Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2008

An interesting debate was started between a couple of brothers today on Discontinuous Permafrost.  It began on another post, than ran over into an e-mail debate that I felt warranted a post of its own.  Before going any further with posting their discussion, I should give you a little more feedback on the two brothers.

The brothers grew up in Wyoming, outside a small town on a farm.  They ate a lot of venison growing up.  That meant they, and their families, hunted.  They hunted mule deer, white-tail deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope.

Needless to say, the brothers grew up around guns.  And in America, where there are guns, there is also the NRA.  Both were “junior” members of that esteemed organization, and grew up reading its publications.

It is important to note how important hunting season was to this family.  Family vacations, holidays, fishing or camping trips were all canceled when work demanded it.  For years on end.  Hunting season remained sacred and was never missed.

Eventually, as the younger brother went to college he missed more and more hunting seasons.  He was alright with that.  One year he had gone hunting with friends, and it had become more of a killing trip than hunting.  It took a long time for him to recover his palate for hunting.  Even today, when he does hunt he goes more for the hunting than the killing, which is fortunate because the kills are few and far between.  When he does kill, he takes time to honor the life that was taken for his benefit, his nourishment.  In short, he gives thanks.

The younger brother will probably miss hunting season this year.  Not by choice, but because the older brother is getting married.  The younger brother points this out just in case he has offended the older brother during their debate, in order that the older brother knows he is loved so deeply that the younger brother is willing to miss a hunting season on his behalf.  He knows that despite his gruff exterior his older brother is a warm, compassionate, and caring person.

The brother’s entries are notated as yb for young ( arrogantly self-righteous) brother and ob for old (grumpy, gun-toting) brother.

And so, to catch up with their debate first visit: after Bush, is there anything left to risk?

hey- responded to your comment.  check it out- i’d like to know how obama’s ad is a lie.

yb
Will do.  sent a couple of forwards, 1 serious, the other funny but interesting.

ob
sorry took them both seriously.  I am sorry, I find that the NRA does more harm than good and I suspect they are largely a cover for the gun industry.  Consider the origin of the 2nd amendment, when Britian disarmed the colonists of muskets.  Muskets!!!  Today are military uses devices not even conceived of at that time.  How exactly is your 30-06 going to fight an F-16, or worse a nuclear device, or a tank.  Quite simply, its not.  So in order to arm ourselves do we all need a tank in our yard, that way when the neighbors dog poops on our grass we blow their house away?  do you really feel more comfortable knowing that the meth house down the street keeps automatic weapons, legally?

I’m all for keeping my guns, and hunting with them, and god forbid in the event of a break in using it in defense of my property and family.  But the sounds of gunfire during the night during my brief stint in Chicago wasn’t people protecting their homes, though they may have been protecting their turf.

It utterly confounds me how white, working class Americans will vote for someone merely because they say they won’t take your weapons way, while bending you over the fence and screwing you every other way.

Enough for now, yb

Before Round 2, the offending e-mails. Number 1:

SHOTGUN PRETEEN VS. ILLEGAL ALIEN HOME INVADERS – BUTTE, MONTANA, NOVEMBER 5, 2006.

TWO ILLEGAL ALIENS, RALPHEL RESINDEZ, 23, AND ENRICO GARZA, 26, PROBABLY BELIEVED THEY COULD EASILY OVERPOWER HOME-ALONE 11-YEAR-OLD PATRICIA HARRINGTON AFTER HER FATHER HAD LEFT THEIR TWO-STORY HOME.

IT SEEMS THE TWO CROOKS DIDN’T CONSIDER TWO THINGS: 1. THEY WERE IN MONTANA, AND 2. PATRICIA HAD BEEN A CLAY SHOOTING CHAMPION SINCE SHE WAS NINE.

PATRICIA WAS IN HER UPSTAIRS ROOM WHEN THE TWO MEN BROKE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR OF THE HOUSE. SHE QUICKLY RAN TO HER FATHER’S ROOM AND GRABBED HIS 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN.

RESINDEZ WAS THE FIRST TO GET UP TO THE SECOND FLOOR ONLY TO BE THE FIRST TO CATCH A NEAR POINT BLANK BLAST OF BUCKSHOT FROM THE 11-YEAR-OLD’S KNEE CROUCH AIM. HE SUFFERED FATAL WOUNDS TO HIS ABDOMEN AND GENITALS.

