Monday, August 31, 2009

Why a Gun is Better than 9-1-1

There is this underlying idea that the police will always arrive to save the day when needed. I have nothing against the police. But please understand, their uniform does not come equipped with capes and the power of flight. They are human and only part of a segment (911 operators, dispatchers, officers, paramedics) made up entirely of humans.

This is a gut-wrenching story. The kind I hate to read. But it must be read.

Woman's frantic 911 call helps convict her killer

JayG, of MARooned, said it best: "...because given the choice between a Motorola and a Glock, I'll take the one that dispenses 230 grain justice over the one that plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when it gets an incoming call every time."

Just because it's graphic and stark does not make it false. Violence is violence. Passively putting my defense in someone else's hands will not change that.

Hat tip to JayG, by way of The Breda Fallacy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote for the Week

A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Going back...

I know this clip is about 10 years old, but I still laugh every time I see it. What can I say, I'm easily amused.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

'Tood

There’s a store right around the corner where I spend a lot of time (and money). One employee there stands out--but, unfortunately, not for the right reasons. She left a job as an executive secretary to move here, and now works as a cashier. Ever since we have known her, she’s always complained about her job. She's a polite, refined complainer, but a complainer nonetheless.

She complains about her pay. She complains about stupid management decisions. She complains about how she's treated. She complains about the dead-end job. She complains about, well, you get the idea.

Interesting thing, though, I do some consulting work on the side, dealing with law firm management issues. A firm for which I’m doing work really needs an executive secretary. Like, yesterday.

And yet, there’s no way I will ever recommend her for the job. Why? Well, at our house, we call it “the ‘tood” -- attitude.

A 'tood really goes a long way to define how you view life. An excellent attitude will help you put things in context, no matter the circumstances. If you have a terrible attitude, no matter what the situation, you will have a terrible attitude. No one has a perfect life. If you look for a reason to complain, you will find it. Conversely, if you seek out reasons to be thankful and content, you'll find plenty of those, too.

A complainer is like poison. They do their best work when shared. They blossom when it comes time to spread their discontent. You put a complainer in an office, and you will begin the slide to disfunction.

It's a shame, too. Without the bad attitude, she could have already left that job and be working in the position she has sought for so long. As it stands, I have no desire to help her spread her discontent. I'm sure I'm not the only one of her customers who feels that way.

Now, I'm not talking about claiming some stick-your-head-in-the-sand, whistling-in-the-dark, kind of contentment. Ultimately, stuff happens. Jobs, homes, cars, friends and family are sometimes lost, either recalled by the banker or by their maker. You can't ignore any of those, or the emotions they bring. Those are definitely real. You will not always be "happy," but you can choose to live a life of contentment.

Contentment means understanding that circumstances do not define who we are. A bad day or situation is something to overcome, not something to be endured. The attitude we possess and display will go a long way toward helping us place our lives in proper balance.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11

Watch your 'tood.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quote for the Week

A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill

Friday, August 21, 2009

Upcoming Storm?

It's been all over the news. The government creates a stimulus plan, the basic premise of which is that they will take my tax dollars to encourage others to go further into debt.

Cash for Clunkers they call it. I’m sure it will be a shining example of how the government can take care of us.

How is it going?

He said checking on the status of his applications was agonizingly slow, and the administration’s Web site was so bogged down with traffic that it had taken him 14 hours to upload one application. He withdrew from the program on Saturday.

How's the paperwork?

For example, one of the main reasons Cash for Clunkers deals were rejected early on was because dealers failed to write "Junk Automobile, Cars.gov" in black magic marker on the title of the older cars that buyers were trading in.

They wouldn't be that picky, right?

But Schienberg said dealers have had their rebate applications rejected for often trivial reasons, like misspelled words in paperwork. Often, dealers aren’t even told what the mistake was when an application is rejected, he said. “They’re spending hours and hours and days trying to get their transactions filed and approved by the federal government,” Schienberg said. “Administratively it’s become so burdensome.”

Well, they tried their hand at mortgages as well. How'd that go?

Dozens of e-mails from msnbc.com readers report months of futile effort to modify their loans. The list of problems includes misdirected calls, lost paperwork and conflicting advice from multiple representatives for the same lender.

