Gun Control is Complicated

Depending on where you live and the gun culture you live in, gun control is more complicated than you may think.  The idea that we need to get guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them is one of  the most important issues we face as a country.

Banning assault rifles makes perfect sense for those who believe that there is no place for them in our society.  There is also those Americans that believe the opposite.

Where it gets complicated is determining who should be banned from acquiring and owning any gun or lethal weapon.

People that suffer certain mental issues and display behavior that could cause them to take another human’s life is very key to the gun violence in our communities. There are also those individuals who have fabricated their own reality to justify their actions, sometimes even just to garner attention by surrealistic means.  If you stop and think about it, killers including terrorists were not born killers or terrorists.  Some times these people are easily persuaded to be part of evil activities as a result of letting themselves be influenced by others.

Along with sensible gun control, we need to strengthen the policies, procedures and communication among those groups that can identify a high risk person before they can cause harm to others.  If it is a matter of resources at the local, state and federal levels, we need to provide it.  If it is a matter of oversite and accountability, we need to provide and enforce it.  There are tens of thousands of gun related incidents each year in our country and we need to stop learning from each of them and take whatever action that is necessary to stop them.

Politics has no place in the debate, partisan or not.  Civil, thoughtful and law-abiding citizens need to be heard, no matter what their position and beliefs are.  Personally, I don’t think that special interest groups such as the NRA should have any influence even if that sounds unrealistic and nieve.

For hundreds of years, the entire constitution has been the documented representation of our laws.  This includes the second amendment and all other articles, amendments and subsections of the amendments.  Our solid and enduring bill of rights and the constitution as a whole is what separates us from any other country in the world.

It is just plain and simply not true that the rights provided for in the second amendment are at risk.  The constitution is designed to allow for certain controls which are designed to protect all citizens, not just those who draw lines of opposition. These controls are prevalent throughout the constitution, not just the second amendment.   Regulations such as not allowing for automatic weapons, military weapons, shortened shotgun barrels and so on are in place to provide solid protections for everyone.

I recently watched a story on one of the news networks that reported on the views of Army Lieutenant General Hertling regarding the acquisition and possession of assault rifles by gun collectors and enthusiasts.  It makes some sense and it’s easy to support his position.  It is also worth noting that hunters don’t select an AR-15 out of their collection to take with them when they go hunting, not if they want to eat the game they catch.  The majority of assault rifle owners only fire them at gun ranges and in controlled shooting environments.

All that being said, assault rifles are the reason that we have mass shootings that result in record numbers of casualties.  When an innocent person is shot by an assault rifle, they have little chance for survival given the grotesque damage that it’s bullets cause.  As for me, I am of the belief that we need to stop the murderers from ever being able to buy one, even if that affects those who are not planning on killing.  Therefore there is a strong, fact supported argument that justifies the regulation of such rifles.

Gun control effecting those with mental disorders and criminals such as drug dealers, gangs, religious fanatics and so on is where it gets complicated.

The media speaks of banning the possession of guns by those individuals who have been adjudicated as suffering from a mental illness and deemed dangerous. The truth is that the vast majority of those who suffer from mental illness will never be discovered by a court or even a hospital.  Generally, this group will isolate and only contemplate harm to themselves.  This is however, the most dangerous group of people because there is no way of identifying them before they go off the reservation.

If you live in or near a medium or large city you will hear of deadly, gun related incidents every day, and I mean every day.  In most cases a conflict within these groups is what triggers the violence.  One of the problems we face is that a gang member is not going to walk into Cabella’s and legally purchase their weapon.  No…they can easily acquire their guns and weapons on the street illegally without any registration or background check.  incidentally, the structure of these groups is typically organized and more often than not, deadly.

In the not to distant past, the supreme court has made a provision in the constitution that allows for a person to use a gun to protect themselves and their families.  This to me is very important for those who know how to use a lethal weapon for protection.

I believe that arming teachers in our schools is not a good idea.  There is an unreasonable risk of something going wrong resulting in their death or the deaths of more people.  There is however the argument that members or former members of law enforcement or the military should be considered as an exception.  I think that could make sense.  I don’t think that these individuals are going to whip out their gun every time a fight breaks out among the students.  Overall, I still think it is a bad idea to equip teachers with guns and an expectation that they be the solution for the broader problem.

The efforts of young adult students who are hell-bent on forcing change needs to be taken seriously by all Americans.  Not only are they organized and credible, they have been able to keep their cause in the minds of all of us as a result of their persistence.  I seriously hope that they can endure over time.  As a group, they have also been able to influence those in government who would otherwise just plod along furthering their agenda without regard for the wishes of their constituents and the American people as a whole.  Because of social media, these groups have been able to further their agenda unlike any time in the past.  If you are old enough, remember the draft and peace protests of the sixties.  These opposition groups were made up of young Americans, just as we have now.

It seems to me that some of the baby boomers and the few WWII era citizens who are still alive, come across like these groups are made up of kids who just want to make noise.  Remember, that the next couple of generations are already becoming the ones who are the gatekeepers of the future of our country.  Our experience and wisdom is important, however we won’t be around for ever.

As for the millennials, they will only grow, mature and gain the experience that they will need to succeed in this world.  We can’t take them lightly.

At the end of the day, I personally have not met or associated with people who look at our country as the place in the world becoming full of doom and gloom.  For a majority of Americans, we live our lives without fear and with a sense of security unlike anywhere else.  We face our challenges and we help those who can’t help themselves. We are incredibly generous and supportive of others.

