Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Thank you, President Obama

Dear President Obama,

Thank you, thank you, for taking action to regulate gun sales!  You have made my day.  Please continue your efforts in this important, "heart and soul" issue.

Let's observe the intersection of mental health and gun violence is occurring when angry males pick up a convenient firearm to "do something", when they are feeling vulnerable, frustrated, and miserable.  We condone this behavior because men are allowed and often encouraged to act upon their rage.  As a community, we need to understand the roots of these dark, miserable impulses and address them with health services, friendship, support, and encouragement for all members of society to speak up when anger, frustration, and rage becomes dominant themes in their households.  It's not healthy.  We need to move the needle away from accepting this stuff.


Kind regards,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Seattle Times re: "Obama Must Work with Congress ..."

Re: Dave Reichert “Obama Must Work with Congress on Gun Control” op-ed, Jan 16, 2013

Congressman Reichert is correct when he says that America needs to be engaged and involved at every level of our society in order to achieve the shared goal of reducing gun violence.  The President is doing his part and as the good representative explains, so is Congress.  These activities are not mutually exclusive.  The entire spectrum of effort is needed to make headway on the tricky, divisive issue of balancing the rights of responsible gun owners and dealers with the desire to regulate and control the proliferation of weapons that can produce massive carnage in a few seconds. 

This is not an impossible task.  Americans of good will can work together, with respect, to reduce the chance that criminals, hot-heads, and mentally ill individuals will obtain and use these weapons. 

No level of effort can prevent a determined, crazy, and perhaps lucky person from defeating a defense system.  Posting armed guards will not make it impossible.  We need to ask ourselves what sort of society we want here in America and take steps to make our positive vision real.  Using a negative vision as a model is not the way forward.

This is the task of any generation that seeks to improve the general welfare.  We need responsible words from our national leaders and I thank Congressman Reichert for sharing his.  It is a difficult challenge but we are equal to the task. With good will and good faith all things are possible. 

Yours truly,

 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Entitlement

i wonder how i feel
out on the public highway
do i need to obey any laws
or rules of the road?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thank you, NRA


The National Rifle Association has finally done it.  They’ve given us a clear vision of the future of American society, at least for the first half of the twenty-first century.

The organization’s executive vice-president, Wayne LaPierre, has articulated an unassailable case for placing armed guards in every elementary school in American.  One really cannot argue with the perfection of his vision. 

It’s well past time we stopped coddling our youth.  These youngsters have no business being deluded by well-meaning adults.  The imagination stops here.  It stops now. 

As everyone with a pulse has figured out, we have nothing of value in our society.  There is nothing worth striving for besides money and power and trophy spouses.  Oh yeah, the cars.  One must have a statement vehicle.

But I digress.  The point is that we can no longer handicap our young by sustaining a notion that life is not horrible and stressful at all times and in all ways for the adult population.  This much is clear from recent public dialog, not only with regard to mass shootings of innocents, but also on the national front with elected leaders who are unable to work together or vaguely agree on what constitutes the “common good”.  Everybody loses is the new win-win.

If people of good will cannot break down barriers that keep us uninformed and stressed out about “those people” of whom we know nothing, it will certainly serve us right to degenerate into urban madness.  The homeland war that George W. Bush so often promised will be upon us, not perpetrated by the fundamentalist Islamists but by our own selves.  We have met the enemy and it’s us.  Can we all just get along?

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dear Mister President


Dear President Obama,

As you are aware we are today mourning the tragedy in Connecticut, the latest in mass shooting, mass murder made possible by use of highly efficient firearms. 

It is a huge task to address the causes of such horror but we cannot shirk our responsibility due to difficulty or complexity.

Please join me in calling renewed emphasis on zero tolerance for bullying in schools.  There can be no exceptions or excuses or acceptance of “kids being kids”.  The strong will prey on the weak and the weird, the outsiders. We must make an effort to identify this behavior in public schools and intervene.  It is a never-ending challenge but we must do better.

The kids bully each other for a simple reason: they see adults doing it to each other and to them.  The adults are the ones we need to focus on, not just the kids.  Adult behavior is at the root of this toxic issue.

I am a gun owner.  I have some rifles and shotguns and a couple of revolvers.  None of these are semi-automatic.  I have no concerns with semi-automatic weapons as long as the magazine is limited to a reasonable size.  What is “reasonable” size magazine?  I don’t know.  Perhaps something under 20 is a place to start.  Let’s get this discussion going today.

No one outside military or special weapons and tactics squads needs access to fully automatic weapons.  I don’t know of an exception.  The idea that we need firearms to protect ourselves from governmental authority does not work for me.  It’s an overly-simple idea, a tactic not a rational scenario.  (At least, not here in The States.)

