Monthly Archives: February 2013

Gun Forum Purges Differing Point of View – Enforces Echo Chamber

The phone rang this afternoon and the only way I knew who had called was from the CallerID. The roisterous laughter at the other end of the phone prepared me that something good was coming. But what would just have to wait until the caller could gain control of his humor [humour for our British Commonwealth friends].

I have known Ray Vaughn for years…we work together in the same profession and share some hobbies, seeing each other as time and work permit as he lives mostly in New York City and I am mostly in Kentucky. Today, I found out how much we are alike which is a bit of a surprise as I am mostly liberal and he is mostly conservative. One of the hobbies we share is target shooting, killing paper at the gun range whenever it is possible to get together. Neither of us is a gun “enthusiast”, while we have both been shooters since we were kids and like the skill of “competitive plinking”, we do not define our lives by an enthusiasm toward guns.

And today I found out we have one other thing in common…we have both been banned from smith-wessonforum.com. Not for being rude, not for posting obscenities, not for name calling, and not for being confrontational. Both of us, a bit over six months apart were banned for the sole reason of disagreeing with the established forum position on the NRA and on our opinions of gun rights/responsibilities/regulation.

Let’s look at Ray’s experience. The simple, and very good question asked on the forum was “I am curious, how many people here own firearms but are not NRA members?” The debate on that began in 2011 and continued through today. Ray’s answer was equally clear…

“I don’t support Big Pharma lobbyists; I don’t support Wall Street lobbyists. Lobbyists are killing this country; buying votes, limiting debate to those with a big checkbook.

From that position I won’t be a member of NRA just because they support something to which I agree.” – Ray Vaughn

One might think it was simple, an honest answer to an honest question. But it was not. The forum, from the owner to regular participants doesn’t want to listen to a different point of view, they don’t have the capacity to take honest debate and learn from it. In their narrow little world, if someone doesn’t support the NRA or support their personal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment…they are the enemy, and treated as such. They name call, they insult, and they make up “facts” to reply to that differing view.

Now, if Ray was anti gun, interested in “gungrabbing” as they call it, it might be different. But that is not the case. Ray is a gun owner…has been for nearly as long as I have and his pretty conservative views on the subjects of guns and addressing gun violence are reasonable. And that is the problem. Taking a reasoned approach to the very real subject of gun violence in this country is looked down on, it is scorned, and it is rejected because it is not what their echo chamber wants to hear.

NRA-cry-baby

So they act like petty little girls and run and ban someone just because the point of view they hear is different. I could understand it if the general membership took that position – it is their right as they play in a public sandbox. But when the forum owner is just as childish, just as biased, and just as myopic…that becomes a problem. One person decides what opinion is important. And from his hand built echo chamber…if it is not his opinion it has no right to exist.

So we have a paradox, a gun forum that adamantly supports the 2nd Amendment at the expense of intentionally turning its back on the 1st Amendment and free speech.

What can we learn from this? Well, first we have learned that gun owners, at least those who participate in gun fora have no interest in solving the problems associated with gun violence. They do have an interest in protecting their point of view, and only their point of view, as if they speak for all gun owners. And they have an obsessive, hero worship view of the NRA and its spokesmen – they can do no wrong.

We also know this. When you tally up the total number of members of gun fora, members of NRA and other lobbying organizations like GOA we see that the myopic, intransigent, yet vocal collective of “gun enthusiasts” make up less than 5,000,000 people. That is just SIX PERCENT of the estimated 75-80 million gun owners. The rest fall under several categories…liberal gun owners [we make up at least 33% of that 5Million total] like me, conservative gun owners who don’t believe in or support the NRA, like Ray, and a third, apparently very large group…that group of gun owners who keep guns as a tool, not a hobby, not an obsession, and not a statement of their manhood or their patriotism.

When everything settles in the conversation regarding gun violence, and what laws to be implemented are settled, look at those fringe gun owners, those who refuse to listen to differing views, instead holding onto intransigent views as one of the reasons the laws passed.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

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Just Another Spree Killing – The Price of Freedom

Spree shooting. It is the disorganized cousin of mass murders. They are separated only by definition. A spree shooting is when multiple people are killed by someone in various locations over a short period of time…mass murder occurs when a shooter kills multiple people in one location, at one time. And don’t confuse them with serial killers.

Today’s spree shooting comes to us from Orange County, California…four dead including the shooter who killed himself after a series of murders, carjackings and a chase with police.

Last week it was former LAPD officer Chris Dorner who went on a week long rampage, killing four, wounding others and then killing himself in a cabin at Big Bear.

Last May, shooting erupted on the streets of Louisville. In the end three were killed, three more wounded as at least some of the shootout was in front of the crowd of onlookers, police and press. In 2009, in Geneva County, Alabama a shooter went on a spree that crossed three towns in two counties and left 10 dead besides the shooter who committed suicide when confronted by police.

Beyond definition, how do these sprees differ from mass murder? What is the motivating trigger? In mass murder we like to blame mental illness, in spree killings the trigger is more than likely anger; domestic violence to the extreme [like the Appomattox shootings in 2010] or a workplace shooting that spills out into the community like the Accent Signage shooting in 2012 where five were killed besides the shooter.

A second differentiation…this event will get minimal media coverage…it will be a regional or national news story only until either then next multiple death shooting or until the American Idol broadcasts during sweep week [ratings count]. But the murder count will continue unabated…12,000 Americans will die by gun violence again this year – 250,000 will be injured. It is, as someone on a gun forum said “the price of freedom.” A very high price indeed.


A Blog Transfer from Deviant Art…2007-2012

What follows is a re-posting of various blog entries from my previous digital home. I re-post them, not because they provide awesome insight [don’t get your hopes up] but they cover from the end of 2007 until October of 2012 and show my thoughts on politics, photography, friends, and life through some very interesting, turbulent, hard times.

At some point the entries took on a seasonal theme…hence the titles.

EDIT: I removed the On Photography sections, this thing is just too long…they are still on my deviantart page.

There might be something of interest. Or not.

Falling Forward…again

Oct 6, 2012, 5:47:16 PM

On Life…
Fall is back. From the looks of my photo gallery that is my favorite time of the year. At least that is when I am most motivated to go out and enjoy nature and take the cameras with me in case something interesting comes along.

I am in a better mood than I was in the last journal…we have not had a drive-by of mass murders in over a month. The multiple instances of senseless slaughter in July and August were too many…that tears at the fabric. The ONLY good thing to come from all that is that we, as a society were still greatly offended…still pissed that people can and do act that way against fellow human beings. I was beginning to believe we had become too calloused but this was a hard way to prove me wrong. Now, it is time to figure out how to solve an imponderable. They say it can’t be done. Challenge accepted.

On the Election…
It is just over four weeks until the National Election here in the United States. Tempers are on edge…folks are taking and twisting every little nuance of every word and spinning it to the benefit of their favorite candidate or party. That part has been going on for decades…centuries. But this one has something else. This one is trying to split the people, trying to pit one group against another, US v THEM, Democrat v Republican, Smart v Common Sense, Roadrunner v Coyote. We thought after the 2008 election that folks would pull back together and work as a team to dig out of the worst recession that this country has had since the Great Depression of 1929. Boy, were we wrong. While the President was being sworn in a meeting on K Street with opposition party leaders was mapping a strategy to make sure the brand new administration failed. At no point in the last four years has it gotten any better. And the country has suffered because of it.

