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Father Gave the Guns Back   Leave a comment

I’m Brad, still filling in for Lela who is in training for her job.

 

A few days ago, a mentally disturbed man killed several people in a waffle restaurant in Tennessee. The cops had taken his weapons away from him previously because he was deemed to be dangerous. That law is already on the books … that if you’ve been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and have done something that makes a judge, through a due process system, consider you to be a danger to others, that you aren’t allowed to own or possess a gun.

That’s actually a law that the NRA fought for and that most Republicans agree with. If you’re likely to become homicidal at a greater rate than sane people, you shouldn’t be allowed a gun.

And the system worked. The guns were taken away from the dangerous individual. But the guns were the private property of the owner. They didn’t belong to the cops and keeping them would be theft. So, they were turned over to the ill man’s father who was told that his son was not allowed to possess guns.

So what happened? Jeffrey Reinking took possession of the guns and, even knowing his son was sick and might be dangerous, he returned them to him.

Why? I don’t know. That was a stupid and illegal thing to do. But President Trump didn’t do it. The NRA didn’t do it. The millions of American’s who make up the “gun culture” of the country didn’t do it. The Republicans didn’t do it. Our Founding Fathers who acknowledged and protected our pre-existing right to self-defense didn’t do it.

But you wouldn’t know that from the news media accounts and pundit jabber.

About 20-odd years ago, a mentally-ill man here in Fairbanks took a hammer and killed three of his roommates while they slept.

The other day, a distraught person rented a Ryder van and ran down a few dozen pedestrians in Toronto.

Do we want to ban hammers? They’re a really useful tool if you need to drive a nail into a board. My job would be a lot more difficult without them. Maybe we should just keep the hammers away from the schizophrenics.

Do we want to ban vans? Moving households would become a lot more complicated. Maybe the rental agent could have paused and asked the patron if he really ought to be driving while distraught.

But, the leftists now scream we need to ban guns, ignoring the facts.

 

The Founders acknowledged a pre-existing right to self-protection against government tyranny and they embodied that recognition in the Second Amendment. Our government is much more tyrannical than it was in 1789, so the reasons for the Second Amendment have not changed.

The cops are always minutes away when seconds count … or hours away, sometimes. The world isn’t a safe place and the statistics show Americans use guns for self-defense pretty often. Should we just let all those people be victimized, including being killed. Should being a law-abiding citizen carry the death penalty?

Some of us are hunters and, believe it or not, the AR-15 is a pretty decent hunting rifle for deer. We don’t have deer in Interior Alaska, so I don’t own one, but I know lots of people who do and they use them regularly for caribou and other game smaller than a moose.

Some of us are hikers and hikers in Alaska encounter bears fairly regularly. I was charged by one a few years ago. It was my first and only up-close-and-personal encounter with a bear. I had to hold it off with a chainsaw. As of that afternoon, I thought carry a gun in the woods was an excellent idea. I know dozens of people with similar encounters – I know three men who have been mauled by bears. Susan Butcher the legendary musher once had to shoot a moose during the Iditarod because it was killing her team. There’s all kind of things in the woods that want to eat people and a gun helps to even the odds of survival.

It’s already against the law to kill people, no matter what the means. Mentally-ill people don’t care and they’ll figure out other ways to do it, but there is a system in place to remove guns from dangerous individuals. It worked … right up until Jeffrey Reinking decided to break the law.

No one is responsible for the killings at the Waffle House except the shooter. He shouldn’t have been given the means to do that. But who gave him the means? His father.
So, when will the father be charged as an accessory in four counts of murder?
Provide a strong statement that there are consequences for giving guns to dangerous individuals who have had them removed through a due process system and people like Mr. Reinking will not give guns back to their dangerous offspring.
There’s a whole lot more going on in this country that is driving these mass shootings. They won’t be fixed by violating the natural rights of people to defend themselves because the problem is being caused a lot deeper issues than the availability of a tool. Maybe when we can stop screaming about that, we can have a real conversations about some of those issues.
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Posted April 26, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control

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Ignoring Reality   Leave a comment

This is Brad. Lela will be back, I promise.

So Sunday was Earth Day and I hardly noticed, but my lovely wife started this post and then asked me if I would finish it for her.

Do you remember all the apocalyptic predictions from the 1970s? They were the reasons given for a day of the year to worship nature as a pagan goddess.

During the first Earth Day observance (that actually lasted for a couple of months:

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15-30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

“Man must stop polluting and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possibly extinction” New York Times editorial

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

Texas University professor, Peter Gunter wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

National Academy of Sciences Harrison Brown published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Wow, lots of fear-mongering. Have any of those predictions come true?

