Nationalistic Arrogance and Ignorance Ignores a Tariff Tale

Learn of the Tariff Act of 1930

Two (2) names people today would be wise to learn:  Reed Smoot (1862-1941) and Willis Hawley (1864-1941).  Neither man was stupid, but they were products of an ignorant time that we seem heck-bent on repeating.

Since few today have the will or perhaps ability to read primary documents.  Stripping the resources, demeaning the disciplines, and demonizing those who teach history, political science, the humanities, social sciences, and liberal arts is a tool of the despot, the desperate, the insecure yet power hungry.

Since we accept a world when everyone is evil; everything is fake as decreed by the self-anointed “favorite” president; and all are jealous and out to destroy he, our voice, our protector, our savior, I’ll link a, still TLDR for many, secondary source from the year 2008.  Perhaps some will take heed of history since this writing occurred before the pillar, the US savior, arose in the election of 2016.


3 Lines from a Trump Tweet, his words not the media’s

I’m baffled.  I’m worried.

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of.”

I ask who is the United States Government?

Apparently, our government is no longer “We the People.”  We are no longer a republic where we elect individuals to represent us.

OK, we can debate who our elected officials represent.  I think big money which has been helped by the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens along with Super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups has too much influence today, but the truth is that “special interests” have always influenced our politics.  Special interests can range from criminal to movements that brought about social justice.  Both terms “criminal” and “social justice” are intentionally generic in my usage here. It’s historical fact that organized crime has put people into office, and on the other hand, who today would suggest that women should be disenfranchised?  I only use those as examples of my “generic special interests, and how they may run the gamut between good and bad.

Who is the head of the United States Government?

Apparently, it is not the person elected president by the vote in the Electoral College according to this tweet.

How is law enforcement supposed to enforce the laws on the books?

Do criminals obey the law?

Well, the second question often results in answers that are based primarily on perspective.

Isn’t it strange how a person can suggest that gun laws are worthless at protecting human life but then saw that murder of children would cease if Roe was overturned?

If only all things were simple.  Consider that at times a stop sign or a red light can be aggravating, but not obeying a basic traffic law can be tragic.  It’s hard to define common sense, but I think it is just as dangerous to have too many laws as it would be to have too few.

As my Dad used to tell me, to have real freedom we must be willing to sacrifice some freedoms for the sake of others.  It’s like being strong.  If you fail to stretch or cannot bend, then you break or snap, but stretching and bending puts you in a position temporarily where you are not at your strongest.  It’s about balance.

What is the right amount of yes and not?  I don’t know because all things aren’t that simple.

It’s the same with law enforcement.  The suspect or whomever or whatever is the subject has certain protections.  Evidence obtained may not be admissible under the law.  It’s a delicate balance and sadly we often lean to whatever suits us at the moment instead weighing each situation independently and waiting for the scales to tip in one direction or the other.

“Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal.”

I just can’t be the only person who has heard of a lawyer taping a conversation with a client.  In today’s world, I think one can assume that someone is recording what we do practically every second.  It’s no longer mysterious or science fiction (my armadillo shell hats with tin foil that protected me against space aliens and satellites all these years are ineffective against smartphones, security cameras, and microphones near and far).  In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that President Trump hinted that conversations with Mr. Comey may have been recorded.  Didn’t President Trump accuse Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower?  I doubt if any insecticides would have killed those bugs back in the Watergate Building when I was barely knee-high to a baby grasshopper.

“The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”

That line just scares me. I’m not a psychologist but a US political history person by profession and a farm boy at heart, but if you have done nothing wrong, why would you want or need to exclaim such a statement?

Isn’t the purpose of an investigation to discover the truth? These investigations (I’m lumping for simplicity) have produced several indictments and guilty pleas.  In terms of time, these investigations have been going on for a short amount of time when compared to those of a similar scope historically.   I’m confident that one can find continuing investigations into misdemeanor crimes that have been going on longer than the special counsel probe.

At this stage, Donald Trump has not been charged with anything.

He refused to release his tax returns for public review which isn’t a crime but goes against what he stated as a candidate.

He refused to allow transcribers for his talk with Vladimir Putin.  Again that’s not a crime but historically we know the long-term negative effects from when FDR met with Stalin at Tehran and Yalta, so one would think that any US President would have the sense to avoid those mistakes.

Even if one disagrees with “mistakes,” wouldn’t someone, especially “your favorite President” want a record for posterity?

The contradiction in attitude floors me, especially when the Fake News Media is the real enemy of the people. If one really believes that American news and journalism is the real enemy of the United States, why not take it out of their hands and provide the primary documents so we don’t have secondary speculation?

In my opinion, the lines between journalism, opinion, and entertainment have been blurred.  Often it is hard to distinguish what is what.  We don’t have people like Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite who I am old enough to have a passing memory.  The local run small town newspaper is an enterprise gasping for its last breath which I think is a tragedy.

We do, however, have local beat reporters for your local news stations.  I’ve been friends with some great ones in different areas where I have lived.  I don’t know them personally, but I’ve met a few reporters with our DC affiliates.

Many local anchors are also journalists and not pundits or entertainers.  I think we have two of the best in my local market with Alison Starling of WJLA and Leon Harris of WRC.

With network and cable networks, I think we have some true reporters and journalists.  Off the top of my head, individuals such as Peter Alexander of NBC, David Muir, Pierre Thomas, and Cecilia Vega of ABC, John King, Dana Bash, and Kaitlyn Collins of CNN, Chris Wallace of FOX, Leslie Stahl and Major Garrett of CBS come to mind.

There are many others. It’s just too easy to confuse pundits and editorials for actual reporting.

I yearn for my childhood days when Mr. Phil Johnson would make it purposely clear what was news reporting and what was the editorial opinion on the WWL-TV news.

A free press isn’t an enemy unless freedom is the enemy.

If you have nothing to hide, then you should not be terrified of the truth.  The truth can be scary.  The truth might not be what we want to hear.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

President Trump isn’t alone in disagreement with that command, many politicians are in the same boat he is navigating, but he is supposed to be the Leader of the Free World.


Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care Dr. Vicky Wong Review

Last year I decided to try a different practitioner for my routine annual eye exam and this year had my second appointment with the same optometrist.  A few months following my initial appointment, my wife had her annual exam last year with the same practitioner. The practice is Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, and our appointments were with Vicki Wong, OD.

For those who are not among my regular readers, I’m a professor of US Political and Southern History by trade and a barefooted boy from the fields of the Hungarian Settlement, Louisiana, which is a rural community in Livingston Parish.  I have been blessed with what I’ll term excellent eyesight, but there is a strong history of diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and other conditions in my immediate family.  Thus, I spent considerable time observing and listening to different optometrists including low vision specialists, ophthalmologists and other MDs in subfields such as vitreoretinal medicine.  Shortly after I began graduate school, I had an appointment with an ophthalmologist who had been a student of one of my Dad’s specialists.  He performed his initial examination so thoroughly that I later joked that he climbed inside my eye.  Even during my doctoral work, I would travel down to Baton Rouge for routine vision appointments and could contact him directly for assistance when pollen levels affected my eyes to a degree that I had not experienced prior.

I type that because the only corrective lenses I have used are the non-Rx over-the-counter minimum magnification readers.  It surprises many, but because of my professional field I have used these types of glasses for maybe 20 years.  That was another benefit of my early visits to this younger ophthalmologist.  He understood that I often encounter faded handwriting in my research along with fine print that I suspect fleas would need to magnify.  He told me it was natural to have difficulty seeing some of what I read and not to worry about the need to magnify specific source materials when there was no change in how well I saw other documents or things in general. (Be at ease because I won’t bore you by pondering the proverbial if could fleas read philosophic ramblings).

