A Voice of Reason in a Land of Insanity

Here’s a Letter to the Editor that appeared in this past Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer:

Hear, hear! Responsible gun owners should demand action as much as Moms Demand Action. You would hope common sense were a bit more common. The 2nd Amendment — as Lawre points out — was written when our Founding Fathers couldn’t have imagined the killing machines of today. And the 2nd Amendment was (and is) about arming a militia to protect the security our (then newly formed) country.

So if you want an assault rifle, join the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines… or your local constabulary. But if you’re not in one of those groups, you shouldn’t have access.

Why does the Second Amendment trump our ‘unalienable right’ to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Let’s demand commonsense gun control.

(Full disclosure: I know the letter writer, Lawre. But seeing her letter in the Enquirer was the first time I was aware of her stance on gun regulation.)

Searching for a Better Future

Did you know you can save the planet, and that it only takes a couple of minutes? OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but if you switch your search engine to Ecosia, they’ll plant a tree for every 45 searches you do.

So your searches for the latest Kardashian news could actually be beneficial to society. (Reading up on the Kardashians will still rot your brain, but at least the planet will be healthier.)

Oh, and if you switch to Ecosia, you’ll be stickin’ it to The Man, too! The Man, in this case, is actually the 800-pound gorilla of Google. If you use Google for your search engine, they’re harvesting your data and using it to stick ads in your face… and making money off of it. By using a different search engine, you’re improving the overall health of the web.

The excerpt above is from Seth Godin’s blog post about switching to Ecosia. If you need more reasons, you’ll find them on the Ecosia blog.

I made the switch – it was super-easy, took less than 2 minutes, and I haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of my search results.

To be clear, there’s still money changing hands. But the money for search ads will go to Ecosia – a not-for-profit – instead of going into Google’s fat wallet. And Ecosia uses that income to plant trees. Also, Ecosia doesn’t sell your data to advertisers and doesn’t use third party trackers.

You can switch in seconds right here.

Pain. Gain.

From the Gratefulness.org website – I highly recommended you sign up for their daily email.

Dreams So Real was part of the Athens, GA scene in the mid-80s. The song above comes from their 1988 release Rough Night in Jericho. Check it out below.

A Natural regression

Bit by bit, piece by piece, we’ve unraveled the stitches on the social safety net.

[Pearls Before Swine is a great comic strip… check it out here.]

How many more?

How many more innocent children must be slaughtered before we do something?

How many more grocery shoppers, or church-goers?

How many more fellow citizens must die or be maimed in petty arguments that escalate due to the presence of guns?

How many more women must be threatened, stalked and killed by gun-wielding ex-lovers?

How many more loved ones must be gone forever, due to suicidal thoughts and access to a gun?

I’m asking Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who just signed legislation allowing adults to carry a concealed handgun without a license or training, and the governors of 22 other states who have signed similar laws.

I’m asking every member of Congress who refuses to even consider common sense gun regulations. The same ones who tweet out their thoughts and prayers every time another senseless — and likely preventable — mass shooting happens.

Thoughts and prayers. It began as a cliché. It became a joke. It has putrefied into a national shame.

If tonight, Americans do turn heavenward in pain and grief for the lost children of Uvalde, Texas, they may hear the answer delivered in the Bible through the words of Isaiah:

“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

Large font text above from this article by David Frum in The Atlantic

But I’m also asking you, Mr. and Ms. Responsible Gun Owner. Because I have more hope that you’ll do something to stem the tide of bloodshed.

The shock and horror of mass shootings focus our attention. But most of the casualties are inflicted one by one by one. Americans use their guns to open fire on one another at backyard barbecues, to stalk and intimidate ex-spouses and lovers, to rob and assault, and to kill themselves. Half of the almost 48,000 suicides committed in 2019 were carried out by gun. All of this slaughter is enabled by the most permissive gun laws in the developed world.

David Frum in The Atlantic, Sept. 1, 2021

We’ve trapped the cause of the plague

In the land of the free and the home of the brave

XTC “Melt the Guns”

While you’re sending out your thoughts and prayers, here’s something else for you to think about:

In virtually every way that can be measured, owning a firearm makes the owner, the owner’s family, and the people around them less safe. 

Same article as above.

We know the germ

Which is man-made in metal

Is really the key to your own tomb

XTC “Melt the Guns”

My prayers are that more Americans start to realize that more guns in more hands will mean more senseless deaths.

From the same article cited above.

You’ll gather your senses, I’m sure
Then agree to

Melt the guns
Melt the guns
Melt the guns and never more to fire them
Melt the guns
Melt the guns
Melt the guns and never more desire them

XTC “Melt the Guns”

A Mann of Letters

May 4th has turned into “Star Wars Day”…

But it should be “What a Mann!” Day instead. Here’s why:

It’s the birthday of the man who said, “Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge.” The father of American public education, Horace Mann, was born on this day in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1796. He grew up without much money or schooling, and what he did learn, he learned on his own at his local library, which had been founded by Benjamin Franklin. He was accepted into Brown University and graduated in three years, valedictorian of his class.

He was elected to the state legislature in 1827 and 10 years later, when Massachusetts created the first board of education in the country, he was appointed secretary. Up to this point he hadn’t had any particular interest in education, but when he took the post he dedicated himself to it wholeheartedly. He personally inspected every school in the state, gave numerous lectures, and published annual reports advocating the benefits of a common school education for both the student and the state. He spearheaded the Common School Movement, which ensured all children could receive a basic education funded by taxes.

He was elected to the United States Congress in 1848 after the death of John Quincy Adams and, in his first speech, he spoke out against slavery. He wrote in a letter later that year, “I think the country is to experience serious times. Interference with slavery will excite civil commotion in the South. But it is best to interfere. Now is the time to see whether the Union is a rope of sand or a band of steel.”

When he left politics he moved to Ohio to accept a position as president of Antioch College. “I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words,” he told one graduating class. “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Pretty impressive stuff, eh? I’d say advocating for a basic education for all children, funded by taxes, is a “victory for humanity.”

But it’s an ongoing battle. Some narrow-minded folks are packing school boards and trying to whitewash the not-so-great moments in the history of this great nation. “Ignorance is bliss” to those who crave power instead of democratic (small d) ideas. That’s not the “force” we need.

“Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge.”

Horace Mann

[tip o’ the cap to my friend Phil for putting Mr. Mann’s birthday on my radar. ]

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