As the opening chart shows, the United States has “decarbonized” over the last decade or two. CO2 emissions have risen throughout most of the rest of the world, but the US’s emissions have fallen dramatically. Did the Earth Day movement have anything to do with that? Not really. It’s mostly because of hydraulic fracking and substitution of natural gas for coal as a electric generation fuel source.

Ronald Baily of Reason Magazine (who pulled together much of this awesome list) asked in on Earth Day 2000 (Earth Day 30):

“What will the Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030?”

He predicted a much cleaner, much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty and longer life spans, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he also warned:

“There will be a disportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present — never looked so bleak.”

The hype and hysteria over these spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, because it’s been such a wonderful con and has reaped such lovely benefits for the environmentalists. Why would they want the gravy train to end by acknowledging reality?

Could the US School Europe on Cannabis?   1 comment

This is Brad, standing in the gap for Lela who is traveling for work. So I decided it’s my blog for the week, so I might as well say what I want. Lela knew this might happen. Maybe she should have changed the password.

 

Did you know that marijuana is not legal in Europe?

Alaska Cannabis Club CEO Charlo Greene prepares to roll a joint at the medical marijuana dispensary in Anchorage, Alaska, on Feb. 20, 2015Yeah, you can buy it in Amsterdam “coffee shops” and possession is decriminalized up to 5 grams, but police can still confiscate that amount and it is not technically legal for those coffee shops to operate, even though the authorities tolerate them. Law enforcement could shut them down any time they like.

Germany, Belgium, Luxembourge, Denmark and Malta also tolerate possession of small amounts of cannabis. Italy allows marijuana use in religious practices, Albania is apparently unable to encourage restrictions on pot, and Freetown (Copenhagen) claims it is independent of Denmark, where marijuana remains illegal. The Czech Republic and Portugal are really on the only countries to actually decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. But still, the Netherlands are the only place that openly tolerates public sale and consumption of pot. Incarceration for possession of minor quantities remains possible in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, the Scandinavian nations and virtually all of Central and Eastern Europe. Cyprus has a maximum penalty of eight years for mere possession. Macron’s France is just now lowering possession to a misdemeanor with a fine, but according to a 2014 European Union Commission survey had 53% of 15-24 year-olds stating that marijuana should be banned. The only reason Europe is ignoring drugs these days is it lacks the money to enforce the laws that remain on the books.

Image result for image of legal cannabis in alaskaNow come across the pond to the United States. While Europeans love to hold their noses in the air about how “immature” Americans are, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state allow medical and recreational sales of cannabis and there is a large-scale public debate on the benefits of marijuana and its actual risks as well as a debate on the politics that led to Nixon’s War on Drugs. Americans are actually having discussions about law enforcement’s targeting of minorities through the drug laws and how the percentage of the population in prisons is as a direct result of nonsensical drug policies. It’s even made conservative evangelicals reconsider their stance on the legalization of cannabis. Many of them here in Alaska now openly state that, like alcohol, marijuana should be regulated to reduce its societal problems, but that prohibition doesn’t work and they regret that they didn’t foresee that 20 years ago.

Europe has always maintained that it is superior … more grownup … than America. We’re so provincial with our belief in traditional marriage, people being clothed in public and our higher incarceration rates. That sense of arrogance goes back to the Revolution, when most countries in Europe were certain we’d never last a few years, let alone centuries, and they’ve never really gotten over that, even after we had to sort out their wars twice during the 20th century. And, anyone pointing out America’s horrendous incarceration rate has got my full agreement. But, through the beauty of federalism, Americans are gradually providing (possibly) that cannabis legalization will not be the end of the world. Will Europe learn from our example?

We can only hope.

 

 

 

Why Should I Care?   Leave a comment

This is Brad as Lela is away getting her brain expanded.

I didn’t, in the end, vote for Donald Trump, but I supported his candidacy for president. Lela talked me into casting a vote for Gary Johnson, but the fact is, I wish I’d voted for Trump. I think, if every voter who thought he’d shake up the system but felt intimidated by the Trump-haters so stayed home or cast a no-win vote had actually voted for him, he might have won the “popular” vote. Lela would be so proud of me for pointing out that this vote doesn’t exist … but it sure does seem to matter to a lot of people.

Some of those people are friends, who ask me why I still support Donald Trump as he crashes around the world risking wars, surrounded by FBI investigations at home and not delivering on Obamacare. How can I, an evangelical Christian, not reject him and wish I’d voted for Hillary?

