More Thoughts On Gun Control

Colt 1911

GUN CONTROL?? WHAT ABOUT ABSENT FATHERS?

Do we want to solve gun violence, or do we just want to engage in useless bluster?

Whenever a terrible shooting takes place, in Toronto, or an American city, the gun control enthusiasts rush to the podium to bang their fist and display their anger.

Recently, US President, Barack Obama reacting to the mass shooting in Oregon that left nine people dead, said: “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.

He meant gun laws.

But another display of emotion won’t make gun control work.

The guns are not the problem, but they are an easy target, and politicians, like water, seek the easy course.

If gun control worked, Chicago would not experience the violence that it does. If gun control worked, the Toronto Sun would not have reported, in mid-July, that “The 227 shooting victims so far this year are 31 more than the total for all of 2014.””

Toronto and Chicago have gun control. Murder is also ‘controlled’.  It is illegal!  The problem is deeper and more complicated than the tool that is used.  But it is politically correct to blame the gun.  It is less so, and therefore fraught with political danger, to talk about family breakdown.

An article in The Federalist by Peter Hasson notes: “Violence?  There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence.  Suicide?  Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.  Dropping out of school?  71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless families.  Drug use?  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are, growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which is itself directly related to lack of an active or present father.

So what can we do to encourage young people to avoid single parenthood and to encourage responsible fatherhood? How do we keep young men from having to search for belonging and acceptance from other young men in a gang?

We should be as critical of the choices that lead to kids having babies as we are of guns, but politicians mostly recoil in horror when anyone suggests that they try this approach.

What about mental health? Are we willing to address that issue?  In theory the people are, but are politicians willing to make the necessary choices in priorities, and are we willing to stop putting money into parties like the Pan Am Games, and instead, adequately fund mental health programs?

Apparently not!

Too many things have already gone wrong before a young man picks up a gun and attacks his fellow human beings with the intent to kill. It’s a good thing to talk about fathers, mental health, conflict resolution, employment, mentoring, or whatever anyone can come up with towards achieving the common goal of ending gun violence.

The people whose first, and often only ‘solution’, is more gun control, when it clearly doesn’t work, are not to be taken seriously. Murder is illegal, and most guns used in shootings are illegally held under present gun laws.  We want young people to grow up, so let’s be grown-up about real solutions.

***

With many thanks to Gerry Agar, a Toronto Sun columnist and radio talk-show host, for some interesting and lucid thoughts about guns and social violence.

Advertisements

Minutia V

one shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been slowly working my way up through the list of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, a fact that those of you who had to wade through three of my “Book Reviews (?)”, are aware of.  I’ve read the first ten, with another ten ahead of me.  The next on my list is One Shot, the book that was made into a movie, and started me on this quest.

I recently picked up four books in the series, all on the same day.  I stopped on my way to the Farmers’ Market, to take some cash out of the bank.  The branch was having a fund-raising program, which included donated books for sale.  There was a decent copy of one title – for $2.

At the market, the wife and I visited the Used Book Lady.  She doesn’t often get Lee Child books, and they disappear quickly, but two had just come in, and she remembered my interest, so she held them for me.  She sells second-hand books $4/ea., or 3/$10.  Along with another author’s book, I now had two more at $3.33/ea.

On the way home, I stopped at a Chapters bookstore and bought the next one I needed in the series.  Piggybacking on the son’s discount card, the $10 book cost me $8.

I recently published a post, critical of the French culture and language – only because they deserve it.  The language illustrates how entitled and impatient the French are.  In English, we are content to watch, to see what the time is.  A French wristwatch is a montre-bracelet – a show me timepiece.  R.F.N!   👿

In English, we let the good times roll, and often translate that as “laisser rouler les bon temps.”  But in correct French, they insist, fait rouler des bon temps – make to roll (some of) the good times.

