An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

NRA logoThe NRA (and the small minority of Americans/vast majority of gun manufacturers they represent) continuously complains that any restrictions on gun ownership will lead to a “slippery slope” ending in everyone’s guns being taken away.

And indeed that fear has become a reality, but not the one they predict; instead they’ve done the slope slipping, from supporting some restrictions in the 80’s & 90’s to a “no restrictions are acceptable” stance now.

As a result, they’ve at last lost my willingness to accept some level of gun ownership, as that acceptance was predicated upon my understanding that most gun owners want regulations that keep gun carnage to a minimum.  Although I’m sure this is still true, even those folks have lost my backing as, through their silence, they are tacitly supporting the NRA’s untenable positions.

I’ve always known that the stance of gun ownership as a right bestowed to all by the Second Amendment makes sense only when the important opening words are omitted (which you will find is the case in all advocating documents and statements): “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

2nd-amendment

…but again, I was willing to work with Americans’ desire to own a weapon so long as they were willing to work with gun-control advocates on life-saving restrictions.

I never accepted that a hunter needs an automatic weapon to nab a deer (anyone who does has chosen the wrong past-time), that arming school personnel is the answer to children/youth being slaughtered in their classrooms (or in the case of the latest, and largest mass shooting in US history, carrying club-goers…that’s the ticket, arm folks who have been drinking…), or that people on the terrorist watch list must still be permitted to own guns because a rare few may be on the list erroneously.

But now, I no longer accept, for any circumstance, the notion that someone must be armed to be happy…or safe.  Unless you’re part of a militia formed to defend the security of these free States, I am now fully in favor of an Australian style ban on all guns, thanks to the NRA, and the power bestowed upon them by the silent majority of US gun owners.

I hope others, particularly my fellow Boomers, who have stayed silent about this as did I, will no longer as well.

Advertisements

MLB – While You’re Reviewing Things….

major league baseballAfter this year’s World Series, Major League Baseball decided to reconsider a long-standing (as in on the books since aught whenever of the last century) but potentially outdated-as-written rule known as “obstruction” that helped the Cardinals win game 4.  It’s good to know that the game is willing to self-analyze a bit – like they did in 2008 when they finally agreed to include video reviews of disputed plays (OK, just home runs, and admittedly decades after football started using this approach to reconsider a disputed call, but it’s a start).  Recently, MLB has also agreed to consider an expansion of their video review policy to include more options throughout the game.

So, while they’re in a rare updating mode, I have a recommendation for another mightily outdated practice that needs changing.

Using only men as umpires.

Women would very much like to be on the roster, considered right alongside their male counterparts as with any business today.  And they have tried, to no avail, as covered in an August, 2011 piece by ESPNW.  Yet, according to Baseball Nation, there’s never been a female major league umpire, and only six women have umpired in the affiliated minor leagues (meaning those leagues affiliated with Major League Baseball).  Citing the aforementioned ESPNW story, they note that “the last female umpire in the affiliated minor leagues was Ria Cortesio, and she was fired by the Double-A Southern League in 2007.  The first woman accepted into umpire school and given a shot in the minor leagues had to sue to gain that right.”

There’s no rule on the books stating only men can umpire (of course…), but Baseball Nation states that, in practice “Some older, more experienced umpires do not think women are capable, despite what the law says. Others hold women candidates to a higher standard. And others are simply resistant to any kind of change.”

Why?  Do they think we’ll have trouble finding shoes to match the chest plate?  We’re too emotional to stay objective?  Or, perhaps, as was the case 70 years ago in corporate America, they feel threatened that allowing women into their ranks is a zero-sum proposition; women win, men lose. No matter what the hidden motive, the discrimination has become far too glaringly obvious to last much longer – that is, if we don’t let it continue.

Hey, we Boomers can certainly relate to age-related aversion to change, doing so only when pushed to a cliff, and even then changing as minimally as possible – Major League Baseball being just a tad older than us is no different.  But we can also relate to equality, ending discrimination, and women’s capacity to successfully handle what had traditionally been a “man’s job” from CEO to the front lines in the military, because we started the movements that made all three a social norm today.

Let’s give MLB a big push to end a very outdated practice.

“Are We Better Off Now?” A Few Answers

I’d like to answer the question posed by the Republican candidate for President: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” in a way I keep hoping the Democratic candidate for President would respond but hasn’t; for a “real people/real lives” perspective:

  • Ask the spouses of military personnel brought home from Iraq – they will say “yes”…
  • Ask any GM or Chrysler employee, and the owners/employees of all the businesses fed by these companies – they will say “yes”… Continue reading

Let’s Hear It For…The Tea Party?!

angry white boomerAh, the “Tea Party” – known somewhat facetiously but mostly factually, as a group dominated by White male Boomers with too much time on their hands and not enough accurate information about either the US Constitution or the Founding Fathers, who want a whole lot less government for everything other than those items they deem needing a whole lot more government intervention (such as women’s choice, definition of marriage, etc.); and of course, who want no changes to their SS & Medicare no matter how much updating these two worthy programs need in order to remain solvent.

