My Letter To The President of the United States, Barack Obama

LETTER SENT VIA EMAIL: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

 

Dear President Obama:presidentseal

I’d like to propose four ideas in the wake of the Newtown slayings:

  1. Dispense Ammunition like Rx Medicine: Our Bill of Rights protects ownership of firearms. It doesn’t include ammunition.  Using the pharmacy model dispensing Rx, apply similar laws to dispensing ammunition. If you wanted bullets, you’d go to the police station where you’d be screened and hand you a “dispense order” for thirty rounds monthly. “Munitions Depots” watched by the ATF like the DEA watches pharmacists and pharmacies.  Also added is the “Dangerous Possession Tax,” levy a hefty “Deadly Weapon Permit,” require high annual licensing fees for all gun owners.

    veteran
  2. Protecting All Freedoms: Redeploy returning veterans to patrol “gathering places” i.e. schools, churches, movie theatres.  These veterans are highly trained and experienced gorilla/urban conflicts. Two or three armed soldiers in combat fatigues is a significant visual deterrent. Local police could put cops back on the street. How many conflict prepared and experienced veterans are coming home jobless? Highly trained, disciplined, and responsible veterans provide visible safety at gathering locations and employing them to secure gathering places provides professional safety. What if one armed veteran had been at Newtown?
  3. Get Tough on the Supply Chain: Levy high taxes on manufacturers of deadly weapons, munitions manufacturers, suppliers to the making of deadly weapons and hold them accountable for the inventory and retail sa
    glockles of objects designed to kill. If they sell both military-grade and street-grade weapons, insist they cease the manufacture and sale of street-grade weaponry. And if they resist, terminate all military contracts.
  4. Implicate the Supply Chain as Accessory:  Any gun store operator, salesman, vendor, supplier, manufacturer, gun show producer, gun show exhibitor, enthusiast, or owner are subject to the following: Any firearm used in a capital crime traced back to you, you (and others in the retail supply chain will be held proportionately responsible for the weapon’s retail availability and will face prosecution resulting in fines, civil action, and may include prison terms.gunstore

Mr. President, the Bill of Rights protects ownership of firearms meant to kill or massacre. But what about my right to safety free from deadly harm? It appears that owners of firearms enjoy a greater degree of Constitutional Rights than us sitting ducks.

Thank You!

Thank you for contacting the White House.

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Thank you again for your message.

The Office of Presidential Correspondence

Newtown Might Be Anytown

cryingobamaSince I first heard President Obama fight back agony so wrenching it overwhelmed the indomitable propriety of his office, I sensed a depth of heartache rarely freed by a sitting president.  President Obama’s valiant attempt to sandbag the stalwart character of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was breached nevertheless as the surge of emotion overwhelmed his duty as the harbinger of serious information to America‘s citizens.

Every time I read an article, listen to President Obama’s painful pauses, or watch television coverage I simply cry for everyone involved.  And everyone is involved.  By everyone I mean everybody; all of us; each of us.  It’s impossible to locate anyone unmoved by this horrific incident.

It’s all part of an escalation of rights protected by the constitution, to the safety of the innocent, to the invasion of privacy at pat down check-points, to righteous citizens hawking firearms at uncontrolled, unregulated gun showgunshow free-for-alls at which anyone — anyone regardless of their background — can purchase a firearm because, by law and by money and by lobbyists and by radical firearms enthusiasts, gun shows are not gun shops, gun shows are for the gun collector, the gun enthusiast.  But what do these collectors and enthusiasts feel or imagine as they feel the firearms heft, the iciness of the steel, the clip or chamber, the single cartridge trigger or the semi-automatic trigger; what do they feel or imagine that propels them to dodge laws, drop a few hundred dollars, and leave pleased as punch.  They must imagine the kickback of that first round, the power the firearm possesses, the. . .the. . .____________ of ownership.  It’s the blank I’m curious about; the “what” as to why they insist on owning firearms.

