Monday, June 20, 2016

3+ Points Against the Anti-Gun Control Argument


That's what all this discussion, arguing, disagreement, lies, twisted logic and outright logical fallacies are about gun control. Stupid.

Speaking of Stupid with a capital "S", we have to mention the NRA and either their tactics (brilliant as they work, or stupid as they are in the worst interests of the citizenry). Here's an interesting article on how blatant they are about their tactics.

Just circle back around later and check these links out; I've supplied you with a few to gather further info from. 

Real quick on the NRA being stupid...their comment that, "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy" many ways that goes wrong.

Not to mention firing into usually the dark in a theater or a club missing and hitting an innocent, or hitting the bad guy even killing him and your bullet goes on to kill an innocent, or ricochet and wounding someone. Shooting another "good" guy with a gun who was trying to stop the bad guy with gun. The list goes on.

The honest truth is that this just doesn't happen often enough for the mentality of all people needing guns. Besides, it abdicates the responsibility from law makers, police and gun manufacturers for them to do something more useful and widespread. It's a child's solution to a problem, really.

There's a lot to get through here so I'll go through my three points, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, and then skip through some things and offer other places you can get more and even better information about this sad topic that mostly faux conservatives and the NRA have abused America over.

Even Pres. Reagan, Pres. Bush Sr. and many others going back into the 80s thought what the NRA started to do and has done, were disgusting abuses of rational arguments about guns. We have a police and military now unlike at the founding of this country and what this nonsense does is disrespect all of them in their efforts.

First of all we're ALL into gun control.

To say otherwise is, well...stupid. No one wants (some do) excessive gun control. It's still America (mostly and at least until the next election in November). I just don't think we need too loose of gun control. People are dying, something needs to be done, pretty much, end of story. Only a really truly foolish individual would say we should do anything at all in any way possible about the current rash of mass shootings these past years.

People who correlate "Freedom" and guns. Stupid. I'm sick of Constitutional originalists. The Constitution is a "living document". How do you prove that? Easy. If it wasn't it would never have been amended, ever. We have the Supreme Court whose job it is to interpret the meaning of the Constitution in the climate of the times so that it IS the functional document that it has been.

Besides, freedom actually has nothing whatsoever to do with guns or gun control.

It's just that they've been linked together for so long, only the uneducated, the alleged "conservative", the faux "patriot", the greedy and the simply firearms addicted think that it does. They think it has everything to do with it in fact. The times and climate on this topic is finally changing as the Supreme Court rules states have the right to ban assault weapons.

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."

Nothing whatsoever is stated about purchasing arms in that. Or what type of. People focus too much on the wrong elements, giving emphasis to the wrong things in that Amendment.

There's three points in that statement that we need to pay particular attention to, and which get very little understanding and correct attention to. 

1. A "well regulated" militia (or I'd allow, citizenry) is important. 
2. And so, a "Militia" is important. 
3. Finally to "keep and bear arms" is important. 

But not in the ways you might think. 

To understand the problems we face with this issue one has to examine what the Founding Fathers thought and said back then, and then consider the evolution of society at large, of this nation, of technology and of the world in general.

Take some of the Founding Fathers' comments. 

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..."
- George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790

"Disciplined". That's important. It eliminates issues like what we're seeing today. A well disciplined soldier, or people for that matter, do not perform mass shootings such as we see today. Nor do they kill innocents. 

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

That is to say like, what? That we shall not be kept from any form of weapon whatsoever? Or that we shall not be kept entirely from any weapon to wit, in that we are not allowed to have any kind of arm at all? That is a big disparity. 

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

First consider he is thinking not necessarily as being indentured by the state, but in relation to outright slavery as he was after all, a slave owner, as were many who were considered "normal" and "decent" people back then. 

"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

This is a good one. Back then taking arms to resist was not just to battle another force, but to show up in force, armed, to make a point, to be taken seriously. And also if necessary, in the consideration not of our own government being the enemy, but of the British empire.

Our government was set up as the "Great Experiment" so that we would not have to live that way, fearful of our own government since it would be and is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. 

The Founding Fathers would be horrified to hear conservatives now a days talking about needing to be armed to protect themselves from their own government. From This Government. 

Back in those days, armed resistance was not an unnatural thing. Today things have changed dramatically. WE do not need to show up armed to make a point because we have our government. We also have a standing army, in multiple branches, which is the most powerful in the world, as well as a well regulated National Guard and police force of various levels (local, state and national). 

What is so sad about conservatives who believe we need to remained armed is that they obviously do not respect our government, themselves or other Americans as they should. With all its warts and embellishments, difficulties, dissatisfactions and difficulties, this is still our, OUR... government. 

So what about those words, those phrases then?

"Well regulated" is important. "Militia" is important. "Keep and bear arms" is important. 

Well regulated does not mean we should be allowed as citizens to walk into any gun store and buy any weapon. It doesn't mean any citizen either, UNLESS they are "well regulated". Many take that to mean a militia, or an army.

Our Founding Fathers were leary of a standing national army. Because of Britain. However as we grew up as a nation we grew to need and understand the importance of having a standing army and thus the United States Military came into being. 

From Wikipedia:

"After the war, though, the Continental Army was quickly given land certificates and disbanded in a reflection of the republican distrust of standing armies. State militias became the new nation's sole ground army, with the exception of a regiment to guard the Western Frontier and one battery of artillery guarding West Point's arsenal. However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, it was soon realized that it was necessary to field a trained standing army. The Regular Army was at first very small, and after General St. Clair's defeat at the Battle of the Wabash, the Regular Army was reorganized as the Legion of the United States, which was established in 1791 and renamed the "United States Army" in 1796."

Well regulated also means that if you want a gun, you have to be, well, regulated. That means laws and certifications. Training. It also means responsibility for you bearing, storing, maintaining your arms. But in today's conservatively nauseating climate, people wish to believe it means we are all granted a right to have any mechanized weaponry. Nonsense.

We could point out here that when some today say to bear arms includes assault weapons, or if you prefer rapid fire, high capacity mechanized firearms, it can also simply mean, swords and knives, clubs and well who knows what medieval weaponry besides modern firearms. 

