is a prog metal band from Finland. Back in 2005 shortly after their current frontman Tomi Joutsen joined the band they toured North America for a month and I ended seeing them live. My family was visiting N.Y.C. for a few days and since my son Nathan and I enjoy metal, went off to B.B. King's club in midtown to see a show headlined by a band we had never heard. Amorphis was the headliner some of the other bands in the lineup that night included Beyond the Embrace and Single Bullet Theory both are now no longer active.
Amorphis made an impression that night and I've been listening to them since, picking up all of the subsequent releases and listening to often. Melodic death metal seems like an oxymoron... I enjoy bands like Morbid Angel and Slayer but I also love to put on Yes' Close to the Edge or Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, Amorphis successfully brings those extremes together into something that is esthetically pleasing, highly listenable and full of head banging fun.
Since stumbling upon that show back in 2005, Amorphis has been played over and over again in my car, on my Harley and blasted from my home audio system. Their latest offering, Circle, is quite simply amazing. I enjoy listening to Eclipse, Silent Waters, Skyforger and the Beginning of Times, I thought they were all great, Circle beats all of them.
Violence is the issue, not the tools used to perpetuate violence. Like it or not, the Heller decision finally confirms that the Second Amendment guarantees and individual right to own effective tools/arms for lawful purposes, including self defense. At this point it is settled law.
The problem with the current versions of Schumer's bill are as to what exactly defines a "transfer." Potential aspects that make this problematic for gun owners include:
- The possibility that loaning a gun to a friend while visiting the range could constitute a transfer turning law abiding gun owners trying to help a friend learn to shoot into felons.
- Transferring between family members
- Transferring to fellow CCW/license holders, why would this require yet another background check? I personally hold both a PA license and a Utah CCW, the Utah CCW required a day long class along with the submission of fingerprints, holding a Utah CCW means that I'm already cleared so there is no need for another background check.
- Making such background check universal without knowing who currently owns each and every of the 250 million guns already out in the wild. How can this not lead to eventual registration? Even if such registration is currently barred by law, it is a logical next step for those determined to remove as many guns from circulation as possible.
The over militarization of the police. Police as citizens performing a certain job. Why does this entitle them to have more firepower than is available to the average citizen? As was made quite clear in California just recently, cops are actually some of the worst people to have walking around armed.
As is evident from my previous posts, I believe that the second amendment means what it says, that the right of the people to keep and bear are shall not be infringed. Any laws affecting guns should have to pass a strict scrutiny hurdle before they limit this vital and unalienable right.
Guns used by violent people to commit horrid crimes are certainly a problem but the problem is much deeper than simply the tools these thugs use to harm victimes. The misguided war on drugs contributes as does Felon University aka the penitentiary system. Criminals go in and more educated criminals come out. Far, far too many of our fellow citizens are serving time for non-violent drug offenses. This has to stop, prison makes better criminals, not better citizens.
Next, the government's support of poverty, support that perpetuates poverty rather than helping the impoverished improve their lot in life. The old teach a man to fish and he eats for life, give a man a fish and he eats until you give him another fish. Work brings dignity.
Unwed mothers are liklie to end up poor. As a society this must be discouraged by bringing back the shame associated with it and removing or adjusting government assistance that encourages such harmful behavior. Children need two parents to guide them to being moral, upstanding members of society. There are many, many single mothers who have done heroic things to ensure their children have the tools to succeed in life, but there are many who are simply not up to the challenging task of raising multiple kids on their own. Responsible, involved fathers are one of the keys to ending the cycle of gangs. When young men look for male guidance from their thug gang brothers, they end up either dead and buried or spending time at Criminal University.
Finally, there are cultural issues that need to be addressed in the community. Believe it or not, not being able to read, to never having owned or read a book is something to be proud of, not ashamed. Look at the horrid literacy rates among NYC high school graduates. How can anybody be a productive, law abiding member of society and hampered by being illiterate.
The community needs to shame the right things like out of wedlock births and shame the harmful things like not learning to read and fathering children you have no intention of helping guide to adulthood.
For those who really want to have an impact, get involved in charities like http://bbbs.org
and make a difference in the life of an at risk kid. This will do more to help prevent gun violence than any attempts for the members of Congress to "do something."
Way bank in 1986, while Reagan was in the White House and I was still in the army, William J. Hughes proposed Amendment 777 to FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act). Thanks to the New Jersey Democrat automatic weapons not registered prior to May 19, 1986 can not be legally owned by civilians.
The following video was uncovered which shows the minutes of the final passage of FOPA. In spite of Hughes' Amendment 777 failing, the tax evading criminal Charlie Rangle of New York inserted it into the final bill.
Thanks to the parliamentary skullduggery of a known tax evading liar, the number of automatic weapons available to the general public has steadily declined and the prices risen dramatically.