To clarify, even with my vision, I feel that I have enough experience to differentiate between not just bad and good eye exams, but also those that are thorough by the practitioner.  Keep in mind, however, that my opinions and observations here are through the lens of a patient.  My field is not healthcare, and I have never worked in any aspect of the eyecare industry.

Let’s start with the review:

I was impressed by Dr. Wong during my initial visit, and she earned my confidence in her abilities as an OD along with a genuine respect for her as a professional.  As noted, following my first visit, my wife had her annual exam with Dr. Wong last year, and I was returning patient this year.  Hopefully unneeded marriage advice, but be confident about your commendations when you choose to recommend someone to your spouse.

I’ll detail the reasons for my opinion about Dr. Wong later in this essay, but I want to begin with the practice for which she works.  While I’m not an established Marylander, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care is an established practice in this area.  According to their website, the practice dates back to the year 1964 and moved to its present location off of Shady Grove Road in the year 1998.  You can read a brief summation of practice history along with that of Drs. Harold and Alan Glazier at the link below.

I do not know Dr. Alan Glazier and did not converse with him during my visits to his practice.  During my initial visit last April, I did observe him interact with one of his patients, a young man of who appeared to be of high school age.  Obviously, I wasn’t privy to their conversation, but it appeared to be relaxed yet professional amongst the doctor, patient, and who I assume was the young man’s mother.  My impression was that all seemed comfortable with each other, and I’m of that school where I think communication is key to any type of relationship.  It’s a two-way street, and both doctor and patient in this case share the responsibility.  I saw a mutual conversation and not a lecture and that is something I want, respect, and honestly need with any medical office.

For readers who are not in the Montgomery County area of Maryland or the Washington, DC, suburbs and exurbs and will likely not be visiting this practice for yourself, I encourage you to take a gander at their website because it may prove useful regardless of where you reside. If you click on the “News” heading in the top menu, there are a number of brief but informative and easy-to-read pieces written by Dr. Glazier within the subtopics of “Eye Resources,” “Common Eye Problems,” “Eye Care,” “Eye Health,” and “News.”  I’ve provided direct links below.

If in the future I would have a desire to conduct some oral history interviews about eye health, the care, and practice related to such, then Alan Glazier would be an individual with whom I would like to connect.  I have little doubt that such an interview would be informative, but I suspect that it would also be enjoyable based solely upon my brief observation, personal experience at his practice, and a cursory perusal of his writings.  One of my mantras is that attitude reflects leadership, and this practice of his exudes a positive and professional vibe.

This part of my review may not be the actual division of the practice as it exists, but I viewed the office as an interesting mix of retail and medical.  That observation is not a criticism.

At my initial visit to the practice, I wondered if I entered the correct office because it looked like the layout one might find at a bookstore or coffee shop.  Comfortable couches and other furnishings that do not give that vibe of a medical waiting room greet anyone walking through the door I entered.  As I expanded my view, I noticed the eyeglass frames displayed on the walls with workers at what I’ll term generically as fitting stations.  To the right near the center of the room is a circular station with multiple workers where patients check in.  Fortunately for me, one of the workers at this station saw me enter and called out asking how she could help me.  In no way am I suggesting any problems with the layout, but it is different from walking up to a sliding glass window or receptionist desk and signing your name to a piece of paper on a clipboard before being recognized.  It’s different from the chain eyeglass businesses where one tends to see the “check-in service” desk immediately.

I had completed the “new patient” forms online from their website.  At the location I merely reviewed a print out for accuracy, had my ID and insurance cards copied, and gave the individual checking me in a two-page document where I summarized my unique vestibular condition, the purpose for a couple of Rx drugs first prescribed by specialists at Johns Hopkins since I do not take these medications for the conditions for which they are most commonly prescribed, and a more detailed outline of my vision health and family history than asked for on the patient forms.  It was a quick and easy appointment check-in, some friendly banter about my accent (I reckon that my Louisiana boy self sounds to Marylanders just like some of these East Coasters sound to my ears), an offer of refreshments, and directions to have a seat in that center area amidst the frames.  The check-in for the second appointment was just as easy.

Both of my appointments were point on schedule, and my wife’s appointment was less than five minutes past the scheduled time which I consider as “on time” in a medical setting.  My impression is that few patients will experience even minor delays of less than 15 minutes, and only in rare circumstances will any patient encounter an extended wait.  For example, with any medical facility the practitioner may need to care for an emergency and doing so will throw everything behind schedule.  Personally, I want that type of focus in medical practices of which I am a patient.  Even if I’m the patient waiting, I’m still not the person in need of emergency care.  Needing emergency care is a far greater inconvenience than merely waiting for something routine.  I have no way of knowing firsthand, but I feel confident that I could see Dr. Wong without an appointment if I had an eye-related emergency.  Depending upon the degree of emergency, I suspect a patient would probably be directed to any of the practitioners available in the office at that time.

For the first appointment, I had arrived about 20 minutes prior to my appointment in case of additional paperwork, but I only waited about 10 minutes before being called by a technician.  Once on the other side of that circular station, it looked like a medical practice with various testing equipment visible along with some examination rooms.

The technician was friendly, and the testing equipment appeared to be modern, well maintained, and clean.  Even though things looked clean, she wiped the machines prior to my placing my chin into the little placeholders.  I liked that she explained the purpose of each test and described what I would see or experience with the test prior to beginning.

As most readers here know firsthand, the routine tests for a “normal” eye exam aren’t difficult for a patient.  They’re quick and pain free.  Even the “awkward” puff of air has more bark than bite or breeze than gale force to keep expressions in theme, but for me at least it’s reassuring to hear exactly what will happen in terms of air puffs, flashes of light, and even what you will be looking at when it’s your eye in close proximity to anything.  The technician did a good job, and one thing that I’ll note is that she encouraged me to blink.  To some that might seem minor, but I’ve seen some technicians and medical practitioners in the eye health area appear to get frustrated if the patient blinks.  I’ve had others who perhaps unknowingly start a sound loop of “don’t blink, keep your eyes open” which for me triggers a blink.  At Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care everything took place at a comfortable pace.

After the tests, the technician directed me to some seating on the “medical” side of the office and said that Dr. Wong would be with me shortly.  In less than 5 minutes, the technician directed me into a small examination room.  I had just settled myself comfortably into “the chair” when Dr. Wong appeared and introduced herself.

Now I had researched both the practice and the practitioners there, so I had an idea about how Dr. Wong looked and more importantly had a familiarity with her educational background and professional interests.   In addition to the brief bio on the practice website linked at the beginning, you can learn a little more about Dr. Wong from this introduction video linked below.

Another representation of Dr. Wong as a professional can be heard in this short video from New Grad Optometry where she was one of several attendees of what I believe was the 2016 International Vision Expo Conference who discussed some professional challenges.

Her video is linked below.

My experience as department chair along with observations of some of the distinct challenges that my wife faces as a younger professional woman provides me with some additional insight into the points made by Dr. Wong in this video presentation.  Some may disagree with me, but I do believe that a young professional woman may and often faces a few additional challenges than I have faced.

