69+ Years Pondering and Pontificating

What do you get after all these years have passed by, and you start looking back ? For me, lots of great memories, an amazing wife, a quad of great kids, a baker's dozen of grandkids, and several tons of experience. Of course, it also brings some entrenched opinions, thoughtful ideas, and perhaps some insight that will help others on their journey through life. Hopefully the posts on these pages will be useful and interesting.

It’s NOT About the 2nd Amendment


“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

Today, 92 people die in the United States every day as a result of gun violence.  As a society, we simply accept this, disregarding the fact that every single life matters.  Those who believe we have an issue worth discussing are dismissed with “crazy people will find a means to kill”, or some other unproven logic.  We could be silent, but the number of deaths each day is rising, even as citizens rush to protect themselves with newly acquired guns and assault weapons.

The main argument used to defend the uncontrolled acquisition of firearms by anyone is the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.  These people claim the article prevents all rational conversation on the topic, making it off limits.  Aside from politically corrected interpretations, what does this amendment actually dictate ?   First, it is about firearms.  Rather than being all encompassing, it is rather limiting.  Here are some of the key phrases:

  • A well regulated militia:  Regulation provides discipline, which provides for the care of these firearms.  Our military, and police forces, are well regulated
  • being necessary to the security of a free state:  The state is our country, which is free, and the purpose of this militia is to keep it free.  In context, this means to defend against the enemies of our country, here and abroad, who would threaten our national security ( and thus our member states ).
  • to keep and bear arms:  This was very specific to possession, but did not address use.
  • the right … shall not be infringed:  When the constitution was written, the word infringed,  derived from the medieval Latin infringere, meant to break or crush.  It did not mean that no regulations could be passed.

Taken as a single statement, the people were given the right, with strict regulation, to keep arms to protect the country and it’s existence as a free state.  Anything beyond that is not addressed in the Constitution or its amendments.   We have an established militia that meets the criterion, so any possession beyond that becomes a privilege. 

Discussing the abusive use of firearms, and the destruction that causes, in no way will harm the 2nd amendment.  It’s provisions are in place exactly as the authors intended.  People who want to have this discussion are not trying to disarm the military, eliminate the 2nd amendment, or even limit legitimate possession of guns by citizens.  They simply want to open discussion on the abuses prevalent in our society that needlessly take the lives of over 90 people each and every day.     Here are some basic principles upon which this discussion could focus.  Would the acceptance of these concepts, and enforcement of them, in any way actually harm our constitution ?

  • Mental illness is not aided with firearms:  We often hear that people who kill others are mentally ill.  That is one possibility, though anger and fear are another leading contributor.  If that is the case, then do we still need to allow those with mental illness to possess firearms ?   What if we confiscated their weapons and instead provided them with treatment ?  Even if only some success were met, and only some lives were saved, doesn’t every innocent life matter ?
  • Gangs should not have firearms:  It is time to support our police with authority to disarm gang members.  Sure, they can get more … for a while … but eventually the source runs dry and we make a dent in the problem.  Yes, gang members kill other gang members with their guns, but often they also kill those who contribute to their community / families,  grandmothers and little children.
  • We don’t need assault weapons in the public sector:  Fire an assault rifle and you learn quickly you have no control.  You simply spray an area with bullets.  We don’t need that on the streets of America,  These are not for hunting, and those who get them for protection are likely to kill a whole lot more than the assailant. 
  • People need training before owning a gun:  We often hear about “gun accidents” involving children, or guns going off while stored on a person, or in their bags ( purse, backpack, etc ).  People should be trained, and certified competent, before possessing a gun.  This does not need to be a government job.  I’m fine if the NRA wants to put together a true training / certification program.  No one should die because a careless person didn’t know how to handle, or store, a gun. 
  • People shouldn’t own a gun because of cultivated fear:  Our gun industry pushes the agenda we should buy a gun to protect ourselves.  A large number of gun owners have them for this reason, but when confronted, they simply could not carry through and use them.  Conversely, some have acquired so much fear that they kill innocent people, including some who may arrive at their doorstep to help out, or check on their welfare.
  • Angry people should not have guns:  Many of us simply don’t want to be around angry, or defiant, gun owners.  Their feelings are often the result of listening to negative talk radio, and TV shows, and their guns are a means of expression for their rage at how wrong things are in our society.  When anger boils over,  they may use those weapons to express their feelings, and once again, innocent people die. 