So you have government stepping into industries where it has no expertise or business. Government then patches together some regulations, forces them on industries, and then sits back to take the glory. Unfortunately, beyond mortgages and cars, they also run the IRS (due process, anyone?), the Post Office (rate hikes every three minutes, while cutting services), and Social Security (security? What security?),

I can't wait until they take over health care. Won't that be fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crime Tips

No, not that kind. You won't get any reward money, but you may get to keep what you already have.

Stop by Ride Fast and Shoot Straight and read them.

Then, don't stop there. Keep reading. It's a great blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Arrogance

I'm tired of the arrogance of politicians. Because I disagree with the direction of our government or healthcare reform, I'm marginalized as a dangerous, neanderthal minority.

It's almost as if they believe no one in their right (or left?) mind would dare possibily disagree with the government. Anyone who does is clearly a radical and incapable of independent thought.

It can't be that there are clear problems with the proposed solution. No. It's got to be that the opposers are dumb, dangerous, and easily influenced.

So, in the face of stiff opposition, they continue to force this issue. After all, millions of people can't be right. Only the elite in Washington know what's best for me.

Whatever happened to the "marketplace of ideas?"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quote for the Week

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lawyer's Ark

This past Wednesday, the heavens opened up and emptied out. We had so much rain in a couple of hours that the streets near our church were flooded. The water flowed freely from our parking lot, over the curbs and medians, into the street, and over the sidewalk on the other side. There were more stalled cars on the streets than at a used car lot.

We had a well known gospel singer having a concert at our church that evening, so people were making their way in. They were coming to church barefoot, with their jeans rolled up to their ankles--not that it was helping. Heck, even the singer was delayed.

We had placed parking cones to help direct traffic, and those cones floated down the street. We're still finding them.

It rained again yesterday (though not as hard as Wednesday), and I just looked out my window. It's raining again.

I don't need an umbrella. I need an ark.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quote for the Week

My friend, there will come one day to you a Messenger, whom you cannot treat with contempt. He will say, "Come with me;" and all your pleas of business cares and earthly loves will be of no avail. When his cold hand touches yours, the key of the counting-room will drop forever, and he will lead you away, from all your investments, your speculations, your bank-notes and real estate, and with him you will pass into eternity, up to the bar of God. You will not be too busy to die.

Abbot Eliot Kittredge

Friday, August 7, 2009

Abuelita Pancha

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Tim 4:7-8 (ESV)


Grandma, I love you.

You have finished the race. Go to your rest now.

Thank you for the love and wisdom you gave my mother, and for the legacy you have left to my daughters.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Didn't do Anything Wrong

Personal responsibility is a concept necessary to a fair and just society. Even from childhood, we understand that those who do wrong should be punished for their deeds. Just as important, those who are innocent of a crime should not lose their freedoms simply because they share interests, characteristics, looks, philosophies, or whatever, with the accused. In the end, each lives or dies, stands or falls, on the consequences of the choices he or she has made.

In this current culture of fear, we see the continued erosion of this very basic and necessary fact. It is much easier for our leaders to call press conferences announcing bans, than it is for them to acknowledge that we have a personal will and make choices without regard to laws. If we are law-abiding by nature, we will obey laws, not just because they are written, but because we are law-abiding. Those who respect no laws, will follow no laws, no matter how great the intention, no matter how harsh the punishment. Not because the law is not strong enough, but because they are criminals. It is their nature. The law, to them, does not matter.

But, to accept that simple truth means accepting that laws cannot protect man from all evil. Laws cannot create a safe society. Utopia cannot be legislated into existence. A necessary byproduct of any freedom is the understanding that some will abuse it. The cure is not to eliminate the freedom, but to punish the abuser.

We fear global warming, so we restrict personal choices. We fear obesity, so we ban or tax certain foods. We fear failure, so we put our future into hock so we can protect inefficient and wasteful companies. We fear danger, so we legislate or sue companies into creating useless warnings and gadgets to make up for common sense. It has become so impersonal. No longer is the individual responsible for anything. We now want to trust Big Government to legislate, federal-rule and executive-order us into a safe, rainbow-framed paradise where no one fears and no one is ever hurt.