I make my voting decisions based on one really simple rule. Will this candidate promote the ideals of a society that is strong enough and moral enough to take care of those who are least able to take care of themselves, even if their votes are against their own personal interests?

If you have not registered to vote…DO SO NOW. It is most important. The fabric of this nation depends on everyone participating in every way they can. Voting is one of the most important ways in which you can participate.

And no matter who wins this November, we have to remember that if we act like the losing side did in 2008…everyone loses. We are ONE COUNTRY…it is time we began to act like it.

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Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues.

Aug 6, 2012, 9:09:55 PM

NOTE: For those who read these, this won’t be normal, Sunshine. Bear with me.

On Life…
This is where I like to write about going out and shooting photographs, about enjoying nature and seeing what life has to offer. There be clouds. No, not the towering Cumulonimbus or wispy high Cirrus — I can work with that, and some of my best photographs come in weather than others call inclement. These clouds come through the TV, through radio and over the interwebtubes. We seem to now get weekly reports of folks going off with firearms and either killing or trying to kill many people. 12 were killed in Aurora LAST WEEK, Seven in Wisconsin YESTERDAY and the now forgotten Tuscaloosa Alabama guy who “just” went into a bar with an AR-15 and started firing and injuring 17. That was WAY BACK 20 days ago. And none of this counts the guys who decide to kill their family and then squirrel away to the bunker and, after they have figured it out…kill themselves. I can’t begin to count those, there are just too many.

And since the shooters are all “lone gunmen”, the spin to try to attach them to one political dogma or another has become blood sport. Then they are just marginalized as “crazy” or “angry”. What made them get to that point? What pushed their buttons to the point that they moved from Facebook pontificator to cold blooded murderer? What brought them to boil?

I think Aurora will be different, that it will cause that big middle of America, those neither pro gun or pro gun contr0l to stand up and demand that something be done. And it has to. Neither the public nor commerce will stand for our malls, restaurants, schools, churches, and theaters being unsafe.

Just before writing this I read of a mosque burned in Joplin Missouri. It is its second arson in a month. We have watched as folks, armed with hate and bigotry have protested the opening of mosques and community centers throughout the country. Besides the loudest, most obvious one near Ground Zero in New York City there are examples in Murfreesboro, TN to Mayfield, KY to Buffalo to Wisconsin to Ohio or California, and those are just the ones making national news in the past year. The protests are all generated by hate and rationalized by demonizing “those people”…those who attacked on 9/11 or in Afghanistan or Iraq…even though that radicalized minority represents less than 1/10th of 1% of the Muslim faith.

Then there is the Great Chick-fil-A scandal of 2012. Much ado about nothing until you realize that CFA donates millions of dollars to hate groups that openly lobby to deny equal rights for some people. And folks lined up for hours to support their hate. That cannot be something of which you can be proud.

Back to hate…really it should be HATE for a moment. We spread hate through political beliefs, through religious beliefs, through social history and we now have the technical ability to propagate that hate and bigotry through social media, through blogs, through the news media, through TV at the speed of light. At some point, with saturation it becomes everyday, OK, part of our community fabric to speak openly about “those people”. But it really isn’t. It only seems so because we tend, in society to cluster with those who think like us, to agree with our positions and to support our thoughts. Hate, reinforced through a social echo chamber is still hate.

What to do…when you see or hear hate…point it out. It won’t make you popular but it might just sink in to one of ten folks, and that’s a start. We are all responsible for solving this problem…and the problem will not go away as long as it has fuel.

Regarding Resolve…
From the Richard Nixon 1972 Presidential Campaign…NOW MORE THAN EVER This below seems important and if nobody else reads it, that is OK. I read it myself and refocus.

An ongoing theme of these missives has been on thinking, thinking about others and looking at what can be done to improve the lives of society in general. Sometimes that takes sacrifice, sometimes it takes thinking beyond personal beliefs, sometimes it takes looking at life from a perspective other than that from which you have been given or earned or to which you have been privy. It is often not “How is this going to affect me?”, rather “How is this going to affect those who are least able to effect change upon themselves?”

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Some, Some Summertime

Jun 26, 2012, 8:26:22 PM

 

On Life
Well, kiddies, I am back on my feet. After a nine month, extended recovery I can now pretty much walk and do steps and all the things I should be able to, albeit a bit slower right now. I should be off the Warfarin by July 4 and back to normal, rat poison free blood and PT is now “just the gym”. Travel and photography are next on the list. There have been a couple of small trips but I have so far been too tired to shoot or to process. That is coming back fast.

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It’s Fall…I Fell

Nov 18, 2011, 12:56:03 PM

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. This was looking like it was going to be a beautiful fall, good rain, right temperatures and all the right ingredients for some great photography trips. And the rolling tripod [Jeep] was ready for the challenge. Just one little problem…
9/9/11, while walking down some steps at home my quadriceps tendon exploded. This pretty much stops everything. So, into surgery a bit later and a hip to foot cast that has/will last until the first of the year “if everything goes right”. Never one to just keep it simple, I managed to develop a 36 inch long blood clot. So now I am fighting that special fun with Warfarin, which is in essence rat poison. But I dodged the reaper which I consider a good outcome. So no new photographs for a while. The view from bed is just not that interesting.

My goal while being parked in timeout is to gather new perspective and to come out the other side a better person. That and to “Mind the Gap”.

Good holidays and good shooting to everyone. I look forward to seeing your always excellent work.

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Spring has Sprung

Jun 11, 2011, 8:12:23 PM

On the World
When you do your work, your art, your life…look at those around you. They are important. Whether they are in your peer group, above you or below you we are all interwoven in our lives. Sometime in life someone has helped you. It might have been small or big; expected or unexpected. When you get the chance to repay that, pass it forward. Do something for someone else that is in need. They need it now and might not know how or who to ask. Don’t ask for or expect anything in return. If you are able to help you have already received that. Just pass your good fortune forward.

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A New Year Begins

Dec 26, 2010, 8:37:55 PM

On the World
When you do your work, your art, your life…look at those around you. They are important. Whether they are in your peer group, above you or below you we are all interwoven in our lives. Sometime in life someone has helped you. It might have been small or big; expected or unexpected. When you get the chance to repay that, pass it forward. Do something for someone else that is in need. They need it now and might not know how or who to ask. Don’t ask for or expect anything in return. If you are able to help you have already received that. Just pass your good fortune forward.

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To Every Season

Nov 21, 2010, 2:09:55 PM

 

Thoughts while sorting through thoughts
In going through the 400 or so photographs I took at the Rally to Restore Sanity I began thinking about all of the folks who have stood on that very ground at the National Mall, America’s front yard to plead their cause. Some have been very controversial, others seem so blatantly obvious that is was surprising that there was a need to bring the attention of a Nation together to point it out…but it was.

From the Woman Suffrage March in 1913 that started it all to the Civil Rights Rally in 1963 to the 1969 Viet Nam War Protest to rallies for Equal Rights, Civil Rights, Human Rights and protests of yet another war, folks have converged on Washington DC to present their case to the Nation, to those who represent us and to opposing views.

It seems odd that, after hundreds of rallies and protests to draw attention to the issues that plague this country we still have many of these problems. And that brings us back to the Rally to Restore Sanity and Reason. When did it leave? When did the ability to have reasoned debate stop. When did the allure of snake oil salesmen and their partisan hate-mongering, intent on dividing become so strong? When did the priority to “win majority” become more important than the priority to do what is right for the country, even if it means sitting down to compromise?

