Category Archives: rants

To a Nobler Way of Life

I have been going on lately about guns and violence and hatred and anger.  All of this has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now, with all the growing violence, not only in America but throughout the world.  I was reminded of it most forcibly once again last week by the awful mass murder in Newtown Connecticut, a horrible and destructive event beyond the pale of human comprehension.  And again today I was reminded of the insanity of our world with the remarks of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA who said “”The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” I believe that I am a relatively good guy and I know many good guys just like me, in fact, most of the world is made up of good guys who don’t want to have to defend themselves with a deadly weapon.

I have already spoken, in an earlier blog, to the statement that many in the gun lobby have made that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  I have said that while that statement is somewhat true the fact is that a person with a gun can kill many people in the time it would have taken them to kill a single person without a gun.  I could go on but I have previously discussed this issue.  We need to be thinking beyond the act of violence and looking toward a way to bring it to an end.

What is this force that makes us think this way?  We, the people who tout “freedom” as a way of life shouldn’t have to fear for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and children.  And, “freedom” was never intended to mean free to do whatever you please.  Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.”   I say, “Your right to own a gun ends at the point where you become a danger to me and my family.” But, we shouldn’t have to argue these points.

There has to be a better way.  And, there is.  If we are all going to live together in freedom without fear that we and our families are in danger we are going to have to change the way we think about things.  I don’t want to always be quoting the Bible as a source of what I have to say but this quotation is particularly poignant in this situation.  The statement was made by the Apostle Paul but it can be appreciated by people of all faiths.  He says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

I propose along with Paul that we as a people begin to look toward a nobler way of life.  Let us cease our hostility toward one another.  Let us look for the good in all situations rather than looking for the bad.  In everything let truth pervade our speech and our dealings with one another.  Let us all look to do the admirable thing in all situations.  This is the only way to have true freedom.  So, to all of us let this be our mantra: “To a Nobler Way of Life.” And, if that means we need to place some restrictions on some people in order to achieve this nobler way of life then I say so be it.

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Is Gun Control Needed? Yes!

Is Gun Control Needed? Yes!

Ok, I’ve been quiet for a long time now but I must speak out on this issue.  Gun control.  We need gun control.  I don’t know what form it will take or how it will be implemented but something has to be done.  Now before you begin your rant saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Let me just say this – You are right!  People do kill people but people with guns can kill a lot of people.  If a deranged person decides to murder someone they are going to try to do it no matter what anyone says or what laws are in place to prevent it.  The difference here is that this same deranged individual can kill 20 people with an automatic weapon in the same amount of time it takes to bludgeon someone to death with a baseball bat or stab someone to death with a butcher knife.  Why do we want to give murderers the capability of killing so many people with such little effort?  It makes no sense at all to put high powered weapons in the hands of anyone who wants them.  Additionally, think of the fact that if a person is going to use some other means than a gun to kill someone, it requires them to be in close proximity to that person.  With a gun it is possible to kill from across the street or down the block.  A person can kill someone while driving by in a vehicle.  A whole crowd of people can be taken out in a matter of seconds with an automatic weapon.  The murderer can complete the heinous deed and be gone before anyone realizes what’s going on.  How can we defend ourselves from such as this?

Recently a friend of mine said, in reference to the mass killing at Virginia Tech, “well, if everyone at Virginia Tech had been carrying guns that incident would never have happened.”  Really?… Really?…  Are you kidding me?  Can you think of the mayhem that would ensue if this were the case?  Let’s control guns by making sure that everyone is armed.  I can’t even imagine how ludicrous this statement is.  But, believe it or not, it is quite a common sentiment among the anti gun control group.

We must get a handle on the proliferation of guns in this country especially assault weapons and semiautomatic weapons.  I believe that no one in the world, with the exception possibly of a military combatant, needs to possess an assault weapon, nor do they need to have access to a semiautomatic weapon of any sort.  But, if a person is of the persuasion that they should have the right to own such a weapon, I propose that those weapons be strictly controlled, registered and locked away until needed.

Some say “well, there’s the black market… or, what if someone gives or lends an automatic weapon to a friend…  what if someone steals a weapon. there are all sorts of ways for people to get weapons of this sort.”  Ok, that’s possible but we must begin somewhere to get control of this situation.  We need to be thinking of stringent gun control laws.  We need mandatory, lengthy waiting periods with strict background checks in order to purchase a gun.  Then, we need to place mandatory, stiff penalties on the improper transfer of a weapon to another person for any reason without going through proper channels.

