Thursday, June 30, 2016

Throw a Party on Election Night; Make it a Big To-Do

   If you would have a nice voter turnout, throw a party. Make election night a festival. Bring in bands, and comedians and whatever.
   And, of course, don't forget the candidates. Let this be their grand finale, their moment to pull out all the stops, their chance to speak to their largest audiences. If there have been debates, let this be the biggest debate of all.
   Right there in the park. Right outside the polling place. Give the voters who want to go vote without being hit up by campaigners enough room to get in and out peacefully and free of electioneering, but let all the campaigning possible be convenient to those who want to get a sudden education before stepping into the voting booth.
   Oh, and speaking of booths, don't charge the candidates for their booths. Let them campaign without a price. It would be good if we took money out of the equation when possible. Election without a price is a wonderful concept. Somehow, that we attach a cost for candidate booths doesn't make sense to me.
    So, here we have it, one way to increase voter turnout. The best bands, the best entertainment, and the best of the campaigning. Make election night a big event, a major occasion, a happening the voter isn't going to want to miss.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This Might be the Biggest Disability in all the Land

   Here's a problem America might not even be considering, one it might not even be trying to measure, though it could and should: How many people are alcohol disabled? How many people are disabled by alcohol? I don't know that the term "alcohol disabled" is even used much. But, as surely as people are disabled by loss of limbs, or Parkinson's disease, or muscular dystrophy, they can be disabled by alcohol.
   Do we even count how many there are? Is the total 8 million, or however many? Shouldn't we be able to tally them up and measure how serious this problem is? No, I don't think I've ever heard a service promo saying something like, "Twenty thousand people are disabled by alcohol each year. Twenty thousand lives lost to this disabling disease every year."
   I would not be surprised, if we did commence to count them, but what we would find that alcohol disability is the number one disability in all the land. 
   Nor, have I ever heard of an association that deals with this disability. We have the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Arthritis Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and so forth. Why not the Americans with Alcohol Disability Association? 
   Lives are being lost. I speak of those who die from alcoholism, but those whose lives are changed so much for the worse that, in a very real way, they are lost. Perhaps we could save some if we organized against it. Perhaps we could address the problem better if we were to recognize alcohol disability for what it is, if we were to count and tally these people, and if we had an association fighting to cure this widespread disability. Curing it obviously means finding a way to prevent people from drinking too much. The question is, is it politically or socially incorrect to even consider such a thing?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You all Come on Out, because this Election will be a Grand Celebration

   I searched out a voting site tonight and voted, all the while thinking how encouraging voting by mail might be exactly the opposite approach I'd have us take.
   Voting by mail makes election day less of an event, less of an occasion.
   As I left, I quipped to the poll workers that I'd ask them how they voted, but that I knew electioneering was not allowed. I thought on that as I drove away, wondering if there ever had been a day when politicians made their pitches right close to the voting sites.
   And, I'll bet that was more exciting.
   So, there might be more than just vote-by-mail that we are doing that takes the punch out the process of punching out a voting ticket.
   Me? If it were up to me? I'd suggest a voting festival. Rather than remove contact with each other, piece by piece, I'd bring us all together, complete with the candidates. I'd make election day more of an event, more of an occasion. I'd have debates, and discussions, and speeches and bands and music.
   You all come on out, because were having an election, and it's going to be one grand celebration.

On Trump? Don't have a 'Coup,' have a Second Election

   There's been talk of a "coup," perhaps you know, at the Republican convention.
   I partially don't like it. I don't like the idea getting rid of a candidate the people have selected. Oh, I've heard Trump doesn't have a majority of delegates -- and, I don't know, it seems he should, by now -- but he is still the person the people have selected.
   You don't just wash that aside. No, you don't just wash it aside and assume you are still operating like a democracy.
   No, I like better the idea that you send the nomination back to the public. Yes, change the rules. Yes, make a path for dumping a candidate, impeaching him, if you will, a way to call off the marriage, if you want to call it that, before the wedding.
    But, that rule change, should be to turn the matter back to the voters. Call for a new election. Set it for a month out. And, either have it followed by a second national convention, or let whoever the people pick, be the automatic choice of the party. Let stand the primary, without need of a convention. Some have suggested that is the way it ought to be, anyway.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Museum with the Top 10 Stunning Views of Utah

   The Photographic Museum of Utah opened in 2021 just north of the Great Salt Lake, part of a sprawling tourist district accommodating air travelers arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport.
   And, a wonderful beginning and ending point for travelers this museum was. Actually, it was part of a larger museum, the Museum of Utah, which  highlighted all the tourist sites in the state. (Now, that makes for a large museum.) The Photographic Museum took just the most visually stunning sites, offering videos and still shots displaying their beauties.
   In the expansive foyer, or main room, hung 10 pictures from throughout the state. Other pictures were displayed in other rooms, but these 10 were those currently being voted by tourist-goers as the best.
   The Museum of Utah was a beginning point for tourists, because they could come and review all the state offered before selecting which sites to see. The Photographic Museum, and the Top Ten Stunning Views display were especially valuable in this regard, as tourists often chose their visits based on what they saw in the Photographic Museum.
   They were invited to return at the end of their visit to Utah, to vote on the best tourist sites, and offer their comments, and their pictures for display consideration. Their laudatory and informative comments were posted next to the pictures.
   Oh, and you could paint the scenes. Yes, if you painted a wonderful picture of Bridal Veil Falls, it might go into the museum and be voted on for Top Ten Stunning Views.
   The Museum of Utah was divided in parts. In one part, the Photographic Museum of Utah had rooms featuring the photographs and pictures of scenic sites, and a theater where you could view the beautiful sites in video presentations. Another part of the museum featured all the state's tourist sites, but mostly those that didn't fit into the category of being scenic.  A third part of the museum featured the history of the state and the accomplishments of it and its people.
   If you want to create an interest for something, feature it. Make a place to feature it. Having such a museum would laud the best the state has to offer. Would be neat if such a museum someday did exist, whether it be in 2021 or whenever.