I would argue what it should mean is if you want a revolver or bolt action hunting rifle, you need to be trained, learn respect of a killing machine that you will have and store in your home correctly and no you do NOT get carte blanche, a blanket bill to just have a gun with no training, no reasonable storage considerations and so on. Much as it is now.

If you wish to have a semi automatic handgun or rifle, then you need more formal training and you need to own appropriate storage for those weapons and protection of those weapons when you are using them OR storing them.

NO one should ever be able to take your weapon, whether you are carrying it loaded, unloaded, or in storing it when you are either at home or away. 

A well regulated citizenry bearing arms would be a safe and sane citizenry. 

Which brings up the next term, Militia. 

What is a militia and what did the Founding Fathers intend by that term? I'm really not going to get into that morass of nonsense as it's bandied about and argued over today. Just let it be said that they were referring to the citizenry back then who were the army, who were not a standing army, but who could be called upon at a moment's notice to serve the country.

Who nowadays is ready to drop their lives and go into the Army if need be? We're not talking eighteen year olds either. Anyone of any age, granted focused more so on the young and strong enough to fight and die for their country. And sometimes foolish enough to follow orders. Which is why they don't seen old men into harm's way when they can avoid it, aside from the obvious physical issues age brings along with it.

The point there is since we've already given up on that concept as dysfunctional and problematic, raising an army from the citizenry only when needed, something we did at the birth of our nation out of necessity, then we need to understand the term militia for today to mean something entirely different, and if not unnecessary.

It doesn't mean the same anymore, we don't have the same anymore, and frankly, it points out this part of the 2nd Amendment needs to be rewritten to fit the new situation. For one thing the professionalism and complexity of militaries have gotten to a point that far outpaces that of an instant citizen army. Possibly you could do what Israel does and yet, we do not. Nor do we have an enemy on our borders such as they do. And no, we do not. We have oceans, Mexico and Canada. 

Finally the third point, to "keep and bear arms". 

Nowhere in this does it say people can buy guns. Or what type of guns. It cannot mean assault rifles because they simply didn't exist in 1791. I think the Founding Fathers would be stunned and horrified to learn of the compact and massive firepower we have today and that we allow citizens to own military grade weaponry. Certainly military grade by 1791 standards.

Consider this article on the phrase:

"Among the numerous amicus briefs submitted is the so-called "Linguists' Brief", written by Dennis E. Baron, Richard W. Bailey, and Jeffrey P. Kaplan. This brief argues that the Second Amendment protects only a public right on two grounds: the afore-mentioned interpretation of the leading clause, and the argument that the expression "bear arms" refers only to the organized military use of arms, not to individual use. They claim that the term "bear arms" is "an idiomatic expression that means 'to serve as a soldier, do military service'".

Taking the phrase as it was in general use back then, it means something different than we understand it to mean today.

And this is a final nail in the coffin on conservatives arguing for guns for all as a right:

"To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year."

It goes on further to state that contrary to what some ignorant conservatives think today, they were not fearful of our government against the people but of a militia against the government as well as the people. Which I would argue almost (but not quite) indicates for the nation today to disarm people out of protection rather than have them fully armed.

"This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."
"Thus differently from the adversaries of the proposed Constitution should I reason on the same subject, deducing arguments of safety from the very sources which they represent as fraught with danger and perdition."


And finally this passage as if they were viewing conservatives today in their admonitions of ridiculous contentions over and over again against our nation:

"Are suppositions of this sort the sober admonitions of discerning patriots to a discerning people? Or are they the inflammatory ravings of incendiaries or distempered enthusiasts? If we were even to suppose the national rulers actuated by the most ungovernable ambition, it is impossible to believe that they would employ such preposterous means to accomplish their designs."

You could also argue that the way the phrase was written refers to the government giving us weapons that we could keep and carry. Then that gets into when we would be given them, and when we could be carrying them. Considering back then many had their own guns they used in battle under the banner of the US flag and constitution, we can't expect the government to give us arms to keep and carry and if they did, as they do when you are in a real army, you actually need to use them to go to war. 

When you are off duty in the military you give up your arms, which are then stored in an armory, guarded by armed guards. So then you can't go get drunk and kill your sergeant or friends if you get mad at them during your off periods where you're not just killing the enemy. 

It begs the question, if they refer to citizens keeping and bearing arms at home whenever they like or, only during war, but in that our own government could remove all arms from citizens. And yet this says nothing about which arms are being referred to or how many per person.

Technically the 2nd Amendment could just be saying everyone can have a .22 long rifle or a shotgun to kill rabbits with for food and to use for protection against property or home invaders. Which is to say, burglars and criminals. But that doesn't mean using an assault rifle for home protection which any professional would point out is ludicrous. 

The degree to which people today have abused the meaning of the 2nd Amendment is pathetic. When we have a climate as we do today that includes mass shooters, snipers of public citizens, political assassinations, and terrorist attacks by foreign as well as nationalists, the 2nd Amendment needs again to be reconsidered and handled in such a way appropriate so as to fit our needs today, our current technologies and situations. 

We have to consider not only what the 2nd Amendment means, what it's original intent was, but also what we need it to mean today, how we consider what we have already agreed to do in many ways over many years and, how we have accepted the current meaning of the Constitution and its Amendments.

These are just three of the points we need to clearly understand while not allowing some group like the NRA to subvert and abuse us as a nation for their own slighted agenda and for greed and for power. In light of the disgusting travesties like the Orlando Pulse massacre we can not sit idly by doing nothing, yet again. But we need to stand up to the bullies like the NRA and actually do something useful.

Background checks are the least we can do, as is disallowing those on a Terrorist (TSA) No Fly List from buying guns. Which is not the much larger Terrorist Watch List which people keep confusing with the No Fly List.

What to do if you find you're on a No Fly List.

There is also no reason we need to access a firearm on the same day of purchase and it is wise for there to be a waiting period. I would argue a much longer one than what has been typical in being only three days. We want a gun today when we finally get the money for one. But we don't have to have it, the nation doesn't need to have us need to have it the same day.

