Of two minds

I’ve seen a lot of “who cares?” type of posts on the government “shutdown” from the gun blogosphere and, for the most part, I agree.

Actually, it’s very tempting for me to increase my level of concern from “who cares” to “this is a good thing” since the rate at which we’re destroying our children’s and grandchildren’s future has slowed slightly during this period.

It wouldn’t bother me a bit if food stamp recipients and welfare recipients across the USA all the sudden had their charity…er…”benefits” reduced for a while. Perhaps it would cut down on obesity rates among the “less fortunate”. Heck, some of them may even have to cut back to basic cable rather than the premier package and give up watching HBO on their 60″ plasma HDTVs.

The one thing that makes me a bit leery about it, however, is the impact on the VA and military retirees.

Full disclosure: this has an impact on me. I’m a 40% disabled, military retiree and receive both a retirement check from the DOD and a VA disability check every month.*

With that said, however, I’m still able to work…I simply had to find employment in a field that wasn’t affected by my disabilities. We also live within our means (a concept obviously foreign to our “betters” in Washington DC). If my retirement and VA disability checks stop coming (a real possibility if this “shutdown” drags out for more than a few weeks), we can still pay the bills, keep the lights on and food on the table. Some “discretionary” spending is going to have to be cut or eliminated, but by budgeting properly, We should be OK, if not entirely comfortable.

What I’m worried about, though, are the veterans who are disabled to the point where they can’t work at all. The ones who suffered combat injuries or trauma that makes them dependent on their disability pay to survive. What happens to them if the VA stops sending out checks?

The Democrats won’t even consider negotiating with the Republicans on the issues before them. They simply won’t talk. When the Republicans offered a bill to fund the VA this week, the Democrats dismissed it out of hand. They have demonstrated that they have no problem holding the welfare of our honored combat veterans hostage to use as leverage to achieve their political agenda.

If that doesn’t piss everyone in the country off, regardless of political affiliation, there’s a serious problem here (not that THAT particular observation is news to anyone).

Basically, the very people who’ve sacrificed their physical well being in defense of our nation are potentially being tossed under the bus to gain political leverage.

I would urge everyone to call, e-mail or write to your congresspersons and let them know in no uncertain terms that this government had BETTER fulfill its obligations to our disabled war heros or there will be serious repercussions at the ballot box.

I would also urge people to pay attention to what’s going on and, if the VA does stop making disability payments, to step up, find out if there are any veterans in their area who cannot work due to injuries suffered as a result of their service, and do what they can to help them out.

We cannot let those who have selflessly sacrificed so much be allowed to slip through the cracks.

*Before anyone goes gushing about my honored service or anything…my disabilities are simply the result of the wear and tear on the human body that 21 years in the demanding conditions of the military can do to a person. It’s fairly typical for retirees to be rated between 10 and 40 percent disabled due to nothing more than the long term damage that the military environment causes. I am not a “combat vet” per se, so I don’t deserve to be placed on the pedestal that those who’ve “seen the elephant” do.*

Guns in Church

Why would anyone need to have a gun in a place of peaceful worship and meditation like a church?

A pastor was shot and killed during a church service on Friday night in Calcasieu Parish.

Myers said Karey shot Harris with a shotgun twice, once when he walked into the church and a second time when Harris fell to the floor. Myers said Karey walked up to him and shot him at close range.

Because there is no magical anti-violence force field at the entrance to a church. It’s just a building. Bad people can strike there as easily as anywhere else…actually – easier, because in many states churches are by law victim disarmament zones.

This just enfuriates me…

Because everyone knows that an unarmed, angelic, black teenager (hoodie optional) could never harm a fully grown, adult, “white-hispanic” with their bare hands…right?

Santiago was followed by the three teens while walking on 3rd Street between Adams and Jefferson Streets in Hoboken on Sept. 10 when one of the juveniles threw a punch at Santiago’s head in what detectives believe was a game of “knockout.” Santiago then collapsed onto the fence, wedging his neck between two iron fence posts, where he died, the prosecutor said.

Too bad that white looking guy with a hispanic sounding name (versus a hispanic looking guy with a white sounding name) died, but sucker punching an innocent person on the street trying to knock them out is not REALLY a violent crime, it’s just a childish prank.

Right?

Also interesting that I had to go to the video to figure out the race of the young innocent pranksters, it wasn’t mentioned a single time in the entire article.

Funny that.

If this kind of crap keeps up and continues to be brushed under the rug…black violence against other races ignored or whitewashed while people defending themselves against black thugs is touted as evidence of racism and results in the modern equivalent of the Salem Witch Trials…there absolutely WILL be a race war in this country eventually. And blame for it can be placed squarely at the feet of the race hustlers in both the Black community and the media.