If the Mind is Fearful, it is not Free

   The mind is afraid, or can be. It can take truth and fear it, if that truth runs counter to one's own belief.
   The mind is afraid. It will run from the truth, shut it out, seek to avoid it, refuse to hear it -- if that truth runs counter to what one wants to believe.
   And, as a result, truth can wear against the soul. It can age a man. It can bring dissonance. It can bring stress. Since stress kills, since it shortens life as much as anything, truth can kill. Perhaps not truth, itself, but our inability to deal with it.
   The answer, of course, is to have an open mind. Open minds heal the soul. The person who is not bound by an obligation to believe something, is not subject to the stress of a person who does feel obligated to believe something.
   So, then, truth must be taken on its own terms. It cannot be forced upon us. It must be accepted freely. If we would be at peace, we must keep our minds free to receive truth. We must fight the fear, for if the mind is fearful, it is not free. If we are to be free, we must not be afraid.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Someday: Gun Recognition Cameras and Shooter Disarming Systems

  Call it Gun Recognition Technology, or call the cameras, Gun Recognition Cameras. Considering how computers can now recognize so many things, how our cell phones can voice text and such, I wonder if technology has advanced enough that surveillance cameras should be able to identify guns.
   If a gun is detected, an alarm goes off in the security station or the police station.
   This might yet be consigned to the realm of science fiction, but maybe not: What if once the camera recognized the gun, a robotic arm from the ceiling swooped down and grabbed the would-be shooter, disarming him?
   Actually, as I think about it, I tend to believe we do have the technology to do these two things. Call the disarming device the Terrorist Disarming System, or the Shooter Disarming System. We have drones and robotics for many things these days, why not to disarm terrorists and other mass killers? Why not use the technology we have to answer one of the biggest problems we have? Solving one of our biggest problems in recent years might be as easy as utilizing some of our biggest technological advances that we have had in recent years,

(Blog slightly rewritten 6/27/16)

Friday, June 24, 2016

If Metal Detectors Work, Use them to Stop Mass Shooters

  Metal detectors: Perhaps we are overlooking them in our search for answers to all the mass shootings. When we can see something is working, we should use it more. And, surely we should see the increased use of metal detectors at airports since 9-11 has reaped great rewards. Have we had a hijacking since?
  If metal detectors are the heart of our effort to keep terrorists off planes, and if we are proving successful at keeping terrorists off planes, we should wonder if we might reap similar results if we installed metal detectors at many of our public buildings. Take that which works, and see if it will work in other areas.
   Or, is the inconvenience too great?
   I, for one, wonder but what we should have metal detectors at most public buildings, and learn to live with the inconvenience. Adapt or die. We could have a double-door system, in which the person goes through one door to enter the metal detector area, and then has to pass through a second door. But, if metal is detected, the second door shuts down, locking him out.
   You put such a system in front of any of the buildings where mass murders have occurred, and the mass shooting probably wouldn't have taken place. Crime needs opportunity, so take away the opportunity. If the shooter can't get a gun into the building, he can't shoot up the building.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Remote Weaponry Would Have Cut the Mass Killings Short

   Remote weaponry, placed in the ceilings, but directed from afar, might be a partial solution to mass murders. We already have surveillance cameras in many buildings. Make them accessible at police headquarters, and let police use them to directed remote weaponry planted in the ceilings of public buildings. Officers would have response guns on site immediately, as soon as the call came in, and could fire back without personally being there.
   No longer would officers have to hold off entering for fear of their own lives, as happened in Orlando.
  Surveillance cameras are already abundant in our world. We would transmit their images to officers at police headquarters. The cameras would allow the officers to see the crime as it happened, and direct the semi-automated weaponry from afar. Officers would select the target -- the active shooter -- and the direct the gun to zero in on it and fire. An officer possibly could be firing within seconds of receiving the call.
   Had such systems been in place, every mass shooting that has taken place in a public building would have been cut short. Though the shooters would have taken out some, perhaps they would all have been stopped quicker. Many lives would have been saved.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Automated Weaponry Would Take out Would-be Mass Murderers

   Automated weaponry, embedded in the ceilings, and when mass killers came calling, bullets would fire back at them, taking them out even as they began their attacks.
   The hope being, no more mass murders.
   I don't know whether we already have the technology to make this work. Someone suggests to me, our motion detectors might not be able to detect bullets.
   My automated anti mass murderer system would work like this: As the villain fired the first bullet, the sensors would detect the bullet, identify the source, and fire back, taking him out even as he began his attack. The automated weaponry could detect if there was anything between it and the target, to avoid taking out the innocent, but, with the weaponry firing down from the ceiling, it is not likely there would be anyone in the line of fire.
   I confess, I would be a little hesitant to ever enter such a room. If it were in a dancing location, I might shy away from dancing there, wondering if the weaponry might malfunction and go off, or be sabotaged  and spray death on the dancers, facilitating the very mass murder the system was intended to prevent. 
   Still, it is an idea. And, for all our fears, it might work. We have smart phones, and we are on the verge of humanless driven cars. We are entering in a drone world. Robotic defense systems against mass murders might be but a short time away.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Harness the High Winds of the Heavens

   My friend also notes that winds race faster high in the atmosphere. So, he suggests placing a wind-powered generator on a blimp high, high above the earth. Tether the blimp to the ground, so it doesn't blow away. His thought is, that this, too, could be a prison project, prisoners monitoring and servicing the wind generator.
   They might have to ratchet it back down to earth for some of its care. At any rate, this is another novel idea.

Put Prisoners on Power-Generating Bicycles

   A friend suggested this, and I believe it could be a worthy idea: Make prisoners pedal stationary bicycles hooked up to generate electrical power. Let them contribute to society by producing just a little share of the energy we need.
   I like the idea.

