Stop, please ….

I am going to be fairly strait on this one.  I am speaking as your neighbor, your friend, the guy in the Jeep in the woods and the one ahead of you in the line at the Supermarket.  NOT as the other side.

 

For too long and now, too deeply we are dividing.  We are dividing on only a few issues but they run deep and these are growing pains.  I get it.  But it pains me not to see division, but division based on lies, miss information and willing lack of understanding.

 

I know no cure and I often feel I am fighting the wind.  A hot wind.  An evil wind at times.  Not your evil, not my evil … hatred.  Know why people get angry over some hot button issues?  Fear.  Fear is the root of anger.  This topic angers me as much as racism and elitism.  But I keep trying.  Not trying to change anything, I am but one man against the wind.  I will be happy to get someone to listen.

 

I have listened my whole life on the gun issue.  I have listened and tried to understand and I cannot.  Or at least, not yet.  I understand all I can right now but I don’t honestly feel the other side is listening at all.  Or even trying.

 

Here is a song I just discovered in this version … It reflects how I feel this issue has become.  Dark.  Heavy.  Painful.  Divisions are running deep.  And dividing.  I ask you … just read what I am writing.  You don’t have to like it, or even believe it, or like me.  I’ll take the hatred if it means you listened, not just heard.  But this is my side.  I speak the same words as many others on my side but I speak for me.  ME.  Not the other side.

Me …

Listen please.

 

 

 

 

We have a strong, proud and vibrant gun culture in this nation.  (The US, as if I needed to say that)  The culture is all based on the second amendment.  “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.”  I put that there because it is miss-quoted more than Mark Twain.

 

I get it, it is there in calligraphy on parchment, (not hemp, sorry miss guided 420 revisionists), that makes it all very official.  I agree.  I am also a gun owner.  I get it.  The gun culture in this country is full of many very proud and hard working men and women.  This is not an anti-gun blog nor one seeking gun laws.  I expect no new gun laws in my lifetime.  And within 15 years I expect to have no laws governing them at all.

 

Much of the point I will be making is about the culture around guns that has been built by gun owners and one special interest group called the NRA.  They don’t speak for who you think, but we’ll get to that.  I wont pretend to know it all since I am not really part of this culture.  Much like someone telling me why people race cars or Jeep or write when they do not, I wont speak for a culture and proud people I am not part of.  I will talk about what I have seen and what I have been told.  This is from my perspective and information I can quote and trust.

 

First, I will point out this culture seems to be rife with myths and ubiquitous facts often claimed as unique to support the culture.  The first is very direct.  I have heard much of my life that this nation was forged from war and thus the need to be armed is necessary for a “free state”.  Almost every nation was forged in war so this is not validation alone when so many nations who have a strong history in war have very restrictive gun laws as well so that argument is not well armed, nor does it make sense.

 

Most nations in Europe were forged in war and they have fought more wars and actually been invaded in most cases yet they have fewer guns.  They have been invaded, we have not really.  Only by the Brits, twice.  And those were long before this gun culture arose.  And no, they were not invaded BECAUSE they have fewer guns.  We’ll get to that.

 

Secondly, the military serves the role of national defense, or as the Second Amendment states, the “Militia”.  The people are not expected to and would not be able to defend this nation from any other nations military, or militia.  Even if every man and woman in America had guns, it would be damn hard to stave off a true Army with your invisible one.  It is NOT about national defense, get over that idea.  It sounds silly.

 

Third, the Switzerland example. Please, get the information right.  Every time I hear this nation come up in the gun debate I am told they have 100% gun ownership.  That isn’t even close.  The estimates are between 20% and 40%.  Not close to 100% so PLEASE, stop lying to yourself.  At one point they did have much higher % as part of national defense.  They dropped it.  They are also between two nations that fought on opposing sides in two world wars in 30 years.  We are not, nor ever been, or ever will be.  They do have compulsory conscription though, if you’d like that and no one can own a machine gun which would make at least three of my friends felons.  Also, conceal and carry permits which are a joke here are almost impossible to get there.  They also have to have their medical records reviewed for EVERY gun purchase permit and EVERY GUN is registered.  Up to 3.  Three.  Tre.  Not unlimited, three … you would have to get rid of more than half your guns on average.  Wanna keep siting the Swiss example?  I’d love the Swiss example applied here.  It would be welcome by many.

 

Getting back to the idea that citizens will defend the nation from foreign aggression as the “Invisible Army”.  That is an embarrassing statement.  Please stop saying it.  First off, there is a sub culture in this nation that often refers to itself as “The Invisible Empire”.  As the invisible army you sound like the army for the invisible empire.  If you don’t know, the invisible empire is the KKK.  If that is your intent, so be it, First Amendment baby, but you sound silly calling yourself the invisible army.

 

There are about 100 million gun owners in the country.  The average person who owns a gun, owns 7.  This is from the NRA before someone claims I am using liberal propaganda.  Now I admit, this is a lot of guns.

 

But the idea that gun owners believe they are invisible, or an army, is mythical and immature.  #1, gun owners are anything but invisible.  Many of the ones I know wear their guns with pride.  They love to talk about them.  They wear them often and talk about how many they own.  The NRA and 2nd Amendment bumper sticker or in my region, RMGO and armed Calvins for God’s sake are far from invisible.  This is a declaration, not invisibility.  If you are referring to unofficial, not in uniform army as invisible, then ok, makes a little more sense but please see #2.

 

#2 To claim yourselves as an army is an immature power fantasy of childhood and Hollywood.  Lets consider the Army, the real one.  The one with months, years and generations of training based on centuries of refined principles for both individual skills and military planning.  To think 100 million men and women with Glocks and HnKs are an army cause they go shoot in the forest illegally 3 times a year and leave a mess behind like it is their urine on a tree is not training.  I suspect you know that too.  A large well armed group of people acting without regulation is not called an army, it is called a mob.  Mobs usually don’t end well for the citizens.  Look up Reginald Denny and get back to me.  Please explain this as an army.

 

One of the other common myths in my part of the country is the idea that the west was settled with guns and they were responsible for the calming of the west.  This is so wrong it is embarrassing.  I wrote about it in “How the West Was Won …”

https://5280nup.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/how-the-west-was-won/

The west was not like the movies love to portray.  The west as we know it was largely made up by penny novels sold in the east about the west where no one was there to offer the truth.  The myth was further perpetuated by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.  Both, were fiction for profit.  Neither were wrong because neither were trying to be factual.  They were and are fiction and so is the myth the west was won because each settler carried guns and used them to kill Indians.  If you get your accepted history to support the gun culture from Hollywood, I am starting to understand.

 

Colt Frontier

 

The west was tamed from cold hard steel.  The plow.  Few people in the American West owned guns.  They were damn expensive to own, much more so than now as a percentage of income, and bullets were also very expensive.  The price of one quality gun could feed a family for half a year.

 

The old west as many see it is 100% the product of Hollywood and fantasy.  There is no record  known of any middle of the street mano-a-mano gun fights that seem to happen in every western.  Shootings and some shoot outs did happen.  But that was lawlessness, not civilization.

 

The most common claim I hear in this country regarding guns is the gun people carry under their shirt for protection.  Ok, I get it.  You are scared.  You carry a gun that is heavy and uncomfortable and not easy to sit while wearing so you must be scared.  I ask you this, what are you so scared of?  I have never carried a gun and never been a victim of a crime a gun would have prevented.  Neither has most Americans.  Neither have most of you.  And it is not likely because you carry one, it is concealed, remember?

 

Gun owners seem to me to be the most scared of all.  They seem to arm themselves with one of on average 7 guns because they are scared.  But what I hear is, “I’m not scared, because I carry a gun.”  Fair enough.  But you seem very scared.  Seven guns and you wear one to the woods where you know most people with you and the odds of being attacked by a human is statistically impossible to measure and not likely by an animal since you rarely go alone and animals usually avoid humans.  There is a slight statistical chance you will be attacked or robbed or killed in the big bad scary city that the Road Warrior lives in but pay attention to the realities of guns when fired later in this piece.

 

Here is the irony.  Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …. say that aloud to yourself and see how you sound.  Do you also feel that the best way to put out a fire is with fire?  (yes I know forest fires can work that way)  And the best solution to a flood is more water.  I assume you turn on the heat when you are too hot. When your child gets the flu, do you have other kids with the flu come over and play with them in hopes of a cure?  Do you pay bills with other bills?  The answer to gun violence is more guns?  Really?

 

Since 2014 a gentleman in Kentucky, Mark Bryant, who is an avid gun owner has been tracking gun violence in America.  Of the 100,000 or so violent acts committed with gun in that time, according to the national statistics he tracks, 3% were in self defense.  3% …. Three ….  That is the same as saying that if Gary Johnson won 3% of the vote, he should be president.  That sounds stupid doesn’t it.  Especially to many gun owners.

http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

gun violence archive

 

Are the other 97% of gun violence acts justified or simply “acceptable losses” or collateral damage so we can have the 3%?  Would you mind if 97% of your family was killed so 3% could live?  Even if there is no proof or even strong evidence the other 3% would die?  This is how you sound to me.  “I’ll be part of the 3% so I don’t care about the other 97%.”  Very neighborly.  Very friendly.  You sound very patriotic.

 

Mr. Bryant developed his site for one purpose, keep in mind he is a happy and proud gun owner.  He wants a real discussion about guns, not one based on myth, lies and manipulation.  Truth is hard to find on this topic, not because it does not exist, not because it is hard to track, because it is a deadly issue killing thousands every year, and millions of people trying to convince everyone else the answer to gun violence is more guns.  And they are angry.  Very angry.  That is obvious.

 

Do you know that the leading cause of death for black males in America ages 16 to 35 is homicide?  Maybe you will care about this, the third most likely cause of death for white males 16-25 is homicide.  Is the solution more guns?  Bigger guns?  Is the solution your illegal machine guns you proudly post videos of firing on Facebook and assume we wont mind if YOU break the law?  Or capture that video and turn you in to the local LEO and FBI?  What is a law abiding patriot to do ….

 

Proving a false positive is the simple principle that if I carry a gun and never been robbed or killed then I was not robbed or killed because I carry a gun.  The same could be said for shoes.  You wear shoes more often so that could be the reason.  Or maybe it is the simple idea that few people are are victims of a crime a gun could prevent.  Ever.  Crime is pretty much statistically spread among guns owners and non-gun owners equally, and rare.  So far the guns are not preventing many crimes.  Hardly any in fact.  3% according to gun loving and proud American Mark Bryant.

