Saturday, June 30, 2018

Desensitization & Information Overload

What happens to us when we are overloaded with information…  the constant deluge of news during this political climate about topics ranging from nuclear war to human rights abuses chips away at our ability to process on a daily basis.

Some of us become desensitized and freeze our feelings due to the continuous overload of traumatic events.  Some of us become enraged and choose to lash out at those we once respected and admired.  Some of us choose to hide from the constant barrage and tune out as an act of self-preservation.  Some of us claim we no longer care or have faith that the political climate can improve...  and finally, some of us go along with political choices we once thought unimaginable to refrain from making waves.

Of course there are also those who act in ways to attempt to correct the myriad of issues that plague our country...  however...  with such vastly opposing views and animosity continually fed to us via media in all forms...  it has become difficult to tell where the truth actually lies.

How do we begin to help ourselves deal with this era of information overload without becoming numb or losing our ability to care?

We must practice self care...  discernment about accepting information from unreliable sources as fact... and learn to check our motives.

Are we adding to the fray just to be right?
Are we lashing out online where we can be relatively anonymous?
Are we losing our ability to see others viewpoints as possible?
Are we forgetting our manners when attempting civil discourse?
Are we forgetting that we are all capable of being wrong?

We must find a way to engage in civility once again and begin to see others as people...  rather than as  victims, persecutors or rescuers...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


A veteran and a gun owner who knows much more about guns than I do shares his opinion. Hopefully his arguments and information can help any of you trying to sway people on gun control laws...

“In order to make educated arguments for gun control, it's important to actually know what you're proposing and use the right language. Otherwise, you'll just get completely shut down as "not knowing anything about guns" to people you're trying to convince. And if you don't know anything about guns, you can't really advocate for responsible gun policy.
AR15s are not the problem alone. Yes, it's the most popular military-style rifle, and it is designed to kill people effectively. But banning one model of weapon will just make people switch to other, equally effective killing machines. If you banned the Toyota Camry, would people stop buying midsize sedans? No, you'd just end up with more Honda Accords on the road. If you want to fix the problem, you have to ban all semi-automatic rifles. Semi-automatic means the weapon is loaded with a magazine (or belt in some cases) with multiple rounds; and for every trigger squeeze, one bullet is discharged. 
There is no real need for these weapons in civilian use. They aren't necessary for hunting, where the point is to kill the animal with one shot. It is only useful for killing a lot of things in a short amount of time or having fun at a gun range. I think our children's lives are more important than a fraction of the population's fun shooting a bunch of rounds quickly at a range. They'll cope.
Handguns are far more responsible for gun deaths in America than semi-auto rifles. You mentioned the kid who brought a gun to school as only having a "handgun, not a semi-automatic." Well, almost all handguns are semi-automatic. They have magazines and one bullet per trigger squeeze. Though most handgun rounds aren't as deadly as rifle rounds, it's inconsequential at short range. And handguns are far easier to conceal than a rifle. With the exception of maybe revolvers (which have 5-6 round max before reloading), I believe handguns should be outlawed. The Virginia Tech massacre, the most deadly school shooting in American history, was accomplished with handguns only. Don't underestimate their lethality. I think military style rifles only account for about 2% of gun deaths each year. If you want to solve the problem, semi-auto handguns have to go, as well. 
If we really want to make a difference in gun deaths, we need to do WAY more than universal background checks and better mental health screening. Banning all semi-automatic weapons would make that difference. Keeping shotguns, revolvers, and bolt-action rifles legal accomplish all the typical, common uses of guns. (Bolt-action rifles are typical hunting rifles that you have to reload between shots.) With these types of firearms legal, you can still hunt, defend your home, and compete in sport shooting. 

