Discord & Dissension — Part XIV — How To Lose An Election

I was pondering what direction to take for this week’s Discord & Dissension post when something crossed my radar that caused my jaw to drop, made me sit up and really take notice.  It disturbed me so badly that it sent me plummeting back into the rabbit hole from which I had only recently emerged, as I thought:  If this is what Democrats are thinking of Biden, we’re doomed.

But I’m not a quitter, and we’ve got 28 weeks left to try to turn things around.  This election season is like none in history, with no campaign rallies, little advertising that I have seen, but then I don’t watch television, and who knows whether there will even be national conventions or debates?

I am an Independent, though most assume I am a registered Democrat, but I am pulling for the Democrats and will be voting Democrat, needless to say.  Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, and the only choice other than Donald Trump, a criminal and conman who currently resides in the White House.  Now, what I want to talk to you about today is … inspiration, motivation, passion, and support.  The thing that set me off on this tangent was this cartoon …Biden

What bothered me about it … well, a couple of things.  One, is that it paints Biden as totally worthless, not much better than a brick, and the cartoonist’s point was, “Okay, Biden is worthless with no redeeming qualities, but hey, he’s better than Trump.”  Well friends, a tarantula is better than Trump, but it won’t win an election.  Now granted, there are groups whose motto is “Vote blue, no matter who”, but the reality is that it won’t win the election, either.

In a retrospective of the 2016 election, we can define certain hurdles, obstacles, which played a role in the defeat of the more worthy, more experienced, more intelligent candidate, Hillary Clinton.  Heavily gerrymandered states that dilute the vote of poor and minorities who typically vote Democrat.  The Russian influence and attempts to hurt Clinton’s image while helping Trump is well-documented, contrary to what Trump claims.  In Republican-led states, various dirty tricks were used to disenfranchise voters.  And, of course the media played a role by giving Trump, rather an anomaly at the time, nearly unlimited airtime … free airtime.

All of those obstacles still exist going into the 2020 election, but we have newly added hurdles.  Due to the coronavirus, most primaries have been pushed back until June or July, and it’s questionable whether or how they will happen even then.  The nominating conventions are a big question mark.  And, the biggest potential hurdle is the election on November 3rd.  Will it be safe to visit the polls, where hundreds of people are packed into a high school gymnasium?  The obvious answer is to immediately plan for voting by mail in all 50 states, but the Republicans are fighting that one tooth and nail.  Not to mention that Donald Trump seems to be on a one-man crusade to cause the United States Postal Service to become officially bankrupt around June, which could throw a wrench the size of Seattle into that plan.

So, as you can see, if the Democrats are to oust Donald Trump in November, they have a huge task ahead of them, and only 28 weeks in which to accomplish it.  Time to get busy, but denigrating Joe Biden is definitely not the way to go about it!

Joe Biden has a very good platform.  Yes, it is more moderate than either Bernie’s or Elizabeth’s, but in truth, Bernie Sanders would never have been able to get half of his ideas passed into law.  His ideas were great, and I fully supported them, while at the same time realizing that in reality, they were a roadmap, a goal for some point in the future, and would be achieved only over time, one step at a time, two steps forward and one step back.  I think that Biden’s platform is more realistic, while at the same time, putting people first, people over corporate profits.  Let’s take a look at some of Biden’s talking points …

Let’s start with some of the things that are the highest priority to the average person.

  • There can be no issue more relevant, more critical, than the environment  and combating climate change. He will re-commit to the Paris Climate Accord and take the steps to ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050, including regulations that go well beyond those that were in place before Trump rolled back every single one in 2017.
  • Health care  is on everyone’s minds these days.  President Obama’s administration, which included Joe Biden, developed the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  While not perfect, it was the first step in a progressive program that would have led to Universal Healthcare.  ACA was working until Donald Trump arrived on the scene and began decimating it.  While others would tear down ACA and start over with something akin to Medicare for all, Biden is in favour of building on the foundation of ACA, expanding and enhancing it.
  • Minimum wage was last raised on July 24th, 2009. At that time, it was raised from $6.55 to $7.25, where it has been for nearly eleven years, and remains today.  Republicans have fought against raising the federal minimum wage because it would raise costs to business, thereby cutting into the corporate profits.  Biden supports immediately raising the federal minimum wage to $15.
  • One of the issues I consider most important is that of gun regulations. There was absolutely no reason for the assault weapon ban to be allowed to expire, and since it did, nobody in the federal government even talks about re-instating it.  Nobody is willing to discuss enhanced background checks, restrictions on those found guilty of domestic violence, and just to breathe the notion of limits on number of guns a person can own will make you a target.  Biden’s plan includes holding gun manufacturers accountable, and banning the production and sale of assault weapons for non-military use.

