Changes to the other state pages are usually not announced; there's just too many of them and typically do not affect the general readership of this site.
February 18, 2018
From the corner booth...
Elon Musk built a car company from scratch and all of a sudden other car companies are going gangbusters on their hybrid and electric cars.
Now his rocket company just launched the baddest-ass rocket into space and he did it in the ultimate nerd style: the payload was one of the awesome electric cars from his company, clearly the fastest car in the world as it achieved escape velocity to leave earth orbit (25,000 mph).
Oh, yeah, Elon Musk is an immigrant.
In any population demographic, there are certainly going to be a percentage who are "bad". But do you know to know how many of any demographic are good people and not criminals or terrorists? Most of them. (Paraphrased from Trevor Noah of "The Daily Show".) That even includes white Americans. The racists need to stop trying to demonize immigrants and the politicians need to stop encouraging them.
FYI: I'm an immigrant too. And an American citizen. I'm exercising my right as a citizen, as defined in the Constitution, to express my opinion just like anyone else. No one, absolutely no one, has a right to tell me otherwise.
19 mass shootings in 2018 and it's not even March. The politicians can't just throw up their hands anymore and say nothing can be done about it. They can't say that now isn't the time to talk about it because there is no time left to not talk about it. How many kids have to die needlessly before we do something about it? Of course something can be done about it: we can throw out ideas and start talking. And then we can make our lawmakers act instead of sitting around and wringing their hands. Or we can elect more honorable lawmakers who have the backbone to do what's right.
- Here's an obvious one: No one under 21 should be able to buy a gun. If they need the wisdom and maturity to be able to drink, they should need the same to own a gun. We can consider an exception for anyone who's served in the military or public law enforcement because they will have had training and learned what it's like to put themselves in harm's way to protect innocent lives and go after the bad guys.
- Everyone who buys a gun must show proof of training and know how to own a gun. If I need a driver's license to prove that I have the knowledge and training to drive a car (as I need to do anything in life), then it makes sense to make sure gun owners know how to handle and take care of their guns, including gun safes and child-proof locks at home
- Anyone convicted of a violent crime involving a gun should be banned from ever owning a gun. Jail time is for the crime itself. Using a gun in a crime just proves that they can't be trusted to have a gun.
- Restore the law (that Trump killed) that prevents people with mental health issues from buying guns. If the original law had a lot of components and the mental health section was just a part of it, the lawmakers should come up with a bill that addresses that issue and only that issue. I really want to see who opposes that one issue.
- Every gun should be registered. My car is registered with the government. It sure makes it easier for them to find me if my car is involved in an accident or a crime and drive away. Should be the same for a gun.
- Stop fighting the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). There was a huge provision in there for mental health. People in general don't want to admit that they have "mental health issues"; they're not as likely to go seek help because they won't want to admit to having mental health issues. If they also have to pay for treatment, they're even less likely to go for help. If the "real" issue with these shooters is mental health and not the guns themselves, then make it easier for these people to go and find treatment.
- I think that spouses who have a restraining order against them should lose their right to have guns, at least temporarily. There are plenty of stories of people (mostly women) who have been killed by their estranged spouse. No one should have to be afraid of dying at the hands of a former spouse.
- Make gun owners get liability insurance. I have to have car insurance in case I hit someone or damage someone's property when I'm driving. Why not not apply it to guns? Let's find out who really needs guns and who just wants one. If it's a hobby for them, let's find out if they're willing to pay for the liability of owning one. If they have to have insurance, would they be more careful about how their guns are used? I know I'm extra careful when I drive because I don't want to do anything that will drive up my insurance rates. Let the free market determine how much liability coverage gun owners need. Let's find out how much a human life is really worth.
- No more online sales. We need a face for every gun sale. Sure, you can get someone else to buy you a gun, but then that person becomes an accessory to any crime committed with that gun. It's like buying alcohol for kids; sure, the kids can get someone to buy it for them, but the buyer is liable for anything the kids do while drunk.