Combine the following with the semi-auto ban.
Government buy-back program of all semi-automatic weapons. Once a grace period for turn-ins ends, possession will be a felony without a special (and rare) license for Federally approved dealers and collectors.
Gun licenses for all who want to continue to own approved firearms. Licenses will be granted by completing a comprehensive background check, psych evaluation, safety training, marksmanship training, and meeting strict storage requirements. Storage requirements would include safes, weapons unloaded, with ammo stored separately. Licenses expire after a certain number of years and all the requirements must be completed again for license renewal.
Registration of all firearms.
Insurance for all firearms. If your gun is used in a crime or if there's a accident with your gun, your insurance company is liable for damages. Let the insurance market set rates based on their analysis of risk. Then, people can decide if it's financially worth it to own a gun.
Finally, here's your counterarguments for the most common pro-gun arguments:
Pro-gun argument - assault weapons aren't an actual thing. Banning them won't make a difference.
Counterargument - none. This is true. Classifying a gun as an "assault weapon" is something people who know nothing about guns do. Having a bayonet stud (a place to mount a bayonet) used to be one way to classify a gun as an assault weapon. Last I checked, we don't have a bayonet problem in this country. Talk about banning semi-auto guns instead of made-up things like "assault weapons."
Pro-gun argument - 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to bear arms!
Counterargument - sure, it does, but there can be limitations. And in case anyone needs a history lesson, the individual right to bear arms has only existed since 2008. From the adoption of the Constitution until the DC v. Heller decision in 2008, the 2nd Amendment had never been interpreted to mean private citizens have a right to own guns. (Thanks, Scalia.) But that decision is now the law of the land and precedent for future court decisions. Nevertheless, even in Scalia's majority opinion, he asserts that there are limitations to the 2nd Amendment. Weapons allowed should be those in common use at the time. And limitations should be made on "dangerous and unusual" weapons, per previous precedent in United States v. Miller. I argue that semi-auto firearms should now be considered "dangerous and unusual," given their lethality.
Pro-gun argument - if law-abiding citizens get rid of their guns, criminals won't follow the law, and we'll be in more danger.
Counterargument - this is an argument against having laws. Since criminals don't follow the law, there should be no limits on anything. Also, when we do outlaw things, it can work. Purchases of large quantities of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was restricted after the Oklahoma City bombing, and there hasn't been a similar bombing since. We outlawed fully automatic weapons, grenades, rocket launchers, etc. in the 20th century, and what has happened? We don't see violence with those types of weapons. Most weapons used to commit crimes are purchased lawfully. If we change the laws, it will work to reduce gun deaths.
Pro-gun argument - if we ban guns, people will just use knives or baseball bats
Counterargument - there are plenty of incidents around the world of mass stabbings or clubbings, etc. Show me one that is as lethal as a mass shooting.
Pro-gun argument - we need armed security guards in every school
Counterargument - do you trust the security guard won't become a mass shooter? The Texas church shooter was an Air Force veteran. The Pulse nightclub shooter was a security guard. Further, it's relatively easy to get the drop on a security guard. Shoot him first when he's not expecting, then keep going. That's what the Pulse nightclub shooter did. It's not difficult if you draw first. Columbine had armed security, too. Adding more guns to schools adds more risk, it doesn't reduce it.
Pro-gun argument - it's a mental health issue, not a gun issue *or* guns don't kill people, people kill people
Counterargument - The United States has the same rates of mental illness as other developed Western countries, but we're the only ones with this type of violence. The mentally ill are actually less likely to commit crime than those who aren't mentally ill, which many find surprising. Also, those who are mentally ill are more likely to become the victim of a crime than those who don't have mental illness. It's a common refrain to hear "anyone who would do that must be crazy." That's not true. Being a murderer doesn't actually mean you are mentally ill, which is why you hardly ever see successful insanity defenses in trials. And if "people kill people," then we really should stop giving all these people guns, right? We don't allow private F-22s or nuclear weapons, do we? Why? Because people would use them to kill other people. People use people-killing machines to kill people. Go figure.
Pro-gun argument - We, as a society, have turned our backs on God. This is why crime is getting worse. We need God/Jesus to heal people's hearts, not get rid of law-abiding citizens' guns.
Counterargument - Crime has actually decreased overall in recent decades. Things are getting better, not worse. Murder rates and violent crime overall have trended down as we've advanced as a society. Mass shootings have remained steady, though, because angry people have easy access to guns.
Pro-gun argument - we need guns to fight against the government in case it becomes tyrannical.
Counterargument - I doubt semi-automatic weapons will defeat a tyrannical government with fighter jets, bombers, tanks, artillery, drones, advanced cyber capabilities, and nuclear weapons.
Pro-gun argument - gun registrations will make it easier for the government to disarm us
Counterargument - The registration is necessary to keep track of deadly weapons in case they are used in a crime, or in case a law-abiding citizen commits a crime that revokes their right to guns. There's over 300 million privately owned guns in America. If the government wanted to take everyone's guns, they'd do it the same way they would if there wasn't a registry: by going door to door and searching everyone.
I truly believe we need to do far more than anything advocated by most mainstream gun control organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action. We need to follow the lead of countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada. They've figured it out. Why can't we?”

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mere Allegations

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, President Trump tweeted the following:

“People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.  Some are true and some or false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?”

I would like to respond Mr. Trump:  The victims who were abused had their lives shattered when the incident occurred.  Domestic violence in any form is destructive, painful, terrifying and shaming. There is no short term recovery for the victim… any illusion of safety in relationships is permanently destroyed.  Further, the failure of others to believe the victim compounds the pain and suffering.  The victims relationship and life are gone.  Often times their career is gone as well because performance is affected by abuse.  Due process has been lacking for generations.  The time has come for those who perpetrate domestic violence to finally face consequences… their victims have been facing consequences for years.

Monday, January 22, 2018


Why do women feel the need to speak out… to resist?
What does it mean…  resist… the Dictionary defines resist as, “ withstand,  combat,  weather,  endure…”
What is it that we feel we need to resist?
We are your women… it is our special abilities that define us… we are the ones who make life more than an endurance challenge… we are the ones who soften the rough edges of living… who allow for the continuation of our species… we are the ones you turn to when you hurt… when you need support… when you are sick… when you are alone… we are the nurturers of our society…
Why do you continue to try to limit us?
Why do you fear us?
Why do you continue to treat us as less than yourselves?
Without us your lives would be meaningless.  All of your competition…  your success would mean nothing without our support and appreciation. Without our continuing applause how would you celebrate your victories?
And yet… your continued efforts to attempt to marginalize us is confusing…  all we have ever wanted is to be at your side… a respected equal... rather than being forced to stand behind you as a second class citizen.
We ask nothing more from you then that which you would confirm upon a best friend… dignity… respect… and equality...
For the truth is… we are truly your best friend...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Emotional Hijacking

Is life filled with far too many instances of throwing things... screaming...  making people cry...  and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking?  