Needless to say, I have only covered the tip of the iceberg.  Biden’s platform covers a number of topics from bankruptcy reform to immigration, from infrastructure to LGBTQ rights.  I can only cover a small bit here, but please, I urge you, go to and check out his views on the issues … I think you’ll find that he has some very progressive ideas.

No, Joe Biden isn’t Bernie.  He doesn’t have the fire and passion that both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have.  But, Joe has good ideas, workable ideas, and ideas that may just even float in Congress.  Joe takes a stand for We the People, for those of us working and struggling to take care of our families, to get ahead a bit.  Donald Trump takes a stand for the wealthy capitalists and to hell with We the People.  Now really, my friends … which do you want?

Okay, if you don’t want Trump, whether you’re a Bernie fan, or simply a “vote blue, no matter who” supporter, you’re going to have to find a way to generate some genuine enthusiasm for Joe Biden.  Not just, “Well, he sucks, but he’s better than Trump”.  That attitude won’t get it!  It won’t win the election on November 3rd.  What it will do is cause an even higher number to stay home, either because they see no reason to vote, or because they think they are making some sort of a statement.

Get excited, folks!  Show some enthusiasm, else you’re likely to find out, in case you ever wondered, how the average German citizen felt by the end of 1933.  No, I’m not being an alarmist, not being a drama queen … I am being dead serious.

Please, folks, no more cartoons like the one at the beginning of this post, or like …


apathyboring-bidenThese do not help the cause, they actually help Trump more than anybody, and those of us who truly care about having a president who knows what he’s doing, who cares about the people of this nation, do not find them remotely funny.

Joe Biden has been endorsed by President Obama, by Bernie Sanders, by Elizabeth Warren, and numerous members of Congress, ambassadors, governors, and others far too numerous to list.  This is likely to be the single most critical election in our lifetimes, the one that will define the next 50-100 years or more of the nation.  It is the one that will decide whether the U.S. Constitution of 1787 will survive, or be buried forever.

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents

Teaching Kids To Shoot Guns???

I was really not in the mood to write about this week’s horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and had no intention of doing so for this morning’s post.  But then I stumbled upon something that made me furrow my brow, scratch my head, and do a little digging.

The murderer/shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had been enrolled in a school program supported by the NRA, that taught marksmanship skills.  Let me repeat that … there was actually a school-sponsored program, funded by the National Rifle Association, that taught children to shoot guns!  WHY????

child-gunThe school received a $10,000 grant from the NRA to teach children to shoot guns, and this, folks, is the result!  Is anybody besides me incensed, horrified and confused as heck by this?

Cruz was a member of the school’s marksmanship ‘team’.  From an article by ThinkProgress …

The marksmanship team was part of the schools’ JROTC program. On the team, Cruz trained with “air rifles special-made for target shooting, typically on indoor ranges at targets the size of a coin.”

Cruz discussed his AR-15 with other team members and was given the nickname “Wolf.” Another member of the team described him as “a very good shot.”

In 2015, the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun use to schools around the country. This includes grants “to elementary and middle schools.”  We are teaching elementary school children to shoot guns???  Again I ask, WHY???

child-gun-4The United States already has the most insane lack of gun laws on earth, we have the least oversight on the sale of firearms of any other nation, and now we are putting them in the hands of children and teaching them to hit “targets the size of a coin”.  Wonder no more how Columbine and now Parkland happened.  The answer is right on this page.

The NRA Foundation’s website says it’s “investing in the next generation of America’s leaders” by devoting “a significant majority” of the group’s grants to “youth shooting sports.”  At this rate, America won’t need leaders, for there will be nobody left to lead!  The NRA has been actively commenting on the Parkland massacre on social media, arguing that the only way to prevent future tragedies is more guns.

child-gun-3Fifty-three percent (53%) of our elected representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA in the last election. Yes, the FBI dropped the ball on Cruz, as likely did school officials and certainly Cruz’ parents.  But the NRA and any who support it in any way, are responsible for funding programs that teach children to shoot guns.  This, my friends, is an abomination and the vast majority of people in this nation are complicit.

Below is a table of every member of Congress who received funding from the NRA in 2016.  I found it interesting that representative Steve Scalise, who was seriously injured when a gunman shot at members of Congress when they were playing softball last summer, is also a recipient of NRA funding.

