children who allegedly wrote him letters about ending gun violence, and signed some Executive Orders which, in essence, won’t really do much except draw attention to the President.  Oh, there were some good ideas in there like increased mental health screening and treatment and more thorough background checks to help prevent mentally ill people from buying guns, but all in all nothing the President signed into law yesterday would have changed anything about the Sandy Hook tragedy.

The left currently has a campaign against “assault rifles” claiming, among other things, that if they and large capacity magazines are banned from public ownership then another Sandy Hook can’t happen.  At least that’s what they tell themselves.  The interesting thing is that most shootings in this country are committed with hand guns instead of military style rifles.  (Assault rifle is an inaccurate term used by the left and the media.  The truth is that any firearm becomes an assault weapon if used to illegally shoot someone.)  The last two major shootings, Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado, happened to be committed with military style rifles.  But the Fort Bliss shooting, which left 13 dead, was committed with a hand gun, as was the Virginia Tech shooting, which left 23 dead.  So how does the left convince itself that military style rifles are so bad when they are not used in the majority of shootings?

The left wants to ban these rifles while assuring the public that handgun ownership will not change.  Given the facts about rifles versus handguns, there is only one logical conclusion a thinking person can reach – it’s not about gun control or preventing gun violence but about political posturing.  If the left truly wanted to be true to its own philosophy it would attempt to repeal the Second Amendment and go for a total gun ban, as has been done in other countries.  Targeting military style rifles is not an attempt at a solution, even from the left.  It's just preening for the cameras while pointing to the bodies of shooting victims.  And it’s pretty disgusting.

The left, including the President, is moving toward gun control through emotion rather than logic.  Pointing fingers and insinuating that if you’re not for more gun control you don’t care about the children of Sandy Hook is also disgusting.  But it’s happening.  And parading children for the cameras to gain attention is a sad commentary about our President.  

Common sense conversation about gun violence will never take place until emotions and posturing can be put aside and logic and reason are part of that conversation.  Which is why that conversation will probably never take place in Washington.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Live Strong - Especially If You're Doping. My Take On Lance Armstrong

I’ve been following the Lance Armstrong news for the last 48 hours.  It seems Mr. Armstrong, after 15 years of lying to everyone and bad mouthing those who accused him, finally admitted that he was doping to win the Tour de France.    Congratulations for finally admitting what most of us already believed, Lance.  Now let’s look at what you might be able to expect.

I heard on the news yesterday that his estimated net worth is anywhere from 110 to 140 million dollars.  That wealth has been accumulated over the years from prize money, endorsements, movie appearances, and his foundation.  Oh yeah…  he won a lawsuit against a British tabloid who published an article saying he was doping.  He sued them for slander and liable and won about half a million dollars.  Oops.

First of all he could face legal action.  The federal case against him was dropped when they couldn’t find enough evidence to move forward.  However, since that case never went to court and Armstrong was never acquitted of any charges that case can be re-opened and he can now be charged with perjury, as well as the use of illegal substances. 

The British tabloid can sue him for recovery of the judgment they paid him along with interest, court costs and legal fees.

There were several fellow athletes who were vilified by Armstrong because they testified that he was doping and he insisted he wasn’t.  I don’t know if they’ll pursue civil cases against him but they probably should.
The companies that have paid him huge amounts for product endorsements most likely have a morals clause in their contracts that allow for the contracts to be cancelled if Armstrong does/did anything that brings shame or a bad image to the company.  Some of those contracts may even allow the company to be reimbursed by Armstrong in that case.

One of the biggest questions I have is “Why?”  Why confess to doping after 15 years of denying it?  

According to what I’ve heard, Armstrong showed up for the Oprah interview with four lawyers in tow, most of whom were telling him not to confess to anything.   Could it be that Lance is tired of lying and wants to get this off his chest once and for all?  Could it be that it’s simply impossible to lie to Oprah?  (chuckling softly…)  

Could it be, as has been rumored, that he wants to come clean now so he can re-enter cycling competitions?  Or could it be that he’s facing legal action anyway so he’s confessing to break the ice?  Only Armstrong and his attorneys know the answer to those questions.  One thing is certain – he has left himself open for a slew of negative reactions. 