 

Most of my gun owning friends are very careful and responsible gun owners.  They use trigger locks and gun safes and lock boxes.  Many also do not store the ammunition with the gun.  That is also very responsible.  But this means it is not about protection.  In the time it would take me to sneak into your house (part of my past) and you finally hear me or see me if at all cause I am not there to interact with you at all, I can be out of your house and down the street before you can get to any of your 7 safely locked away guns.

 

I could have also beat you with your shoe as you opened your gun safe.  Or are you expecting me to wait as you open your gun locker?  I’m quite confused about this safety and home defense claim.

 

… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …

 

Or … do you in reality have several of your 7 or more guns in your home hidden in ultra safe and sneaky places around the house, like by the front door behind the coat rack or in the drawer of your night stand where no one would ever think to look when they sneak into your house at night.  Or the one hidden in the corner of your closet, behind something so it is not obvious or found by your children. Or clipped to your steering column or under your seat or in the glove box or ….

 

Maybe they aren’t all as safe as you claim.

 

I referenced the number of times I have seen Facebook posts of people I know firing a machine gun in the woods, and I am certain most if not all do not have the tax stamp to permit a machine gun.  Makes me wonder who the lawless people are.  Makes me wonder alot about your honorable claims… Who is lawless and who should we be scared of.  Many of us wonder who is the preacher and who is the choir.  We know who is singing …

 

Those in defense of free gun purchases often have said to me, “well, gun statistics and deaths from them are so hard to track so most information out there is inaccurate.”  Yet, they will tell me millions of people use guns in self defense every year.  So THAT is the only valid and track-able gun statistic?  In reality, gun violence is one of the most tracked statistics in law.  The truth is not a lie just cause you don’t like it.  It is easily tracked, as evidenced by gun owning Republican Mr. Bryant who is tracking them for you.

 

“It’s clear from Bryant’s data that there aren’t anywhere near the 1-2.5m instances of defensive gun use per year that gun rights advocates claim. Those figures, unlike Bryant’s, are based largely on the results of a survey [not actual legal tracking] taken more than 20 years ago. Because it’s an estimate, there’s no way to verify the incidents, something advocates attribute to the nature of crime reporting.”  That stats are very available if you like them or not.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/23/kentucky-gun-owner-gun-violence-archive-mark-bryant

 

Lets be clear on one thing, other than target shooting guns, guns have one purpose.  Guns are designed and intend to kill.  They are designed to as efficiently as possible, end life.  They are very efficient at it.  The machine gun is the deadliest invention in history.  Guns are only invented to end life.  Responsible gun owners will also say, you do not draw a gun unless you intend to use it.  A gun’s only use is to kill.  Unless you plan on and intend to end another life do not un-holster your gun.  I agree.

 

I say this to be clear that every person carrying a gun around you, around your kids, is carrying one of the very few items in the world an individual can carry that is solely intended to terminate life.  It is not often said, that that .32 pistol in the holster under the person’s jacket in the line behind you at the store was designed to be efficient at killing another human.

 

This doesn’t mean the owner is wanting to kill, or hoping to kill or needing to kill.  But it is also reality that the person carrying that .32 semi automatic in the line behind you at the store has likely never been trained how to fire it in close quarters at a moving target.  Do you know that there is a common culture among the concealed carry crowd that if the gun you carry is under .40 cal. you are a pipsqueak?  They seem to be obsessed about size …

 

Most people killed by those firing in self defense were unarmed.  But you have convinced yourself you,  with no training in this kind of weapon use, will defend yourself in a King Supers.  Who is the most likely to die in this scenario?  How many innocent’s deaths are the acceptable loss for your right to carry?  That is the scenario I often hear … ‘I am behind you at the supermarket, I am armed, you are not.  If a criminal comes into the store to steal hoho’s and is armed, I am willing to and armed to protect myself, and you… ‘  Bullshit.  That’s not likely why you carry it.

 

https://5280nup.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/dont-use-me/

 

  • I offer a simple observations:
  • Those most adamant about responsible gun ownership have not passed any laws governing ownership.
  • The Brady Bill has been dismantled in most states due to NRA funding.
  • Most who oppose gun laws blame liberals.  James Brady was a Republican and it would not have passed if not for the 16 Republican Senators who voted for it.
  • Those who criticize gun laws as ineffective, don’t seem to be doing anything at all to propose effective ones.
  • Those trying to stop grade schooler’s from being killed, are very confused by those who only propose more guns as a solution to gun violence.
  • Most of the nation is waiting for those who claim to be responsible gun owners to propose responsible gun regulation.
  • The only logical conclusion we can come to is, those who believe in gun ownership believe in unrestricted and un-tracked gun ownership for all.  Because that is the only termination of the path we are one with these laws.

 

Also, for those who are not gun enthusiasts, it is important to know that buying or owning a gun does not require any guidance in using a lethal device that can be carried in public.  NoneNo training in loading it or its safety features.  For a conceal and carry permit I am told there is a written test.  The written test is not about safety as much as how to not get into legal trouble.  Only some testers require you to demonstrate the ability to fire a gun down range.  “Down Range” does not assume skill or marksmanship in a crowded space like that supermarket.  It tests to see if you know which way to aim it and how to fire it down range.   That is essentially it.  BTW, if you believe hitting the tree in the woods, where you leave your shells for other patriots to clean it up like poop in a parking lot, is skill enough to fire in a King Supers, you are a fool.  An armed one.

 

Those of you with conceal and carry permits … have you had holster training by someone who knows?  Do you know that most self inflicted wounds and deaths come when un-holstering your sidearm?  Do you know that it is harder to get a Ham radio license than a conceal and carry permit?  How many people have ever been killed with a ham radio?

 

I have been told, “Any responsible gun owner will know more than just how to fire a gun down range”.  I agree.  Most of my friends have gone into the woods with their friends and fired guns with one another.   We know this from the crap you leave behind, everywhere.  Yet the papers are full of stories demonstrating that this is not enough of a skill set.  I have also been in the woods with friends when an accidental discharges has occurred.  More than once.  NO JEEPS WERE KILLED IN THE MAKING OF THIS ARTICLE.

 

Most gun owners have never been formally trained on use and almost none have been trained on how to use one in a public area.  This has always made me wonder who that person behind me will kill if hey pull it out only with the intent to use it which means they intend to kill.

 

Do those people carrying a gun in the line at Walmart “for your protection” know what ammunition to use for close quarters firing?  Do you know that the ammunition most people own, which is great for shooting trees in the woods and penetrate well is NOT the ammunition you want for protection in Walmart?  Gun owners I know LOVE to talk about penetration.

 

… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …

 

If you have a gun in your home and you have kids, IF that gun ever kills anyone, which is rare, the most likely person to be killed according to national fire arm statistics is your child.  The second most likely is your child’s friend.  The third most likely person to be killed with your gun in your home is your significant other.  The fourth most likely to be killed with your gun in your home, is you.  That robber you seem terrified of and itching to kill doesn’t even make the top four.  Are those the acceptable losses for your ‘protection’?  Outside of your home, the most likely person to be killed with your gun, is you.  Again, most guns never kill anyone.  But that is what they are best at and the only thing they are intended to do.

 

I understand that people who are scared of the unlikely event of home invasion or being present at a robbery or if the Cubans invade Colorado via Mexico they want a gun for self protection.  But we know these are very rare.  Hell, Colorado has only been invaded by Cuba via Mexico once in history and only occurred in Hollywood.  Some will say the news is full of evidence to the contrary.  Agreed, gun violence is a common occurrence.  100,000 acts since 2014.  But according to your own Mr. Bryant most of that gun violence is not in defense.  Where is this self defense you speak of?

 

Every day we hear people shooting guns in public.  But how often do you hear of people defending themselves with a personal firearm? It does happen.  I will never deny that so please don’t quote me the little old lady who defended herself from 8 rapists in her home with an AR15.  Heard it many times and it seems to happen every year and the number of rapists grows along with her age and the profile of the gun.  This doesn’t mean the story, in some version is not true.  I am sure it is.  I can easily picture it.

 

Again, this is not about gun laws or an anti gun stance, I am working towards something.  Bear with me. (pun intended)

 

Do you know that you can be sued for discharging a firearm in public?  Even if you hit Bin Laden and kill him and prevent him from stealing all the kittens from the internet?  (yes I know he is dead, work with me here)  Civil suits do not require legal conviction or even arrest, even though discharging a firearm in public is illegal.  Do you know that each person endangered can sue you?  Do you know that the average settlement is about $4,000,000 per person suing you? Do you know that on average the court cases last for 12 years for one discharge?  Do you have a good lawyer with that gun?  Food for thought.

 

… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …

 

I am also a counselor.  I can tell you from first hand accounts from clients that the killing of another human, even in combat but this is very not about combat, is devastating.  It is something we approach from the holstered side of this argument like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.  Yippie Ki Yay mother … lover.  We think of this hero idea and think we will defend our family and all in the supermarket from the dude who is trying to steal the Hohos.  If you think this is why you should carry a gun do all responsible gun owners a favor and STAY HOME.

 

Go back to my statistic about the most likely one to be killed by your gun … imagine your child being killed by YOUR gun.  Imagine any child being killed by YOUR gun.  It is unlikely.  But from the un-holstered side of that argument, the stats are clear.  You better be ready to be a killer.  If you pull it out, you intend to kill, right?  That’s what I have heard all my life.  You are carrying the gun in-case you need to kill another human being.  Lets be simple and clear on that.  To review so far:

 

  • Your solution to gun violence is more guns.
  • It is harder to get a Ham radio operators license than a conceal and carry permit.
  • There has not been any significant gun laws passed in decades yet you are NRA and you vote … against what?
  • Did you know that the NRA works on behalf of the gun makers, not the gun owners?
  • Those who claim to be responsible gun owners are proposing no laws for gun ownership.

Just some perspectives ….

 

As I said, the way that most people quote the 2nd Amendment removes the first half.  “The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” is not complete.  If it were that direct and simple that is all it would say.  “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.”  This from a nation that had no national army:  That did not spend 16% of its annual budget and 56% of discretionary budget every year on the military, that had no means to draft or much ability to even arm men for service.  That era is antiquated and long past.  Militias no longer exist.  Unless you count some small well armed factions in some remote areas of the west … I’m craving potatoes.

