Recent events have conjured up thoughts about similar events of the past few years, which bring the conversation of gun control to the forefront. Each mass shooting that occurs brings the feelings of horror and fear. Horrific displays of violence that end with even a death are preventable. The sympathy for the victims and survivors in these situations is necessary and understood. The questions are overwhelming as to why any of this happened. However, the greatest question is on the prevention of it happening. How could we as a society avoided such unnecessary events? How can we stop all deaths from gun violence?
The conversation has been avoided by most of the leaders as it is claimed that the time is inappropriate. Yet, if we wait, then the moment of learning has past and all is lost in vain. The talk of gun control needs to be held on all levels including the prevention of the societal issues that created the situation in the first place.
There is little argument that the gun is not to blame for the actions of the person. No gun will march out to a place and kill multiple people without someone to pull the trigger. I would not say that the tool is the blame of the action, but it is the tool of the action. Without it being in the possession of a willing individual, the matter will not happen. Simply put, if you don’t give a carpenter a hammer to built, the house will not be built.
Guns have purpose in the hands of the wielder, so we must address the true issue of gun violence. Two sides of this debate will forever twist and balance on the tip of the Second Amendment. As citizens of the U.S., we all have this right as accorded in the Constitution. Pause for a moment and read the exact words and understand the context of the words:
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.
These words have created debate upon debate without pause. It has led to crucial and defining decisions in the Supreme Court which have shaped our current view from the original context. There is no doubt that anyone can break this right down to support their view. It is apparent in the large lobbying group, NRA, which never stops campaigning for the right to keep guns available to everyone.
However, let’s consider one point mentioned already. The wielder of the weapon is the one with the intent, and based on the environmental and societal effects on this person, it can move away from this right to bear arms among others in a well regulated militia very quickly. The Free State that requires security does need a well regulated militia that serves the people. It is not for the individual to use as one pleases. It is the individual right to have the weapon in the case of raise arms to protect, but the aggressor should never be defended with this right. It is purely a stance of defense.
Most news outlets and the sheep that follow along without thinking would have the populace believe that now is not the time for a discussion. Waiting will only bring the next tragedy before the news covers it again. This is wrong. Shortly after President Reagan was shot and a member of his cabinet was struck in the head, a form of gun control came into the discussion and was passed into law. It was not too early then. When Gabby Giffords was shot in Tuscon, AZ, it was mentioned that gun control was being brought up too soon. After the shootings in West Virginia and Aurora, we heard that it was all too soon to speak of gun control. The victims are gone. Families are wounded. Lives are destroyed. It is too late for this to be changed, but it is never too soon to wake up and fix this problem. Regulate the guns by regulating the people who go to buy them. The sense of the solution is bubbling over and it is time that we break through the horrific rhetoric of the media and lobbyists who cry “Too Soon!”
Enough…just fix the solution at its source before it is Too Late for someone else. Protect the citizens by protecting the guns from aggressors.
The week has been complete with the return of my children from their vacation. It was a great trip for them and left them eager to return home before school starts again. They have about a week before it starts. For some, it may be early, but the school system in Arizona is year around. They have a two month break for summer and a month off in December. Their break was fulfilling and they are ready to get started again.
This leaves me with a chance to turn my eyes back to the topics that I wish to write about. This blog has been an exploration of my thoughts and questions for the world. Recently, I have taken some time to read and replenish a few of my tanks. As I have mentioned before, I am a nerd with a great amount of interest in many things. As a scholar, I have noted that I enjoy reading through various works of Antiquity and religious histories.
So with this blog, I am going to present a curious idea that came to my mind a few days ago. Many of us like to touch upon our interests and we express our philosophies for life in general. I have taken a few days over the last few months to establish what my fundamental thoughts are on religion and science. I have even attempted to show a few points on the historicity of Jesus Christ. I have tossed out a few thoughts on the topics of politics including women and gay rights in the United States. All this has led me to a moment when I ask myself if I have a solid argument.
At first, I was left with a hollow feeling that perhaps I was foolish in my thinking. I mean, how could I say something that would change a mind or cause one to consider a different opinion? Was I truly making a difference?