In waiting to receive a weapon, it gives us a chance to run a proper background check, to give hot headed potential murderers a chance to calm down, those few who would benefit by a cooling off period, and it exemplifies to us all the import and respect of receiving, owning, and having the right to own, a firearm. 

Firearms purchases should force us to require much planning and thought and most of all respect for their purpose and reason for existing, attaining and retaining. For their purpose is, to kill. Even if you only ever use one for target practice. If you buy cars with the intent purposes of driving them off cliffs so they fly for a moment or two, they were still constructed to be driven.

NOTE on the term "assault rifle":

Don't call them assault rifles! Conservatives don't respond properly to that just as with much of reality and rationality. I'm so sick of their twisting everything just to get their own way.

Many of them believe assault rifles were named as such by the left wing media in the 90s for the assault weapons ban. When really it came about by weapons manufacturer Brunswick Corporation (yes the bowling ball people, among their many other products) way back in 1977 for their RAW (Rifleman's Assault Weapon) rifle, later used by the US Marines in the 1990s.

One could even argue that Hitler's storm rifle translates as the 1943 "assault rifle". From German Sturmgewehr ("assault rifle", literally "storm rifle"). The Maschinenpistole 44 was called the Sturmgewehr by Adolf Hitler, whence it was renamed to represent the separate class of firearm it represented. From assault + rifle.

"Others say the firearms industry itself introduced the term "assault weapon" to build interest in new product lines.[8] Phillip Peterson, the author of Gun Digest Buyer’s Guide to Assault Weapons (2008) wrote:

"The popularly held idea that the term 'assault weapon' originated with anti-gun activists is wrong. The term was first adopted by manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and dealers in the American firearms industry to stimulate sales of certain firearms that did not have an appearance that was familiar to many firearms owners. The manufacturers and gun writers of the day needed a catchy name to identify this new type of gun.[24]"

So for all our sake and that of conservatives so they stop looking even dumber than normal, consider possibly calling them:

FBBGs (for Fast Bang Bang Guns).

Not enough? Want more?

How about this:

Family of AR-15 Inventor Eugene Stoner: He Didn't Intend It for Civilians

Let's face it, civilians do not need military style weapons. Join the military if you want to play soldier and guess what? If you do you don't get to keep your automatic or semi auto weapon in your barracks room while off duty. Unless perhaps if you're actually soldiering, in a war environment. Then it's only reasonable. Because your soldiering, in a war theatre.

Here's a good one....

Breaking Down Gun Nuts: 10 Ways to Determine if Someone is Too Mentally Ill to Own Guns

And now this....

The 2nd Amendment Wasn’t Written To Mean ‘Let Any Damn Idiot Have A Gun’

And if that wasn't the nail in the coffin, this surely is....

From MarketWatch:
"Opinion: What America’s gun fanatics won’t tell you" by Brett Arends

Just a touch from that article....

"The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t just say Congress shall not infringe the right to “keep and bear arms.” It specifically says that right exists in order to maintain “a well-regulated militia.” Even the late conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia admitted those words weren’t in there by accident. Oh, and the Constitution doesn’t just say a “militia.” It says a “well-regulated” militia.

"What did the Founding Fathers mean by that? We don’t have to guess because they told us. In Federalist No. 29 of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton explained at great length precisely what a “well-regulated militia” was, why the Founding Fathers thought we needed one, and why they wanted to protect it from being disarmed by the federal government."

I wish you all the best. I wish us all the best....

And now, from Amy Schumer, this.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando's Pulse Massacre - Just Whose Thoughts Led to the Killings? Slabbies?

CNN news headline June 12, 2016: "A gay nightclub here was the scene early Sunday of the worst terror attack in U.S. history since 9/11.Omar Mateen of Ft. Pierce, Florida in a hate crime, murdered many people he didn't even know, all out of stupidity, of foolish beliefs, of disgust at what was unfamiliar to him and undesirable. As if he had any right to act on another's life. Washington Post reported on what the killer's wife had to say about him and her experiences with him.

My heart goes out to those killed or damaged in the massacre this morning at the Orlando night club, Pulse. However my mind and an intense sense of justice reaches out to all those who would wish to, or to do harm to others all because of their own delusional belief system. Be they themselves delusional or insane, or a miscreant jihadi following their misguided path. A path never laid down by their belief in their sense of a small, destructive prophet (little "p"), rather than a great Prophet professing a sense of positive worth and community among all people of the world.

Or be they one of our own nationalist bigots or their leaders, including their semi knowledgeable fool led by his jesters and running for office as yet another, albeit even worse example of a Republican president, all while we are seeing what that can lead to if allowed to propagate unchecked.

These death throes of stupid belief systems are always painful for those foolishly continuing to believe well beyond their usefulness. As well as for all those others of us who have to suffer their extended continuance and eventual demise along with them and theirs until they have once and for all been cauterized and sloughed off from the flesh of all humanity.

If all the weapons used in the Pulse killings were illegal, would this still have happened? Surely it could still happen at times and in places but far fewer I'm sure. Which really proves that case. But it's beside the point.

We might see more bombs being used then (and more bombers blowing themselves up accidentally at home). Or as in recent Asian cases in past years, knives or hatchets could be used instead. Some people originally thought seat belts were a government plot, but they saved lives. Maybe we shouldn't have more than bolt action rifles if we have to have guns. Whatever the solution, it is not in doing nothing. It is in doing something. Many somethings.

This is not about just Islam. This is not about just religion. This is not about bigotry. This is not just about mental health issues. It is about us, in general, people in general. It is about our culpability in allowing people to continue to think deffectively, to follow old, outdated beliefs, to act on ancient rights when they affect others especially in a negative fashion.

We have not taken up the call to see that everyone has healthcare as a right and mental healthcare even more so. Rather than demand these as our most important rights, we have allowed the issue to be subverted to where the concern about our most important right, the right of freedom, has become concern over the right to own and bear arms.

