Not Watching

Do you want more Trump? Do you?

Because this is how you get more Trump.

In 2015, I was eating a hotel breakfast of powdered eggs and meatless sausage, and I felt seriously ill — and not from the breakfast. It was the realization that CNN had chosen their favorite from the too-wide field of Republican contenders, and it was Donald Trump. They handed him an open microphone and watched the ratings spike, little caring what damage might be done to the American political system in the process.

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Ten Bucks A Gallon? No Problem.

EDITORIAL

Heh. You think these prices are high? Just wait. You’ll see.

It’s easy for me; I stopped driving soon after I moved close to the Beltway. It wasn’t really by choice, though at least the government didn’t force me; it’s a safety measure more than anything. I figured that if I still had a license, some emergency would arise and I’d need to get behind the wheel for whatever reason, and after that it would only be a matter of a very brief amount of time before my Maine driving habits got me killed.

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The Militia: Well Regulated (Part 2)

“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.”

2nd Amendment, US Constitution

It’s a simple enough statement, especially to have caused such pervasive disagreement in modern society. As with most such arguments, it has polarized past the point of debate, and now all that is left is attack and defense among the unreasoning without any consideration being paid to the actual meaning.

So let’s take a moment to discuss the meaning.

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The Not Fake News Update: 10 June 2022

The Truth Shall Make You Fret

The news and feeds are all full of these hearings, which for some reason couldn’t be held in a timely manner but instead needed to be delayed until… wait, is it Midterm season again? Wow! What a coincidence!

It might surprise you to know that, while you were watching that, other things happened in the world, some of them quite interesting and even important. Here are a few:

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The Militia: What Is It? (Part 1)

“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.”

2nd Amendment, US Constitution

We spend an inordinate amount of our precious time debating this brief statement, often without any understanding of what it actually means, whether in the context of history or of modern law. Fortunately, of all the ills that flesh is heir to, ignorance is among the easiest rectified. Unfortunately, most people afflicted by it are unaware of their misfortune, while even the best informed always have something left to learn. As such, I can only recommend that everyone, whether informed or not, read on — and, if you find something I missed, note it in the comments (include a reputable source, please).

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Free Speech Isn’t

The battle for tomorrow is here, and it’s nothing like the wars of the past. They had clear-cut lines of good and evil, us and them. All we have is a chaos of competing ideas and a populace that, by and large, made up their minds long before any thought got involved. In a sense, this fight is more hopeless than any beach; in another sense, there’s nobody shooting at me, so I can stand up and shout myself hoarse and nothing bad will happen. It’s just that my solutions fix no problems and my words reach no hearts, because even on the off chance someone reads this, nobody’s listening.

But I’ll try anyway.

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Gun Violence: Let’s Solve The Problems

In the preceding article, we discussed different kinds of gun violence, organized by cause. Most gun violence is suicide; only a very few mass shootings ever occur in classrooms. Ideally, none would; ideally, people also wouldn’t ever want to kill themselves, guns notwithstanding.

We don’t live in an ideal world.

That’s no reason not to strive for one.

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Gun Violence: First, Identify The Problem

There are some of you out there shouting, “The problem is gun violence! Just get rid of all the guns!” Some others respond, “You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!” (Evidently, they never watched the original “Red Dawn”.)

It’s possible you’re honestly deluded or optimistic beyond belief, in which case nothing I write can possibly get through to you. On the other hand, perhaps you came here expecting an argument in which the loudest voice wins, or a negotiation where everyone meets halfway from the opening positions. Either way, that’s not what this is. The purpose of this article is to break down known statistics for the benefit of the 80% of Americans who want change, so we can make intelligent decisions.

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Before We Begin: A Crash Course On Terms

In order to do this properly, we’ll need a discourse, so that all sides can find middle ground that they can agree on. And in order to communicate, we’ll each need to use the same words to mean the same things.

For example: It might surprise some people to learn that there is actually no such thing as an “Assault Weapon”. Sure, you’ll find it in the dictionary of your choice, but the definitions are nebulous and disagree. They named the 1994 law after it, but the descriptions involved such superficial specifics as a bayonet lug or pistol grip without enough generalities to retain long-term value. The law expired in 2004; by then, the industry had long since retooled such that they could largely avoid its strictures.

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Guns And Politics

Watching video of kids getting shot is traumatic. How could it not be? And who can watch that and not be furious — terrified — sickened?

So how can we possibly expect that our immediate reaction will fix a damned thing?

We don’t make good decisions when we’re upset; nobody does. Instead, we get angry; we kick and throw things; we cast blame everywhere. The universe hates us and everyone’s evil. And then, if we’re smart, we settle down and figure out what went wrong so we can stop it from happening again.

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