Listen, I don’t hate guns.  In fact, I once upon a time was a member of a rifle team.  I think sport shooting is a great sport.  I’m not a hunter but I believe in hunting for those who like to hunt.  But, you don’t need an assault weapon nor a semiautomatic handgun for these things.  If a person is a collector of guns and insists upon having assault weapons or semiautomatic hand guns I propose that they be required to keep these things under lock and key in a secure location away from their residence and that they be required to get a permit each time they are taken out.  Frankly, I don’t know the full answer but I do know that something must be done!

Here are some facts:

On Friday morning,  December 14, 2012, 27 people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT. 18 of them were children.

September 27, 2012. 5 people were shot to death  at Accent Signage Systems August 5, 2012. 6 Sikh temple members were shot and killed

July 20, 2012. 12 people shot and killed and 58 were wounded.  During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO.

May 29, 2012. 5 were shot and killed in Seattle, WA.

April 6, 2012. 5 black men shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma

April 2, 2012. 7 were shot and at Oikos University in Oakland, CA.

October 14, 2011. 8 were shot to death in Seal Beach, CA.

September 6, 2011. 5 shot to death and 7 wounded Carson City, NV

January 8, 2011. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head  in Tucson, AZ. Six people died, 19 total were shot

August 3, 2010. 9 were shot to death in aHartford Beer Distributor in Manchester, CT .

November 5, 2009.  13 were shot to death and 29 wounded at the Fort Hood army base in Texas.

April 3, 2009. 13 people shot to death and 4 wounded in Binghamton, New York.

March 29, 2009. 8 people shot to death at the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, NC.

February 14, 2008. 6 shot to death and 21 wounded a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University.

February 7, 2008. 6 people shot to death and two were wounded at the City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri.

December 5, 2007. 9 were shot to death and 4 in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE.

April 16, 2007. 32 people shot to death and 24 wounded at Virginia Tech. February 12, 2007. 5 shot to death and 4 wounded In Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall.

October 2, 2006. 5 girls were shot to death and 6 wounded at an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA.

March 25, 2006. 7 were shot to death and 2 were wounded Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA..

March 21, 2005. 11 people were shot to death and 5 at Red Lake Senior High School.

March 12, 2005. 9 shot to death and 4 wounded at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI.

July 8, 2003. 7 shot to death and 7 wounded Meridian, MI.

September 15, 1999. 7 shot to death and 7 at a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX.

July 29, 1999. 12 people shot to death and 13 at two Atlanta day trading firms.

April 20, 1999. 13 people shot to death and 13 wounded at  Colombine High School in Littleton, CO.

Just think of the lives that were lost.  Innocent people… men… women… children… husbands, wives, mothers, fathers….in every one of these cases, and, believe me, this is not an exhaustive list, all because a deranged person had access to a powerful, semiautomatic weapon…   Something must be done!

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Folrida High Speed Rail – Rejected

Florida Governor Scott’s Rejection of Stimulus Money For High Speed Rail

Let me begin by saying this is my opinion.  It is based solely upon what I have read in the papers and on-line as well as TV reports that I have heard.  The fact is that Governor Rick Scott has rejected over 2 billion dollars of Federal Government stimulus money that was offered to the state to create a high-speed rail system connecting the Tampa Bay area to Orlando.  This seems extremely short-sighted to me.  Most of the people I have discussed this with who are also against the project say that they don’t believe the rail system will benefit them.  They cite their belief that neither parking nor mass transit will be available at the other end or in the very least it will be limited.  I say that if we base the acceptance or rejection of this project on how it will affect us individually then we are looking at it all wrong.  I say we look at what kind of impact it will have on everyone in the area and also the indirect impact it will have on each of us as individuals.

My stance is that it may be true that the rail will not directly benefit me.  I may never have the opportunity to use the rail system.  But, the indirect and long-term benefits I believe will be tremendous.  Indirectly everyone in central Florida will benefit by the creation of jobs and business during the construction phase.  It has been said that over 9,000 jobs will be created during construction.  That in itself would be a tremendous boon to central Florida.  Additionally, no one in their right mind could imagine this system being built without considering the need for parking or mass transit at either end.  Surely, that will develop throughout the planning and construction.  It has been estimated that ridership will be in the millions.  Think of the tourists who have flown in to either Orlando or the Gulf Beaches.  These people are generally here for a week or more at a time.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful spark to the economy of Central Florida to have those tourists spending money at each end of that rail line rather than being confined to one end or the other?  And what about the future? I can imagine a future Florida with a north south high-speed rail connecting Miami Dade with Tallahassee intersecting in Orlando and possibly another connecting Pensacola and Jacksonville through Tallahassee.  This would connect the major sections of the state via high-speed rail and make it possible for our state politicians to travel back and forth without having to use state airplanes (since the governor owns his own and has sold all the state planes.)