We have continued to give a wink and a nod to religion in general for far too long. We have allowed people questioning science over religion and people in power or in wont of power to lie in public and get away with it. We have allowed too many to push negative agendas on our country and others. We, have allowed.

All any of this means is that this is more about an attitude we need to change. Attitudes about people, about weapons, about fellow citizens, about fellow humans. Attitudes about the real, and not the unreal, or the unreal that appears as real to some.

There is no reason women cannot wear what they like or even walk around naked for that matter and not have to fear rape or abuse. There is no reason we cannot all have guns and yet not experience mass shootings. Though some common sense controls are reasonable and conscionable.

It is our national as well as overall international attitudes about certain things that needs to be changed. Not just possession or potential possession of implements of destruction. We need to grow up, we need to force those others to grow up, to stop acting like their ancients all now long dead along with their beliefs, which should in many cases have died along with them. Some of us need to stop thinking that destruction is good, that nihilism is God, that self is all important.

Any belief system that is found to be anti human needs to be dealt with. Bringing in beliefs from otherworldly issues into the physical realm that lead to negative actions against others, needs to be dealt with. I don't really have a problem with religion, other than I find it sad people cannot find a more up to date way to see the universe and live their lives. However we need to monitor and address religion or any belief system that starts to skew in a way that is against humanity.

If we cannot eradicate religious type belief from the world, we can at least try to control them. It could itself at least try to control itself enough to allow it to be a productive and beneficial force in the world, rather than ever have the opposite effects, ever again. If it were a true and proper thing.

We need to cry out openly against idiocies such as how we don't need to worry about the human or even non human elements of climate change merely because some believe that God will fix it all. Or how we should kill now for belief in issues of an afterlife later. We need to stop giving an open card to those who believe in nonsense.

Believe in your religion, just keep it to yourself, or at very least, do not use it to affect other's who do not see life as you do. Give them the good grace they give you in allowing you the freedom to practice your religion, as long as you keep it in your own garden. Just keep it out of ours, unless we invite you in.

But as I said, this isn't so much about religion as someone who was mentally unbalanced. Did religion lead him there so he could step out of its bounds into what it doesn't teach. Or does? It doesn't matter, really.

When conservatism or fundamentalism becomes reductionistic to a point that it goes backwards, it leads only and ever to the negative and destructive. If we are to have prejudice, it should be against those thoughts that lead people to their negative prejudices and destructive actions. We need to act over all in a way more productive than those who do so against us. Those on the sidelines too need to see and act.

Until that happens, we will continue to see life exemplified in this fashion, with guns, with bombs, with knives and with killings for the stupidest of reasons, with bigotry, ignorance and disgust, with the salaciousness of one's mind seen as a positive thing, rather than with a spirit of humanity and community, as it should be.


I keep hearing this from conservatives. It's all about freedom. Cuz we're 'Merikans! Obviously they do not understand freedom and how government is involved with protecting that and us.

What is freedom and how do we judge when to pull back from it? Total security is no freedom, total freedom is no security. It's a balance.

It is when human lives are too valuable to throw away on the pile of lives given to "freedom".

Did we lose the "right" to freedom in having no seat belts in our cars in order to save our lives? Anyone who has been in even a minor accident and whose life or limbs were saved by a seat belt has no qualms about the seat belt laws.

When we finally find that a "freedom" is too costly for us, that is when we pull back and therein find our level of freedom and balance with protection by our government. Government who really is in the end, us.

It is time we pull back here and now, too. Yes we also need to pay better attention and funding to mental health and inter agency communication to catch people like the Orlando shooter, but also have the laws to keep guns out of the hands of people like him. This evisceration of funding by so called conservatives for our mental health facilities is criminal, too.

The argument that we have a need for firearms to protect citizens from our government is really past. And quite foolish. Childish even in it's understanding of reality.

It's time for the adults we have put in place to govern and protect us to do their job and not just be shills of the NRA and corporations in their pursuits of the filthy lucre over that of human lives.

This is where all lives matter. Black, white, or all others; be they Gay, straight, Muslim or Christian, or all others. Here and in the final justification...Americans, and Human Beings.

Americans, over that of failed conservative ideologies toward money and killing machines.

Addendum, June 15, 2016:

I got up this morning considering the word, "Terrorist" and wondering, is this what we're seeing today? Now that I think about it, I've mentioned this before, in fact I think I've written entire blogs about this. I just looked and since I started this blog in 2010 I have, out of over 1,200+ blog articles, 83 on terrorism with more than a few mentioning this.
Should we use the word terrorist?
I mean, are YOU terrorized? I'm not.
i'm pissed off at how every cowardly little reprobate nobody loser can achieve fame and go out in their own perceived blaze of glory rushing toward their 72 grapes in a kind of Twilight Zone Muslim heaven (small "h" like in my book, Death of heaven, which frankly, fits their stupid childish beliefs in all this and is kind of the point of my book in the first place).
"Pissorist" maybe would be a more appropriate term as I'm only pissed off at cowards who indiscriminately kill people who have no bearing on anything related to any cause that might be claims as a reason for murder, and other than hatred.

But these aren't really Haterists. They conflate themselves and their cause and so want us to use terrorist.
That was when, in looking up the etymology of the word terrorist today, I found this article from after Charlie Hebdo...the author doesn't give us a proper alternative but nearly anything would be better than what we are in my view, incorrectly using now and to the murderer's benefit, to our detriment and to the benefit of the media in drawing our attention and making a buck on it (as always).
They are learning too, but all too slowly. Like the dumb person in the room. slowly coming to realize there are better ways to interact in social situations (like these cowardly murderers), Better ways to be a servant of the people, as they are and need to recognize they should be, rather than merely a subject of their masters in the board room and their own unrecognized ignoble lust for notoriety.
How about just, Snarky Little Bitches with Weapons?
Or just for short, SLaBs, for where they belong, dead, on a slab.
Of course I'd prefer to get them the mental health help they need before they decide to join that bitchy little Daesh organization. (and no offense meant to actual bitches here, sorry ya'll).
But I think I'm onto something. Stop labeling them as what they are going to or are doing and start labeling them for where they'll end up.
On a slab, so, slabbies. Something really uncool sounding, yes?
"Terrorist" as someone pointed out to me, is a term from the government. I'll be needing to talk to President Obama about this. Still, the media can call them whatever they want and they have even mentioned this before themselves. But they use what affects us the most and that is, terrorism.
Still, I say we call them "slabbies" from here on....