Name (Party-State) Chamber Amount
Abraham, Ralph (R-LA) House $1,000
Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) House $3,500
Allen, Richard W (R-GA) House $2,000
Amodei, Mark (R-NV) House $1,500
Angelle, Scott (R-LA) House $1,000
Arrington, Jodey (R-TX) House $1,000
Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH) Senate $5,950
Babeu, Paul (R-AZ) House $1,000
Babin, Brian (R-TX) House $2,000
Bacon, Donald John (R-NE) House $4,950
Banks, Jim (R-IN) House $1,000
Barletta, Lou (R-PA) House $1,000
Barr, Andy (R-KY) House $2,000
Barton, Joe (R-TX) House $2,000
Benishek, Dan (R-MI) House $1,000
Bergman, John (R-MI) House $4,950
Beutler, Jaime Herrera (R-WA) House $1,000
Biggs, Andy (R-AZ) House $1,000
Bilirakis, Gus (R-FL) House $2,000
Bishop, Mike (R-MI) House $2,000
Bishop, Rob (R-UT) House $4,000
Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) House $3,500
Black, Diane (R-TN) House $2,500
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) House $2,500
Blum, Rod (R-IA) House $7,450
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) Senate $11,900
Boehner, John (R-OH) House $4,950
Boozman, John (R-AR) Senate $5,950
Bost, Mike (R-IL) House $2,000
Boustany, Charles Jr (R-LA) House $4,950
Brady, Kevin (R-TX) House $2,000
Brat, Dave (R-VA) House $2,000
Bridenstine, James (R-OK) House $2,000
Brooks, Mo (R-AL) House $1,000
Brooks, Susan (R-IN) House $1,000
Bucshon, Larry (R-IN) House $1,000
Budd, Ted (R-NC) House $3,000
Burgess, Michael (R-TX) House $1,000
Burr, Richard (R-NC) Senate $9,900
Bush, Jeb (R) Pres $1,000
Byrne, Bradley (R-AL) House $2,000
Calvert, Ken (R-CA) House $4,500
Carter, Buddy (R-GA) House $2,000
Carter, Dan (R-CT) Senate $1,000
Carter, John (R-TX) House $2,500
Chabot, Paul (R-CA) House $3,500
Chabot, Steve (R-OH) House $2,000
Chaffetz, Jason (R-UT) House $2,000
Cheney, Liz (R-WY) House $1,000
Christie, Chris (R) Pres $1,500
Coffman, Mike (R-CO) House $9,900
Cole, Tom (R-OK) House $5,000
Collins, Chris (R-NY) House $2,000
Collins, Doug (R-GA) House $2,500
Comer, James (R-KY) House $4,950
Comstock, Barbara (R-VA) House $10,400
Conaway, Mike (R-TX) House $1,500
Cook, Paul (R-CA) House $3,000
Cramer, Kevin (R-ND) House $2,000
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) Senate $4,950
Crawford, Rick (R-AR) House $1,000
Crenshaw, Ander (R-FL) House $1,000
Cruz, Ted (R-TX) Senate $350
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) House $3,000
Culberson, John (R-TX) House $5,950
Curbelo, Carlos (R-FL) House $2,500
Davidson, Warren (R-OH) House $1,000
Davis, Rodney (R-IL) House $2,500
Denham, Jeff (R-CA) House $2,000
Dent, Charlie (R-PA) House $4,000
DeSantis, Ron (R-FL) House $1,000
Desjarlais, Scott (R-TN) House $2,000
Diaz-Balart, Mario (R-FL) House $2,000
Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL) House $50
Duffy, Sean P (R-WI) House $2,000
Duncan, Jeff (R-SC) House $3,000
Dunn, Neal (R-FL) House $1,750
Ellmers, Renee (R-NC) House $2,000
Emmer, Tom (R-MN) House $2,000
Fareed, Justin (R-CA) House $2,500
Farenthold, Blake (R-TX) House $2,000
Faso, John (R-NY) House $5,950
Ferguson, Drew (R-GA) House $3,000
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN) House $2,000
Fleming, John (R-LA) House $1,000
Flores, Bill (R-TX) House $2,000
Forbes, Randy (R-VA) House $1,000
Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE) House $1,000
Foxx, Virginia (R-NC) House $2,000
Franks, Trent (R-AZ) House $2,000
Gaetz, Matt (R-FL) House $1,000
Gallagher, Mike (R-WI) House $4,950
Garrett, Scott (R-NJ) House $5,950
Garrett, Tom (R-VA) House $1,000
Gibbs, Bob (R-OH) House $2,000
Glenn, Darryl (R-CO) Senate $1,000
Gohmert, Louis B Jr (R-TX) House $1,000
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) House $7,450
Gosar, Paul (R-AZ) House $2,000
Gowdy, Trey (R-SC) House $2,000
Granger, Kay (R-TX) House $2,500


Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) Senate $9,900
Graves, Sam (R-MO) House $2,000
Graves, Tom (R-GA) House $3,000
Griffith, Morgan (R-VA) House $2,000
Grothman, Glenn S (R-WI) House $2,000
Guinta, Frank (R-NH) House $9,900
Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) House $1,000
Hanna, Richard (R-NY) House $2,000
Hardy, Cresent (R-NV) House $9,900
Harper, Gregg (R-MS) House $2,000
Harris, Andy (R-MD) House $2,500
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) House $2,000
Heck, Joe (R-NV) House $8,900
Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX) House $2,000
Hice, Jody B (R-GA) House $2,000
Higgins, Clay (R-LA) House $2,500
Hill, French (R-AR) House $2,000
Hoeven, John (R-ND) Senate $8,450
Holbrook, Mark (R-ME) House $1,000
Holding, George (R-NC) House $2,000
Hollingsworth, Trey (R-IN) House $2,000
Hudson, Richard (R-NC) House $4,950
Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS) House $2,000
Huizenga, Bill (R-MI) House $2,000
Hultgren, Randy (R-IL) House $2,000
Hunter, Duncan D (R-CA) House $3,000
Hurd, Will (R-TX) House $9,900
Hurt, Robert (R-VA) House $1,000
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) Senate $8,450
Issa, Darrell (R-CA) House $2,000
Jenkins, Evan (R-WV) House $3,000
Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS) House $2,000
Jindal, Bobby (R) Pres $1,000
Johnson, Bill (R-OH) House $2,000
Johnson, Mike (R-LA) House $1,000
Johnson, Ron (R-WI) Senate $7,450
Johnson, Sam (R-TX) House $2,500
Jones, Scott (R-CA) House $2,500
Jones, Walter B Jr (R-NC) House $1,000
Jordan, Jim (R-OH) House $2,000
Joyce, David P (R-OH) House $3,500
Katko, John (R-NY) House $9,900
Kelly, Mike (R-PA) House $1,500
Kelly, Trent (R-MS) House $2,000
Kennedy, John (R-LA) Senate $4,950
King, Steven A (R-IA) House $2,000
Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) House $2,000
Knight, Steve (R-CA) House $3,000
Kustoff, David (R-TN) House $2,000
Labrador, Raul (R-ID) House $1,000
LaHood, Darin (R-IL) House $3,000
LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA) House $2,000
Lamborn, Douglas L (R-CO) House $2,000
Lankford, James (R-OK) Senate $5,000
Latta, Robert E (R-OH) House $3,000
Lee, Mike (R-UT) Senate $2,500
Lewis, Jason (R-MN) House $3,500
LoBiondo, Frank (R-NJ) House $1,000
Long, Billy (R-MO) House $2,000
Loudermilk, Barry (R-GA) House $4,000
Love, Mia (R-UT) House $3,000
Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) House $2,000
Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-MO) House $2,000
Marchant, Kenny (R-TX) House $1,000
Marino, Tom (R-PA) House $2,000
Marshall, Roger (R-KS) House $1,000
Mast, Brian (R-FL) House $4,950
McCain, John (R-AZ) Senate $300
McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA) House $1,000
McCaul, Michael (R-TX) House $3,500
McClintock, Tom (R-CA) House $2,000
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC) House $4,000
McKinley, David (R-WV) House $1,000
McSally, Martha (R-AZ) House $6,500
Meadows, Mark R (R-NC) House $1,150
Messer, Luke (R-IN) House $2,000
Mica, John L (R-FL) House $4,000
Miller, Jeff (R-FL) House $2,500
Mills, Stewart (R-MN) House $9,900
Mitchell, Paul (R-MI) House $1,000
Moolenaar, John (R-MI) House $2,000
Mooney, Alex (R-WV) House $2,000
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) Senate $2,450
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK) House $4,950
Mulvaney, Mick (R-SC) House $2,000
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) Senate $4,500
