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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Dancing Lessons Could Fix America

                                            How Dancing Lessons Could Fix America

   Four or five days a week I take care of my twin four year old twin great grand-daughters from 4 AM till 3 PM while their Mom is at work.  It gives me a chance to bond with them and saves her the babysitting money. Their Mom had to drag them out in the cold to a babysitter in the middle of winter. It really bothered me until I read the verse in First Timothy 5:3 that says, “he that does not take care of his own is worse than an infidel.”  It was when I read the definition of infidel that I realized I needed to do something. I spent thirteen years in the Army and have always believed the saying, “ Your either part of the solution or part of the problem, so either lead, follow or get out of the way.” Understanding what the Word said, where I stood and what I chose to do were on me.

     After pondering the matter for a bit I realized I needed to do something. Being seventy years old and retired was not an excuse to do nothing. Age does not change the rule. When I told my wife what I intended to do she said I was nuts. She helps me when she is here, but she is gone several months out of the year and has lots of activities that take up her time. I don’t, so it fell on me. Having spent thirteen years in the Army and twenty years driving a truck, I was not around much when our kids were growing up.  My wife pretty much carried that load till they were grown.  I always felt a little guilty about not being home, but I was making a living. Now I am not and really have no excuse not to step up to the plate.

    It was a challenge at first with both of them in pampers.  I adapted to it and now that they are out of diapers it is a lot easier. My outlook is that if I carry the ball till they start school next year I will have fulfilled my duty in life. It may go on beyond that, but having already been dead twice, I will be happy to make it that far down the road. I learned in January of 2004 at the age of 57 not to take anything for granted. I had gone from 350 pounds down to 260 pounds and was exercising regularly when I had the big one. It forced me to retire and sell my truck and equipment. Also to make a lot of changes in life I had not planned for.

     At the time it happened my youngest daughter was fighting a battle with a brain tumor.  The hidden blessing in the heart attack was that I was available to take her to radiation and chemo during the seven year battle with her tumor.  She would have been thirty-nine last Saturday. She went home to be with Lord a couple weeks before her thirty-third birthday.

        As I look at all the things going on in the world around me, especially all the shootings here in America. I have to wonder what the cause is and is there a solution?  I have come to the realization there are two reasons why. One is a lack of responsibility and the other is a lack of discipline. Both come from being raised in a Godless and non God fearing society and world.  Especially when the vast majority of the world believes in a faith that offers no salvation or respect for God created life. So in essence we need to return America to its God fearing roots.

      The Bible says, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” This verse has opened my eyes several times in the course of my life.  Recently I had a real big dose of it when I least expected it.

     My wife was gone to Texas for three weeks and I had the girls all by myself.  One day we were eating lunch and Nicole said to me, “Papaw, Emma stuck her tongue out at me.” I laughed and said we couldn’t be doing that and that we would have to cut her tongue off. Thinking that was the end of it I walked to other end of the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, I opened the drawer to get a spoon and suddenly Nicole came running up to me and grasped me around the legs and said, “It is okay. Papaw, you don’t have to cut her tongue off.” I have always tried to teach my kids that if I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it. This experience reminded me that sometimes we need to be careful what we say.

      Another time, my oldest grandson and his Mom who lived  with us were sitting in the kitchen talking about the good old days. As it was snowing and my wife was in Texas for a couple of months the conversation  got into the, “Uphill both ways in a blizzard type of stories.” Which turned into stories of things we didn’t have when we were kids. I told how I didn’t have a bathtub in the house I grew up in. We took bathes in an old metal tub in front of the coal burning stove in the kitchen and how I had to haul all the coal in everyday as one of my chores.

      Then my daughter Christina said that when she was growing up they did not have microwave ovens.  My nine year old grandson in total disbelief and totally serious said, “No way. How did you cook?” My daughter and I about lost it.