To me it would have made good sense to accept the money and go ahead with the project.  I believe there is more to this story than meets the eye.  I believe Governor Scott has decided to reject the money solely because it was “Obama Money.”  Governor Scott has allowed his bias against the president and the democratic party, and, by the way, many in his own party who were in favor of accepting the stimulus money, to cloud his judgment in regard to what is best for Florida.  I believe Governor Scott has made a dreadful mistake, a mistake that will negatively impact the economic growth of Florida, a mistake that will haunt us for many years to come.

I know of a town in central Kentucky that many years ago had the opportunity to have a major interstate highway come through.  The townspeople said “no way in hell do we want that highway and all that traffic.”  The interstate was diverted through other areas which have since grown beyond the dreams of the residents there.  That small town that “avoided all the traffic” is basically now dying on the vine.  They had an opportunity and they let it pass.  I am afraid that is what will happen to central Florida.

Now that the stimulus package has been finally rejected and all the fighting is over, Governor Scott says he can proceed with what he has planned for Florida.  Maybe he will be successful, I don’t know, time will only tell, but for now there will be no high-speed rail, there will be no jobs created, there will be no new business, tourists will be stuck at one end or the other unless they rent a car, and we will still have to make the drive down I 4 to get back and forth from Tampa to Orlando.  What a waste.  Congratulations to some other state who will surely accept the stimulus money intended for Florida, a state where broken Floridians will probably go in order to get work.

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The Dreaded Automatic Towel Dispenser

I’m not one always to be complaining about things but I’m just getting tired of a fairly recent development in community hygiene.  It’s all these motion sensitive devices now used in public restrooms.  The most egregious offender of these is the towel dispenser, followed closely in offensiveness by the automatic soap dispenser and water faucet.  I will have to give credit here to automatic flush devices; they have now been perfected to a certain extent.  The other devices, however, have a long way to go before they work satisfactorily.  I’m sure that it must be some kind of ploy to discourage you from using the public facilities, maybe in order to save on cleanup crews or supplies, who knows. 

Let’s say you go to use a public restroom.  Of course, your desire is to be in and out as quickly as possible.  The less time you spend in there the better.  You go in and take care of business, then walk away from the toilet or urinal; it flushes itself, so far, so good.  You walk over to the lavatory and attempt to wash your hands. If you are lucky enough to get some soap dispensed after having passed your hand under the dispenser five or six times you will be most lucky. If you are then able to get rinsed in the four-second drizzle of water from the faucet you are even more fortunate, this is most likely not the case though and you will have to try for more water. After passing your hands under the faucet four or five more times and having the water refuse to come out or providing a quarter cup at best, you finally give up and go for the towel.  You pass your hand under the dispenser then wave in front then back and forth several times.  You then make a visual inspection of the machine to see if you are missing the electronic eye, looking under and around the wall mounted miser. You try again, finally the stingy machine dispenses a piece of paper eight inches long, just enough to tick you off because it is impossible to dry your hands with such a small piece of paper towel, and, you’ve already spent an inordinate amount of time in there trying in vain to get satisfactory results.  You might as well be using one of those useless blow dryers that require you to stand there for ten minutes in order to get dry.  Needless to say, you wave your hands around several times again and finally get out another small piece of paper and say “well crap, I’ll just have to make do”  you then wipe your hands on your pants and go out.  Of course, after all this frustrating activity designed to keep you from touching anything in the restroom you then have to grab the door handle to pull the door open.  Yes, this is the same handle that everyone before you has touched and knowing how frustrating it is to try to wash up has decided to forgo the activity.  You could have used a paper towel to pull the door open if you had one and then you could have discarded it in a trash receptacle by the door.  Of course no one has thought of placing a receptacle there so the few people who were lucky enough to get some paper towels out of the machine have dropped them on the floor at the door…  Ok, I feel better now that that’s out.

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