Murphy, Tim (R-PA) House $2,000
Narvaiz, Susan (R-TX) House $250
Newhouse, Dan (R-WA) House $3,000
Noem, Kristi (R-SD) House $2,000
Nunes, Devin (R-CA) House $3,500
Olson, Pete (R-TX) House $3,500
Palazzo, Steven (R-MS) House $1,750
Palmer, Gary (R-AL) House $2,000
Paul, Rand (R-KY) Senate $9,900
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) House $3,000
Pearce, Steve (R-NM) House $2,000
Perry, Scott (R-PA) House $2,000
Peterson, Collin (D-MN) House $2,000
Pittenger, Robert (R-NC) House $2,000
Poe, Ted (R-TX) House $2,000
Poliquin, Bruce (R-ME) House $9,900
Pompeo, Mike (R-KS) House $2,000
Portman, Rob (R-OH) Senate $9,900
Posey, Bill (R-FL) House $2,000
Price, Tom (R-GA) House $2,000
Ratcliffe, John Lee (R-TX) House $2,500
Reed, Tom (R-NY) House $3,000
Reichert, Dave (R-WA) House $1,000
Renacci, Jim (R-OH) House $2,000
Rice, Tom (R-SC) House $2,000
Roby, Martha (R-AL) House $2,000
Rodgers, Cathy McMorris (R-WA) House $2,500
Rogers, Hal (R-KY) House $2,000
Rogers, Mike D (R-AL) House $2,000
Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA) House $1,000
Rokita, Todd (R-IN) House $2,000
Rooney, Francis (R-FL) House $1,000
Rooney, Tom (R-FL) House $1,000
Roskam, Peter (R-IL) House $2,000
Ross, Dennis (R-FL) House $2,000
Rothfus, Keith J (R-PA) House $2,000
Rouzer, David (R-NC) House $2,000
Royce, Ed (R-CA) House $2,500
Rubio, Marco (R-FL) Senate $9,900
Russell, Steven (R-OK) House $2,000
Rutherford, John (R-FL) House $1,000
Ryan, Paul (R-WI) House $5,950
Sanford, Mark (R-SC) House $2,000
Scalise, Steve (R-LA) House $4,950
Schweikert, David (R-AZ) House $1,000
Scott, Austin (R-GA) House $2,000
Scott, Tim (R-SC) Senate $4,500
Sensenbrenner, F James Jr (R-WI) House $1,000
Sessions, Pete (R-TX) House $2,500
Shelby, Richard C (R-AL) Senate $4,950
Shimkus, John M (R-IL) House $2,500
Shuster, Bill (R-PA) House $5,950
Simpson, Mike (R-ID) House $2,000
Smith, Adrian (R-NE) House $2,500
Smith, Jason (R-MO) House $2,000
Smith, Lamar (R-TX) House $4,950
Smucker, Lloyd (R-PA) House $5,950
Stefanik, Elise (R-NY) House $2,000
Stewart, Chris (R-UT) House $3,000
Stivers, Steve (R-OH) House $2,000
Szeliga, Kathy (R-MD) Senate $2,000
Tacherra, Johnny (R-CA) House $2,500
Tarkanian, Danny (R-NV) House $4,950
Taylor, Scott W (R-VA) House $3,500
Tenney, Claudia (R-NY) House $5,950
Thompson, Glenn (R-PA) House $2,000
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX) House $2,000
Thune, John (R-SD) Senate $5,000
Tiberi, Pat (R-OH) House $3,000
Tipton, Scott (R-CO) House $3,500
Trott, Dave (R-MI) House $2,000
Trump, Donald (R) Pres $1,065
Turner, Michael R (R-OH) House $2,000
Upton, Fred (R-MI) House $1,000
Valadao, David (R-CA) House $3,500
Vitter, David (R-LA) Senate $4,950
Wagner, Ann L (R-MO) House $2,000
Walberg, Tim (R-MI) House $4,000
Walden, Greg (R-OR) House $2,000
Walker, Mark (R-NC) House $2,000
Walker, Scott (R) Pres $1,750
Walorski, Jackie (R-IN) House $2,000
Walters, Mimi (R-CA) House $2,000
Walz, Tim (D-MN) House $2,000
Ward, Kelli (R-AZ) Senate $500
Weber, Randy (R-TX) House $1,000
Webster, Daniel (R-FL) House $1,000
Wenstrup, Brad (R-OH) House $2,000
Westerman, Bruce (R-AR) House $1,000
Williams, Roger (R-TX) House $2,500
Wilson, Joe (R-SC) House $2,000
Wittman, Rob (R-VA) House $2,000
Womack, Steve (R-AR) House $1,500
Yoder, Kevin (R-KS) House $4,000
Yoho, Ted (R-FL) House $1,000
Young, David (R-IA) House $4,950
Young, Don (R-AK) House $6,950
Young, Todd (R-IN) House $5,950
Zeldin, Lee (R-NY) House $9,900
Zinke, Ryan K (R-MT) House $4,000

