Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, I Guess I'll Go Eat Worms, I Mean My Shorts

OK, once again I guess I have gone over the top. As I was pounding that post through the top of my desk I was thinking to myself, "Don't do it, stop and think about this, you're smart enough to come up with something better, don't give in to this guy's obvious attempts to piss you off, this is exactly what he wants," but did I listen to the little voices in my head? Nope. About the little voices more on that later. ;) Hell I even offended Tony, and he was the last person I was trying to offend. I figured that if anyone would see my point it would be him. Wrong again.

Simple fact is this, I am not now, never have been, and probably never will be a master debater, (don't say that too fast or it sounds naughty), I just know what I believe and I know that I believe such very strongly. I am not stupid enough to think that I can change anyone's mind, nor is anyone likely to change mine. Come up with some valid points that prove that my point of view is wrong and maybe I'll change my mind, I've done it before. As far as me changing anyone else's mind is concerned, not likely, but I'm really good at preaching to the choir. ~insert large sarcasm flag here~

Wasn't all that long ago in the wake of the assault rifle ban and the Monica Lewinski scandal that I was a raging Republican. I never really believed in all of the GOP's principles but I was just so fed up with the gun control, the radical environmentalism, and the fact that someone as homely as Bill Clinton was getting blown under his desk and I wasn't that I just needed to see the Democrats lose.

When King George got the tax cuts passed, I was a raging B*shmonkey, (say what you want about the Bush tax cuts only affecting the rich, I'm definitely not rich, they put about $3000 a year back in my pocket).

When King George managed to push through the travesty that is the Patriot Act, I began to question things.

When King George attacked Afghanistan I was suspicious, but being the obviously irrational person that I am, I, like most Americans at the time, was hell bent that somebody needed to pay for Sept. 11.

When King George deciced to expand his growing empire into Iraq, that's what did it for me. Bye bye B*shmonkey.

Now after being disenfranchised by a major world wide massive colossal make America look like a bunch of dumbasses to the entire world type of flub up by the Republicans, (a lot of Democrats supported that war in the beginning too, don't let 'em bullshit ya), what is a former sort of half assed Republican to do?

Easy, one day I just happened to stumble across a name that almost fit the the position that I had held since childhood, Libertarian. Since childhood? Yep, since childhood. My father has always held the belief that both political parties were equal, both worthy of sweeping the floor of the senate chambers but little else, but he seldom talked about his political views when I was growing up so I didn't get my ideas from him.

The event that did it for me was the passage of the Montana seat belt law. I remember as a child of maybe 10 years of age, feeling a great foreboding, knowing at that point that freedom in this country was a mere illusion. I mean, how could this happen? I had been learning about real Americans since I started school, people like Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin, and George Washington. I had been learning about how these people risked their lives in a war against all odds to see to it that we would always have the freedoms that they had held so dear, yet right here in America, not in the Soviet Union, but right here in America the government was crossing the line between the good of society as a whole, and what they perceived as the good of the individual.

Even as we discussed the matter in 6th grade Social Studies I could not understand how such a law could ever see the light of day in a "free" country. The fact that other kids in the class, (whether making up their own minds or parroting the comments of their parents), were speaking just as lowly of this new affront to liberty as I was was just confirmation for me, all that stuff we had learned about the Constitution and the revolution and the Declaration of Independence was now worthless, thrown out the window by a bunch of dillusional politicians.

That's the way I've felt ever since, so if I get a little fired up when somebody throws something in my face in an attempt to convince me that a socialist system with the government making decisions for us is the best way to go, I apologize. However, had no one ever gotten fired up about such things we wouldn't be having this discussion, and we wouldn't have had to waste all of that time in school learning about Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin, and George Washington because they never would have done anything noteworthy for us to learn about. Keep that in mind, some great things have been born out of irrational acts, this country being one of them.