I’m glad to hear that stupidity still carries the death penalty.  The first selfie suicide (at least the first one I’ve heard of) has occurred.  Some macho goof in Mexico held a gun to his own head and his cell phone camera out at arm’s length, and snapped a photo.  The camera flash startled him, his finger involuntarily twitched, and the pic includes brain, bone and blood.

A tourist couple in Portugal, climbed over a barricade and past signs in three languages that said, Don’t Go Here, Fool!, to get a better view of the ocean, 140 meters ( 460 feet) below.  They backed up to the edge for a photo, witnesses say that one of them stumbled, and they both plunged off the cliff while their horrified children watched.

Not to be outdone, there was a large outdoor concert in Toronto this summer.  Somehow, two different types of recreational drugs got spilled on the ground, solid tablets, and powder-filled capsules.  Concert-goers snatched them up and swallowed them.  The final count was two dead, and thirteen in serious condition in hospital.  Not content to merely ingest unidentified chemicals, one of the dead is said to have swallowed at least ten of the pills.

And, the stupidity rolls on!  In an attempt to close the barn door after the horses have died, the police issued a request that anyone who purchased drugs at the concert, but had not consumed them, could surrender them to police, and no charges would be laid.  Orrrr…you could just throw them in the garbage, or flush them down the toilet, and no-one would know.

About a year ago, I included a story about an alcoholic, DUI Paki.  He’d had six or more convictions for drunk driving.  He’d caused several accidents, and driven away from most of them.  He threatened the cop who arrested him, in court, and told the judge that he would just go out and drive drunk again.  His excuse (there is no excuse for this behavior) was his first name.  He was Sukhvinder, and all the white kids had made fun of him and his name.

Recently, a drunken Paki named Sukhvinder drove an oversized dump truck onto a bridge on the main (only) major highway between Toronto and Buffalo, with the dump box fully raised, and ran into the overhead support beams.  The bridge was closed for four days, with heavy traffic going through residential areas, while the damage – considerable – was assessed.

I almost hate to think that this is just a coincidence in names of drunken Pakis.  If this is the same guy, we can now charge him with reckless endangerment and either throw him in jail, or deport him.  Maybe Sukhvinder is a common Paki name.  Maybe they all drive drunk.  I read a story about the legal problems of an actor named Vincent D’Onofrio.  Aha, says I.  I know him from Law and Order.  Apparently I didn’t.  Believe it or else, there’s another actor named Vincent D’Onofrio.

Speaking of names – again….  The Indian reservation just outside my home town, fronts on Lake Huron.  Its backside nestles against the Saugeen River.  The road signs on the highway declare it to be Chippewa Hill.  So the Indians in it are….Ojibwa??!

The little city on the other side of the Bruce Peninsula has two rivers which run into the bay.  The Sydenham, a good British stream, from the east, and the Pottawatomi from the west.  There is a Pottawatomi Indian tribe….just north of Kansas City, a thousand miles away.  Did one of them drunk-ride his horse all the way up here?

Let’s End It All

There I was, sitting at the bar, staring at my drink, when a really big, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink, and gulps it down in one swig.


“Well, whatcha gonna do about it? ” he says menacingly, as I burst into tears.  “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d cry. I can’t stand to see a man crying. “


“This is the worst day of my life,” I said. “I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener, and then my dog bit me, so I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, drop the capsule in it, and was sitting here watching the poison dissolve when you show up and drink the whole thing!!

But enough about me, how’s your day going? ”

****

The 36 Rules of Life

 

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.

6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a muffin in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides nice contrast to the real world.

25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat.

26. If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.

27. There is a very fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness.’

28. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

29. You should not confuse your career with your life.

30. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

31. Never lick a steak knife.

32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time.

34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

35. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that deep down inside we ALL believe we are good drivers.

36. Your friends love you anyway.

 

 

Space Modulator

 

Or, as Marvin the Martian would say, “Where’s the Ka-Boom?  There should have been an Earth-shattering Ka-Boom!”  We’ve had three Earth-shattering ka-booms here in town in just over ten years.