Here, I’m only referring to those encounters where a patient in this situation or a student in higher education doubts or questions the competency of the professor or practitioner based upon superficial perceptions.  Dr. Wong enjoys a youthful appearance, and is a woman who I think is very attractive.  Of course, those characteristics have zero to do with her ability or competence, but those aspects like so many others make everyone’s experiences unique even within the same environment.

Please don’t read more into the above.  I’m only stating that I have seen some women have their professional abilities at times overlooked because some in society place an additional focus on outward appearance.  Of course, an appeal, trust, or even reliance upon our personal confirmation bias isn’t limited to appearance, gender, race, or any single group.  We all have our own obstacles and advantages, and I hope that we as a society can view those specifically to an individual and not across generic groupings.

I did not look at the dates of her medical degrees or think to ask, but I would guess that Dr. Wong has been in practice somewhere in the ballpark of five (5) years.  I equate what I experienced in the office to what I felt at about the five-year period of teaching and what I’ve observed from my faculty at the same stage in their careers.  It’s a fun stage of professional life because you remember your training as a student, assistant, intern, or resident like it was yesterday, but now you are discovering how to apply yourself to what you learned.

My second appointment the other day confirmed my initial impressions even though I failed to ask how long it’s been since she graduated. While this appointment was not as thorough as my first since I did not have my eyes dilated, Dr. Wong appeared more “experienced.”  Do not take that observation as a criticism because at both appointments she was professional and confident.  I just felt like I saw more of her personality shining through.  The reasons for my perception are endless, but I know from my experience that she has voyaged beyond that “once, twice, thrice” cycle where it begins to feel natural to display both training and experience simultaneously without cognitive effort.  Perhaps, I saw the personality because I was a returning patient and not new.  Maybe it’s because I had my 10-year-old son with me for this appointment.  I don’t know the reason I mentioned “experienced,” but I feel that Dr. Wong is progressing professionally and will continue to improve at her craft.  Succinctly, she has not reached her apex as an OD.

Regardless of profession, I think we all experience similar transitions as we progress in fields.  With Dr. Wong, I respect her as a professional and I also like her as a person.  While I do not “need” to like someone personally to respect them, I find that a positive feeling decreases stress and anxiety.  When it comes to medical relationships, I personally do not need any additional stress.

I recommend the medical side of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care to everyone.  You will receive appropriate and professional care from the optometrists and technicians in my opinion.  While I do not have firsthand experience, I feel that a patient would receive the proper referrals to an ophthalmologist, other specialists, or MD if necessary.  Dr. Wong knows the signs of conditions that are outside the realm of those in her specific area and is humble enough to not view herself as some self-anointed expert in every aspect of healthcare or vision care.  I asked plenty of specific and generic questions about eye health during my initial exam, and she handled herself as good as any I’ve met in her profession and better than many. There is an ophthalmologist with the practice according to the website, but I have not seen this individual during my visits.

An opinion of what I term “the retail” side of the practice is harder to discern.  It’s more difficult because the patient is in some respects more “consumer” than patient.  As a patient, my primary desire is competency.  Both needs and wants tend to broaden as a consumer.  Also, the focus is not upon service only but also tangible goods on this side of the business.

The frames displayed appear to be high quality and among what are the latest fashions and most popular styles judging from the marketing materials.  I suspect that the lenses offered reflect the most recent advancements in their craftsmanship.  Naturally, the price of the “latest and greatest” will be higher than older or more generic options.

If I were someone who had a complex Rx that required progressive lenses or unique medical aspects, I would most certainly look closely at the offerings at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care.  Likewise, if I wanted the latest in styles, I could probably find something that I wanted here.

For some folks, however, the fit may not be the best match.  To clarify, I’ll try to explain via some comparisons.  If your computer usage is limited to a word processor and web surfing, you do not need chips like an AMD Ryzen Threadripper or 18-core Intel I-9.  Those would be overkill for your needs.  I would love to have a need, excuse, or the bucks to buy something like the Massey Ferguson 6700 tractor I saw recently on TV; heck I wish I had a need for the ole Farmall Cub tractors Grandpa had back on the farm.  Historical muscle memory has me leaning to the right to see the ground past the steering wheel. (Note: my favorite tractors were the post-WWII configuration where seat and steering wheel were offset to the right to enable a clear view of the ground).  Residing in exurbia, however, I do not have the need for any type of tractor.

What I’m saying is that there is nothing wrong with the style of a classic Rolls or modern sports car; sometimes you need the power of a modified V8, but sometimes any running vehicle will get you where you need to be.  Sometimes walking or public transit has its advantages.

For me, the eyeglass offerings at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care are not a good match.  I’m lucky enough where I can find something to meet my wants and needs “off the rack,” but others may want or need the precise fit or look that a tailor can provide.

For example, my wife who has worn glasses for many years described her experience with picking glasses from this practice smooth and easy.  She liked the feel of her old glasses and asked the young lady assisting her for frames that were similar.  The employee directed my wife to one display, and she went to another.  My wife picked out two pairs, and the young lady came back to the fitting station with about four pairs.  Very quickly, they removed two pairs from the collection for different reasons and were down to three or four potentials.  Nose bridge didn’t feel right on one, but the overall fit felt better.  Her technician listened and retrieved what may have been last year’s model of that frame which had a different nose bridge.

My advice is to check out the “retail” section but realize that you have the power to walk away if the match isn’t there.  Walking away may mean to try another technician or going to another establishment.  The technicians have diverse personalities and tastes, so I think someone’s experiences might be as different as night and day.  If you sit in that central area while waiting for your exam, you cannot avoid hearing the interactions between technicians and people trying to purchase.  With some, it does sound like a used car salesperson pushing a specific model or package.  Others had personalities that seemed a better match for me personally.

If you have a negative experience with a specific technician, I recommend speaking to your optometrist about what happened.  I do not know the establishment’s chain of command, that is whether an office manager exists, but I know that the practitioners are a good resource.  Obviously, Dr. Glazier is the owner of the establishment and would be the “final voice” inside his business, but I would speak to whoever was your OD if they were available.

Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care can serve the medical needs of most and the practitioners there should be able to provide necessary referrals to specialists when needed.  I will continue to patronize the establishment and will recommend it and Dr. Vicky Wong.

If you are comfortable with your current eye doctor but have difficulty finding the “perfect” corrective lenses or frames, you might want to give the “retail” side of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care a look.  At worst, you lose some time.  If you are comfortable with “off the rack” with limited special needs you might not find anything new in terms of retail.

With the quality of the exams, I think most will be satisfied.  With Dr. Vicky Wong, I think most will leave thinking that they have met a qualified and sincere practitioner.

A final thought for those “old school.”

If you are there just for an exam and feel out of place waiting in the “coffee shop” styled area listening to the talk about frames and lenses, I suggest just taking a seat over on the medical side about 20 steps or so from the machinery or if that area is congested there is a little hallway on the other side of building that has a couple of chairs and televisions.  I just feel more comfortable on that side, but I am sort of “old school” LouisianaBoy.

I’ll be seeing you (yep, bad pun intended) as I hope to return to more regular postings in the coming months.  Thanks to all who have inquired about “what’s up?”  Life does change with children and international adoption adds layers to the degrees of change.  It’s been stressful.  It’s been relaxing.  I’ve wanted to yell.  I’ve smiled and laughed more than I ever imagined possible.

Admittedly, it felt odd being the father on Father’s Day when it was the first Father’s Day after Dad passed away back in Louisiana while I was overseas.  It’s new.  It can be scary at times.  Even the mundane, however, have become adventures.