I remembered that it did not matter and I was ready to move on. I did not start this blog to write and change a generation from the destructive path that some feel our society is on. I wanted to scratch a few words on the wall and allow the Internet to absorb part of me. So, with that thought, I am back to work on my thoughts and hope to be a little more prolific in the next few days. Also, I have attracted my 50th follower, so I am excited. Thanks for reading.
This blog has become an exercise for me, personally. I have learned to refine my writing and stretch tight muscles to give me some flexibility. I have touched on some wonderful topics that have crossed my mind and expressed how I see things. As each topic comes from articles and books that I have encountered, I select a topic that incites my passions and thoughts to write. My Muse comes to me in that singular moment of emotion and sparks the ability to bring the thoughts together in a coherent notion.
It is my intention to keep a perspective that is open to many ideas and allow these ideas to form an opinion. I associate it to the technique that is used in drawing that is called two-point perspective. If you look at the sketch of a block or building, the lines of the object move off into infinity to two points. This allows the object in relative closeness to the viewer to appear larger than the side of the object. The farther away the lines move to the points, the smaller the object becomes. It is the same with opinions. We draw from sources that seem to be small and distant until we pull them closer and build on them. Once the material is assembled, the object/opinion stands before you in a greater understanding. I seek to remind the viewer that without the distant points, the opinion will lose its perspective and quickly fall apart.
With this idea, I have also sought to communicate the importance of cognizance and liberality. It is with an open mind and a broad acceptance of differing opinions that we move past the ignorance and intolerance that are beginning to subjugate our society into a state that reminds me of the dark ages of the medieval times.
I have set the context of the opinion. I have explained the source of the opinion. Now, the continued mission is to show the opinion on each topic that comes along. As the title of the blog suggests, I Write Irate. It is a true irritation to see the policies around me become more and more intolerant and ignorant to the needs of the people as a whole. I will attempt to avoid a stance that is polemic, but it is bound to happen from time to time.
Often I see that we in the United States are caught in the debate over what our Founding Fathers were suggesting in their own writing. It is an examination of the stance that they were taking within the context of the times. If someone suggested that the idea of slavery being abolished during the times of the American Revolution, they would have to delve into the writings of the key leaders of the time. If someone suggested that it was the intent of the authors of the Constitution to promote a separation of Church and State, they would support that thought with the writings of those authors. However, I would also include in the research of this topic the context of times. One does not just read a quote from one book and understand every thought behind the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.
I respect anyone that wants to wade into the mire that is a hotspot of the political debate such as the First Amendment. It is as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. http://constitution.laws.com/1st-amendment
There are different interpretations to this single amendment as it becomes the first one in the Bill of Rights. It has been a source of great debate, Supreme Court case, and the social conflict over civil rights. It is a complex issue with an open arena of discussion and understanding.
Where I am going with this will likely take three separate posts. The plan is to explore the context of the writing. My background will not just let me take this matter at face value or leave it to the simple interpretation that fits into one’s agenda. Next, I will step into the thick soup that is the debate over the freedom of speech. It will not be an in-depth examination into the history of the debate, but current events will become the focus and how we debate the topic. Lastly, I will dive into the freedom of religion and its part in the ideal of separation of Church and State.
This is a project that I believe will take some time, so it will be spread out over a few weeks. It is not my intention to just slap up my opinion. I wish to give the audience a moment to step past the agendas in today’s political climate and understand more of what we Americans truly believe. I hope that it will be informative. I am excited to see what the response is.
Distractions are trouble points for all of us. We all reach into the ether to concentrate on the thoughts or words to express our opinion. As we try to focus, the world comes to pull our minds away from those opinions. I have had those days when I cannot get past the distractions of the world. It can become a true obstacle that causes frustration. It can also be the moment when the world reminds us that we need not take ourselves so seriously.
In the past, the distractions and constant bombardment of stimuli were not as steady as it is these days. I remember the afternoons when I could relax with just a radio playing in the background. I felt my mind expand and explore the reaches of the universe. I was not under the continuous barrage of information on my brain. I could step into the quiet and focus on the details of a book or my thoughts. I believe that most would agree that with the invention of the Internet, we are all under this mental assault that fills us with information. It is not all bad, but caution should be taken.
For example, how many people these days are in constant communication with someone via cell phones, e-mails, or other device of instant messaging? I have met a few teenagers that spend nearly every moment of the day sending text messages. It has become the quickest way to communicate and it has replaced the need to talk to your friends on the phone. We are evolving into a species that will soon fall into the habits of needing the cell phone or the Internet.
