What has so excited? goes behind the scenes with his Knowledge team to learn about our attempt to build "the Star Trek computer."
This person does not use their real name. See if you can figure out who it is and whether it is a man or woman. But if you know, do not make it public; he/she is a VERY private person.
I’m a gun person. I didn’t necessarily start out that way, but I grew up in a family that enjoyed the use of sporting firearms and the outdoors. Growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, ownership of guns and hunting was considered a rite of passage. My school district made the first day of deer hunting season a school holiday. That's right folks, no class on the first day of deer season. Many people hunted including teachers at the schools. I tried hunting a few times, but the bug never bit me. Maybe I was just too poor a woodsman or perhaps too impatient, but I was just no account at hunting. I did enjoy informal plinking, target shooting and the occasional visit to the town dump with my .22 rimfire rifle to stalk rats.
By the time I graduated high school and was off to college, there was a gap of maybe ten or so years I did not touch a gun or even think about one. I was preparing for my future and to be honest, I didn’t have the time for forays into the woods as I did when I was an adolescent. Things being what they are and perhaps genetics playing into it, I gravitated back to guns and once again became a gun person.
A good question that begs to be answered is, what is a gun person? The answer is obvious if you are a gun person, but I will try to answer it for those of you who are on the fence or otherwise unsure. A gun person can be just about anybody. It can be the man or woman down the street. There are no bounds on the different walks of life to which gun people belong. I am a technical person by training with degrees in Mathematics. My friends are largely technical people I met at work. Most of them were gun people, but a few were ambivalent about guns. That is, until I took them under my wing and properly introduced them to the safe handling of firearms and got them involved in the sport. Now they are gun people.
If you believe everything you read in the news media or what passes for entertainment on television nowadays, gun owners are portrayed as a pretty sorry lot. Shows like Duck Dynasty or American Hoggers would have you believe we are basically uncouth, uneducated, beer gulping yokels. I will admit, a few live up to the stereotype, but most of the gun people I have come across in my lifetime have been kind, helpful, and generous folks. The salt of the earth. Many are quite articulate and a few are scary smart. A lot of the people I know majored in the hard sciences. You can’t be an asshole or dummy and make it through 4 years in engineering, mathematics or physical sciences. All are careful owners who practice safety religiously. There is a list of commandments for safe gun handling that almost every gun owner knows cold. If followed correctly, it is impossible to have an accident that results in injury or death.
To portrait gun people as ignorant rednecks is about as great a disservice as portraying all liberals as dirty, pot-stoned hippies who shuffle around in Birkenstock sandals, driving VW Bugs with “Save the World” and “Green Peace” stickers plastered over their cars. Again, some people match the stereotype, but it is flat-out wrong to paint everyone with the same broad brush.
There is a question that always bugs me and I can’t seem to get a straight answer. Why can't gun people and gun haters leave each other alone? It is not illegal to own guns and, in fact, the right is clearly stated in the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Legal scholars on both sides of the issue have bantered for many decades on what the second amendment means; but there is plenty of historical evidence from our founding fathers that the intention was for citizens to have the right to be armed. The supreme court even upheld the argument supporting the second amendment.
The gun haters argue vehemently that we are now a civilized society and that only the police need arms. Much hoopla is made over assault weapons and handguns being involved in murders. Many laws have been passed that ban or make it extremely difficult to purchase such arms. In some cases, the difference between the so-called assault weapons and unregulated guns is purely cosmetic. The “assault” weapons look mean so they must be very bad. Many politicians try to make political hay out of all of this, resorting to emotional arguments that really do not hold up to serious scrutiny.
Since the Gun Control Act of 1968, sales of handguns are strictly controlled and regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Prior to this law, you could buy handguns by mail order with no questions asked. To purchase a handgun today, you must buy from a licensed dealer in the state in which you legally reside. A background check with police agencies are performed at the time of purchase. If you have a previous felony conviction, were accused (you don’t even need to be convicted) of a domestic crime, or a misdemeanor that resulted in prison of more than 1 year, don’t try to purchase a gun or you can be subjected to arrest. The same is true if you attempt a “straw purchase” or lie filling out the required state and BATF paperwork. The numbers of people who get caught during instant background checks are in the thousands, but actual prosecutions by the Federal government are very few. One has to wonder why, if the government is so concerned about illegal purchases of guns, so few are actually sent to jail? And for all these restrictive laws, there are more murders today than there were in the years before guns became highly regulated.
I live in Maryland. A state that has very tough gun laws. Concealed carry is based on the discretion of the state police and it is extremely tough to get a CC license. There are very specific rules regarding the transportation of firearms and they are enforced vigorously. For example, it is only legal to transport a handgun between your home and a shooting range, sporting event, gunsmith or licensed dealer. It is a fact that the state police have staked out gun shops and followed people leaving the shop. Stop to make a pee or buy a soda on the way home and you could find yourself losing your gun and being subject to criminal charges. I have not witnessed this personally, but I have it on the authority of somebody quite credible.
In most cases, what ends up happening is the state strong arms you into copping a plea that keeps you out of jail, but prevents you from ever legally being able to buy a firearm again. The state I live in has a revolving door criminal justice system. Recidivism is very high as well as violent crime. We have a kindhearted governor who frets dearly over applying the death penalty to remorseless murderers, but has no issue with abortion on-demand. Like many career politicians, he never lets a crisis go to waste and immediately jumped on the bandwagon after the Connecticut shooting. We now face draconian licensing requirements and range certifications to purchase a handgun. Of course, the ranges to conduct the testing do not exist, but hey it's not like saying you can’t own a handgun. Assault weapons, on the other hand, are verboten; although there is a grandfather clause for those who already own such a weapon.
You may be wondering why I continue to live in a state that has so disappointed me. Well, at first the issue was employment. Where I grew up, there were few opportunities for the technical type of work for which I made my vocation. As of late, I have been burdened with health issues which make travel for me extremely difficult. Too difficult to move and start anew. I am between jobs at this time and a friend who enjoys conversing with me asked me to put some thoughts to paper. Thus, I have written this blog entry. I guess you could call it a trial balloon. Some people will agree with most of what I have said and I am sure I will rub a bunch of other people the wrong way. That’s life. I hope though, to reach out to people on the fence who don’t have a dog in the race one way or the other. People who have an open mind. My friend seems to think I am articulate enough to win over some new friends and I hope he is right. Time will ultimately tell and I hope there is still time left.
I for one will never bow to that...only in airports...and even that is getting extremely old!! :P
I would rather live free, endure the small chance that someone may blow me up, or decide to shoot me for no reason, than be subjected to a fascist police state. Just for reference check this list out of "odds" for dying in a certain way....just to show how you have much greater chance of dying from heart disease or autombile accidents than by firearms!
I have to work away from home but I get back as often as possible to make sure my family is growing in the right directions.
- to my friends, family and other humans in general!
- ...becoming a better man, father and husband!present
- Oil and Gas LandmanCrew Chief, GIS-mapping, Abstracts, Review, Due Diligence, Mods and Amendments, Seismic Permits, Leasing, present
- Zeddox GroupSolutions Engineer, present
- NASASystems Administrator
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