Sunday, April 29, 2007

Liberty or Security?

It's really difficult for me to read things like this, because I see the language used as effective for no purpose other than driving the United States into a second civil war, with "Liberals" on one side and "Conservatives" on the other. It's insulting, and I don't deal well with it. The substance of the proposal is something I originally missed because my eyes started glazing over. I'll try to put that aside and read it again. (These types of commentaries REALLY piss me off.)

"These people", referring in the first paragraph to liberals, means exactly who? Give me names or drop the reference. He's complaining about people who point fingers by pointing fingers. How stupid is that?

What the hell is this 'political correctness' crap? Who doesn't deserve to be treated with respect? Name them. It sounds like this guy is saying that Violent inclinations should be dealt with by putting people in jail, or denying them lives because we are terrified that someday they may do something. Is he suggesting that we should have sent this kid back to South Korea, and kicked his parents and sister out of the country because he was dealing with stress? I know you advocate closing the border, but that's not going to happen as long as the United States remains part of the earth.

Treating people with respect and continuing to give people a chance to reach their potential through education does not mean that we are all hostages. That could be taken as a call to reenact what the Soviet Union created in Eastern Europe, where the police ask to see our papers every time we get on a bus to go somewhere, and they have gulags where people who are "politically incorrect" labor without hope forever. Is that what we want?

Terror, terror, terror, be afraid, be afraid be afraid. I don't have the time. Am I willing to lose some towers in order to protect the constitution and the future of my chidren? Yes. Sorry, but yes. I believe in the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That means I'm willing to sacrifice to maintain my ideals. If people die, it's because we didn't do a good enough job in prevention. I don't believe that closing the borders or throwing out people who have weird thoughts running through their heads is a positive solution. I do believe that Seung-Hui Cho should have been put into counseling and watched. I don't believe he should have been able to walk across the street from the school and purchase the weapons. But I also don't believe that the solution is to point fingers at people who are different from myself and deny them any rights whatsoever.

We can bitch, moan and complain about what should have happened forever, and I'm sure people like this author will. I'd rather repair the damage, and then look to the future changes that we should actually do to prevent something like this from happening again. First, we need to view violent tendencies as a mental illness, and completely fund mental illness treatment through a national health care system. A system like this would have known what to do with Cho, and would have given him the help he needed to get out of his downward spiral. Second, we need to all understand that people with mental illness might be dangerous to society, and have the communications infrastructure and legal framework in place to prevent people like this from being able to purchase weapons. That means that when Cho produced his ID for the gun dealer, the dealer's computer would have instantly told him that it was not safe to let him purchase guns, and would have alerted Cho's councilors that he tried to purchase them. Or is that too much "Big Brother", because it would have to be applied to US Citizens as well as foreign nationals and their children. Or do you think people like Timothy McVey should be ignored by such a system while Seung-Hui Cho should be singled out?

The Virginia Tech massacre was a tragedy, just like 9/11 was a tragedy. And the reaction of our country to being hit was immediately to hit back, and then get distracted by someone else. Instead of blaming Osama Bin Laden and going after him until he was put on trail in an International Court, we got distracted by someone that we used to supply weapons for. And now 3,000+ soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead. The reaction of this author to Virginia Tech sees to be "Blame the Teachers!", "Blame Rosie O'Donnell!", "Blame the lberal politicians!", "Blame those people over there, and anyone who lets those people come over here!"

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security - Ben Franklin

Give me liberty or give me death - Patrick Henry

To secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity - Preamble to the US Constitution

What are you willing to do to our liberty in order to gain a little security? I'm not interested in pointing fingers, or putting mentally ill people in jail. I am interested in preventing something like this by prosecuting the gun dealer for not doing a complete background check, and fix the government systems so that such a background check would have come up with a "do not sell" flag. But I'm not interested in closing our borders, and I'm not interested in denying our kids or anyone's kid an education and the opportunity to reach their potential.

Now do you understand why I find this article to be pure crap?


Friday, April 20, 2007


I heard something interesting today. French Presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen was asking on a talk show how many French grandparents someone should have to be considered "truly French".

I wonder. How many German grandparents were required to be considered truly German in 1930?

I also heard that part of the "debate" in the Washington State Senate about Senator Oemig's Investigation & Impeachment bill was which political party was more patriotic. How many people have been killed in Iraq, and how many of our civil liberties have been torn to shreds, seems to have taken a back seat to the importance of which party would outdo the other by having American Flags on their desks, and the Democrats won by having theirs lowered to half-mast. Isn't that special...