Prior to this illegal amendment, automatic weapons were already heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. Thanks to the dirtbag from New York, only the very wealthy can afford to purchase them today.
This amendment must be repealed. Which would be a good first step in moving the fight over gun rights from defending against additional infringements to reclaiming
Why do those who value liberty always end up playing defense? Either the Bill of Rights means exactly what it says or it means nothing.
Those who favor federal gun control call people like me "2nd amendment absolutists" plus any number of other hateful and vulgar things. At least absolutist is accurate.
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Leaving aside the absurd and thankfully settled issue of it being a "collective" versus an individual right, what does "shall not be infringed" mean? The framers of the document chose very precise language. That language is rather clear to anybody who understands the English language but here's the current dictionary definition of the word "infringe."
1. ( tr ) to violate or break (a law, an agreement, etc)
2. ( intr; foll by on or upon ) to encroach or trespass
Let's use that definition and reword the 2A just a bit as, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be encroached upon." Since to infringe is defined as to encroach, that means exactly the same as the text of the 2A. Let's look at the definition of "encroach."
1. to intrude gradually, stealthily, or insidiously upon the rights, property, etc, of another
2. to advance beyond the usual or proper limits
Now help me to understand how any of the current federal firearms laws don't violate the second amendment? In 1934, because of the crime associated with prohibition, congress passed the National Firearms Act (NFA) which added restrictions to items like suppressors, short barreled shotguns and automatic weapons. Funny that prohibition ended up being repealed by the 21st amendment shortly before the law was passed.
Next up is the Gun Control Act of 1968. Panicked by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, congress felt the need to do something and that something is the GCA which created the federal firearms license system along with the requirement that imported firearms be deemed by the ATF to have a "sporting purpose." Do you see anything about sports included within the second amendment? Nope neither did I.
Next up is the 1986 Firearm Owner Protection Act which adds some helpful protections for gun owners when traveling across state lines but also includes the "Hughes amendment" which outlawed new automatic weapons. So today you can pay the $200 tax that the 1934 NFA requires and by a machine gun as long as it was manufactured before 1986. Nicely done, take a bill that is supposed to protect our rights and use it to encroach upon those same rights.
Since the 1994 "assault weapons ban" is expired, it now longer matters but it outlawed certain guns based upon cosmetic features. Senator Feinstein introduced the 21st century version of the ban with the helpful inclusion of a list of specific guns she would ban and ones that she wouldn't ban. Luckily this ban is going nowhere.
Notice something here? Is not the history of federal gun control a great example of gradual, insidious intrusion upon our rights? More and more restrictions added gradually over time, yet the gun banners claim that there is no slippery slope, if they could get this one last restriction in place they'll be happy and leave us alone.
The Supreme court in Heller and McDonald have helped, but precedent being what it is, we are stuck with the past decisions like Miller. Rather than fighting around the margins, let's go right to the heart of the matter and work to get the federal government completely out of the picture. Rather than fighting against "universal" background checks, we need the members of congress to fight for a bill that rolls back the federal government's unconstitutional infringement upon our rights. No federal licensing. No restrictions on imports. No restrictions based upon barrel length No restrictions on automatic weapons. Nothing at all in the federal registry regarding guns and certainly no Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
I like the lines of the new Fusion and actually dumped my thrillingly fast but highly unreliable BMW 535 for one in 2011. The electronics in the Fusion are much easier than the brainless iDrive in my 08 5 series, the air conditioning works and unlike the BMW the Ford hasn't been towed to the dealership.
My BMW was towed in twice, the air conditioning never worked correctly, almost $60k of car and I was nervous on long drives. My hybrid Ford doesn't have anywhere near the performance of the twin turbo BMW but at least I know I'll get where I'm going and the gas mileage makes the current outrageous gas prices much less painful.
After two decades Killing in the Name's howling anger, pounding bass and Tom Morello's guitar hit your right in the gut.
Over those two decades the militarization of our police has turned much of our country into a police state.
I might disagree with most of Rage Against the Machine's politics, but their music rocks. So what if Tom Morello is a leftist tool? Even Paul Ryan enjoys his metal/punk riffs, causing Morello to say: "Paul Ryan's love for Rage Against The Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades." Whatever Tom, continue your fight for "social justice," thanks for the tunes.
Over the years, I've started working on a couple of different novels, all science fiction, I never actually completed any of them. I've convinced myself that it was simply a matter of time. Working long hours and being dedicated to the goals of the companies I've been involved with didn't leave much time to think about much else. I had the last year to read about 300 novels from mostly indie authors. I also had lots of time to think through a number of different stories. I'm now working each and every day to get the very first one done. Hopefully it will be an enjoyable and thought provoking read but that's not what is most important to me. I just want to complete it.
