A Question for Gun Rights Advocates

Having just proclaimed my doubts about gun restrictions on practical and individual rights grounds, I have a pointed question for those who advocated gun rights.

If you could make the world weapons free, would you?

It seems to me that you can object to gun limits on two grounds.  First, practicality.  That is say it won’t work.  The intent of gun laws may be good , but they are enforceable in practice, especially against people who already have no problem with breaking the law.  The   second is on principle alone.  Even if gun laws could reduce murder and other crimes, I think I prefer the freedom to own weapons to that.

I think those who advocate for gun rights usually use arguments of practicality, but tend to feel more passionately about the first.  Political success seems more likely by focusing on the impracticality of gun limits regardless of feelings on principle.

My question if answered affirmatively would make that clear.  So how about it?

Orlando

So the worst gun disaster yet. Gun controls are again being pursued by many.

My thinking on guns has evolved mostly against it, or at least pursuing it at this time. Why?

First, past experience suggests that a lot of arguments will be exchanged, but nothing will happen. Already we’ve seen a filibuster to push gun limits and it failed. President Obama has spent a lot of political capital on this issue to no avail. I think if Sandy Hook didn’t move the needle on gun control, then nothing will. Over time gun ownership is declining, and in a few more decades, the political practically might be there, but it isn’t now. That said pursuing it will just divert attention from other issues and in the end accomplish nothing. Why do that.

Second, if any limit actually passed, I’m certain there will be massive evasion of the new limits. Given the passion in favor of an unfettered second amendment right, I can’t imagine that all gun owners going to enthusiastically comply with the new laws. It seems more likely to be a parallel to Noble Experiment of Prohibition: reducing respect for laws; and widely disobeyed. To truly enforce limits on guns in a country with such a large stock of weapons and fondness for them would require the most draconian enforcement. If you assume we can’t round up illegal aliens practically, then I don’t think you can argue we can do the same with illegal guns.

Third, even if obeyed by some it almost certainly will not stop most mass shooters – like in Orlando. The Orlando shooter with his security background seems likely to have had a number ways to acquire weapons legally or otherwise.

A significant reduction in gun ownership could save lives. I don’t think it would have those in Orlando however. The lives that fewer guns would save would victims of crimes of passion perpetrated by their family and friends. Even this result would require a LOT fewer privately held guns. Again, making that happen would require massive and very intrusive enforcement. I don’t want to see the intrusion on private rights that draconian gun regulation would entail on principle. Even if gun restriction could save live, I do believe weapons ownership is a right in a free society, and should not be infringed upon.

War on Easter?

Three months ago, we were hearing again about the war on Christmas, including outrage about non-religious greating such as Happy Holidays.  Now we are leading up to the Easter season.  No similar problem?

This occurred to me today in church.  I haven’t heard any complaints about a war on easter.  Why?

I think it is because Easter hasn’t been turned into such a commercial opportunity, while trying to maintain it as a spiritual holiday as well.

Christmas is the key to many profits of many businesses.  Black Friday is crucial to being in the black.  That is certainly true for Christian business people.  But there is schizophrenia about this.

People want to use the holiday for their commercial purposes, but still insist on keeping it as a religious observation.  The first objective doesn’t go well with the second.  People want to use the holdiay to bring both believer and non-belivers into their businesses by bringing non-Christians into Chrismas.  It doesn’t work to draw the non-believer into your religious holiday for secular purposes  and then fault the need to show those non-believers some deference by recognizing their not sharing your faith.

I think if Chistians want to not have greeting like Happy Holidays, then they needed to Christmas like easter – a holiday for Christians only, not a commercial opportunity.

My Dad

My dad has been dead for 3 months.  He and I were close and I miss him, but I’m glad his suffering of the last few years is over.

One thing I wanted to do for him was his obituary.  My attempt at that was used back in December with some editing by others. 

I wanted to post the original version that I wrote somewhere, so I’m doing so here.

Jesus called Robert Terrell True home on November 27, 2015.

Bob True was a provider in every sense.  He provided for his country, and family in so many ways.  He provided not just things to live, but a reason to live for all those who loved him, and that made him a hero more than any Hollywood leading man.

