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Monday, March 24, 2008

In Circles We Go

Thought #1
Hey, two people said they like this "random thought" kinda thing. Since two people constitutes a majority, kind of, if you squint a little, I'll blog like this once in a while. It's convenient for me, since I'm having trouble finding time to sit and write...


Thought #2
My pal with the cancer is hoping to make it back to Texas to visit his family there before it's too late. The Legion Riders are gonna be taking donations to try to get him back there... (He's one of our members.) He told us a few weeks ago the cancer had come back, but I was pretty surprised to hear how fast it's growing...


Thought #3
I got my bike outta storage! WHEEEE! I got to ride all of about five miles at lunch today, dressed head-to-toe in leather. It's cold out there. And I'm a wuss. But even if I can't ride for another week or two, it feels good to have the bike back in my garage where it belongs.

I always feel bad, though, if I leave it parked for too long. It just sorta sits there, staring morosely at the wall... Maybe I should hang a nice Escher print on the wall in front of it to give it something to look at on chilly days.

Oh, the reason why I'm so sure I won't be able to ride for a few weeks? Simple. By my utterance of the magical words "Hello, bike shop? I'd like to get my bike out of storage today," I have doomed this section of the nation to a minimum of three weeks' crappy weather. It works every time.


Thought #4
I had a bad dream the other day. (I only dream during the day, you know. I'm one of those hypochondrioinsomniacs or whatever. When I'm tired enough to sleep at night I'm too tired to dream.) Anyway, I was running from the monster and I was in a really really big house that was about eight stories tall and had lots of stairs... and I lost my billfold. The monster immediately ate my billfold and then split into two parts -- one part credit card executive and one part insurance agent. The two of 'em chased me around and around, slowly chopping off whatever bits and pieces of me they could reach until all I was was three toes and a head, trying vainly to roll away from them. (The symbolism is obscure. I'm still trying to figure it out.)

So today I have a new billfold. One with a chain on it that hooks to my belt. I ain't having THAT dream again.

Now just you watch -- my next dream will end with my billfold falling out of my pocket and dangling from its chain until it tangles around my legs, thus causing me to trip and get eaten by the credit card monster that chases me.


Thought #5
Is it fat in here, or is it just me?


Thought #6
I just heard on the news that an airline pilot lost control of his firearm in midflight and managed to shoot his own airplane for no apparent reason.

Now, I've struggled with "the right to keep and bear arms" for quite a while. I grew up in a rural community where just about everyone has a couple shotguns and hunting rifles hanging around the house. My dad gave me my first shotgun when I was, geeze, eight or ten years old, maybe. I also have military training, and many of my friends are veterans. I have no problem letting these people own firearms, as the farmers use them only to hunt with, and veterans don't take guns or gun ownership lightly -- they've seen what a bullet can do.

But gosh, I really don't want EVERYONE to have access to firearms! I mean, the gangbanging idiot down the street who can't figure out how to pull his pants up -- him I don't want shooting anything at anything. Nor do I want the little old lady down the street to shoot herself in the foot with her own gun trying to defend herself against the hoodlums. So it's a conundrum.

Let's try this on for size and see if it fits... How about we make it so that you must get licensed to carry a firearm. To get the license you have to take a class and pass both written and shooting tests. Once you pass, yay! you can carry a firearm (or a member of the class of firearms for which you've been tested). Every four years you have to go back and get your license renewed, AND take the tests again. Let's make the penalty for carrying an unlicensed gun severe enough that it would truly deter people from skipping the process -- say, twenty years of labor in the wind turbine factory or something.

I know, I know... it's a pain in the backside to renew constantly. But the advantages would outweigh the inconvenience, at least to me. The waiting period to buy guns would still be in effect, as would the background checks, but I like the idea of people having to go back every few years in person to renew their license. It keeps people trained in firearm usage (I haven't fired a shot in over six or seven years -- I'd like to have a refresher course myself before I go target shooting again), it reminds people that firearm ownership is a heavy responsibility, AND it gives the clerk at the testing station a chance to look you in the eye to see if you've got that whacky gleam in your eye that forebodes something bad happening at the post office tomorrow.

It's just a thought... Oh, Wait! I just had another! How's this one? You EARN the right to own a firearm -- the only people who can carry a weapon are those trained to by the government. You must either be active duty military or police, or have an Honorable Discharge to own a firearm. You still gotta get licensed and renew the license and all that happy stuff I outlined above... Maybe that'd work...?

Okay, I'll quit thinking now. Maybe.


Thought #6
A buddy o' mine sent me a story the other day, one of those where the religious student makes a fool of the atheist professor. It was actually kind of a neat story, and I did like the philosophical meanderings they went through to get to the point where "there is no evil, just the absence of good." Anyway, in a post-reading-the-story discussion with yet another buddy o' mine (didn't know I had two buddies, did you?) I mentioned that the only problem I had was that the story put higher education in a bad light. There's too much ignorance in the world -- the last thing we need is people assuming education is a bad thing... Or that education will lead to Godlessness. Or making a virtue of ignorance and stupidity.