Well, first … Hillary Clinton … you’re kidding, right? She failed to prevent four wars while she was Secretary of State … and those are just the ones we know about.

But why don’t I care about Stormy Daniels? Why aren’t I morally outraged by his cheating on his wife … with a porn star. Don’t I care that he paid off the porn star to keep her quiet until after the election? Where’s the moral outrage that surrounded Bill Clinton’s infidelities?

I think Melania Trump has every right to be angry with her husband. Lela would certainly make me pay if I embarrassed her in public in a similar fashion. But let’s face it. We’ve been here before. Kennedy, Clinton … Trump himself. He’s on his third wife and admits to be a serial philanderer. But the difference between Trump and Kennedy or Clinton is this alleged affair happened when he was a private citizen. In fact, there’s a 2011 interview with Ms Daniels where she confirms the encounter with then-Mr Trump.

 

We knew who he was when just about 50% of the voters put him in office. This isn’t news to me or my father or the many people I know who voted for him. These were the reasons Lela wouldn’t vote for him, while at the same time she acknowledges that the whole news now means very little to her. Trump is a cheesy clown reality star who likes to grub in the mud. We knew that before we elected him. He never promised us anything different and Trump voters didn’t care then. Why would we care now?

 

So when my friends try to label my continued support of President trump as some sort of numb moral surrender along with millions of others in a beaten populace, I don’t agree. I think we’re growing up and recognizing that politicians are not us. They are all corrupt in one way or another. What matters is how they do their job.

 

 

 

PBS and CNN keep saying Trump is doing everything wrong, but his missteps appear to be working. Those friends who question me about why I would support Trump are talking about expanded business in their area. Some of them work for corporations that gave out bonuses with their tax refund. Lela comes from her job telling me about how road permitting delays have been cut by 75%, saving millions on construction projects.

Kim of North Korea is willing to talk about giving up his nukes. Since GHW Bush, there’s been this strong idea that there had to be multi-lateral talks – seven ambassadors in a room to gang up on Kim — in order to make any progress with him … and they made no progress. Trump says he’ll meet with him personally and Kim starts talking about concessions. It’s too early to tell if that will be successful, but it sure seems like that has a potential for progress.

Israel is no longer being kept waiting in the lobby of the White House as they were during the Obama administration. It seems Trump has won over Japan and Taiwan, but he’s also brought the State of Alaska and the Chinese together on a potential gas pipeline and export agreement. Unlike Obama, whose red line was imaginary, Trump has put teeth to Syria’s throat, which Lela doesn’t like, but I think is a good idea.

So, if he’s doing his job well, despite almost monolithic opposition in the American press  … what do I care about a sexual affair from 12 years ago?

Posted April 24, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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Ordinary Citizen Gets Death Penalty   1 comment

This is Brad. Lela is gone on a business trip this week, so while she’s going to check in on social media when she has down times, she asked me to post to her blog. Well … I asked if I could and she didn’t change the password. Thanks to Keirnan for knowing how to post photos, hyperlinks and hash-tags.

 

Jamal JacksonSo this is a “what might have happened” article. I’m often the source for those anyway, just so you know, because I read these articles and ask myself “What might have happened if …?” and then I debate them with Lela.

In Ventura County, California, a homeless man stabbed a family guy with a kid on his lap, fatally killing him. Now, of course, in the very armed state of Alaska, we ask “What if someone had been appropriately armed … could they have prevented this?” Maybe … maybe not. I, who support the full exercise of our right to self-protection, believe that it would have been a benefit if someone in that restaurant had been armed with something more than a steak knife. My sister, the anti-gun nut, believes such an armed citizen would simply have shot the kid on the victim’s lap (because only cops know how to shoot straight). We’ll never know because it never happened. Nobody in the steakhouse was armed except the murderer.

Ah, but … people had earlier called someone my sister would agree was fully qualified to carry a gun. Three hours before the stabbing, people in the area had contacted police to report a disruption from a homeless man who later would become a murderer. Instead of sending a cop out to assess the situation and perhaps takes this clearly ill man to a mental health center, police watched him on traffic camera footage and determined that he was “harmless”. They then left this danger to disarmed humanity in the neighborhood where he could kill someone.

So, yeah, Anthonoy Mele might still be alive if he or another patron had been armed and able to stop this attack before the knife entered his neck … or if the police had just done their jobs.

I’m not a fan of police just driving around looking for crime. I think they create crime when they do that. They harass people who might be minding their own business in a way cops think is unsocial. As a former urban parkour athlete, I resented police behavior in rousting people who weren’t following the unwritten rules cops seem to impose on society.