WHEN GARZA RAN TO THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS, HE TOOK A BLAST TO THE LEFT SHOULDER AND STAGGERED OUT INTO THE STREET WHERE HE BLED TO DEATH BEFORE MEDICAL HELP COULD ARRIVE.

IT WAS FOUND OUT LATER THAT RESINDEZ WAS ARMED WITH A STOLEN 45 CALIBER HANDGUN HE TOOK FROM ANOTHER HOME INVASION ROBBERY. THAT VICTIM, 50-YEAR-OLD DAVID BURIEN, WAS NOT SO LUCKY. HE DIED FROM STAB WOUNDS TO THE CHEST.

PATRICIA STAVED OFF A ROBBERY AND POTENTIAL RAPE BECAUSE HER PARENTS TAUGHT HER HOW TO USE A GUN. HER PARENTS DIDN’T HIDE A GUN IN THE HOUSE AND NOT EDUCATE HER ON THE POWER THAT A FIREARM PROVIDES. IGNORANCE CAN BE DEADLY, BUT FORTUNATELY FOR THIS MONTANA FAMILY, KNOWLEDGE WAS POWER.

TWO ILLEGALS WERE SENT BACK….IN A BOX!

BLAMING GUNS FOR VIOLENCE IS LIKE BLAMING SPOONS FOR ROSIE O’DONNELL’S FAT ASS.

EVER WONDER WHY GOOD STUFF LIKE THIS NEVER MAKES NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, OR ABC NEWS???

And the second:

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now think about this: Guns

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. Is 80,000,000. (Yes, that’s 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.

Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’

FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on LAWYERS for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention!

Yb wants to ad-lib the following into the email debate:

Of course, the anonymous author fails to say how many lives were saved by guns (300 by government break-in estimates) versus by doctors. Given doctors administer antibiotics regularly for diseases that a century ago regularly killed, say once a day, then we could say 700,000 doctors times 365 days a year. Wow, that’s a bigger number than I care to calculate, and moves doctors securely into the lives saved category. Guess gun owners are more dangerous after all.

Now, back to the debate at hand:

and what exactly does this prove?  how many people die in homes due to poorly design stairs?  maybe we should contractors illegal?  and in the few cases where they actually use an architect the architect should be illegal too?

somewhere I miss the logic or humor.

I don’t think anybody that I’ve ever voted for, and I voted largely democratic or liberal, has proposed the wholesale banning of guns.  what they have proposed is making it more difficult for people who should not have guns to do so.

yb

The laws are already in place to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them.  I believe that people in those positions to enforce those laws use their positions to allow the occasional nut job to fall through the cracks, so to speak, intentionally, to advance their own political agendas.  As far as the “Shooting in Montana” forward I can provide 8 to 12 instances from NRA magazines that quote news stories of similar incidences in each issue.

ob

Enjoy my rant below:

I bet you can.  Do you want me to find 100 instances of guns (stolen from homes) being used for other purposes?  I know the NRA likes to publicize those few events, but the facts prove otherwise.  so one burglary is foiled by a gun for every 100 guns that are stolen?  is that a good trade off?  Not for the people who die from those other 99 guns.  Check this out: http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/fadeathwithrates65-04.pdf Is there one gun law that would have prevented the people in the nra magazine from having the gun they used for protection?  not likely- those are the law-abiding citizens the laws help protect.

So you believe someone sees a lunatic applying for a handgun permit and allows them to get it to prove their political point?  So the guy that shot up a unitarian church sunday was sold a shotgun on the premise that a politician somewhere could point out that the guys read books by the fox news pundits?  Do you hear yourself?  That is insane.

Thats like believing somehow that there is a group of “rich” people behind the environmental movement.  Its bullshit.  Not even if the ten richest people in the world poured everything they had into the sierra club could they counter the money coming from Exxon alone.

Or that scientists are predicting global warming in order to pad their research grants.  Oh, and the oil companies saying it isn’t happening have nothing but their god-fearing honesty to protect.

Oh the NRA, such a moral beacon that they hire spys to infiltrate concerned citizen groups.  And who funds the NRA?  industry.  No, say it ain’t so.  Industry is more moral than individuals, just ask any god-fearing republican.  Oh- it is industry.  The gun industry.  why do they care?  because they sell…… GUNS!!!!!   http://www.vpc.org/press/9711eddi.htm If you think the NRA is a bunch of people morally committed to your right to carry a gun you are wrong- they are protecting somebody’s right to SELL you a gun.  Big difference.