     My grandson Daniel and his Mom went on my truck with me out west. We went to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Francisco, Crater Lake and after driving down the coastal highway to L.A delivering kitchen cabinets to distributors. We got a load going home via Las Vegas and stopped by the Grand Canyon on the way.  Just before entering the Park area we stopped to get ice. I got two bags and Daniel, who was eight at the time wanted to carry one of the bags. Outside the store they had a metal hitching post and I used it to break up my bag of ice before putting it in the cooler.  As I did I looked over and saw my grandson breaking up his bag of ice. It made me realize that everything we say and do is subject to being absorbed by those we come in contact with. Our walk with the Lord is not just a Sunday thing. Everything we do, all the time, is subject to interpretation by others.  Hopefully it is done in a manner that brings praise to the Lord and a good example to those watching us.

     Discipline was something I was taught early in life. Sometimes the lessons were more than I needed. I didn’t forget them and made my mind up early in life that my children would not receive the type of discipline I did. I can remember going to school one day when I was in the second grade and I was standing by my desk and did not sit down when the teacher said we could. She told me to sit down and I told her I would rather stand. When she asked why I told her my Dad had given me a whipping with a belt and that my legs were oozing and if I sat down my pants would stick to my legs and it would hurt too pull the pants loose. Something I had learned from previous whippings. She looked at me a couple minutes then said, “That is okay Richard. You can stand.”  She did not send me to the principals office or do anything else. That is just the way it was back then.

     Life has a way of going in circles. Later in life as the father of four wonderful girls the need to discipline became my responsibility.  I became very creative at it thanks to having to deal with and train soldiers in the Army who sometimes got out of line. I was taught from my time in the learning phase of military life that there are things that are worse than whippings.  My wife used lecturing the girls.  She would sit them down and start talking and sometimes it would go on for a couple of hours. It used to crack me up when I would see the girls roll their eyes and basically tune her out.  They were there physically, but mentally they left less than five minutes into the lecture.  The meanest thing I could do or say to them was, “I am going to let your Mom deal with you on this.”

     Eventually I did have to give in an use corporal punishment.  It came from an episode at the store. They were screaming and misbehaving and out of control. I was really frustrated and told them. “ When we get home you are going to get a dancing lesson.” They settled down and thought they were going to have fun when we got home.  When we did get home I took off my belt and asked them why they behaved the way they did. There were no answers.  They were focused on my belt. I don’t think I had ever hit them at that time, but I had a habit of snapping it together and threatening them when I was at wits end. I grabbed the oldest and gave her a whack with the belt and she howled. I told them their behavior at the store was unacceptable and if they ever did it again they would get another “Dancing Lesson” and that it was not a threat, it was a promise. They all four got their whack with the belt and it became the threat that would not be dismissed. If you were threatened with a Dancing Lesson, you would get one.  Even if it was hours later or even the next day. They knew if I said they were going to get one, they were in fact going to get one.  When they got older and I told them to go to their Mom, a couple times they asked me if I would just go ahead and give them their whack. My answer depended on the offense.

     They all grew up to be good people and Dancing Lessons have been passed on down through the generations. It is kind of a family thing. It still has the same effect and has made me realize that the lack of Dancing Lessons in America is probably half the problem we have today.

      I am into gourds and decided to take my great-grand daughters and their Mom with me to the state gourd show.  They have craft programs for the kids and it was my first time out in public with them. They were wild and unruly.  I told them when we got home that we were going to have a talk. It went much like the lecture my children received almost forty years ago.  I will say that I can talk to them now and they will settle down.  They listen to me and that is all I ask of them.

       The Bible says “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” I prefer to say, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Do not make idle threats and only use the rod to emphasize what you say. It works and it is something this generation needs to learn. Along with learning the book that the saying comes from, and getting to know its author in a personal way. It is a book that says what it means and means what it says. You can take that to the bank. I am a few years into taking care of the girls now.  They have gotten one dancing lesson and when I ask them they do not want another one, When they get totally out of control it is my threat of last resort, but I have never had to repeat the punishment, tho I have repeated the threat several times. If they see me pick up my belt the problem is over.
they have good memories and know why I am picking it up.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Comprehensive Two Part Gun Solution

                                 Comprehensive Two Part Gun Solution

       Controlling the size or type of weapons will not reduce the crime level in America.  Several serial killers and mass murderers in American history never used a gun.  Jeffrey Dahmer, Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 terrorist never used guns to inflict injury.  They fell through the cracks in the system back then and still would.  As far as I am concerned they can have an Abrams Tank as long as they are willing to cough up the fees for the permits and have a legal right to own a gun.