We’re wrapping up with paying off the bills related to international adoption such as the airfare and such.  I’ll include the Paypal link here because most readers will be local and many continue to ask about what we “need.”

For people who happened to find this review in a search engine, there are no obligations or conditions to read this or other entries.  If you choose to comment, I ask for civilness and no vulgarity.  Disagreements and discussions, however, are welcome.  Again, I do not reap any financial compensation from this blog, and I doubt if I’ll ever see another AdSense check from the cat fountain video on YouTube.  I just offer my opinions and like to keep the big lump on top of my shoulders from becoming more empty than it is.  I also like to patronize local businesses who at their core are the “Mom and Pop” style establishments that played such a role in my upbringing.

3 Outdated Gun Measures and no the 2nd Amendment isn’t One

Society has gone nuts. Suddenly our lives are binary, either / or, you are with us or against us. I say BS.

I’m going to pitch a hanging curveball for either side to hit out of the park. For gun control, and to protect the 2nd Amendment, how about if we REPEAL specific restrictions about guns? No, I don’t believe that repealing 3 measures that have been enacted from the years 1996 to the present will solve all the problems. I’m just hoping that giving both sides a half inning, we might move forward in the game of life.

Rest assured that 1996 is not a typo. I’m not advocating a repeal or any changes to the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment became part of our Constitution back in the year 1791. I’m suggesting repealing 3 firearm measures that became law beginning 205 years after the ratification of the 2nd Amendment.

These 3 actions occurred after I turned 18, and I had graduated from high school where my friends and I kept firearms in our vehicles parked on school grounds. It seems like everyone argues in favor of the “olden” days when things apparently weren’t “Crazy.” Obviously, violence is not new, but I’m just asking if your or my 2nd Amendment rights were being violated prior to these statutes?

Our rights were violated is the argument today. That is the legal interpretation of the SCOTUS decision in Heller back in the year 2008 which changed the previous 217 years of precedent. Even with that decision, I think more people should read the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Opinion of the Court more carefully.

Supreme Court rulings have changed legal interpretations. I’m not suggesting a challenge to that SCOTUS ruling. In fact, I am supporting the idea that a gun is a tool. Guns are powerful and can be deadly, but other tools can kill as well. I’m stating that by repealing these 3 measures that guns will receive similar treatment to practically any other tool.

Let’s repeal:

1) The Dickey Amendment that is part of Public Law 104–208 which passed in 1996.

I know that the recently passed Omnibus funding bill makes alterations to Dickey, so please spare me that argument.

What the omnibus doesn’t address, however, is that for those adjustments to mean anything then the Tiahrt Amendments need to be addressed so:

2) The Tiahrt Amendment that became attached permanently to DOJ Appropriations in fiscal year 2007. It began as a rider to DOJ Appropriations in fiscal year 2003. One can easily look up DOJ Appropriations for any year which I encourage readers to do.

Unfamiliar and don’t want to read dry appropriations documents?

Here, I’ll just link 2 pieces about Tiahrt from different perspectives, Gifford Law Center and NRA-ILA.

It’s true that Congresses since the 110th which made Tiahrt a permanent attachment have passed subsequent legislation altering its original scope. Still, nobody seems to agree about what information can and cannot be obtained because of the quagmire. Let’s just repeal this rider.

3) 15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 enacted into law in 2005.

I know, the avoidance of lawsuits and burdening our court system is a given and ready argument. It’s true that other industries have similar, although more limited protections. I’m not denying that fact. I’m just suggesting that guns be treated the same as other tools. If used properly, they are helpful and if used improperly they can have devastating consequences.

Please consider:

The Dickey Amendment technically did not ban gun research, only advocacy. Its real goal and one it easily achieved was to scare federal agencies into thinking twice about even collecting data that might reflect badly on gun ownership.

Tiahrt prevents the opportunity for the public to experience and demand newer technology. It limits the effectiveness of laws on the books by handcuffing law enforcement. It prevents the release of necessary data to conduct legitimate research upon which to base rational arguments.

15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 affords the gun industry specific protections that other industries do not have. Others have some protections, but not to the same degree and scope as firearms.

Remember that I’m not suggesting touching the 2nd Amendment, the modern legal interpretation, or adding any new laws. I’m proposing doing away with changes enacted in 1996, 2003 (became permanent in 2007), and 2005.

  • If we have the 2nd Amendment?
  • If as some contend the right to bear arms is a natural right that existed before the 2nd Amendment?
  • Why do we need these measures that were enacted just in the last 22 years?

Let’s Repeal Newer Gun Legislation, Not the 2nd Amendment

Unfortunately, I could not make it down to DC for the March last Saturday. I did, however, watch a lot of the events on News Channel 8 which is a sister station of WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington D.C. I do not know these students, but they made me proud. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with their positions, I think these young people should be praised and not chastised or in some cases vilified. Yes, they had assistance with organizing. Who doesn’t need help with an operation of that size or one in a distant community?

On the local news, I saw a group of Moms from my area who helped find lodging with volunteer families for many students. Local vendors provided items and services at discounted rates and many donated their goods and services. I know that some airlines allowed groups to charter jets. Robert Kraft provided a Patriot aircraft for transportation. I have not seen any reports, but I suspect that teachers helped prepare speeches.

At the very least give credit to the young people who delivered remarks on stage. Public speaking has always been fear for many people, and how many of us have stood before so many people to speak into a microphone. I even agree with Rick Santorum because I hope these young people are learning CPR back in their communities.

I’ll disagree with Mr. Santorum because I believe that the young people participating in the various marches were engaged in active learning. More importantly, they were demonstrating what it means to be human. They care. It’s sad to me that many critics under the veil of our Constitution belittle these young individuals. Somehow the critics must have forgotten the idea that we are all supposed to have the same rights.

Let us all think back to the times when we were kids or teens in school. If you’re anything like me, I imagine that at least once you have thought or remarked that “THIS IS CRAZY” upon hearing the latest episode of school violence, violence in your or any community for that matter, or some shooting be it an individual, a mass shooting, or even some unintentional discharge resulting in the loss of life. For these young people, FOR OUR KIDS, this is their NORMAL not in a foreign land but here in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. These “crazy” events happen in urban areas, in rural communities, suburbia, exurbia, and the sticks. It’s nuts. Regardless of where one stands on the “gun control” / “gun rights” debate, we should all agree that what’s happening in our country today in terms of violence needs to stop.

How to stop the violence. How to stop the bullying. Those are questions that we need to talk about together. We need to communicate with one another and stop shouting without listening. From my observations, that’s what these young people are really advocating. They don’t have all the answers just like my generation doesn’t have all the answers. They’re just the ones who have spent their entire lives with this “NEW NORMAL.” Folks, Enough is Enough.

I see these 15 minutes of fame pundits (well it’s more like 15 hours thanks to all the social media) asserting that these young people have no real plans of action or are too focused on what are just artificial scapegoats in guns and the NRA. They say the students neglect the root causes of society.

I call BS.

Look, I don’t think firearms are the sole reason for the violence and discord.

I’ve seen all these social media memes, listened to pundits, and read some well-researched arguments about how guns aren’t the issue. All relevant points and I do believe that the core of the gun violence problems/school discipline problems / poor worker attitude / poor supervisor or management attitude / seemingly fewer manners / seemingly less common courtesy / just a general lack of respect / etc., etc., etc., is society in general.