 

Here is the issue I have with all of this.  Yes, I think guns are silly.  To me they are a symbol of fear, not force.  They project and advertise fear to me.  They project fear of the unlikely much like walking around in hip waders in fear of a flood does.

 

I have no issue with gun owners other than some rationalizations being offered for why they own on average 7 guns.  This is about two of the rationalizations.  The first is do not try to justify your gun ownership as national defense.  You sound silly.  Consider armored vehicles and your .38, or the less pipsqueak like .45.  You and those of us with guns could not defend this nation from any reasonable army.  Look up ‘tank’ and get back to me.  Also, my disagreement with you does not mean I am leaving the country or even liberal.  I’m not.  The often heard attitude that I must agree with you to live here goes back to that invisible empire argument.  Oh yeah, and first amendment baby.  I’m not leaving no matter how many guns you own or carry.  I am protecting my nation right now … without a gun.

 

Second is that I know that gun laws would decrease gun deaths and reduce crime.  I know this because 17 industrialized, educated, intelligent nations have restrictive gun laws and they all have lower crime and murder rates than us.  Studies have been done and done and done and those not done by the NRA or paid by gun makers all show that gun laws work.  They also worked here when they have been enacted and before they were dismantled by one party and largely one gun selling advocacy group.  I noticed as have most on the other side that gun owners seem to want no gun laws so they can have a lawful nation…

 

But I am not proposing any gun law.  I am hoping for something far more simple…

 

… instead of claiming you are carrying that gun hidden under your jacket for mine or national protection, just say you like guns, or that you are very scared.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Stop lying that it is about my protection or national protection.  If you are scared, then maybe carrying a gun will help.  Maybe the most scared of us carry the biggest guns.  If you tell me over and over as I have heard that you are not scared, but you own 7 guns on average and am carrying one to the King Supers then I am confused.

Very confused.

 

Just say you like guns or they are beautiful or the craftsmanship or the RIGHT history … there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Just say the truth, not this lie about protecting me in a line at the store … you would kill me or most likely you or your kid or your wife.  And be sued.  And lose on average 4 million dollars, per settlement.  But I’m not sure the money would matter after killing your kid, or anyone else for that matter.  I’ll take my chances with the criminal. At least they aren’t lying about why they have a gun, if they do …most crimes do not involve a gun.

 

I have given up on the fear some gun owner ‘do gooder’ will kill me.  If it happens I will be dead, so what.  But I hope my estate sues the future out of you and takes your house, your pension, kids college fund and that lovely gun collection.  If  you shoot me, you better kill me or I will use the rest of the laws and our rights you claim to be defending to take everything I can from you… The same flesh you shoot off me I will take from you.  I can recommend good therapists and one hell of a defense lawyer though if you want to have them ready.

 

You only carry in case you have to use it.  You would not un-holser it unless you intend to kill.  That’s all that killing machine you are hiding on your hip is designed to do.  Kill.

 

… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …

 

Why are you so scared?

 

The simple observations I recall when you tell me how you carry a gun for yours, mine or our nation’s protection are these:

  • I wonder why you are so scared when most people including my mother who is a 5 foot tall woman with gray hair who worked in South East DC for 8 years never carried a gun nor felt the need to.  Are you more scared than her?
  • The time when the word militia was used, it had a very different and clear meaning that has never been challenged at the Supreme Court.
  • You sound silly telling me you will protect the nation from invasion or terrorists with your untrained and obviously fearful skill set.
  • A concealed gun is not a deterrent.
  • You very likely have no training in close quarters use of a firearm.
  • The trees don’t shoot back and half the time you miss anyhow.
  • There are valid and normal reasons for owning guns, yet I almost never hear them stated by anyone.
  • Your reasons so often given sound like excuses, not reasons.
  • You sound scared.
  • 7 guns on average.
  • When you say you are wearing a gun for anyone-else’s protection, all I hear is that you desperately wish you were a super hero and really want to wear a mask and cape and kill someone.
  • Maybe you will…

I shall not be silent.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

Divine …

 

 

To love someone is the most divine human expression.

 

This is a world where we pay a lot of attention to the superficial.  We care more about breasts than courage.  More about income than character.  More about what others think than what we think of ourselves.  Crap.

 

I have loved.

My God have I loved.

I have poured my heart and soul out as tears and elation, on paper with pen, in books and in song and in time and travel.  I have loved with passion, determination and sometimes frustration.  I have been first kisses, first mores, first loves and have been the last of each of those for two.

 

It has been said when we look back on our lives, we will regret the things we didn’t do, more than the things we did.  I agree.  I hope, when my memory fades and I move on, I don’t forget the times I have loved completely, deeply, passionately …

Those are life to me.

Those are life to me.

Those are life.

 

There have been times I have barely been able to make ends meet.  And there have been times I was unable to love.  There have been few of either but the second are the ones that I feel ashamed of.

 

I will never put down the work it takes to love a single person and maintain a marriage for half a century.  It is a dying art.  But I also respect the ability to love more than once, one person, one relationship.

 

I have never been married, not for lack of trying or desire.  I have never had children, since I felt the first should come first, being a child of divorce and partially raised myself.  But I have loved more than many marriages have seen.  And I have amazing god-children I could not be more proud of.

 

I have known some amazing women and men.  I have dated some of those amazing women.  I have been friends with or stood up for some of those amazing men.  I have been blessed.  I have witnessed a birth and officiated a wedding.   How could I ask for more.

 

I do.

 

I want more.

 

I want to fall in love again.

 

Cause to do so…

Is the greatest of gifts and the most divine of expressions…

 

 

 

 

 

Not My Baby

BOB

I have become amused and confused by my generation’s need to seek others to manage their issues.  Appropriately what I consider to be the symbol of this generations issue is the “Baby On Board” sign adorning the back windows of vehicles owned by people either so amazed they did what many do by mistake, or making a declaration for others to abide by their expectations.

The signs started in 1984 when a parent and an uncle were more conscious of how people drove near their car when their precious cargo was on-board.  Since then, about 10 million of the little suckers (pun intended) have been sold.

I get the idea … be careful, precious cargo.  In some ways I can see added value of first responders knowing a child or infant is in the vehicle.  I can also see value in someone acting differently due to a car carrying an infant, but I doubt the second occurs and the first isn’t likely only because in most cases it would be obvious.

These are not the traits I am interested in however.  My generation has become excellent at blaming and casting responsibility even before the fact.  We see this in tort lawsuits.  Tort law is supposed to be about those who act deliberately to harm another.  It has become a money maker when anyone can cast any blame in anyone direction that leads to money, normally those with the deepest pockets involved, which precludes them really being the negligent party.  But we now see the flip side of that when we assume biggest business is the biggest offender based on them having the most money.

The sucker signs are a reflection of the village philosophy.  One I agree with but not in the 80s generation way.  I do believe we need to look out for one another.  I do believe that a neighborhood has a role in the raising of a child.  But that neighborhood, or village, does not have the responsibility of raising that child.  YOUR child.  I am willing to bet your neighbors did not ask if you were ready to help them raise a child before they had children.

Should I drive responsibly, yes.  Should I follow the laws, yes.  Should I consider factors beyond the law that may impact myself or others, yes.  However … the signs themselves are breaking the law in most jurisdictions by making a blind spot.  A blind spot where the driver may not see the vehicle in the near lane before they change into that lane thus cutting them off and causing the other to either brake dramatically or avoid.  This could cause a chain reaction 72 car pile up BEHIND the baby and the oblivious, in many ways, driver never knew.

The good and generous part of me wants to think the sign is about protection of those unable to speak for themselves.  But there is too much evidence to the contrary or at least the intent is poorly carried through.

The blind spot that can be generated by the sign is not small.  The blind spot installed in a car where the rear view mirror is often turned to some degree to keep tabs on the precious cargo the sign is there to protect starts adding to the issues.  This is two steps in the wrong direction.

Usually when I see the sign it is in the rear window of a vehicle passing me.  Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t dally.  Nor do I dilly.  So that means those asking me to be extra careful because they managed to breed, are passing me while i neither dilly nor dally which makes them at least hustling.  (The terms are flying almost as fast as many of those signs)

The number one cause of car accidents is driver error.  Now I know that can mean someone else error and not that of the driver where the child is riding but consider that the child spends all of it’s time riding with the driver and not always around others then the biggest risk to the driver is the driver of the vehicle the child is in.

I have two ideas for those who own these signs.  First, stick it to the windshield facing in, not on your rear widow facing out. YOU are the biggest risk.  I see these signs on poorly modified cars, usually small imports where bumper covers and side skirts have been modified for style and implied speed.  These choices compromise the integrity of the safety that you paid for in these cars.

Even when not, these signs are often in cars speeding by me in a car being driven by someone texting.  Texting is a bad idea anytime one is moving, but to think I am supposed to be extra careful cause you were able to breed and secured the rights to have that child for some portion of time in the custody hearing does not mean I need to be more careful than you, as you swipe left and right.

text baby drive

Also, the many things inside the car that come with the care and maintenance of a growing offspring, are numerous.  They are also usually not secured inside a car. I assume the sign is about preventing an accident.  So if said accident, negligent tort inspiring type or otherwise happens, the most dangerous aspects of the impending accident may be the cargo inside, namely all the stuff that is unsecured in the car.

I also know from asking several (4) people in law enforcement, and numerous parents, that child seats are rarely mounted as designed.  Therefore, how many issues could your own child sue YOU for that you are in the power to prevent yet you invest in a small blind spot generator to ask others to look out for you?

Which brings us to the second issue, stop looking for others to change their lives for you.  If this sign is to brag about being a parent, I’m glad you are proud, you should be but you are part of the problem.  I respect your desire to do all you can to protect your child but don’t expect others to do it for you.  Do all YOU can to protect the precious cargo first.  Do all YOU can and drive defensively.  I’m not saying that you must defend from us, anymore than we must defend from you, but looking outside for the responsibility for the liability that lies within is a losing idea.  It is also my generation’s theme.