Before we can have success with solving the problems that we protest we first have to be able to have dialog with those who matter, those who make the decisions and to have that input mean something other than minutes of a meeting. We have to start by talking, by looking at the important issues realistically and honestly.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t read on a forum or blog an argument that is rife with errors or downright lies. Sometimes it is intentional, to “win” the day, other times it is simply repeating what was heard from someone else’s blog or forum and, since it fits in their view it is worth repeating…all without looking to see if the information is valid.  This happens on all sides of the discussion, not just that with which I might now agree.

The first step is going to be the hardest, for everyone. Change goals. The goal should be the success of this country as a whole, not success of this country “as long as my side is running things”.  It worked that way for a couple of hundred years. It can work that way again.

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Fall Forward, Fall Behind

Nov 14, 2010, 3:00:36 PM

 

It’s Fall, the MIDDLE of FALL
OK, so I am late in writing my quarterly missive. I am smack dab in the middle of Fall and looking at the first cold snap of the year. Trees are losing their leaves and the squirrels are working to prepare for winter.

It has been an interesting Fall so far. I went to my High School/Boys Choir reunion which was much fun. Caught up with some folks that I had not seen in decades [Protip: DON’T wait that long to hook up with old friends, no matter how cool your excuse seems at the time].

My wife and I also went with friends to The Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington DC at the end of October. If you have never been to a gathering of 230,000+ folks for a political/social rally, do so. The energy is amazing and it puts much in perspective.

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Summer in the City

Jul 16, 2010, 5:14:20 PM

Summer is here, baby!
Summer came in hot this year with many more 90degree plus days so far than the none of last year. That means playing in the pool and watching the stars at night while floating. Not a bad way to end the day. It has also meant more storms and thunderboomers rolling through. Pretty and great to shoot but they can be dangerous when they spawn tornadoes and violent wind. So we get the good with the bad.

Ethics
Something came up the other day about resumes and whether it was OK to “embellish” or to “lie” on them in order to get your foot in the door for a job. It has bugged me enough that I am writing this everywhere. The long and short answer is NO! Either stand on your own accomplishments or stand aside.

 

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Summertime

June 9, 2010

An Eventful Spring

This has been an interesting Spring. Big storms blowing through Kentucky have produced some big floods, bigger storms, awesome lakes and a couple of drives that included avoiding three inch [7.6cm] hail. It has made for a lush, green spring in the Bluegrass with the downside of having to MOW twice as often.

Resolve

I looked at the previous entry and decided I like it just find. Cut and paste is wonderful.

An ongoing theme of these missives has been on thinking, thinking about others and looking at what can be done to improve the lives of society in general. Sometimes that takes sacrifice, sometimes it takes thinking beyond personal beliefs, sometimes it takes looking at life from a perspective other than that from which you have been given or earned or to which you have been privy. It is often not “How is this going to affect me?”, rather “How is this going to affect those who are least able to effect change upon themselves?”.

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Spring Rewound

March 27, 2010

A New Year
Blue Skies, chirping birds, cardinals, finches, buds on the trees. It is time for Kentucky to pop. And about time. Time to dig out of the malaise of a winter of cold, of politics, of levels of negativity that have permeated nearly every facet of everyone’s life.

Now we get to shoot new photography, square up the yard and address the ducks in the pool. No Duck a l’Orange planned, instead a remote control helicopter…Huey-a-Huey. You can bet there will be photos.

Resolve
An ongoing theme of these missives has been on thinking, thinking about others and looking at what can be done to improve the lives of society in general. Sometimes that takes sacrifice, sometimes it takes thinking beyond personal beliefs, sometimes it takes looking at life from a perspective other than that from which you have been given or earned or to which you have been privy. It is often not “How is this going to affect me?”, rather “How is this going to affect those who are least able to effect change upon themselves?”

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Skating through Winter to the New Year

Jan 6, 2010, 4:47 PM

New Year
Well, the New Year is off to a good start. TSA will most likely be checking underwear [now you know why your mom always said you should have on a clean pair], Play-Doh is the new WMD and Joan Rivers can’t board a flight. At least they got the last one right.

Friends lost work as shuffles occurred and with a cold wave wandering through the flaming electric transformer last night proved to be a fitting end of Week1 to Y2KX. As Tom Jones would lament – Baby, its Cooooold Outside.

Resolutions
I have already been warned not to resolve to “get in shape” as it just clogs up the gym for the hip and fit folks who live there year round. No prob, pizza is too important, style, not so much.

But the big resolutions are important. Responsibility and art. Nothing else is on the radar right now. Work and hobby both need to achieve a focus that allow growth and achievement of long term aspirations. There is much that needs done in the world besides just working to make money and pay the bills. Experience gives us the chance to combine our accumulated knowledge, our skills and motivation to do good. To do less is a waste.

The art [in my case photography and writing] allows me to project a point of view, to show what was, what is and what can be. It also allows me to meet many new folks as I look forward into this aspect of the hobby.

The work now has to be meaningful, not just profitable and to that end choices have to be made. I have done this to a degree all my live but now it is time to tighten the focus, to do it right.

NOW the fun begins. Let’s make art and make a difference.

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Winter Highs and Sighs

Sun Dec 13, 2009, 7:03 PM

Holidaze
It’s that time of the year. No, the other one. A smidge to the right. Yeah, that one. It’s time for the Halloween to New Years Day “please, oh please make this a good retail season.” The mall, sorry MALL is packed to the gills with lookers but it is hard to tell who is buying. I really hope the season is a success. We, as a country can really use a boost of confidence. And nothing says confidence better than being in the black.

That other reason. Kids, let’s get this right. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Muharram, Amitabha Buddha Day and Winter Solstice all within a two week period, it is a wonderful time for everyone to celebrate your beliefs and have an opportunity to look upon the world with just a bit wider view. We are all in this together.

And don’t forget Festivus.

You gotta have friends
If the trip to Harlan this fall did nothing else it taught me that you gotta have friends. Most of the time we are busy working on work or something that has little consequence when it turns out that family and friends are what really matter. The rest is white noise. We know that but the key is to exercise that knowledge.

Phantom Reality
In 2009 we have switched between the best of this Country to the worst. From the celebration of an orderly change of leadership and the beginnings of our move out of this hard recession to the horrors of mass murder on an Army Base, the gunning down of four police officers in Oakland AND Seattle and others in between to the absolute absurdities that is Reality TV. Balloon Boy, Jon and Kate, and now the Tiger Woods Open. At least he has an even dozen “friends” which should make for a lovely Valentine Calendar gift.

There was a fear that the decade would start bad as clocks and computers converted to the year 2000. No Prob! For me this decade started January 1, 2000. With a new Mercedes and while driving home in upstate New York the driver in front of me blasted a very large deer. In the 12 degree evening my car was painted with deer blood and guts. So THAT’S how it is going to be. I am ready for REALITY to return and just write off “The Decade of Zeros”.

BE C A R E F U L
Everyone have fun at your many parties and get-togethers this holiday season. Be careful and make sure to come out of the season healthy and refreshed. There is a bunch of art to make.

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Fall Out

Thu Sep 24, 2009, 4:55 PM

All Dem Leaves Must Fall
The Summer of Hate is slowing unwinding. I can’t tell if folks are finally getting a clue and checking their facts before typing and whining or if they have just realized that their leadership team of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, DeMint, Bachmann, Palin and Boner are the new…nee, NEO Confederacy of Dunces. Either way, Birther Nation appears to be taking a brief holiday.

