Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Goodbye Facebook, Hello Life

Yesterday I realized a few things. That's what tends to happen when you spend TWELVE hours on the road with nothing to do and no one to talk to. You realize things. Like how your sweatpants have more holes in them than you thought... and that your steering wheel s grossly dirty. Unfortunately sometimes you also notice that one or more of the three 100+ lb dogs in the car has awful gas. But beyond that...

1. I care too much what everyone thinks. From family to friends, I make too many decisions based on what other people would like or expect of me. I need to knock that off.

2. For as long as I remember, I have this serious need to gain acceptance from other people. I need to knock that off.

3. It gets to me way too much when other people are disappointed in or upset with me. I mean like... if someone is mad at me, I loose sleep, I ache, I'm upset for a long, long time. I need to knock that off.

In further thinking about what I want in life, and what things I am going to commit to work on personally I decided the first step in becoming happier with myself, is to eliminate the things and people who don't matter. Not that I don't like most of the people I associate with... but, what Joe schmoe on the internet thinks shouldn't matter to me. So, what did I do? I deleted my Facebook page. Why?

1. I spend too much time messing around on Facebook and not enough time maintaining my house, spending time with the people actually IN my life, and focusing on Ruff House and Velcro Danes. Those are better ways to spend my time.

2. I don't need the arguing or the drama that comes along with Facebook.

3. Because really, why the heck not? Why keep the stupid thing? Because everyone really gives a crap where you went to lunch or what you think of the President? No.

I will probably blog a bit more than I did... because, well... I have crap to say... but for now, my life is off of Facebook. I will still put Velcro Danes stuff on the Velcro Danes page.... but personal Facebooking is over, and I figure that those who really matter and are really interested in me and I them, they'll still be there.

So, Goodbye Facebook, Hello Life.

It's kind of liberating, actually. You should try it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shootings, Guns, and Criminals

What happened today in CT is a true tragedy of the most horrific kind. Those who prey on children (and animals!) are the most disturbed of individuals. Because of which, I feel sorrow that the individual who opened fire had to live in his own mind, and that there wasn't help that was so obviously needed. I feel sad for the lives lost, and for the families that enter this holiday season with an empty void in their hearts for the loved ones lost.
When tragedy strikes, people talk. They talk about what should have been done different. They talk about how it could have been prevented. They talk about why it happened.

This time it's guns.

Shootings, particularly school shootings aren't just something I've heard about on the news. On a morning in 2001, I was in sixth grade. I went to Cajon Park Elementary, and it was just another day... until we went on lock down because someone opened fire at the high school, Santana, just a couple short blocks down the road. What does that have to do with me? Five members of my family, including both parents in the home, were on campus. I sat there at the age of eleven as my classmate's parents and siblings came and checked them out of school until I was the only one left. All I knew at that point was that of the six people living in my house, FIVE of them were on that campus, including my mother... stepdad, step brother... sister, brother.... I watched as my classmates were taken home by their families and wondered why mine had not come for me, too. My mind at that time did not comprehend that being school employees they were first taking care of the students on campus and trying to help in the chaos ensued by fear. My teacher at the time tried to tell me she was sure my family was all just fine but even at the tender age of eleven I could tell she had no idea, and there were no promises. Where were they? Why did no one come for me? Could they? Were they hurt?  Were they alive? Finally my step brother showed up for me, it was afternoon, and a couple hours had passed since every last one of my classmates had left.
I was not on campus. I did not live through the horror of watching people shot, wounded, killed. I did not have to run through the halls in the chaos. But my life HAS been very personally effected by a school shooting. I am thankful that all five members of my family made it home safely that day. I share this because I've been accused of not "understanding" the gravity of the "gun problem" our country has today due to my stance on it.

I've seen all this gun control talk today. SO many people blame legal gun ownership and want stricter rules, some even vote for the downright ban on gun ownership.

The problems in this way of thinking are plenty.

1. It follows the notions that criminals follow laws, which the very nature of being a criminal contradicts. Guns being illegal to own will not stop criminals from owning them because the reality is most gun crimes are committed by people who can not legally have them anyway!
2. It takes away the legal use of a firearm to protect yourself, your family, or your property. When these mass shootings happen it is nothing short of a tragedy. You see them on every news channel and every news website. But, rarely do the stories of the lawful use of firearms to SAVE live and protect ever make it off the the fourth page of the local newspaper. Murderers and rapists stopped, lives saved.... thanks to gun ownership.
3. I can't help but wonder if some of these people would be so quick to open fire if they KNEW that a high percentage of people were also carrying firearms... so on the flip side I can't imagine how many MORE might if they knew for sure that no one else was.... chew on that for a minute.
4. It places blame for criminals on people who are not guilty. Plenty of shootings are committed by minors. You have to be a minimum of 21 years old to own a gun in any of the 50 states of America.

The following list of prohibited persons are ineligible to own firearms under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
  • Those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors except where state law reinstates rights, or removes disability.
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution and currently containing a dangerous mental illness.
  • Non-US citizens, unless permanently immigrating into the U.S. or in possession of a hunting license legally issued in the U.S.
  • Illegal Aliens
  • Those who have renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Minors defined as under the age of eighteen for long guns and the age of twenty-one for handguns.
  • Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (an addition)
  • Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition
Those who already own firearms  required to relinquish them upon conviction.

The above list also sums up a vast majority of the people responsible for the violent crimes involving firearms or other weapons.Illegal. Unlawful. If the gun laws we already HAVE were followed then things like this wouldn't be happening. More laws isn't the answer, better attention to the ones we already have is.
Maybe better attention to mental illness and getting people treatment? Maybe better protecting our schools which seem to be where these horrors happen most? Maybe being kinder to our fellow human beings and not too self-absorbed in ourselves? I don't know what all the answers are... but I know that taking away the ability to protect ourselves isn't it.

My thoughts aren't because I don't understand the gravity of these shootings. It's not because I don't think we have a problem. 28 people lost their lives today. 20 of them were children. Innocent children whose lives had barely began. I do not overlook the tragedy of that. Something needs to change. But guns are not to blame. The sick man who [illegally] armed himself and opened fire [where it is illegal to have guns no matter what] and took these innocent lives is. No law would have saved lives today.

My heart goes out to the victim's families who instead of feeling the magic of the Holiday season are left heartbroken as they plan the funerals of loved ones taken too soon. I hope that the empathy and sorry for what happened is not lost in all of the gun debates that are sure to continue.