This and That

Not really having the time to blog now that the weather has warmed up and yard work has commenced, let’s instead take a look at some of the headlines from this increasingly strange world of ours…

Virginia Governor May Close Loophole

Virginia’s governor said Tuesday he may be able to close the loophole that allowed a mentally ill Virginia Tech student to acquire the guns he used to kill 32 classmates and faculty last week.

While I think that this needs to be done for the public safety, I also think that this is going to meet some opposition. Why, you ask? Just think of the outcry if mental health records are now going to be part of a public record. Instead of a safety issue, it will become a privacy issue.

Iran Arrests 300 ‘Insufficiently Veiled’ Women

Break out the burkas!! Iran is now cracking down on women (and men) that the mullahs consider to be under-dressed (or perhaps, out of uniform). Police are enforcing the regulations. It’s amazing to me that the National Organization of Women have not commented on these types of actions against and/or repressions of women’s rights (at least to my knowledge).

Al-Qaida Group Claims Killing of 9 GIs in Iraq

Anyone who thinks that Al-Qaida is gone should realize that they are merely biding their time to strike again.

The Case for a Global Carbon Tax

The (Bush) administration had several narrow-minded and callous reasons for rejecting Kyoto, but among its main arguments was that the accords did not include developing countries and thus were ineffective. To understand why that is correct, consider one simple statistic. During the Kyoto time frame (that is, by 2012), China and India will build almost 800 new coal-fired power plants. The combined CO2 emissions from those plants will be five times the total reductions in CO2 mandated by the accords.

Finally, someone has pointed out that one of the reasons that the Kyoto Accords was rejected was because of China and India. While cutting down CO2 emissions would be a good thing for everyone (not just because of “Global Warming”), the author correctly points out that these CO2 emissions come from coal, which by itself has a whole host of environmental problems. What the author gets wrong is that the US is supposed to get China and India to not build coal-fired power plants. And that will be difficult because China and India are trying to build their economies the fastest (and cheapest) way possible. The author’s idea is to implement a global carbon tax to reign in these countries. I wonder if Al is listening…

Kim Basinger Hires Security for Daughter

After hearing the daughter’s father (none other than Alec Baldwin) rant on a voice mail, who can blame her? Oh yeah, Rosie defended Alec’s rant – go figure? One angry person defending another… And speaking about Rosie…

Rosie Leaving the View

To which I ask – What took so long?

I’ll be working on a long post, so it might be a week or two before the next post. This one is a continuation of Energy Independence, which was posted over a year ago. It’s a subject worth revisiting considering the events and topics of the past year (Global Warming, the Middle East, Environmentalism, Energy, and so on).

The Virginia Tech Shootings

More and more information is coming out about the Virginia Tech student who went on a killing spree that left 32 dead & 19 wounded before killing himself. From several accounts, this was a deeply disturbed person.

While our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims of this tragedy, there are those who will take (correction: are taking) advantage of this horrendous event. For example:

The media will analyze this event trying to find out why this person acted the way he did. The victims will be glorified almost to the status of sainthood. And all of this will evaporate with the next hot news item.

The anti-gun crowd will use this event to try and further erode our 2nd Amendment rights. Even though the weapon(s) used were legally purchased per the laws of the State of Virginia, we all know there will be a call for stricter gun laws.

Let me comment on the above examples:

As I have stated before in this blog and in the comment sections of other blogs, the media at large is an entertainment industry, not a news-reporting agency. News stories will be used, but they will be slanted and spun to provide the most interest possible to the widest audience. Ratings are king, and whatever can be done to raise the ratings will be done. What then happens is that people and the facts will be misrepresented or the full story not disclosed. And as soon as the story has run its course or interest begins to drop, then the media moves to the next hot topic.

The victims will soon be footnotes in this tragedy, but the killer will be the fodder for talk shows for the next several months. His life will be dissected in excruciating detail in an effort to find out what went wrong. Speculation will replace whatever facts that cannot be found, and the talking heads will recycle everything in different ways to present their point of view. Only when everyone is sick of hearing about the story will the analysis cease.

I already know that the anti-gun crowd is gearing up to use this tragedy to push their agenda. I’m not sure what the requirements are in Virginia to purchase a weapon, but it sounds like there wasn’t a mental health or criminal background check, or a waiting period. At the very least, I’m predicting both of the above will shortly be introduced as bills to the Virginia Legislature.

But even then, a determined person such as the killer would have found a way to either get a weapon or some other device to carry out his mission of murder. From the reports I’ve seen, he planned this for a long time – he could afford to wait.

While Virginia Tech is a gun-free campus, the murderer lived on campus. He had a weapon in violation of the rules, but obviously that didn’t matter. So the age-old argument that “if guns are banned only criminals will have guns” holds true in this case.

So if Virginia Tech was not a gun-free campus, would the murderer have been stopped by a person with a legally purchased firearm and reduced the number of people killed or injured? One would like to think so, and I would like to post the following thoughts to the readers of this blog.