That High School Reunion Thingie
The 100th Anniversary of Harlan High School brought out a very good crowd with folks from 90 to 18. I saw some folks I had not seen since I left Harlan over a third of a century ago [yikes!]. That was real good. It was the success that I hoped it would be. Now comes the hard part. Following through on those promises not to make it another 30+ years before we see each other again.

On a separate note, high school reunions were not anything like portrayed in Hollywood movies. There were no really catty fights between the “popular” folks and the “nerds” that switched places over the years as the nerds rolled up in the hot cars and there were no prom reenactments to highlight the worst of anxieties that many folks had with their first and last efforts on the dance floor. And there were no stalking killers roaming the halls waiting to extract revenge for that slight in Civics class back in 1969. Other than those disappointments, it was a very good reunion.

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The Summer of Hate

Fri Aug 28, 2009, 10:29 PM

What the Hell is going on?
Between the whining and bitching and scare tactics used by those opposed to a reasonable healthcare bill and the loons that feel that expressing their 2nd Amendment rights include carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle into a crowd at a politically charged, heated debate, it seems that some 40 years on, the Summer of Love has dissolved into the Summer of Hate.

Add to that the machinations and paranoid delusions of Glenn Beck and the rest of the talking heads, preaching everything short of armed rebellion and it is time for some serious timeouts. Folks need to step back and suck in a few breaths of reality before someone gets hurt. Way to show maturity when losing an election.

On Friends:
The first break. It looks like I will be going to the Harlan High School 100th Anniversary All Class Reunion this Labor Day. It will be the first time that I have seen many of my class mates in 30 or more years, some since the day we graduated. It is time to start hooking back up with some of that group. You can only work and travel so much before it becomes time to reconnect with the roots that made you what you are. I hope that will be successful.

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Spring Ahead

Thu Apr 9, 2009, 3:45 PM

Spring is here. The dogwoods are out, the trees are greening up, the foals are out in the paddocks, Keeneland in running, the sky is blue and it’s 30 degrees…wait…what???

Welcome to Kentucky in the Spring. It is the time of year where we go from 70 degrees to 30 degrees and back again a couple of times in a single week. No tornadoes so far this season [or tarnaders as some like to call them]. The good news/bad news is that the pool now has a pair of mallards that somehow feel compelled to nest in it. It has become “the cement pond”. Nice.

Since the world is somewhat upside down, the time has come to look into the past and find old friends and look to the present at new ones. THAT is going well. It looks like there is going to be a High School Reunion in my little town for all classes for its 100th year of sending kids out of the mountains with a very good start in the world. It should be fun and I look forward to it.

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Winter on Ice

Tue Feb 3, 2009, 2:06 AM

I think I need a new section just for weather. We are now in the middle of the Great Kentucky Ice Storm of 2009, or as I like to call it, The Storm of the Century of the Year of the Month of the Week of the Afternoon. Yes there has been ice. The power was out for 25% of the population of our state of 4 million. As I told a friend in Beirut, we had NO Hellfire missiles coming through the roof, it is an inconvenience. Much like in photography, perspective is very important.

On Business I didn’t go to the North American Auto Show in Detroit. My understanding it was very cold and inhospitable in the area and getting to Cobo Arena would have been a pain. I missed some new car introductions but will catch them at the New York Auto Show in April. There is nothing quite like New York City in April. It really is nice.

On Politics Brother, can you spare a…WTF!!! We need to tell our politicians that it is NOT alright to throw the TRILLION word around like pocket change. First, it’s our change and second, apparently we are giving it to folks who don’t understand the concepts of gratitude and humbleness. $15Billion in bonuses for an industry that lost Trillions seems a bit…questionable.

I’m leaving the next part from the last entry. It is important.

We still have to fix this thing, It is NOT going to fix itself. So everyone get your thinking caps on and figure out how to do your part. John Kennedy said “Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your Country.” It is time to refocus that commitment from all 300 Million of us.

To the folks around the world, have patience. We will get back.

Spring is just around the corner. The trees will be budding out and the leaves popping. Dogwoods in bloom and horses back on the track. MOST will be right with the world.

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Winter

Thu Jan 8, 2009, 8:41 PM

It’s just cold. Wind and snow and rain and cold. Not the kind of cold that stops everything, just the cold that requires you to add extra layers and impedes outside work. But, thanks to a bunch of work, all the outside work is done except rebuilding the retaining wall [apparently they don’t do well when hit with a backhoe – who knew?] First few 50 Degree days will fix that.

On Business

I may or may not be going to the North American International Auto Show. I have still not heard back from the folks who make the decision and the show starts in just days. I can shoot during the public part of the show but it doesn’t do well for either the client or the manufacturer or the photos. Time will tell.

On Politics

And I thought things would calm down and folks would settle into a “let’s work together” mode and start fixing this thing. Apparently the knife fight that was the 2008 Election was just too bloody. I have not seen this level of hate and anger from a losing side ever. And what’s with the new found prejudices? WOW. It is as if we lost an entire century of national maturity in two years.

We still have to fix this thing, It is NOT going to fix itself. So everyone get your thinking caps on and figure out how to do your part. John Kennedy said “Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your Country.” It is time to refocus that commitment from all 300 Million of us.

To the folks around the world, have patience. We will get back.

__________________________________________

Heading toward Winter

Mon Nov 17, 2008, 12:15 AM

The seasonal theme takes an interim step with a post election, moving update. The move it in progress. Things are finally happening correctly and it looks like all the holidays will be at the new place. It is down to just nits now.

On Politics

It’s over, now the hard part starts. Digging out of a brutal Recession, restoration of our image throughout the world and re-instilling a moral compass into the fiber of this country. THIS IS GOING TO TAKE MUCH WORK BY EVERYONE.

So everyone get your thinking caps on and figure out how to do your part. John Kennedy said “Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your Country.” It is time to refocus that commitment from all 300 Million of us.

To the folks around the world, have patience. We will get back.

__________________________________________

Fall

Mon Sep 29, 2008, 11:32 PM

Yes, the seasonal theme continues. I am finally done with fixing up the house and that is behind me. Between painting and contractors and cement trucks taking out power lines and the local utility company taking over a month to hook up a line, it is TIME. Yeah. Now we can get to the work of learning Photoshop and shooting, shooting, shooting.

On Politics

Christ, will this never end? The only thing good to come from the election so far is the Comedy Styling of Sarah Palin. Would it have been too much to ask for McCain to have at least tried to pick someone who didn’t sound like the cheerleader who got caught by the principal in the boy’s restroom with her panties hanging from the stall door.

The election has made me want to make little posters to “help”. They are in the gallery later tonight. I tried to be nice. Really.

If you are even thinking about not voting, stop it. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. You have to vote. This election is that important. Just do it.

__________________________________________

Summer

Sun Aug 24, 2008, 9:53 PM

Apparently I have taken a seasonal approach to Journal entries. So it goes. I am in the middle of getting a house ready to move into. It is taking longer than expected but then, they all do, I am told. Once finished I will prepare the house I have lived in for nearly 20 years for sale. That will be interesting as there are so many memories in this house.

On Politics

The election that will never end. It appears there are only about 70 or so days left until Election Day 2008. If anyone is considering sitting this one out because their particular candidate did not get through the primaries, DON’T. It is too important to not vote. There are going to Supreme Court choices in the next four years that will change the balance of the court so your vote is important, not just for President but for the Congress as well. You can scan my profile to guess my preferences but JUST VOTE.

This is the most important election cycle since 1968. The stakes have not been higher.