That said, take your pick as to what aspects of society. It could be bad parenting, being too lenient or soft, pushing people beyond a breaking point, television, video games, social media, and so on, and so on, and so on.

I don’t know, and I don’t have a solution.

Well, I do have a means to a solution which is everyone putting aside their egos and biases for real discussions and then working together on what is practically an infinite number of problems. Many of these problems are unique to that location so a single answer isn’t the right answer everywhere. I just know that nothing will change if we insist on talking at one another instead of with one another. I can’t be alone in my repetition of that belief.

Yesterday I heard the argument that these students and people like me should care more about abortion because more lives are lost there.


Here, I’m not typing about abortion. I’m not typing about repression or an individual’s right of control over their own body. I’m not typing about “pro-life” being equated with “pro-birth.” I’m not typing about the unborn.

I’m most certainly not SHAMING any woman. I’m most certainly not disparaging the March For Life.

I asked the critic. What besides overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood do you propose to stop abortions?

I didn’t hear anything about the complex societal or social problems that might contribute to abortions. What about the cost of health care or other issues of poverty for example? Aside from being more “pro-life,” SCOTUS, Planned Parenthood and intimidating or demeaning young girls and women, I honestly feel challenged to think about what else this critic felt could or should be done. This exchange was like so many others of which I’ve heard or been a part.

Support adoption?

I’m obviously pro-adoption. If I wasn’t then I would not be an adoptive father. I can also talk your ear off about how difficult it is to adopt a child. If a biological parent had to complete all the paperwork, undergo all the background checks, provide details about one’s life in every state where one has lived since the age of 18, various safety inspections of one’s home, all the references, and then take a financial hit from closing retirement benefits accrued at a previous job in another state, I truly believe that the number of unwanted or unintentionally pregnancies would drop significantly which might in turn reduce the number of abortions.

I got off topic and repetitive, but can people just agree that many of the issues that lead to abortions are the same as issues that lead to violence?

Back to the point:

As a Professor of US Political and Southern History, I can argue about interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. Admittedly I believe that the legal interpretation during 217 years of precedent from ratification in the year 1791 until the SCOTUS decision in Heller is more accurate than the new legal interpretation we have had for about the past 10 years. Your opinion may differ.

I’m certainly not anti-gun. As a rural farm boy in South Louisiana, I often had my .22 rifle in my truck when I drove to school. Most friends had shotguns or rifles in their trucks as well. Unlike them, I did not hunt, but I encountered my fair share of cottonmouths and copperheads out on the water fishing or running my lines. None of us ever thought about using a firearm on campus. A gun is a tool. Too much power is just as dangerous as too little power. For example, it would have been asinine for me to use that .22 or my Glock if for some reason I went deer hunting or knew that I might encounter a large nuisance gator. Likewise, if I used my 30/06 to take out a field mouse running toward the berry fields instead of the woods while I was bush hogging or baling hay that would have been stupid as well.

I agree that criminals do not obey laws.

I’ll also argue that laws are necessary in a free society. It’s true that to have freedom one must sacrifice freedom. Discipline isn’t an enemy. It’s the extremes that we need to fear, and a proper balance that we must strive to obtain. That’s what our Founding Fathers accomplished with the drafting and ratification of our Constitution. We aren’t a monarchy. We aren’t a democracy. We are a Republic.

I do think certain laws are needed. Old ones need to be enforced and in some cases, new ones need to be written and adopted. I get frustrated if I must wait for a red light, but I wouldn’t want to drive where every intersection is a 4-way stop or involves a round-a-bout. It’s scary to think of an America today without traffic signals. When it comes to guns, however, any mention of a law seems to lead to nothing but arguments.

I have my ideas about reforms, but I’m going to pitch a hanging curveball for either side to hit out of the park. For gun control, how about if we REPEAL specific restrictions about guns.

No, I’m not advocating a repeal or any changes to the 2nd Amendment. I lack both the eloquence and knowledge of retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

For those criticizing Justice Stevens, he did not suggest the confiscation of guns. He understands, better than most of us, that the repeal of an amendment requires a new amendment to be ratified. Unlike most of us walking the planet today, he witnessed the only time in US history when such an action happened. I do not know his intent, but I read his Op-Ed as another attempt to facilitate rational discussion based upon the facts today and historical precedent.

YES, I said REPEAL some restrictions, and restrictions that only became enacted since I became an adult.

With this proposal, guns would be considered just like other tools. Guns are powerful and can be deadly, but so can several tools or “modern” conveniences/tools such as automobiles.

If I recall my statistics accurately, the National Center for Health found that the likelihood of death due to an incident with any motor vehicle is approximately 1 in 100. For comparison sake, the chance of death from cancer or heart disease is something like 1 in 6. The chance of death from a foreign-born terrorist is in the ballpark of 1 in 45,000 while suicide or poisoning (including overdoses) is in the 1 in 100 range.

The chance of death due to an assault with a gun is about 1 in 300+.

In other words, there are certainly things more likely to result in death or injury than firearms and things less likely such as being dying as a victim of a cataclysmic storm which is about 1 in 66,000. I knew people who died because of all the conditions or events typed above, and I mourned those who passed regardless of how. A life is still a life, and a death is still a death. Whether one (1) or ten thousand (10,000), humankind is affected and thus am I and you because we are part of humankind.

Keeping those general statistics in mind, let’s repeal 3 statutes that our system codified in “modern” times.

These happened after I turned 18, and I had graduated from high school where my friends and I kept firearms in our vehicles parked on school grounds. It seems like everyone argues in favor of the “olden” days when things apparently weren’t “Crazy.”

Obviously, violence is not new, but I’m just asking if your or my 2nd Amendment rights were being violated prior to these statutes that I suggest we repeal to at the very least start over from those “olden” days when my generation walked the schools as students?

  1. The Dickey Amendment that is part of Public Law 104–208 which passed in 1996.

Yes, repeal a law that has only been on the books for 22 years. I know that the recently passed Omnibus funding bill makes alterations to Dickey, so please spare me that argument.

What the omnibus doesn’t address, however, is that for those adjustments to mean anything then the Tiahrt Amendments need to be addressed so:

  1. The Tiahrt Amendment that became attached permanently to DOJ Appropriations in the fiscal year 2007. It began as a rider to DOJ Appropriations in the fiscal year 2003. One can easily look up DOJ Appropriations for any year which I encourage readers to do.

Here, I’ll just link 2 pieces about Tiahrt from different perspectives, Gifford Law Center and NRA-ILA.

Yes, repeal something that first appeared in 2003 or 15 years ago. It’s true that Congresses since the 110th which made Tiahrt a permanent attachment have passed subsequent legislation altering its original scope. Still, nobody seems to agree about what information can and cannot be obtained because of the quagmire.

Let’s just repeal Tiahrt.

  1. 15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 enacted into law in 2005.

Yes, repeal a law that has been on the books for less than 13 years. I know, the avoidance of lawsuits and burdening our court system is a given. Other industries do have similar, although more limited protections. I’m not denying that fact.

Yet, just compare the industry often used to “prove” the argument that this law is necessary for the firearms industry. Remember this protection only began at the federal level in 2005 or 214 years following the ratification of the 2nd Amendment.

The automobile industry:

Can you imagine today if buyers of cars today were anti-safety instead of anti-regulation? If not for the threat of liability and regulations, seatbelts would not have been mandated and standardized in 68. State’s would not have passed laws requiring usage. Air bags would not have been required for all cars since 1998. Manufacturers would not have experimented with and marketed safety mechanisms such as crumple zones and anti-lock brakes.