Which is their constitutional right: “To bear arms. . .”   But the Constitution doesn’t mention ammunition.

policefront deskSo here’s my idea:  Treat ammunition for publicly owned firearms in the same manner our society treats prescription drugs.  If you want ammunition you need to go to your local police department; there pharmacythey’ll write you a legal dispense order for thirty rounds only and non-refillable within a thirty day period.  The federal government would monitor ammunition shops like they monitor pharmacies.

Have all the lawless gun shows you want!  Have all the gun shops you want!  Let everyone carry concealed weapons!  And most of all, appease the self-righteous, entitlement-wielding, insensitive and ignorant myopic NRA by letting them bear as many bloody arms as they can carry!

But you can’t have any bullets.

 

The Crisp Season of Change

At last it’s arrived, like a visit from my favorite uncle who told tales of unimaginable childhood freedoms (having been raised on a fruit orchard farm).  At long last it’s arrived, the darkness of dawn mornings and the dimness of late afternoon twilights.  Finally, finally it’s arrived, the season of the apple and the pumpkin and hot cider.  And thank God they’re gone, days that grated like my cat’s yowling or, tortuous days akin to the incessant presence of my just-turned-teen sister and her coterie of screeching and cackling teensters (defined as a pimply, high-pitched, recently teened and obstinate-as-hell, alien transmutation); those chronically simmering days followed by feverous and languid nights, the forecasted but broken-promised breeze failed to arrive like those letters from your summer camp romance.  Relief has clocked-in, elbowing out a tireless summer which dropped anchor like a battleship of fervent seamen and remained well past dry-docking the sailboat.  The ease of fruit pie-like single-layered simplicity (shorts sandals shirt) has given way to the time-consuming layered bundling like wrapping grandmamma’s Chatsford teapot for shipping, encasing oneself with layer upon shedable layer.

I’ve recently concluded that I prefer seasons of change (Spring and Fall) over seasons of suffering (Summer and Winter).  I enjoy the initial imperceptible adaptations which occur in the early spring and early fall: Spring’s first cautious knock of Snow Drops; fall’s tentative nips of brusque breezes.  Of course these trepidations soon give way to Spring’s salvo of elevating stems topped with an eternity of color and Fall’s broad strokes of vividly colored canopies which subtly cautions us of life’s temporal cycle.  The seasons of change also highlight our world’s overwhelming beauty and diversity; it’s also a testament that every piece of (what we call) life patiently waits its turn to express its individual magnificence, it’s solo, when the world recognizes its achievement during the season’s glory!

If only we, as part of nature, would patiently wait for our turn to shine with respect for each other (and our colorful diversity).  And that we, as a Snow Drop or a stitch in Autumn’s auroral quilt, are an irreplaceable verse in life’s grand narrative.  

The American Lexicon Is Fundamentally Evolutionary

We make all kinds of decisions every day.  I’d assert that a tenet of life is decision.

Decisions are based on a fundamental understanding of options.  These options are often presented through language.  Our language has mirrored our intellectual expansion during the past twenty years (since the commercialization of the internet), but it’s also exponentially increased the likelihood of poor decisions versus good decisions.  And not for the reason you’re probably thinking about right now.

It’s not that our decision-making ability has declined, it’s that our American English lexicon has been stripped of standards and replaced by Idiolects which are varieties of a specific language unique to an individual. In other words, how an individual (all individuals) use parts of speech specific to the language they’re speaking.  Huh?  Are you suggesting that we’re using vocabulary generally accepted but individually defined?

Yes, for example: I’ve had a great evening; would you like to come up for a night cap?  Twenty years ago you had a pretty good idea that the night cap meant some form of refreshment and m-a-y-b-e. . .But today a night cap most likely is prone to interpretation, and depending on the interpreter, the night cap might be the evening’s last tango which spins and dips and clutches its way to dawn, or the night cap might be the gut-wrenching sound of starboard iron scraping along larboard iron in a dense fog on a moonless night in the frigid north sea.  Both invitations were accepted but only one, the former, seemed to coalesce.  The latter was respectfully disharmonious and most likely eliminated any tandem future.  Okay, so what?  What’s this got to do with me?