That is where I chose to start my perspective on my generation’s obsession with itself.  We grew up privileged and told that the world is our oyster.  To some degree this is good.  To some degree this is how it should feel when you are 22.  But the Yuppie and ‘ME’ generation grew up to become really selfish.  We didn’t invent selfishness but in my lifetime, I have seen it emerge in a way I don’t think it has before.

The second example, a pet peeve of mine…

You sit at a traffic light and look at the bumper or tail of the vehicle in front of you.  A bumper sticker reads, “Look Twice, Save a Life”.  Good idea.  Motorcycles are smaller than cars.  They can be missed in the optical noise of a busy road.  They are also more nimble and thus move differently.

Here are other realities.  Most of the motorcycle riders I see wear no helmets.  Usually these are on Harleys but not exclusive.  I cannot tell you the number of times this year alone I have been passed on the shoulder at speed on an interstate or in a traffic jam by one of these motorcycles who’s rider is too cool for a helmet.  I have been passed down the lane divider stripe at speed and I have watched as, usually a crotch rocket, is weaving in and out of traffic well in excess of the speed limit.  Not too long ago I even saw one slow and go at a red light with three lanes of traffic each way.

I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll look twice if you think even once.  If you ride like a moron I cannot care to look for you anymore than I look for the Semi truck you cross in front of.  I wont and cannot be expected to even once look down my left shoulder for you coming as if it isn’t a lane.  I wont look for you crossing six lanes of traffic when I have a green light.  We will collide and you will likely be crippled or killed.  I’ll also sue you or your insurance.  And win.

I am a good driver.  I have avoided many accidents others would have caused by being more aware then they.  I have also been the issue on occasion.  I also look for motorcycles, by looking in general but not anything special cause you aren’t special.  If you are riding a motorcycle, the best way to stay safe it be where you can be seen, don’t be an idiot and ride the edge of your lane and simply be predictable.

Here is mine and many others perspectives, I will care for your safety as much as you do.  When you are in shorts and sneakers and a t-shirt and glasses and no helmet.  You obviously don’t care for your own safety.  When the woman I assume you care about is on the  un-reinforced seat on the back wearing a skirt and heels and is holding onto the fool in glasses, I care as much for your safety as you do for her safety and she does for her own.

squid

At east the back seat is safe …

I know there is no law saying you must wear a helmet ( I wonder if former Senator Campbell knows how many people he helped kill). If I were in the state legislature, I would propose a law.  No, not requiring you to wear a helmet, but if you don’t, no insurance has to cover your health bill.  There is no law saying you must wear a helmet, there is also no law saying i have to treat you any different than any other vehicle, much less look twice for YOU.

If you cannot be bothered to take the best and biggest step for your own protection on a motorcycle, why should anyone pay for your smashed gourd when you wreck.  We’ll hose off the blood ( or not) and open the lane for more traffic moving onto the rest of their life as your loved one is informed of your decision to die stupidly.

I feel the same way about seat belts so don’t think I am biased against motorcycles, I hate idiots, no mater how many tires they ride on.  So again, I’ll look once you start thinking and not expect others to change for YOUR risky choice.  I don’t care if you wear a helmet, that’s your right, but I wont pay for your stupidity.

WINNING

I’ll say this, the pipes look quiet.

There is another issue I have with our two wheeled friends.  Briefly, there was a trend of motorcycles having a flashing headlight to better be seen on the road.  Now, in most if not all states impersonating a cop is illegal.  But for some reason, motorcycle riders seemed to think they were extra special and could do so under the guise of safety … This trend disappeared here luckily.  But this elitism of my ‘Me’ generation is impressive.

I researched it a little and it was solved by the state patrol, with sizable fines for the headlight and a second citation earned an impersonating a law officer charge.  It turns out the law can help help manage but not solve stupidity.  It took the law for these arrogant riders to realize they are not so special they get to break the law.  YOU chose to get on a motorcycle with MUCH higher risks than cars.  Own it.

Stop thinking only about yourself and stop expecting others to pay for your choices.  Motorcycles are very dangerous. You are more than six times more likely to die on one than in a car.  This is NOT because you are being hit by car drivers looking only once for you.  It is because you are around the vehicle rather than in it.  YOU are the bumper.  Your cool do-rag is your roof.  Your 7-11 sunglasses are your windshield.  And the only equivalent to a seat belt for you is that helmet you refuse to wear cause you think you look cooler without one.  Your choice is not my burden.

Oh and for your info, your loud pipes did nothing but make you deaf.  Oh wait, sorry, YOUR LOUD PIPES DID NOTHING TO HELP YOU BUT DID MAKE YOU DEAF!  You aren’t nearly as cool as you think and your pipes are only for thinking you are cool and you know it.  Stop lying.  (if you think I am lying look up Doppler effect or ask anyone who paid attention in high school physics)

Here is my next rant example of the ‘ME’ generation’s attitude towards all others.  Recently, I put several things on craigslist for free to move them onto someone else.  Two things happened that surprised me.

One of them was a wood filing cabinet that a woman wanted and would come by for after work.  I was not going to be home so we agreed that she would pick it up after I left and I would leave it under the breezeway behind the house.  She texted me to tell me when she had arrived.  She then texted me to notify me it was too heavy for her to lift into her trunk so she would return in the AM with her husband.  Ok.

What she didn’t tell me is that she pushed it across the driveway and broke the corner off, and broke the drawer front and somehow knocked a hole in it.  She also left it on the side of the uncovered driveway.  When I arrived the next day, mid day.  It was sitting there in the driveway for me to hit in the rain.  She couldn’t be bothered to return and collect it, or move it, or even own the fact that she destroyed my property because it was on a free list.  Put simply, she was a selfish ass.

After i almost backed into it in the driveway and pouring rain, I texted her and was direct and nice.  “I will be keeping your number and please don’t ever respond to any of my ads ever again.  I now have destroyed property based on doing the right thing and you exploiting something free at my cost.”  She didn’t have the guts to respond.  Typical.  I was FAR too nice.

I did however post the new ad on craigslist with photos of the newly damaged filing cabinet and describing the situation.  She didn’t respond to that ad.

The second thing I have seen is that people, even though they are picking up a free item, cannot be bothered to work to your schedule.  They expect delivery and to arrange a time and then not show up and you be ok with it.  This is SO DAMN INDICATIVE of my generation.  I could not believe when I gave away a dresser and 3 out of 11 responses asked me to deliver it.

This was my favorite one.  “I would love the dresser but I cannot carry it in my car, I know in your ad you say you cannot deliver, but would I suspect it is because you don’t want to and can, so could you deliver it to (address deleted to protect the off spring of this pillar of our society).  Please text me when near, I wont be home till after 6:30.”  That was the FIRST contact I had from that person.

It took me three scheduled pick ups to have someone actually show up to pick up something free.

I also gave away a lawn mower.  The ad said, it will go to donation tomorrow but if you want it and can pick it up today, it is yours.  The first response I got asked if he could pick it up tomorrow night.  No.  Then he said he would pick it up MAYBE tonight.  No.  Again, it goes to donation the next day so I wont wait for a maybe.  It is free, so either commit or get out.  I told him it might be here or not.  He didn’t seem to think that was professional.

The other AMAZING trait I have learned about people via craigslist is this … NO ONE READS A FREAKIN MAP!  90% of the people responding ask where it is located.  If you are not familiar with craigslist it has a MAP on it for where the item is located.  Apparently that is just too much work to either look right or click on location.  But they do have time to ask you.

When asked where I was located, I told two of them, “it is in the ad”.  One said, “that is too difficult”, the other said “I forgot to look, so tell me.”  To the first I said “If reading a map is too difficult, you will never find my house, good luck in life.”  To the second I said go look and let me know if you want to come get it.  He answered, “Just tell me, its easier.”  I waited about 30 minutes and replied, “I used the GPS information on your text packet to determine your location, I then loaded it in my car and put it very close to your current location behind a bush. I then put this new location information in the ad you responded to.  If you  can learn to read the map in an ad it is yours!  Otherwise, someone else will find it instead.”  His answer? “Just tell me and I will walk down and get it, what bush?”

I had no idea how to answer so I didn’t.  I like to think he spent a little time looking through bushes near his home.  But we both know he was too lazy to do that.

Our culture and my generation especially is lazy.  We expect the village to raise our children instead of help and support.  We seem to think any accident is a path to financial liability and responsibility.  We want it our way but seem pissed and confused when somewhere wants it their way.

I know there are MANY great people in the world.  The people I work with prove it.  But the number of lazy people is just amazing.  My generation needs to get it’s heads out of our phones and our children off theirs (they are mimicking you) and go do things where we remember that we are our own responsibility.  WE are accountable for us.  How about this, as many in one of my jobs do, try doing something significant for others and see how good it feels.

Carry a fire extinguisher, you may have to be the one to put out your own fire …

YOUR MUSIC SUCKS

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, David Lee Roth

 

If you were born after 1977 I feel sorry for you.  It seems, of all the things the internet killed, music is among the most dead.  Yes we know that VHS tapes and bulky stereo systems are also but they were on a life cycle of their own regardless and would go the way of cassettes and 8 tracks regardless but with the advent of streaming and downloading music off the net illegally, the financial base of music seems to be gone.

The reason for this is the observation that among many of my God-children and adopted kids (many now adults), I hear them rolling up to my house with my generation of music blasting out their car.  I was asked by my nephew if I had ever heard of AC/DC, and one of my adopted kids desperately wants to see Journey in concert.  She isn’t clamoring to see Justin, no.  She wants to see REO Speedwagon and Journey and Cheap Trick and wishes Phil Collins would tour.

Phil Collins at his best:

 

For those of you who love music today, don’t freak out, I am not claiming that there is no skill or talent present.  There are very skilled musicians, singers and bands today.  But they won’t likely have the staying power of the previous generation.  And for those who don’t know, I am also biased but not blind.  I came of age in the 80s; the last (currently) golden age of music.

My ipod also has Marc Cohn, Alien Ant Farm, Avril (yes), Edwin McCain and Kelly Clarkson as well so I am not totally 80s and before but those represent exceptions.  I like Metallica and they seem to have had the most staying power of the post 80s era.  Dave Mathews was big for a long time and still tours but not like back in the day, but that’s normal.  The idea that I can name these is both a testament to their popularity and rarity.

What’s missing is variety as well as power.

 

Look at it this way, there are very few recent artists that sell more tickets while touring than the nostalgia bands of the 70s and 80s who’s members are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s.