Today, people would not seek out additional safety features such as:

  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB):
  • Forward-collision warning (FCW):
  • Blind-spot warning (BSW):
  • Rear cross-traffic warning: Visual, audible, or haptic notification of object or vehicle out of rear camera range, but could be moving into it.
  • Rear automatic emergency braking (Rear AEB): Brakes are automatically applied to prevent backing into something behind the vehicle. This could be triggered by the rear cross-traffic system, or other sensors on the vehicle.
  • Lane-departure warning (LDW):
  • Lane-keeping assist (LKA):
  • Lane-centering assist: Continuous active steering to stay in between lanes (active steer, autosteer, etc.)
  • Adaptive cruise control: Adaptive cruise uses lasers, radar, cameras, or a combination of these systems to keep a constant distance between you and the car ahead, automatically maintaining a safe following distance. If highway traffic slows, some systems will bring the car to a complete stop and automatically come back to speed when traffic gets going again, allowing the driver to do little more than pay attention and steer.

Sure, some of those technologies work far better than others. There’s always room for improvement, but most of that list are things developed after the year 2005. What if firearms saw similar advancement during that same period?

Think about it. The number of deaths due to vehicle accidents is lower today than it was prior to my birth. Does anyone really think the reason for the drop is less cars on the roads or better and less distracted drivers?

Why can’t gun manufacturers do the same as car manufacturers? Again this law providing additional protections for the gun industry passed 214 years after the ratification of the 2nd Amendment.

Remember that I’m not suggesting touching the 2nd Amendment, the modern legal interpretation, or adding any new laws. I’m proposing doing away with changes enacted in 1996, 2003 (became permanent in 2007), and 2005.

Please consider:

The Dickey Amendment technically did not ban gun research, only advocacy. Its real goal and one it easily achieved, was to scare federal agencies into thinking twice about even collecting data that might reflect badly on gun ownership.

Tiahrt prevents the opportunity for the public to experience and demand newer technology. It limits the effectiveness of laws on the books by handcuffing law enforcement. It prevents the release of necessary data to conduct legitimate research upon which to base rational arguments.

15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 affords the gun industry-specific protections that other industries do not have. Others have some protections, but not to the same degree and scope as firearms.

Perhaps you might not care about possible technological advancements in safety, but this law also affects your pocketbook. Sure prices have increased for practically everything except for our paychecks, but seriously look at what the cost difference for essentially the same firearm is today than it was back when we were the age of the students Marching For Our Lives. Now think about the cost of ammo from back in those “good ole days” to now.

Could it be that the gun lobby has too much power?

Is the NRA really protecting 2nd Amendment rights or their financial interests? Prior to the Harlon Carter takeover of the NRA in 1977, I would have said that the NRA sought safe and proper usage of all firearms as its primary mission. Please don’t take my word, research for yourself how the organization has changed since the events that occurred in 1977.

Today, I see the organization as one that limits innovation, research, and in fact, advocated and succeeded in banning more weapons than Barack Obama managed as President. Yes, I know about the state law in Massachusetts, but that is a single state. The Armatix may not have been the right choice for everyone, but it should have at least been a choice.

Please in what type of sanity is a .22 deemed more dangerous and threatening to one’s safety than say a .500 S&W Magnum or an AR-15? Sure all can kill, but which has more force or the ability to fire the greatest number of rounds in the shortest amount of time.

One just cannot cross the NRA without suffering the consequences. Public opinion is to the point where one does not even feel the emptiness in their pocketbook because they want to believe the message at any costs.

Consider the case of Smith & Wesson when the company announced a move to increase gun safety in 2000.

Perhaps you don’t agree with these students marching. That’s your right just as they have the right to march. These children are our future. Agree or disagree at least they are attempting to create dialogue. I think we have many complex issues that need to be addressed. I don’t have all the answers, but I think we need to communicate and at least try to work together. If you feel threatened by these students, perhaps the problem is looking you in the mirror. If you feel it necessary to belittle or ridicule these young people, then what hope to do we have as a country?

Don’t accept what you want to hear as the truth, especially when the information comes from big money. Do some research and learn about the past which is filled with both mistakes and accomplishments.

I’m proud of the young people speaking out and saying that Enough is Enough.

NRA response to Parkland shootings disgusting and Trump’s would-be machismo makes him even more of a laughingstock

Louisiana Voice

I’ve deliberately put LouisianaVoice on hold since the horrendous events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in order to try and let my emotions level off somewhat. That’s because I couldn’t really write how I feel about the NRA, the failure of law enforcement to read the signs, and the incredibly simplistic and idiotic reactions of our Coward-in-Chief, who would have us believe, in hindsight, that he would have tried to save the day had he just been there.

You see, I have seven grandchildren, five of whom are in public schools (the other two are in college). I also have two daughters who are teachers. So, whenever I hear about a Columbine or a Sandy Hook or Parkland, it becomes very personal—and emotional—to me.

So, before it even gets to that point, don’t bother trying to label me as some sort of idealistic liberal who wants to take you…

View original post 1,937 more words

Please God I’m 16 and Didn’t Try to Get Murdered

You didn’t know me, and I never met you. Still, you act like I need to apologize to you because I died.

I don’t think you understand, but I wasn’t ready to die.

I experienced what I once read, seemingly a long time ago, maybe yesterday, perhaps this morning, from a Dear Abby column that Mom or possibly Dad put on the door of the refrigerator. YOU DID NOT!

I think it was like this, but I don’t know for sure. You’re yelling for all to hear, but I can’t hear you. I’M THE ONE WHO GOT MURDERED!

A portion of that column on the refrigerator door:

“It doesn`t matter how the accident happened. I was goofing off–going too fast. Taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. The last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard a deafening crash and I felt a terrible jolt. Glass and steel flew everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream.

Suddenly I awakened; it was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. Then I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. Pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I couldn`t feel anything.

Hey, don`t pull that sheet over my head! I can`t be dead. I`m only 17. I`ve got a date tonight. I`m supposed to grow up and have a wonderful life. I haven`t lived yet. I can`t be dead.

Later I was placed in a drawer. My folks had to identify me. Why did they have to see me like this? Why did I have to look at Mom`s eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked like an old man. He told the man in charge, “Yes, he is my son.“

The funeral was a weird experience. I saw all my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They passed by, one by one, and looked at me with the saddest eyes I`ve ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. A few of the girls touched my hand and sobbed as they walked away.

Please–somebody–wake me up! Get me out of here! I can`t bear to see my mom and dad so broken up. My grandparents are so racked with grief they can hardly walk. My brother and sisters are like zombies. They move like robots. In a daze, everybody! No one can believe this. And I can`t believe it, either. Please don`t bury me! I`m not dead! I have a lot of living to do! I want to laugh and run again. I want to sing and dance. Please don`t put me in the ground. I promise if you give me just one more chance, God, I`ll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance.

Please, God, I`m only 17!”

I wasn’t in a car, on the road. I did not see or feel glass and steel everywhere. I wasn’t goofing off or taking crazy chances. I was sitting in my desk in English class. I was listening to Coach Arnold recite a poem by Emily Dickinson.

“ I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

The Stillness in the Room

Was like the Stillness in the Air –

Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –

And Breaths were gathering firm

For that last Onset – when the King

Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away

What portions of me be

Assignable – and then it was

There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –

Between the light – and me –

And then the Windows failed – and then

I could not see to see –

I never had the opportunity. Well maybe I did, but I never thought about willing my keepsakes away.