I have also heard Armstrong cried during the interview.  One of his former teammates said Armstrong is very good at playing to a camera and that if he cried it was merely an act intended to manipulate people into feeling sorry for him.  I will watch the interview tomorrow and form my own opinion but those “lying” teammates were right about everything else.

Lance Armstrong is a liar and a hypocrite at best.  He preached good health and clean living through his “Live Strong” campaign, selling yellow wrist bands (another source of his wealth) to people who believed in him – all the while lying to us all and living a life he denied.  I can’t feel sorry for him.  It’s not very Christian of me but part of me hopes the feds, the tabloid and his teammates go after him in full force.  It would serve him right.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Has It Really Come This Far...??

Once again in Maryland…   Last week at the White Marsh Elementary School two six year old boys were playing cops and robbers during recess.  They were shooting at each other with their fingers.  Both boys were hauled to the principal’s office and immediately suspended from school.  (If you recall, another six year old was suspended just a week before from another school, also in Maryland, for the same behavior.)

"This is easily the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of," said Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Grafton, father of one of the first-graders. "This, a completely harmless act of horseplay at recess, was by no means an offense that warranted a suspension. It was a pair of 6-year-olds playing with imaginary pistols, one of whom has a father who is charged by the United States with using firearms in his defense."

Recent reports say that the son of Staff Sgt. Grafton has returned to school with his suspension lifted.  There was no report about the other child.

What are we becoming as a nation that we are suspending six year olds from school for being six year olds?  My finger guns killed numerous children and adults when I was six years old.  And just as in this case, every one of them got up and walked away after dying a dramatic death.  It’s child’s play; make believe.   And unless there is some dark, sinister thinking going on in the child’s mind (which we may never know) it always has been and always will be.  Some people are so caught up in the over reaction to the Sandy Hook incident that common sense seems to have flown out the window.

I find it ironic that many anti-gun advocates will flock to theaters in droves to watch their favorite Hollywood star shoot as many people as they can pack into a two hour movie yet they will support ridiculous actions such as this one.  Then, when the get home they’ll play their violent video games and kill people themselves with their game controllers, watching the blood spray…  but let little Bobby and Billy point their fingers at each other and say “Bang!” and it’s time they (Bobby and Billy) were seriously punished!!

Movie violence and video game violence is far more realistic and graphic than the actions of six year olds pretending to be cops and robbers.  So why do we treat young children as bad kids for being children?  Certainly the school would have the right to talk to the boys about what they were doing and let them know it is unacceptable behavior in school.  And the parents could be contacted to reinforce that notion.  But to suspend them both as an initial punishment is ridiculous.

Staff Sgt Grafton drove home his own point: "If anything, this was a teaching point; an opportunity to discuss with the boys and the remainder of the class the importance of not shooting at one another," he said. "Instead, the boys were removed from the playground and their parents instructed to immediately pick them up and any teaching opportunity was lost; an action which I interpret as either not having the ability to address the situation or not having the desire to.  Neither of these are acceptable answers."

The principal of the school has apologized to Grafton and the boy’s mother.  The mother says she feels the apology was more of an olive branch than an admission of doing something wrong.  She hopes the school board will look into this and find a more reasonable way to deal with situations.  We shall see what happens but I won’t hold my breath.

Colin Powell... Don't Forget Where You Came From!

In an interview on NBC on Sunday, January 13th, former General and Secretary of State Colin Powell ridiculed the Republican Party while trying to pretend he still was a member.  General Powell stated:

“There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”

While not mentioning former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu by name, Powell referenced past comments from each about Obama as evidence of racism in the party.

“When I see a former governor say the president is ‘shucking’ and jiving’,’ that’s a racial-era slave term,” Powell said. Palin used the term to describe Obama’s response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

"When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well say that the president was ‘lazy,’” Powell continued. “He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do so well, he said he was lazy. Now it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is “shiftless,” and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”

What’s interesting is that while General Powell criticizes the Republican Party for intolerance and racism, he seems to ignore the fact that the last 25 years of his career were successful because of Republican Presidents.

General Powell was appointed by Ronald Reagan as the National Security Adviser from 1987 to 1989.

General Powell was selected as the first and only African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.  After his retirement from the Army, General Powell was selected as the Secretary of State by George W. Bush during his first term, from 2001 to 2005.  He was the first African American to serve in that position as well.  He did not stay for Bush’s second term, apparently disheartened and angry at the Bush administration over the “weapons of mass destruction” scandal in Iraq.