Monday, June 6, 2016

Anti-Intellectualism in America

There is a trend of anti-intellectualism in America that has been growing these past decades. Anti-intellectualism is pro-fascism and even pro capitalism. It is also pro religion.

Intellectualism on  the other hand is pro democracy. It is for all intents and purposes, pro human.

There is a scene in 2003s, The Last Samurai where the Samurai says about Tom Cruise's character, "There must be a reason why he is here." A very interesting statement. One that holds great sense, although it is patently misunderstood the world over and throughout most of time.

"There must be a reason why he is here."

This must refer to fate, to predestination, to God's plan. Right?

But is that what it is really being said?

Or is it saying:

"We must find the best possible reason for his existence here" in order for it to make sense, for us to make sense, of it.

That is to say, we need to find the most positive and productive way to explain his being here in this situation and how his being here makes things better and in what way, or how we can utilize his existing in this situation to enhance that situation for those who it should enhance their situation (and is that us?).

Or to put a good and positive message that can be used for others to make their life better or to offer them a useful allegory they can use in their own life.

It isn't however saying, "God put him here, we must find why in order to assuage God's desires."

And yet, so many people take it as meaning just that.

In The Untold History of Modern U.S. Education, it says:

"Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether education is fulfilling its purpose.

"A great majority of the so called educated people do not think logically or scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us the objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education."

This is the road we have been on for a very long time. Where we do not respect and venerate the old, wisdom, and history. Where we do not give credence to knowledge over our own perceived exceptionalism.

There was an article from 2014 that discusses how there is in America, as they titled it, The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America.

When and why is that happening? Where is it leading us? Where has it led us?

Seeking the highest possible understanding of anything cannot harm us, it can only harm some people's sensibilities. We have become more concerned about our feelings than reality.

What in the hell were we thinking?

Another article by Professor Patrick Deneen explains how kids have become a generation of know-nothings.

If we don't turn this about soon, and with extreme prejudice, I'm unsure how we will sustain an America as we've known it, or as it should be. At this rate Americanism will become a slang term for stupid, for wasting a good thing, rather than all the many other great things we have and should have stood for, for so very long.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Just a Few Old Thoughts....

I have a lot going on in my life lately. 

First of all, have a pleasant Memorial Day. Maybe take the time to use today as it's intended. For reflection and appreciation. We have so many to remember and honor. I was a Cold Warrior as they say, in having been in the military during a period of peace (1975-1981), during the Cold War. I have a framed government certificate on my wall that says just that. Just through my own personal experiences, I feel I have much to be thankful for, to appreciate, for those who served during war, who suffered and died on our behalf. 

I mostly only had to deal with the typical life of someone in the military. One who was stateside, who only had to deal with the stress of the job, the knowledge that my job supported those who "melted cities" as an AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code, the numerical equivalent to my job title), and Soviet spies and their agents. 

I met one of them in the woods once, nice guy, but he was still obviously doing the job he was doing, for money, and not in America's best interests. We didn't discuss what he was doing, but I knew and he knew I knew, and later I found out that the air base knew. They couldn't stop them from gathering ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and mere statistical and logistical information. But they kept an eye on them (there was more than one around the entire base) a few in truck and campers with a lot of antennae and electronic equipment, monitoring anything they could. 

The one thing that kept me going was that my job wasn't directly related to killing, but to saving lives (I was a parachute rigger, survival equipment technician, fabric and rubbergear specialist). At the end I went through the grueling process to be vetted and accepted into the AFOSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigations), their FBI. Then I left government service, got a degree in Psychology and writing, and took an entirely different career and life path. 

And so now here I am. Writing and working in IT for the past few decades. 

There's lots of changes in my job in IT. I work for a health insurance company on their servers and web sites. In five years we expect to not be a health insurance company with the way things are going. If America (hopefully) finally goes with single payer health insurance (Medicare), my company will disappear, so we're becoming something new and better. 

I'm staging myself to finally do what I've wanted to do, for so long.

I'm prepping my house, staging it for viewing, packing up and selling my home of sixteen years. It's the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my life. My marriage ended within a year of moving in here in 2000. My kids grew up here from the end of grade school on and even then some more after graduating till they got on their adult feet. Now they seem pretty stable out in the world, one at the end of his twenties, the other approaching the middle of hers. 

That's all a story unto itself. 

This past weekend I went to Crypticon at the Hilton in SeaTac, Washington. It's a convention of horror... stuff. Just about you name it. I went last year. I saw new things, made new friends (finally met  horror icon, Tom Savini), and now I've been in two films because of it. 

This morning I was at the Hilton latte bar waiting on Kelly Hughes, director of the film I was just in (The Mephisto Box), We were going to have breakfast, then I had to head home. 

Lance Henriksen at Crypticon 2016
Lance Henriksen walked up, ordered a latte and started talking to me. Many know his work in Aliens, the TV show Millennium, Near Dark, and well, so very many other great roles and films.

We hung out there talking, waiting on his drink and a bit after he got it. Nicest guy ever and one of my all time favorite actors. So yes, I was pretty pleased to have gotten a chance to talk to him one on one like that and away from fan based interactions. We talking about the weekend at Crypticon, about fans, about perseverance, and about his latest project, Gone Are The Days. He said he was flying out today for California where he is starting on the production of the new western where he plays a bank robber at the end of his career. Check out the IMDB write up, it sounds like it's going to be a fun film. 

Good times all around!

I wrote most of this on Thursday last, before this is to be posted on Monday. Just in case I'm too beat to write a new week's blog after I get back on Sunday. Sometimes I do have them staged even week's ahead of time. But I've been hard pressed lately, I've been so busy working on my house and packing up and all,. I really haven't had all that much free time. 