Time for some changes. New house, new [final] career and hopefully a change of government philosophy. I am looking forward to the next few months. Let’s be careful out there.

__________________________________________

Spring

Sun Apr 6, 2008, 9:53 PM

Maybe a journal should be updated more than once a season but we will have to work on that. Spring has finally come to Kentucky. The flowers are blooming, trees budding, wind blowing shingles off the roof and squirrels trying to get in the house to nest…AGAIN.

I am finally out shooting again. It took longer than I thought to get my brain around being creative again after the somewhat less than fun fall/winter. I have several new projects on the front burners so the “keep looking busy” part of my life is doing well.

On Politics

I am reading John Adams, the book from which the HBO series is based, a history of our Second President and one of the Founding Fathers of our Country. I am left with the deepest sense of dismay that the politicians of the 21st Century would not even be allowed in the same room as these Founding Fathers. There would be someone at the door to send them to the children’s table down the hall.

How have we let ourselves accept such mediocrity substitute as the best and brightest that our generation has to offer. We have so much better to offer, we have so much more to give but apparently the price is too high for the true leaders to subject themselves to the rigors of the political game. So all we get is American Idol 2.

__________________________________________

It’s a New Year

Tue Jan 15, 2008, 8:25 PM

A couple of weeks late in entering a New Years Journal so I guess that first resolution should deal with procrastination. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Last year saw some interesting life changes. On the bad side my mom [83] passed away at Thanksgiving, on the good side of the year, I met several new friends that I have known for a while on the internet, I started back into photography after a bit of a rest and hooked up with one treasured friend from long, long ago while I was on my California trip in October. Resolution 2, remember your friends. I also decided to take a fresh look at what I have been doing, is it making me happy and what I really want to do. I figure I have one really good job left in me between now and retirement so it makes sense to think about it, make sure it is the RIGHT ONE and go out, have fun and do it.

Past artistic work has allowed me to be very creative and publish literally millions of my photographs [postcards allow numbers like that] and have my work [postcards and photography] all over the world. My technical work has been very challenging and rewarding and taken me globally. So I can’t complain that I have neither been challenged, rewarded, nor acknowledged for my work.

In the meantime I will be shooting more and more. I get to escape the cold of Kentucky for the first races in Daytona in February. The cameras are clean, batteries ready and laptop cleared to take on as many shots as I can shoot.

__________________________________________

New Toy for the Holidaze

Thu Dec 6, 2007, 11:35 PM

I got a new toy to play with for the holidays and beyond, a Nikon S51 CoolPic. This is my first baby camera EVER. Now I don’t know what I did without one. It allows me to have a camera with me everywhere without the bulk of the DSLR or even bigger Pentax 6X7.

So far I have only shot family type pics and a few funnies but I anticipate that somewhere creativity will sneak in if time, luck and experience all wander into the same field of view.

__________________________________________

Work and Play

Wed Nov 28, 2007, 12:18 AM
Entry begun Nov 17…

Well, REAL work is getting in the way of Photography this month as I try and find a 3000 sqft area to set up a parts business for my Mercedes Restoration Biz. The parts sort of fell from the sky and I will be selling them for a client that is going out of business but I need space NOW. Of course this would all happen as Fall finally shows her colors. Timing is everyth ing.

I could do a great photo series on For Lease signs, they are everywhere but none that have the space and/or access and security requirements that my client requires. The search continues.

Hopefully I will be back shooting by the holidays. Some of the houses have already started loading up on Holiday lights, statuary and the new blowup lawn art motif [ WTF?!!!!?] that has spawned over the past few years [thanks, WalMart].

And soon we will have the lawn parades of campaign posters, staked out like duelists of old, red yard to blue yard, each proudly heralding their like minded candidate AND providing each of their neighbors with a “I thought Babs and Skippy had more sense than that!” moment.

The political season, and avoiding the Media Talking Heads telling me what to THINK gives me more time to learn my two new toys, Photoshop CS3 and Wacom Tablet. I think I finally found a way to look 40 pounds lighter. I don’t want to use it to manipulate images for photography [other than titles/borders and stuff] but it will provide a new direction for me to play. Fun to ensue.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
11/27
EDIT: Complaining about finding space for the parts seems superfluous now [although I DID get a space] as my 83 year old mom died last week. I just wrapped up the funeral a bit earlier this evening so time to put things in perspective and look back at over 50+ years of good times and support from a parent who fully backed a son who I am sure she would rather have had been a Doctor or Lawyer but Photographer and Systems Architect turned out pretty good. MANY Thanks for that.

As I go back to work, both REAL work and photography I think there might be a slightly different perspective and that is a good thing. All these calluses in life provide the texture. Nothing good comes from everything just being smooth all the time.


The Hunt for Ex-LAPD Cop…Release the Drones

UN-US-Drone Killings

The manhunt for fired LAPD cop and LL Cool J doppelganger Christopher Dorner has taken several hard turns in just one week. After seeing two civilians killed and policemen ambushed with one killed, tensions were tight as the LAPD ruthlessly attacked two women delivering newspapers while driving a blue Toyota Tocoma pickup truck that “matched” the description of Dorner in his gray Nissan Titan. At about the same time, a few miles away they also attacked another civilian [Caucasian this time] who was fired upon and his truck rammed.

Dorner’s truck was found burned in Big Bear, eighty miles east of LA which moved the manhunt to the mountainous area. Then it snowed…a pile. The risk to officers tracking Dorner in the mountains, in the snow would be arduous at best…and with a person trained in survival and weapons being tracked…the danger escalates.

“We are using all the tools at our disposal.” was the first clue that drones would be used when Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz pointed to his available resources. The US Customs and Border patrol had been listed as part of the task force put in motion to catch Dorner. And the Customs and Border Patrol use drones. Often.

This case is not the first time drones will have been used in police work. In June 2011, in North Dakota a county sheriff was hunting three men, possibly armed, in connection with missing cows. With so much land to cover he called in a favor at Grand Forks Air Force Base and “borrowed” one of their drones. It was the first time a Predator had been involved in the arrest of U.S. citizens and the use of the drone has been ruled admissible. Also, Mesa County Colorado has been using them to map crime scenes, to forward observe police raids and to hunt for lost hikers.

Drones have over the past few years received a bad reputation…in war zones they have been used in the place of manned aircraft to scout, observe and to take out targets including many top level Al Qaeda operatives. The controversy went to 11 with a Department of Justice white paper that, if you only read the blogsphere headlines would suggest that President Obama OKed drone attacks on US citizens…ANY US citizen. That was just political spin…the reality was much more specific and narrow. The white paper set forth the legal framework for lethal operations directed against a US citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or an associated force. In other words…if a US citizen went rogue and joined Al Qaeda on foreign soil to harm America…THEN he would be a potential target. “Bob” in Cincinnati, who spends his time railing against America on the internet doesn’t have anything to worry about.

And back to drones. We think of drones as the most visible of the unmanned aerial vehicles [UAV] – the Predator or Reaper drones, laden with a pair of Hellfire air to ground missiles which have 20 pounds of explosives. But drones are much more than that. They are everything from handheld remote control airplanes with camera on them to the 130 ft wingspan Global Hawk…a research craft that can fly, by itself from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Australia with no refueling, no pilot inputs.

What the drones possess that is relevant to the Christopher Dorner manhunt is the sensor package…the eyes aboard the drones. The Gorgon Stare sensor package is one such tool. It can surveil an area 2½ miles across from 12 angles at once; its field of view swallows entire cities. ARGUS is another sensor platform that can pick out an object 6 in. long from 20,000 ft.

