What a Privilege

I just read a quote by Marcus Aurelius:

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus and I think a lot alike.

Rarely does a night pass that I don’t look up at the stars and think to myself how grateful I am to be a part of this magnificent universe, to have a roof over my head, to be healthy, to enjoy the love of family and friends (and my little mutt).

And in the morning … I follow Marcus’ advice.

I don’t know why I’m here on this planet. I’m just thankful that I am.

I know that one day I’ll leave this place. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about … and I may rage into that good night. But hopefully, I’ll be at peace and remember how wonderful, and what a privilege, it was to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.


Guns Don’t Kill People …


You know the rest of the line.

OK, so I have a question. If “people kill people,” then why don’t those “people” who are out to kill other people use a hand grenade? Oh wait. Those are illegal. But you CAN get a permit (in some states) … after you pay a $200 fee and go through an extensive background check by the FBI, who then passes on the information to the ATF. If you are finally approved, you will get the required stamp and paperwork so you can go to a dealer and purchase a hand grenade. Too much trouble? Too much time involved? Hmmm. Could this be why people aren’t mass murdered in the U.S. with hand grenades?

Well then, why don’t “people” use a machete? Certainly it would do the trick. Just swing it around a few times and you’d probably be able to kill a number of individuals. Oh wait. A machete is a rather obvious weapon to carry. But then, so is an assault rifle. Hmmm.  Maybe it would work after all. You might not be able to kill as many people as you would with a gun, but it could accomplish your purpose.

Some “people” have used samurai swords to kill others. Not quite as effective for mass killings. And again, it’s a pretty visible weapon. Definitely not something you could stick under your coat or jam in your pocket on your way to a murdering spree. But it’s a possibility.

Oh! I have it! “People” could use a few sticks of dynamite! Easily hidden. Lightweight. All you need is a good lighter and a strong throwing arm. Better yet, sneak into the location where you hope to kill other people and plant several pounds of dynamite, along with the means to blow it all up at the opportune time (i.e., Bath School disaster, 1927). Of course, this would take planning. Definitely not a spur-of-the-moment decision like grabbing a gun or two.

I have to admit. The gun advocates are correct. Guns don’t kill people (actually, it’s the bullets that kill them). And neither do other inanimate objects like grenades, machetes, swords, or dynamite. But the point that’s being missed (or ignored) is that it’s guns that the “people” are choosing to use. Preferably guns that kill as many people as possible in a very short amount of time.

A very close friend of mine who collects guns says establishing new gun laws is not going to change anything. He may be right. But can’t we at least try to come up with something  to stop “people” from using guns to commit these horrendous crimes against innocent people?

The Emotional Side of Gun Control

gunThe recent mass murder of innocent children has focused attention, once again, on guns and gun control.

One of the things I find rather disconcerting is how emotional some gun owners get when any discussion related to modifying gun laws comes up. They scream to all who will listen that the ultimate goal of  the government is to confiscate all their guns. (Of course, this is the mantra of a certain gun organization so why would they not think that?)

They are also quick to point out that the guns used in these killings are often stolen so gun owners should not be the ones targeted. The question then becomes … where (or who) was the gun stolen from?

As far as I know, except for the fanatical left-wingers, the discussion is not about banning guns completely. The more sensible discourse has focused on controlling semi-automatic and military style weapons because they are usually the weapons of choice in these senseless killings.

Just for the record, I am not anti-gun. I have friends and family members who are sensible gun owners. I have nothing against hunting or target shooting. And, in these crazy times, it’s probably smart to own a gun for protection.

But I do feel some gun owners need to stop letting their emotions about guns and gun ownership get in the way of meaningful changes in gun control. And they need to do it before any more people lose their lives simply because they visit a mall, go to church, or attend school.

Poverty and Opportunity in America

This is from an article entitled “5 Ways Most Americans Are Blind to How Stacked Their Country is to the Wealthy” —

Mitt Romney said he wasn’t concerned about the very poor, because they have a safety net. This is typical of the widespread ignorance about inequality in our country.

How many people know that out of 150 countries, we have the fourth-highest wealth disparity? Only Zimbabwe, Namibia and Switzerland are worse.

It’s not just economic inequality that’s plaguing our country, it’s lack of opportunity. It’s a dismissal of poor people as lazy, or as threats to society. More than any other issue over the next four years, we need to address the growing divide in our nation, to tone down our winner-take-all philosophy, to provide job opportunities for people who want to contribute to society.


Critics bemoan the amounts of aid being lavished on lower-income Americans, making dubious claims about thousands of dollars going to every poor family. But despite an ever-growing need for jobs and basic living necessities, federal spending on poverty programs is a small part of the budget, and it’s been that way for almost 50 years, increasing from 0.8 percent of GDP in 1962 to 1.2 percent of GDP in 2007.

This is me talking … people who are content (full belly, roof over their head, steady job) tend to look askance at the poor. We all need to remember that sh__ happens and none of us are immune to it happening to us. And then what?




The entire article can be found here.