I Owe a Tiddy Little Sum of $42,998.12

   I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. I think it would be wonderful to pay my share of the debt, all $42,998.12 of it. Wish I could just walk into the IRS office, plop down my check, and say, "Here's all I owe you, every last dime."
   I might owe a little more. That $42,998.12 is the figure on the cover of Time magazine. But Time suggest the nation debt is $13.9 trillion. I thought the debt was more like $19 trillion. At any rate, it would be neat if I were able to pay my part.

Monday, June 20, 2016

If We don't Outlaw Assault Weapons, Only Outlaws will have Them

   It is said that if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. But, I wonder if the opposite is true when it comes to assault weapons. If we don't outlaw assault weapons, only outlaws will continue to have them when crimes occur. Look at the record. It grows with each mass shooting. Time after time, the killer brings an assault weapon, and there is no assault weapon to answer, none present to break up the crime. If we don't make assault weapons illegal, the only ones who have them when a crime goes down will continue to be the bad guys. That's the reality of it all when it comes to assault weapons at mass killings.

May the Public Weigh the Proposals

   May the public continue this debate, and may the public consider the proposed solutions, not just hear them. May the public earnestly weigh the proposals.
   Do we get rid of no-gun zones? Do we encourage people to bring their guns with them when they go out in public? Do we not sell guns to those on the terrorist watch list, or on the no-fly list?
   Do we ban assault weapons?
   Alas, no time to discuss the proposals, for I must be off to work. Catch you later.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Judging the Nation by the Standards We Judge a Person

   What if we judged the nation's character the same way we would judge the character of a single person? What would we find if we judged the whole of the people by the same standards by which we judge an individual?
   Like, are we, as a people, honest and fair in dealing with all people? whether they be LGBT, unlawful immigrants, or blacks, and whether they be our politicians, our next-door neighbors or people we do business with.
   Are we charitable towards others? Are we not overly judgmental of them? Do we give them the benefit of the doubt, or seek to skewer them? How do we treat our co-workers in this regard, or our neighbors? How do we treat celebrities and politicians? Are we fault finders with them? Are we quick to see evil in them? Do we speak well of others, or do we delight in speaking ill of politicians and celebrities, neighbors and others? Do we stone them?
   How to we treat the poor, and the homeless, and the disadvantaged? "For inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
   Do we lie? Do we take advantage of each other?
How about in our business dealings? How about in regards to one business dealing with another, or with its employees? How about us as employees? Do we seek to take advantage of our employers?
   Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? What about the refugees, then? Do we treat them as we would treat ourselves, or do we say, let's take care of our own before we help those from outside our country?
   I think of a scripture that says violence covers the mouth of the wicked, and I wonder at the violent shows and movies we watch. Are we a wild and idolatrous people? Do our pastimes tend to the violent? How about our video games? How about boxing and ultimate fighting? I believe a person can be in such sports without being wrong. I think of Muhammad Ali as an example of someone who was honorable, at least in my book. But, when the participants and fans start to enjoy the savagery of the sport, when they joy in the blood and the carnage, that does not reflect good character.
   What share of our nation spends time idling, drinking, and taking drugs? Again, what portion of our people are idolatrous, seeking for riches as their life's goal? How many turn the pursuit of happiness into the pursuit of money, believing that money is happiness? Money over God, this is idolatry.
   I guess the question of the morality of the nation could be asked from two perspectives, one, from the perspective of the government and how it conducts itself, and, two, from the vantage point of how we, the people act.
   Perhaps, next week, I will return to this topic, considering it from the vantage of government and government leaders and whether we are a moral nation in governing.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Is Trump's Announcement a Way for Him to Seek NRA Contributions?

   Wish stories about campaign endorsements came equipped with mention about whether the endorsers had contributed to the candidates.
   Take the National Rifle Association's endorsement of Donald Trump last month. Trump had previously been self-funding his campaign and had just recently shifted to taking outside contributions. The timing of the NRA endorsement makes one wonder if it was accompanied by a campaign contribution.
   If our public disclosure laws are to have any effect, the news media has got to question what money is coming from organizations each time they are involved in the candidates' campaigns.
   Take Trump's announcement this week about meeting with the NRA. "I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns."
   When the news of Trump's proposed meeting with the NRA broke, my mind immediately flew to the situation in Utah, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert having gotten in trouble for indicating he would meet with lobbyists in exchange for their contributing to his campaign.
   Now, with Trump announcing he would meet with the NRA, I wondered if this is standard operating procedure for political candidates: Tell potential donors you want to meet with them to discuss public policy, then wait for the money to come in. Whether you ask for a contribution at the same time or not, it is understood between you, the contributor, and the candidate that you are seeking that money. Sometimes, the contribution might be hidden, somewhat, by it going to a PAC or such, thus making it harder for the public to make the connection.
  I just wonder about all this. After all, Trump has not been the kind of guy who has sought advice from others on public policy. Before he was accepting contributions, would he have sought input from the NRA?  Why does he care what the NRA feels about keeping those on the no-fly list from having guns? It is his own feelings on the issue that matters, not the NRA's.
   So, since when does Trump see the need to seek out advice on matters like this? It does not go unnoticed on me that he sought the advice from a lobbyist -- someone in position to give him money -- rather than from someone who wouldn't be giving him money. It is not like he tweeted out, "I will be meeting with Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no watch list, to buy guns." It seems is would be more logical to craft policy with them than with lobbyists. For that matter, it would be more logical to meet with the leaders of both parties, of Congress, in general, than with lobbyists. Why can't we create public policy the right way, instead of feeding money into the equation? Craft your policy with those in position to craft public policy (RE: lawmakers), not with those in position to give you money.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Enough People Should be in the Military that it Represents the People