So if not for the racist Republicans, General Powell would have finished his military career without Washington, DC, influence and retired.  Instead he is internationally known and famous.  Yet he goes on national television and badmouths the very people who helped make his career. 

I have always respected Colin Powell’s career and his service to our country.  I still do.  But his political beliefs seem to have moved from conservative to liberal – even though he claims to still be a Republican.  He voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012.  You cannot be a true Republican or conservative and vote for President Obama...  twice.  Sorry, General…  you’re busted.

I still respect General Powell’s service to his country – both military and in Washington DC.  But I no longer respect the man.   I believe he is playing the race card – not only with his vote but with his comments.  And I can’t help but wonder why.  What could he possibly want to gain from it?  Maybe he’s looking for a position in the new Obama administration…?

General Powell has lost my respect.  Being former military myself I don’t say that lightly.  But truth is truth and BS is BS.  And Colin Powell is full of it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Sandy Hook Debate - And It's Not Gun Control

My topic today is sensitive and somewhat difficult.  It concerns Sandy Hook elementary school.  But it’s not about gun control.  That argument is running full speed in our political halls around the country.  No, this is about the survivors, the parents and the school itself.  I’ll explain…

I listened to a segment of the Mike Gallagher Show this morning and his topic was Sandy Hook.  Apparently there is discussion in the neighborhood about the school building itself.  Some parents of the surviving kids want the school demolished and rebuilt, leaving the area where that particular room was empty.  Others feel to tear it down would allow the bad guy to win – that it should remain as is and the children should be allowed to move on past the tragedy that happened in their lives.  There really is no right or wrong answer, in my opinion.  The feelings on both sides are valid and understandable.  I will voice my thoughts and opinion then will welcome any other you might have.  It’s a tough question…

I’m guessing that most parents of those children killed would be more than happy if the school building was destroyed.  They’d probably like to see it turned into a memorial park dedicated to their children.  And that would certainly be understandable.  And they have every right to feel that way, if they indeed do.  But what about the survivors?  One mother said her child and many others walk around scared in the new school where they are attending.  I think that has less to do with a building and more to do with the emotional trauma they endured.  And it’s something they will need therapy to alleviate.  Will they have more problems if they return to Sandy Hook?  Who knows?  But the kids from Columbine returned to their school and moved on successfully.  And kindergarteners, for the most part, are far more resilient after emotional trauma than high school kids.

As I said – there is no right or wrong answer.  Those children (and parents) are going to be scarred for the rest of their lives – the parents possibly more so than the children.  But will destroying the school building fix that?  If they destroy the building, every time they drive by the site they will think “That’s where that school was where my child almost died.”  Tearing the building down won’t erase the memory, will it?

I think my answer is this…  Leave that classroom empty until next year then put a brand new kindergarten class there and don’t bring it up.  The new class will shake off anything that is said because they weren’t involved in the situation (unless one of their siblings happened to be in that class.)  If a parent really feels their child cannot return to that school then they should by all means move the child somewhere else.  It’s not an easy choice but I think tearing down the school may be the wrong one.  Americans must stand up to violence and mental illness and not let a tragedy rule our lives.  We need to move on from tragedy or we’ll eventually be beaten by it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Want More Government Control In Your Life? Move To NYC...

It started with banning smoking in public places.   In the Big Apple, you’re not allowed to smoke in parks, on beaches and in pedestrian plazas.  Although Mayor Bloomberg initially insisted his ban wouldn't be enforced - as of April 18, 2012, 108 summonses had been issued to people smoking in parks already, a stark rise from the meager 84 tickets issued from last May through the end of 2011. In the first month of the ban, only one ticket was issued.  Tickets can cost a smoker up to $300, a number 6 times greater than previously made public.

Now it is illegal to sell or purchase a soft drink larger than 16 ounces.  Even in a movie theater you can’t get an extra large soda to go with your extra large popcorn.  Mayor Bloomberg says the soda ban is intended to help fight obesity and says it doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.  He says “anyone who feels they’ll die of thirst if they can’t get a 32 ounce soft drink can simply buy two 16 ounce drinks.”  Wait…  huh?  Can someone, anyone, explain to me the rationale behind that statement?  “Let’s make a law that you can’t buy a Big Gulp but we’ll still allow you to buy two 16 ounce drinks if you want.”  Could it be that Mayor Bloomberg is simply creating a larger tax revenue for his nanny city?