Tony, if you take offense to my generalizations about "liberals", I apologize. I am not stupid enough to believe that all liberals are in favor of the things that I spouted, I was only referring to the official platforms of the Democratic Party, but I didn't specify that and I'm sorry. When I'm referring to "liberals", I'm referring to those who believe the best solution to any problem is the "liberal" application of government. I have no problem whatsoever with free thinking individuals that may or may not disagree with me, I only have a problem with anyone who believes that it is the responsibility of society to support them or their offspring when their sometimes too free thinking ways backfire. That is what I was referring to, not the act of being a liberal in general. What I said was also in response to someone else making generalizations about Libertarians, two wrongs don't make a right, I'll try not to fall in that trap again, thank you for the constructive criticism. Next time I'll just call him an asshat, I don't care if I offend asshats. ;)

Now, having enjoyed a delicious meal of shorts ala mode, (you didn't expect me to eat 'em plain did you?), which was very hard to swallow, what with them being shorts and all and also with my foot in my mouth along with them, I imagine that I am now back down to 1 reader, maybe two if Joe doesn't give up on me. For the both of you I promise to try harder in the future, but if there is anyone out there who hasn't ever gotten pissed off about something and maybe even said something they didn't entirely mean out of anger alone, then I will eat. . . . . . . strawberry shortcake.

The porcupines Justin, just think about the cute little porcupines and count to 10. . . . . . .


5 said...

Dontcha love it when you not only teach yourself something, ya get to teach others?
Ya really made yourself think and thats always good. No worries here and there never was, darn Diesel,
hey, how come you aint ridin' today? Bad enough Im sweeping this nasty, dusty shop of mine....

Joe Visionary said...

... wow ...

I don't know you from Adam, but I was convinced you didn't posses the humility to do that.

Though I usually wont let on if I think that because that would be judgemental, but I don't mind telling you that I'm impressed.

Justin said...

Go riding today? Tony, it's amateur day, I ought to be hunting but I have to admit that hunting season kind of snuck up on me this year, I had some last minute winterizing to do around the house before I'm outside cussing in the middle of the night thawing out water pipes.

Thank you for the compliment Joe, I really did mean what I said and hopefully we can play nice from now on. Oh yeah, just for the record, I wrote that one in 10 minutes too, everything you see here is a rough draft, immagine what I could do if I invested some serious time into this stuff.

Joe Visionary said...

You may find these exchanges a bit more engaging with a bit more consideration. I know I do.

The real bonus in doing so is that occasionally I'll hit on a hilarious turn, but that requires a lot more work I find.

Joe Visionary said...

Now I need to do a bit of homework: when you mention

we wouldn't have had to waste all of that time in school learning about Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin, and George Washington because they never would have done anything noteworthy for us to learn about.

In my argument about what I have percieved as the source of a serious imbalance between individual and social priorities, I've suggested that your founding fathers chose to try balance the powers of the individual (American) with the powers of a society (what I've called the thuggish British Army).

Furthermore, I also suggested that this balance could not be done under warring circumstances without overempowering the individual.

Prior to this argument, I also suggested in another comment an alternative reason for this imbalance.

I'd be grateful for any observations.

Justin said...

Ok Joe, I'll give you one more, but after this it's your turn. I've layed out several examples and questions throughout our exchange of what can and usually does happen when any leadership gains too much power, and you have yet to address any of them. To put it simply, I'm tiring of being the one with the burden of proof here, this is a two way street, ok.

Throughout history, whenever a major flub up happened it can usually be traced back to a leader or group of leaders that got out of hand and took the people down with them, i.e.-WWII, The Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, Rome, Greece, the list goes on and on.

If I'm not mistaken I do believe that what you are trying to get from me is my opinion on your take of the intentions of America's founding fathers. I don't think that warring circumstances per se had anything to do with it. I think that the founding fathers placed such protections on the rights of individuals because the atmosphere of the times demanded it.