**Note that there are 5 House democrats on this list … the other 283 are republicans.

Guns do not belong in schools.  Period.  Children should not shoot guns.  Period.

On a related note, I also read yesterday that Trump’s budget proposal cuts $25 million from programs to improve school safety, climate, and responding to violence.  I bet the NRA’s budget, however, has several million to teach children to shoot guns.  Think about it.

A Later Post Part II – A Follow-Up to Glocks vs Docs

This is Part II – a continuation of an earlier post:

  • This one wasn’t really a question, but a statement, and one which really made me think and wonder what I would do: “As a father, and a good parent, I’d shoot any intruder dead before the cops came.” (From Opinionated Man)
    • Would I, if I owned a gun, “shoot any intruder … “? After some considerable thought, I concluded that no, I would not, for two reasons:
      • First, if I owned a gun, it would be unloaded and locked in a box in the bottom of my bedroom closet on the second floor of my house. Thus, the only way I would be able to shoot an intruder would be if he were willing to cooperate when I asked him to “stay right there for just a few minutes” while I go upstairs, find and unlock the box, load the gun, then return downstairs. Somehow I don’t think that would work.
      • Second, and this is purely speculative, as I do not believe any of us can know precisely what we would do in a traumatic situation until it arises, but I do not believe I would be capable of willfully and knowingly taking another life. That does not mean that I wouldn’t maim him … I wield a mean butcher knife which I keep quite sharp … I can envision me biting, kicking, punching, but not shooting.  I am basically a wordsmith, so I would probably, given half a chance, try to negotiate (step up on my soapbox and talk him to death!).  If he wanted money, I would give him the entire $40 I might have in my home.  Television, computers?  Sure … take them.  But no, I would not shoot somebody just to keep my electronics.  At least, I don’t think I would.


  • And again, more a statement, but with a question at the core: “Personally I am more concerned about the desensitization (defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it) of our youth and other impressionable people toward the value of human life. Perhaps the doctors should be asking if we own certain video games or view particular types of motion pictures or TV programs. I recently had a friend tell me that he plays Grand Theft Auto regularly with his preteen son and hasn’t seen any negative effect on the boy’s behavior. A future conversation might well be, “he was always such a good, quiet kid. I don’t know why he snapped like that, stole my gun and took out those two guys who had been bullying him.” (From Rixlibris)
    • The original post was in reference to young children, of an age to be under the care of a pediatrician, so I am thinking under age 14, and I was not considering teens at that point. But Rixlibris brings up a valid point.  Today it seems that kids are much more interested in playing video games and watching television than climbing trees and catching frogs (I am showing my age here, I suppose).  And yes, while there are a lot of fun, challenging and relatively non-violent games and programs, there are also many that glorify fighting and even killing. thus desensitizing our youth.  (It has been argued that so did Road Runner/Wiley Coyote cartoons). At any rate, I agree with rixlibris to the extent that un-or-under-supervised teens potentially leads to cases such as Columbine (April 20, 1999).  I do not think the doctor can realistically, in the time span of an office visit, ask about every potential hazard. And nobody can possibly foresee every possible hazard … if we could, none of us would own scissors, steak knives, or belts, and we would not store bleach or other chemicals in the home.  Almost anything can become a weapon.  But I do think that certain games and programs simply do not need to exist, for example the game mentioned by rixlibris, Grand Theft Auto.  While I have never seen this game being played, I have read a number of articles about it (I do have grandchildren, so I do my homework about these things) and am given to understand that it is extremely violent and teaches disrespect of law enforcement.  However, to ban such games or violent programs, would violate our 1st amendment, the right to free speech (or at least the current interpretations of it), thus we have come full circle and it is back in the parents’ court to monitor, supervise, advise, and ultimately guide their children. I realize this does not answer the question, but if there is an answer, it is beyond the scope of both my mind and this post.  All I am able to do is offer my thoughts, my opinion.