Leonard Pitts, Jr., Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald, said recently that unlike a smoking ban, which does in fact limit consumption of second-hand smoke, in this instance Mayor Bloomberg simply “wishes to ban adults from behaviors that do not imperil anyone else’s health.”

“His attempt to use the law to that end suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what the law can do.  More, it reflects the belief that human progress can be legislated, that human beings can be perfected if only we write laws enough.”

“But laws do not perfect. They restrict. And restriction is something of which free people should always be skeptical. What’s next? A restriction on the number of doughnuts you can buy?  A ration of candy and pizza?”

Now on the agenda of New York’s liberal government is banning guns, particularly “assault rifles”, from public ownership.  Governor Cuomo has gone as far as saying he would not rule out confiscation.  Apparently the governor and Mayor Bloomberg, who is also in favor of increased gun restrictions, don’t look at any statistics that disagree with their agenda.  Chicago and Washington DC have the strictest gun control laws in the country yet they have the highest murder rates in the country.  It seems to me that those “minor” statistics should be considered and evaluated before any new gun legislation is passed.  But then – maybe if New York bans assault rifles it will still be OK for someone to buy two guns of another type that will give them the same firepower.  After all – it works for soda.  

Gotta love the nanny state...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Debt Ceiling... The Next Political Crisis?

The debt ceiling is quickly approaching as the next major hurdle in Washington D.C. The Republicans just gave the President almost what he wanted as they once again kicked the can down the road. He didn't get his military spending cuts but he got most of the revenue (translated: taxes) he wanted with the promise of seeking more in the future.

Recently, within the last few months, the President made his ambitions known that he would like to have complete freedom when it comes to spending and borrowing - a blank check that he could write whenever without worrying about the debt ceiling. There are actually some people in this country who believe that would be a good idea even though we are currently nearly $17 trillion in debt. I have trouble understanding it.

When you spend money you don't have and "borrow" money you know you cannot pay back the legal term is larceny. If you max out your credit cards and can't make your payments the credit card company doesn't normally say "We're going to extend your credit again because we know you really need to keep buying things." They say "Your credit is suspended until such time as you reduce your deficit." So why is it our government (Democrats mostly but both parties are somewhat addicted to spending) think the spending isn't really a problem other than an inconvenience?

The Republicans signed a financial deal that raised everyone's taxes and did absolutely nothing to cut spending. President Obama denies we have a spending problem and chastized Speaker Boehner for even saying it out loud. What kind of leadership is that? What planet does the President live on most days?

There are liberal economists, Charles Krugman for one, who truly believe we can spend our way out of debt and into prosperity so long as we rob as much money from the people as possible. And there are some others who actually agree with that notion, even though it's been proved that the tax increases the President wanted would fund the government for a whopping eight days. As we used to say in my neighborhood when I was a kid... "There's something bad wrong with that!"

The Obama administration has accumulated just over $1 trillion in new debt every year since he took office. If that spending continues, in the next 10 years our debt will increase by at least $10 trillion but more likely by $11 trillion. The tax increases the President got in last week's deal will yield an estimated $600 billion in the next 10 years. And just the other day the Social Security Administration reported they are projecting an $800 billion shortage in 10 years. Makes you feel all warm, fuzzy and confident, doesn't it?

Increasing taxes in this country without meaningful spending cuts will do nothing but slightly slow the increasing debt. We cannot sustain the massive entitlement programs in this country even with the tax increases. The sooner the President and the Democrats figure that out the sooner we can, maybe, pull ourselves back from the brink of econmic disaster. The way we're headed now - economic failure is not too far in the future.

In the words of Dennis Miller... "Of course that's just my opinion - I could be wrong."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Journal News And Public Information...

As all of you know by now, last week a liberal newspaper in New York, the Journal News, released names and addresses of legal, registered gun owners in two New York counties.  They obtained the information with a Freedom of Information Act request to the state records office and subsequently published the information on an interactive web page connected to their paper.  Clicking on one of the bubbles will give you the name and exact address of each particular gun owner.