      The weirdos and wackos who are intent on committing a crime will do so regardless of the laws.  Just like Americans who use drugs.  If they want them they will get them.  A large portion of the killings in America are crimes of passion and they could be reduced considerably if the party involved knew they were going to pay steeply for their actions.  England and Japan are a perfect example of that fact.

       Why a two part solution? One part deals with the death and carnage that guns cause in our country and to save lives. That is a totally seperate issue from gun controls. I deal with both issues seperately, both, however, boil down to respect for human life.

     The real problem is a lack of respect for life and authority in America. All lives matter.  Yes even black lives matter. To fix the gun problem America needs to deal with the real problem.  Today in America there is a lack of willingness to accept blame or to assign blame.  The standard is to give everybody a break, especially criminals.  The gun problem needs to be dealt with by Federal laws.  The right to have a gun is given in the Constitution to all American citizens and should therefore be a Federal offense. Those not born in the USA should not be entitled to that right unless they are naturalized citizens who have sworn and allegiance to the United States. Just because someone is visiting America should not give them the rights of Americans guaranteed under the Constitution. That is not unfair as convicted felons no longer have the right to own a gun. I have been told that in some states they allow felons to only have muzzle loading weapons after a criminal conviction as it is what they had at the time of the Constitution's writing.

     England has a population of about sixty three million people, but they supposedly only had fifty eight shooting deaths last year.  In America almost 400 were killed by cops alone.  While America has five times the population England has.  We have over eight thousand shooting deaths a year. That is over one hundred and thirty times the amount shooting deaths England has.  Police in England do not even carry guns. That may have changed with all the terrorism today. The question is why so big a difference. The police officers in England perceive their duty as maintaining the safety of their fellow citizens, not defending the state.  It boils down to respect for life.

     The punishment system needs to be modified to reflect the seriousness of owning and using guns.  There needs to be a set punishment for certain crimes.  They need to be enforced with no plea bargains being allowed.  You commit the crime, you do the time.  My views may be harsh but they are fair if they are enforced without favor.  These laws all need to be Federal crimes and punishment done in the Federal prison system. Proof that you had a gun is all that is required to be sentences. Period

     So how do we make room for all the new prisoners without building new prisons. America needs to decriminalize marijuana which is not the same as legalizing it. It simply makes it not a crime to have or grow it.  Alcohol is not illegal, but it is still regulated. Marijuana and all drugs grown from seed should be decriminalized. If you want to take the time to grow your own you should be allowed to. Native Americans are not allowed their religious freedom as the government has criminalized the plants they use in their ceremonies.  Prohibition should have taught us something. Decriminalizing alcohol and making it legal ended the mob violence. Legalization took the profit out of it for everyone except the government. Making laws against nature is almost as asinine as the politicians that pass them. You might check Genesis 1:29 and the Declaration of Independence and see that all plants from seed are a God given right.  Removing people from the prison system who have an addiction and treating them for it will make plenty of room in the prison system.  Then you will have room for the criminals who deserve to be there.

    The following laws would go a long ways towards a realistic solution. Ending the Wild West attitude in America would be a step in the right direction. There was a time when guns were needed. That time has passed. We also need to get our government out of the killing business. All lives matter, even foreign ones. The very first rule is that there are no plea bargains. You commit the crime, you do the time, period. 

     Why do I have such an attitude?  I knew a young man who at the age of 14 with two friends shot and killed his grandmother so they could go for a joy ride in her car. He was incarcerated in the state system as a minor and because of Indiana law, when he turned 18 he was released.  Just after he turned twenty he went back to prison for killing his employer.  He was an easy going and soft spoken kid and I did not believe he did the first murder and that his friends had set him up. The second murder proved I was wrong. Another young man I knew beat a man, there was no gun, severely.  He got a sixty year sentence and his victim is out living a normal life. The system definitely needs some reworking and making all gun related crimes Federal Crimes would be a step in that direction.