I understand that the 2nd amendment is here to stay.  I also understand that the current interpretation of the 2nd amendment is broader in scope than was initially intended, but that will not change either.  I accept this, though I do not accept the freedom of individuals to own guns entirely without regulation.  I hear that “guns in the hands of ‘law-abiding’ citizens make us safer”.  I do not agree with that, and as I have said before, every person is a law-abiding citizen until they break the law, so that is a moving target. It is a tired but true statement that we must pass both a written and a practical skills test in order to be licensed to drive a car, while we only have to be somewhat free of a criminal past in order to be licensed to shoot a weapon that has the potential to be more lethal to a larger number of people.  I have and will continue to advocate for stricter gun regulations.

I do not own a gun because I know myself.  I know that, while generally a calm person, I do have a temper and when it flares, look out.  A few weeks ago, a driver almost hit me in a crowded parking lot because she was too busy talking on her cell phone, cutting across aisles, to notice me.  If a loaded gun had been in reach, might I have used it?  I cannot say for certain, but I acknowledge the possibility.  Last summer, the lady across the street accidentally set off her car alarm and could not figure out how to turn it off for several minutes.  I did threaten to turn it off with a sledge hammer … if I had access to a loaded gun, might I have used it at that moment?  Again, who knows, but the fact that I have to answer “maybe” is enough to convince me that I do not need to own a gun.

I have, admittedly, never found myself in a situation that I could not handle with the tools available to me at the time (usually words – talk ‘em to death!).  If I ever do, perhaps I will view the whole gun-ownership issue differently.  I simply do not know.  I have many friends who own guns, I believe they are responsible gun owners, and I respect their rights just as they respect my right to ask them to leave their guns at home when they visit me.  If I felt I needed protection at home, I would go to a local shelter and get a dog!

A Later Post Part I – A Follow-Up to Glocks vs Docs

I recently wrote a post concerning 2nd amendment rights and whether pediatricians should be able to ask parents of young children whether there are guns in the home.  I won’t go into detail, but if you missed it, you can read it here.  In a comment, a couple of fellow bloggers asked questions that I needed some time to think about before responding, so I promised to address those questions in a later post.  Also, there were a few comments that, after I had time to mull it over, I wanted to respond more in depth. So this is that “later post”.   (Note:  by the time I finished writing this, it was well over 2,000 words.  Since I generally try to keep my posts between 800-1,200 words for readability, I am splitting this into two posts.)

While I may not have realized the full extent to which any discussion of gun rights or gun regulation are a highly controversial topic, I do realize it now, and as such I will try to choose my words more carefully than in my original Glocks vs Docs post.  That does not mean I have changed my stance, but I will try to express myself honestly, yet more carefully.

  • “I have to ask is there anything that “counters” that tragedy in your mind (a child being killed by a careless gun owner)? Such as the story a month ago about a teenager using her father’s handgun to kill an intruder? Is that not a balance to you or is that still tragic?” (From Opinionated Man )
    • My late-night, off-the-cuff remark to OM on this one was “Briefly, no, I don’t think one cancels out the other. The child is still dead, and now another person is also.” I think that even with a few days to think, to consider, I stand by my original answer.  Nothing will bring that child back to life, and the teenager who killed the intruder with her father’s gun?  That is yet another tragedy. Her life is forever changed.  Can you imagine the effect that would have on a mind and emotions that are not yet fully developed, not fully prepared for that weight on her shoulders?  It would not surprise me for that teenager to commit suicide within a matter of years, or at the very least need long-term psychiatric care. And … what if the intruder was not, in fact, an intruder?  I imagine that in this case it was, but “what if”?  What if it was a sibling, parent, or other family member arriving home unexpectedly?  What if it was an inebriated neighbor or otherwise confused person who mistakenly got the wrong house?  (I have actually had this happen more than once!).  No, there are just too many variables, and as I said in the beginning, how can one cancel the other out, when the child is still dead and now another human being is also?  Yes, I have been called a “bleeding hearts liberal” more times than I can count on all fingers and toes, but it is who I am, and I am okay with that.