He was born in Bentonville, AK on October 19, 1919, to Minnie and Thomas True.   With his parents at age 5 he traveled in the back of a model -T Ford across the Rocky Mountains to southern Idaho, then Washington and finally Sunny Slope Idaho.  He developed a fascination with machinery, their maintenance, and use in agriculture that would be his life’s work, and source amusement too

As a youth he worked on his parent’s farm and attended elementary school   at Sunny Slope, near Caldwell, Idaho.   He attended and graduated from Caldwell High, and when students needed a way to school in Caldwell he set up a private bus service to Caldwell High.  He provided friendship that would go on to last a lifetime as well and was lauded as “ready when others are not”.  He went on to study agriculture at the University of Idaho in 1939.

He was a passionate patriot, and after Pearl Harbor in 1941, beginning in February 1942 he served his country for almost 4 long years.  The country boy:  journeyed with other young men from across the US and lived on two continents under spartan conditions; tested weapons in the Galapagos; drove trucks for a convoy across the famous Burma road into western China; flew back into India at the end of the war in unpressurized plane (over the Himalayas) and with other members of his greatest generation provided the peace and security that has continued for the US since that time.  He took the greatest pride in his service and his honorable discharge is on the wall of his home to this day.

After the war, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree as a University of Idaho Vandal.  He worked at the same time as a foodservice employee for his fellow Vandals.  With his degree, he returned to farming on the property, the true family had worked for decades on Sunny Slope.  True lane adjacent to the True farm is named for the family.

In 1953 he married Mary Alice Norris, and their marriage lasted 50 years.  Bob and Mary had a marriage filled love and some of the usual conflict.  With Mary’s help, Bob provided for his family not luxuriously but richly and well with things with true value.  He provided a comfortable and loving home for Mary and his two children Bruce and Helen with plenty of food on table and a solid roof over everyone’s head (despite a small explosion in the furnace one winter evening).  He often did the grocery shopping and always returned with some little treat for everyone as well as the basic staples.  His daughter once made a Styrofoam hostess cake to hang from his pick-up’s mirror to indicate his fondness for these simple (if not healthy snacks).  Perhaps sharing some his passions with his family was how he provided for them best.

Since his childhood, he had loved the outdoors hiking much of the Jump Creek canyon.  Through the years, the True family enjoyed the beauty of Idaho both in deserts in Owyhee county and forests of Cascade, and Stanley area.  On these trips, Bob provided the best tasting pancakes, eggs and bacon at breakfast under the blue Idaho sky one could ever hope for.  On afternoon trips the Trues discovered everything from rattle snakes to an unexploded box of dynamite one day.  Once, the Trues did venture “overseas” visiting Canada in the 1970’s.  Bob kept his family safe while providing fun and memorable trips. 

Trips to these locations were filled with discussions about if other drivers looked like celebrities of the time (Glenn Campbell for example) and other silliness.  He had a great sense of humor and shared it with his family.  Some winter afternoons were filled with collectively writing silly stories, accompanied by chalk drawing by his gifted daughter Helen.  Over the years the Trues also enjoyed a double exposure that appeared to show Bob putting his head in his son’s birthday cake.   He taught his kids that life can be hard, but you can laugh or you cry at hard times and the latter hurts a lot less.

Bob taught life skills.  His life-long love of tools provided for his family.  Bob built and repaired some of his own farm machinery.  Hanging out in his shop you could learn a lot about how to use tools safely and successfully and a little basic chemistry as well.  He was a wizard at repairing broken toys and sometimes improving devices from their original design.  He revived his daughter Helen’s broken sewing machine, but even his formidable skills met their match in repairing a Tonka Toy run over by a tractor.  He had a keen sense of the value of a dollar like other depression era children and passed that on, along with a love for hard work and self-sufficiency.  He also taught courage and a willingness to take chances to get things done.  His son Bruce felt that that these lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s Walk like a man would apply to his dad:

               I’ll walk like a man

And I’ll keep on walkin’

 

As in his military service, Bob was a patriotic family man.  He voted in all elections, and shared a passion about politics with family and children.  He retained this passion about news and politics for his entire life, and was a devotee of Fox News.

Finally, Bob provided for his children in good and bad times.  He saw to it that both had the opportunity for higher education.  He helped out in bad times too, including one long-term illness and a life-threatening car accident in the 1970’s.   The most important thing he and Mary provided for his kids was the sense that there was never any doubt that they were loved no matter what.