Just before the time on my parking-meter ran out at the auto-parts plant, I came home one morning, after a midnight shift.  I kissed the wife good-bye as she left for work, had a (for me) midnight snack, and headed for bed around 8 AM.  Just snuggling in, I heard/felt a heavy thump outside, the kind you get when a heavily loaded semi truck hits a pothole, or recessed manhole (Sorry, politically correct, “Personnel-access”) cover.  But wait, I didn’t hear a truck. I used to live right down-town, where that was common.  Now I live in suburbia, three blocks from the nearest street that trucks are allowed on.

I crawled back out of bed, went over and pulled back the blinds.  Two blocks down the hill there is a huge plume of smoke.  I threw my clothes back on, and went for a walk.  Most of one side of a semi-detached house is missing.  The gas line has been snapped off, and an 8-10 foot blow-torch is incinerating what’s left.  The house across the street is a corner lot, with an eight-foot wooden fence around the backyard.  It looks like a fort from one of the old cowboy movies, except, instead of arrows sticking out, it’s been impaled with most of somebody’s garage.

It turns out the man of the house drove a company van, which had been converted to propane.  Apparently the propane leaked all night, filling the entire garage with gas.  When he climbed in and started the van, up it went.  Other than some hearing loss and slight scorching, the guy was fine.  He was at the center of the blast, and everything blew away from him.

A couple of years later, a co-worker came in for an afternoon shift a little shaky.  He lived in an apartment near the downtown area.  The house behind them, on the side street, actually sat in the middle of what should have been two house-lots.  That fact was important.  The little old guy who owned it was 76, and lived alone.  He was starting to feel that he would be moved into a retirement home by his sons, because he couldn’t take care of himself.

He went downstairs and loosened the fitting on the natural-gas line, where it entered the house.  Then he went back upstairs and sat in the living room.  Perhaps he thought the gas would kill him.  It did!  The explosion left nothing above ground level.  My friend’s apartment-building had hunks of his house embedded in its back wall.  The tree on the other side stopped much of what would have hit the neighbor’s place.  The extra 40 or 50 feet of empty space prevented injuries and serious damage, although all the nearby houses had parts of his home on their roofs and lawns.

On a Sunday night a couple of weeks ago, we had the third case of a house blowing up.  It happened at 11:45 PM, when everyone in the house was in bed.  When the emergency crews arrived, they found one of the older children wandering around in what used to be the back yard, looking for his bed.  The roof was popped off, and the walls were peeled like a banana.

Years back, a city dump was located on what was the edge of town.  It didn’t take too long for the city to grow out to meet the dump.  Soon, houses were being built right up to the edges.  Residents had problems with methane seeping into their homes, causing small explosions….well, more like frightening little pops, and little balls of flame.  The city had to buy all the affected properties, and put bore holes with steel pipes around the site.  It made an interesting sight, especially at night, to drive past and see the methane burning like the stacks at an oil refinery.

At the most recent blow-out, they suspect natural gas, whether a leak or a malfunctioning furnace.  The family is socially/legally squeaky clean.  It is highly unlikely that someone got inside to plant a bomb.  They are doing bore-holes to check for methane, but the area has never been used for land-fill.

Despite the regular miracles they show on such TV shows as CSI, we may never be sure of the cause of this latest blast.  Today’s paper says that the gas company is going to check 800 nearby houses for gas leaks.  Video of the structure in flames is available on You-tube.  Of course someone has started a fund-raiser to assist.  I can only hope that it will be used for immediate expenses, and not just because the owners of this quarter-million dollar home didn’t bother to purchase insurance.

The Romanian family who used to live next door has still not moved back into their home because they are afraid.  I don’t know where they have been staying.  I mean, where do you stay when you have 11 kids??!  Aged 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 19.  A five-year gap in the middle; it sounds like it might be someone’s second marriage, but that someone needs another hobby.

It’s another reminder that, what we take for granted, can so quickly be taken from us.  Where’s the Ka-Boom?  Thankfully not at my house.