America in its early days was little more than a collection of colonies, mostly made up of religious extremists of one flavor or another, (extremists by our modern day standards, likely quite common for that period), all following their own set of beliefs, yet all absolutely fed up with government telling them how to live their lives. You have to remember that many of these people came to the colonies to escape the fact that in their home countries their very way of life was illegal, they could be thrown in prison simply for dressing a certain way or saying the wrong thing, very opressive indeed.

Now I highly doubt that these people, at that point, were willing to be very receptive of very much government at all, they had fled half way around the world under deplorable circumstances just to escape those who would tell them how they could and couldn't live, only to be thrown under the yoke of the British lords. The founding fathers, knowing that the only way the British could be defeated and this fledgling nation have a snow ball's chance in hell of surviving was for all of these little colonies to band together, had to find common ground that would pull everyone into the fold, and exclude as few as possible if this radical idea of theirs was going to have a chance.

The result of this collosal compromise of so long ago, was in my opinion, the greatest nation ever formed upon this earth. The agreement they forged (The U.S. Constitution) attempted to take into account every possible conceivable group of people and guarantee that under this new fledgling government, they would have rights that so long as this nation stood, no one could dictate to these people how they should live.

In doing that they not only brought these people together, but they convinced them as to the importance of their being together, none of these individual colonies could defeat the British on their own, if they wanted to be free, they had to put aside their differences and band together against a common enemy.

By doing this the founding fathers were able to take a group of people, or a group of groups if you will, and find common ground that they all could work from, they all had one thing in common, they were tired of government running their lives, and they were willing to die for the mere chance to live without opression.

This, I believe, is why the founding fathers were so determined to see to it that the rights of the individual were protected, then and always. The nation never would have formed if all of those people with different backgrounds and beliefs hadn't felt that their rights were going to be protected. This is also why I believe that laws invading the personal choices of individuals are a travesty, they are counter to everything that this nation is supposed to stand for, they are counter to everything that this nation stands for to me.

Once again, Joe, I am not opposed to government programs that help those who are in need, as long as there is accountability and not a free ride, I am not opposed to government action that truly promotes civilization and a better society, I am opposed to the government telling me how to make my personal choices that affect no one but myself.

That is what I believe the intentions of the founding fathers were, to guarantee that no one would ever have to flee THIS nation to escape persecution, our modern government is making a mockery of those good intentions.

Ok, Joe, now it's your turn, give me some of your opinions on the matters that we've discussed. I'll be watching for your response, and best wishes.

Joe Visionary said...

Thank you. I think it's totally inappropriate for me to make assumptions about America without asking Americans about it.

Where am I going with this whole 'Civilization' argument? It's forming up in the following way:

Every one of us owes a huge debt to civilization. Our lives without it would be obviously bestial, cruel, harsh, ugly, and very unjust. Nature doesn't care too much about how we feel, it only provides us with an opportunity to exist, if we can find an uncontested niche.

The process of civilization was not easy; as one works their way back through history, the social mechanisms get progressively simpler.

Now I must realize that I'm already on shakey grounds here with Bible fundamentalists, because they flatly don't believe man was ever primitive. As near as I can tell it would seem that with Adam and Eve we already had language and societies, etc and what we have today are merely tarted up versions of what they had back then.

I guess I'd need to know where you stand in order to know which way to go. Whatever you choose will be fine.

Justin said...

Joe, I have some views on the matter of religion that are definately unconventional, logical I think, but highly unconventional. I am literally chomping at the bit waiting to tell you about them, but my ego meter is on hold for the moment. I would like you to address some of the points that I've made first, at least the ones that I've made when I wasn't foaming at the mouth anyway. Is anything that I've been saying making sense to you as a Canadian? Can you at least see why so many of us Americans are so disturbed by what we see as opression by our government, even though people in places like China would be in awe, possibly even fearful, of the freedoms that we fortunately still enjoy? I mean, you have to admit, when one lives in a country that is supposed to be a democracy one has to become a little suspicious of corruption when very few of the people that you talk to on a daily basis agree with the government. One has to wonder where the power truly lies. There I am back to that whole corrupt leadership thing again, in my opinion, the primary barrier to a society wherein too many things are mandated by the gov't is just that, no matter how well intentioned in the beginning, people in power are almost exclusively corrupted sooner or later, therein lies the danger in giving too much power to the government. Let's hear some of your views, Joe. I'd really like to know if I'm making any valid points or not, in your opinion.