Another great source of information is: http://www.bradycampaign.org/issues/ I know if you read NRA propaganda they are going to say these are evil and warped sources of information.  Kind of like oil lobbyists say about environmental scientists.  But consider what people committed to this cause have to gain: NOTHING.  They aren’t in it for money, nobody is getting rich by not selling guns.  I don’t think you can even name a politician that has gotten elected on this issue alone.  Just like scientist aren’t getting rich predicting global warming (while the oil industry gets rich denying it) neither is anyone making a living off of gun laws.  People care about the issue more often or not because they have lost someone due to no gun legislation.

The End

yb

I want to add I know there is no way any gun law that I would support would have prevented the shooting on Sunday at the Unitarian Church- though if my memory is correct he used an automatic shotgun, and I feel strongly against using automatic weapons for hunting and so wonder about their purpose in society at large.  Ultimately, an individual is responsible for their actions, good or bad, and no gun law is going to prevent a person from a premeditated attack.  But, if someone had been legally armed in the congregation I don’t see how that would have prevented or resolved the situation any differently.

yb

Did the NRA make up the statistic that when Australia confiscated all firearms from law abiding citizens that the violent crime rate jumped 275%?

ob

I’m not familiar with that statistic- but if the crime rate went from 100 murders to 237 assaults, no deaths, because guns were not involved wouldn’t that increase have been worth it?

yb

that should have been 275 assaults, to make the math easy.

yb

Also, try to find some scientific, peer reviewed studies that show the benefit of gun ownership.  That means not funded by the NRA, or gun manufacturers, and published in something other than nra magazines.  I’m not indicating they don’t exist, but they strengthen the argument for guns if they do.

yb

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Last night, I attended a vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks for the victims of the Sunday shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. As of this afternoon, two victims of that tragedy have died, four remain hospitalized and two have been released.

We met in the somber grey of another rainy day, one of many this summer in Fairbanks. People wandered in, many straight from work, finding a place to join with a circle of friends to mourn this event, recognize the lives that we lost, and search for grains of meaning. Music played gently in the background, echoed by the rain on the roof overhead.

The lights of the sanctuary were off, our only light came from above, filtered first by the grey of the sky, then dappled by the dripping green of the birch tree leaves. Candlelight centered our attention on one side of the circle, eight flames casting warmth, each representing a spirit damaged or lost to us by Sunday’s events.

Jeff led our vigil, leading us through songs and an update on Sunday’s events. Members took turns speaking from the podium, then from the chalice.

For the first time since I’ve attended our Fellowship, barring one Sunday when I lit the chalice itself, I lit a candle.

I spoke of the heroes from Sunday’s attack.

Of how often these attacks occur, and the shooting goes on for hours.

Or until the police arrive and dispatch the gunman. Which is exactly what this fellow was hoping for.

I wondered aloud how many lives were saved by the quick action of those in the Church. It was reported that only 3 rounds of the 76 brought into the Church were discharged.

Today the evolution of that thought has continued. I’m not alone.

Unitarian Universalists are, by my experience, peaceful people.

Peaceful, but not passive.

We are used to protecting those who can not protect themselves. We are cursed at for attending peace rallies, spit upon for supporting the rights of gays and lesbians, and damned for allowing atheists and agnostics in our midst.

In the case of Sunday’s shooting, members quickly disarmed the suspect at great risk to themselves. At least one fatality is reported to have fallen victim to the shooter while sheltering others from the gunman.

I believe the shooter, like society, made a misjudgment. To value peace is not equitable to being weak.

To stand up to the majority for what is right, at great risk to one’s self, one’s livelihood or home is a sign of great strength.

Peaceful, but not passive.

I recall an image from the movie Ghandi though I’ve seen the movie once, when I was in the 4th grade. In my memory, Ghandi and his followers lined up to harvest salt to break a British monopoly on the commodity. British soldiers met the single file line, beating each person as they took their turn at the front of the line. As a person recovered consciousness, they returned to the back of the line. On and on they made their way through, each taking their turn over and over again until the British gave way.

Peaceful, but not passive.

Sunday’s shooter bought into one of the great lies of the right, that there is not enough for all.