And the winner is…

certificate-of-achievement-01

Honorable Mention to David of Void Where Prohibited and Guffaw of Armed Laughing

Update: Edited to fix David’s name…my bad

I have to admit I’m surprised anyone got it from that horrible picture, and I had a couple of other hints already lined up to narrow it down, but they got it on the first go.

The picture is of the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The trip up was a bit hot at times, I got rained on for about 10 minutes outside Fredericksburg, and it took something like two hours to get through the border crossing (Sunday evening is not the best choice of crossing times), but it was still a good trip…however, the trip back was even better. It was cool and clear the whole way. I took back roads through New York and Pennsylvania and had some beautiful riding.

The only bad thing about the trip back was that it was so cool, it didn’t even occur to me to put sunscreen on my face so I’ve got the “raccoon tan” going on now, but that’s a pretty minor issue to have. It’s been a while since I did a long-distance trip so it was very much enjoyed.

Next time I go up there, The Wife’s going too and we’re going to spend a day at Niagra Falls on the way up and then another day exploring Toronto. Going up into the CN Tower is on the short list of things we want to do while there.

Thanks to everyone who played.

Further to my last post

Any body wanna guess where I went?

HPIM4701Hint 1:

Granted, not a great picture because it was from quite a distance and a moving motorcycle, but I’m trying to direct your attention to the big spire looking building in the middle of the shot. Anyone recognize it?

A million internet points to the one who gets it.

Business trip in style

I didn’t take many pictures because anyone who’s been here before have seen plenty of motorcycle trip pictures, but I took my bike on a business trip in stead of flying. The business was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, so Sunday and Wednesday were travel days.

Before: Sunday, 8/11, 7am IMG_9936

After: Wednesday 8/14, about midnight: IMG_9942

1513 miles in four calendar days, two travel days.

Not bad.

Why I don’t support the Death Penalty

Having been raised as a “law and order” conservative, I used to strongly support the death penalty and would have strongly supported its use being expanded to include all murders and even heinous instances of rape and child abuse.

Things like this are what prompted me to change my mind.

[John Thompson] was wrongly convicted not once, but twice — separately — for a carjacking and a murder. He spent 18 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, 14 of them on death row. His death warrant was signed eight times. When his attorneys finally found the evidence that cleared him — evidence his prosecutors had known about for years — he was weeks away from execution.

But what most enrages Thompson — and what drives his activism today — is that in the end, there was no accountability. [bold added]

The particularly striking thing about [the] argument that self-regulation and professional discipline are sufficient to handle prosecutorial misconduct — is that even in the specific Supreme Court cases where it has been made, and where the misconduct is acknowledged, the prosecutors were never disciplined or sanctioned.

It’s a very long piece, that touches on some unrelated topics and raises a few points that I disagree with, but the overall premise is right on the money:

In our legal system, which rewards prosecutors for convictions rather than justice and in which there are absolutely no repercussions for prosecutors who bend, twist and mutilate the law to obtain those convictions, there are no guarantees that the person convicted of a heinous crime is actually the one who did it.

Between 1973 and 2002, Orleans Parish prosecutors sent 36 people to death row. Nine of those convictions were later overturned due to Brady violations. Four of those later resulted in exonerations. In other words, 11 percent of the men Connick’s office attempted to send to their deaths — for which prosecutors suppressed exculpatory evidence in the process — were later found to be factually innocent.

Our system of “innocent until proven guilty” and respect for individual rights is supposed to be engineered to err on the side of caution. Much better, our philosophy opines, that many guilty go free than for one innocent to be unjustly punished for a crime they did not commit.

The current legal system, with its protections against prosecutors (and other government officials) being held accountable for blatant misconduct, turns that philosophy in its head.

I have no problem whatsoever with the speedy, public, and graphic execution of those who commit murder or other horrific crimes, however when, in some locales, a conviction carries with it a 25 percent chance that the conviction was obtained illegally and an 11 percent chance that the convicted is DEMONSTRABLY innocent of the crime, then I’m very glad that our executions are not swift and I would strongly support the halting of them altogether until we can come up with better protections to ensure that only the guilty are convicted.

First among those protections should be prosecutors that are held accountable, are arrested and tried for misconduct and, if convicted, are as swiftly and harshly punished for such crimes as those that they prosecute.

“These people tried to eliminate me from the face of the earth,” Thompson says of his own prosecutors. “Do you get that? They tried to murder me. And goddamnit, there have to be some kind of consequences.”

But for the Grace of God go you or I.