Recently, due to my unemployment, I temporarily lost my internet connection at home. At first, I was a little peeved that such had happened, but when the income is missing, the luxuries are the first to go. Only necessities are needed in those times. Yet, I realized that the connection was more than just a luxury to connect with the Internet. It was a necessary part of life like water and electricity. I had a need to continue my search for a job. I had a need to continue my commitment to some freelance writing. I had a need to stay connected to the world.
When this epiphany hit me, I laughed. I was just as addicted to the needs that are fulfilled by the Internet. So, I turned my thoughts to the distractions that had been created by this addiction and I began to explore my thoughts again. It became a struggle to clear away the cobwebs in a mind that was cluttered beyond my expectations.
So, I began this blog to relieve a great deal of the hoarded information and cleanse my mind. It has been the one tool in my toolbox that I have always depended on. I cannot allow it to become so clogged that it runs out of space or loses its abilities due to disorganization. It will also allow me to find a proper place for the opinions and understandings. I can learn to appreciate the moments when I am not distracted. I can learn to use the distractions to my benefit.
I have found a peace that I hope will continue as I move along the road. Life has been throwing quite a few curve balls and I have to settle back in the batter’s box to lift the pitch out of the park. As I have come to this point, I have realized that my younger days may have passed away, but it will not stop my mind from staying young. I will cling to the hopefulness and desires of life that I had when I was young.
My challenge to the people is to use the distractions as a tool rather than an obstacle. We are not victims, but we are the true form that Nature has given everything to. Homo Sapiens is not just a classification for our species. It is a true statement of what we are…Wise Human Beings. Don’t fail to make your ancestors proud.
Less in the world makes clear sense these days. I wake each day with the clear picture in my mind of what the world holds for me. After a few hours, I learn quickly how wrong that can be and where I stand. It is in the mire of clouded thoughts and jumbled opinions. It makes me wish that I had a nice chemical dispersant to clear away the vast tracks of this ocean filled with the oil slick of misunderstanding. Of course, if I did, someone would just start drilling in another place.
Don’t get me wrong. My kind of dispersant is not the only one. Each one of us has the ability to cut through the darkness of misleading information. Truth, as they say, becomes very subjective. It has to with the onslaught of information that the world has to offer. We are no longer able to remain isolated and blind to the world. It is a global picture that dances before our eyes and we must find a way to filter out the propaganda. Only then can the heart of the matter be found. This is basic methodology to anyone wanting to understand a subject.
When a person or a group of people has an agenda, it must have support from the general populace. The power to move comes from the population. They give the power to a person or a group with the agenda. This is also a basic method to the political structure of a nation. Most of the time, the leader will use abstract concepts like patriotism or nationalism to rally the masses around a direction in the agenda. Each person feels the meaning of those concepts in intimate way and each will rally around the cause that has been connected to one of those concepts.
All of this creates a cloud that a person must find a way to see through, unless the person has a wish to be isolated, insulated, and uninvolved with the outside world. In this case, these ideas can come for communities that support the nation and believe that it has the people’s best interests at heart. It can also come from communities who believe that they no longer need the support of a bigger group for direction. It is their belief that they can survive better hidden in obscurity.
This can leave one in the blissfulness of ignorance or it can be a never-ending struggle to clear away the cloud cover. As the ignorance grows toward the matters in the outside would, it can bred the beliefs that are intolerant to those that are different in every way. When that choice is made, it sows the ground for the next generation to live in the darkness of isolation and ignorance of the world. Or the decision can sway a person or a group to the side that seeks to educate them and push away the blanket of misdirection and propaganda.
I have been in this kind of environment as I was raised in a small town. We were isolated from the outside by the elders of the community seeking to shield us from the outsiders. I am reminded often of the movie The Village. I can identify with the tales that the elders would tell. It was not about monsters, but the outside world was filled with sin and evil that we were advised to never seek.
It was a secure place where the hierarchy of the town was derived from which denomination of Christianity was attended weekly. There was little else to categorize the people of my hometown. Once I left the confines of the small town, I learned quickly that I was never going to be welcomed back. This personal experience has informed me well with the opinion of this blog posting.
