Monday, December 31, 2012

My Back Pages: Thoughts At Year's End and the New Year Ahead

My Back Pages: Thoughts At Year's End and the New Year Ahead: 2013 is just over the horizon.... one day and a few hours away. Wouldn't it be nice if we, as a people, could forgo our differences and...

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Back Pages: Guns and Roses and Little John

My Back Pages: Guns and Roses and Little John: Four of my roses. (Casey, Jamie, Makenna, Taylor) We had another shooting the other day ; this one in an elementary s chool in Newtown,...

Guns and Roses and Little John

Four of my roses. (Casey, Jamie, Makenna, Taylor)
We had another shooting the other day; this one in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. 26 innocent souls taken by a madman, a child himself, who 'Just snapped.' How many times have we heard this over the last couple of decades? Ho many times will we hear it again before we, as a caring society, come up with an answer that is acceptable to everyone? How many more innocents have to die before we say 'This is enough! We cannot tolerate this anothe second!' What really bothers me  is that , as soon as this happened, I could sit and watch the two sides gearing up for a fight. The gun enthusiasts on the one side, and the gun haters on the other. I have to tell you, I don't care about guns. I am a Marine (No such thing as a former or ex Marine). I never got a big charge out of them. When I went to target shoot, or playing the games at the carnivals, I always prided  myself with being a pretty decent shot. This comes in handy when you are defending your country. I never wanted to own one, however. The thought of having one in the house always scared me, for two reasons. One, I had two boys that could find and get anything that you thought that you were hiding from them. I could bet you that, if you tried, they would find whatever you were trying to keep from them  in less than ten minutes flat. Period.  Scoff, if you like, but that is the truth. Two, I never trusted myself enough to possess something that could take another persons life. Maybe now, that I am older, but when I was young, I did have a hot temper at times. I never hurt anyone, but if you have something as lethal as a gun, would you take a chance, if you were me? I think not. I don't need a gun to prove that I am tough. I am  not. I am just an old Marine. Enough said. Oh, those four cuties up there? They are four of my Roses... my sweet granddaughters. Here is another one.
Another Rose, a flower to be nurtured.(Elizabeth)
  I have fourteen grandchildren, that's right, fourteen, and not one of them is expendable! Not for the damned second amendment, that's for damned sure. Here is another one of my sweet flowers. This is John. He's two and a half, and he's funny and smart and he's named after me. I would take a bullet myself before I would see anyone of these children hurt. 
John Alan.. another flower.
 Do I have an answer on how to stop the violence? Probably not, but we have to start somewhere. Everyone with any sense knows that an outright ban is not going to work. We have people in this country that rely on guns for their dinner and livelihood on a daily basis. Hell, my own grandfather in Oklahoma put food on the table up to the fifties and beyond by hunting. I am not for taking any man or woman's livelihood away from them. But we could start by applying the same scrutiny for guns that we use for obtaining a drivers license. Every owner should be duly licensed. A psychological test should be required for each owner. Classes on gun safety should be mandatory for all. This is a start. Getting angry and calling names at people who are genuinely worried about their children and grandchildren only accomplishes closing peoples minds to you and your rights. Earlier today, I saw posts calling gun control advocates 'Fascist tools', Idiots, Communists....... you name it. To these people I can only say that your attempt at ridiculing people and trying to bully them, or marginalize them only hardens their stance against you. We all need to  calm down and have a dialog that will lead to a solution that will satisfy all, and keep our children safe. Arming the teachers is not an answer. Placing an officer or two in each school might be. Can we just stop getting heated and search for a meaningful answer to this increasingly deadly problem? 
  I am appealing to the good in all of you to work things out and find and answer. I know that you can do it. Don't let me down. Don't let our children and grandchildren down. Their lives depend on you.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Back Pages: The Spirit Of The Season

My Back Pages: The Spirit Of The Season:   Well, I cannot believe that another year has sped past, and we are officially into the Winter Holiday Season. I have already seen or read ...

The Spirit Of The Season

 Well, I cannot believe that another year has sped past, and we are officially into the Winter Holiday Season. I have already seen or read about random good acts performed by my friends and others that make me thankful that I do know so many people now. From a police spending his own money to buy a man a pair of shoes, to a young lady that I watched grow up being given a random holiday gift from a stranger and vowing to pay it forward, to another young lady who was inspired by this and bought two new tricycles to put in the nearly empty Toys for Tots box where she works, there are so many things that really make a person feel good at this time of the year. It doesn't matter if you celebrate Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza. It doesn't matte if you celebrate nothing, you cannot deny that there is a good mood that surrounds most people at this time of the year. We celebrate giving of ourselves to others less fortunate. We show family how much we appreciate them by giving gifts, large and small. People tend to volunteer to help the homeless more at this time of the year.
 Regardless of what the news says, there is always an up-tick in sales for the retail stores, big and small, at this time of the year. The lament is usually that the INCREASE in sales was not as large as the number crunchers would have liked; but there is always an increase, nevertheless.
  Now, I would like to get to the heart of my essay. It bothers me, because I have so many friends of different religions, and many with no religion. It's the matte of what to call the season and how to greet each other. I see people posting angrily about people saying Happy Holidays to them. They want to hear "Merry Christmas." While I can understand somewhat their wanting to hear their traditional greeting, everyone must realize  that there is more than  one holiday celebrated at this time, and other religious people do not feel comfortable about being told "Merry Christmas." Why should it offend someone to be told 'Happy Holidays?' I don't find this offensive and, in fact, have been using it for years when I do not know a person's religious beliefs. I use it out of respect for others and the though that I may have offended someone never crossed my mind. I just try to spread a little cheer by acknowledging  that this is a special time of the year to many people, not just Christians. I am sure that others who say the same thing, or something similar, are doing so for the same reasons. 
 So, if someone says "Happy Holidays!" to you, please, do not take offense. Rather, feel thankful that others, regardless of religion, want to share their spirit of the holiday season with you. Smile, let the warmth flow over you, and wish them the same. Let's end this year on a note of unity and brotherhood, and start the New Year with the same. Happy Holidays, everyone!