I did not see a fly or hear it buzz.


The only other thing I recall is Please God, I’m only 16. I won’t be 17 until the summer.


Look, I’m sorry that more people die in car accidents. I lost a close friend because something ran into the road, and he swerved. He would have been OK if it had happened at any other place on that road, but it happened where they were working on the highway. Instead of just being stuck in the ditch, his car hit that big machine and it fell, crushing my friend’s car.

A gun is something that can kill. That’s the purpose of the tool, just like a garden hose is manufactured to transport water some distance away from the spigot. Practically anything can kill. Some can kill more animals or people faster; some requires skill and training to use to kill one or many; some only require a finger, a toe, or anything to pull a trigger.

I admit that I don’t know much about guns. Dad owns several that he keeps locked in his gun safe. He can break each down and put it back together blindfolded, but I can’t.

Last winter, he took me hunting and I shot and killed a deer. He said it was a spike. I only know that it had antlers, and we ate the venison. I’ve shot all of his guns at one time or another. He always supervised and was strict that I do exactly as he told me whenever I handled a gun. No, he wasn’t mean. He spoke with me the same way when he showed me how to use any of his tools. Mom did the same helping me learn how to drive the car. I don’t love guns, but I don’t hate them either. I’d just rather ski in the winter or do anything where I’m running or jumping than just sitting and waiting for some deer to walk by.

People talk about guns for self-defense, but I’ve never carried a gun for that purpose. I have studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for four years now. We focus about how to avoid an attack. If an attack cannot be avoided, we learn how to escape. If we cannot escape, we learn how to control the attacker. Mom has been studying for the last two years with me. She even used what she learned when a thug tried mugging her. Even Dad, who was a Marine for 20 years has started training.

Is it foolproof? I don’t think so, but what is? If I gun was then why do police officers get killed? If it’s gun free zones, why did all those officers and others get murdered in Texas? Whether it’s one person or 1000 people, murder is still murder.


I know that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires muscle memory. So does skiing. So does soccer. Your skills fade without practice. Handling a gun can’t be any different.

Dad doesn’t have the same muscle memory or efficiency with a weapon like he had while serving in the military. He doesn’t have the same level of awareness that he had out on the battlefield. My Uncle who is a police officer is required to do a lot of training each year. Maybe you could get lucky with your handgun and avoid 30 rounds while landing one to stop a killer. If my Uncle can’t do it all the time during his training simulations when he knows that he will have to shoot. If Dad could not do it on the battlefield when he knew the enemy was likely in the next building. Don’t claim that I could. If you can, prove it to our military and law enforcement and get a job helping them if you are that good.

I don’t see the relevancy that you do but for your information, I can’t tell anyone anything about Planned Parenthood or the NRA. I can, however, name every member of my state’s congressional delegation thanks to Mrs. Rhodes and Civics class. I made and A in my history class. I can talk about the Constitution because I compete in the oratory contest that the American Legion holds. This year I came close to going to nationals in Indianapolis. I finished second in the entire state. I wasn’t disappointed because this was only my second year to compete in the contest. Thanks Mrs. Rhodes, Coach Arnold for the public speaking help, and of course Mr. Perkins for teaching history and helping me find primary sources for my speeches. Maybe next year…

Wait, there isn’t a next year. Someone walked into my classroom and murdered me.

I appreciate the thoughts and prayers. Really I do.

I just want to know why you seem so put off, so vocal, so demanding that my death somehow hurts your rights?

Why does my death mean less than all these statistics you cite about how other people died?

Why are my friends and classmates being vilified for asking questions and wanting to prevent others and even themselves from being murdered like me?

They don’t have a magical solution that’s 100 percent effective.

You don’t either.

They’re concerned because they experienced this terror.

You’re concerned why?  It’s not because you think you’ll be next.  It’s because my being murdered is a threat to your way of life.



For now, I’ll just say that I’m sorry that my being murdered makes you feel like someone will make your life inconvenient. No offense, but I feel more sorry for my family and friends who knew me. I just want to limit the chances of someone else getting murdered. My friends feel the same way. That’s why we’re trying to be heard.



RE: The Horrific Events in Las Vegas

RE: The Horrific Events in Las Vegas

It was a tragedy, a senseless massacre of innocent people by a Caucasian American man (White male)  with multiple weapons including what reports indicate were legally purchased guns designed for military use that had been modified to fire in a more aggressive fashion. According to accounts, several individuals involved with the musical performance were armed, legally concealed carrying. Given the nature of the public event, there were a number of armed law enforcement officers present as well. General public labeled “good guys” with guns did not stop this assault, and neither did any laws on the books or stricken from the books.

I’ve never had a history professor in any of my departments who were and are not aware of massacres on US soil that saw more casualties. Even if the courses we teach do not pertain to the time frames or subject areas that include for example the Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee on 29 December 1890 or the black men and women in Colfax, LA, on Easter Sunday, 13 April 1873, we know of these horrific events.

Heck, right now people in the general public and politicians are still arguing about the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place monument which is the marker for approximately 35 deaths on 14 September 1874. How is that relevant some ask? It was the same white supremacists’ groups who killed approximately 150 black men and women in Colfax up in Grant Parish on Easter Sunday the previous year who carried out the attack on Liberty Place in New Orleans. The monument first erected in 1891 to “honor” this event had an inscription advocating white supremacy added in the year 1932.

I and I assume most people are aware that even more people were murdered on our soil on the morning of Tuesday, 11 September 2001 without a single shot from a gun being fired.

These deaths are not the price of freedom as one well-heeled media personality is spewing. They are not “understandable” or “acceptable” losses as another well-heeled perpetrator of hate beneath a cloak of religious love contends.

Likewise, these deaths that take place because of violence at mass events are no different from the single lives lost every day on any street, any city, any town, any clod of soil.

WHY? I have too many words but as John Donne articulated: “And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness”  [Meditation XVII].

A senseless death, no matter the cause or place, is a tragedy. It should not be justified or explained away. It need not be our family blood or that of a friend or colleague. It matters not the color of the skin, gender, heritage, for the blood remains red and is the life fluid for us all even when the vessel from which it flows has an external appearance that is ever so different. All are different yet same.

People attempting to justify or dismiss for whatever reason really don’t have a clue and that concerns me because I believe that is part of the problem.

Why Senator Jeff Flake, AZ?

Dear Senator Flake,

Healthcare is a complex issue that requires bipartisan efforts.  We cannot address the myriad of components in any single forum.  No plan or system will be “perfect” for everyone.

Like most legislation, ACA consists of positives and negatives.  Some people have benefitted from the law and others have not.  If ACA remains the law of the land, several parts need substantial revision, some need elimination, others need minor adjustment, and new sections need inclusion.

If ACA is repealed, any replacement needs to address a substantial portion of the numerous issues concerning healthcare.

My question Sir, is if you know that this Graham-Cassidy bill could allow states to undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions, what should give you, me, and citizens of your state and this country confidence that these protections will not be undermined?

In your interview on MSNBC, you cited some logical reasons such as 1986 with welfare reform.  You also state that in reality no governor or state legislature will deny protections even with waivers because of the political repercussions such an action would bring.  Whether de jure or de facto such an implementation would be disastrous for the elected official in a logical and rational environment.