Specifically to the Dorner manhunt…drones, likely the Predator drones WITHOUT weapons will fly the area where Dorner is thought to be. It can quickly narrow down which vacation homes have warm bodies in them with its heat sensing IR sensors, it can sweep vast areas and look for anomalies, no different than looking for lost boy scouts…seeing people where they aren’t expected. And, unlike helicopters that normally do this, the drones can see through clouds, at night, loitering up to 40 hours without having to land.

Drones will become more and more of a common feature of law enforcement. They will do the jobs that pilots in helicopters do now, that pilots in fixed wing aircraft do now. Loiter and observe…but with one difference. Drones can carry sophisticated equipment that does things people can’t, see in spectra that people can’t. And everything they do is controlled by humans…so the fear that “machines” are taking over is flawed…they enhance human intelligence gathering. No more or less.

___________________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst

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Ditch Mitch 2014 – Buckle Up, Buttercup, Kentucky Goes All Out

Song birds are the sweetest – In Kentucky;
The thoroughbreds the fleetest – In Kentucky;
Mountains tower proudest,
Thunder peals the loudest,
The landscape is the grandest – and
Politics – the damnedest
    In Kentucky.

United we stand

It’s the first week in February…sixteen months until the 2014 Kentucky primary election where 70 year old Mitch McConnell will face his most formidable field since he first won back in 1984 with this ad which skewered incumbent Dee Huddleston’s many absences and paid speaking fees.

From the left is coming a potential game changing candidate…proud Progressive, native daughter Ashley Judd. With her comes the ability to raise mountains of money that will be necessary to counter McConnell’s war chest. She also would give a very clear differential from McConnell, something many of the Blue Dog Democrats in this state are not able to do.

Ashley2

And sixteen months before the primaries…out of state PACs, led by Karl “Meltdown” Rove’s American Crossroads PAC. He thinks this advertisement is a slander to Judd…nope, it helps differentiate her from hardened, obfuscating politicians, she is willing to speak her mind.

But before Mitch can look toward the general election, for the first time in nearly 30 years he faces challenges from his own party…well, from Tea Party activists, a party that is afraid to come out from behind of the GOP coat-tails. And they might have help…some funding from Democrats who want to soften up McConnell in the primaries. It is a risky strategy as it was Tea Party support that put Rand Paul in the Senate two years ago.

mitch mcconnell

It is going to be a long, yet entertaining sixteen months.

But it is not over…the Ditch Mitch campaign is just half the story.  From the other side…way far on the fringe [no…further] we have Rand Paul, himself a creature who rode into politics on his father’s coat-tails. But he did win with Tea Party support and awkwardly has become one of the voices of the fringe right, of Tea Party obstructionism. His impassioned speeches in the Senate, lamenting the lack of choice in light bulbs or real man flushing toilets are legend. I guess he had not heard of the American Standard Champion 4 – able to flush a bucket of golf balls.

And now, it seems he wants to be President…bearer of the Tea Party banner for small government, well except his previous Medicare and Medicaid billings and his in-laws’ use of federal subsidies on their farm.

Senate Republicans Present Alternative 2013 Budget Proposal
Without heels I am this tall

Today, at a Heritage Foundation speech, planned to de-stigmatize his many views he took that ever important first step in Republican politics…he compared himself to Ronald Reagan. Yes, that Ronald Reagan who raised taxes after lowering them, who ran up trillions of dollars in deficits, who built a 600 ship Navy…who was the antithesis  of small government. So the journey begins, the pre-pre-pre-exploratory committee announcement with Bill O’Reilly.

So buckle up, Buttercup…the next four years are going to be All Kentucky, All the Time.

The dove’s notes are the saddest – In Kentucky;
The streams dance on the gladdest – In Kentucky;
Hip pockets are the thickest,
Pistol hands the slickest,
The cylinder turns quickest
  In Kentucky.

 

________________________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

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Seven States Move to Codify Responsibility for Gun Owners

Gun owners, above most everything besides the 2nd Amendment argument posit that the problems with gun violence are not due to “responsible” gun owners…it is always “them”, the other guy…criminals, the mentally unstable, well…you know, THEM. The foundation of their argument is that they, the beleaguered, hounded, falsely blamed, honest, hardworking gun owner are completely responsible…they are just not the problem. EVER.

Seven states, California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have, in the past month introduced bills to have gun owners put their money where their mouth is…liability insurance for their firearms. Codifying that responsibility if their firearms are used incorrectly, used by children who find them, by criminals who easily steal them, by people to whom they sell them without requiring a background check.

In California Assembly Bill AB231 was introduced by Assemblymen from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Assemblyman Phillip Ting equated the idea to requiring vehicle owners to buy auto insurance. LA Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez said it would encourage gun owners to take firearms safety classes and keep their guns locked up to get lower insurance rates.

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, questioned whether it is constitutional to require someone to buy insurance to exercise a constitutional right.

Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University counters “Nothing in the constitution grants people the right to expose others to serious risk without compensation.”

In New York the focus is again on codifying responsibility rather than continue to have the “Scout’s Honor” approach that gun owners now enjoy. In other words, make the gun owner responsible for any damage that their guns do. While it may discourage some people from buying guns, more broadly it would incent people to practice that responsibility that the gun community says they already practice…though the 233,000 guns stolen per year and the number of kids killed by mommy and daddy’s gun that is lying around contradict that assertion. Scout’s Honor.

In Massachusetts, HD 2678,  a bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. David Linsky on January 18th. An analysis by Best’s Insurance News says it would provide those injured, or the survivors of those killed through negligence, legal recourse and “perhaps, allow insurers selling policies to charge rates using a risk-based system as a means of improving firearm safety.”

Linsky said the bill “might result in insurers pricing gun liability insurance according to risk, including factors such as how many guns are owned in the home, how those weapons are stored, and whether they are kept in a locked area.” Again the goal is making the gun owner fully responsible for his firearms, making sure they are always properly locked away.

In Colorado, home state of the Columbine High School shooting and the Aurora Theater massacre, the new legislation requires that owners of semi-automatic rifles be subject to strict liability for civil damages caused by their weapons, and state statutes that shield manufacturers, importers and dealers from such liability would be lifted. It further says that handguns, bolt-action rifles and shotguns would be exempt from the measure. The issue of liability is only one of many measures introduced into the Colorado legislature Tuesday.

The actions of the states set in motion several conflicts…while most gun enthusiasts are loath to see Washington DC dictate any measures that affect their guns, a large majority of them are also strong proponents of enforcing the 10th Amendment, supporting a state’s right to control its own laws that are not defined Federal powers.

All of the states that have to date filed legislation regarding liability insurance on firearms are blue states. They represent 30% of the population of the nation.

____________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.


Gun Enthusiasts React to FoxNews, Chris Wallace, Wayne LaPierre…Under the Bus!

We have seen the video from Fox News of Wayne LaPierre on Chris Wallace’s program. We watched as LaPierre stumbled and stammered and failed to even begin to defend his statements, failed to defend his statistics. The pummeling was well covered by Addicting Info.

But what did the everyday gun enthusiast think, what did the folks who send extra money to the NRA every month think? It didn’t take long to find out.