   Turn to the words of Alexander Hamilton, writing in the Federalist Papers, if you wonder where the seed of thought came from suggesting the Second Amendment is there to protect us against our own government becoming tyrannical.
   If I'm reading Hamilton right, what he is driving at is that if the military is composed of enough citizens, there will be enough among them those who won't go along with government taking away the rights of the people.
   After all, if the army is composed of the citizenry, they aren't going to fight to take away their own rights.
   Here's are Hamilton's words: "If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens."
   So, is Hamilton arguing that everyone should own guns so they can rise up in militias if the government becomes tyrannical? Or, is he arguing that enough people ought to be in the military so that it will represent the people, thus ensuring that the military will not rise up against them, because they are the military?
   I think it is the latter. I think the second thought is the thought Hamilton had in mind.
   I don't know but what there aren't other quotes that would give us an idea of where the notion came from that the Second Amendment is there to protect us against tyrannical government. If this quote from Hamilton is the source, however, it would seem that rather than private gun ownership, the cause that everybody should be getting uptight about is whether there are enough of us enlisted in the military so that that military cannot rise up against us.
   That should be the grand cause. Instead, it is a cause we've never even heard of. Just saying.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

If You Make Assault Weapons Legal, Only the Bad Guys Will Use Them

   Open minds must be open. I sit here, pausing, realizing I am willing to consider something I could get in trouble just for considering.
   Banning assault weapons.
   I think on the news of the day. I think of the report Omar Manteen sought to buy body armor, but was turned away by a suspicious store clerk. Did he wear body armor during his attack? I do not know. It is said that if you ban guns, only bad guys will have guns. But, I wonder if it is hard enough to get body armor, if then the killer will be more inclined to go without.
   Yes, I think on the news of the day. I think of the family of the inventor of the AR-15 saying he would have been horrified to know the weapon has been used in mass killings. He intended the weapon for military efforts.
  I pause, again, as I write this, realizing how my friends and others will villainize me for even considering this, realizing they will consider me anti-patriotic.
   Banning assault weapons has always been a moot point, to me. My stand has always been -- and still is -- that there should be no restrictions on weapons. The Constitution doesn't allow it, and therefore certainly it does not allow banning assault weapons. I've not needed to venture into considering the banning of assault weapons, since the Constitution doesn't allow it.
   But, if we were to be wise, like the founding fathers, would we amend our Constitution to allow banning of assault weapons? Would this be wise?
   I see, clearly, that this would have an impact. If it were illegal to own, illegal to sell, illegal to have assault weapons, there would be far fewer killers using them. They might turn to other weapons, including bombs, but this one would be crossed off their list.
   Yes, I think when we see something is wise, we should do it. We are foolish to let gun rampage after gun rampage, mass killing after mass killing, continue if we can do something that is certain to have an impact.
   I think, again, of the old assertion that if we ban guns, only bad people will have them. I wonder. It seems that if we allow assault weapons, only bad people will use them. That is the real reality. There might be a few exceptions, there might be a few times when assault weapons have been used to stop a mass murder or to stop a crime, but they are few. Contrast that to how many times the assault weapons are used in mass killings.
   Far and away, when the assault weapon is used, it is the bad guy using it.
   Are we being wise? I think of the founding fathers, I think of how George Washington and Thomas Jefferson indicated we should consider changes that need to be made, and be wise enough to make those changes.
  If we can see that this is wise, it is not being unpatriotic to consider it. It is being patriotic. I think on how I have been taught to stand up for that which is right, even when it is unpopular. I know, that off top, you will not think this right. I would ask you to at least consider it. Yes, I will challenge you to consider whether you are being open minded. Whether we decide to do this or not, we must at least consider it. Being open minded demands that we at least give it consideration.

The Gun has to be Accountable for its Part

   If you are going to study gun violence, you pretty much have to study what role the gun is playing. Unfortunately, the Guns-don't-kill,-People-do mantra would turn attention away from the gun. We cannot do that; We need to study the role of the gun in the violence taking place.
   We cannot look blindly away from the gun. We cannot divert all the attention to the killers. Yes, if we didn't have guns, people would find other weapons: knives, scissors, axes, or whatever. That doesn't diminish the fact that it is the gun that is being used so often. We should look at it, consider its role.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Language Police Might not Like it, but Guns Kill

   "The bullet tore through his heart and killed him," I said.
   Max looked up at me in horror when I said that. "Don't do that," he said.
   "Don't do what?" I asked.
   "Don't blame the bullet. That is about as bad as blaming the gun," he said.
   "Oh, Max. I mean no harm in saying the bullet killed him. It did, didn't it? What's the harm in saying it, then?" I asked.
   "Around here, we don't talk like that," he said.
   "Don't talk like what?" I asked.
   "We don't say bullets or guns kill. We just say people kill. That's just the way we word it around these parts," he explained.
   "Around what parts?" I asked.
   "America. In America, we don't talk like that," he said.
   I hung my head, embarrassed for a short moment, and a little confused. For a while, I wondered if my part of America wasn't part of America, for people where I was from had no problem saying, "A bullet tore through his heart and killed him."
   Nor did they have a problem saying someone was killed by a gun if that's what killed them.
   I shook my head and looked back up at Max. "Max," I said, "You some kind of language police?"
   "What you mean?" he asked.
   "Well, seems to me, there's nothing wrong with saying guns kill, if they do," I said. "People like you might be offended, but there really isn't anything wrong with saying it. I'm just thinking you're being some kind of language police."

