Gun Enthusiasts Talk About Their Rights, but Not About Their Responsibilities

Secure GunToday, I read an article on the Huffington Post about a 5 year old boy who shot his younger sister and had a reaction I’ve had reading similar stories.  Ummm, will the parents be prosecuted for child neglect, reckless endangerment, or something along those lines?

Yeah, I know, people say that the parents have been punished enough because they lost one child at the hands of another.  But according to gun enthusiasts, they are responsible and law-abiding.  So in that case, they shouldn’t mind being prosecuted for falling short being responsible?  Right?!?

Unfortunately, that’s not the conversation from supporters of stricter gun laws or gun owners and their lobbyists.  While the Second Amendment extends the right to gun ownership, people don’t attach much of a responsibility to that right.  It’s almost as if we’re all supposed to say, “Well, the parents weren’t gang members doing a drive by, so oops they left a loaded gun unsecured for children to accidentally shoot someone.  These things happen, but they’re otherwise ‘good’ people.  Let’s give them a pass.”

Nope, I’m not buying that.  Parents can own guns…sure, but parents are expected to be responsible for protecting their children.  Who has to worry about an intruder when mom and dad have FAILED to lock up loaded guns?  In this case, the gun belonged to the 5 year old and “was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a shell was left inside it.”  That child’s parents are responsible for preventing such an obvious hazard, yet they didn’t.

I’m not sure what the punishment should be in situations like this for gun owners who create opportunities for such accidents.  That’s something we have to decide as a society, but ineligibility to own guns should be a start since these gun owners didn’t do their due diligence to secure their weapons.  Even other gun owners should support this since any child including their own could be accidentally harmed or killed in a similar situation.

So, if the NRA and other gun lobbyists are going to wax poetic about the rights of gun owners, they need to demand that these gun owners be held responsible when they do not secure their weapons.  And for liberals who want more laws to prevent gun violence, how about insisting the laws that are on the books be used to prosecute people who are not responsible gun owners.

Since these tragic stories never seem to cease, maybe punishing the owners of the guns used might get even more people to safely secure their guns.


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Welcome to Democracy, Egypt!!!

Welcome to Democracy, Egypt!!!

Whenever countries try to transition from a dictatorship to a democracy, the rest of the world can’t do anything but worry they will return to a dictatorship.  A country where the populace has lived in fear and dread of it’s own government is unlikely to produce fully democratic leaders from their ranks.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to work in a system, how can you possibly lead that system, in this case a democratic government.

That’s my frustration with revolutions: they aren’t overnight cure-alls.  No matter how many Che Guevara t-shirts revolutionaries wear they seem to have a no grasp of how revolutions actually progress.  Nor do they seem to pay attention to how authoritarian governments progress towards more democratic states.  In each case, the progress isn’t just slow, but it stumbles and lurches along.

Take the United States for instance.  Our wonderful democracy is over two hundred years old, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing in the least.  Oh, no.  Our nation wasn’t even one hundred years old when we had a civil war that killed more people than all the wars we’ve fought since combined.  And our fighting isn’t over either…rich and poor, North and South, East/West and Mid-West, liberal and conservative, educated and less educated, white people and everyone else.  We are divisive as all hell!

So, how do we stick together and manage to move forward?  Our economy…duh!  We whine about our unemployment rate and trade deficits, but other countries would do anything to have our problems.  Since we have more to gain by working together, we tacitly agree to keep our democracy moving forward.  That’s exactly why our government will avoid going over the fiscal cliff.  Members of Congress have more money to lose if we go over that cliff than any other Americans, so…that crap isn’t happening.

While clearly Egypt can’t have an economy like the United States overnight, various factions in the general populace can spread the message that each person have more to gain by working together.  Often dictators and authoritarian governments make it where one group succeeds at the expense of others.  And as Egyptians protest anew, it is clear that those worries from the past will threaten the country’s democracy before it has a chance to get off the ground.

I’m not saying that you ignore differences or like the people who you differ with, but do you concentrate on those differences at the detriment of your government spurring on your economy and providing services people need?


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Gay Common Theme for 3 News Stories

Gay Common Theme for 3 News Stories

So today, I came across three totally different stories all linked because they deal with homosexuality in some way.  Each story made me wonder about people’s attitudes when I read about a lesbian being attacked, Dolly Parton having to deny she’s a lesbian, and another man accusing Kevin Clash the voice of Elmo of underage sex.

Early this morning, I came across a the headline “Alabama Woman Suffers Multiple Skull Fractures After Alleged Anti-Gay Attack” on The Huffington Post.  All I saw was the headline and small picture of a woman’s battered face.  I decided not to open the link.  It was as if not opening the link would undo what happened; and the bruises and dried blood would go away.  Finally after hours of seeing the picture and quickly clicking “page down,” I opened the link.  I hadn’t read half the story when I just started crying.  I cried in a way I rarely do…Looking at that picture, I just wanted to hold this stranger, Mallory Owens, to my chest like you would to comfort a child.  I wanted it all the go away.

What feeling is that—the feeling that would compel someone to cause “multiple skull fractures and crushed bones?”  Something is clearly not right with people who are that incensed by other people’s sexuality.  A study found “that homophobic attitudes are likely to be more pronounced among those who’ve experienced unacknowledged attraction towards members of the same sex.”  So, I wonder if these folks are driven to be more demonstrative that they aren’t gay, even if that means harming people in the LGBT community?

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Gourmet Dog Food? Really?!?!

Gourmet Dog Food? Really?!?!

