The title of this post is obviously misleading. If I had the solution, I’d be a very rich or powerful man. But in the wake of the shooting at the school in Parkland that left seventeen people dead, I think it deserves some discussion.
As I have said before, I tend to fall on the conservative side of the fence on more things than not. On the issue of guns, I’m about 80% with the conservatives. I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. But I think that generally, conservatives tend to squash any discussion or proposal as “they’re coming to take away my guns”. I think that we all need to have a real debate.
I wouldn’t claim to have full understanding of how government works. But I tend to think that Congress needs to openly debate the issue. Democrats, bring in a proposal and make your argument. Republicans, make your argument for or against it. Bring it out in the open. Today, the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. But there was a time not too long ago when the Democrats had the same advantage and there was no significant gun control legislation. Makes you wonder.
With that said, it is our responsibility to protect our kids. While these shootings are statistically insignificant, they are terribly significant if they affect you directly. To borrow a phase, the only way to get rid of all guns is with the US-sized super magnet. Even if this were desirable, it’s not practical. Should we ban the sale of Assault Rifles? Assault Rifles are simply rifles that look cool. Sometimes they have higher capacity clips that hold more bullets, but past that, they’re just rifles. I have no issue with the discussion of placing a limit on the number of bullets a clip can contain.
Should we make it a harder process to buy a gun? I think that’s worthy of discussion. Should people with mental issues be restricted from buying a gun? Common sense tells me yes, and I think there laws on the books that accomplish this. If there are changes that need to be made to strengthen these restrictions, let’s do it.
In listening to all of the talking head noise on this topic this week, I think that the idea that makes the most sense to me is a higher level of physical security. And yes, armed security. Will the kids be traumatized by a security guard carrying a weapon? They’ll get used to it. It’s much less traumatizing than watching your friends get killed.
I’m from Georgia originally. The Heart of Dixie. Did I grow up having some racial insensitivities? You bet I did. It was the norm for pretty much everybody. Were we stupid? No. Were we being stupid? Yes. We were uninformed and to try to come up with an excuse today couldn’t be adequate for anyone’s standards. But you grow.
Was I ever insensitive towards other groups? Yes, again. I have, in my past, said some awful things about gay people. It was pretty normal being a red blooded American male. We weren’t nice when it came to people who were different.
I remember our only exposure to gay people was always negative. Even today, there’s plenty of negativity towards the gay population. The gay pride parades with guys dressed in drag seem to me to be very negative still. That “throw it in your face” attitude still bothers me.
Back in the 90’s Ellen Degeneres had a sitcom. I think it was generally acknowledged that she was very funny (good comedian) from the start. We all, in the general public I think, figured she was gay, but hoped she wasn’t. We just wanted to like her. When the show came out where she came out, I was disappointed. I so wanted to like her, but I just couldn’t. Her sexual orientation offended me.
Fast forward to today. My wife sometimes has Ellen’s daytime show on. I find her very likeable. I mean to the point that I’ll pause and watch (I watch little to no daytime TV). And she hosts a game show in the evenings. And again, she’s so darn likeable that I would love to sit and talk with her.
Switching back over to race. Any time I see Steve Harvey while I’m flipping around the dial, I am also apt to stop. Again, he is so very likeable. I would think sitting down and talking to him would be awesome too. I don’t think he tries to act “white” (whatever that means), he’s just a good guy.
I think at our core, we are ignorant of people we don’t know much about. We think they are so different from each other. But we can be more alike than different and we’d be better off if we’d try to be somebody that most people would like.
As I type this, I heard about Shani Davis tweeting that he’d been discriminated against because he wasn’t chosen to be the flag bearer for the US Olympic team. The flag bearer was chosen by the rest of the US delegates and apparently it was a tie and he lost the coin toss. You were chosen by a large portion of your teammates, you lost a coin toss and you think you’ve been discriminated against. Stop using discrimination as an excuse. Discrimination certainly exists. We all have felt it to some extent and we have all dished it out as well. When you use it trivially, I automatically don’t like you and will tune you out. Be a good guy and a good teammate.
The only way discrimination can be minimized to the maximum extent (it will never be totally eliminated, we’re humans and imperfect) is through the efforts of individuals of all types. Government cannot solve this. When I get a finger waved at me (by the government, by the media, by social warrior groups) telling me who I should like or respect I will...tune out. I will be nice to you as long as you’ll reciprocate.
As I was initially dreaming up the theme of the blog, one of my thoughts was something I might call as a working title “Polar Opposites”. We are certainly a polarized country. We’re either Pro-This or Anti-That. There is increasingly no middle. I would generally fall into the conservative side of the political realm with a slant toward being a libertarian. I found Trump to be just too disagreeable. In full disclosure, I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson.
But I do take pride in trying to see all sides of arguments and my “Polar Opposites” idea had to do with looking at the other side of of where you are and try to understand their points. For instance, I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment. I believe that people (typically bad people) kill people, not guns. But I also think that “Damn there’s too many people getting killed with guns and might there be a reasonable means of limiting guns in the hands of bad people”.
So, with this kind of thought process, I wanted to talk about being green. There is a strong (and correct) assertion out there that the climate is changing. The Climate is always Changing. That’s a No-Shit truth. But why is it changing?
A lot of people on the Left assert that a good portion of our economic activity is causing it. I tend to not buy this as being anywhere close to a substantial cause. This earth is a very, very big place. The geographical pockets of economic activity in this country (think big cities New York, Chicago, LA) are small, minute percentages of the landmass that is the United States. When you fly cross country, look down. Thousands of miles of nothing happening but trees and deserts doing their thing. When you fly outside the country, look down. Thousands and thousands of miles of nothing happening but the oceans and mountains doing their thing. This earth is so vast that we lost a friggin’ airplane in the ocean a couple of years ago.
The preceding paragraph would certainly garner a lot of disagreement. Many in the FIRE community are strong believers that fossil fuels are destroying the earth. But instead of fighting from polar opposite views, let’s gather at the fence in the center and try to find some common ground.
We’re smart people. If there’s a better mousetrap to provide for our energy needs, we’ll find it. Heck, we may have already found it. Solar and Wind might get there. It just needs to become more financially feasible without government subsidies (and no government subsidies for fossil fuels either).
So, for all those on both sides of the aisle, our motivations might be different, but our goals are closer to the middle. Use less. It’s good for the earth and it’s good for our wallets. Win/Win.
Well, this is the first one. If you want to know about my story, take a look at the "My Story" page.
I have been reading Mr. Money Mustache, RB40, Frugalwoods, Afford Anything, etc. for years now. I'm sure that the key to success is differentiation. I guess that my theme has to be my experience of where I am now, so here goes.
I am 52 and have worked my whole life. I enjoy working to some degree, I just want to escape now. The sad part is that I think I can, I just need something to go toward. I'm a very lucky man in that I am pretty sure that I could pretty realistically just QUIT. But I am hesitant as I don't want the wife to think the earning is on her shoulders.
I read about side gigs, I look at ads that pop up in LinkedIn that offer up jobs similar to what I'm doing now. I am overall just not interested in the doing the same thing gig. I've had some form of the big job for over thirty years and I just want to do something that makes a little money and that I would enjoy.