Category: News

Anytime the subject of new firearms regulations comes up, there is one debating strategy that always seems to bubble to the surface. Any regulation, no matter how small or sensible, is always railed against with the “People will do it anyway” defense.

Like my personal view that their should be a graduated level of training, and a basic psychological test in order to posess firearms. The typical person arguing against such an idea will say, “People will do it anyway.” If someone is determined enough, they will get weapons legally or illegally.

It is a completely accurate statement, but its not a logical argument against a sensible training program and a psych screen. I’ve seen this argument from both camps of the gun debate. The NRA camp uses the “people will do it anyway” logic to say that any gun regulation is useless. The anti-gun camp uses the “people will do it anyway” to push for full complete handgun and assault weapon ban.

The “People will do it anyway,” logic is completely flawed. It could be used against anything. Why have laws against rape, people will rape anyway? Murder, people will do it anyway!

The Shooting

I’m at loss for words after this latest school shooting, the only emotion that comes to mind is fear. Not a fear of getting shot by a crazed madman, a fear of what draconian measures will be implemented in the name of preventing school shootings.

I can see it now, metal detectors and video cameras at every building entrance on campuses around the country. I’m sure people will blame the usual suspects as well, probably guns and video games. I’m sure someone will tie stronger ID cards in to this tragedy as well. If this kid turns out to be a foreign student, this will be tied to immigration too.

While we can’t blame guns for this incident, I’m all in favor of stronger gun regulation. I believe people should go through a psych evaluation and a 1/2 day training course before being allowed to own a firearm.

There should be basic training to own basic guns, and more advanced training to own more advanced guns, such as assault weapons, handguns, all the way up to a training level that allows someone to carry a concealed weapon.

We should look at pilot licensing for inspiration. The FAA doesn’t let a student jump in to a Cessna alone without knowing the basics, and flying with an instructor many hours beforehand. That policy prevents the student from hurting himself and others. When a private pilot gets their license, they can’t just hop in the left seat of a Gulfstream, there are several levels of certification.

Obviously shooting a gun isn’t nearly as complex as flying a plane, but the effects of doing something stupid with guns is irreversible. Basic concepts such as safe gun storage need to be drilled in to people’s heads. Now the typical NRA member will say he has “been around guns all his life, and he knows how to own guns safely.” The problem is, whatever bad habits these people picked up from the parents, they are bound to repeat themselves.

Training doesn’t just give us better gun owners, it weeds out the idiots. As as result of the training and certification required to fly a plane, there is a much lesser amount of idiots flying planes, compared to say idiots driving cars. Sadly, gun ownership in the United States is much easier than getting a license to drive, so there are lots of idiot gun owners.

I’m sure someone reading this will say, but I have the right to bear arms, well the idea that the second amendment to the constitution gives people the right to own an arsenal of weapons is a fallacy. I say this as the proud owner of an assault weapon, and someone who enjoys sporting clays and target shooting.

Finally, lets put this event in perspective. An event like 30+ innocent people being killed at once for no good reason is a great tragedy. It happens in Iraq every other day. As much as we want to find someone or something to blame for this tragedy, maybe we should have the same resolve and shock when innocent Iraqis are blown away every day as the direct result of our president’s hubris.

“When you’re dead, you’re dead.” –Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut Dead at 84

Kurt Vonnegut was a great writer, I highly recommend picking up any of his books, but to me he is an endless source of great quotations.

I do feel that evolution is being controlled by some sort of divine engineer. I cant help thinking that. And this engineer knows exactly what he or she is doing and why, and where evolution is headed. That’s why we’ve got giraffes and hippopotami and the clap.

The only difference between [George W.] Bush and [Adolf] Hitler is that Hitler was elected.

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.

I have wanted to give Iraq a lesson in democracy—because we’re experienced with it, you know. And, in democracy, after a hundred years, you have to let your slaves go. And, after a hundred and fifty years, you have to let your women vote. And, at the beginning of democracy, is that quite a bit of genocide and ethnic cleansing is quite okay. And that’s what’s going on now.

Since its been over four years since the start of the Iraq war, how has the life of your typical US citizen changed? Unless you are close to someone who is serving in the armed forces, chances are that your life is no different than the pre-war days.

The war seems to be something people watch on TV; a perpetual March madness. People keep score by watching CNN, just like I check ESPN for the latest basketball scores. Anymore, people just seem to be suffering from war coverage fatigue. Remember when the death of a soldier was a major story? Now 5 can die in one day, and most Americans don’t flinch.

If there is one lesson we should take from this Iraqi war adventure, in the future we need to make ordinary citizens sacrifice during wartime. If we want to prevent future wars of choice, the US congress should pass a law requiring all significant military actions to have a drafting of men under the selective service act.

A mandatory draft during wartime would accomplish a few goals:

  • It would make politicians think twice before approving the use of force.
  • It would bring the war to the home front, making ordinary US citizens more wary of the use of force.
  • It would prevent a shortage of troops during wartime.
  • It would increase the socioeconomic diversity of the armed forces.

avianca 52

The Dallas Morning News has a shocking account of an American Airlines Pilot’s fuel emergency being ignored by air traffic control.

When a pilot declares an emergency, every effort should be made to give priority to the emergency. The pilot has final say in any decision, and can chose to refuse an ATC instruction if he or she feels its not the right choice. Failure to ignore bad ATC instructions can lead to tragedy, like Avianca Flight 52.

The most amazing part of this story is the fact that the supervisor chose to ignore the emergency. Supervisors are there to make sure things like ignoring emergencies do not happen.

Air traffic controllers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport recently were retrained after an American Airlines pilot declared an emergency but was told he couldn’t land on the runway he requested.

The crew on the Aug. 31 flight between Tulsa and D/FW declared a low-fuel emergency and asked to land against the flow of traffic.

“We’re not sure if it’s a fuel leak or what, but we need to get on the ground right away, please,” the captain of the aircraft is heard saying on audiotapes obtained by WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

A controller supervisor is then heard to say that type of landing would delay other flights. The controller went on to suggest that the pilot land on a different runway or possibly go into Dallas Love Field.

Mike Conely, representative of Local D10 at D/FW for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said that controllers weren’t happy either when they heard the tapes.

“A lot of the controllers were upset. They heard the tape between the controller and the supervisor. What really transpired here is the supervisor made a bad decision,” Mr. Conely said.

Darfurwall.org

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Found it from Derek.

Its quite sad, I ranted about the Sudan over 2.5 years ago, and not much has been done since. Sure, there has been some international aid, but its amazing how the world will simply tolerate genocide.

Its hard to believe that the Sudan has fallen on deaf ears, given the lessons of the Holocaust, Serbia, and Rwanda. How many people need to die, before the world, or at least the United States, will listen?