Why are the anti-gunners afraid of guns? They are inanimate objects just as much as the computer you are currently using to read this. They have no minds of their own and unlike a dog, will not run over and bite someone because they don’t like them. In essence, they are like a rock, unmoving unless acted upon by some external force.

Actually, what the anti-gunners are afraid of are people. Yep, people. But they are not afraid of sane, responsible people like you and I. Rather, they are afraid of people like this person, angry and violent for no apparent reason, or of criminals wishing to do harm in the course of a crime. So their reasoning is that if guns are removed from the public, then these people would no longer have the capacity to cause harm. To which I would respond: Look what 19 people on a mission of death did with knives and boxcutters.

I would further respond with a question: If you are so afraid of people causing you harm, then who would you trust to protect you if you give up your right to self-defense? If you answered government or the police, stop to think for a second. Police cannot be everywhere at the same time nor will they be able to respond instantly to an emergency (that has been proven more times that anyone can count). And furthermore, the government is composed of people!! The argument falls apart.

I would like to close out this post with the recounting of two separate but related events that happened in 1983.

I had just gotten some food in a restaurant, and had just picked up my tray when a wild-eyed seedy looking man burst through the doors. He was carrying a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, waving it around, screaming for everyone to freeze and he wanted money. The clerk behind the counter froze, not moving, petrified with fear. He turned his attention to her, waving the shotgun under her nose demanding that she open up the cash register. Suddenly, he whirled around in my direction, fired both barrels, and fled out the door.

Good part, he missed me totally – he was using double-00 buck and the spread pattern of a sawed-off shotgun is pretty wide (the shot went all around me, missing by fractions of an inch). Bad part was the guy next to me caught two – one in the shoulder which severed an artery, and the second through his leg, which went completely through.

Of course, blood and tissue is everywhere, and I can’t hear anything from the blast. I spent the next 10-15 minutes with my hands inside this guy’s shoulder holding on to what was left of his artery trying to keep him from bleeding to death. When the paramedics arrived, they had to first motion to me that they were going to take over, and second, get my hands uncramped enough to get my hands out of the way for them to patch him up for transport. Not a good day in the least.

After this incident, I applied for and received a CCW permit (they had not caught the would-be robber). As I was taking night classes at the time, I also went the University Campus Security Office, told them what had happened, and that I had a permit to carry. While they generally did not permit students from carrying weapons on campus (professors could), they made an exception for me, considering the circumstances. Good thing, too, given what almost happened two months later.

Walking back to my car at night (I lived off-campus), a car pulled up and 4 huge guys got out. I weighed only 135 pounds at the time, and these guys weighed at least 190+ each. I started backing up while they were hooting and hollering about how they were going to “mess up the white boy” (they were black). One of them appeared to be getting something out of the back of the car (I think it might have been a baseball bat). I kept backing up, holding my briefcase in front of me while reaching around behind me under my coat to get my gun. I had just unsnapped the holster and told them that they really didn’t want to do this when a police car turned the corner.

The guy closest to the car dropped back into the car whatever he was getting and called to his buddies. Two officers got out of the car and asked what was going on. They answered nothing, and the officers told them to keep moving along (they seemed to know them). They drove off, and the officers asked me if I was OK. I told them yes, and continued to tell them that they arrived at the right time. They originally thought that I was referring to my safety until I explained that if they had not arrived when they did, some of the people they just let go would have been severely injured. I showed them my weapon (still in the holster with the safety strap off), and asked if they needed to see my permit. They looked at each other, told me no, and to be on my way.

In the first case, I was defenseless, a lamb waiting to be slaughtered should my executioner deem it was my time. In the second case, I had a chance if it came to the worst possible scenario. And you know, if the same type of incident happened at my University that happened at Virginia Tech, I would guarantee that I would go down fighting.

Again, my heartfelt sympathy, prayers, and best wishes to the families and friends of the Virginia Tech students. May you all find peace.

School Shootings

At this point in time, there are 33 people dead (gunman included) at Virginia Tech University.  No other details as to why the gunman did it or who he is.

Our prayers go out to the victim’s families, and the people who witnessed this tragedy. 

The Prius Polluter?

According to Central Connecticut State University’s The Recorder Online, the Toyota Prius causes more pollution than a Hummer.  Most of this is due to the materials used in its construction.  Also, it takes more energy to create and run one of these vehicles than a conventional car.

What is not addressed in the article is the question:  What do you do with the Prius batteries once they wear out?  Batteries can only be charged and recharged so many times, and the chemicals used in them will degrade over time.  And some of the chemicals used are pretty nasty.  And let’s not forget the amount of energy that will be required to recycle the batteries as well.

I have my own ideas on what an economically-friendly personal transportation system could be in the future, and the technologies are being developed or are already here.  But that’s a post for a later time.

In the meantime, remember that the hype on eco-friendly cars, global warming, and carbon-credits is not what it is cracked up to be.  More than ever, I believe that there are political agendas being addressed instead of real problems.