Nationalism has it's place. It should be something that enhances pride in a nation's accomplishments, and it should help create an identity that helps enhance the positive view that people from other countries have of us. But it should not be a contest on who has the most Gravitas or who's flagpole is bigger. All of those kinds of contests are a way to avoid the real issues that are taking the lives of our young people and destroying our country.

So my message to politicans all over the world is this: Get over yourselves, and start paying attention to the real issues. Or you will be replaced. I don't care which party you hail from, or what country. The people are sovereign on this planet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Framing gun control

I've heard a lot on the news today about the shooting at Virginia Tech. Here are some of my thoughts.

I've heard that John McCain is saying that Americans have the right to own guns, but that we should make sure that the bad people don't get them. What kind of drivel is this?! The Bad People is a reference to anyone different from us, or more importantly in the view of this frame different from ME. If I'm white, I should be aware and skittish around Black, Hisanic, Asian, etc. Reminds me of the movie Bowling for Columbine, which examined the gun culture in America. If I'm Christian, I should be afraid of non-Christians. If I'm not Christian, I should be afraid of Christian Fundamentalists.

This is called deterrence through fear. We are pushed away from our sense of security by igniting the fight or flight instinct. It's easy, cheap and quick. It gets ratings, and it ignites passions beyond logic. It's up to us as individuals to learn how to live with those passions and fears, and let them burn themselves out without causing any harm.

One news program had guests that were either pro- or anti- gun control, and one guest had the perspective that in a situation such as that faced by the students and teachers in that school who were cowering behind doors, desks and book cases, that some of them were likely thinking "I wish I had a gun". I really wonder about the effectivness of that kind of wish, because it seems to be somewhat of a death wish. Wouldn't it be better to be thinking "I wish that the person losing control of their passions did not have a gun?"

It's in the US Constitution that we have the right to keep and bear arms. The context of the 2nd Amendment has been up for debate since it passed Congress, and each person has their own interpretation of what it means. To me, just because I have the right to own something that can kill others, I'd rather not exercise that right. I don't own a gun because I don't feel like I need one.

I don't think the issue is whether we have the right to own firearms. That's not up for questioning, unless we want to take it out of the Constitution. And that would open a major can of worms. I think a better way is focusing our attention on the manufacturing of firearms. Why do we have so many companies making weapons of war? And it's not just in the United States, but all over the world.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The American Way needs to change.

What it's going to take for someone to win the Oval Office is popularity. Fundamentally, that's what the election is, a popularity contest. Candidates can earn that popular vote within each state by having the best ideas, having a worthy history in government service, or being able to pay for the best advertising. Whatever works, the campaigns will do. We can try to put all the higher ideals on it that we wish, but in the end, whoever gets the most votes wins, both at a caucus, a primary or the general election.

Bill Richardson would be fantastic as President. I really appreciate his foreign policy experience, and I like what he's done in New Mexico with Energy policy. He would certainly be a good person to go to the Middle East to talk and listen to the leaders and the people over there. But I'm thinking that it might take a lot of work to broker those deals, and we need someone dedicated to making it work who won't have to also work on other issues. I believe that Gov. Richardson needs to be the person to focus on the issues that we have with our neighbors in the global community.

My top three candidates right now are Edwards, Obama and Richardson. But I'm looking beyond the Oval Office and into the Cabinet room. I want to know who is going to be picked for Secretary of Health and Human Services. I want to know who will be picked to fill the Secretary of Labor position. I want the best minds and the best hearts around the table listening to each other and gathering ideas on how to fix the problems that we are facing. I don't want one person saddled with the responsibility of coming up with all the ideas.

At the Denver convention, we need to know without a doubt who will be looking at and solving the problems that we face as a nation and how we will help our neighbors solve the problems that we face around the world. I want to know who will sit around the round table in collaboration and cooperation with each other, with the American People and with the world community.

We need to stop crushing the American Dream with the American Way. The way we live needs to change at a deep fundamental level.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Quotes for the week

From Nicole Brodeur:

Because it's the American Way -- which can sometimes crush the American Dream.

And one that came to my mind the other day as I was riding my bike home from work:

This bike is powered by sweat and ingenuity, not blood and brain injuries.