The newspaper was absolutly within their right to obtain and publish this public information.  The question is whether or not they should have and whether, regardless of how legal it was - it was ethical.

What the Journal News did last week was not only inform people in various neighborhoods of who in the area had guns but gave them exact addresses where the guns are most likely located.  This information goes out to criminals as well as honest, law-abiding citizens.  It also published names and addresses of police officers, correctional officers, judges, court officials, etc.  Already in several prisons and jails around the state there are inmates talking to correctional staff about where they live.  The Journal News, possibly ignorant of what could happen (but probably not), has put these people and their families in danger, not only for possible break-ins to the house but for retaliatory actions from criminals and their families.

An interesting question was raised on a TV show this evening.  People who are on welfare and other public assistance are probably on a public role somewhere that could be obtained by the media.  Would they target these people to let the public know who may be using their tax dollars?  Does the general public not have a right to know which of their neighbors are using their tax dollars to live their daily lives?  It's public record, isn't it?  So why not make that information public?

The answer is simple - it would not serve their anti-gun agenda.  One person interviewed, a man who is high up in a university somewhere (Sorry - I can't remember where he works) refused to answer when asked "If you were a publisher would you have released the information?"  His answer was "I'm not a publisher."  He was asked a second time "Let's pretend you are a publisher.  Would you release informtion like that which could put people in jeopardy?"  His answer, again, was "I'm not a publisher."  Since he absolutely defended the right of the newspaper to release the information and said if they didn't they would be "covering it up" (even though they had to petition the state to get it), it certainly leads one to believe that he was in favor of obtaining and releasing this type of information and thinks it's a good thing.  I just hope one of his family members isn't on the list to become a victim.

This gun control issue has certainly gotten out of hand since the shooting of young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.  The Journal News, in its "quest for truth" decided that everyone should be informed of who owns guns in their neighborhood, complete with the names and addresses of those gun owners.  What they obviously don't realize is that their release of information basically proves what legal gun owners have been saying all the time.  There is a great number of gun owners in the areas released by the newspaper yet I would bet 99.9% of them have never shot anyone or used their gun in a violent crime.  People who own guns legally rarely use them to commit crimes.  Of course, I'm not saying it doesn't happen.  The Aurora, Colorado, shooter bought his gun legally.  It happens.  But compared to the number of legal gun owners who never commit a crime those numbers are pretty small.

No one who owns guns and supports the Second Amendment is dismissing the Sandy Hook shooting as anything less than a terrible tragedy.  No one should have to die in complete fear like that but especially not children.  The guns used in that incident, however, were not at fault.  They were doing the bidding of a very disturbed man.  With the exception of stupid accidents, guns only kill people when they are used by other people with specific intent.  And I say "stupid accidents" because most accidental shootings are cause by someone doing something stupid.

The other thing that the News Journal article did was give criminals easy access to homes that contain guns.  An intelligent criminal can now monitor a house that is known to have weapons inside and break into it when the owners aren't home.  And now they know what to look for.

Finally, after learning that many of the people whose names and addresses were published are angry about it, the very newspaper that published the names and addresses in their anti-gun crusade hired armed guards to protect their newspaper and employees.  Funny how that works, huh?  It's rather similar to President Obama's attitude about armed guards in schools.  He's against it, saying he doesn't really want armed guards protecting school children - even as his daughters attend a school that has at least eleven armed guards on duty every day.  Certainly he's the President and his daughters need to be protected.  But they have Secret Service to protect them.  The armed guards are employees of the school.  I guess what he's saying is "My kids need to be protected but yours don't....."

The bottom line is that the Journal News published "public information" that has put people in danger and they are vigorously defending their right to do so.  There used to be a code of ethics in journalism - just because you could publish something didn't mean you had to.  That no longer seems to be the case with many news outlets.  Ethics and decency seem to take a back seat to sensationalism and political crusades.  If anything bad happens to one of the people exposed by the Journal News, I hope the victim sues them for reckless endangerment.  I'm sure there's a lawyer or two out there who would be willing to take that case.  In the meantime gun owners - guard your freedoms well.  Those left-wing zealots who want your guns will stop at nothing to get them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

More On Gun Control and Gun Violence

The question of how to stop (or at least reduce) gun violence in this country has been around for decades.  With the mass shootings in Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Fort Bliss Army Base, the Aurora theater shooting and the most recent one in Sandy Hook Elementary School, there is more attention than ever on the topic.  But what is the correct answer?