The undeniable, U2 …

 

Now I will also admit, some of these bands have few original members, which means the music itself alone is outselling a modern artist performing his or her own music.

For those of you who missed out on Steve Perry

 

The variety of the 80s was amazing.  In my formidable years I was partially formed to the music of Brian Adams, David Bowie, Journey, Police, Phil Collins (Genesis), Poison, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Crowded House, Talking Heads…

 

… Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, Whitney Houston, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Bob Marley, Culture Club, Springsteen …

 

… Def Leppard, Huey Lewis, John Cougar, Rush, ZZ Top…

And we closed out that era with one of the last Mega Bands, GnR.

 

We also had the bands that came of age in the 70s and either kept on keepin on or modernized like The Stones, Doors, Elton, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Chicago, Pink Floyd, The Who, Aerosmith and of course, Queen.

The most powerful performance possibly ever, live, in front of the world.  By the man who defined presence…

 

I dare anyone to follow that.

We too had sprinkles of ‘classic rock’ then such as Buddy Holly …

Where it all started…

 

The Beach Boys (who I saw live twice, once against President Reagan’s wishes) set my life in motion, The Beatles, The Kinks, Simon and Garfunkle, CCR, Bob Dylan and one of my all time favorites, Roy Orbison.

Oh my summers …

 

Something happened in the grunge era.  Music variety died.  Music power died.  Anger prevailed and it was exhausting and boring.  The 90s was not an era of rock, it was an era of modern country.  For those that don’t know, the 90s country music wasn’t all about getting drunk.

And the lesser known but amazing …

 

Music is the soul of the words poorly written that are the narrative of an era.  These bands defined when I fell in love the first time.  The first time I stepped out on my own.  The first time I felt loss to the core of my soul.  And when I truly learned who I was, good and bad.  There is music to every memory for me and some of these are those memories I hear in the sound track here.

And …

and the beautiful …

 

Each of the songs above represent a woman of the 80s for me.  Each one taught me, loved me, made love with me in one way or another and they are each amazing.  I learned from them I could love and care deeply, I could imagine having a home, and I learned about sex.  Not a bad era.

The list above is impressive and incomplete.  What is not said there is the power of the music of the era.  Music is the era’s narrative.  The music of that era was the backbone of so many of its movies that today are or are becoming classics.  The same music, unless iconic to one movie like Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me, is continuously being recycled.

Iconic

 

As mentioned, Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club, Danger Zone from Top Gun, Road House, Dirty Dancing, Ghost, even Young Guns all had hit sound tracks then based on music of the era.

I could also talk about the amazing record sales.  They had to invent new classifications for these bands.  There were albums that debuted double platinum.  There are albums like Van Halen 1984 and 5150, Michael Jackson Thriller, ACDC Back in Black, Springsteen Born in the USA, GnR Appetite for Destruction, Prince Purple Rain, Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet, Def Leppard Hysteria, Motlet Crue Dr. Feelgood, U2 Joshua Tree, Madonna Like a Virgin,  Journey Escape, ZZ Top Eliminator, Billy Joel An Innocent Man … all standards today, iconic and monsters still …

THE 80s icon …

 

I remember when Journey, with Steve Perry came to town.  They were there Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  They sold almost a half million seats in one city in one stop.  Then they moved on to the next city to do it all again.  They weren’t the only one.  They invented arena rock.  They invented stadium concert tours.  They invented the tour bus caravan and the tour PLANE.

By the late 80s there hair bands had learned how to dominate and took it as far as it can go.  I respect that.  I learned the limits of racing by exceeding the limits … It takes guts and although we can look back at these..

And wonder if it went too far … no.  It was an age of excess and individualism.  I love these guys.

These bands brought us torn jeans as fashion, spandex, cut off Ts, they made long hair for men fashionable again (I had it) hair gel and aqua net were of the era as well and luckily most of the look is gone, although the torn jeans have returned with the current generation claiming it as original.  Also, the bands of that era have not apologized for the spandex to my knowledge …

In this era and to this music I did much more than chase women.  I raced.  I didn’t race on a track yet, although that did start in 89, this was the other kind.  The dangerous kind.  I street raced and played and to the anthems of Poison, GnR, Quiet Riot, AC/DC , Boston, Twisted Sister and countless other hard driving bands of the era, I turned up the stereo, spooled up the V8s and threw my life to chance in exchange for adrenalin rarely felt since.  I wrecked a few cars, I rolled one three times, I ran from the cops on more than one occasion, more than five … and all by turning the stereo up louder…

 

As I write this, I am in a restaurant that is playing almost entirely music from the list above.  The day that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper was immortalized in Don McLean’s song, American Pie as the day the music died.  It was reborn in the 80s.  It may have died again in the 90s.  But like the rebirth after Buddy Holly died, there will be another but I do wonder … if I was lucky enough to come of age in the greatest age of music.

I am so lucky to have these and dozens more songs as the sound track to the most powerful years of my life.  I loved to some of these songs.  I cried to some.  I almost died to some.  And they are all in my DNA and to the artist who made them, sweated over every chord, every word, every pause in the chorus … to those who first stood in front of a crowd and sang from their heart and soul and hoped their dream would take flight, I love you.

And finally, one of the original classics

 

Lets hope Rock and Roll find’s it’s feat again and for God’s sake, start having fun up there again!  But until then, the 80s are here to rock you and remind you, life is about living, not about anger …

Lasting Marketing

boom

Going back to WWII, there was even then a war of propaganda.  All wars start with lies and end with lies.  Why we fight is not the reason why we start to fight. How we rationalize a war has little to do with what the war is about.  We can often connect lines of logic through time and events and support the public perception of why.  This is helped when the press is either fed or willingly tells only select stories.  But the press is not the only component here.

Today, we talk about lower taxes being the key to economic success, even though every example is only a success for a short time and leads to recessions.  Also, it is impossible to always lower taxes so it cannot be the only answer, but it is the popular answer since we only care about today, fuck our kids, tomorrow doesn’t matter.

Today we talk about a war on terrorism, when other parts of the world see us as the terrorists and we have experienced almost no terrorism from foreigners.  Today we focus on illegal immigrants and VERY expensive answers rather than immigration reform which would make us money.  What we seem to focus on allows others to look proactive and give permission for action.  Action that is not based in the true goal.

On August 6, 1945 the US Army Air Corps dropped the first atomic bomb from a plane.  This wasn’t the first atomic detonation.  The “Gadget” was the first atomic device that was detonated on July 16, 1945.  The bomb over Hiroshima was the second detonated, named “Little Boy”, a name taken from the Maltese Falcon.

Prior to this, there had been an extensive bombing campaign both in Europe and Japan.  The US public had been growing tired of the war and the loss of life.  The reason for extensive bombing was to reduce the more publicized loss of US lives on the ground.  I wont fault this, this is sound strategy.  But due to the growing public exhaustion of death tolls, both American and enemy, there was also an extensive propaganda campaign regarding precision bombing.

Precision bombing in WWII was a myth.  It wasn’t until smart bombs that precision bombing really existed and that was not until the 1990s.  If we could really drop bombs “in a pickle barrel” from 10,000 feet in 1942, we’d not have as much need for guided bombs today.  This was marketing, propaganda, to lessen the exhaustion on the home front and sell the myth of saving lives through superior tactics and technology.

What was being sold was this, we would only hit vital war resources and thus cripple Germany’s ability to wage war while sparing as much as possible the German people.  Nice concept, but not possible then.  How do we know, simple … the deadliest bombing campaigns of WWII include well over 10,000 dead civilians.  The most immediate causalities is from bombing Tokyo in 1945 where over 100,000 civilians dead.  Where was the precision?  Where was the saving of lives?  There was efforts yes, but not results and the US military knew it.

All of the US bombings in the top ten used the Nordon bomb site, one of the most secretive instruments of WWII.  It wasn’t as good as advertised.  Not close.  I theorize the reason it was so secretive was that as it was being sold as a precision instrument the US military was using for accuracy and also saving lives and it wasn’t able to do this job and thus it must be kept secret so no one knows it does not live up to the billing.  It was good, very good even.  But pickle barrels were never targeted.

The Manhattan project, something my family is directly connected to, was unknown by the US citizens until August 6, 1945.  It was to that point the most secretive project in US history, and for good reason.  Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima in order to force Japan into surrender and to prevent an estimated then, 100,000 US causalities from invading Japan.  Today that number is often quoted as 1,000,000 lives.  Lies grow like inflation over time.

The reason we know that the invasion would not cost that many lives is that we had total navy superiority, almost complete air superiority and the mainland was not guarded by 100,000 prime and well fed and trained Japanese soldiers.  Japan was mostly populated by the old and the young and the female.  Okinawa and Iwo Jima were Japans last real breaths.  Kamikazes were not an act of extreme patriotism and fanaticism.  Most of the pilots were told if they returned they and their families would be shot.  Most Kamikazes also never reached their targets.  Some were fanatics but the presence of any is not the rule of all.

The invasion of Japan would take time and preparation and the idea the Atomic bomb could end the war earlier was real.  The idea that it could prevent an invasion was real.  It could and did save American lives.  But it was not to prevent a blood bath, it had a wholly different purpose.

Go back to the start of 1945 when the bombing of Japan really took root.  We bombed so many cities, over 100, and some nearly to the ground.  We bombed industrial cities and ones that had little industrial purpose.  This was to help destroy the war machine but that machine by that time was largely broken. It was to break the will of the people.  Fair enough.

But here is the interesting part and how we know we only had two atomic bombs to drop.  There were only a few major cities left un-bombed.  Left pristine.  Ignored by all American bombs until they were not.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately left un-bombed by orders starting in Jan of 1945.  They were already the targets of the atomic demonstration.

We needed a clean target to measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of the atomic bombs.  This was also advertising.  Advertising for who?  We’ll get to that.  We knew the bombs should work, since we tested one.  We didn’t test both kinds.  The two we dropped were different.  One we had already tested, the other we had not.

We did try to prevent human deaths in the bombing though.  We did not need to see death tolls to measure effectiveness.  We actually warned Hiroshima of the coming bombing.  Few left.  Most of the city was as it had always been at 8:15 am.  By 8:16, the cold war had started.