This is Essential if We are to Reform Our Criminals

Three years ago, I wrote this:
Thought last night on something we should definitely be doing if we are to have any hope of reforming our criminals.
And, it is something we are not doing, not as a prescribed method -- not as part of our sentencing and not as part of the prison program.
The criminal needs to obtain self-worth. He or she needs to be doing something, needs to be achieving something that makes him or her feel worthwhile and gives a sense of accomplishment -- a sense of pride, I think we call it. Would it be so wrong to have the sentencing offer up an endeavor that brings a sense of worth to that prisoner?
Growing a nice little garden, searching the night sky with a telescope, becoming an expert on the Civil War -- there are many, many things a person can pursue to bring self worth. It is essential the convict be given this sense of accomplishment. He or she can hardly be expected to reform unless finding something bringing a worthy purpose to life.
Ofttimes, people turn to crime because they lack such a purpose. They feel frustrated or rejected or worthless, so they fall into a life of crime. So, why would we not seek to correct that? Why would we not seek to instill such a foundation in their lives? Why would it not be part of the sentencing, or, if not part of the sentencing, part of every prison experience? If you don't follow the principles of reformation, you cannot expect as much success as when you do. Giving a person a purpose is one of those principles. It is a must.
And, while some fall into crime for lack of purpose, others turn to crime to obtain purpose. They find in crime, bravado, and they take pride in being able to commit the crimes, and they glory in the lifestyle. If you are to take that away, you must replace it with something else.
It is said, everyone needs a reason to believe.
Surely, we cannot think to reform our criminals if we do not instill in them self value. Whereas now it is not a part of the sentencing, nor part of many prison programs, it should be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Second Amendment Says the Opposite of What Many Say it Says

   Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City's mayor, calling for gun control, makes an argument. "We believe in the words of the Second Amendment," she is quoted as saying in a Deseret News article, "especially the beginning, 'Well regulated.' "
   Ahh, then, is that what the wording in the Second Amendment means? Does "well regulated," mean well controlled and government regulated?
   I've never though much on the first phrase of the Second Amendment. It is the second phrase that has always caught my attention. But, Biskupski's suggestion got me thinking. Does the Second Amendment actually say exactly the opposite of what many interpret it to say? Many say, the reason we need to have guns is to protect ourselves from our own government taking our freedoms away, to protect against the possible tyranny of our own government.
   Is that what the Second Amendment is about?
   Or do the words of the short little amendment say just the opposite? Biskupski suggests it is saying guns should be regulated, but actually, it is saying the militia should be regulated. That implies that the militia is the government's militia, not a militia rising up against the government. After all, you don't regulate something you don't control.
   As I sit here, I think more on the wording of the Second Amendment, specifically on what the founding fathers were trying to suggest when they spoke of, 'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State." I would suggest, in saying, "a well regulated militia," they probably were referring to a well-organized militia. "Being necessary to the security of a free State," most likely indicates we would lose being free from other nations if we did not have a national defense. If it said, "being necessary to the security of the State," instead of, "free State," it would clearly be referring to defending this country from other countries, not rising a squad to guard against this government becoming tyrannical. Does the word "free," then, take away from that? I think not. I think they were simply suggesting this is a free nation.
  At any rate, it says, "State," not "Citizenry." It is the state that is to be protected.
   Back then, I would guess, much of the arming of the militia consisted of those enlisting bringing their own arms. So, the Second Amendment is simply saying: A well-organized and adequately armed defense being necessary to protect this nation, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be limited, lest the citizens not have arms to bring with them when they enlist.
  So that you can reflect on whether the interpretation I offer is correct, the Second Amendment says, "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."
   In closing, I would note that regardless the reason the Constitution gives for not restricting weapons -- regardless what the first phrase says -- that does not change what the second phrase says. There is to be no infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. There is to be no impeding on gun ownership no restrictions on bearing arms. You can say this part of the Constitution has been outdated, since we no longer bring our own weapons with us when we enlist in the military, but unless we change the Second Amendment, unless we amend it, what it calls for is what it calls for.
  "Shall not be infringed" remains the law, and the highest law in the land.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Would We Shield Guns from the Blame they Deserve?

   Guns kill. Then, once they've killed someone, we shield them from fault by vehemently declaring that guns don't kill, people do.
   Guns kill. Bullets from their chambers fire into people heads, and hearts, and lungs and kill people.
   Guns kill.
  You can say people are the ones who make the decisions to kill, but guns do the killing. They kill. We might not want to face up to it, but guns kill. We might be in denial, but guns kill.
   Would we absolve them of all fault? Would we shield them and protect them? After they have taken the lives of  hundreds and thousands and millions, would we say, "Don't blame the poor gun. It wasn't its fault."
   Would we shield them by saying, "Long before there were guns, people were killing"? Would we protect them by saying, "If it they didn't have guns, killers would just find another weapon to use"? Yes, people have long been killing with clubs and ice picks and even scissors, but few weapons administer death so efficiently and to so many people at once as do guns. They are the choice of killers. Killers choose guns to do the killing because guns are often the best tool for the task.
   Guns kill, and guns kill the best.
   What is it about us, that we protect guns, that we seek to turn away blame from them? It doesn't have to mean that we can't see the good side of guns if we admit that guns kill. Guns can still protect. They can still save lives as well as they take them.
   But they kill, simple as that. Anybody who says otherwise is in denial. Why do we get upset when someone says guns kill? Why do we seek to defend them from this simple truth? We shouldn't shield the killers themselves from fault, and we shouldn't shift that part of the blame that guns deserve away from them.
    Guns kill. As surely as a bullet to the heart, guns kill.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Washington and Jefferson Might Want Us to Change the Constitution

   If you're thinking we should hold a modern-day constitutional convention, or go about amending the Constitution in some other manner, I know a couple guys who might agree with you -- George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. You might want to call them to the witness stand. Seems they were of the opinion the day would come that the venerable document so precious to us all would need to be tweaked.
  I give you their words, here for you to read.
  First, let's hear from Washington:
  "The warmest friends and the best supports the constitution has do not contend that it is free from imperfections; but they found them unavoidable, and are sensible, if evil is to likely to arise therefrom, the remedy must come hereafter, for in the present moment it is not to be obtained; and, as there is a constitutional door open for it, I think the people (for it is with them to judge), can, as they will have the advantage of experience on their side, decide with as much propriety on the alterations and amendments which are necessary, as ourselves. I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or posses more virtue, than those who will come after us."
  And, now let us hear from Jefferson:
  "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Friday, June 10, 2016