Anti-gun advocates foolishly believe that passing more strict gun laws or banning guns from legal ownership is the answer.  The thing they seem to be missing (or ignoring) is that gun crimes actually increase, in most cases, when legal gun owners are restricted from owning guns.  Let's look at Chicago, Illinois, and Washington D.C., for example.  These two cities have the strongest anti-gun laws in the country, yet the murder rate keeps going up every year.  And anyone who thinks that taking away legal guns will stop criminals from obtaining them is truly naive.  About the only thing more gun laws will prevent is criminals stealing guns from legal gun owners.  If the government does that first then the criminals can't.  But there are plenty of guns to be had on the black market.

Anti-gun politicians and media love to talk about "assault rifles", as if those types of weapons cannot be used for anything but assaulting people.  The truth is - "assault rifle" is a manufactured term invented to strike fear into the hearts of the public.  An AR-15 semiautomatic rifle doesn't assault anyone unless someone is there to aim it and pull the trigger.  Contrary to the current liberal rhetoric - guns really do not kill people by themselves.  Even a gun that goes off "accidentally" goes off because some person was playing with it or mishandling it.  I've owned guns since I was 17 years old, nearly 40 years, and none of them has ever gone off accidentally.  Nor has any of them killed or even wounded anyone.  They sit in their space in the house very quietly, not moving or taking any actions unless I choose for them to.

One of the other solutions being tested is taxing ammunition exorbitantly.  I guess the legistlators who are trying that are trying to simply make it too expensive to buy ammunition.  Again, it's available on the black market and it really only takes one bullet to kill someone.  In addition, gun owners everywhere are buying surplus ammunition out of fear of this new gun control legislation that they are stocking up on as many boxes of rounds as they can.

Large capacity ammunition magazines are also on the chopping block to be eliminated.  The thinking is that with smaller magazines you can't fire as many rounds so you're less dangerous.  Again, what they fail to understand is that someone with a semi-automatic weapon and multiple 10 round magazines (or smaller) with a little training and practice can put just as many rounds out as a person with less training and a bigger magazine.  Even with a cylinder type weapon and speed loaders it can be done.  Granted - they're not as fast as a semi-auto but practice and quantity of rounds make a huge difference.

Vice President Joe Biden has suggested that the penalties for carrying a gun into a gun-free zone (such as a school zone) be increased.  Mr. Vice President, with all due respect to you and your position, do you really believe the threat of increased penalties would have stopped Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook?  Do you really believe it?

The one thing about all of the above mentioned shootings, with the exception of the "workplace violence" incident at Fort Bliss (another topic for later), each of the gunmen had personal emotional or mental histories and/or patterns that unfortunately did not completely and clearly show themselves until after the incidents.  There has to be something wrong with anyone who can plan and commit murders of large groups of innocent people.  And taking the guns away from people who are stable and legally own weapons is not the answer to this problem.

I struggle with one part of this entire debate because I can see the good and the bad side of it.  That problem for me is gun registration and background checks.  At the present time it is legal to buy a gun from a private owner without any restriction or screening process.  That means that even a mentally disturbed person or convicted felon can, if he/she desires and has the money, buy a weapon from a private citizen with no paperwork or background check done.  I'm thinking that should change.  Even though I realize it violates the right to privacy of the average citizen, it seems to me if we can make it more difficult for a mentally disturbed person to get a gun it would be better.  Of course, then we're back to the argument that if someone can't buy a gun legally they can find one illegally.  And that is true.  Which is part of my struggle with it.

Bottom line - if a person decides he or she is going to kill a person (or people) he/she will find a way to do it.  At least, at this point Americans haven't taken to wearing bombs and blowing themselves up, along with a bunch of innocent people.  But how long might that take?  The shooters in most of these cases were prepared to die if necessary.  So how long will it take before someone decides to go out in a suicide bombing?

Increased gun control for the average American is a bad idea.  Sure, it might sound good when the politicians and the media say it will prevent another Sandy Hook incident.  But I think most intelligent Americans know that's not logical.  There is information that indicates the Sandy Hook shooter had mental difficulties and his mother was considering having him committed.  Was that his trigger?  We'll never know.  But I think dealing with emotional and mental illness as quickly as possible is one answer.  If the Connecticut mother had dealt more quickly with her son's difficulties (and not told him about her actions) things might have turned out differently.  Then again, they might not have.  As I said - we'll never know.