Well now I am back and updating it a bit and I am beat, and I am glad I wrote this ahead of time and I am happy to update it about my meeting with Mr. Henriksen and eventually I'll get around to talking about my weekend at Crypticon. For now I'll just say it was fun and I learned a lot overall and in some of the panels I attended. Two of which director Kelly Hughes was on the panel for. He's a smart guy. 

One of the panels was about the pitfalls of producing a web series with among others, members from Luchagore Productions. Another about horror westerns where he shared the panel with Charlie Jack Joseph Kruger (one other was supposed to show but didn't make it).

I not only learned a lot in the horror western one (go figure right, who knew?) I also got ideas for two new screenplays. Yes, western horror films, You know I've not written a western of any type...yet. 

Sadly...we missed the Lance Henriksen panel (Aliens, panel I think, with a few of the actors as Michael Biehn was there this weekend too with his wife as is usual). I had wanted to attend that panel but I didn't know when it was and we had a schedule. Turns out we could have made the panel but not the hour of questions afterward (Lance said it ended at 10pm). Nuts. Anyway....

Part of the reason I'm selling my house is for a new beginning, to lower my overhead, to stage things so I can start to write much more than I have for years. Maybe ever.

This past year, past month, past weeks of working on the house, fixing it up to sell, packing up, going through things from my past, packing more stuff, it has all been been an emotional roller coaster ride. I just gave my ex back some of her things that I found stored in my garage, buried beneath my kids and my stuff. My kids who grew up and moved out several years ago. Or more.

Really. It's time to move. It's time because I want to.

One of the things I uncovered during my rummaging through and repacking things was a box with writings in it. Well I found many of those. I'm a writer. But one in particular. It had a page in it from 1994. Along with that I found a folder about an inch thick full of writings I thought I'd lost that were even older, of more writings. Things I wrote that I didn't even remember. Very cool. Very, very cool.

The following is a short rumination I found in that box. From 1994. 

Apparently titled: Epiphany

Date: Fri, 2 Sep 1994 14:40:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: To myself: Epiphany
You know?
I was just thinking:
I get these little spurts of feeling, of imagery at times. 
Similar in nature to a "Deja Vu" experience.
I'm not nuts. 

My degree in psychology was in Awareness and Reasoning Division, Phenomenology, Alternate States of Consciousness, Systems and Processes. Attending Western Washington University was itself and alternate experience. But then, any college experience is. Or should be. 
Between that education and martial arts training since childhood, it may be easier for me than for many, to "see," to see into other's thoughts. To "feel", to feel things in their mental and emotional processes. That might explain with the head of our psychology counseling department tried so hard to get me to change my orientation to therapy. But I couldn't have taken it myself, emotionally. Day and and day out listening to what is tearing people apart. Of course, there'd be the up side....
Sometimes I can see things that many people don't realize are there, within them. Things that ARE most definitely there. Within them. Things that are in everyone, really. Things we may not want to think are even there. 

But it just takes looking inward.

I know there were people I've talked to in the past who thought they were talking to a real screwball (me). Especially some of the more banal types I've spoken with.

Then it occurred to me.

The only times I'm really happy are when I am writing away at some project. When I am deeply involved in a novel I've developed, a screenplay or a piece of some sort that I have fully conceived of myself. Or a project I've developed along with a significant other in my life. As opposed to a project at work or one given to me by an instructor. I get these little flashes of really... good... feelings from it. Feelings I can only attribute to being "feelings-of-well-being." Of euphoria.

Feelings too that I can link pretty much only to heightened emotional experiences, events from my past.

Perhaps a moment's "Deja Vu" from being in the mountains. Or looking out over a spectacular sunset on the ocean as viewed from a scenic beach. Or watching a waterfall unraveling in the middle of nowhere while I sit, all alone, with no one around for miles, the sun glistening off the cascading flow of water. Or droplets on the moss in the mountains in the early morning dew, the crisp moist air hugging me, the fresh smell of life biting, deliciously, into my lungs.

These Little Flashes of Moments.
Moments that give me this feeling.
Feelings that I can conjure up while writing.
While creating. While making a Universe.
While watching something spring to Life out of nothing.

You know? It just occurred to me.

There must be a reason I like to write.
One other than the pedantic reason of simply being able to do it well.

Perhaps it was taking those little sojourns, those brief intense strays of exotic moments gleaned from books read at a tender young age? Maybe that has something to do with it?

No matter how I look at it though, I will never be happy until I am making a living writing; and writing whatever I want.

Writing what feels like it is being born from my inner being, springing from my mind, from within my chest, separating out from my heart, leaping out from my soul.

It's just a thought.
Just a moment.
Just a comment. Or two.
An Epiphany upon the Downs.
A thought upon the Velt.

A Revelation.
A Splendor in the Grass.
A Triumph at Dawn.
For that is all it is.

An Epiphany.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Mephisto Box - A Horror film and an open door

And now back to being creative....

Director Kelly Hughes, was once called the John Waters of Pacific Northwest Indie Horror Films by Digital Dead magazine back in November of 2015. With more to follow. As of the posting of this blog, Kelly now has eight episodes of his latest feature film, The Mephisto Box up on YouTube.

From Kelly's website:

In this highly anticipated new web series, a disgraced psychiatrist redeems himself by treating a fragile mental patient, only to unleash a demonic attack. Subscribe to the official YouTube channel and watch a new episode every Friday: Video.

Cast of, The Mephisto Box (2016)
Yes, there I am in that lower row.

We had shot some of the film here at my house, which I am currently in the process of selling. We also shot in various other locations around the greater Seattle area. Including in a large church up on Seattle's Capitol Hill along its famous Broadway Avenue. I got to play sound man and general grip that day.

In the shoot at my house I got to fill the positions of F/X man, pyrotechnic and for a while, talent wrangler I suppose. It was fast paced, guerrilla filming, colder than the tip of a witch's nose in Antarctica and at times even a bit hotter than we needed.

We "burned" a guy to death, then chased him down, put arrows through him and later resurrected him as a demon in a ring of fire. Among other things.