This is a Time We Should Consider Changing the Constitution

   I remain convinced that, if we are to obey the Second Amendment, no restrictions on bearing guns should be allowed. That runs me against the ruling out of California, where an appeals court ruled there can be restrictions placed on who can carry concealed weapons.
   I am with those who say that if the Constitution says, "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," then that means no law shall be created that restricts, diminishes or limits the practice of bearing weapons.
   We are too afraid of changing our Constitution. I, too, believe it an inspired document. But, if there is wisdom in a law, and the Constitution prevents it, then the Constitution should be changed. Our founding fathers were wise, but we must be just as wise. No, they didn't foresee all the intricacies that would arise. We are the ones seeing them, and facing them, and we are the ones who must address them.
   At this point, we should consider the wisdom of each of the laws already on the books. What is wisdom? Can laws be crafted allowing some restrictions without jeopardizing the things the founding fathers apparently wanted to protect? If they were wanting to ensure we had guns to protect us from government tyranny, can we craft laws that do not jeopardize this? Do our current laws fail to jeopardize this freedom? If this is the reason for the Second Amendment, to begin with, then simply craft laws so that citizens do not lose their ability to protect themselves. And, consider on the wisdom of that. If we say citizens have the right to keep and bear arms to protect themselves against government tyranny, what might they consider to be tyranny? If they oppose the government for owning public lands, do we want to invite them to take up arms against the "tyrannical" government?
   Then, when we have considered all these things -- when we have decided what is wise -- then we still should not proceed without first amending the Constitution.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Measures Needed to Avoid Delegate Spots being Wrongly Filled

  Yesterday, I suggested that at our caucus meetings, we elect more delegates to convention. As I typed, I realized this could easily exacerbate a problem we already have.
 When spots are not filled at the caucus meetings, there is a danger they will be filled by the party machinery in favor of one candidate and at the expense of the other candidate(s).
   So, if enough delegate spots are not already not being filled, having more openings does invite more corruption. So, if these spots are not filled at caucus, we should either leave them empty or be careful how they are filled. It is inappropriate for the party leadership to be making the appointments based on their own favoritism. It is inappropriate that one candidate should be able to slide in names for delegates while his or her opponent is not even aware it is happening.
   It reminds me somewhat of super delegates in the presidential process. Is this worse than that, though?  These are delegates not designated to be anything other than people elected by the caucus-goers, I believe. Nor are they designed to be picked by one candidate at the expense of the other. So, for the process to be circumvented at the expense of one candidate, that strikes me as drifting into an area called campaign corruption.

The Antiquities Act Shouldn't Lock Out the Public

   The public should be part of the equation, right? You don't remove the public, do you? So, when I heard that the Antiquities Act (by which President Obama might be considering designating the Bears Ears area as a national monument) requires that he not pass out advance notices of what he is doing, well, I was surprised.
   It's got to be a "gotcha" moment, I've heard. It's got to be something that takes us by surprise.
   All, I can say, is it is wrong. My thought, is when you find an unjust law, you change it. Congress should change the Antiquities Act. The public should be invited to the process.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Elect the Top Four as Convention Delegates

     To tweak our caucus-convention system, elect more delegates to the convention. I've expressed concern that the same delegates often are elected time and time again. One way to neutralize their dominance is to expand the field. They will be a little less influential if others are elected to also go to convention alongside them. And, if you are electing, say, the top four vote-getters, that fourth-place person might be getting enough votes even though he or she is vehemently opposed by the power brokers who have been roosting at the top of the precinct for all these years.
   You are more likely to have diversity.

Trump and the Kick in His Rump He is Receiving

   Is this the Trump stumble that finally trips him up? I find myself somewhat understanding of him. If he is saying Judge Gonzalo Curiel definitely cannot fairly preside over the Trump University case because of his race, that is wrong. But, if he were limiting his assessment to saying sometimes people do let their race affect their judgments, I would say he's right.
   There is that danger.
   Most of us do have biases based from the groups we are in. I think of my own self, and often wonder how much my backing of Mitt Romney is because he is of my faith.
   Ahem, I also think of the support of the Donald, himself, by Republicans, simply because he is a republican. That is a bias.
   I wonder but what we all have biases. If so, judges are required to put theirs aside. I don't know that Judge Curiel has any bias to begin with, on this matter, but, if he does, my guess is, he is putting it aside. I consider that he ruled to postpone the case until after the election. That sounds like a favorable ruling for Trump. He didn't need to do that. If he were biased, he could have taken glee in having the case unfold, with all its negative publicity, during the campaign.

I Should Sit Down and Study Hillary

   Should come a day when I sit down and study Hillary -- Hillary, of the Benghazi mess, Hillary of the email debacle.
   I do not like it that I should hold her in ill regard without studying the accusations. I do not like it that I should be a bandwagon despiser,  I do not believe we should so easily take accusations against others and accept them. I believe another person's good name is not to be dismissed just because everyone piles on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This is as Different of an Idea as has Ever been Had, for Elections

   Let all comers, be goers. Let everyone who wants to be a delegate, go to the party's convention. I wonder what would happen if we tried this approach with our party conventions.
   Of course, that would render the caucus meetings rather meaningless. Electing delegates is pretty much what the precinct caucus meetings are about.
   As I set here, typing, another thought occurs to me, as novel of an idea as there could be. So, I turn this blog in a different direction. How about every candidate being allowed a delegate from the precinct caucus? Off top, this might seem meaningless. If every candidate has a delegate, that doesn't lend toward solving an election.
   But, I notice this: Many times, those who show up at caucus get there and become excited about becoming involved. For one thing, there is a neatness about being elected to something. So, the more positions you have available, the more people you can involve.
   This, though, would be a novel position. Never in our election system have we had the likes. My reason for liking this position, is that these delegates would be advocates. It would be their responsibility to learn about their candidate and be ready to tell the others all the good points come convention time.
   I've long thought, we should be more concerned about having an educated voting body than we are about how many who show up to vote even though they don't know a dime about who they are voting for. This, puts education in the election. This provides a mechanism that brings about education on each of the candidates.
   This also sets well with the republican form of government. I think of our Electoral College, and how I suppose those electors were elected to study the candidates on behalf of everyone. Even so, these delegates would study their candidate on behalf of everyone.
   This is as different of an idea as has ever been had -- I would guess -- as far as elections go. Alas, no time to consider it more this night, for it is past bedtime.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Comfort is Key, so Let Them Sidestep Disagreements with Friends