From the Smith & Wesson Forum

“Wallace was starting to remind me of Piers Morgan. Anyone else see this?” – Inmorgan

“I know the NRA and the defenders of the 2nd Amendment need to get out the message, but we do need a more camera-savvy messenger. Wayne comes across as prickly and overly-defensive at times. – Dennis the B

“I cringed listening to Wayne today. Heck, I could have done a better job explaining NRA’s position to Wallace. I agree it’s time for NRA to have a new public face.” – Beemerguy53

“I think Chris Wallace was out of line. Thought he was to be fair and balanced!!!” – Sgt 207

“Wayne is not the right spokesperson. He stumbles, comes across as weak, ill prepared, not knowledgeable, and can not make a point without loosing his train of thought. He must recognize his weakness and let others more eloquent make the argument…I vote no confidence.” – jtpur

“AS FAR A LAPIERRE, HE IS A BIT TIMID, NERVOUS AND UNSURE SOUNDING, AND NOT QUICK WITTED. HE MISSES GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES TO PLUG OUR CIVIL RIGHT AND LETS THE LEFTISTS BULLY HIM AROUND.” – 681ismyfavorite

“I watched it and I wanted to tell him to SHUT UP! He lost what little respect I had for him. Will never watch his show again. Fox is going down hill fast.” – joerm

And from the Free Republic
“Christine is merely implementing Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Doesn’t matter if you allegation is true or false. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, “The ridicule is the message.” – E. Pluribus Unum

“Wallace is just another red diaper doper baby. Commie scum.” – smoothsailing

And from AR15.COM

“Lapeirre has some good points floating around in his head. IMO he always just seems foolish when he tries to get them out. We all know what he is trying to say, but it doesn’t translate well to the other side…” – c7aea15

“Yeah, it was a hit-job plain and simple. No damn “fair and balanced” about it at all, not by any stretch. Same with O”Reilly and Shep not even taking into account the usual lefties they have on. Sad….” – traderpats

“LaPierre is a poor debater. NRA needs to find someone else.” – renegadex

So, it comes down to this…as long as Fox News and their talking heads fully support you, no matter your position, they are the most important, fair, balanced, honest voice of all the media. But, once they question your facts, point out the failures of your works…UNDER THE BUS. And not just Fox, not just Chris Wallace…but Wayne LaPierre as well. After all, he didn’t stand up like Charlton Heston would, like they would…and we all know “they” are always ready with the quip, with the right thing to say…just like John McClane.

______________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

 


American Sniper Chris Kyle Killed at Gun Range

Chris Kyle

Three shootings in the past year that involve high profile gun enthusiasts. Today, former Navy Seal and author of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and another man were killed at a gun range at the Rough Creek Resort and Lodge in Glen Rose, TX. Since this occurred in the late afternoon on Saturday, all the details are not in.

January 3rd of this year in Georgia, Kentucky resident Keith Ratliff was shot and killed in his home/office, surrounded by his always available weapons. Since no weapons were stolen, it is believed that it was a personal matter gone wrong. Ratliff was a firearms manufacturer, seller, and the manager of FPSRussia, one of the most viewed sites on YouTube. This murder was covered extensively by Addicting Info.

On May 2nd, 2012, in Kingman, AZ Richard Venola, the editor of Guns & Ammo magazine shot and killed a guest in his house with a high powered rifle after a dispute.

Richard Erick Venola

He is most quoted from this assessment of the Russian AK-47 assault rifle. “When it hits the fan I want a AK-47, when Western Civilization melts down, I want a AK-47, If I am sent to another Planet and could take only one thing with me, It will be a AK-47. Because it will never stop working”

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Obama Swings His Boomstick

original

The deniers came out just moments after the New Republic posted an interview with President Obama where he was asked if he had ever fired a gun. His response “Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time” gives us the first denier conspiracy of the year.

The questions immediately began from the ummm, well we have Truthers and Birthers…so let’s just call them Skeeters. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) took the first shot “”If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos?” Never mind that the President – all presidents since Eisenhower have used Camp David to get away from the press, get away from the glare  and don’t have their every move documented by photography. Odds are there are other things that have gone on at Camp David without many photographs…say walks in the woods, talking on the phone as examples.

Gun enthusiasts fora had a field day in criticizing the comment, the reality of it, and even circulated a photoshopped photo of Obama with a shotgun in an effort to discredit it. In their world view, it would not be possible for a person who wants to increase the safety of Americans with gun regulations would also shoot from time to time.

And that deeper issue, those in the gun community who intractably support the 2nd Amendment, who support the NRA position, who want no regulations on firearms, they don’t believe, or don’t accept that there are gun owners who aren’t “on their side.” They present the case that ALL gun owners believe the same and ALL gun owners are anti-regulation and that “the other side” wants to confiscate their guns. The 30-40% of gun owners who are classified as liberal would beg to differ – well, if they weren’t banned from many of the gun fora when they try and make that simple point. Liberals also have a presence on the internet – The Liberal Gun Club…and they don’t tend to ban folks who have opposing views.

538 gun poll 150

This issue will come down to this. Either folks will accept the statement by the President and the photograph for what they are or, for those who don’t live in an evidence based society, I suppose that, for years we will hear Skeeters talk about the time Obama went to the NASA sound stage where they had, 44 years earlier shot the fake Moon landing and whipped up “proof”. “Can’t you see the shadow of the chem-trails on the far right of the photo, on the pathway?”

So it goes.

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50 Days Since Sandy Hook: 108 Children Killed Nationally by Guns

It has been 50 days since Sandy Hook, 50 days since the nation woke up to the horror of gun violence that eats away at this country every day. It is not just the 12,000 that die per year [as if they were not enough], it is the impacts with which those who survive must deal. It is the impacts that society as a whole must absorb. In a time when each and every state, city, and town focuses on reducing their budgets, reducing their staffs deaths by firearms stands as an obstacle, stands as a reminder that we must spend more on law enforcement and prisons and emergency rooms because of gun violence.

In the time-frame of just 50 days at least 1475 people have died from gunfire and politicians and lobbyists have spent thousands of hours on the air, on the internet talking about gun violence – talking. The chasm between the two sides is as deep and wide as a grave to hold those 1475 people. And nobody wants to concede even an inch, to move toward compromise that solves problems.

In that 50 days 108 children and teens have been murdered with firearms. Their ages from ONE to 19 with an average age of 13 years, 10 months and they lived in 31 states.

We hear about the big ones, the ones that made national attention like the 15 year old gifted student in Chicago who had just performed at President Obama’s inauguration and was caught in the crossfire of gang activity. We hear about the 12 year old girl in Kentucky who was just in the wrong place when her cousin’s ex-boyfriend shot and killed her, her cousin and her uncle with a handgun he had only bought hours before. We hear about the teen in New Mexico who took his father’s AR-15 and killed his three siblings, aged two, five, and nine along with his parents.

But the other 103 teens and children remain local stories, stories that don’t make national news, stories that only stick with the families for the rest of their lives.

Slate has taken on the gruesome task of maintaining these tallies [in the hour I have been writing this the tally moved from 1468 to 1475]. If you download their spreadsheet you will see a link to media coverage of each and very murder that has occurred.

Politicians look at the big murders, the large body counts that allow them to posture for the media. They focus on the assault weapons which account for some but not nearly a majority of the deaths and they focus on grand gestures rather than the much more mundane, yet more effective regulations to insure that guns aren’t picked up by kids, that guns aren’t stolen and dumped into the illegal market, that criminal elements are stopped from buying guns without a background check.

It is those politicians that need to see this ever growing list, see it each and every day.

Date

Name

Gndr

Age

City

State

12/15/2012

Ismael Moya

M

17

Cleburne County

AL

12/15/2012

Michael William Lopez Jr.