Joe Visionary said...

OK. I've raked through the comments just to make sure I got a good sense of what you want me to comment on. Please allow me to paraphrase:

"People should be free to that point where their freedoms impinge on the similar freedoms of others.'

'People should be held entirely accountable for the choices they make, enjoying the benefits and similarly suffering the consequences.'

'Government has a role in our lives as it regulates freedoms by enforcing reasonable limits between people, but it has no business regulating behaviour as it pertains to an individual.'

'Self discipline and compassion should come from a spiritual upbringing however, religion should not be mandated.'

"There are serious social problems today with dishonest, remote politicians, those driven by ruthless greed, and others who live in shameless sloth.'

'Death is a reasonable consequence for heinous crimes.'

'With the exception of childhood, everyone must suffer the consequences of their decisions.'

Are these correct? If not, correct them as you see fit. Then I can say my bit.

Justin said...

Yep, pretty close, albeit a very brief summary but pretty close. While I'm sure the most of it will come out in the wash after your comments the only thing I feel I need to clarify is my position on spirituality and its relationship to self discipline and compassion. I don't care where someone gets their self discipline and compassion, as long as they get it. Many people who do not believe in God at all are self disciplined and compassionate, it doesn't require a spiritual upbringing, only a good example or learning experience or a series of such along the way, or just good common sense right from the beginning.

I grew up with the assumption that God was real and that someday he would hold me accountable for the wrongs in my life, that has had a large influence on my life but not as large as you may think since I was never a raging bible thumper that felt the need to justify my positions at every opportunity. While I've always believed in God, I've also always accepted the fact that I could be wrong. A belief is just that, a belief.

I was also fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who exhibited a greater than average level of common sense, regardless of the fact that few of them were particularily religious. I feel that the combination of these factors coupled with my own processes of thought and reasoning came together to create my personal level of self discipline and compassion, which by the way is often lacking on both counts I'm not so proud to admit, I am after all only human.

You most likely had different influences in your life that accomplished a similar end, I think that it's natural human tendency to care about others and try to help when we can, those throughout history that have attempted to fight that tendency haven't came out better for it.

Regardless of the factors that create that idea of cooperation in all of us, I do agree with you that it is very important to mankind that these factors exist. But I have to ask, if compassion only exists when mandated by the government, then why are we not still crawling from one cave to another and clubbing each other on the head to take what we want? Be good Joe, keep in touch.

Joe Visionary said...

But I have to ask, if compassion only exists when mandated by the government, then why are we not still crawling from one cave to another and clubbing each other on the head to take what we want?

This is a good place to start.

As strange as it may sound, it would seem that Americans do not associate compassion and co-operation with government. Does this sound about right?

Justin said...

Well, Joe, obviously I can't speak for an entire nation, but THIS American doesn't associate co-operation and compassion with government. That's one of my biggest problems with the Republican party, besides the corporate butt kissing and warmongering, you cannot legislate morality, you can educate towards morality, but you can not force people to be moral, it's been tried, it's failed, yet they continue to attempt it in spite of it's futality. Just the same, you cannot legislate common sense, it's been proven time and time again that education is far more effective in changing people's behavior for the better than legislation. i.e. - drug use, smoking, seat belts, drinking and driving, etc. All of these areas have been affected far more positively by education campaigns than by making criminals out of people that simply made bad choices. But, that's just my opinion. ;)

Joe Visionary said...

