About Las Vegas

Another day, another mass shooting. The same shit repeats every time. Everything is so predictable now. I’ve come to the realization that Americans are okay with mass shootings. That maybe Americans like them. There is no simple solution, but you got to think to do something would be better than doing nothing. Our elected officials have no interest in changing anything, and as long as we keep voting them in. I don’t ever see anything changing.

It’s interesting watching people’s reactions in the hours after each shooting before the facts get out.

A co-worker thought it was a “left-wing” nut that hated country music. That made me think, has there ever been a left-wing shooter? I don’t remember any. I did a little research and there hasn’t been much left-wing terrorism since the 70s.

My Sister-in-law was convinced the guy converted to Islam.

People don’t want to be part of the group of the shooter. The guy can’t be a conservative to my conservative co-worker. The guy can’t be Christian to my Christian sister-in-law.

I haven’t read much about the shooter because I don’t really care. His actions speak for himself alone. It doesn’t matter if he is a liberal or conservative, Muslum or Christian.

My Thoughts…

It’s been hard, but I’ve been trying to stay less political on social media lately. I’m sure everybody’s timelines are full of political posts like mine. You probably don’t need me adding to the clutter. For the most part that means that I’ve been rather quiet on social media lately. So I’ll just vent here instead, where nobody has to read it, because who blogs anymore?

Like every Sunday, I watched the NFL games this past weekend. I thought it was great how players were kneeling and standing united. Players on both sides of the issue supporting each other. Our country needs more of this.

Since when has kneeling been disrespectful anyway? I think it’s a reasonably peaceful way to bring awareness to some of the injustices going on in our country. It’s not meant as an insult to our military.

If you don’t agree with the kneeling, then don’t kneel and move on with your life. Allowing someone to use their constitutional rights isn’t going to hurt you.

Patriotism is almost like a religion. Everybody has their own ways to show their patriotism. Some are more private other more public. Kneeling or standing doesn’t really matter. It’s what’s in your head and your hart at that time. Are you thinking of the people that fought for our country, or are you thinking about buying your next beer? That’s what really matters.

I myself would probably stand, but I’m white. I can’t know what it’s like to be black. It’s not possible. I can only try to understand, listen, and support them. It really annoys me when a white person complains about BLM. You have no right to complain because you have no idea what their lives are like.

And FUCK the blues lives matter people. NOBODY is against the cops. I can only assume these people think all black people should be shot dead in the streets right? Fuck them.

My Thoughts

I just spent the last three hours writing a post trying to make sense of Trump. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but you know what, fuck that. After seeing who is going to lead the EPA transition team, yeah…it’s going to be a long four years.

Hopefully the Democrats will grow a spine and take over the senate and/or house and we can control the damage somewhat.

Political Thoughts

So my newest coworker is very smart. He has a chemistry degree and knows his science. I was shocked to find out he doesn’t believe in global warming. How can someone who is so into science not believe in global warming? The answer, politics. It’s stupid, be global warming is one of those issues that is split down political lines. It really shouldn’t be. There is actual data and facts, but I guess when it comes to politics neither of those matter. Both sides are guilty of twisting data and facts to fit their agenda.

Although I tend to be more liberal, I try to understand the conservative points of view too. I don’t subscribe to either side. I would like all decisions made based on scientific evidence and facts. I wish there was a science party, but really, any third party is useless in out system.

I find it so hard to consume news media these days. Every outlet has their biases. It’s actually good to know what they are. People tend to consume the news media outlets that they agree with. It’s so hard to break out of your own little bubble. I’m as guilty as anybody, but I try. I actually can’t stand any tv news network. There just isn’t enough news to make a 24 hour network, so most of it is just filler garbage spreading their own agendas.