M

16

Fresno

CA

12/15/2012

Montreal Blakely

M

17

San Francisco

CA

12/15/2012

Demetrius Paul Cruz

M

15

Denver

CO

12/15/2012

Ryder Rozier

M

3

Guthrie

OK

12/16/2012

Richard Aldana

M

16

Los Angeles

CA

12/16/2012

Demarko Williams

M

17

University City

MO

12/17/2012

Damin T. Russell

M

14

Clay County

MO

12/17/2012

Aydan Perea

M

4

Kansas City

MO

12/17/2012

David Gill

M

16

Cincinnati

OH

12/18/2012

Cornelius Mitchell

M

17

Lauderdale Lakes

FL

12/18/2012

Quantavious Que Kennon

M

16

Sanford

FL

12/18/2012

Dalton Williams

M

16

Pierre

SD

12/18/2012

Noah Wood

M

17

Longview

TX

12/19/2012

Paul Sampleton Jr.

M

14

Gwinnett

GA

12/19/2012

Martez Stephon Davis

M

16

Richmond County

GA

12/20/2012

Jose Sanchez

M

17

Will County

IL

12/20/2012

Brennan Nowell

M

2

Harrison

TN

12/21/2012

Cody Mesaris

M

16

Waynesburg

KY

12/21/2012

Nick Exley

M

15

Wendell

NC

12/22/2012

Ediberto Genis

M

17

Los Angeles

CA

12/22/2012

Bryan Herrera

M

16

Miami

FL

12/22/2012

Kentan Scott

M

15

Chicago

IL

12/22/2012

Dequavious Southward

M

16

Saginaw

MI

12/23/2012

Daquell LeBlanc

M

17

Poughkeepsie

NY

12/24/2012

Dekalah Jones

F

13

Houston

TX

12/25/2012

Sincere Tymere Smith

M

2

Conway

SC

12/25/2012

Alfreddie Gipson

M

10

Memphis

TN

12/26/2012

Jesse McElhinney

M

16

Altoona

PA

12/28/2012

Jubrille Jordan

F

15

Oakland

CA

12/28/2012

Christian Crain

M

13

Prairieville

LA

12/28/2012

James Lee Parker

M

12

Wake Forest

NC

12/28/2012

 

M

13

Paris

TX

12/28/2012

Jake Lehouillier

M

17

Johnson

VT

12/29/2012

Xavier Granville

M

17

New York

NY

12/29/2012

Joe Andy Cardenas

M

13

Beeville

TX

12/30/2012

 Easton Brueger

M

8

Bennettsville

SC

12/31/2012

Aaliyah Destiny Boyer

F

10

Elkton

MD

1/1/2013

Gianni Herron

M

15

Flint

MI

1/1/2013

Jaymire Rustin

M

16

Philadelphia

PA

1/3/2013

Marty Kent

M

17

Modesto

CA

1/3/2013

 

M

17

Detroit

MI

1/3/2013

Richard A. Wallace II

M

16

Flint

MI

1/4/2013

Kevin Hannah

M

10

Tollhouse

CA

1/4/2013

Jonah Mendoza

M

1

Ocala

FL

1/4/2013

Raphael Ward

M

16

New York

NY

1/5/2013

Christopher Lattin Jr.

M

15

Chicago

IL

1/5/2013

Haji Mohamud

M

14

Las Vegas

NV

1/6/2013

 

F

13

Raleigh

NC

1/6/2013

Anna R. Karam

F

16

Akron

OH

1/7/2013

Tyronta Mickens

M

17

Oakland

CA

1/7/2013

Frederick Chatmen

M

17

Chicago

IL

1/7/2013

Maurice Edmonds II

M

14

Greensboro

NC

1/8/2013

William Parris

M

12

Pleasant Valley

AL

1/8/2013

Matthew Joseph Barry

M

17

Adelanto

CA

1/8/2013

Aaron Ganier

M

17

New Orleans

LA

1/8/2013

Brendalyz Morales

F

15

Milwaukee

WI

1/9/2013

Jacob Ball

M

5

Cambridge

OH

1/10/2013

Jesse Rubalcava

M

16

Whittier

CA

1/10/2013

Joshua Lively

M

17

Pike County

GA

1/10/2013

Deondre Pace

M

16

Allentown

PA

1/11/2013

Lavanial Williams

M

17

Marin City

CA

1/11/2013

Ken Harbin

M

17

Oakland

CA

1/11/2013

Matthew Logan Gilleran

M

14

Key West

FL

1/11/2013

Rey Dorantes

M

14

Chicago

IL

1/11/2013

Victor Vega

M

15

Chicago

IL

1/11/2013

 

M

17

Detroit

MI

1/12/2013

Angelica Mona Golston

F

17

Tuscaloosa

AL

1/12/2013

Theodore Curley

M

17

Phoenix

AZ

1/12/2013

Steven Curtis

M

12

Breckenridge

MO

1/12/2013

Raheem Neal

M

15

Newark

NJ

1/12/2013

Clifton Kwane Little Jr.

M

17

Norfolk

VA

1/13/2013

Will May

M

13

Tuscaloosa

AL

1/13/2013

 

M

17

Glendale

AZ

1/14/2013

Michael Graham

M

13

Brewster

NY

1/14/2013

Alexandra Brown

F

10

Henry County

OH

1/15/2013

Benjamin Goforth

M

16

Baxter County

AR

1/15/2013

Michelle Adrian

F

17

Baltimore

MD

1/16/2013

Tyrone Lawson

M

17

Chicago

IL

1/16/2013

Taylor Jade Cornett

F

12

Hazard

KY

1/17/2013

Landon Kinsey

M

15

Miami Gardens

FL

1/17/2013

Alishia Colon

F

16

Kearny

NJ

1/17/2013

Kaewaun D. Coleman

M

15

Columbus

OH

1/18/2013

Kayla Ann Hendrickson

F

16

Tillamook

OR

1/19/2013

 

M

15

McDonough

GA

1/19/2013

Enrico Green

M

15

Baton Rouge

LA

1/19/2013

Jael Griego

F

5

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Zephania Griego

M

9

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Angelina Griego

F

2

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Nevaeh Benson

F

6

Cleveland

OH

1/20/2013

Marcus Antonio Jones

M

16

Prince George’s County

MD

1/20/2013

Leangelo Ford

M

17

Sharon

PA

1/21/2013

Steven Rosalez

M

16

Pittsburgh

CA

1/21/2013

Kuantrae Massey

M

16

Bloomington

IL

1/21/2013

Travin Varise

M

2

Baton Rouge

LA

1/21/2013

Maximillian Walters

M

5

Boulder City

NV

1/22/2013

Evan Colquitt

M

17

Savannah

GA

1/22/2013

Trinity Ross

F

4

Kansas City

MO

1/23/2013

Jamarcus Allen

M

4

Akron

OH

1/23/2013

Roger Rodriguez Jr.

M

17

San Antonio

TX

1/24/2013

 

M

13

Cottageville

SC

1/24/2013

Matthew Daniels

M

15

Sweetwater

TN

1/25/2013

Douglas E. Combs

M

16

Vancouver

WA

1/26/2013

 

M

16

Wilmington

DE

1/26/2013

Antonio Fenner

M

16

Chicago

IL

1/28/2013

Deandre Jamar Thomas

M

17

Isle of Wight

VA

1/29/2013

Hadiya Pendleton

F

15

Chicago

IL

1/30/2013

Jasmine Simone Young

F

17

Little Rock

AR

 

 

//