Your 2nd Amendment

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constitution

“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.” Amendment 2, United States Constitution September 17, 1787

Here’s the state-of-the-art guns available to members of the militia in 1787:

1791_pistol

and

1791_rifle

A skilled user could fire off as many as two rounds in a minute. Assuming, of course, that he wasn’t running for cover, or trying to face a large number of adversaries.

Today, this is the weapon of choice among mass murderers:

ar15

This weapon was originally built to be a military weapon, designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Simple modifications can take it from it’s semi-automatic state to what might as well be called fully automatic. Nothing like being able to fire as many bullets as rapidly as you can twitch your finger.

The NRA, which used to be a gun safety group, won’t allow regulations designed to keep weapons of war out of the hands of ordinary citizens. Even ideas they supported and even suggested, like background checks, are now challenged as “they’re coming to take all of your guns!!!!!!!!”  How do they accomplish this? Money. Gun manufacturers give money to the NRA, who then gives it to the campaigns of politicians, and threatens to work against anyone who doesn’t toe their line.

The NRA, and gun nuts in general, want you to think that the Second Amendment was designed to provide a means to overthrow a tyrannical government. Read some history, that’s not what it was all about. It was to support the hunting down and returning to their owners escaped slaves.

Really, do you think that if the government was coming for you, you’d be able to hold off a predator drone with your AR-15? Ask the ISIS guys in Afghanistan and Iraq how that works out for them.

We’ve now suffered another mass murder of children at a school. I had given up on American sanity after Sandy Hook in 2012, when it became clear that 20 first graders being mowed down wasn’t enough to make a change. Now, however, you have an unique situation: the survivors of this shooting are both articulate and educated. And are or will soon be of voting age. They are stepping up, and getting noticed. Let’s hope they aren’t drowned in the NRA and gun manufacturer’s money pile.

Oh, and just to be clear… I’m all for owning as many guns as you like. As long as they’re the kind of guns the Founders were talking about when they wrote the Constitution. After all, many 2nd Amendment supporters seem to think the Constitution should mean only what (they think) the writers thought it meant. If that’s the case, then have as many flintlocks as you like. Leave the military guns to the military.

 

GOP, NRA complicit in Florida school shooting

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ar15

When you drive the getaway car from the scene of a liquor store robbery where the clerk was killed, you can be charged with homicide even if you never entered the store. If you supply alcohol to someone and they’re involved in a fatal DUI crash later, you can be charged with a crime. If you hide a criminal from the police, you can be arrested.

Give money to a Congressman who votes to allow mentally disturbed individuals easy access to high-power assault rifles, however, you’re off scott-free when one of those people uses that weapon to kill others.  If you lobby to take military style weapons off banned firearms lists, you’re just a patriotic American who supports the Second Amendment. Vote to make these things possible, and you’re only responsible for “thoughts and prayers”.

The United States is sick. I was holding onto the hope that this disease was not terminal, but that diminishes each time we see the news of another mass shooting. Just this year alone, we’ve had 20 fatalities at school shootings, 17 of them in the most recent incident. What have we done about it? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. We elect and re-elect people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, and Donald Trump. We let them off with issuing platitudes. Children die, the NRA remains silent and writes checks.

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How did that happen?

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civic_engagement_panel_02122018_resize

If you had told me ten years ago, or even five, that I’d be on a discussion panel up in front of a crowd of strangers, telling a bit of my story, I’d have said “you’re nuts”.  That’s not something I ever thought I’d be able to do, or that anyone would find anything I had to say interesting enough to invite me.

My, have times changed.

On Monday, February 12, 2018, I was one of five panelists for the 210 Connect presentation “Use Your Power: How To Change Your Community through Civic Engagement”. I was honored to appear with Erin Garner Ford of ACT for Women and Girls; Steven Tootle, political science professor at College of the Sequoias; Amy Shuklian, Tulare County Board of Supervisors; and Daniel O’Connell, Executive Director at Central Valley Partnership.  My connection was through my activities with The Source LGBT+ Center, and as a community activist in general.

Honestly, I felt rather out of my depth with the group on the panel.

I thought it went fairly well, though. People seemed interested in what I had to say about becoming an activist in the LGBTQ community, and I was asked a couple of interesting questions about my evolution from closeted introvert, to community activist.

Now I’ll ponder some more about it, and see what, if anything, grows out of this night’s experience. One thing is for sure, I enjoyed it. It was fun!

Mike Pence Secretly Gay?

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Vice President Mike Pence gay??
gay_pence_fake

While it would be a delicious rumor, that’s all it is. (as far as we know!)

pence_brad-patton

Sadly (or not), this image isn’t Mike Pence in his secret gay youth.  Turns out this is Brad Patton, a porn actor.

I never put much stock in the rumor that Mike Pence was secretly gay, but an image that popped up in my Facebook feed had me recalling it all again. It was deliciously ironic, or would have been, if Pence were actually gay and deeply closeted, and in self-loathing hell.

pence_selfie_pita_fake

Yep, that’s Vice-President Mike Pence, and Olympic athlete from Tonga, Pita Taufatofua. Pita has made quite the stir with his shirtless, oiled-body appearances in the Olympics opening ceremonies, twice in a row. Of course, the humor is in the assumption that closeted Pence would get a selfie with the hunky Tongan, after his apparent overtures to gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon fell flat. Sadly, the picture is fake. The number two man in the Trump administration is the victim of fake news. Go figure.

pence_selfie_original_crop

Here’s the original selfie used to make the fake one with Pita. Someone did a decent photo-shopping to create the image (at least on a phone screen. The edit is a bit more noticeable on a computer monitor.)

So “Mother” (what Pence calls his wife. Reagan did the same thing. I always found that a bit creepy) can rest easy. Her hubby doesn’t have a secret hankerin’ for the man meat. That we know about, anyway. He’s certainly acted in the past like a deeply conflicted, self-loathing, closeted queen, however, so one can never be quite certain.

Maybe, as in the X Files… the truth is out there.

Once upon a time, in the future

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Fun in space.

Melatonin induced dreams – the latest

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melatonin_dreamsOne of the side effects of taking Melatonin to help you sleep is “intense dreams”. I’m discovering that “intense” for me means “really weird”, and that I remember them once I awaken. Here’s last night’s strange tale.

It starts with me sitting in my truck, a ’92 Ford Ranger, in the parking area adjacent to, but not at, a set of gas pumps at a convenience store. The engine is running. I almost never do that, just sit somewhere (other than a drive-thru) with the engine running.

ranger_w_camper

Not really my truck.

For some reason, my truck has a camper shell. In reality, my truck does not. I’ve never even considered putting a shell on the truck. Anyway, sitting in the truck, engine running.

So far, not a really weird dream. But it starts veering into, if not weird, then at least strange. And I remember it, when I usually don’t, so there’s that.

Sitting in the gas station parking lot, engine running, when a woman of indeterminate age, possibly early 20’s, maybe early 30’s, comes roaring up to the gas pumps and screeches to a stop, in an older, mid-size heap of a car. She’s dressed like…  well, there’s no real polite way to say it…

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Maybe it was something I said…

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Occasionally I re-visit Congressman Devin Nunes’ personal Twitter page, just to see if I’m still blocked.
nunes_blocked_cropped

Yep, still blocked. When I first noticed the block, I thought, being the generous sort that I am, that perhaps he kept his personal Twitter feed limited to just family and friends. Then, after my more cynical side spoke up, I decided to test that theory. I have access to a second Twitter account that I co-manage, so a test was in order.

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