If the shooter had taken the time to listen to the UU message, that in an equitable, just, and free society each person can and does have work, a place to live, education, freedom to worship, and love as they choose. There are many paths, one doesn’t preclude the other.

Instead he chose hate, and a violent solution.

Our response must be love, and peaceful.

Peaceful, but not passive.

Somehow we must use this event to reach out to the marginalized, those people like the shooter that have been touched by hate. Our country, and our faith, must offer them hope.

On a global scale, we must raise people up to our standard of living. There is enough for all.

To borrow the the words of a burgeoning orator “this is our time.”

It is time for our faith to re-emerge from the shadows, and take up our roll as leaders in society. To show the world how to move forward in the face of violence.

Peaceful, but not passive.

Read Full Post »

One of the most common things I hear from people when asked about their preference for Obama or McCain is that they are adverse to risk.  In short, the McCain we all know and love versus the Obama we don’t know but want to love.

Or, as Obama puts it “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t.

In response to a comment warning liberals of the dire consequences of electing Obama, I began to put together a list of thing Obama could screw up, only to discover George W. has already done them all, with the exception of nuclear holocaust.  But don’t worry, he isn’t out of office yet.

So here is my list, please send in additional items.  I’m interested in seeing what there is left for Obama, or McCain, to screw up if elected.

  • Allow a terrorist attack on our soil
  • Run up the national debt
  • Oversee a housing crisis
  • Corrupt Department of Justice
  • Start a war
  • Invade another country (ok, make it two)
  • Lose a war (in progress)
  • Occupy another country (permanently by all appearances)
  • Allow a natural disaster to destroy a major American city
  • Alienate the US from the rest of the world
  • Encourage unrest in the Middle East
  • Oversee oil prices reach record highs
  • Prevent US from providing any leadership in world of diminishing natural resources
  • Avoid taking any role in preventing or dealing with the effects of global warming
  • Underfund our national park system
  • Prostitute our public lands out to industry
  • Torture our enemies
  • Enshroud our government in secrecy
  • Ignore the constitution
  • Watch economy collapse
  • Take a record number of vacation days

OK, Obama or McCain might beat that last one given Bush has already completed the to-do list.

  • Nuclear holocaust
  • WWIII

Of course, the other way to look at it is which of these candidates, Obama or McCain, is more likely to fix these items.

And we all know the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one, and it is pretty clear only one of these candidates recognizes that.

Read Full Post »

Is anybody out there as confounded as I am with the current presidential race?  I keep seeing poll data released that shows the two candidates as reasonably close, or with “McCain making gains” in key states.

What, if anything, would endear anybody to vote for John McCain at this point?  He has issued no credible plans that reasemble any kind of departure fom the current policies of George W. Bush.

Furthermore, he has started to sound more and more incoherent, bringing him even more in alignment with the unintelligable Gerige W.  Is this a campaign stategy?  It worked for him once, twice actually.  Is McCain trying to become more like the common man?  I can recall hearing over and over how Bush was attractive to the “common man” because he spoke like them.

Do we really want a “common man” in the White House?  Don’t we want someone with a high level of intelligence running our country?  Isn’t that more important than sounding like you just left the corner bar?

Since when did it become a bad thing to have an intelligent president?

Or perhaps it is McCain’s age that has led him to his repeated gaffes.  (Gaffe will undoubtably be one of this years most overused words.)  Maybe his mind is finally starting to go.  I’ve always considered him to be a smart guy, well-spoken and focused; but that seems to be going.  Is it strategy, or is it senility?

And all this takes me back around to:  Why, in all that is great and good in this country is this still considered a race for the White House?

Obama is intelligent, he is a great orator, he has some vision of the future, he’s not George W. Bush, he has the ability to inspire.

Should we trust him?  No.  Should we trust any politician?  No.

But what we should consider about ur politicians is their intelligence and ability look ahead, something which has seriously been lacking, and their willingness to listen, be open and accountable to the public.  Since before 9-11, Bush’s administration has had a secretive, industry only access policy.  When we asked about events after 9-11, the mantra was “trust us.”

No, I don’t want to vote every 4 years and then trust a politiician.  I want to wake up everyday and take part in our democracy.  It is my right, and my responsibility as a citizen.

Perhaps it is because Obama is black?  I wonder how many people are afraid to vote for him due to that deeply buried feeling.

Anybody out there want to enlighten me?  I’m confused, and more than a little concerned.

Read Full Post »