I think cops ought to be treated a lot like firemen who stay at the station until they are called out to a fire. I’m not anti-cop. I wouldn’t do away with all police. I’d just make them stay at the station and study the Constitution until they’re needed. In my perfect world, when a disturbance is reported, the cops show up to investigate and deal with the situation if it needs dealing with. What was Jackson shouting when he was causing the disturbances? We don’t know. But it might have been useful if the police had engaged him and learned that perhaps he had fixated on something that might have led him to kill a stranger in a steakhouse. But they didn’t. Instead, they let a man get killed and left the capture of this bad guy to a group of patrons who chased him to a beach.

I also don’t have anything against the homeless or the mentally ill. I spent some time as a young man homeless myself, so I have great compassion for people who experience that. Because Lela used to work in the field, we often have mentally ill people who know her come up and talk with us. Most of them are nice people who are just a little weird. I’m also a magnet for weird people. If there’s a schizophrenic person at LAX airport while I’m waiting for a flight, they will walk five concourses to come find me and tell me all about their delusions. We don’t know why that is, but it’s pattern in our travels. So I’m not railing against homeless people or the mentally ill. My issue is the cops not showing up to deal with it before someone died and with all the people who insist that disarming people will somehow make the world a safer place. Nobody had a gun in that steakhouse and a man still died. Obviously, being disarmed didn’t make Anthony Mele one bit safer.

One last thing I noticed is that the dangerous homeless guy has more right to life than the family man enjoying an afternoon with his family. If found guilty, Jamal Jackson will get up to 55 years of three hots and a cot. He could get less and this being oh-so-permissive California, he’s likely to do far less than he is sentenced to. In a decade, they might be hailing him as a success in mental health treatment — at least until he goes off his meds and kills somebody else. But Anthony Mele got the death penalty for … what? … eating at steakhouse and not having the means to defend himself. It really seems as though ordinary citizens have far less rights than criminals.

How is that a just society where the “rights” of the mentally ill to be dangerous and homicidal are protected but the actual rights of ordinary citizens to be able to protect themselves while having a meal with their family aren’t?

Posted April 23, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Government, Uncategorized

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A Place Apart   1 comment

April 23, 2018 – Images of reading nooks or bookshelf designs.
Is there such a thing as a bookworm who doesn’t appreciate photos of cozy reading nooks or gorgeous bookshelves? We think not, and have found success rounding up these types of bookish images. Choosing a particular season or unifying theme helps to keep the content focused and repeatable, like outdoor reading nooks or DIY bookshelves. Pinterest and Instagram are great channels to repurpose this image-based content.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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1 Green and window

I have always wanted a reading nook, and when I was in high school, I actually did create a nook in a closet behind a knee wall in my bedroom. Of course, that house didn’t belong to me and the homes I’ve lived in subsequently have had them. Brad promises me that some day he’ll be finished with the restructuring of our house and the family room will end up with a window seat surrounded by bookshelves, with enough room to stretch and maybe a curtain across the front and, given that Brad is an electrician, adequate lighting.

For now, here are a couple of my dream nooks. I like the idea of books being close at hand, but I also like being able to look out a window. The one thing the first nook misses is a blanket. That’s an Alaskan thing, I think.

1 Wood beams and window

I’m not a fan of white – we see too much of it outside, but I like how this one is tucked back out of the room. It’s similar to one of Brad’s potential designs make us of a garreted-second story above our family room that really needs to be insulated better. His idea is that we could build out a nook under the garret. But mine would not be white.

3 Under stairs, blue, books

Before we moved to our current house 16 years ago, we lived for 18 years in 640 square feet, so I truly appreciate architecture that makes use of every inch, like this nook in a coworker’s basement that fits in under the stairs. My perfect noon has a window, but this is pretty cool and, not counting the books, cost him less than $1000 to build and furnish.

Image result for images of reading nooks

But there are so many nooks to choose from. Like this final one that I would quite happily curl up in with a good book. It’s got a window, lighting, a curtain to close out the world. I hope the books are right across the room. I can imagine being the heroine of a mystery, falling asleep behind the curtain and overhearing a critical conversation that leads her on a red herring goose chase that then leads her to the solution.

Whatever nook I might use, I can imagine sitting in any of these nooks not just with a book, but also with my laptop, my muse inspired by these awesome settings.

Posted April 23, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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#Friday #Free #Apocalyptic #Book   Leave a comment

lifeasweknewit

Grab the first book in the series for FREE today. Amazon

Posted April 20, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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The Author Lab

A writing collective

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You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book - Dr. Seuss

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a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream.

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