Later in life, Bob and Mary enjoyed some extensive travel in an RV.  They went as far as Death Valley and several times visited their son while he lived in California.  In his 80’s he developed a passable familiarity with computers and internet that allowed him to stay in  touch with far-flung family.  He was good at assembling and using audio visual equipment as well.

Bob enjoyed three grandchildren and two great-grandsons.  His daughter Helen and son-in-law Duane Noe had:  Graham Robert Noe and Jenette Annabelle Noe.  His son Bruce and daughter-in-law Christine Watson True had:  Angelica True.  His grandson Graham and his wife Irma Winterholler had Bob’s first great-grandson Miles Robert Noe in 2012 and a second Connor Elliot Noe in 2015.  Bob is survived by all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

Bob and Mary’s time together only ended with Mary’s death in 2004 following Bob being able to keep her in the home she loved until almost the very last weeks of her life.  Finally following Mary’s death in 2004 he moved to Wilder Idaho.

Thank you for being the man, the patriot, soldier, lover, and father you were.  The apostle Paul wrote:

I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.

The same could be said of you, Robert Terrell True; you finished the race.  We’ll never forget you and can never fully repay what you provided us with.   Such Great Love.

 

 

False Choice / Changing the Subject

I’ve seen this a lot lately:

image

Somewhere between changing the subject and offering a totally false choice.  Leaving Syrian refugees to rot, is not going to do one thing for veterans – I’m sure of that.

Furthermore, its just a clumsy attempt to change the subject when the Syrian issue comes up.

It’s sad that immigration scares so many people so much.  I think it is one more way the 9/11 attack damaged this country so badly.

”Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Never Happened”

 

About that supposed pause in global warming:

Global warming ‘hiatus’ never happened, Stanford scientists say: An apparent lull in the recent rate of global warming that has been widely accepted as fact is actually an artifact arising from faulty statistical methods, Stanford scientists say. …The finding calls into question the idea that global warming “stalled” or “paused” during the period between 1998 and 2013. …

Using a novel statistical framework that was developed specifically for studying geophysical processes such as global temperature fluctuations, Rajaratnam and his team of Stanford collaborators have shown that the hiatus never happened.

“Our results clearly show that, in terms of the statistics of the long-term global temperature data, there never was a hiatus, a pause or a slowdown in global warming,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, and a co-author of the study.

Faulty ocean buoys

The Stanford group’s findings are the latest in a growing series of papers to cast doubt on the existence of a hiatus. …

The Stanford scientists say their findings should go a long way toward restoring confidence in the basic science and climate computer models that form the foundation for climate change predictions.

“Global warming is like other noisy systems that fluctuate wildly but still follow a trend,” Diffenbaugh said. “Think of the U.S. stock market: There have been bull markets and bear markets, but overall it has grown a lot over the past century. What is clear from analyzing the long-term data in a rigorous statistical framework is that, even though climate varies from year-to-year and decade-to-decade, global temperature has increased in the long term, and the recent period does not stand out as being abnormal.”

[I omitted the detailed discussion of the research.]

”Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Never Happened”
Mark Thoma
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 16:49:22 GMT

The Bottle Opener

This was an interesting piece, about how racism and xenophobia have been more openly expressed since Trump’s presidential campaign came to occupy the headlines.   It is mostly based on personal anecdotes, but I suspect it is pretty accurate.  I think it is not the full story though.

Trump is just the bottle opener that has released pressure that has been building for the last 7 years.  President Obama has been elected twice, and I think has the support of the majority  of Americans.  Like most presidents though, he is less esteemed by a minority of the country.

Unlike past Presidents, though I think he is viewed by a significant minority as an actual material  threat to their well being, their freedom, if not their lives.  Being the first African president has to be a big part of this.  Especially, in many red states, you can live your life and generally not have to interact with anyone who isn’t white for  long.  You certainly don’t often have an African, or other non-white in authority over you.

When someone is first under the authority of a person not of their race, any latent racism tend to rise, even if only in the back of one’s mind.  Most of us have racist tendencies to  one degree or another.  Usually, these kind of feelings don’t last, as one becomes more comfortable with a new situation.  This adjustment is taken a while in most of Red America.  At the same time this  angst has been bottle up to a degree.  While most of us are racists, we know  you can’t generally express that feeling.  For many, this angst has been bottled up.

Mr. Trump in seeming to make it OK to  express these feelings has just popped the top of the bottle and released the pressure that has been building.