I think you got it right when you suggest that education goes a long way to fix the problem. For that matter I'd suggest that a robust education system IS a compassionate way to deal with the public.

As for whether Americans associate compassion and co-operation from their governments - it may be a very interesting question for a poll. You make the point that the Republicans don't seem to be, does that mean the Democrats are?

Now I have to be careful here: I can see that you recognize the need for compassion and co-operation, and if you also identify the Democrats as wannabes in this area, there's a connection, however strained between you and Democrats, and Dems are typically associated with ...

... liberals!!

(I'm having a bit of fun here, OK ;))

Justin said...

I'm having fun too Joe, and I definately see your implications. I have a few views that could be percieved as liberal, I'm not ashamed of it. I think the Democrats have some great ideas, I just don't happen to approve of the way that they attempt to force everyone to accept them.

Take for example, gun control, obviously I don't believe in it. I can see the Democrat's reasoning, but I just think that it's a very quaint and elementary, not well thought out, almost childish, in other words, position. If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns, I know, it's a cliche stolen directly from a redneck bumper sticker, but it's true. Criminals break the law for a living, why would they care if the mere posession of the gun they use in an armed robbery is illegal? Outlaw guns and the only thing you're accomplishing is to take away the equalizer, the possible deterrent from committing armed robbery in the first place under the knowledge that that potential mark just might be armed himself. Gun control doesn't hurt criminals, it makes their jobs easier by disarming their potential victims.

Now this brings me to my issues with "liberals". The simple act of outlawing or mandating something does not make it dissapear entirely, or exist universally respectively.

Assuming such is in my opinion, a simple minded approach at best. Outlawing or mandating something just because you happen to think it's a good idea in spite of the evidence for or against your case simply makes criminals out of people that don't happen to agree with you.

That's wrong, plain and simple. While you and I plainly disagree on several things I respect your right to your own opinion, even if I had the power to do so I would never wish for you or anyone else to be fined or imprisoned simply for disagreeing with me, that seems outwardly anyway, to be the Democrat's intentions sometimes. They seem to want to enact laws that mandate that everyone thinks like they do, while I don't think that they are necessarily wrong all the time, attempting to legislate a certain mentallity is just as wrong as trying to legislate morality. Add that to the fact that it simply doesn't work, and you have a bad situation all around.

Simply put, Joe, I don't agree with either party, common sense lies in the middle, too far to the left or right and the whole thing topples.

Have a good night Joe, I've got to get off to work. Later.

Joe Visionary said...

common sense lies in the middle, too far to the left or right and the whole thing topples.


I'm going to come clean with you and show you this. My rebuttal follows from 'What!?!? Exactly what do you... '

As always, I would ask for your patient consideration. Don't hesitate to rebutt my comment there or here or both. I think it's an important discussion, though under NO circumstances do I want to tread where you don't feel comfortable.

As for guns from a commodity standpoint, as I get older I find that I no longer own things, they own me. For this reason I have little use or patience with 'things' because ultimately they take up my time and realestate in my head, both of which I resent.

I enjoy my family and the adventures I can have with them, I enjoy good conversation, and many other things I can share with others.

My personal relationship with 'toys' is constantly diminishing, and I prefer it that way. Perhaps you have some sense of this yourself.

Justin said...

I'm still chuckling, Joe. I've heard that position before, I think it's just as ludicrous as the argument that guns should be outlawed entirely, well thought out response, I have to compliment you. As I've said before, the MIDDLE is where common sense resides, too far to any extreme and watch out. As I'm sure you know, everything in life, everything, seems to have a "happy medium", that type of thinking doesn't represent a "happy medium", besides, I don't think anyone should be required to own anything that they don't want to. I don't have time for a very good response tonight as I have to go to work, but stay posted, I'll be in touch Saturday most likely. Later Joe.

paradoxresearch said...