How Much Do We Give...?

Yesterday morning our pastor told a story in church that I thought worth repeating.  I'm changing it just a little to make it more relevant to the world today but the meaning is still there.

There once was a wealthy man who decided he wanted to do something nice for his community.  He bought a piece of property and decided to build a house on it.  The project would not only provide jobs for people in the community but would also help local building supply stores.  He searched the community for the right contractor and finally found the perfect one.  

The contractor was having financial difficulties.  He was behind on his rent payments and bills, his family was struggling and his business was floundering.  The wealthy man offered the contractor the job of building the new house as a chance to help get him back on his feet.  The contractor readily accepted.

The contractor gave the wealthy man his bid on the job then hired cheap, inexperienced labor and bought sub-quality materials to save as much money as possible which he could then pocket for himself.  He began building the house with the sub-quality materials using the inexperienced men and it began to take shape.  The flaws in the workmanship and materials were covered with cosmetic fixes so only those building the home knew it was not top quality construction.
When the house was finally finished the contractor called the owner and invited him to come over and inspect the house.  When the owner walked through the home he saw what appeared to be a very well constructed home.  It was beautiful.  Little did he know what the real story was.

When the owner finished his walk through he took the keys to the house and held them out to the contractor.  "Thank you for building such a fine house.  It is my gift to you."

There are some who would say the contractor made out either way.  Certainly he could sell the home to someone else and walk away with a profit.  Yet he knew the truth - that the man who hired him did so in good faith with good intentions and the contractor did sub-standard work to take advantage of the man, only to be given a gift - the product of his own shoddy workmanship.

Do we give everything to God that He expects of us or do we give Him sub-standard performance and sub-standard loyalty while taking full advantage of everything He gives to us on a daily basis?  Something to think about...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Al Gore, Gun Control, Public Information and Pork...

Recently, Al Gore sold his failing television network to Al Jezeera.  While those who love Al Gore as a green energy freedom fighter will see absolutely nothing wrong with this, those who live in the real world understand the hypocrisy not only of Gore and his “carbon footprints” crap but also his trying to secure the deal before 2013 so he didn’t have to pay more capital gains taxes.  I’ve long said that those who support and believe in Al Gore are living in a fantasy world.  (Or is that fanatic world?)  Gore owns three homes that use hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs and flies around the world to global warming conferences in his private, carbon producing jet all the while telling the American people and the world that the very actions he takes cause global warming.  And he makes millions of dollars a year promoting green energy to “save the planet.”  And yet people support him as the green energy God.  In the borrowed and bastardized words of Robert Palmer…  “Simply unbelievable.”

A former “journalist” and left wing columnist Donald Kaul, said the other day “Here, then, is my “madder-than-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” program for ending gun violence in America:

• Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. It offers an absolute right to gun ownership, but it puts it in the context of the need for a “well-regulated militia.” We don’t make our militia bring their own guns to battles. And surely the Founders couldn’t have envisioned weapons like those used in the Newtown shooting when they guaranteed gun rights. Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right.

• Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.

So apparently this man believes anyone who owns guns could be killed without problem or remorse to enforce his own beliefs.  I find it interesting how that works.  This “journalist” believes that the answer to ending gun violence is simply to kill all gun owners and drag Second Amendment supporting politicians behind pickup trucks.  Liberalism is so difficult to understand.  I often think Rush Limbaugh is correct when he says “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”

The Journal News in New York recently created an interactive web page that lists the name and addresses of legal gun owners in two counties in New York, including police officers.  Some of those gun owners became irate (and rightfully so) because not only was their privacy “legally” violated but those individual owners and their families were put in danger by the newspaper.  Some burglars stay away from homes they suspect contain guns but others like those homes because guns bring big bucks on the black market.  The newspaper showed extreme indifference to the safety of private citizens in their public campaign for gun control.

At least one former burglar has said that this interactive map would have made his profession so much easier.  Duh.