Isn’t it interesting that Fox is starting to get tougher on Trump now? He is dominating, but he isn’t the candidate that fox wants. CNN does they same thing with Hillary. They aren’t giving Bernie much of a chance just because Hillary won a bunch of Southern states that she was expected to win. CNN definitely wants Hillary. The major news network use to have a lot of pull when it came to choosing candidates, but I believe the Internet is starting to change that. Maybe not enough yet this year, but as the older people die, and more internet savvy people grow up. So many people think our country is in trouble, but I think it’s just fine. We’ll even be fine with Trump in the White House. Our checks and balances will keep him in check. We don’t need to test the system though, so make sure you vote.

Also, one interesting observation, why do we refer to the Ds by their first names, Bernie and Hillary, and the Rs by their last, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio?

Bradley Manning is a true patriot and hero

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

— Statement by Bradley Manning read after his sentancing, by his lawyer David Coombs (via mollycrabapple)

Minnesota full of Muslims?

So my Mom has a job opportunity in Salt Lake City, and her biggest worry is the Mormons. I’m kind of dumb when it comes to religion. Aren’t Mormons Christians too? My Mom also said, “well at least it’s not full of Muslims like Minnesota is”. What? I have no idea what she is talking about. According to recent polls 3% of the population subscribe to a non-Christian religion which includes Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Not quite full of Muslims. And even so, who cares?

Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a religion, but I don’t understand why different people of faith despise each other. Most of the time they believe in the same god anyway. They just have different customs and rituals to show their faith. From what I know most religions have more similarities than differences. I really should educate myself about the different world religions, but it’s usually such a boring read. Anybody know of a good book about worlds religions that isn’t boring as hell?

Maybe my Mom’s irrational fear of Minnesota becoming “full of Muslims” is because Minnesota elected the first Muslim to Congress, Keith Ellison. I think that is great. Our country is full of all types, so we should also be represented by all types.

Keith Ellison is making the news today for going off on Sean Hannity.

I found it entertaining, but I wish he would have just refused to go on the show. He called Hannity, “the worst excuse for a journalist”. Hannity really isn’t a journalist though. He is just a Fox News talking head paid to spread the Fox agenda, and should be ignored.

My not so original thoughts…

This latest school shooting has really hit me hard. I don’t know if it is because of their age, or the time of the year it’s happening. It’s probably a combination of both. This is my third attempt to blog about it, and really, I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, so I’m going to keep it short.

To the people that say now isn’t the time to talk about gun control, you are right. That time has passed long ago. How many more people are going to die before we do something? Everyday that goes by more people are dieing from gun deaths that could’ve been prevented. I’m not talking about a total ban, but some guns just shouldn’t be available to the public. There is just no reason for people to own automatic and semi-automatic guns. Would it really be the end of the world for gun owners to have to have some sort of training, and education on proper storage of their guns? I like my friend Mikey’s suggestion on treating owning guns like driving a car. Both are dangerous, so both should require proper training and education.

We need to invest more into mental health care. This is a harder topic in my opinion. People often don’t know that they need help, and people around people don’t realize they need help until often times it’s to late. It always seems obvious after the fact, but never is really that obvious.

It makes me sick to my stomach when people use tragedies like this to push their agendas. Forcing kids to pry to your god would in no way prevented this. Also, preying is not banded in school. Anybody can prey any time they want in school. Forcing everybody to prey to a certain god is not allowed. Religion is a private thing, because believe it or not, people have different believes.

I wish events like this would bring us together to sit down and rationally think it over to try and find solutions. Sadly it seems to divide our nation even more. I highly doubt anything will be done, and I can almost guarantee you there will be another school shooting this spring.

There, I got that off my chest.

Dead people can vote in North Dakota

So apparently if you vote absentee, and then die before the election, most states throw out your vote. Twenty-seven ballots have been thrown out in Minnesota this year already. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Sure if a person died before the election they wouldn’t have been able to vote, but they weren’t dead when they voted. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know that people go through and throw out people’s votes. So if a soldier, fighting for our country, gets shot dead Monday, his vote no longer matters? That just doesn’t seem right to me. If a person voted legally, it should count in my book, and in North Dakota it does.

