Saturday, December 22, 2012


There are so many guns out there and no proven method to secure them. The people who buy them are mostly responsible gun owners but once they’ve jumped through all the hoops to purchase their weapons there is no way to insure that the guns are secure.  As in the most recent tragedy in Connecticut it wasn’t the owner herself who used the guns but her deranged son. How did he get at them? Society cannot guarantee that the guns out their won’t get into the wrong hands.

The NRA suggests more guns. Of course. Somehow if we are all armed we will all be safer. But this flies in the face of the basic premise that the more guns the more chance that a gun will get into the wrong hands. More just increases the odds of a bad thing happening.

Here are my suggestions

1. Ban all assault weapons. These are for armed forces. If you want one or think you need one then YOU have a mental problem. Buy a Corvette instead. If we ban assault weapons there will be a few owners who will feel put upon and that their ‘rights’ have been trampled. This in the face of the huge majority of us who would feel safer if these weapons were not around at all.

2. If you already have an assault type weapon the government should buy it back at double what you paid for it.

3. The only guns citizens can own are revolvers and bolt action rifles. All hunters will still be able to hunt. All target shooters will still be able to compete. Anyone who feels they are safer with a hand gun can still feel safer. Fancy weapons, large clips and semi-automatic weapons are reserved for police and military.

Will this guarantee that a tragedy won’t happen in the future? No. Will it reduce the odds? Yes - and the constitution is intact.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Final two thoughts from the political arena . . . for now.

1. There is so much ‘our way or the highway’ in politics now. People get in office and if they have a 1 person majority in the house think they’re going to make the country just the way they want. Any ideas from the other side or ideas that are not on their check list are BAD. Of course getting everything you want never happens in politics and of course it never happens in life. When you buy a house you have your wish list but then you deal and compromise and you get one that has most of the features you had in mind. Of course. Unless you’re part of the 1% that have unlimited resources and you just have the house of your dreams built for you. The rest of us are compromising with our house/apartments.

So to enter the complex arena of US politics and think you can just run roughshod over the rest of us is not reasonable. It’s not good politics and it certainly is NOT governing. And yet that seems to be the attitude, and I think mostly from the Republican party, but all share some of the guilt. This is crazy because listen . . .

Any politician at any level was elected by about half the people. Not many elections go 95% - 5%. So, now that you’ve been ‘elected’ it’s time to get to work and govern. To think that you’re in there just to beat the drum of your constituents and by constituents I mean the large corporations that got you elected is not in the spirit of, well, governing! Maybe every corporate donor should get a letter like this . . .

Thank you for your contribution for the re-election of Rufus T. Bilkem for US Congress. As you know the Congressman stands for motherhood, babies (all of them), and death to commies but.. . . should he get elected he’ll have to temper those main ideas and look to get done what he can in the face of the godless liberals. So, for example, you’ll understand it if the congressman has to trade an increase in your company’s taxes for a reduction in greenhouse gasses. The greater good and all that, right! So thanks again and stand by!

Hmmm...probably not going to happen.

2. Suspected Mind Set of the Republican Party.

The Republicans got their asses handed to them on election day and maybe it was partly for subtly promising things that they can’t deliver. I think the subliminal message from the Republicans is, “Stick with us, vote for us, and we’ll get things back to the way they were”. Now the way they were is a nebulous idea. Back to Leave it to Beaver -  when negroes had separate drinking fountains? Back to before the New Deal when we had 30% unemployment and no social safety net? Back to the frontier days when men were gun toting men and women couldn’t vote? (now they only can’t drive!).

I kid!

There is no time period that IS America. This is disconcerting to ALL of us sometimes but we marshal on. America is a crazy, ever changing amusement park. There is NO time when it was not changing. Always going from one thing to another. LIke music, we all think that the stuff WE heard when WE were growing up was the best music ever (well in my case (Beatles, Stones, need I go on?)  it’s actually true but you get the idea.). America is going to get browner. It is. America is going to have at least 2 languages. It is. America is going to have a variety of couples loving and raising amazing children. It is.

Other trends are less predictable. Is American going to sit and stew in an unproductive snit of fundamentalist religious zealotry? Are we going to lose our ability to be the innovative champions of the planet? Are we going to be so stupid to just go fucking broke? Are we still going to be the people who go into space? We’ll see.

One thing I think will not change is that we will continue to be the Jack Reacher country of the planet. The one that you really don’t want to mess with. We have a really scary military* while in general we are a pretty friendly people. That’s a good combination but you do NOT want to piss us off. Ask Japan. Ask Germany. Ask Osama.

So to govern in America now is to think not what America is nor, especially, what it was, but where it is going. What are the trends? What is the rate of change in all the various social and political areas where things do change.

Do we elect anyone who thinks this way?

* One US nuclear submarine is more powerful than all but about 3 countries on the planet (and none of them are Iran, N. Korea, nor Argentina) . . . and we have several of them, so . . .