  • “I would be willing to bet that drugs and alcohol play a bigger role in harming children and teens than accidental shootings. So perhaps it would be more relevant to ask if you have “drugs and/or alcohol” in the house? Would you be okay if your pediatrician asked you that question? Would you be okay if your pediatrician “had issues” or “vilified” you as a parent if you chose to indulge in either?” (From Just Plain Ol’ Vic)
    • This one is more troublesome, more difficult to answer than the others. Yes, I absolutely agree that drugs and alcohol play the biggest role in teen deaths, damage to teen’s emotional balance, destruction of families, etc.  And while I hope that drugs are not a common item in most households (perhaps I am naïve?), alcohol is certainly present in a large number of households, including my own.  To the question of whether I would “be okay” if a pediatrician asked if I had drugs or alcohol in my home, I am sure I would be a bit taken aback, yes.  And yes, I think I would be offended.  Perhaps that makes me a hypocrite, since I think it is okay for that same pediatrician to ask about guns in the home.  Which could lead to a fairly in-depth discussion that neither time nor space allow for here or today.
    • As to whether I would be okay if the afore-mentioned pediatrician “vilified” or “had issues” with me keeping a bottle of wine in the cabinet, I can definitely answer that no, I would not! But … that pediatrician who was asking about guns in the home was not, presumably, either vilifying or condemning, but simply asking and offering safety tips.  So, if said pediatrician then asks me how much wine I drink, I would remind him that I am not, in fact, his patient and his question is out of bounds.  However, if he reminded me to keep alcohol out of the reach of my toddler, I would not be offended.

(Part II to follow soon … )

Glocks vs. Docs …

Just when I thought the whole 2nd Amendment issue could not possibly get any crazier, I came across this in the Washington Post:

Do you own a gun? Why your kid’s doctor needs to know.


It turns out that several years ago, pediatricians began asking parents if there are guns in the home as a part of their routine exam.  My first thought?  How very sad that we have come to this point.  But just as I was about to close the article and move on, I read that in 2010, one Florida mother, Amber Ullman, rudely informed her child’s pediatrician that it was “none of [his] business”, then complained bitterly in the local newspaper that “whether I have a gun has nothing to do with the health of my child.”  Really???  Is she that bloomin’ stupid?  If a child is exposed to chicken pox, a parent is running to the doc, fearing for the life of her child, but if that same child is exposed to a lethal weapon every day of his life, it is not a threat to his health?  The pediatrician, Dr. Chris Okonkwo, by the way, told her she had 30 days to find a new pediatrician and that she wasn’t welcome at Children’s Health of Ocala anymore.  Good for him and shame on Ms. Ullman!


Well, as you might imagine, Ms. Ullman’s article attracted the attention of the ever-powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), who lobbied for a law prohibiting physicians from asking about guns in the home.  It is called the “Firearm Owners Privacy Act” and it was enacted nearly five years ago, in July 2011. It states, in part, that doctors or their facilities “may not record firearm ownership information in patient’s medical record; provides exception; provides that unless information is relevant to patient’s medical care or safety or safety of others, inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession should not be made.”  I ask you, is not a gun a potential threat to the safety of the patient, as well as the safety of others?  The law is commonly known as the “Glocks vs Docs” law.  Have I mentioned before that the scope of the NRA is well beyond what is reasonable?


A federal judge, Judge Marcia Cooke, blocked the law as unconstitutional, saying it restricted physicians right to free speech and physicians question regarding guns in the home does not, in any way, interfere with the patients right to keep and bear arms.  Then in July of last year, an appeals court overturned the ruling, citing the patient’s right to own guns and to privacy.  The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is now preparing to hear the case.  Sadly, legislators in at least 12 other states have expressed interest in similar bills.  Sigh.


One mother took her 7-year-old son for a routine check-up with his pediatrician.  Here is how that conversation went:


Doctor: Do you have guns in the home?

Parent: Of course not — we don’t believe in that!

Child (looking up from iPad with a grin): But Bobby’s dad has a really cool gun! Bobby showed it to me last week!


The leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1-14 is unintentional injury, a category that includes car accidents, suffocation, burns, drowning and gunshot wounds.  Pediatricians also ask whether a family has a swimming pool on their property, yet nobody has felt compelled to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing a lawsuit about that!  Pediatricians counsel parents about all of these issues. They may explain how to properly install car seats, caution against children playing with plastic bags, teach about safe water temperature, discuss safety around pools, and discuss proper and safe firearm storage.  In 2015, children accidentally shot themselves or someone else at least 278 times, averaging more than five times a week. Yet according to the NRA and apparently most gun owners, that is acceptable?


Let us hope that someone, somewhere along the line, preferably the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, has some “common” sense.  The bottom line is that a patient or parent can always refuse to answer the question, or simply disregard the advice of the physician.  But just in case a few parents might actually listen to the advice, just in case the life of a few children might be saved, let us not bind the hands of the very person who is actually trying to keep our children safe! Parents need to give the health and safety of their children a higher priority than their own right to privacy, or even their second amendment rights to own guns.  If they do not, then perhaps they do not deserve to be parents.