Ironically, that same newspaper feels they are in danger now because of publishing that information and they have hired armed guards to protect their offices and employees.  One conservative blogger published the names and addresses of every employee of the Journal News and now the paper in general feels threatened so they hired people with guns to protect them.  Can you say “hypocrisy”?  I find it unbelievable and sad at the same time.  The information on the gun owners was public – but was there a real need to publish it?  Really?

Finally, a pork-barrel feast of goodies for federal agencies to fix museum roofs in D.C. and aid fisheries in Alaska, cooked up in the middle of the night, is not the way to aid hurricane victims or run a government.

As if the fallout from agreeing to a bad deal that raises the debt by $4 trillion and accepts a 41-1 ratio in tax hikes to spending cuts weren't enough, Speaker of the House John Boehner has New Jersey's Chris Christie on his case.

"There's only one group to blame," the New Jersey governor said of the Sandy relief bill that was not included in the fiscal cliff deal, "the House Majority and John Boehner."

Democrats had expanded the legislation during a markup to include not only areas affected by Sandy, but also to provide money for all "storm events that occurred in 2012 along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast within the boundaries of the North Atlantic and Mississippi Valley divisions of the Corps that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac."  In other words, Harry Reid and the Democrats added millions of dollars of pork spending to the bill and blamed the Republicans.  And Chris Christie, proving himself to be a RINO, fell for it.  Sad, really.  I liked Christy for his outspokenness until he decided to embrace leftist views if it fit in with his re-election campaign.  He hugged President Obama when Obama visited New Jersey after the storm.  Sorry, I can’t stomach him anymore.  There has been talk of Christie running for President.  If he is the candidate I will not vote for him.

OK, there’s my blog for today.  I realize it contains a lot of topics and I could have easily written a separate post for each topic.  But I have some other things to do.  Have a great day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year's Eve To Remember...

It's January 3rd, 2013.  Amazing.  I remember as a teenager discussing the year 2000 with my friends.  Speaking as a 17 year old who knew nearly everything, as unbelievable as it seemed, I would be 43 years old when the new millenium arrived.  I just couldn't imagine it.  That new millenium came 13 years ago. Where does the time go?

I remember what I did that night.  I was the Captain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, Florida - the chief of security, if you will.  Included in a long list of things, my job included planning, implementing and maintaining security procedures and practices in the prison, which also included being the department head over the correctional officers and lieutenants, physical security (such as fences, alarms, defensive and emergency equipment, etc.), and the safe and orderly operation of the institution.

If you remember way back then, the fear of the Y2K crisis loomed.  It was believed that the changing of the century could cause electronic systems to shut down because of the change from a 2 digit year (99) to a four digit year (2000). There were other threats as well but for those of us who depended on large computer systems to help maintain operations, such as fence alarms, high mast lighting and our internal computer systems, it was a rather serious fear.

So, as midnight approached on December 31st, 1999, I found myself at the institution waiting to see what might happen.  Mind you, I would bet that only Captains (and maybe one or two overzealous Wardens) would do this.  But if my security systems were going to shut down at midnight I was going to be there. The inmates were secured in their cells so there was no fear they would be a problem.  But if our lights went out and our fence alarms went down that would be a problem until those conditions were corrected.

When midnight arrived there was a huge instance of....  nothing.  Everything continued to work as expected.  No loss of power, no loss of lighting, no loss of computer systems.  Everything continued to work as expected - even my staff.  So my trip the the joint was mostly a waste of time.  But I felt OK about being there anyway.

One of the best things about it was the view.  Because FCI Miami is built on earth that was piled up from excavation of a small pond that is now a small lake (inside the compound - and that's a story for another time...), part of the compound sits three to five feet higher than the rest.  And since the trees in all directions have been removed to improve vision all the way around (for security purposes), you can see for miles in any direction.  What I saw while standing there for about 15 minutes after midnight was fireworks in all the little towns and suburbs South of Miami.  I could see Homestead, South Miami, Cutler Ridge and Palmetto Bay.  Several of them had fireworks displays, all of which could be seen from the institution.

I think about that New Year's Eve sometimes as a new year approaches.  I don't know if other Captains did what I did that night but I would bet some did.  And my Warden was perfectly fine with it.  In fact, I think he would have suggested it if I hadn't told him I was going to do it.

Here's hoping that all of you had a great New Year's Eve celebration, a good New Year's Day, and a great year to come!