These are just some of the issues upon which I would focus discussions.   This is not some liberal agenda, and I in no way have any thoughts about dismantling the 2nd Amendment.   What I do encourage, however, is for all those who say “LIVES MATTER” to actually act on that premise and engage in a conversation to protect the innocent.  We can’t do that if we continue to arm ourselves rather than engage in constructive dialogs.  If you believe we have enough laws, then my response would be that we obviously have the wrong laws.  I don’t advocate more laws, just effective ones that will curb violence and protect our citizens.

Touchy subject ?  You bet, but I care enough about the kids, the grandparents, the hard working youth, and those who struggle with their own mental demons to say I don’t want to see their lives end by a projectile !  

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Hillary’s Email-Gate Nothing But Repugnant Slander

HillaryI’m highly offended by the non-stop attacks on Hillary Clinton because of her use of a private email server.  I find this to be an example of politics at it’s worst.  That does not mean I endorse her candidacy or legitimize her viewpoints.  It simply is a response to the ultimate tool of media to slander someone regardless of what facts may exist.  A true patriot doesn’t have to like Mrs. Clinton to be offended by these actions.  They simply need to have a recognition that such tactics used by political competitors is an embarrassment to our country, and serves no legitimate purpose when selecting leaders.

You may wonder why I would take this stand.  For too long I’ve believed that the fear and hate mongers occupying our media have sought to enrich themselves at the expense of others.  For years, the right wing media has portrayed Mrs. Clinton as evil personified.  I doubt any would have the courage to address her directly with these falsehoods they generate, but such is their (lack of) character.  She is not alone.  Nearly every candidate for the 2016 presidential primaries is being assailed by those who never had the time, or talent, to actually serve this country in any form.  So why would I say this email-gate storyline is not important ?  Consider these points:

We have seen no evidence that any of the emails were compromised.

We’ve seen a lot of reports on how government servers are the target of hackers, and we’ve also seen the release of thousands of pages of classified documents that were obtained in security  breaches.  Clearly, government servers are not secure repositories of the things our national services want to keep out of the public view.  In addition,  we know that some government employees have compromised that data, and sold it for personal gain, or in acts consider traitorous to our country.

In contrast, there has not been one single piece of documentation that shows any emails on Mrs. Clinton’s private server was compromised, or that its files were ever breached.  Apparently the security employed far exceeded the standards used by our government agencies.   Of course those who wish to slander her reputation for political gain would never mention this fact.

These were all emails that she had full authority to access 

We are not talking about Mrs. Clinton having information for which she was not cleared, nor having possession of information not germane to her duties.   We are talking about correspondence that she had every right, and duty, to access.    The purveyors of deceit would have us believe that somehow she should not have had access to these documents, but of course there is absolutely no truth to such a position.

These are emails … have some perspective

We are talking about emails, not policy documents, or internal studies, or anything of such importance.  By nature, emails are quick, generalized, statements, and nothing has been divulged that says these were anything more significant.

This was an actual PRIVATE email server, not an account on some public box

This was a server that physically was not in a public place, nor was it accessible by the general public.  Would people be happier if she had used a gMail account that would have had every messaged data mined, and the gleanings sold to the highest bidder ?  Since we have seen no documentation of security breaches, it is likely hackers didn’t even know this device existed. 

Some are now calling on her to make a public apology, and castigating her for not doing so.  Really ?  Apologize for what ?  Using a device more secure than government servers, to carry on nominal communications efficiently with the staff and others ?  Where is the wrong in using a protected resource that has not been compromised, and is far more efficient than available alternatives ?    Some will say she is “hiding the truth” but those same media pundits are the ones with total disregard for the truth.  They are trying to hold people accountable for their own fantasies, so they can display the  power of their viewpoints.

I for one am not gullible enough to fall for these media egos who stir the pot, nor do I see leadership capabilities in the candidates who jump on this bandwagon.  As an electorate, its time to rise to a higher standard than falling for political slander.  It’s not because Mrs. Clinton is the best person for the job.  There are others I prefer.  Its because we should not be the type of sheep who are led with the falsehoods of media and political operatives.

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