- No more products that allow someone to fire a lot of bullets in a short amount of time. The only purpose of those items is to help someone kill a lot of *people* quickly. Why are we purposely making it easier for them?
- No more private sales. Again, we need to confirm who's buying the gun. Have private sales brokered by registered gun stores who can check ID's and do background checks. We need documentation to privately sell a car; why is it different for guns?
- And then, there's background checks? Do we even need to go over this again? I *want* to know if a potential buyer is crazy, suicidal, homicidal, or pathological. I want to know if the buyer committed a violent crime. I want to know if a buyer is abusive and his/her spouse is leaving them.
- And stop with suggesting that the teachers be armed. If the school system can't afford pencils and notebooks, they can't afford guns for every teacher. Teachers didn't sign up to be armed guards; they're there to *teach*. Who would going to pay for their training? Who's going to pay for their raises? If you put extra duties on teachers, you can expect to pay them more, but that's beside the point. Teachers are already under a lot of pressure to produce good test results; now you want them to act as bodyguards to 30 kids? That is wrong. Teachers are already given a great responsibility: educating *our* kids. They already have a tough job without any additional pressure. For that alone, I think they're being underpaid as it is.
How much did it cost to kill each of those people in that Florida school? The bullets for that AR-15 cost about $9.00 for a pack of 20. That's about 50 cents to kill a human being. Why are we making it so cheap and so easy to kill other Americans? Are American lives that cheap?
Note that these ideas as written above are not perfect; I typed this all up in about an hour; the editing took 10 times longer. I don't have the space or time to go into much more detail. They probably need to be tweaked for specific situations and I left out a lot of other ideas because I ran out of time. However, at least it's a start, something that we're currently not getting from the politicians. At least get people talking about it. If these ideas are bad, provide your own explanation as to why these ideas are bad. Provide your own ideas. Do something actively. Don't just mimic someone else's excuses. You have a brain; use it and think for yourselves.
Like that student survivor from the Florida shooting said: they're the kids and we're the adults. It's up to us to make the hard decisions on what it takes to keep them safe. If we choose to not do anything, we're just saying that owning a gun is more important than the life of a child. What does that say about us?
A final consideration: If there's an active shooter and you pull out your own gun to go after them AND the police show up, what do you think is going to be the next likely event to take place?
Yes, these mass shooters are crazy; you'd have to be to value life so cheaply. Let's not make it any easier for them.
Oh, while I'm here, I'd like to say that I'm pretty offended by those who blame immigrants for this country's problems. Looking at all the recent mass shootings of Americans this country. How many of them were committed by Mexicans? By Blacks? Asians? (Heaven forbid). How many by (gasp!) Muslims? How many were White Americans who were born here? (hmmmm....)
This country is a melting pot; we are all Americans, regardless of where our ancestors came from. And in case of Native Americans, they were here first and they didn't have immigration agents checking for visas in 1607 and 1620. Everyone else is an immigrant or descended from immigrant stock.
Also, I'm pretty pissed that there are people (especially politicians) who try to avoid bad-mouthing white American Nazis. This country proved once and for all that Nazis are evil; they have no place in a civilized society and especially not in America. It cost us 418,500 American lives in World War 2 to drive that point home. 60,000,000 people died because of a white supremist during the last century. To justify, or even glorify, racists in America in this moment in history dishonors the sacrifice of all those truly patriotic Americans who gave their lives fighting this evil. Let me say, once and for all, "There's no such thing as a good Nazi". We, as a nation, need to let them know that they have no place in this proud nation of immigrants.
Lest you think I'm some fanatic anti-gun nut, I will have you know that I'm not opposed to gun ownership. I would love to take a class and learn how to shoot with a pistol. I want to learn how to be responsible around a gun because I know I don't have to be afraid of them. That said, I want others to not have to worry about getting shot because of crazy people. If you think your "right" to own a gun under any conditions is more important then everyone's else "right" to not be shot, especially those of children, then you don't belong among other human beings.
See you on the dance floor.
Hey! If you want to send information to be included on this website, take a look at the formatting guidelines.