Arizona May Be In The Pink

So. I live in an interesting area.

Yuma, AZ has the best winter weather in the US. We also have roughly 3 months of what most would consider hot and a solid 3 months of brutal heat.

We live at low elevation that is quite dry. The desert is vast and unpopulated, but greater Phoenix is probably the 3rd largest metroplex in the US. Yes, larger than Chicago. The people tend to be hardy and older than the American average.

But we have high country, too. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is right at 7000’ ASL and the North Rim is 9000’. Flagstaff is the 7th snowiest city in the US. My favorite camping spot on earth is in eastern AZ (Hannagan Meadow) at 9000’.

We are an incredibly diverse state. The 2020 census will certainly show that AZ is a ‘majority minority’ state. Hispanics are the largest fraction of the population which also boasts a large indigenous population.

We also tend to be Republican. Part of that is due to the huge percentage of retired people. The famous “I got mine, you are on your own’ mentality. Part of it is ruthless gerrymandering that seems to benefit the party in power.

The largest cause of political ‘redness’ is, without question, due to the Democrats inability to connect with ANY of the non white population. The national party seems to not give any sort of shit about this state. For any reason.

The Hispanic population doesn’t vote with the same intensity that the white population does. I hate to say this, but much of that is by design. Polling places are less and less accessible every voting cycle. The white power base isn’t interested in sharing (or losing) any part of that supremacy. It is very much a closed loop.

When they do vote the Latino population tends to be conservative. Family, church and work are the hallmarks that all lead to conservative ideals. The Dems abandonment of the working class has taken a huge potential advantage away. A generation ago Cesar Chavez was proudly democratic. Mine workers were the embodiment of the democratic party. No mas.

Which leads me to give thanks for the 45th President of the United States. Courtesy of the megalomaniac in the White House we can see pink here in normally red Arizona. Per Trump’s very public feud with Jeff Flake there is a distinct path to electing a democratic senator in Arizona in 2018. Local, county and state offices are looking to be contested in much greater numbers than normal. There are good, solid announced democratic candidates for most every house seat in the state. Our president has given me reason for cautious optimism. To go with the daily heartburn.

I’m just sayin’

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It Would Not Smell As Sweet

This post includes a link to Jim Wright’s Stonekettle Station of June 26, 2015.  I strongly suggest you read this post.  In fact, I strongly suggest you read lots of his writing.  Mr. Wright is a first rate writer and thinker.  You can access his entire catalog right here.  Free.

One day, one wondrous day, it occurred to me that I had an elephant in my room.  I guess I’d just never looked where he was standing, but the first thing I noticed is that he had shit.  Not only did it smell incredibly foul, but there was so much of it I didn’t know what to do and despaired of ever getting the room clean again.  So I chose to ignore him for a while and see if maybe that elephant shit might compost out a little and make it easier to handle.

Well, as most of you might have anticipated, that elephant shit again.  And again.  And again.  It seemed to me that he shit with ugly regularity and frequency.  Not only that but every steaming pile seemed larger than the one before it. It was such a discouraging mess that it looked like it would never be cleaned up.  I actually thought I would be knee deep or more in elephant shit for the rest of my days and had accepted that fact.

Of course it’s a metaphor.  I’m talking about guns and the staggering price we as Americans pay every time a ‘mass shooting’ incident takes place in our land.  Not just the victims and the wounded and everybody that knows them, but the population in general.  I cry out in pain every time, as do millions of others.  It is time for action.  Fact of the matter is, it is way past time.  The deeper the elephant shit the more likely we are to get smothered.

First things first.  We need to identify the problem and figure out a solution that a large majority of our fellow Americans can and will support.  It literally takes ‘the will of the people’.  We need to lead the elephant out of the room and stop the shit from becoming any deeper.  It is literally threatening to envelop us and take our humanity away.

Let me be absolutely clear here.  I am a gun owner and I am not proposing gun control in any ordinary sense of the word.  I actually interpret the 2nd amendment to guarantee me the right to keep and bear arms.  As do many of my fellow Americans.  