You can see many of those shots on Kelly's website.

As I said I'm selling my house. I live on a couple of lovely acres in a forest and I love this environment. It's so peaceful and tranquil here. But I'm looking forward and need to move so I can devote more time to working on my writings and film productions from now on, as well as moving some place more local to what's happening.

My house listed for sale last Friday. There's been a stream of people through here checking it out. I heard one agent tell his client she might want to decide soon as he didn't think the house would be on the market much longer. Which is nice to hear. I've heard one person wants to put a bid on it, that it's the right price but she has to wait till some of her financial dealings are complete in a couple of weeks.

Back in 2006 I had tried to sell... just as the market started to tank and then the bubble burst in the housing market. Now ten years later, here we are again. Though I'm better situated and more motivated to sell. So far so good.

But this is about Kelly's film.

It's fun that we got to shoot some at my house and around my property in a couple of films now. The first being Kelly's recent shortDon't Kill Grandpa Until We Strangle The Baby Sitter. In the teaser you can see me as Grandma's ghost while my son pours gas on the fire behind me. Good times.

That short ten minute film was created for the upcoming DVD compilation GRINDSPLOITATION 2: The Lost Reels. It was a lot of fun to shoot and it turned out better than expected.

However that was just a short. This is about the feature.

In The Mephisto Box, there are some great scenes and acting by many of the actors, including always excellent actor Betty Marshall, a long time veteran of Kelly's films since the 90s. This time she is a disgruntled all around helper for someone of means, and very jealous of her position. There's some real gems in this film for those into indie horror. I even got a short (short) scene as a street preacher.

Here is a teaser for it. Synopsis - A disgraced psychiatrist attempts to redeem himself by treating a young mental patient, not realizing he is tampering with demonic forces in this new series by director Kelly Hughes.

We will be stumbling around Crypticon this upcoming final weekend in May over the Memorial Day weekend. Say hi if you happen to make it. It's a fun film, a fun crew to work with and Kelly is an indomitable force and enjoyable to be around. Just like Crypticon.

I hope you have a great weekend too. If your passions is for creating, film production, or just writing stories, or simply viewing or reading them, find your passion and start acting upon it. Life is just sitting out there, waiting on us, hoping we will knock on that door which will be opened, if you just take the time to look for it and step through.

For me, The Mephisto Box was a part of that door opening. As was my book, Death of heaven. Or my work with a studio some years ago as a screenwriter in absentia (I worked remote as I was in Seattle and they were on the east coast). As was In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear, my first published short horror story (also contained in and the first story in another book of my short stories, Anthology of Evil).

These were my doorways into my passion, writing, getting it out there for people to read. And film production. Something that goes back to being a public access cable TV producer in the early 90s, just like Kelly Hughes. That project so long ago, led to us finding one another on Kelly's entry through that door start then and there, so many years ago.

You never know where what you do will one day lead you. So if you have the inclination, then do something. Act on your desires. Even the little things count sometimes. They are all just one more step up to that door you have to bring up the courage to knock on, to turn the knob on, to push open that heavy creaking door into, your future, your passion, and possibly your bliss.

You will never know if you simply don't try, and try again, and keep trying, until finally one day, probably when you most think it will never actually happens.

Get involved.

Get involved in yourself, in your community of creatives and in ours too by watching and sharing what we have done. So that one day perhaps, you too will be sharing what you have done with us, and we will share it with all of our community.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Church and Guns

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a bill allowing people in his state for churches to legally have armed security.

Let that sink in.
Note the props: Reagan book, Bible with holstered gun on top
When a national gun culture finally invades your churches, your religion, it's really time to pay attention. Arming churches is not a religious reaction. It's a human, scientific reaction. We don't need to arm and militarize churches. Yes, they have been attacked. But few and it's not really reasonable in arming your church.

Religion should be a baseline for humaneness, for peace, spiritual security, for joy. Historically, for sanctuary. Not for anger, not lethal reactions.

This lack of continuity between religion and believers is untenable and hypocritical. People fear putting their beliefs on the line. They always have. And yet, they have martyred themselves to perpetuate their beliefs. Beliefs that have inspired countless millions over thousands of years. But many now see that it is better to arm their church, than to possibly die for their beliefs.

When I think about Church, about guns, I think back into my past. Back to when I was in the Air Force. My final main base was in Spokane, Washington. In 1975 I was at Fairchild AFB, a nuclear bomber base in the Strategic Air Command (SAC). We had fuel tankers, B-52 bombers, and were on alert 24/7/365.

In about 1977, I got friendly with the guy who gave out equipment in the base gym. My friend and I played racquetball every other day and lifted weights on those other days. If we needed anything we'd go to the equipment room attendant. We got to talking over a period of weeks about things in general, "guy stuff", guns and eventually, oddly enough, religion. Then one day he asked if I wanted to go to his church.

I was at a point in my life where I was ex Catholic, had been head altar boy at our church and in fact had been the altar boy serving at our old priest's open casket Mass for his funeral. My first time seeing a dead person. He looked good, the gentle kind soul I had known for years and served Mass with.

Later I went to a single final and graduating year of Catholic primary school (eighth grade). As I entered my young adult years, I was looking into the universe to see what there was, other than what I had been taught. I read a lot of books on philosophy, religion, even magic, a sign of the times in the 60s and 70s. You name it.

So with an invite to visit what sounded like a cool church, I figured, why not?

I told my wife about it. She probably couldn't have been happier that I wanted to go to church. After all, she was raised Baptist and we had been married in her church. Yes, the whole big church wedding and all. We divorced the year I got out of the Air Force. The guys told me when I arrived at my main base that no one survives that base and remains married. There were a lot of divorces, a lot of philandering, mostly with wives of enlisted fooling around with officers, especially pilots, the God's of the Air Force.

So my wife and I agreed to check out the guy's church with him and his wife. I told the guy the next time I went to the gym. Which was the next day. He said he would pick us up with his wife on Sunday morning and he would drive.

Well, that's nice of him, I thought.