The Potsdam conference had taken place in Germany and the initial test of “the gadget” had taken place while it was gong on.  President Truman until that point had been hoping to get Russia to attack Japan.  He did, but by the end of the conference Truman knew it would not be needed.

Ironically, Stalin also knew the gadget had worked but not because Truman told him, because his spies had.  He had many spies in The Manhattan Project and he knew as much as Truman.

Russia and the US were already starting to stand off over gained territory in the war.  Russia didn’t want to give any won territory back, whereas the US and England wanted to give it all back.  This was the first step of the cold war.  All major US leaders knew Russia would be one of the next problems.  Gen. Patton wanted to continue on from Berlin to Moscow.

For those of you who think if he had it would have solved many issues, you are wrong.  We woulda lost or at least not won and lost millions of US lives in the process.  Russia lost more people in the battle of Moscow than we have lost in US history of war.  Those of you who think Russia was weak are fools.

Hiroshima was a demonstration to Russia where we stood with atomic weaponry.  We were far ahead of Russia or Germany or England, all of who had been working on the same technology.  Germany had been ahead of us but British special forces and our bombing knocked out the resources needed.

So historians and the general public who have read some, think that the atomic bombs were to prevent US loss of life in the invasion of Japan.  There is a grain of truth in that beach of propaganda.  But in reality is was to measure the effectiveness of our newest weapon and to show Russia how big our … um … bomb was.

It likely did save lives.  It did save American lives.  It didn’t prevent wars.  It might have prevented some wars though.  It only took the Russians 4 years to catch up.  That may be when the real cold war started.  Yet the Korean War started the following year so they did not prevent wars.

We can look at this event in a different way and it makes more sense when you understand that we detonated the bomb for far more reasons than to end the war.  we were demonstrating our technological superiority and likely stalled Russian aggression.

Lets take one last look at this issue in a more modern context.

We see Russia as a threat sometimes, ok, they love to posture and did invade the Ukraine, kinda … Since WWII, Russia or USSR has invaded 4 nations.  We have invaded 10.  We love to see North Korea as a threat, yet since 1950, North Korea has not invaded or attacked any other nation.

We love to see them as a threat because they may have developed nuclear weapons even though they have never demonstrated them publicly.  In the meantime, do you have any idea how many atomic tests and detonations have taken place on the planet and by whom?

 

There are 7 known nuclear nations.  South Africa developed the technology but dismantled theirs when they joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which we and Russia have also signed.  North Korea we already discussed and I do not count as part of the 7 known.  There are also 5 nations that have US nuclear missile bases including Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

The known US active Nuclear arsenal which has been inspected by many nations many times, is set at about 1,800.  There are about 7,000 decommissioned but not yet destroyed missiles.  Why so many?  Cause liberals wont allow us to dispose of the material and not allow us to build nuclear reactors which can use some of the material, so there it sits…

But answer me this Glenda Lou … why are we scared of North Korea? Can you name the 7 known states with independent nuclear weapons?  I’ll give you the US and Russia.  England is an easy guess and anyone with some savvy will guess France.  All correct. China is also an easy guess but often forgotten.   How about India and Pakistan?  Did you know they had them as well?  Did you know Israel very likely does?  And not because we gave it to them, they developed them on their own.  So why are we scared of north Korea … No one rational is.  But it is great propaganda to justify military build up.  N.K. is not a threat to us as I mentioned in my previous article.

https://5280nup.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/its-not-as-simple-as-pro-or-con/

We seem to be the worlds authority on who should have nuclear weapons yet we are the only nation who has used it in anger on an enemy.  At the time, it could have been seen as a war crime.  Mass targeting of civilians with a non conventional weapon.  We sold it well and we won.  If it was Japan that had used it we would have put them on trial.

We tend to make a deal out of other nations that possess biological weapons or chemical weapons.  Yet ironically, the US has examples of every known bio toxin and chemical warfare ordinance known to man.  Are they in weapon forms?  Yes they are, we have many examples of this to prove it.  Who says we can be trusted?  Who does the prosecution?  Us.  So were exempt yet we lie about it all the time.  Lets take a look.

We try to sell ourselves as the policemen of justice, we aren’t.  Agent Orange was not a myth, is it real and it killed up to 350,000 people.  It caused birth defects for a generation and almost destroyed an ecosystem.  That was us using chemical warefare on an enemy in the 60s and 70s.

In Fallujah in 2004 the US military used white phosphorous on Iraqi civilians.  Is it a bio ordinance, no.  Is it a chemical ordinance, yes it is.  It is a gray area used to excuse the choice but they targeted almost entirely civilians, so I call crap on that excuse.  This was a news story everywhere but in the US.  Still believe the press is free or liberal?

In 1988 the US was supplying Iraq and Hussein with intelligence in their war with Iran and knew they were using Sarin, mustard and nerve gas, and helped them know where to aim them, including on Kurdish civilians … their children are what we call ISIS today.  We reap what we sew.

BTW, if you think the above is ok because you hate anyone with dark skin, be brave and honest and unfriend me on FB now.  You are of no use to me.  I wont miss you.

Now lets bring this home.  The US government still wont say what they were releasing from building roofs in the 1950s in St Louis’ prominently black neighborhoods where a cancer cluster followed.  It is classified.  So I am sure it’s nothing bad, right?

Need we mention the Tuskegee experiment?  I hope not.

Lets get much closer to home.  In 2011 the police fired tear gas at the occupy protestors of Oakland.  Tear Gas is prohibited by the military as a chemical war agent.  So if it is against the law in war, why is it ok to shoot against US civilians by our police?  Why do they even have it in inventory if it is a war crime to use?

Shall we go on or shall we simply accept that the US IS an expert on chemical warefare since we take part in it often against foreign combatants against several international treaties and we fire them at our own civilians and lie about it.  So maybe we are the worlds policeman because we are the experts on using them and lying about it, but you likely heard it here first.

So all this distortion of truth makes me wonder one question: What will our children discover about us now, that we deny because we wont apply simple logic and do some research that is not that hard with Google Scholar and foreign news sources?  If you want to know I would do so before access to foreign news agencies is by fee only, paid to the US Govt.  Think that’s a silly concept, you need to read more about net neutrality and why it is under threat.

God I Miss Her

Every man needs a romance … THAT romance …

That romance that scares your mother.

That romance that makes other women a little annoyed but also a little jealous …

She needs the be an attention getter.  She needs to wrap herself around you and remind you you are safe, but also know that she could kill you.  There is only room for one.

You have to be willing to put it all in and expect it all from her.  You have to know that no matter what, no matter how long it takes, if you give it all, you will get it all.

For a time in my life I was the most alive I have ever felt.  I have touched on it since but not like then, not predictable, like when I knew it was about to happen.  Sometimes it didn’t work out but as I got better at it and more prepared, those moments of life made the waiting between all worth it.  All the work and time and effort and scars made those times, those amazing times so worth it.

These times will likely still go down in my life as I get older as some of if not my greatest moments.  When life slowed down.  When everything made sense.  When I was in control.  When even the confusion of it all was beauty in chaos.  I walked towards the heat and the danger.

It excited me.

The heat could be amazing.  Overwhelming.  I didn’t care about the sweat, it was part of the allure.  It personified the power.  It defined those moments.

Sometimes it felt dirty.  It was wet.  It could consume every sensation and every part of my body.  Never before or since have I put so much of my body to use all at once and consumed everything I had.  Sore muscles, thirsty, exhaustion, the overwhelming desire to go faster, longer, harder … GOD IT WAS LIFE.

After a while I added music to it.  Not just any music, power driving music.  you know, THAT music …

When i did …

it ALL came together …

like nothing before or since…

Then, only on occasions … but then … it was perfection.

The noise, the motion, the power all dominated all my senses.  There was room for nothing else.

No one else.

It could be so overwhelming sometimes it could even bring me to tears.  When done, there was nothing left but that feeling that something amazing just happened and the world had changed a little.

Afterwards …

Afterwards I would strut.

God I miss racing…

runoffs 98

It’s Not as simple as Pro or Con

I have been called many things in my life.  They vary and that’s fine, I have been many people in my life.  In the opening innings of a new Republican administration we are once again on the verge of another war, or escalation or police action or whatever term is PC now in the non-PC Presidency.

I worry that we so easily go to guns.  I worry that lives are not valued enough.  I worry that we go in with our soldiers in response to aggression or an affront and have no clear objective or exit to know when our soldiers will no longer be asked to die.  If we have no clear end, there should never be a beginning.  If the objective is a lie, such as a recent war, then that should be considered treason by the people of this nation.

I get that Presidents and politicians and governments lie to its people.  I get it.  There are some times when they should never.  The reason to go to war is one of them.  The objective of that war is another.  If not, then they killed our soldiers with lies and did so knowingly and deliberately.  If that isn’t treason I don’t know what is.

But lets assume the next action is true.  I want you to ask yourself before hand, how many of our soldiers should die for this war.  We don’t know loss like other nations do.  We have no concept of what it feels like to lose more people in a single battle, than we have currently deployed in our armed forces.  There are numerous battles in the 20th century that had more deaths on one side, than we have had in our nations history.  We don’t know loss like other nations.

Also, I want you to consider what the objective is.  Do we bomb North Korea?  If we do, to what end?  They vilify us with no cause.  Yes we fought them a generation and a half ago but that’s old news.  That war ended 60 years ago, and they didn’t lose.  If we bomb them is it to convince them were the good guys?  You cannot kill someone into friendship.  That’s like beating my neighbor so they invite me over for parties.  Is it about removing the leader?  If so, bombing wont do it.  We have to invade.  We have to conquer.  We have to occupy.  Are you ready to occupy yet another nation with no clear end in sight?  You don’t remove leaders of nations with bombs alone.

What are we scared of there anyhow?  They have yet to show they can launch anything remotely close to … anything.  Much less us.  They have likely detonated a nuclear weapon.  But that’s a far cry from being a nuclear power or military.  I have yet to see proof that what they have detonated underground was a true nuke.  It could have been A LOT of TNT and radioactive material to make it look nuclear.  They are NOT a threat.

Also, we overlook the obvious.  Yes they have launched missiles towards Japan.  Some say to provoke us.  Some say to attack a protectorate of ours to provoke us into action.  No.  That can’t be it.  Why you ask?  Simple.  South Korea.  South Korea is easily reachable for them and they could attack it with ease.  Yet they don’t even try.  The largest deployment of US soldiers overseas is in S. Korea.  If he wanted to provoke us, our military is only a couple dozen miles away, yet he fires in the other direction.  He is playing games.

