Bullet the Blue Sky


I still like heading out for live music. As I’ve gotten older, I prefer the smaller circumstances, but occasionally a big spectacle is a good thing. I was able to forget all that was bugging at me during a big U2 show a few weeks ago. There is a joy there that you can’t capture in many other places.

The horror of gun violence in Las Vegas had ruined that release for  countless number of people forever. The scope of it has all of us thinking more than just twice as any gathering is more and more clamped down. In recent days, news that the shooter was selecting what music festival to commit his actions is even more unsettling. I’m sure there is a stronger terminology for that, but it escapes me currently. All I know is that 58 music fans aren’t coming home from what was supposed to be a fun night out and countless others will never be the same.

Could anything have stopped that person once he got everything stuffed into that hotel room? Doubtful. I don’t blame the guns as it was the person doing the shooting, but to leave it at that alone seems irresponsible, especially with 58 dead and over 500 injured. It was terrorism, horrible, tragic and stomach churning all at once. That has to bother people in power if they have any kind of conscious at all.

Air Force One departs Las Vegas past the broken windows on the Mandalay Bay hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock conducted his mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake – RC1585FEE8C0

No one is ever coming for your gun. I don’t want it. The last adminstration was accused of coming for your guns. They never were. Congress never was. I was shown around guns by folks who did have them and treated them with respect and care. I respect them enough to know that the one one I need is a super soaker. inaction on the part of our leaders just continues a cycle whose numbers are horrible tallies with no real end in sight.

Total bans aren’t likely to occur, but there are some workable notions out there that might reduce potential incidents. Can you completely eradicate? Again, probably not, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to take some steps forward. The only risk is the NRA doesn’t contribute to your election coffers as much.

Courtesy of an actual thoughtful facebook discussion (there are such things, however rare, here are some actual notions that could help the cause

1) universal background checks.

2) close gun show loophole.

3) Allow the ATF to keep electronic records and study gun crime. They can’t make a database to track people who are buying lots of weapons. They have to work on paper and the chances of nipping a trouble spot or even seeing it disappear when you have to surf through reams of paper.

4) Quit gutting the ATF budget so that they can actually enforce the gun laws on the books.

5) Ban assault-style rifles.

6) Ban stock repeaters.

7) Increase mental health funding (instead of trying to gut it through all the failed repeal and replace votes and the new tax ‘reform’)

8) Reinstate the mental health checks for gun purchasing. You know, the one that Trump just repealed.

9.) Let the ATF enforce the laws on the books already.

These are all small steps that won’t really impact anybody in the populace and will keep most guns right where they currently reside. What they might do is slow down the possibility, make it a little harder for someone off their rocker individual to go picking off citizens. If they have to work a little harder, perhaps something evil can be averted.

It isn’t perfect, but it is something. When the only thing happening is the pointless assigning of blame, it’s a start.


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Lawyers, Guns and Money


I started working on a blog post about the facebook-ization of everything. That is to say status updates being actual information, something to take seriously instead of the digital hieroglyphics that they actually are. Because we all have that digital soapbox, we are instantly experts at everything, from how to run a zoo, a campaign, policy race relations and the harsh reality is that nobody knows anything, but like a dinner of hyperactive kids trying to catch their folks attention, everybody is talking, and nobody is listening.
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A horrible event like what happened in Orlando has everybody spouting and nobody reading or looking a little deeper. All the horror is deeply complex, more so than self-congratulatory tweets from Vulgar Talking Yam candidates to every moronic meme that is populating most folks facebook news feeds.

far side deer hunt
I didn’t set out to weigh into this particular subject area as it is one with more grey areas than we care to think about. About the only real conclusion that can be reached is that the system is definitely, flat out broken, and there doesn’t seem to be any get up and go make changes. Banning certain kinds of guns does slow down revenue for gun sellers, but I’m not certain that won’t keep things for finding their way. A lot of barstool philosophy has gone into this, but again no real action. I am of the mind that there should be some regulations on what someone can just show up and buy, as there doesn’t seem to be a logical use for certain weapons other that to injure as as much as rapidly as possible. For me that’s a problem. Ethical hunters wouldn’t stand by that.
But the broken system failed us. I don’t know if it is AR based weapons or another make of gun as there is a source saying that. I don’t think either are necessary for self defense or deer season, but you might disagree. A friend of mine who I have much respect for might be onto something that folks favoring AR or other gun bans are making the wrong case to support their point, not that a ban will save lives, but it would be morally incorrect to allow such things for civilian use.
If somebody wants to inflict harm, they will find methods of accomplishing that, but I agree with a few folks who posted that it shouldn’t be so easy for someone to get the guns they wish, especially when they have had documented domestic issues and caught the attention of the FBI.
Another poster mentions that “Terrorist used planes, not guns on 9/11.” We learned a little from that and made it harder for that to happen again (a work in progress, I grant you). Planes weren’t banned, it was made harder to use them as a potential weapon.