   Okay, comfort is key. If folks don't feel comfortable coming to your meeting, they won't even show up.
   If we have wrung our hands over how ensure good attendance at our party caucus meetings, we would be wise to wonder if there is anything about the meetings that is making attendees uncomfortable. I say, there is.  Often, if you go, you will be forced to face good friends who you know and love and don't want to disagree with . . .
  But, who you do, indeed, disagree with.
   That's not comfortable.
   One solution would be to let the caucus-goers go to the precinct meeting of their choice. Have, say, four caucus meetings to choose from. If you are in precincts 1 through 4, then you can go to any of the four.
   Those not wanting to run into friends they disagree with will be comforted knowing the odds are only one-in-four of running into them.
   Another benefit of a go-to-your-choice-of-four meetings is that, through the years, people with similar viewpoints will gravitate to the same meeting. As you are more comfortable when with others who agree with you, this also will lend to encouraging more people to attend the caucus meetings.

Term Limits on Delegates Will Help Restore Respect for System

   If you would reinvigorate our state's political process, place term limits on party convention delegates. This, as much as anything -- and maybe more -- could make a difference.
   We've tweaked the caucus-convention system, by providing an alternate way of getting on the primary ballot. Some like the change, others do not.
   But, placing term limits on convention delegates might be a bigger reform.  I do not know how much impact the move would have on increasing voter turnout, but I believe it would have an impact on caucus attendance. And, it should help restore respect to the caucus-convention system. Many of those displeased with it right now, would find it more acceptable.
   Year after year (or election year after election year, more correctly), many of the same people are elected as delegates to the conventions. (Ironically, some of them see it as their imperative to not let the same people remain in public office year after year.)
   When I bring up this idea of placing term limits on delegates, I'm sometimes told that the reason many of the same people are elected delegates repeatedly, is that no one else wants the job.
    But, let's do the best we can to encourage them to be involved. Let's make it as comfortable as we can for them to go to those meetings. I fear that one reason some do not attend caucus, is that they don't want to have to disagree with their good neighbors. They don't agree with everything their neighbors (who are the same people elected as delegates year after year) want to do. In fact, they sometimes strongly disagree. But, these are their friends, and they don't want to upset them or don't want to oppose them.
   So, they take the path of least resistance, and just steer clear. They choose not to go the caucus meeting to avoid a confrontation with their friends.
   Instituting term limits will help. Those shying away from the meetings to avoid confrontations with friends, will be more likely to go if they know their friends are no longer so much in charge. They can go to the meetings with more hope of being elected, themselves. It won't be perfect, for they will still be placed in position where they were facing friends they disagreed with, but it will be a big step in the right direction.
   Tomorrow, I'll propose at another change to go hand-in-hand with this one, It would also be a significant improvement. Then, I will still have at least one more idea, which I will publish yet the next day. I believe these ideas would restore respect for the caucus-convention system.
  (Edited June 6)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

'The Greatest' was a Great Philosopher

In addition to the other ways he was great, Muhammad Ali was a great philosopher. His quotes are as good as you will find, and as plentiful as you find from most any other person. We have lost a great philosopher. And, as a society, we have lost a friend, for he was a friend to humanity.
"Don’t count the days; make the days count."
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
"Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything."
"It isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you down. It’s the pebble in your shoe."
"A man who has no imagination has no wings."
A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."

‘Don’t count the days; make the days count’ – 60 quotes from boxing legend Muhammad Ali

Those Who Were Officials Found No Fault in Him

   Like bookends, we have official witnesses speaking of the Savior's goodness, one speaking just before the crucifixion and the other just after. Each had an official role to play, in what became of Jesus, so their statements, echoing down through the years, are the pronouncements from those who were official participants in His death. It seems significant, noteworthy, to me, that these two placed in position to participate in his death, pronounced that they found Him to be, judged him to be, a good man. They left their witness to humanity.
   We have Pilate, who condemned him to death, saying, "I find no fault in this man." And, we have the centurion, the Roman army officer who witnessed the death, saying, "Certainly, this was a righteous man."

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Could We Achieve Sci-Fi Travel Today?