An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence (EQ). As soon as someone shows that level of instability, people will question whether or not they're trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.

Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention toward whomever is acting out that way. They'll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. 

Controlling our emotions keeps us in the driver’s seat. When we're able to control our emotions around someone who wrongs us, they end up looking foolish instead of us.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Relationships and Abuse

  I have come to believe that there is a parallel between the Trump presidency and the pattern seen in abusive relationships.  In abusive relationships the victim begins the relationship with high hopes.  The victim looks toward a rosy future and feels great passion and joy at what they believe the future holds.  The abuser, on the other hand, begins the relationship with a manipulative agenda…  one that seeks to fulfill a need for control and dominance.  That difference encompasses a stark reality….  one that eventually diminishes the victims self esteem turning the relationship into a codependent nightmare of emotional blackmail…  psychological torture…. financial abuse and oftentimes physical harm.

The relationship may begin with a magnetic personality drawing the victim in close with lavish praise, expense gifts, excessive attention, grandiose plans and promises of an idyllic life together.  The victim gently is encouraged to move away from their own personal values to enhance the relationship, toward the values of the abuser… which initially do not seem that far off from the victim's current position.

 Over time, the victim is continually encouraged to move further and further from their own values toward the values of the abuser until their values are no longer represented.  This may occur in many areas…. emotional… psychological... financial… and physical.  One day, the victim no longer recognizes themselves when they look in the mirror.  They have lost their moral center and their self-esteem has been decimated.

Since our current president (and his administration) have been involved in the political arena…. first as a birther…. now as a politician… we have watched our country become a tangled morass of fringe elements that seek to separate us, the American people, and break apart our democracy.   We have always been a nation of differing opinions… however, we have in the past, been able to disagree with one another without devolving into name calling, racial and religious profiling and disrespect.

Normalizing the type of destructive rhetoric and hate speech we have seen over the past two years from our president… the fringes of the media… and in social media… has brought our democracy to a new low.

We have forgotten how to express our disagreements without becoming disagreeable…
We have forgotten our manners…
We have forgotten how to share information so that others can hear us without becoming defensive….
We have forgotten how to compromise…

 I suggest that  Americans  are currently involved in an abusive relationship with the current president.  We have been drawn in by a magnetic personality who has courted us with lavish praise… excessive attention… grandiose plans…. . and promises of an idyllic life together under his guidance.

Instead of experiencing any kind of idyllic life we, the American people, have been subjected to moral outrage…. social upheaval…. name calling and bullying…. racial and religious profiling… and disrespect.  We, the American people, have been demoralized by this administration.  Social media and fringe media outlets have deluded us, attempting to normalize hate and bigotry.  We have seen the respect for America around the world diminished in countless ways through presidential bullying of foreign diplomats…. disrespectful behaviors at summits…. and a general failure to acknowledge the equality of other heads of state.

I propose that we, the American people, break off our relationship with this abusive president before we are subjected to further demoralization.  Thus far our self esteem is still partially intact…. we can still look in the mirror and recognize ourselves.  We must end this destructive path we have erroneously taken by recognizing that we have been duped into believing we were entering into a relationship for our benefit when it has become appallingly apparent that we are being violated and abused emotionally… psychologically… financially… and physically.

Deciding to end an abusive relationship is fraught with difficulties.  The abuser will often times blame the victim for the failure of the relationship… as well as for any damage the victim has suffered at the hands of the abuser.  The possibility of this outcome should not frightened or deter us from our goal.  We are strong and can recover from whatever abuse we have endured.  We must resolve to restore our self esteem through self care…. beginning with ending the cycle of abuse and the relationship that fosters it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


After the voting is over and all the counting has been completed, what will it take for America to heal from the great chasm of angst that has been brought to the surface during this election cycle?

The deep anger and frustration that has been revealed during the run up of the last eighteen months must be addressed.

WE THE PEOPLE are angry...
We feel betrayed by our government...
We feel that our representatives in both Congress and the Senate have ignored us...
For their own benefit...
To line their pockets...
To cast their votes according to the will of donors...  both private and corporate...
Donors who don't have the future of WE THE PEOPLE as their concern...
WE THE PEOPLE are drained...  tired...
We don't want to listen to the litany of nonsense any longer...
The emails...
The sexual affronts...
The shaming and blaming...
WE THE PEOPLE feel like we are watching our great democracy nose dive into the toilet...
and WE have had ENOUGH!!

If you politicians in Washington don't begin to work for US...
WE THE PEOPLE will vote you out!!
We are ANGRY...
We have had ENOUGH!!

...and you have been warned...