Phew!

But…. There is one very important reason to have great respect for our Boomer brethren even if we don’t agree with their positions.

They are fully involved, organizing for the things in which they believe – and it’s working.  No doubt most of them didn’t do such things as youth – that was a hippie thing.  But they’re doing it now.  And those who were activists in our youth, make up the vast majority who are doing so little today.

So, hip hooray for the Tea Party for being actively involved – pushing for those things they believe to be in the country’s (well, mostly their) best interest.

To the rest of us who hold a different view of what’s good for our nation, I say… don’t knock ’em…. emulate them!

Boomer Mojo; Our Time Has Come Again

The guest on this past week’s show (11/6/11: David Mills, author of 10000 Days: A Call to Arms for the Baby Boom Generation that asks of us “what do we plan to do with the last 10K productive days we have left after turning 50?”) believes we Boomers can use our past activist experience, combine it with the wisdom (hopefully) and decades of knowledge we’ve accumulated, and once again fix what’s wrong with our country.

This inspired me to ask this question of our followers on the show’s FB page: “Do you think we Boomers still have the collective to power to make great changes to society like we did in our youth?”  (feel free to go to the page and be heard)

Here’s a few of the responses:

  • “We have the collective power to make tremendous change. Need strong leadership and lots of people talking and sharing ideas.”
  • “We can and we are…”
  • “Sorry I believed we did in my youth but in the end I don’t feel we made a difference.”

Now, admittedly we’ve gotten the proverbial bad rap from the younger generations, feeling that we pursued what was in our own best interest at everyone else’s expense.  And indeed, as I mentioned in my last post, once we got into positions of power, we did all the things we derided our elders for doing (bespoiling the land for profit; taking kick-backs for influence; filling our corporate coffers at the expense of our workers’ well-being) – only bigger and with less discretion.

But as a generation, we also propelled more positive societal changes than any other generation in the history of our nation.  Hey, younger ones, enjoy the freedom to live together before you get married, and divorce without societal derision if you find you married the wrong person?  Thank us.  Ladies, glad you can no longer be overlooked for that big promotion simply because of your gender?  Thank your local Boomer.  And, for those of you who think clean air and water is a nifty idea, that river in Ohio would still be so toxic it’s on fire if not for our unwillingness to accept such polluting ways (for you kids, here’s the link for the back story on the burning river thing).

Well, my fellow Boomers, our time has come around again.  We have the numbers, the power, the finances, and the experience, to make this country proud.  We know how to use activism as an efficient tool for change.  Unfortunately, right now, the only members of our generation using it well are the members of the tea party (45% of which are white, male Boomers).  And I say “unfortunately” not because I disagree with their positions; it’s unfortunate because they are a minority of us – the rest of us are remaining dangerously disconnected from our immense ability to influence positive change.

Here is a brief list of powerful things we can do, individually and collectively, to regain our generational greatness as propellers of the social changes needed today, just as we so famously, and successfully did for those that were needed in the 1960’s/’70’s:

  • Lead by example
    Keep your promises; say what you mean/mean what you say; give more than you receive; be a mensch
  • Get involved in something that betters things
    Now that the kids are grown and if you’re not taking care of an elderly relative, give some of your time to something designed to make our world better, whether volunteering for a cause that tugs your heart, or pushing for needed changes in your community; at the very least, regularly communicate with your representatives so they know just what you want from them, and if you don’t get it, find someone who will do what you know needs doing
  • Agitate for changes to the way Congress handles our nation’s business
    A great place to start is by insisting on changes to the way Congress treats itself; if our little Princes & Princesses in DC are treated like the rest of us, we will have more true citizen representation – those who simply love the power will no longer want the job, and those who want the job will want to get the job done and go home.  Here’s a petition I’ve started circulating to insist on just such changes; download it, sign it, and pass it on: 
    Petition to Congress
  • Be a resource champion, not a resource hog
    Did you know that the improvements to the environment we fought for and won 40 years ago, are in the past few years being undone?  Air pollution is now worsening.  Go back to your roots of good earth stewardship; we can start with eliminating our own wasteful habits, from things a simple as reusing rather than immediately disposing, to driving a more fuel efficient car and downsizing everything.  And, become a proponent of both clean and renewable energy sources.

So, to that last respondent of the FB survey, I say; we absolutely made a difference – refusing to see our accomplishments, and build on them has been our mistake.

I believe it’s not a matter of being unable to make the changes we need, our children need, our grandchildren.

It’s a matter of being willing.