Once again, we hear another story of someone coming unglued and murdering people using a firearm. Predictably, the choruses warm up and blame the violence on guns (not the shooter, mind you, but the guns). Then, we hear renewed calls for an increase in “responsible” gun laws. There are no calls for increased personal responsibility from the criminals. No. See, that does not bring votes. That is not easy to quantify. A dead criminal, though now subject to the ultimate justice, is too gory for us to accept. It’s easier to create useless legislation. The only solution, it seems, is to summarily lump all gun owners with the criminals.

That’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong.

I was not at Virginia Tech when someone gave in to his demons and killed 32 people. I did not assist a killer when he entered an Amish schoolhouse and took the lives of five girls. I have never been to Westroads Mall, and thus was not there when another mad criminal killed 9 people. I was not at the L.A. Fitness Center when a shooter became the personification of evil.

In each instance, I was minding my own business, obeying the laws that govern me. I had no involvement in any of those horrific crimes. So don’t punish me for their evil. Don’t hide behind a flimsy curtain of safety to claim that I have to deal with more firearms restrictions in the childish hope that those who think and do evil will somehow behave. My freedom pays the price for your impossible dream. I find it offensive that elected leaders believe they have the right to hang over my shoulder, and chip away at my freedoms, simply because they believe some stranger somewhere will create hurt in the future.

Evil will be evil. Criminals will be criminals. If they ignore the laws against murder, they’ll ignore the laws against firearms. Only I, and those who respect laws, will follow them. This, I think, is ironic. Between the criminal and I, only I will be affected by any new restrictions.

And I’m the one who did nothing wrong.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Did I Miss Something?

I had to run out to the store because we were out of bread. As I walked to the bread aisle, I passed an aisle full of nothing but ... halloween merchandise!?

What happened to Thanksgiving?

Heck, what happened to August and September?


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quote for the Week

It appears that the cardinal sin in the view of the wimp culture is that of being "judgmental." The only way to avoid being judgmental is to have no principles. We were given our brains in order to make judgments, and that includes value judgments. Values, by definition, are valuable, so by all means let us be judgmental! Jump into the argument and win!

Jeff Cooper

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Bad Decision

Dre was a very respectful young man. ... In the year that I have known him I don't ever remember seeing him upset. ... He set a great example for neighborhood kids ... I pray that one day we all meet him in heaven, because Andri M Benjamin Jr is in God's hands.

This is an entry left in the Orlando Sentinel’s obituary guestbook for Andri Benjamin. He died on Saturday, July 25, 2009, at the age of 18.

If the above entry is accurate, his is a cautionary tale.

During the early morning hours of July 25th, Miguel Jimenez, age 56, was returning to his apartment. Benjamin ran up to Jimenez, put a gun in his face and tried to rob him. Jimenez, who was armed with a revolver, defended himself by firing at Benjamin several times, killing him. Jimenez noticed a second man, who was with Benjamin, also approaching him and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Link. Link.

When Benjamin made the decision to put another's life in danger, he, willingly or not, accepted responsibility for the results. While his friends may have described him as a caring young man, whatever decisions Benjamin had made up to that incident, whatever impressions he had made on others, all came down to this. Whether he was a saint before that crime, or a “misunderstood” young man, all that suddenly became irrelevant.

Now comes the time for the hand-wringing, the excuses, the outrage, the self-serving claims of surprise. Once again, all irrelevant. When Benjamin pointed the gun at Jimenez, he could not expect Jimenez to interview him about his past accomplishments. He could not expect Jimenez to take pity on him. He placed Jimenez in fear for his life and Jimenez reacted in a manner consistent with his right to defend himself.

Isn’t that just life, though? Sometimes it just comes down to one choice. Run a stop sign. Drink and drive. Cheat on a spouse. Commit a crime. A lifetime of good decisions can be marred or ended by one single bad one.

Of course, I know nothing of Benjamin's past history. I am consciously avoiding that topic. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, without discussion. Why? Because, in the end, for the interaction between Jimenez and Benjamin, that history will not matter. Had there been a trial, such history may have been relevant. But Benjamin chose a path that led to a more immediate decision. That was his choice. And his choice was honored.

Even if you have previously been a saint, you cannot expect to get away with purposely attacking someone else for your own pleasure. We all have the right to defend ourselves when attacked. We demand, from those who interact with us, basic respect for human life.