We’re all assuming that what we say and what they hear are synonymous.  But in this day and age of individuality, identity, and me-me-meism which is reinforced constantly through internet-based social networks and the hardboiled, pragmatic, and mundane personal updates which someone somewhere will proclaim as unique (dismissing our language’s standard usages) and applaud their meism misuse (interpretation) of vocabulary, and whammo!  A word or phrase which held a generalized meaning now has a bastard son.  This phenomenon is known as Language Evolution Based on the Idiolectic Intersection of Individual Adoption.

So what’ve you been blathering on about?

Simply put: What you know you’re saying (standardized use) is being heard as something different (Idiolectic use).  Perhaps if communication was bipartisan (the talkers and listeners understand that their communication is reshaping the English lexicon) then we might lessen misunderstandings and agree to use a mutually standardized language in order to foster a sense of unity.

Election 2012: Forget the Gays! Let’s Kill the Middle-Class!

SCENE:

A mob of men and women sporting haute couture ensembles are followed by domestic staff brandishing fiery torches, weed-wackers, and gilded “breaking ground” shovels move at an accelerated pace (note: they are not running; they never run; they simply walk with tremendous determination) between the craggy, overhanging cliffs somewhere near Malibu or the tall, dense sand dunes near the Hampton’s.  They scream hateful epithets like “And you thought Polo was just an after-shave,” or “Only a monster prepares his own taxes,” or “Even a hunchback is beholden to religion for its servile and miserable life.”

CUT TO:

A group of men and women run up narrow, rocky paths or stumble through swallowing, deep sand.  They’re absolutely terrified, and yet they clutch one or two possessions (laptop, picture frames, deed to a house) even though their requires two hands.  You get the sense that they’re clutching all that remains of their life.  Suddenly a heavyset, winded man loses his balance and though others try to grab his free hand, they yell things like, “Let go of the picture,” or “It’s only a college degree!”

But suddenly he holds the framed diploma tightly against his chest as he teeters over the edge and everyone watches as he falls into the abyss tightly holding his most precious possession.

Welcome to December, 2012 if the Republican machine takes hold of the White House.

I think that it’s perfectly normal to ignore distracting noise, especially campaign noise, when 120% of your attention to personal-matters-at-hand is parsed and you’re really not interested in cockfighting.

That is until your private AGI (adjusted gross income) permits political campaigns to assign you a specific economic class moniker. The herding of same AGI’s should get your attention.  Once you’ve been economically branded you begin to recognize topics related to your self-proclaimed monikers (or, sub-classifications) which label behaviors and values, your distinguishing parts, (which you once defended, affirmed, and proudly paraded). These distinguishing parts have been diminished by time into a complex, amalgamated you much less the “youthfully combative sum of your parts” and much more like your mother or father (with very distinctive differences).

Until the amalgamated you becomes campaign fodder, a cadaver dissected in public by wielding derisive displays of contempt and hatred resurrecting foregone battles to right history’s wrongs and to spread fear like an airborne toxin.  How on earth, you think to yourself, have I been put on the ballot?

Because the run for leader of the free world has nothing to do with leading.  It’s become a referendum prosecuting or defending the future of the middle-class.  The American middle-class: devoted family, work ethics, values, respect, you get what you can afford, hard-working, proud, stable, honest, neighborly, caught. . .in the middle. . .of change.

But greed changed all that.  First bankers got greedy, then brokers got greedy, the home owners got greedy, and then. . .lower to lower-middle class were qualified for mortgages on real estate which was falsely inflated to satisfy everyone’s greed.  Families that simply couldn’t afford to buy a home found themselves underwater (owing more that the home is really worth.  In other words sellers, brokers and lenders all told varying degrees of lies and the poor schmuck wanting his piece of the American Dream ended up being the real sucker in the scheme.  But not one banking executive has gone to jail or forced to pay for those lousy mortgages out of their skyrocketing profits.

Self-Interest: Corruption Guaranteed

I think it happened during the Reagan years.  It was around the time of power ties and the advent of cellular technology.  That was when the in America became more important than any group pronoun such as us, we, our, them.  When self-interest became an ideology was precisely the moment that the we as a nation became a dirty word.  America’s current woes stem from an obscene degree of entitlement, a self-indulgent morality, and a despicable depth of greed; the sum of which creates an environment of distrust which is fed a diet of impossible promises by leaders (edited and misrepresented by news outlets (who themselves have self-interest)) and the disintegrating pride to be a citizen of the United States of America.