Here's the opening of the story, which relates the events of the preceding year.
January 27, 2015
Even with unemployment a staggering 23%, an annual federal budget deficit of $1.5 trillion and yet another war in the middle east, the president entered the house chamber like a rock star. Taking time to walk through his admirers, slapping backs, shaking hands, the president presented a calm, cool and in control exterior. Even with the country barely hanging onto the edge, notwithstanding a populace growing angry, impatient and increasingly threatening revolt, Mr. Cool kept his cool. Either the guy had ice water running through his veins or he just didn’t give a shit about the country. Given the number of vacation days and rounds of golf, even those who worked to elect him, were having doubts.
As the applause finally quieted, the president of the United States of American, began reading his prepared speech from the teleprompter, “Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: The state of our union is”
Television screens across the country dropped to black, followed a few second later with a standard “experiencing technical difficulties message.” No matter how shitty the economy, no matter who we were at war with or why, the state of the damn union is always strong. At least coverage of the speech dropped before the president could lie to the country.
CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, C-Span, ABC, NBC, CBS technical difficulties everywhere. Perhaps solar activity burnt out a couple of satellites? Quite odd that every single network would drop from the air at exactly the same time.
Finally, after 20 minutes of technical difficulties, TVs across the land burst back into life. America would never be the same.
Our great country is divided. Government intrusion into our lives continues to grow, at what point do people begin to violently resist? The ballot and not the bullet is how things should be changed, however, when the majority enforces its will upon the minority, the ballot is useless.
Will the great American experiment in self governance die a long slow death or will the end come unexpectedly, quickly and violently? Or will there be a resurgence of personal liberty and a renewal of American freedom and prosperity. It is up to us to decide.
If you are planning a visit to Aruba and you love to ride, you can rent a Harley and see the island from the saddle.
The cost to rent a Heritage Softail, Dyna or Sporty is $140.00 for a half day or $175 for a full
. The dealership is located just outside Oranjestad's center, and easy stroll from where the cruise ship terminal.
- Aruba is a desert island with lots of sand blowing around, the bikes won't have windshields and the helmets provided are typical cruiser lids, this means lots of grit flying into your face.
- Sand covered sections of roadway are quite common.
- There are lots of speed bumps in the city and hotel areas.
The route we took on the tour ended up at almost exactly 100 kilometers or about 62 miles. Considering the island is only about 20 miles long and 6 miles wide, you'll get to see lots of it. I enjoyed the four hours immensely I came prepared to ride with jeans, a long sleeve shirt, summer gloves and wrap around eyewear. I wish I would have thought to bring along a handkerchief for my face but as I was renting a Heritage Classic, I assumed it had a windshield. I'm sure the blowing grit would scratch up a plastic windshield rather quickly, so I guess it makes sense why they don't have them installed.
My tour guide Eric and the rental Heritage
Couldn't sleep last night so I amused myself with iMovie. I don't know about you but I'm not comfortable with any president having the power to rain down death from above just because he thinks the person might someday do something bad.
It doesn't matter if the dead children are Libyan, Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani or American, killing them is a crime.
Senator Bob Casey.
Like many voters, I've contacted those charged with representing me and the state of Pennsylvania within the Federal government, insisting that they reframe from trampling upon our rights to defend ourselves.
Senator Casey, while campaigning for election stressed his commitment to the second amendment. He lied. Here is a snippet of an email sent by his office last evening:
"After much reflection and careful study of the issue, I have decided to support a federal assault weapons ban as well as legislation restricting high capacity magazines. In light of what occurred at Sandy Hook, these are two measures that will lessen the chances that this will happen again. Before supporting such a law, I would first and foremost ensure that it did not unduly abridge the right to bear arms as established by the Second Amendment. "
Here's the response that I sent:
What occurred at Sandy Hook is a tragedy The innocent lives snuffed out and the shattered families caused by a deranged young man, should never be allowed to happen again.
Please help me to understand precisely how legislation restricting standard sized magazines and commonplace semi-automatic rifles will prevent such a horror from ever happening again. Will the millions of 30 round magazines simply vanish? Will the most popular rifle disappear by waving a magic wand? How does infringing upon the rights of law abiding citizens help to protect children? Will the insane suddenly become sane? Will the bullets fired from a rifle with a wooden stock suddenly only work to harvest deer but bounce harmlessly from the skin of a kindergartener?
If this legislation will do nothing to prevent a second Sandy Hook, why would you support it? You were against the first ban on scary looking rifles. What has changed?
Only a politician can say one thing "I support your right to bear arms" while simultaneously supporting restrictions upon that right. Please be aware sir, that your duplicity has not gone unnoticed. Even though you don't stand for re-election for a number of years, gun owners have long memories. This decision will result in a primary challenge, of that I have no doubt.