We are citizens of this nation. It is our duty to keep ourselves involved in the actions of our leaders and remain aware of the true reasons behind their actions. Civic duties create the ability to make informed decisions when it comes time to choose the leaders that will guide us into the future. If a citizen casts a vote without the facts or does not cast a vote at all, this person does far more damage to the structure of the future. We all know that we are the builders of the future.
As the year draws closer to the moment when we choose the next wave of leaders, I challenge each to look pass the propaganda or agendas to find the facts. Out of this enlightenment, we will see the future that is not all about whose side is right or wrong. It will be a hope that we are still filled with the potential to be greater than those before us. Make it happen! If you don’t, perhaps we should have stayed in the trees with the rest of the apes.
Let me start with a little background. I am a graduate of a public university with a bachelor’s in Classical Humanities with a strong focus in the development of ancient religions. I am what can be labeled a non-traditional student. This is to say that I completed college outside the traditional phase of going right after high school. I graduated from the university at the age of 35. Now this is not to say that I was unable to attend after high school. I did attend for three years after graduating at the top of my high class and found that I was unable to complete it due to lack of funds.
During my third year, it became clear that my father’s income was considered to be too high for me to qualify for enough financial aid to cover the last year of college. He was still raising three sisters of mine, so he was unable to help. I fell into a hole that nearly ended my dream of finishing my education and the promise of a successful future in the field that I had studied. I was in school and part time jobs didn’t cover the bill of thousands of dollars. So, I was forced to make a change and return to the blue collared life.
After marrying, I looked to whatever job that I could find. I wanted to return to school, but that was a goal that would have to wait. It was a dark time in my life with my spouse as the only light. However, after all of these struggles, I had the fortune of landing a job on a college campus. It was an entry level janitorial position, but it gave me the opportunities that I needed. To sweeten the deal, I learned that tuition was waived as a benefit to my job. I was on my way and after eight years of waiting, I had my chance. I became a part time non-traditional student with the goal of completing my degree. It took me five more years to finish, but I was never so proud to accept that diploma and raise my hand in the air. I had beaten some difficult odds.
Now what does this have to do with my post today? Well, during those years of college, I still had to accept a few student loans to cover fees, books, and a few living expenses. It was necessary and I was willing to take some debt to achieve my American dream. One considers that debt will happen as it is part of the investment for a future in a career that will provide an income that should help pay off that debt. It is like a house loan. You need the debt for a while so you can continue to have a roof over your head. However, the job did not materialize and I returned to the skills that I had acquired during my ten years on the campus. It was enough to find employment to pay the bills, support the family, and attempt to pay down the debt.
Forbearance became my friend after a few years of paying down the debt, but it was only going to put it off while accruing a nice bit of interest for the loan company. Five years ago, the government passed a bill that cut the interest in half. I was feeling that perhaps I was gaining a benefit from the same government that has cut the tax rates of the upper class a few years before.
Now, we are in an election season and this whole matter has come to be a factor for me personally and students who are facing a similar future with their loans. The bill that lowered the interests on student loans will expire this summer and return the rates back to the levels before the bill.
So, my question is this: Am I willing to see my student loan interest increase if the tax cuts for those with incomes over a quarter of a million also return to their former rate as they are schedule to do at the end of this year? In other words, am I willing to pay my part if they are willing to pay their part? At this end of the spectrum, the proposed reason for the cuts on the rates of the higher incomes was that they would be creating jobs and we would all benefit from the trickle down effect. However, in those years, I have seen the jobs fade from this economy and balloon the unemployment to nearly ten percent. I am aware of the spin point and opinions that other factors are involved, but the plain fact is that the trickle down effect is like the precipitation in the desert…sparse and unhelpful to the growth on the ground. That entirely aside, my question still stands.
My answer is simple. Yes. I would take the increase to pay my part, work hard to achieve what I can, and prosper in this country in the hopes that the cuts in tax rates are allowed to expire at the end of the year. Because it is on my shoulders that I hold steady the weight of the country as a civic duty. If I can do it, then it should be something that all citizens of this country can do. A free market society may be the argument, but again, we need to find the balance of the system. It is only then that we will find a success that will allow us to reach our greatest potential.
Time to wake! Step apart from the fringes and join the balancing of our system! Don’t let someone hold up the country alone.