Government as an entity, is typically rather stupid. Elements within the government however can be quite intelligent. yet there is a healthy dose of stupid among the employees. I was about to be stunned by the stupidity of this "nice" guy from the gym.

He had told me to bring my gun, that it was cool to wear a gun to church. I thought that was odd, but hey, I was open to see new ways of viewing the world. I carried concealed, legally, my Walther PPS\k .380 auto. Yes, I should have seen it coming. I should have seen something coming.

We headed out of Spokane toward the border. As we were crossing the border I got nervous and asked him about it. He said it was okay, the compound was in the hills of Idaho and it was beautiful there. About my concealed gun and his, and considering we were in the military, and I had a secret clearance unlike him, I was concerned about federal issues.

He said not to worry, you didn't need a concealed weapons permit in Idaho and where we were going it wouldn't be an issue. When we finally got there up into the hills of Idaho it was beautiful. We arrived at a gate that was unlocked and allowed us to pass. We were now on the property of the Church of Our American Christian Heritage. Beware a church that has in its name, "American" or "Heritage". Or any church who seems to have all the answers.

We drove up in his truck, a forerunner to today's SUVs. he pulled into an area of the compound with a traditional type well int he center and several buildings, one being an old fashioned church with the steeple and all. Several guys were wearing what looked to me like Nazi uniforms, only a different grey color, looking just different enough that you COULD claim, they weren't Nazi uniforms. When I mentioned the similarity (as well as the Hitler salute they used) they got offended. They weren't Nazis! Sure seemed like it to me though.

I won't detail the entire morning. But it was bizarre, surreal, disturbing, and scared the hell out of my wife. I worried if I didn't play it right, would I end up in the bottom of that well. They told us stories of how the local Sheriff was afraid of them and wouldn't come onto their property. The old ladies were the most racist people I had ever met.

Their national leader was there from Georgia to give a lecture at their church service. He didn't know we were there and were novices to their beliefs. He had really let go intimately detailing their beliefs and disgust at non whites, about the "cesspool of humanity that was Vancouver, B.C. Canada."

We got out of there eventually and never looked back. Don't get me wrong, these were very nice, polite and friendly people. I know deep down they meant well. But the things they believed in were immature, foolish, and frightening. As well as bad for humanity in general.

By time we got into the truck to head home that day, my wife had inadvertently nearly ripped off the sleeve of my shirt from repeatedly having grabbed it and holding on with dear life, while trying to look happy and at ease. Occasionally smiling and whispering she would say into my ear, "Get us out of here!"

The next day I considered telling the base about what was going on, but my racquetball friend talked me out of it. After all he said, those people know where you live and when you won't be home with your wife. It brought to mind a scary situation.

Gun and church do not belong together.

Pairing them is a massive warning that something is wrong. Perhaps, if your country has been invaded by an active force as happened in France, there is reason. But not here, not in America, and not since the Revolutionary or Civil War.

Needless to say we need a separation of Church and State, and Church and guns. If you want to protect your church from attack, try non lethal forms, try metal detectors, try anything, but leave your guns at home.

If your church is at all about death or killing, find another church. If your religion is death oriented like the three major desert religions of the Middle East, rethink your life choices.

Religion needs to be positive, life affirming and not about killing people.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Religion as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Many disorders that humans exhibit are merely normal conditions wherein the "dial" and degree has simply been turned up high enough that it has become an issue in one's daily life. PTSD is one of those where some psychologists are claiming it isn't even a disorder but a natural reaction to long enduring traumatic stress after the fact.

OCD precursors are another one of those things that when properly attenuated in life, can lead to great success in life, love and career. As with PTS, it's a necessary and functional thing in life. But when one is put into a situation where the stress is intermittent, continual and long lasting, one has to heighten one's senses in order to deal with it in the most safe manner possible, for the organism (people).

Now of days we are existing in an environment that we really were not designed for in being bombarded continually with stressful information. That of constant vigilance and preparation to fight or flight.

Once one of these human features broaches over to that point of being a disorder, it is then that we see issues that affect the individual's life, those around them and in some cases as in politics an entire local government, the nation or the world at large.

We are seeing a lot of this in the world today regarding religious beliefs brought on by triggers of fear, a decline in the veracity of religion itself with the advent of instant and ubiquitous information\media, the reactions to all that as well as to those speaking out against religion. It can incorrectly appear as a "war" on religion. When in reality it is something else entirely.

"Everything happens for a reason."

That saying has a purpose. One that simple minds have subverted. it is a shorthand to mean,... we need to find what purpose to ascribe to an event so that it has more purpose than mere happenchance.
In that way we can turn bad into good, good into better.

But to believe that there is a fate or a divine action that results in your being affected is to abdicate your ability to affect your own existence, to accept responsibility for what has happened to you in your life. 

YOU mostly have done to you what you experience happening. 

Even if it's not true, even if it's indirect. 

Because once you accept that, you have empowered yourself. 

Only then can the true "magic" in your life begin to happen.
There is too much magical thinking in the world. However we are as a race finally beginning to mature.

Eventually this will all will die down. Life will mediate into a level playing field and this will one day all be looked back upon as that period in history when there was obvious madness rippling through society world wide.

Hang in there.

Allow me to toss this into the mix:

It seems to me conservatives tend to be focused too much on their ideals (questionable as some of THOSE are) rather than giving enough consideration to reality, for far too much of the time. It sounds great but like religion, when you delve into it, eyes open, you quickly run into things many conservatives can't abide to consider.

While liberals are more concerned about actually reality rather than perceived (or believed) reality and govern their ideals through an effort to appropriately balance those.

So conservatives then try to claim liberals are unethical because they will bend their ideals if needed to fit reality (typically when it comes to being humane vs concerns of idealism or religion).

It's the religious ideology format of governing one's thought all over again. Something I see in many conservative atheists too. It's easy, quite lazy and requires very little exercising of the brain cells. Just say, "But God, God's laws, or idealism!" and you're done. But life is more complicated than that child's view of the world.

And it explains so much about our current mess.

Now add this to all of this:

Social Network Algorithms Are Distorting Reality By Boosting Conspiracy Theories