How many US soldiers should die due to a dictator playing a game? A game where no foreigners have yet to die.  How many US soldiers should die because a man who looks like Tweety Bird is a big mouth.

tweety bird

How many US Soldiers should die for him?

The other direction our new leader may send our soldiers is Syria.  The man who claimed to know more about ISIS than the generals, should have a hell of a plan.  It should start with what we know if you listen to more than Fox News.  We caused Isis.  Isis used to be the Kurds.  The same people we long ago armed and trained to help fight for their freedom as they were being oppressed by Saddam Hussein.  Then we forgot them.  When Hussein was killed and removed from power, we just moved on and the oppression continued.  We helped make Isis.

Are we to blame?  No.  Are we the cause?  No.  We are part of the reason for them to exist though.  So does that mean we should sit by and not care?  No.  But it is a symbol, a hint, a clue of the issue in the middle east.  There is no end to war there.  They were killing one another over what God you pray to and how since long before this nation, or most nations, or Jesus… There is no end.

Remember the movie War Games?  No matter how many ways The WOPR computer played out the game, there was no win.  No matter what happens in the middle east, there is no balance.  There is no win.  There is no obtainable objective and there is clearly no end.  If we go to war in Syria, it is not to win.  It is not because they are a threat to the US.  So you have to ask, why are we doing this if there is no end?  Someone profits but it isn’t the US soldier.  They die.

Do you know how many Americans had been killed by ISIS prior to us going there to stop them?  None.  ISIS was and is regional.  They are small time on the world stage.  They are the definition of no threat to the US.  So how many American men and women in our armed services is it a good number to die for no threat to us? How many American men and women should die when there is no obtainable objective to military action?  How many US soldiers should die when we cannot win?

If our President knows more about ISIS than the generals, he should know the simple lesson the WOPR learned from Tic Tac Toe.  The only way to win is not to play ….

I HATE wars.  I HATE them.  Yes there are amazing feats or heroism and amazing stories of overcoming.  But that’s no reason to have 1,000s of our sons and daughters die.  I am VERY pro soldier because I am anti war.

We are in a very pro soldier era now as a backlash by the next generation after the generation of Vietnam.  I get it.  The odd thing is I don’t know a single soldier that wants the praise the public seems the need to heap on them.  Most have told me, “I did a job I signed up to do, I got a paycheck and an education opportunity, I’m not a hero, I was a soldier, now I am a worker, and a parent and a spouse and your neighbor.  Treat me with respect like you should anyone.”  Amen.

I respect those wishes and don’t fill my need to feel patriotic by forcing praise.  They deserve respect, yes.  They deserve support when needed, yes.  WE ALL do.  But most just want to move on or continue being the soldier they chose to be.  I support them, by HATING wars that kill them.

I have been called anti-soldier because I am anti-war.  I am PRO solder and pro American and pro Human, because I am anti war.  Call me anything you like.  But if you feel I am anti soldier because I am anti war…I know all I ever need to about you.  Change the channel …

My Jeep Wave

Military Jeep

There are many who wont understand this or care about it.  That’s ok.

I saw a Jeep Commander today, stock, nice highway tires and rigid mud flaps.  On the rear window were three phrases in the form of stickers.  “GO TOPLESS”,  “Land Rover Recovery Vehicle” and “I Drive Over Things” … No, just no.

This was not a real Jeep, this was a jeep, and he clearly does not understand what go topless means in the context of a Jeep.  Now I am just as supportive of anyone for going topless.  Maybe we all should but this is a reference to convertible (hard or soft top) Jeeps, not Commanders.  For him to go topless would require a sawzall or torch or a Smokey and the Bandit ‘I’ beam across the road.

The “Land Rover Recovery Vehicle” made me giggle (yes really).  This Jeep couldn’t follow most Land Rovers.  It had no recovery gear or winch or D rings or anything that would aid in anything other than jump starting a dead Land Rover at Park Meadows.

The last sticker, “I Drive Over Things” is one I can get behind.  I can see this Commander driving over to the bar, or over to the mall, or maybe over to a 30 year class reunion in LoDo.  This one I can make right in my head, but not the way it is meant in regards to a Jeep.  He doesn’t get it.  He is part of the Jeep culture like I am part of the cowboy culture when I put on my Cowboy hat.  I would not wave to him from my Jeep.

The Jeep wave is the idea that Jeep owners wave to one another as they pass on the two way roads.  Some are militant about if you do or don’t.  Some have rules.  I do as well, more or less.  They aren’t hard and fast rules, just guidelines.  Or whims …. Whatever it is, this is my look on it.

The Jeep is the evolution of the military multi-use vehicle invented by Bantam Car Co.  During WWII they were made by Willys designated MB and the same or similar vehicles made by Ford were designated GPW.  Rumor has it, the GP part of that Ford designation is where Jeep came from, GP, pronounced Jeep.

When they were turned onto civilian use after the war they were designated CJ, supposedly standing for Civilian Jeep.  When turned to civilian use they were barely different than the indestructible military versions.  Often they lacked doors, tops, seat cushions, heaters and even windshield wipers!  They were the definition of utility.

They were sold to farmers to replace horses mules and tractors.  They were sold to people who worked in construction and to people who were going into the back country.  The point here is that those who drove them, drove them for the utilitarian purpose rather than style or comfort.  This spoke to the driver.  They were similar in their intent, which was different than anyone else since the vehicle was unlike anything before.

For approximately two decades the two door, small and formidable Jeep CJ was the only Jeep made and sold.  They became more driver friendly and road worthy but they were still utilitarian.  They still reflected the owner.  Until the International Scout and original Ford Bronco, there was no competition.  When these Jeeps passed one another on the road, somehow, sometime, the wave developed in recognition of these special owners.

I have owned a 79 CJ5.  A 98 Cherokee.  And currently an LJ.  I don’t wave to every Jeep.  Number one, in Colorado there are too many.   Secondly, Jeep has recently made many models I do not consider to be a Jeep at all.  If your pride and joy is not one I typically wave at, I don’t apologize.  I wave to a purpose and use, not a brand.

Jeep TJ

My Jeep is not meek.  It isn’t a mall queen.  It isn’t stock and cleaned all the time.  The interior is dusty and there is dirt in the rubber floor mats.  Usually, it only has a bikini top on.  In other words, it is quite true to the original intent and utility.  I don’t consider a Jeep Compass to be utilitarian, nor a Patriot, nor a current Renegade.  They are cars made by a Jeep company.

I wave to the intent and ability of the vehicle to do what I do more or less.  I wave to modified and TRAIL USED vehicles.  Typically, these are Wranglers or Rubicons or Cherokee.  I may also wave to a Bronco or Toyota or Land Rover too.  I draw the line at a Samurai and it’s cousins.  I don’t wave to pick ups, other than one Ford Raptor I know of.

In other words, I wave to the intent and actual use in the theme of the original Jeep.  Heated seats and leather door skins are not that intent.  Nor are 16,000,000 lumens of light on a Suburban.  A Rubicon with painted fenders and armor-alled tires on 22s is not original intent.  Most of the Jeeps sold I don’t wave to.

If this doesn’t fit your expectations as you drive by me in your Commander, I really don’t give a Yugo.  Current Renegades look like Fiats.  Current Cherokees look like a bumper car.  They wheel about as well.  Maybe they should wave to Rav 4s, not a trail rig.  I’ll wave to the JKUR on 37s that has armor with scratches and a winch line that is not perfectly wound on the spool.  I’ll wave to a first gen Bronco with the top off and the fender corners chewed a bit form the mud tires.  I’ll wave to the Ford Raptor going up Holy Cross.  I wont wave to your Jeep Commander even if you drive over to me.

 

The Art of Myth Promotion

 

Ford T

There are a few people in history that have done well for themselves in the context of their reputation, self made or not, making themselves into myth more than man.  Oddly, they were already impressive without the fictionalization we have bestowed upon them or they themselves promoted.  Edison, Ford and the old west.

 

Henry Ford was a success in every way.  He was an odd duck with unpopular views depending on the era.  He is the recipient of myth and legend and giant status.  There are things that come from him, and quotes credited to him that he likely never said.

 

In reference to the Model T, which is at the center of three myths, Henry never likely said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”  There is one basic reason he would not likely say this, the Model T came in eleven colors.  Not only did it come in eleven colors, but in the first 4-5 years, black was not offered.  So unless Mr. Ford was unaware of his own production, which seems unlikely, he would not have made such a a statement.

 

Another myth is that he sent his engineers to junk yards to examine broken down and warn out model T cars to see what was not warn out in order to make it more cheaply.  There is much evidence for this investigation but not that that exact reason.  Ford manufactured the car as cheaply as possible not to maximize profits but to lower the price.

 

The investigation was to see where costs could be cut to lower the cost of the car to the consumer.  Ford had no need to maximize profits to the extent that he made them poorly, he made over 15,000,000 Model T cars.  And there are still tens of thousands of them on the road today.  For them to be 100 years old and still running, many virtually unmolested or rebuilt, they could not have been made cheaply.

 

The last myth was not likely of his making and likely came after his rise to wealth and fame.  He in fact did not invent or even perfect the production line.  He was the first to apply it to the automobile but far from the first to use the method.

 

The Chinese divided labor into specialized stations on the same object a long time before the industrial revolution that is credited with the production line invention in some circles.  This is a reflection of Eurocentric history writing where Asia is usually not even considered for their contributions to medicine, industry, art, metallurgy or warfare which often preceded Europe by decades to centuries.

 

It’s well documented in the book, Wealth of Nations and was employed in European armories long before Ford and his Model Ts.  As many who have read me may know, I also tend to work from distant to close when discussing how something is wrong or perceived inaccurately.

 

The Springfield Armory in Massachusetts employed production line design and interchangeability of parts long before Ford.  In the time of the Civil War, they so perfected this approach they increased their productivity of Model 1861 rifle by over 300%.  Ford didn’t invent the production line, he was the first to apply it to something as large and complex as a vehicle, which was inevitable.

 

Thomas Elva Edison was a legend of a man.  He was in the middle of the industrial revolution in the United States as well.  He wasn’t the inventor he was purported to be.  Either by his own promotion which is likely, or by others and history, he was a manager of minds, not master of invention.