In a world where each of us has a responsibility to pay heed to our society as part of our citizenship, it is time for me to express a few specific ideas into the internet ether. As I titled this blog with an obvious stance, I wanted a place where I could express my opinions on some key issues. In starting this, I realize that I am about to swim into an ocean of such blogs where everyone has an opinion floating aimlessly. However, as a life preserver in this stormy sea, I am taking this in a different direction. A rant is characterized as “an emotional and loud exclamation” according to my friends at Merriam-Webster- Merriam-webster.com. So allow me to clarify one subtle point to my outburst of opinion here. I would characterize my rant as an emotional yet somewhat rational speech. I have established this with my writing so far and it will continue this way in future posts.
With all that said, I imagine that quite of few people would like to know my purpose in this blog. Do I plan to make a weekly statement about some foolishly hatched decision by some equally foolish politician with no concern for his constituency, but for his own special interests? Will I speak out in order to create a wave of public opinion that will change the tide of our society from some strange, fringe demagoguery to benefit a small group? I may not post weekly, but the timing will come on those occasions that I feel a need to point out how a person or idea is destructive to our society. I will not comment on every point because we have 24 hour news channels to take care of that. I am very interested in the topics of diverting the notion that it is ignorance and intolerance that moves this world. For that, I am eager to see how this all comes into being. I am very excited to join the ranks of voices in the blog universe.
Where does one start with all of issues thrown out to the hungry public waiting to hear some news story that helps to reinforce their beliefs about a situation or opinion? The true purpose of journalism is to inform the public of the facts, but this is often lost in the spin of opinion and the slant of the news organization. This is truly a strange statement for me to write because I do, admittedly, have my own opinions and sides to most issues. Each comes from a particular strong conviction related to the topic. However, I want to express that the extremes of both sides are the ones that divide the community rather than work to find the truth in the middle. Some of my opinions are on the fringe, but I will warn everyone ahead of time that I am going extreme. Consider this your warning: I am going to an extreme today.
Social commentary can lead to a great many volatile discussions, but today, I must comment on a story that has been pressing my brain against the back of my skull for the better part of a year. In the realm of state politics, we have all seen the numerous stories that speak of a campaign to bring the issue of abortion back into the limelight. Decades after a landmark decision was made in the SCOTUS, the movements of social conservatism raised this issue back to the surface with the agendas of many state governments proposing and passing laws that will regulate a woman’s body. Several of the laws have gone to the point of explaining when life begins as if this is the sticking point.
The purpose is twofold. One is that these states believe that the issue has not been settled with the Supreme Court decision because it is not morally right to allow the abortions. This comes from a belief that if they can legislate when life begins then they can determine if abortion is murder. These new laws have stretched the guidelines from which trimester a pregnancy is in, to stating that life begins at conception. These laws include that the circumstances of the conception is not a determining factor. So, in the cases of rape and incest, the pregnancy must continue. Some advocates against these measures also read into this that certain contraception will become illegal due to how they work. At this point, the matter becomes so multifaceted that one can quickly become lost in the arguments. For me, it comes down to a simple matter of individual rights. A woman’s body as well as a man’s body is their own. It is not owned by the government in any manner. If we begin to legislate on these matters of controlling individual bodies, freedoms of all kinds will become sacrifices on the altar to whichever morally righteous group has majority in our lawmaking assemblies. In this, I have to lean in favor of the individual over the community.
The second point is the struggle over the state’s right against the federal government. The tenth amendment rests behind these decisions as the states work hard to reclaim their powers of government in their state. Strong supporters turn to this and suggest that the federal government has no right to legislate on these issues. It is for the state to decide. The individual states are struggling against the community of the United States. It is true that the states should have power over their citizens. The argument that the Supreme Court’s decision was overreaching has some validity. How can the state continue to have rights if the larger community overrules the decisions within the states? To answer that, let me reflect back to the first point. Is it right to remove the individual rights of a person in the case of their body? Do the states have any moral high ground to cry out that the larger community is taking away their rights as they are themselves taking away the rights of the individuals in the state?
There is no reason for a society to simply make a blanket law over its people that do not benefit the people as a whole. We are all individuals with different beliefs and moral standings. Laws are meant to create a society where all rights are shared equally by all the citizens. Rights are not something that can be taken away by laws. They are granted to all citizens. Stop this madness and return to helping the society rather than controlling them.