Consider effects of ‘yes’ vote

This past Saturday there was a great letter in the opinion section of our local paper—the Fargo Forum—in regards to the upcoming marriage amendment vote in Minnesota. It totally deserves a link, and since the link will probably go bad in a week, here is the text.

By: Bernie Erickson, INFORUM

In a few weeks, Minnesotans will cast a “yes” or “no” vote that will dramatically affect marriage for thousands of people. Here are a few things your “yes” vote will and will not do:

  • Your “yes” vote will not have any effect on your current marriage or any of your future marriages.
  • Your “yes” vote will not protect your church’s right to refuse to host a religious ceremony for any couple for any number of reasons.
  • Your “yes” vote will not create better living conditions for any children in Minnesota.
  • Your “yes” vote will do nothing to curb the divorce rate or reduce domestic violence.
  • Your “yes” vote will not affect your existing employer benefits.
  • Your “yes” vote will not cause same-gender couples in committed relationships to separate.

Generally speaking, if you’re a straight person or part of an opposite-gender couple, your “yes” vote will have pretty much no effect on your life.

However, your “yes” vote will affect a number of lives in a big way. For example:

  • Your “yes” vote will ensure that the woman dying of breast cancer will have no access to the health benefits provided to her partner, the U.S. Postal Service letter carrier.
  • Your “yes” vote will ensure that the man with 20 years of military service who died in Afghanistan last week will leave no survivorship benefits for his life partner back here in the U.S. In spite of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits any military benefits be given to the partners of military personnel.
  • Your “yes” vote will ensure that the man waiting in the emergency room, whose partner of 40 years is dying of injuries sustained in an auto accident, not only has to worry about losing his life partner but also has to worry if medical personnel will allow him to make health care or end-of-life decisions.
  • Your “yes” vote will ensure that children of same-gender couples will know their family is somehow less than yours.

There’s a virtually unending list of things that could be done to strengthen marriage and families. Denying the right to marry to thousands of Minnesotans is just not one of them.

———————–

Erickson lives in south Fargo with his partner David Hamilton. They were married in Canada in 2006.

What are the limits to free speech?

So there is some anti-choice* group in town trying to spread their message. I’m all for people’s freedom of speech and their ability to spread whatever message they want. Speech that you don’t agree with is probably the hardest to defend, but it should be defended notheless. As long as your not hurting anyone, or interfering with anybody else’s rights.

This group was holding large, 4’x6′, pictures of dead babies. I tried not to look, but it was impossible not to. They situated themselves right where you had to look to make a turn at the intersection. The pictures were obviously not aborted babies. They were more like mutilated six-month-olds. Pretty disturbing stuff. There were reports of school children having problems in school after seeing the images. I think that is going to far. There are limits to free speech, and I think disturbing kids crosses that line. Does this kind of behavior really change people’s opinion on topics? I think being offensive just for the sake of being offensive makes you look ignorant and stupid, but maybe that’s just me.

I will never understand people that are hellbent on taking away the rights of others. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get one. If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t eat it. Let people live their own lives, and don’t worry about their business. Isn’t this suppose to be the land of the free?

 

*I call them anti-choise because many pro-choice people like myself are against abortion too.

Don’t let Photoshop fool you

So this image has been popping up on Facebook.

My conservative family is always looking for things to attack Obama on. They are all outraged over this — obviously photoshopped — picture of Obama using is left hand. As if using your left hand means anything different — but anyway. I noticed right away that Obama’s ring looks wrong, and then I noticed the Marine in the background. It’s so obvious that the image was reversed. I didn’t need Snopes to sniff this one out, but they did have the original image.

I don’t care where you stand politically, as long as your beliefs are based on facts. Conservatives seem to be controlled by fear, and a simple Photoshop job gets them all worked up.