Can I just thank you for your patience?


Joe Visionary said...

paradoxresearch = Joe Visionary

Justin said...

I wasn't very clear there as I was in a hurry to head off to work, the position I was referring to as ludicrous was the idea that we have an "obligation" to own a gun. I hope you didn't misunderstand me.

I agree that sometimes "toys" can be an obligation, but you have to understand that we live in entirely different worlds as well. You live in a large city where the type of "toys" that I enjoy would be very bothersome, not to mention probably worthless as there's most likely nowhere nearby to use them.

I live in the biggest city in Montana, that compared to Toronto, (that is where you are isn't it? I appologize for not verifying that but I remember you wrote that you live in a large city) anyway, compared to say Toronto, Billings is a small town. Most towns in Montana are no more than a wide spot in the road, and that's the type of places that I grew up. There just isn't a lot to do here, at least not if you grew up in the country and never aquired a taste for an urban lifestyle. Without a few "toys" I'd go nuts.

I do understand what you mean though, I've always been a person with a voracious appetite for learning. If I take up a new hobby I'll go at it full bore until I stop learning new things, then I'll lose interest in it. When I was younger I attempted to get involved in every new thing that came down the pike. As I get older I find that my ambition for taking up new hobbies has diminished and I've resorted to a couple old standbys that I doubt that I'll ever lose interest in. My son shares my interest, so at the very least they give us a chance to spend time together.

"Adventures" with one's family are definately important, no matter what type of adventures one chooses.

As far as guns go, they're just a part of who I am, they always have been, always will be. I obviously believe in my right to own them, but as I've stated before, I also believe in others' rights not to. They're obviously a responsibility, but to me and most people in areas like this, they're utterly unremarkable, sort of like furniture, even if you use it everyday you seldom give it a second thought. They're just tools to people like me. The only time I get fired up about them is when somebody starts talking about taking them away, I'd get pretty fired up if the government was trying to take my wrenches too, I paid for them, they're mine, and I obviously have a use for them or I wouldn't have spent good money to buy them in the first place. If you want to discuss guns I've given this subject considerable thought, I respect the positions of people that don't like guns, but until they walk a mile in someone else's shoes I think it's wrong for them to pass judgement.

Someone who grew up/lives in a large city simply cannot understand what a gun represents to someone like me, it's recreation, self reliance, independence, and self defense all rolled into one. While I wouldn't jump into a government sponsored hoopla like the one currently unfolding in Iraq, I would definately take up arms should this country ever get invaded by an outside force in defense of my family and community. I think that is precisely the reason why this country hasn't been invaded, and most likely won't be, there's a lot of people would, and our enemies know that.

Someone like myself that grew up in a rural area where crime was virtually nonexistent, on the same note, cannot possibly understand what it's like to live with the constant threat of armed thugs, however, armed law abiding citizens are in my opinion the best deterrent against armed thugs. There's a reason you don't hear about too many intruders busting into houses in my neck of the woods, break into a house in these parts, and you most likely won't ever break into another one. A gun in the hand beats a cop on the phone, every time.

Keep in touch Joe, I've got to get some things done so I can take my son hunting tomorrow. Be good.

Joe Visionary said...

Thanks Justin.

I recognize most of what you mention. I should explain.

In Canada we have higher urban densities along the southern edge of the country, then wilderness, often virgin as you head north.

For anyone who has headed north, there's as much wildlife as you could care for. When I lived in British Columbia for a year, I remember grizzly bear maulings in Banff National park, after which you'd routinely see park rangers wandering the roadsides looking for that roug bear.

Similarly I've been on an artic canoe trip (Baffin Island - Isortoq River) where there was a concern about Polar bears as we got close to the coast. I was nominated to bring my shot gun as a safety measure.

I bought a shotgun some time ago. I was hoping to use hunting as an excuse to walk around forests enjoying both the scenery and the exercise. I chose grouse hunting with a 20 guage simply because the season was a lot longer.