It’s not a coincidence that the dawn of the internet was cloudy at first; mainstream America had little use for its content.  But what ignited the web’s wildfire was the moment that disparaged and isolated men and women of many sexually divergent activities discovered each other through unmoderated global chat rooms; next to stumble through the door were the curious; then, like Alice following Rabbit, children handily navigated the new technology (like a game) and dropped dead-smack into chatrooms like raw meat tossed into the cages of nasty predators.  Adults indulged their reputations too long; their admission of ignorance and thus training in the technology of the internet might’ve invoked authorities to act, to infiltrate and prosecute, to protect; but it took adults way too long to grasp who exactly their thirteen year old sons were meeting at the arcade.  It’s an example of self-interest both on the part of the child predator and the narrow-minded adults.

The introduction of wickedly-fast download speeds, the steep decline in popularity of “graphical user interface and proprietary software” (think AOL), the advent of simple on-ramps to the internet cable or DSL, and of course the introduction of Yahoo! and CompuServe’s email system provided accessibility to a font of information and instantaneous communication.  All this access produced a phenomenal sense of urgency, a global reach, and a sense of self-importance which exponentially exploded once Facebook emerged and quickly became the equivalence of your Christmas Card List.  Overnight America went from millions and millions of nobodies to millions and millions of nobodies with friends.  And friendship is oft borne by common interests.  And conversations around common interests tend to illuminate injustice.  Voila!  Self-Interest is born.

But what happens when no one outside of your common interest group gives a crap about your injustice?

Deadlock.  Lame Duck.  Non-negotiable.  Blame.  Intolerance.  Even insurrection, anarchy, bloodshed.

Unfortunately we’ve become a country of individuals corralled in to two political parties neither of which we feel particularly expresses how we really feel.  And there we sit, millions of disenfranchised voters waiting for November to express our citizenship by voting for one of two people (our right to vote coerced like a false confession), but neither really represents me.

But maybe, maybe it’s not about me, maybe it’s about us, us with common interests like freedom and liberty and a free market and rights and that once cherished but now forgotten or a provincial joke, the American Dream.  Our America will collapse if its forced to support millions and millions of fractious self-interested citizens.  We’ve got to agree to disagree; to stop feuding; to reconcile our differences; and to stop the pettiness of self-interest.

We’re in a disaster and we need everyone to come together; it’s called brotherhood.

Rights are Blind

I am not a fan of convention.

Convention was the double-barreled shotgun pointed at my mother and father back in April, 1955.  Convention forced them to marry.  And I suppose convention could be held partially to blame for my mother’s black-eye’s, broken nose, bruised ribs, cut lips, broken dishes, thrown plates, kitchen walls stained by brown gravy as the thrown pot-roast stuck then slid to the linoleum floor.  Yes, I suppose convention could be held partly to blame for decades of humiliation, abuse, eventual divorce, and questions my mother never had answered as to why convention revoked her right not to marry.

Convention is simply a thoughtless reaction designed to uphold order.  Marriage has been painted as the villain recently when the “have’s” and the “have-not’s” start arguing.  But it’s not Marriage we’re defending or demanding, it’s Convention.

There are lots of people willing to go to great lengths to defend Convention.  I am not interested in Convention.  I was sucker-punched by Convention once, as a child, when it told me to do as I was told, even if it seemed odd or strange or painful.  And yes, Convention said, Priest’s are adults.

Keep your Convention.  Here, take mine; it’s never done me any favors.  I have lots of friends who’ll gladly off theirs.

I just want what Convention thinks it is.  What I want is quiet, firm, loyal, blind, and the most powerful tenet of American Citizenship.  I want my Rights.  I don’t want better or different or bigger or smaller.  I just want my equal rights. And if there are fellow American Citizens that are afforded rights which are different than mine, then the Declaration of Independence is a lie from the very beginning.  We’re not all created equal.

And if the foundation upon which all our rights are built upon is fundamentally a lie, then not one American Citizen has a right to anything.

Tell that to Convention.