 

Edison had a great deal of intelligent men working for him.  Edison likely had ideas, and likely inventive ones.  But he himself, managed minds and manipulated perception.  His famous victim was Nikola Tesla.  Many of the electricity claims Edison has been credited with was actually the result of Tesla.

 

His likely most famous invention he is credited with is the light bulb.  He did not invent the light bulb.  His workers invented the marketable light bulb.  He had bought one of hundreds of the existing patents for light bulbs and through many trials, found a way to make the filament last long enough to sell.

 

Edison managed inventors and took credit for their work since the work they did was under his employ, and thus his property.  In a more modern counter example, Walt Disney hired very creative people to put his ideas into realities.  Walt had little idea how, only what he wanted in general.  He hired the people to make his visions work.  We don’t credit Walt with the invention of all the technology within his lands and worlds.  The difference is, Walt promoted his product as a product of Imagineers.  Edison promoted himself.

 

Edison didn’t invent myth or self promotion or ego.  He is simply a modern example that will likely be forgotten over time, to the degree we no longer recall past self promoters as we focus on our more modern examples such as Ford and Edison for now.

 

Another flavor for myth making is one closer to home for me, the wild west.  Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, The James Gang, Butch and Sundance … they were less than the myth we have manufactured.  Although far from average.

 

The number of kills many of these men have been credited with has been proven to be impossible in most cases.  Not to say they didn’t kill anyone, but the penny and dime novels that largely made the myths, were more fiction than fact.

 

The James Gang was credited with so many bank robberies that they would have had to have a Leer Jet to get from one town to another in order to pull them all off.  Wild Bill was credited with at least one kill that he didn’t perform since it was used as a defense for the man that killed Bill.  The vengeance defense for the killer’s non existent brother.

 

Buffalo Bill’s history was largely written by himself via his Wild West show.  He was accurate for the most part in what he presented and one of the original advocates of the west and it’s native population, but he also had to package the information for his shows so it distorted the perception of the west by making small examples into sweeping generalizations.

 

Butchandsundance

These are not the real ones …

Butch and Sundance were still being blamed or credited with railroad and bank robberies after they had left the nation. Consider the quality of news reports today, ‘if it bleeds it reads’ is not new. When major cities had sometimes 25 papers and small towns had 2-3, there was much fiction then, more than now.  The quality of reporting in the day is not a historical record.

 

Billy the Kid is probably the most mythed of the old west.  He was brazen and deadly but again could not have been in all the places he was reported to have been and thus not done all the deeds credited to him.  Story telling is an art form.  In many cases it is art of creation rather than accurate reflection.  That’s fine, as long as we understand it to be what it is.

 

A great example of how we don’t know often what is right in front of us, is that for a long time Billy the Kid was assumed to have been left handed.  This is based on the most famous of the photos of him in existence.  Then, photos were on glass plates.  The plate was backwards when it was assumed he was left handed.  He was right handed in reality.  Simple fact turned backwards that historians bent other information to fit into.  Making it all wrong.

 

 

There is nothing wrong with myth, The Minnesota Vikings wear a fictional emblem for the Nordic overseas conquerors.  Robin Hood likely never existed, King Richard and his Knights likely didn’t either although people are digging deep on both of those looking for a basis in reality.  I hope they are found.

 

As long as they are understood as colorizations of modern culture, myth is simply context.  As long as were open to the idea that they may be real, we are open to wonder.  As long as we understand the intent of the teller, we can see through the myth to the man or woman they are built on.

 

Myth is either the colorization of fact or the hope of wonder.  Either is fine.  Just like anything else, accept our larger than life figures as potential myth, or be fooled into a fictional character ourselves based on our unrealistic, albeit fun perceptions.

 

 

You Aren’t Who they Say

 

DNA Analysis.

 

Who are you?  Who am I?  Who determines that?  Why am I asking?

 

The modern era is just amazing.  I remember when DNA was mapped.  I have seen Dolly, ok, not literally, but the time she was announced.  My father has had his DNA read to know his history, and thus PART of mine (we’ll return to this)and we have entered the era of Genetic programming our children, determining to a degree who they are even before they are born.

 

We also live in the era of ancestry.com and the not so modern idea of knowing where we came from.  This comes in handy when determining if we should wear a kilt or lederhosen to the next family dinner.

 

Ads for DNA analysis have taken broad liberty in using words and placing ideas.

Ethnicity is not genetic.  It is not DNA.  Ethnicity is about culture and socialization.  Neither exist in DNA.

 

Nationality and tradition also don’t exist in DNA.

Sorry about the horrible quality …

Was she planning to marry a specific DNA type or was she seeking tradition and physical traits?  Cause the physical traits she can see, and the traditions are not DNA.  This ad is miss leading and as the poster implies, racist.  But racist is in these days so maybe I am the one that’s off on that one.

 

Who we are has little to do with our DNA.  DNA does have to do with how we look to a degree though, so the commercial about Italians and Eastern Europeans, which BTW share many of the same genes, is more about the woman not knowing what an Italian looks like, except …. they don’t all look the same do they?

 

Who we are is alot to do with how we grew up and under what traditions.  If I grew up doing many German traditional things then I am ethnically more German than many Germans who emulate American tradition.  (we’ll also come back to this)

This is misleading.  Kilts and lederhosen are cultural, not genetic.  Lets take a more rational look at genes and DNA.

 

Testing will determine what area of the world our genetic ancestors were most focused in a looooong time ago and how they got the genetic mix we still carry with us today enough to determine were part of that DNA profile.  These genes are not specific. They are focused yes but not specific.  They are also not current.

 

As I mentioned, my father had his DNA run. $100 from National Geographic.  His DNA gave a certain profile, but that is not me. That is only half of me.  Ok, that’s half of the genetic pool I am dipped from.  But the point here is that our DNA is wildly varied.  If I came from four grandparents say … from Samoa, India, Central Africa and Native American, who am I?

 

After getting DNA done what if they determine the one from India emigrated from Scotland?  Am I now Scottish instead of Indian?  If I have a pie chart like in the ads that show I am 27% Native American, 24% Scottish (Indian), 25% Samoan and 24% Central African, does that mean I am Native American and should start living in those cultural identities?

 

Ok, so I have determined I am more Native American than anything else but I grew up in Japan and have lived in their culture my whole life.   I buy a new cell phone every 3 months, drive on the right side, live in a tiny cramped apartment and have learned ALL of the social protocols that come with Japanese culture.  Who am I now?  Am I still Native American or am I Japanese.

 

DNA is not who we are.  The best DNA can do is tell us where our very distant ancestors came from and where in the world they are still more clustered than anywhere else.  In the example above, I am culturally Japanese.  My genes have NOTHING to do with that.  In the above example my DNA is too split to determine who I am, genetically.  Does that mean I am genetically no one?

 

In Psychology we explore how people identify themselves.  We never label or expect someone to fall into a type based on things you can measure.  I have worked with a tall, broad shouldered, very muscular and deep voiced cross dressing genetic man who identified as a woman.  Her DNA/genes say man.  She wasn’t.  Her DNA profile would not tell her who she is, she knows who she is.

 

What if I had CAIS?  Who would I be?  Don’t know what that is?  It is a huge secret that would blow many people’s minds.  Sit down children, I’ll tell you a true story…

 

When a baby is developing in mommies tummy, there is not a sex determined until a while in.  The baby is already forming and making parts that can go either way and both share.  This is why men have nipples, cause they are formed before it is known what sex the baby will become!  So, when the baby needs to determine which sex parts to make, it sends out a chemical into the body called androgen.  Androgen reacts to testosterone.  Both boys and girls have testosterone but at different levels.  The amount of reaction the androgen has, determines if a boy or girl is made.

 

If there is little reaction in the androgen, then that would indicate low testosterone and a girl is made.  A big reaction from the androgen would indicate higher levels of testosterone and a boy is made.  Simple.  But what if the androgen is broken and no reaction takes place at all?  Then a girl is made.  What if that broken androgen is present in a baby with high testosterone and would have been a boy if the androgen was not broken?  Then girl sex parts, mostly, are built on a genetically male body.

 

She would not be transgender, not a cross dresser, not bisexual.  This is CAIS.  Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Women like her in this example are women in almost every way.  They have breasts and vaginas and can be very feminine.  These women can also be very athletic.  They are often tall for women, broad shouldered, more muscular and have small breasts.

 

Depending on proportions, I just identified two types of women rather well.  Women who would be good in basketball and super models.  They are women. But they cannot become pregnant because they do not have ovaries.  In this example she has X and Y chromosomes. Genetically, she is male.  But she and others look like women and can in rare cases, be the vary definition of female beauty.

 

So tell me, if we cannot even be that right, know women from men, how can DNA identify our cultural identity?  It cannot.

 

Ethnicity is a combination of how we are raised, how we identify ourselves and some of our genes.  I can see myself as another gender but I cannot see myself as taller nearly as easily.  There are limits.

 

I see myself in a way that does not entirely reflect my sisters extensive work in our ancestry.  She has traced our family tree back hundreds of years.  We were present in Colorado for generations and on two of my four lines, predate presence in Colorado before Colorado was a state.

 

One of our lines was present in the country when the western frontier was what we call today, Tennessee.  Ohio and New York and Georgia play prominently in my ancestry as well.  My genes don’t say any of that.

 

My ten god children get a product of my ancestry and my culture.

Who am I?  I am a Colorado Boy who is highly educated and romantic.  I grew up in the DC area and know politics better than most until recently and spent my best years strapped into a welding mask or a five point harness.  I can sing John Denver and Guns and Roses and I am as good with a pen (metaphorically since I write with a keyboard obviously) as I am with a steering wheel.  I have a spirit animal and I don’t fear death nearly as much as I fear water.  I largely raised myself from 14 and have loved passionately.

 

My genes do not reflect any of that.  My genes would show England, Scotland and Germany.  I’m none of those.  My ancestors who helped shape me were American.  I have no Native American genes in me so I cannot claim Native American, but trust me, I wear my Stetson well.

 

Who are you is the question.  Don’t look to DNA or genes to find who you are.  You are who you were raised as combined with who you chose to be.  You reflect how you were raised and by who but mostly, you are who you chose to become, in spite of your DNA.