I watched “CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood” this morning like I often do on Sundays, but this morning I saw some foolishness beyond compare.

Gourmet, locally grown, raw dog food.  Why?!?!  When some people in the richest country in the world, “[a]n estimated 14.9 percent of U.S. households”, some people feel the need to go overboard in feeding their pets.  I mean dogs will literally eat anything, yet no one told these folks…

I once dated a guy from Eastern Europe and he was disgusted by the infinite selection in the pet food aisle at a local grocery store.  He just kept shaking his head and asking, “What is this?”

When I asked him what he fed his dog at home, he told me they just fed the family dog scraps after they were done with a meal.  What was good enough for them was good enough for the dog without them having to specially prepare food for the dog.

The problem isn’t one of the 1% or the 53%, but a problem of people who choose to live in an alternate reality where they get to ignore the problems majority of the world.  They’ve created a cocoon for themselves and no one says, “Hey, a block away and around the corner a whole other world exists.”  What a world we live in…

And by the way, people in countries with emerging markets aren’t likely to buy this crap from American manufacturers, so good luck with those trade deficits…


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Does the Media Show Bias in Naming Juvenile Defendants? Does Pamela Anderson Have Implants?

Does the Media Show Bias in Naming Juvenile Defendants?  Does Pamela Anderson Have Implants?

A few months ago, a story surfaced about a teenager, Tyler Pagenstecher, who was arrested for “selling up to $20,000 worth of high-grade marijuana a month to high school students in southwestern Ohio.”  He was recently convicted and sentenced to six months in jail.

According original reports, Pagenstecher was part of a drug ring with other dealers working for him, but what I found amazing was the news outlets reticence to either name or show pictures of this major teen drug dealer in early news stories.  Instead, the only pictures were from behind while he was in court, yet these same stories continually did everything to sculpt the story of a kid from a good suburban neighborhood who got caught up in a selling drugs.  They always emphasized that he didn’t spend the money on lavish clothes or cars.  Basically, he wasn’t your stereotypical drug dealer (poor or a person of color), so give him break!

Typically the news doesn’t have any issue showing juveniles accused and arrested for heinous crimes like the teen accused in the Chardon, Ohio school shooting.  His name was released fairly quickly as well as negative information about his family.  At the time I was surprised by how much negative information was released considering he hadn’t been charged yet.

In another recent case, a black teenage football star was charged “with two counts of [raping]” “an acquaintance.”  In the link and on multiple news stories, the accused was identified; although he had yet to be convicted.  Local television news stories glossed over parts of the story that didn’t make sense and focused on how he was being recruited by Ohio State University.  In fact, his recruitment by OSU and other colleges was the major focus of most stories; it seemed to imply that these schools had dodged recruiting a bad apple who’d tarnish their sports programs.

I am against releasing the names of juveniles or their picture. First of all, they may not even be guilty and that guilt can only be determined once they’ve had a trial and been convicted.  Secondly, even if a child is convicted of a crime, because they are so young they should be given the opportunity to serve their sentence and have a fresh start in their lives.  Finally and most importantly, news outlets are not consistent in whom they name and reveal to the public.

In an Associated Press story on the drug dealing teen, it states:

The Associated Press is naming Pagenstecher because of the seriousness of the crimes and because teen’s identity quickly became public following the announcement of the charges against him when he was 17.

In light of this statement, what makes a crime “serious” enough to warrant revealing a juvenile?  Also, in spite of the “seriousness of the [crime],” would they have chosen not to reveal his name if his “identity [didn’t] quickly [become] public?”  Why should any individual news outlet or reporter have discretion to drastically affect the lives of people so young?

It often seems the media is more willing to identify juveniles who are either white and poor or people of color.  If a kid is white and from the suburbs, society should cut them some slack because they can’t possibly be on their way to a life a crime.  Even if they are part of a drug dealing enterprise individually earning $240,000 a year and have their own underlings to help sell the marijuana…

If these outlets do not consistently reveal the identities of juveniles, then they should just abstain for doing so at all.  Every child should be afforded the same discretion and benefit of the doubt.


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Is This Picture Photoshopped? Nope, Unfortunately it’s Reality…

Mitt Romney as the Incredible Hulk

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Politics


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Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

On Friday, the “2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals” ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Naturally, supporters of the law that “defines marriage as a union between a man and woman for the purposes of federal law viewed the ruling as “yet another example of judicial activism and elite judges imposing their views on the American people.”  That’s funny because people against the law think religious zealots are trying to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of the country.

According to a Huffington Post article:

In a majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs, the 2nd Circuit, like a federal appeals court in Boston before it, found no reason the Defense of Marriage Act could be used to deny benefits to married gay couples.

…discrimination against gays should be scrutinized by the courts in the same heightened way as discrimination faced by women was in the 1970s.  At the time, he noted, they faced widespread discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. The heightened scrutiny, as it is referred to in legal circles, would mean government discrimination against gays would be assumed to be unconstitutional.

I doubt this will keep conservative members of Congress from trying to pass more laws to impose their religious beliefs on all Americans and limit the rights of LGBT community and impose religious beliefs.

Mind you these same members of Congress will rail against governments in Afghanistan and Iran or rogue groups in African countries who strictly impose one set of religious beliefs on all their citizens, yet they hold their tongues in regards to countries like Saudi Arabia and then attempt to impose one set of religious beliefs at home.  And that my friends is a lesson in hypocrisy.

For what it’s worth, I hope our courts continue to defend all citizens from discrimination and the weight of a few imposing their beliefs on the many.


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