At a glance through history, it seems that both Christianity and Islam has, throughout the ages, tried to either control education or ban it outright. This seems to me to be a fairly transparent ploy to gain and retain power. And it's easy to do -- all you need to do is tell believers that education will strip them of their beliefs and they'll go to hell (or the equivalent) if they read a certain book or go on to higher learning. And that's too bad -- look where that path has led the fundamental Islamic countries. Christianity has been there as well, just look at the "dark ages."

The last few days I've seen this sort of thinking (or lack thereof) numerous times. I even saw a comedian, Ralphie May, talk about it on TV. His routine was based around the premise that society has been trying to make ourselves stupider through drugs and alcohol for years in order to try to prove the old "ignorance is bliss" adage. "Wanna 'nother six-pack of dumb-dumb?"

Do we really want to do this to ourselves? I posit the belief that higher education is NOT the enemy of religion, nor is willful ignorance something to be proud of, as seems the case in some facets of today's society. By downplaying the importance of education we're putting America at risk in many ways.

Oops, time to go home. Later!

11 Comments:

Blogger Father Andersen said...

A deeper look at history shows that "the church" has alternately supported then supressed education. The 18th and 19th centuries, especially in The United Staes, saw the founding of many institutions of higher learning. Yale and Harvard are the best examples.

Unfortunately, the 20th and so far in the 21st centuries we've seen the pendulum start to swing the other way. "the church" has taken a "Bible or nothing" approach while claiming that colleges and universities are taking an "everything but the Bible" approach.

Faith and reason aren't enemies. I wish Christians (in general, no offence to any one person) could realize that.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Father Andersen said...

I meant to say "founding of many institutions of higher learning by churches and religious groups."

6:35 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Father Andersen -- You're absolutely right! The church HAS done supported education at various points in the past. I didn't mean to paint religion as anti-education with quite such a broad brush... But golly, it does seem like the past couple decades "organized religion" has tried to play down the importance of higher education, at least to an extent.

I'd like to spread this past religion, though, to pop culture as well. It's just not "cool" to study and get good grades and go on to college, but it IS somehow cool (and romantic, I guess) to struggle for a living making minimum wage at the factory whilst making fun of the college kids...

By the way, the story that prompted this whole line of thought can be found at Father Andersen's blog -- http://forgivenlikedavid.blogspot.com/

9:30 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

The right to own chips...or oreos....gosh, when I have them in my house, I have the urge to get them out and p;ay with them (OK, eat them)...better not to have them around....

But, this is the USA and I must say, it is good to have that choice....

But I could go berserk and munch my way up to a size ten and a face full of zits, not to mention my chlorestral...

Hmmmmm...maybe I should regoister them...ha ha ha....

Sigh...no easy answers.

10:36 PM  
Blogger The Guv'ner said...

Amen on the gun thing. I agree totally! Here in New York we have a three year automatic jail sentence for having an unlicensed gun. It just went up from one year so they seem to be taking it seriously. You are correct, prove you're responsible enough to own one and there's a reduced problem. I mean it won't help the murder rate greatly - if you're going to kill someone you're going to do it anyway but still. It'd be a start.

Dude, sorry about your friend. How truly awful. I had a good friend die from brain cancer last summer. I was sad sure, but I was also infuriated. It's so senseless.

Hahaha your word veri said: Lymey. How did it KNOW?

10:40 AM  
Blogger Falwless said...

I really enjoyed this post.

I, too, have a tough time with the whole gun control issue. I believe in our right to bear arms. And I sorta see any attempt to "get guns off the streets" as, at best, a feel-good effort. There's no easy answer.

P.S. I saw the same Ralphie May thing this weekend. heh

10:50 AM  
Blogger Ginormous Boobs said...

I feel a fat flash coming on.

11:47 AM  
Blogger KatzeKitty said...

Regarding the license to carry law, some states are certainly more strict in their books than others. http://www.statemaster.com/graph/gov_gun_law_per-government-gun-laws-permits

But no matter what the law says, it's the enforcement that matters. I learned in a criminal justice class that it's not the possibility of a severe punishment that deters a crime, but the guarantee of any punishment.

However, Americans don't like to be taxed, so we can't pay for the additional enforcement, so we're still stuck.




But, luckily, we just passed the last "candy" holiday for seven months. Woo!

2:07 PM  
Blogger katrocket said...

We have strict gun control in Canada, including a national firearm registry since 1934. There's a myth that there are no guns in Canada, but there are 2.3 million legal firearms registered in a population of over 33 million.

It's a very effective system for normal law abiding citizens - the farmers, hunters, and other "responsible" gun owners you mentioned in your post, but about 5,000 of those registered guns are stolen by criminals during home break-ins every year. Thousands more are smuggled in through the unprotected US border.

And therein lies the problem. All governments have rules. And you're welcome to make more of 'em if you'd like. But criminals aren't the types to play by them, and they will always find some way to get what they want.

7:52 AM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

It is a little fat in here, I've noticed.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

I wish all them religious people would just leave me alone to polish my Mag and read Plutarch. :-)

I am with Kat. Criminals don't care about licenses.

7:10 PM  

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