The grouse weren't very frightened animals and could be seen strolling along paths. My friend and I used to joke that we might just as well brain'em with the gun butt and save the shot.

The 'hunting' petered out and instead we skeet shot. I even have my own reloading machine. Some day when I feel my boys are mature enough (know when NOT to horse around) I'll take them skeet shooting.

I have no problem with farmers and their varmint rifles, or hunters, since often they are the most conscientious environmentalists. You are a terrific example of that: I just read your recent blogs.

About the only point that I get stuck on is the self-defence issue. I've known enough people living in rural Canada, and while they may or may not have firearms, it would be extremely rare for anyone to announce that they have guns to keep armed thugs at bay, or they have them to pre-empt invasion from foreign forces.

I must confess, if anyone were to say such things, we'd be inclined to suggest he sell his guns...

We'd be more inclined to make sure that we knew the community so that under NO circumstance should anyone have to consider aiming a firearm at another person.

In many ways this is a cultural matter. For example, we've always had national police, the RCMP. In their history, they would quell indian rebellions by simply telling them to leave, then when they refused, they would kick out the teepee posts, and they'd leave.

Even during the Klondike Gold Rush, Sgt Sam Steele would routinely tell (usually visiting American) prospectors that firearms were forbidden and take them away while they were in Canada.

These specific legends don't actually surface when we consider gun control, but the concept of law being administered by people other than those trained to do so is not promoted, though self-defence is always a possibility for those in remote areas.

This business of self-defence has a much uglier side that might repulse you as well. Consider all those fully automatic firearms, including machine guns that don't serve any hunting purpose at all. Or worse, those many handguns manufactured for the sole purpose of killing people as are the assault weapons.

Is this all preferable to simply putting your shoulder behind a high quality police force that you can be proud of? Similarly with our military: while we nickle and dime them to smithereens, generally we're very proud of their efforts as they try to maintain peace (an extended policing mission) in places where people need to be held accountable for irresponsible opinions, often based on ancient dogmas, that lets them think they can abuse their neighbours.

Americans don't seem to have a preference for an accountable police force. Is this in keeping with that other observation we came to earlier

it would seem that Americans do not associate compassion and co-operation with government?

Justin said...

I can see that point Joe. I don't have any guns that were purchased for the sole purpose of self defense, any gun will work for that should the need arise.

I do have a few that would be, for the most part, worthless for hunting, but they're well suited for what they're made for, target shooting.

There are sanctioned competitions for assault rifles, semi-automatics that is, full auto "machine guns" are illegal, and I know a few people that hunt with them, assault rifles that is. After the same fashion as one can use his bird hunting shot gun for self defense, one can use a .30 cal assault rifle for hunting. Many sporting rifles take the same ammo as military rifles, how one delivers it really doesn't matter.

I agree that anyone that purchases a fully decked out assault rifle for the purpose of self defense is probably a little off, people like that make me nervous. It would be one thing if one lived in a war zone, but it's not like the average person has 5 intruders a night trying to break into their house. In the odd, as in once in a lifetime maybe, chance that one needs a gun to defend oneself, a specialized assault rifle wouldn't be necessary, anything would do.

As far as the police are concerned, I hope you don't think that I would be in favor of "pointing guns at people" for any little thing, life or death situation yes, but not because my neighbor's kid stole a shovel.

The simple fact that crime still happens is the only proof that I need that no matter how dedicated the police force, cops just simply can not be everywhere, all the time. If a person wants to depend on the police entirely for their safety, fine. I'm just not one of those people, I'll let the police handle it whenever I can, but on the off chance that there isn't time to wait for the police, I wouldn't hesitate to handle the situation myself.

I am in no way advocating people going around pointing guns at each other. (my kids aren't even allowed to point toy guns at people, it's a bad habit to get into). Guns are a responsibility, a liability even, and if someone is going to own one, they had best take that seriously.

