Reblog: Restoring Some Humanity To The Refugee Debate

This is a post that needs to be read by everyone, but especially those who support the Muslim (not immigration/refugee) ban.

Whistling In The Wind

I’ve noticed that most discussions about the refugee crisis discuss the issue in a very abstract way. The proposals are spoken of in a technical and hypothetical manner relating to various treaties, agreements and EU regulations, as well as figures about what may or may not happen. The discussion revolves around quotas and flows, as if refugees were something that come out of the tap. Even worse still, many opponents to refugee resettlement take a simplistic view of “Us versus Them”. “We” have a common culture and heritage that is apparently under attack. “They” are a strange foreign thing, incompatible with us.

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So You Want to Carry a Gun

I know I’ve written several posts lately on gun control, but it’s a subject that’s pretty close to home in that my “other half” is not only a gun owner, but also a supporter of the NRA (and thus, has a rather slanted perspective).

I am not totally against guns as I have owned and used them in my younger years. However, things have changed over time and gun ownership is not what it used to be.

If you’re tired of reading about this topic, you can just click away now.

Recently I did a bit of research into the state laws related to gun ownership and I noticed something that seemed to be missing in each of them.

The majority of states do NOT require a course in actual gun training and safety to purchase a gun.

Nearly all states require some sort of “background check” and will then issue a “license or permit to carry.” Some have a “waiting period” before the gun can be released, and a few require the potential owner to take a written “safety exam.” Some ask the potential owner to sign a waiver allowing access to mental health records.

Laws also vary depending on the type of gun (handgun or large gun) being purchased. Some large gun purchases have no restrictions.

There are even MORE variances among the states that I haven’t addressed here. In other words, it’s a conglomeration of “laws” and requirements that only the person who lives in that particular state would know.

What I want to point out in this posting is only the following states require any type of gun safety training:

  • Massachusetts requires safety training of all applicants. This includes instruction on: (1) the safe use, handling and storage of firearms; (2) methods for securing and childproofing firearms; (3) the applicable laws relating to the possession, transportation and storage of firearms; and (4) knowledge of operation, potential dangers and basic competency in the ownership and usage of firearms.
  • In the District of Columbia, an applicant must complete a firearms training and safety class and demonstrate knowledge about firearms laws, safe storage of firearms, and requirements for storage.
  • California requires anyone purchasing a handgun to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate,  which means the applicant must pass a written safety test and, subject to limited exceptions, be required to perform a safe handling demonstration with the firearm in the presence of a certified instructor.
  • Connecticut requires safety training prior to issuance of any firearm permit.
  • Hawaii requires handgun permit applicants to complete an approved course that focuses on the safe use, handling and storage of firearms and firearms safety in the home.
  • Maryland applicants must complete an approved firearm safety training course that includes instruction on state firearms law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and an orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm.
  • Rhode Island applicants who wish to purchase a handgun and do not have a concealed handgun license and are not a member of law enforcement must complete a basic two-hour handgun safety course.

In my opinion, Massachusetts has the most comprehensive requirements (especially #4).

While the other states I listed require that a potential gun owner knows how to handle a gun and about its safe storage (especially if being purchased for personal safety), knowing something is far different than demonstrating your capability of actually firing the gun and hitting your intended target.

The thousands of people who are now purchasing and carrying guns in the wake of the mass shootings are, for the most part, totally ignorant of how to use a gun.

The NRA argument that the number of deaths at a mass shooting would be less if someone had a gun, carries little to no weight … UNLESS that person knows how to remove the gun from the holster, release the safety, point the gun, and shoot the perpetrator WITHOUT missing (because every stray bullet can kill).

And this can only be accomplished if the person has had actual training on using a firearm … and this knowledge has given him a clear head and accurate aim.

(Sidenote: The ignoramuses who “open carry” their “assault” rifles may know how to crawl through the brush to shoot a buck, but that’s a far cry from shooting a human being in a moment of stress.)

While I would prefer to live in a country without such easy access to guns, it’s simply not possible so I must endure the mentality of those who think guns are the answer to the dangers of society and who, in most cases, are incapable of actually knowing how to use one to protect themselves and those around them.

Inanimate Guns

Again and again we hear the mantra … “Guns don’t kill people … people kill people.” And often someone will add … “Guns are inanimate objects; they just lay there until someone picks one up and uses it.”

And while there is some merit to this reasoning, one cannot help but wonder … what if the gun were not there to pick up and use?