For me, today, my biggest challenge is figuring out what I want for dinner and when Street Outlaws is on Television.  This weekend, the weather is supposed to be nice so I will probably work on my truck then head to Costco to sample myself to a free lunch.  Many Americans will be out volunteering to help those who could use their help or they will participate in being involved in groups that are dear to them.  As for me, next week I will have to figure out how I am going to pay some bills…You get the idea.  It doesn’t change the fact that there are some very serious issues, sacrifices and tragedies that some of us have or will face at some point in our lives. Whether is seems cliché or not, we do live in the greatest country in the world, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This article purely reflects my personal opinions…There is a couple of hundred million other American’s whose views and beliefs are just as important as anything I can come up with.




Political Bias In Congress, In The Media, And Within The Administration. Is It Really What America Needs?

two fighters   The Nunes memo release sheds some light on very serious culture issues within our government and media.

The levels of bias between the two government parties is being raised to a potentially dangerous level given the constant us versus them behavior.  I say dangerous because each opposing party is constantly trying to discredit the other with their political point of view and applying it to some very important legislative issues.

There seems to be no middle ground.  There seems to be an attitude that one party is right on any given issue and that their counterparts are wrong.

How can 530 plus legislators all be wrong, according to their adversarial counterparts?  How can their constituents and the citizens they serve be so wrong in supporting and electing them?

I was taken back by one of the comments that Nunes made during an interview with FOX news surrounding his relationship with his counterparts on the Intel Committee.  He said that he has had to play whack a mole with them throughout the investigative process. To me those kinds of comments represent his level of maturity and a condescending attitude.  It makes me question his intentions and agenda.

His actions are just one example of party bias in both parties.  The democrat’s are not afraid to express their distane for any republican efforts.  The republican’s are not afraid to express their distane for any democratic efforts.  There is always gridlock present when it comes to furthering some very important legislative issues. When it comes to the President, it is a whole different world.  Below are some bullet points that I feel offer some insight into why our government is so dysfunctional.

  • We need to seriously take a look at what our congressional representatives are doing to further the agenda and important issues for their constituents.  If you reflect on what they promised to do and what actions they are taking towards that end, you can see that some of them purposely or involuntarily fall short. In other words,they can’t or won’t fulfil their promises.
  • Congress is a peculiar animal.  Just think about the phenomenon that happens as soon as they get into office.  They start working on the next election.  That I don’t get.  It is important however, to recognize that most legislators do the work of their constituents and thoughtfully accept responsibility for their actions relative to national issues.  It is to me, unfortunate that those who don’t, negatively reflect on the affirmative and positive activities of those that do.
  • The adversarial posture of some can at times appear to be juvenile.  Just like in high school, many of those who represent us act like their popularity within their peer group is more important than their basic responsibilities.  It is also sometimes obvious that we have law makers that have antiquated and obsolete points of view and principles. I think this contributes to why there is so much stealthy corruption, racism and good ol’ boy posturing.
  • Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), the dysfunction of our two-party branches of government will come around to reflect the culture and needs of Americans today.  I think that our government will also come around to respond to, and represent our commitments and mutual interests of our allies.  The solution is obvious, we need to inject a more current open-minded roster of ladies and gentleman into our government.  They will continue to need the mentorship of those who wield wisdom, knowledge and historical context in order to educate them an bring them into the fold.  By the way, I am referring to those that know the mechanics of government and maneuver them to the benefit of the country.
  • When we look at the media, there are several examples of inappropriate behavior. Watching some media coverage can be like a car accident.  You weren’t involved, but you can’t take your eyes off of those that were.
  • There is conservative media, liberal media, far right and far left media, conspiracy theory and propaganda media.  Think about it, they all have listeners, viewers and readers who subscribe to their viewpoints and representations.  That is the beauty of our country and the provisions of our constitution.
  • There is also some in media who behave irresponsibly or debate a  point of view just because they have a talent to manipulate their audience.  It is kind of like an attorney.  They are sworn to vigorously represent their client, no matter what the truth is.  This is a common practice among those in media who pander to their audiences with the goal of improving them or their company’s bottom line.  I personally believe that there is at least one member of the mainstream media who has abused his first amendment right and crossed the line to the point where he is meddling in our government processes.  Often I think his actions can be construed as criminal (you know who I am talking about).
  • With a couple of major exceptions, most media organizations succeed as a result of there responsible, research, knowledge and dissemination of information that is important to their audience.  Like I say, with the exception of a couple of dangerous media operations,  those that are effective are still in business, those that aren’t, are gone.
  • incidentally,  the “expert” contributors on some of these outlet’s panels are more amusing than expert.  This is not to say that most aren’t fascinating, knowledgeable and informative.  I am just saying that some are just plain out there.  Sebastian Gorka is an example of one of the many that are just plain strange.
  • What does “everyone knows this” mean when Trump speaks to a point during discussions with the media?  Why does he run his presidency on the advice of a couple of people in the media?   I can understand why he is critical of our institutions, he doesn’t know how they work.  Why does he always say that our country is a mess?  Isn’t he the maid?
  • By the way, many talking heads lately, try to compare the crap that is going on today to previous administrations, especially Obama.  At the rate Trump is going, he will be the benefactor of the worst number of scandals of all times by the end of his term.  Of course, he will say that he had the fewest and less serious ever and the scandals that he did face, he fixed them himself.

If you are interested, this link will take you to a Wikipedia page that lists scandals by Presidents and Congressional men and women.

Historical Scandals