I found this article and will forward here to the three of you following my spiel: https://medium.com/@stinson/an-open-letter-to-liberal-friends-on-gun-control-c41d7a44d88b#.eexd0eglk

It’s a good read that spells things out a little more evening that a facebook post typically does.  And I didn’t know if you noticed, I’m not coming for your guns, nobody is. I mean they can have mine, but it’s up to them to refill it with water now and again.

I’m not so certain we’ve got the whole story, but we have gotten snippets that have all sides losing their minds, from ad-hoc conspiracy blusters to people who should never have a microphone placed in their faces again. And it doesn’t stop digital activists who activism stops at their enter keys.

Samantha Bee hit the nail on the head pretty good.

I’m not Orlando. I’m just a middle aged white guy who reads too much, but unlike other middle aged white straight guys, I’m not preaching about how others should feel. Nobody is in the position to do that and can you imagine how that much feel to the preachees?

But the system is fucked. I don’t know why the Vulgar Talking Yam (stolen from Esquire with respect) candidate wants the president to label the crime as that doesn’t accomplish anything other than rousing underinformed rabble. I know that if harm came to my kids in any fashion let alone the horrors of the folks in that nightclub, I couldn’t care less about the terminology being used as nothing would solve that hurt, no slogan will fix what happened. I wonder if the way to get the NRA to the table is for a bunch of folks to join and actually shift the agenda from within. Crazy, right.

I don’t blame the gun. He never should have had it.

The system is fucked. Let’s fix it.

 

 

The Big Bang


Social Media statuses are apparently like assholes and opinions in everybody has em. I try to think of something clever or funny to pop into mine, when I remember to say, well, anything. As the Vice-President speaks with a variety of publics and Governor Cuomo got a new set of laws on the books today, there has been an awful lot of shouting from the digital soapboxes. That actually is fine. That is kind of the point, to be able say what you are thinking, but I sometimes wonder if we are all thinking hard enough.

I had a discussion about all of this with my best childhood bud not too long ago and despite being on different sides of the issue, we’re able to agree that it is pretty complex. There are an awful lot of folks having fits about their second amendment rights being impeded, but many of these same folks don’t read past the word “arms.” The amendment does go on for a few words beyond that. The hard reality is that this is only part of the problem, but it is the easiest one to seize on. With the law today in New York State, I’m not sure what the difference is between 10 bullets and 7, but it would be good for the purchase process to be the same  all the way through. I don’t want your gun. But it should be the same process to get one.

Does that stop the wrong people from getting ahold of one? Not entirely, of course not. That’s silly, too. But as much as I like some action being taken, the state did fast track the new law rather quickly. We need to see the whole board.

Armour piercing bullets for some hunters? Hmm, I don’t know. Ak=17’s that can tear body parts apart.

There has been too much happening lately to not at least talk, and park the rhetoric.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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There’s an awful lot to consider and no internet meme will ever sufficiently sum up.

Silent Night


While trying to process all that we are seeing from Connecticut and not recasting it as nightmares with my own kids, I was reminded of both the good and the bad of social media.

Within minutes of the President’s speech, the memes were out, drawing parallels to how no guns were needed in Oklahoma City or how all the modern dictators had gun control. In the “get your political mcnugget cast culture” that can be predominant on Facebook, people “liking” these “political inquiries.”

I guess my problem with all of that is that those postings are such a gross oversimplification of what is playing out on our television screens. So I guess I’m troubled.

Nobody is coming to take your legally purchased AK-47. If anything, the President has been one of the best buds the NRA has had, having done nothing to alarm them since his election.

So, nobody is coming for your automatic weapon, but it certainly isn’t that simple. I long ago stopped wondering why hunters might need armor piercing bullets when the only thing shooting back might be other hunters, but I digress.

My best childhood friend and I took a shooting course when we were 14 and his older brothers taught us how to hold, shoot, and aim the shotguns they owned. They also admonished us not to ever touch them. The shotguns scared the hell out of me, enough that I really didn’t want to finish the class with 22 caliber rifles we were learning.

I don’t see anything wrong with making the more complex weapons more complex to acquire. It doesn’t infringe upon the second amendment, which is never going to change. The word “regulated” does show up in there. Given that the weapons of the time weren’t semi-automatic muskets with multiple clips, it would be good to remember that.

But what happened in Newtown goes beyond the availibilty of the guns too. There are mental health discussions to be had, that need to extend beyond political affiliations and who helped get you elected.

For some other thoughts, including the president’s speech, click below from buffalopundit and Artvoice:

We Can’t Tolerate this Anymore.