As I’ve stated before, I have no problem with responsible gun-owners who use their guns to hunt, target shoot, skeet shoot, collect, etc.

But where do we draw the line? How do we know the person who walks into the gun store to buy a gun is a “responsible” individual?

Background checks help. Waiting periods help. BUT, neither one seems to stop the senseless GUN KILLINGS that continue to affect our nation.

What’s the answer? Do we take away all the guns as other countries have done? I think most people would agree this will never happen in the U.S., primarily because of the Second Amendment, but also because the gun-loving populace (and the NRA lobbyists) would never let it happen.

Some have suggested more stringent gun-buying requirements, similar to car purchases. Others have suggested, at the very least, eliminating the availability of assault weapons (but what about those who already have them?). Still others have pushed for more and better mental health services.

Of course, the common response is that no matter what restrictions are placed on guns and/or gun purchases … the “criminals” will still be able to get and use a gun for their nefarious purposes. And unfortunately, there is much truth to this.

So what do we do? Do we continue to fight over this issue while our children and other innocent family members and friends lose their lives in unprovoked and senseless killings?

Below is a suggestion made by “The Other 98%” on Facebook. While it addresses the abortion issue as well (and is obviously tongue-in-cheek), I feel there is some merit behind the message as related to guns.

guns-abortion

I bring this issue to the forefront of my blog because I live in Oregon, not too far from the Roseburg massacre. I did not know any of the killed or injured, but the proximity of the incident definitely has had an effect in our community.

I think we can all agree … there are no easy answers. But answers are something we urgently need to find. And soon.

P.S. I just came across this article. Unfortunately, nothing has changed.

Texans, Lesbians, and The Briefcase

Watched an episode of “The Briefcase” last night. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a new/summer reality show where “Poor families are given money. They can choose to keep it, keep some, or give it all away” (description from imdb.com). The amount they’re given is $101,000. They are allowed to keep $1,000 and then must decide what to do with the rest. It’s a rather fascinating show to me, but reviews have not been favorable based on the show’s story-line.

Anyway, there are two families involved. Neither knows that the other family has also received money. Their decision rests on information the show’s producers give them, which usually includes the other family’s living arrangements, as well as their financial state.

Last night the two couples included a (self-described) gun-totin’, cowboy-hat wearin’, god-fearin’ Texas Republican and his wife, along with a lesbian, interracial couple (also believers) from Boston, MA  with two black children they had taken in to raise.

Naturally, the god-fearin’ Texan was repulsed by the idea that the family they might be helping were lesbians. I mean, after all (as he put it), God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. (How original!)

I won’t go into detail about how each made their decision on what to do with the money, but overall it included discussions about their family situation related to debt, as well as things they wanted/needed to do for their family but didn’t have the money for. A more subtle factor involved was each individual’s outlook on how far one should go to help others that may be less fortunate.

The reason I’m writing this post is to share the end result of last night’s show …

The Texas couple (you know, the one who felt same-sex relationships were verboten) kept all but $25,000. The Massachusetts (lesbian) couple kept $500 and gave away all the rest.

Let me add … both families had considerable debt. Both families had needs/wants they couldn’t afford.

I found the results, shall we say, interesting. What’s your take?

Kill ‘Em All!

Just read this in an article at AmericanThinker.com … and it chills my bones:

America is in a generational struggle against the sick, pathological and extreme ideology of Islam, and America must show no mercy for the merciless Islamic State, which seeks the “breaking of the American [Christian] cross” and the fulfillment of Islamic prophecy. We must unleash the full fury and might of the U.S. military on the Islamic State and annihilate these animals who would end our U.S. Republic, democratic elections and religious freedom, leaving only Sharia law. And, we must fight to victory or condemn future generations to a perpetual state of war, or worse.

I don’t think any of us want to be in a “perpetual state of war,” but is unleashing the “full fury and might of the U.S. military on the Islamic State” the answer? Does this writer think we can just walk in and blow the smithereens out of the countries that support terrorism and walk away unscathed?

I recognize that diplomatic reasoning doesn’t seem to be working, but it turns my stomach when the writer says we should “annihilate these animals.” If the U.S. were to follow his strategy, not only the “animals” would be annihilated, but thousands of innocent people as well.

I admit I don’t know the answer to the global situation that is facing the U.S. (and other countries), but there must be a better way than the venomous and vicious plan offered by this writer.

Thoughts?