In today's society there is just too much violence all around us, tv, movies, ect. Too many people, often unconsciously I think, follow that example.

A while back, some friends of mine and I were skeet shooting (it's a lot of fun isn't it?) and a young man about 19 or so was there, a friend of somebody's relative, one of those sort of things.

Now this kid had never been around guns in his life so we were watching him pretty close, he had a bad habit of pointing the shotgun in a bad direction, for which he was chastized with increasing severity throughout the day. Add that to a few of the comments the young man had made, comments related to violence and how he wanted an assault rifle to "scare people with" and it wasn't very long before we started to get really annoyed with the guy, but we were still hopeful that we could educate him a little bit, teach him that guns weren't toys, respect, that sort of thing.

After a while it became obvious that this kid was beyond hope so we just started to ignore him, and keep him away from the guns. Now most people will just keep their mouth shut in a situation like that, for fear of offending someone, I'm not one of those people.

After about his tenth comment about how he needed an assault rifle because all of the gang bangers where he come from had them, I asked him to leave. He wasn't very happy and made some smart assed remark, I don't remember what.

I, and not in a friendly and cordial voice mind you, told him that all of the people here were responsible gun owners and that people like him gave all of us a bad name. I told him that if the only reason he wanted a gun was to "scare people" he should do us all a favor and stay a long ways away from guns all together.

I asked him what he would do should he point that gun at somebody, and they didn't get scared. He didn't have an answer, he just stood there looking stupid, which came quite easily for him indeed. In a situation like that, I told him, it's all too easy to go from "scaring people", to "killing people". I think it sunk in, a little bit anyway. The kid sat there the rest of the day and didn't say much of anything, just watched.

Later we let him shoot a little more and instead of being cocky he was listening to the pointers we gave him and by the end of the day he was occasionally hitting a target.

I think that the kid was just trying to show off, he had the idea that gun owners would be impressed by that sort of talk, he found out otherwise.

Now my point. No amount of gun control laws would have stopped that kid from going on to kill somebody. Education stopped that kid from going on to kill somebody.

Whether he could go downtown and buy an assault rifle in a gun shop, or whether he had to buy one from a "gang banger" in a dark alley, should he have ever gotten his hands on one, somebody would have gotten killed. If he had ever gotten his hands on any type of gun, somebody would have gotten killed.

Laws wouldn't have stopped him, it's already illegal to point guns at people, he obviously didn't care.

Education stopped him. Somebody took the time to point out the errors of his ways. Government can do the same, they have on several issues. Radio commercials, tv commercials, billboards, big blinking neon signs if that's what it takes, go further to change behavior than laws.

Take for example the horrible shootings at Columbine. Those two boys and their "helpers" violated 19 existing gun laws, 19. Would it have made a difference to them if it had been 20? Probably not.

Would it have made a difference if those boys had been hunting and target shooting and exposed to responsible gun owners in the past, instead of shoot em up video games and movies where violence is portrayed as normal? Would it have made a difference if there had been messages flashed across the screen from time to time reminding them that those games and shows weren't real? Or even a few big signs on the wall of the video arcades? I think it just might have, but either way, it's obvious that gun control didn't work. Instead of the schools teaching kids that guns are "bad", maybe the kids, and everyone else, could be better served by requiring kids to at least learn a few things about gun safety, maybe a video now and then of a trap competition, or something that might catch their interest, like a black powder competition at a mountain man rendezvous, instead of fascinating them with tales of urban "soldiers" doing battle in the streets of major cities over "turf".

I said from the beginning that we probably agreed on more than we thought, I'm glad that we're finding out that we do indeed. I've got to go get ready to go to work, so you take it easy Joe. Keep in touch man. I'll start a new post about this tomorrow if I get time, so we can keep making comments without having to go back into the archives, keep an eye out at the top of the page, later Joe.