   Again, I think on shooting a person or car through a vacuum tunnel, powered by magnets. I wish I had a tidy few million bucks to experiment with this. It seems it should work. It seems we could be transporting ourselves this way, now, speeding across the nation at warp speeds, now. Don't wait for the future. Tear this away from sci-fi and do it.
  Okay, here's what well do: We'll build transit tunnels from one end of the state to the other. When you arrive at St. George, you have the option of staying on the old, boring interstate, or entering the intergalactic (so to speak) magnet tunnel. We wrap your car in a cocoon, slip it into the vacuum tunnel, and send you on your way. Now, vacuum tunnels have little resistance, you know, and maybe none. The only resistance I can think of will be that from countering gravity, and some from the magnets we will use.
   Yes, we will center the person or the car in the vacuum tube with magnets on the tunnel walls. That might create too much friction if we to it that way, but it is one possibility. Perhaps the trajectory of the centering magnets can be at such an angle that they sweep along the sides of the tunnel, but do not go to the center where the person or car is in transport. So, only when the person or car drifts from the center of the tunnel do these magnet waves touch the person or car. Thus, only then would there be friction from magnet waves.
  Now, without friction, you can go as fast as light -- and faster, it would seem to me. I am not a scientist, but this theory of unlimited speed seems sound, to me. If there is no friction, you will go as fast as the propelling source dictates. No, the thrust of a rocket engine will not provide such speed. When we shoot spacecrafts into space, they can maintain the same speed the rocket thrust them to, but they do not exceed that speed.
   So, we need a power source other than rocket power. Is there one capable of infinite speed? I believe there is: magnets.  It seems to me that the pull of a magnet demands that the two objects reach each other as soon as possible -- even immediately, if possible. How fast that actually plays out to if we build a magnet tunnel, I do not know. But, if unlimited speed seems possible in theory, at least extraordinary speed should be attained in actual practice.
   And, like I say, we should be able to make this work today, not far in the future. And,  as I said, this isn't science fiction I'm talking, I'm telling you how to do it and spelling it out. I believe you should be able to see that it will work.
   The last time I wrote, I suggested a magnet at the destination. Would the pull of a magnet over at one end of the state, say, in Green River, be able to reach all the way to St. George? If not, then here is another idea: Push the car with magnets. Magnets have a positive and a negative. As the car starts through the tunnel, send a magnet after it to push it, and, if necessary, another magnet after that one, to push it. You could send as many magnets after the car as necessary, to attain the speed or keep the push close to the car. If you did send chaser magnets, though, you might not be able to have centering magnets on the walls, rather you would have to use a monorail or some such to keep the car centered, otherwise, the magnets on the side of the tunnel might attract the chaser magnets.
   Actually, on second thought, as long as you engineer it so the magnets on the walls do not attract the chaser magnets, it might work.
  Then, magnet waves at the end of the tunnel would bring the car to a stop.
   Now, as I am thinking this all through as I type, I do see a problem. How do you shut off the chaser magnets? If you have a magnet at whichever end of the tunnel, it is anchored and you can turn it away stopping the pull or push and letting the stopper magnet at the other end stop the vehicle. I suppose, then, you could have a magnet at the end of the tunnel attract the chaser magnets, but the collision of those magnets would be . . . obviously catastrophic. Perhaps, then, the chaser magnets could be neutralized by magnets on the opposite sides of the tunnel, each having equal force, each pushing perpendicular to those tunnel walls. In the absence of resistance, the push of these magnets would immediately take over and stop the car.
   Okay, I said this is all possible today, now. Upon further review, it might take a lot of testing. If no chaser magnets are needed, it might be something we can do, today, but chaser magnets might make a lot more experimentation necessary.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Let's Segregate our Homeless

   "I hope we don't get the same crowd hanging around this facility we already have hanging around the adult facility (drug dealers, predators, pimps, etc)." -- 2 bits, commenting online on a Deseret News story about a facility for homeless youth.
  It occurs to me, then, that we should aim for some segregation in housing the homeless. We want to care for them all, but it is not good to place those who can be free of drugs and such in an environment of drugs and such. If we are to shelter them, we need to shelter them in this manner, as well.
   My mind thinks back on someone I knew sent to a homeless shelter maybe 10 months ago. She didn't want to stay there, in part due to the drugs and negative influences. Society's answer for getting them off the street, shouldn't include forcing them into a bad environment. So, let all those who will commit to clean living live in a separate facility, and let them stay there as long as they keep their commitment.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Abortion is Death by Design; Abortion is Death by Denial

   Abortion is death by design. These are not deaths that come by accident. They are not deaths that cannot be avoided. They are deaths we choose to inflict. Perhaps more shocking, is who we inflict these deaths upon: our own family members. We choose to die those who are of our own offspring, and we inflict this death at that moment they are most dependent upon us.
   Abortion is death by denial. These are deaths we deny to be even deaths. These are people we deny to be even people. Again, what is most shocking, is who it is we are denying to be people: our own family members. Would we do this? Would we take a member of our own family, take his or her life, and deny there had even been a human life to be lost? Would we suggest our own flesh and blood were no more than organisms?
   Abortion is death by design. Abortion is death by denial.

Donald Trump and the Art of Calling the Other Person the Liar

   If you yell loud enough, people will believe you. If you yell loud enough, so to speak, you can sometimes drown out the truth. This art of forceful speaking has a master in Donald Trump, who attacks those who attack him. In this case, he attacks by calling someone someone else a liar. You read what happened, and determine if he isn't in the act of lying even as he is calling someone else a liar.
   In March, in a town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Trump suggested it was time to reconsider the United States' policy of not letting Japan arm itself with nuclear weapons.
   And then, in April, Trump discussed nuclear weapons with Chris Wallace on Fox, "It's not like, gee whiz, nobody has them. So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea." When he was asked if he meant with nukes, he replied, "Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes."
  But now, Trump is saying it is a lie that he said he wants Japan to get nuclear weapons. At a rally this week in Sacramento, Trump referred to a Hillary Clinton speech, saying, "And it was such lies about my foreign policy, that they said I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break."
   Trump went on to say that they don't say it, but he wants Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and many of the NATO allies to pay up for us taking care of them. Perhaps he is suggesting that the reason he said what he did in March and April, is that it is time for the U.S. to quit footing the bill for defending so many nations. Let them arm themselves, instead.
   But, that doesn't diminish that he did, indeed, suggest it was time to reconsider Japan not arming itself with nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Do We Classify Too Much?

   Wish some of the discussion of Hillary Clinton's emails would be about what should be classified.
   I wonder if we don't classify too much, too easily. I wonder if we infringe on our own First Amendment rights by scurrying without good cause to hide things from being said in the name of national security.
   Throw up the warning sign of national security, and we jump. No one wants the national security to be compromised. But, I do fear that we jump too quickly, and too often.

I Like it that David French is being Drafted to Run for President

   This, perhaps, is the way the founding fathers wanted it done. Bill Kristol is pressing to have David French run for president. Mitt Romney also supports French, calling him an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person.
   I like the idea of us going out and looking for someone who we would like to see as president, and selecting them before they have even thought of running. I think of the Electoral College, and how we were to elect folks who would consider who would best serve as president. I think there is good reason for selecting a president this way.
   Let us select the candidate, instead of the candidate selecting him- or herself,