  • Senator Flake, are we currently in such a logical environment?
  • Sir, did you expect a President of the United States to take to social media and brand you as toxic?
  • Would the Leader of the Free World feel it necessary to publicly refer to you as Flake Jeff Flake in a logical and rational political environment?

Sir, do you still believe in the statement you made on Twitter concerning the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

I’m not asking or debating whether a pardon for the individual is warranted.  I’m asking about the process by which the President undertook?

Senator Flake, in your book, you wrote that Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade.  Shouldn’t the same apply to healthcare?

You wrote of the priority being to deny President Barack Obama instead of advancing a conservative policy agenda.

Can members of your party honestly say that supporting Graham-Cassidy is about promoting a conservative agenda when the so-called skinny repeal failed?

Or is a vote for Graham-Cassidy, regardless of what may or may not be in the bill, without CBO scoring, with limited discussion and debate, merely a vote because repeal has been GOP promise?

Is political party and reelection truly more important than the country?

Apparently, the President thinks so based upon his tweet this morning.

Sir, if there are reasons to believe that elected officials will, in fact, work for the best interests of all constituents, citizens, and country even if it means opposing their political base who is focused more upon the short term and not the long term, would you please enlighten this professor of history?

I never imagined seeing any White House rejecting the authority and validity of our own intelligence findings regarding Russia and labeling that as hoaxes created by the Democrats and perpetuated by the media.

Would a former US Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, have argued the same?


Harvey and about the Day of Prayer

Some off the top of my head thoughts after hearing some pundit comments this morning.

Call me, well whatever, but I feel that politics and religion should be separate.  I don’t go to church services to hear political messages that endorse or oppose a specific candidate, piece of legislation, or a governmental ideology.  To me a good sermon is one that causes people to ponder and to reflect.  The preacher presents an idea and does so in a way that encourages you to want to discover more.

Likewise, I oppose politicians who make it their mission to include extended specific religious ideology in their addresses to their constituents or voters from whom they seek support. I’m not debating faith versus works, but on the political spectrum campaign and legislate your faith by your works and not by your words proclaiming that you have faith.

I’m sort of a Golden Ruler in that I feel like if we would all just treat people in the same manner as we would hope others would treat us if our roles, responsibilities, and feet were in fact staring right back at us.  My own spirituality is personal.  Personally, I believe in a God, a son who died on the cross, and a Holy Spirit.  Each are different, but yet are one and the same.  I can neither prove nor deny existence without utilizing faith to explain what I think are wondrous miracles of beauty.  It’s true that I can break down some things that I attribute to faith into concise tangible bits that can be seen by all, but to me the sum is often even greater than the individual parts no matter how magnificent those pieces may be.

That’s only a miniscule portion of an abstract that in itself would be a tome trying to summarize what would be a never-ending continual series of manuscripts about my personal beliefs.

What brings me here are the statements being made by politicians, pundits, and so many people about the National Day of Prayer for victims and response to Hurricane Harvey created by Presidential Proclamation.  I see nothing wrong with such an idea, and nothing wrong with such a proclamation, but I do want and expect more from any President or Congress than a mere proclamation or words because action is needed for assistance, recovery, and rebuilding.

Rescue in my opinion starts with the local.  Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, Mayors, aldermen, councils, police juries, and the local leaders are the ones who need to oversee operations on the ground in their respective neck of the woods.  They know the area and the people.  State and Federal should provide equipment, manpower, and other resources to assist, but they should not step on the feet of those who know what needs to be done in that specific locality.  Helping to coordinate to keep everyone on the same page is one thing, but usurping the authority from those most knowledgeable and connected to the area and those people in dire need is another.

Specifically in regard to the Presidential Proclamation, I think it is a positive.  Such a proclamation, however, is not unique.  If all people were doing was to promote the proclamation, I wouldn’t be responding.  What’s happening, however, is specific ideological media and pundits are turning this into political rhetoric and attempting to demean and belittle others in order to make their own status appear higher and superior.  That divisive BS irritates me.  They’re trying to equate religion and politics, and when someone questions or disagrees the deniers either become the targeted or are barraged with this juvenile behavior of “so and so did it, so why are you outraged now?”

One, two wrongs don’t make a right, and many of us were outraged back then but you were not because it wasn’t as interesting and sensational as the plethora of really stupid and far-fetched claims being pitched in opposition at the time.

Trump’s proclamation is correct that we have a long history of such days of prayer and reflection in this country and on the continent.  He cited the Constitutional Congress which makes sense, but he could have also cited earlier in colonial history.  Both are accurate.

The concept is tradition, and President Washington and President Adams called for National Days of Prayer.  I have not fact checked, but I believe the next president to call for a National Day of Prayer would have been Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, so you have a gap of approximately 60 years.  It wasn’t because the US became anti-prayer or anti-reflection; it’s because unless I’m mistaken historically none of the presidents issued any “formal” declarations during the period.  The time-period is not one of my regular research areas.

Now I can say without historical reservation that President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution passed on 17 April 1952 for a National Day of Prayer and issued a proclamation for such on 17 June 1952.

36 U.S. Code § 119 – National Day of Prayer designating a specific day can be found below.

As president, Donald Trump followed this decree with his own proclamation on 4 May 2017.

He is neither the first nor the last, if we remain under the Constitution, US President to call for additional days for catastrophic natural disasters, accidents, or horrific events.

Barack Obama’s proclamations for National Prayer Day read similar to Trump’s and past presidents.  No, Obama did not cancel any.  A few examples below:

When he spoke of prayer and reflection following such horrific events as the murdering of the children at Sandy Hook, some opponents deemed and still assert that massacre was a hoax.  Other opponents asserted that Obama was confiscating guns.

From an academic research perspective, if someone in the future were to read right-wing media articles and pundits remarks, it is a sad fact that they might come to the conclusion that decent, working class, “common” people not on TV or talk radio and who did not vote for Obama were happy as can be that these innocent children were murdered.  The truth is the exact opposite of course, but that’s how much influence the extremes have on society, and future generations will have a tough time figuring that out when doing true historical research.

Just an aside for all the pundits and media who still argue that Obama was anti-Christian and anti-prayer and so on:  Groups have challenged the National Day of Prayer signed by Harry Truman and the issuance of future proclamations coming from the White House.  In the court case that remains the deciding case about the legality, who was the defendant on the side of prayer?

That defendant was then President Barack Obama back in the year 2010:

With prayers, kind thoughts, sympathy, hopes to offer encourage and to assist with recovery and rebuilding, for all impacted by this tropical system and other natural disasters, I am.

A Non-related aside:

We have a new member of the LAB LouisianaBoy Household.  My wife and I have returned from overseas with our 9-year-old son.  It was a trip with both highs and lows. The highs are obvious, but the low was that while overseas my Dad passed away back home in Louisiana.  It was a tough time emotionally, but I knew that Dad wanted me overseas to pick up his grandson.  In the coming days, I’ll try to come up with a few words as a tribute to Dad.  While he never got to meet his grandson face-to-face, he is here with us in spirit, I’ll try my best to teach my son as Dad taught me.  Dad will continue to live on through both me and my son along with all the people he touched during a full lifetime.  K&B has another of its old-school managers in Heaven.

I have never sought or accepted any payment or donations for this blog.  My position hasn’t changed, but if anyone would still like to make a monetary donation to help us with the airfare costs or other expenses associated with adoption, I will be keeping this PayPal donation account open for short period.  As I said on previous posts, any donation is appreciated but certainly not necessary to continue reading or interacting with me on this forum.