Please join me in working to increase access to mental health counseling for at-risk youth and adults.  There is no reason we cannot improve social services in this area, except for the lack of willingness to spend the money and time necessary.  We cannot afford to let this opportunity go by without addressing the lack of drug and mental health counseling and the stigma that is associated with seeking professional help.

We can’t sit back and wait for someone to do this work for us.  We need to share the burden of this difficult task and get busy.  No more tragedies of this scale.  Please lend your voice and the power of your office to the effort.

Yours truly,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thinkit: How Did This Happen


What is your connection to Indiana?  Do you live someplace near Indianapolis?
I live in or near Seattle, WA.

How did you become involved in an Indiana-themed Blog project?
It’s Heidi Gluck’s fault.  She shared the link on her Facebook and I took the bait.

Have you ever been to Indiana?
Yes!  I lived in Chicago for four years and worked for Amtrak during most of that time so I’ve crossed through the state on innumerable occasions on my way to points east.

How about Indianapolis?  What is your interest in or connection to?
Kurt Vonnegut and the 2012 WNBA Champion INDIANA FEVER!  Go Feve!  I can’t wait to see them at the White House meeting the pres next summer.  OMG.  Coach Dunn is the best and the funniest in the freakin’ league.  They had such a great season.  NOBODY thunk it.

How long have you lived in or around Seattle?
Um, since 1996, so … (pause for math) sixteen years and counting.

Are you a Washington native?
CALIFORNIA, baby. 

How did you become interested in blogging?
I’ve felt that Facebook and (dating myself) MySpace were not risky enough.  I wanted to put my name on something that could generate more heat.

What do you do, most days?
Get on the bus and commute across Lake Washington from Kirkland to Seattle where I work for a crazy Internet and Real Estate and Space Launch company that also owns several local sports franchises.  I usually read on the bus in the morning and listen to music on the way home.  It’s like, an hour each way (blurggggggh).  I am a technology professional.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would like to be retired from the daily grind, playing bass with a couple of bands and making jewelry from a 500lb cache of semi-precious stones I inherited from my grandpa about twenty years ago.

Word association:
Internet: bogus
Ideas: borrowed
Bicycle: dusty but serviceable
Sandwich: bahn mi
Ballard: Avenue

What is your favorite area of Seattle or nearby?
I work in the ID (International District) which is very colorful but I’m kind of fond of the Interbay, Myrtle Edwards Park area.  I love the trains and the water and the mountains and the sunsets.  It's world-class lovely.

What bands and/or musicians?
Local bands: Kissing Potion, Good For You, Soul Senate, Thaddillac, Cascadia Ten
National or non-local: Juliana Hatfield, Nada Surf, Carolyn Wonderland, Sarah Morrow, Fanny Franklin, Catherine Popper, Savoy Brown, Aimee Mann

Anything else worth mentioning?
I love my dog, Chloe, and my wife, Annemarie.  I’m a lucky duck.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thinkit: Wise Decisions of 2012


The single best decision I’ve actually followed up on was to ratchet down my tolerance for anger to zero.  This bears a little ‘splaination.

In the toing and froing of daily hecticity we encounter multiple opportunities to take umbrage.  There is no end to the occasions for outrage.  My epiphany was to stop and ask, “Who is my audience?  Who cares if I’m angry?” 

Of course it’s all just me in my metal think-tank, my personal sensory deprivation pod, also known as the single-occupant vehicle on the way to/from work.

Everyone is anonymous out there on the road.  We’re not sporting very much on the exterior that provides a reliable link to our life story.  Yet we can react as if it were all so very personal, our own maneuvers and the behavior we observe in others.

My goal was to spend less time (zero time) reacting in anger at other people’s anonymous activities.  I developed this mantra: No Anger, No Impatience, (take) No Offense.  This is what I say over and over while merging onto I-405. 

Has it helped?  Yes, absolutely. 

The mantra has helped me notice how often I flip from “doo doo de doo” to “grrrr, grrr, arrrrgh” with apparent impunity.  In private there seems to be no penalty for nurturing the anger djinn but it has a bad effect on me and so I assume on everyone else who keeps this little flame burning.  As with most fire anger seeks to consume fuel and will seek it indiscriminately.

My goal is to not be angry out in society or in private or at the very least notice when I begin to queue up the justifications.  The results are better sleep, better digestion, and an odd awareness of how pervasive the anger response is in our culture. 

I’m saying it ain’t worth it, it’s not normal, it hurts our tiny minds and short-circuits the attempts we make to stay connected with our friends and family.  No Anger, No Impatience, (take) No Offense.