1.  Commission of a crime with a gun should be a Federal offense and should carry a minimum of a life sentence. Regardless if anyone is injured.  Just the presence of the gun at the time of the crime would require enforcement.  The word will get out quick and attitudes will change. (Japan has such a law and has virtually no gun murders)

2.  Shooting someone in the commission of a crime would carry a life sentence with no chance of parole.   

3.  If anyone is killed in the commission of a crime the minimum sentence is life in prison without the chance of parole. Number three may sound harsh but the victim who is shot does not get a second chance at life.  Knowing there is a set penalty for a crime might stop some from committing a crime, but not all. I worked my way through college tending bar in a private club and knew many customers who had DWI's and no license and continued to drive. Which proves to me that the only real solution is to remove the problem from society, or it will happen again and again. Till someone is dead. My preference would be capital punishment for crimes which take a life, with execution within twelve months of sentencing so we do not put the burden on society for the criminal’s action.  Would you want the person who kills you to go on enjoying his life at the expense to your family in the form of higher taxes?

4.  Anyone who possesses, uses, or transfers a licensed weapon without a proper permit and title transfer will receive a minimum five year sentence.

Number four means if a person with no background check, no permit to own a licensed weapon or with a criminal record is in possession of a gun they can be charged.

5.  Threatening a person with bodily harm while using a weapon of any kind is grounds for a ten year prison sentence.

The only exemption from these punishments is an act of self-defense to preserve a life.

                                           Part II

This second part deals with gun ownership.

Guns should be broken into two categories or classes of guns.                      1. Constitutionally allowed guns or type 1 and  Licensed guns or type 2

Constitutional or type one guns should have no conditions to owning them or how many you can own.  This class includes muzzle loaders, bolt action, lever action, shotguns and revolvers.  All weapons that must be loaded or cocked between shots would be in this category.

 This nation was liberated from England with single shot weapons and it was preserved as a nation with single shot weapons.  Single shot weapons properly handled can save a life or shoot game to provide for the needs of the hunters family.  Generally these are not the weapons chosen for mass murders.  They are often used in crimes of passion however.  These guns should not require a permit or a license of any kind.  This would preserve the rights granted under the Constitution.  These would be called Constitutional or Type One Weapons.

     The second class would be licensed weapons.

     All semi-automatic pistols and rifles, and all automatic weapons should require a permit/license for ownership.  These would all be considered class two guns.
(We require a license to drive a car, and proof of age to acquire alcohol.  Both of which often take lives, just like a gun.) The permit should require both a background check and mental evaluation.  It should be kept on permanent record.  All of these weapons should be licensed just like a car with a minimal annual fee.  They should have a certificate of title and the title should be changed anytime ownership of the said weapon takes place.

    Anyone having three or more weapons should be classed as a collector. Collectors should be required to keep all their weapons under lock and key.  The weapons and the ammunition including magazines should be required to be in separate storage units each having its own key.

    Some of the funds raised by this program could be used to teach gun awareness and handling in the schools.  This would reinforce the understanding of why we have a second amendment.  It could be combined with an understanding of the

American Constitution and history. The classes should also teach ethics and values and the sanctity of human life when using guns.

   Finally and mainly the funds could be used to put bullet proof doors on American Schools and classrooms.  A card lock system that restricts the entrance to any school except by a designated door should be put in place.  The system should be able to lock all classrooms from the main offices.  A system similar to those used in most motels and hotels in America should be installed.  This could be used to restrict intruders from entering a classroom without the proper card.

     This system does not take away any rights.  It does provide for a system of control and accountability as to who has weapons.  Penalties could be put in place for having a weapon without the proper paperwork also.  The system of permits and licenses could be put in place retroactively without violating the Constitution or the ex post facto laws.  Slaves were long term held property and their status was changed by use of the Constitution and all were freed.  Regardless of their standing before the war, all blacks received freedom.  This would be similar in nature. The ex post facto laws should not apply