Automatic weapons need to go.  Completely away.  Gone.  The only thing they are really good for is killing humans in a very big way.  And let’s be clear.  I mean anything that increases the rate of fire to make it emulate an automatic weapon.  Gone.  Forever.  If it’s big and grey, looks like an elephant and shits like an elephant-call it an elephant and get it out of the room.

Next I would propose a permit.  Every single person in the US that wants to own and possess a gun needs a permit.  Now before you get your 2nd amendment underwear in a bunch I am talking about a permit, just like a driver’s license.  Not about registering your guns, or even suggesting that every permit holder has a gun, but that everybody that might want to own a gun needs a permit to do so.

The permit would involve some class time and some range time to complete.  I would suggest a federal law with the ability of the states to handle the endorsement process themselves.  That way the various states could make the permit relatively harder or easier to obtain as the individual state sees fit.  Allow the states to charge a fee for processing and issuing the permit and you end up with revenue neutral or even a revenue stream to hard pressed states.  

I would submit that the gun permit could be handled just like a motorcycle endorsement, and I mean literally just like it.  All 50 states have a very good and approved id/driver’s license that could easily stand an endorsement line.  That way the states would have a ready made licensing facility in their DMV and it should be fairly easy to do.

Back to the room full of elephant shit.  How does this system help that problem?  With a series of laws and consequences that must be conditional with gun ownership.

I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel or even the shit scooper here, so I’m going to suggest that Jim Wright’s common sense gun rules as put forward by the NRA will work just fine.  You might want to subscribe to his Stonekettle Station while you are there.  A very talented author with a unique perspective on the world.  

Please take the time to read Mr. Wright’s article, we’ve got the time. That elephant shit isn’t going to evaporate anytime soon, and God save us if there are enough flies in the room to carry it off…

So we combine common sense gun regulations with an easy to implement permit system.  Will that end the problem?  Will it shovel out the shit?  Of course not.  But given some time and distance it will change our culture for the better.  The current DUI laws do nothing to interfere with with choice to drink or the choice to drive.  When the rules aren’t followed there are real life consequences to the rule violator, so it can be with guns.  We can affect change that will work without impinging in any way on our 2nd amendment rights.  

Little by little we can shovel an entire mountain of elephant shit out. Just think how pleasant that might be.

I’m just sayin’

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A Gun By Any Other Name…

As of this very minute, 58 are dead and over 400 injured at an open air concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. The SOLO shooter rained automatic weapons fire onto the packed venue from a 32nd floor room in a nearby casino.

It is now just 12 hours after the tragedy and I haven’t been able to find any specifics on weapon(s) used or the number of shots fired but I can tell you one thing for sure. At least one full automatic weapon was used. I watched a phone video and could hear it plain as day. Automatic weapon. No question.

It’s time America. Time to get fully automatic weapons off the street. Period. There is no justification for anyone to own any sort of full auto weapon. None. The machine gun was a military development for stopping massed attacks. The automatic rifle is simply a more portable version of the machine gun.

Understand that I have owned guns since I was 12 years old. The first gun I bought was a 12 gauge shotgun that I used for hunting well into my 30s. I’ve owned rifles, shotguns and pistols and I still do. But the only thing an automatic weapon is good for is slaughtering humans. It is time for that madness to end. It’s time for common sense and good judgement to assert itself on the national stage.

This is NOT a call for permits on every sort of firearm, it is not a call to restrict gun ownership. It is a call to remove fully automatic weapons from the public. Period. Let’s don’t let the debate degenerate into an us vs them, all or nothing referendum. Let’s just focus on automatic weapons and stop this bit of madness.

I realize that a single shooter with 10 weapons in his room could have caused as much carnage as this guy with the automatic did. The shooter in Orlando used a semi-auto to kill 48. But please, America, let us start the much needed discourse with automatic weapons. It’s a position that all but the most frantic can agree with.

We NEED this discussion. We need it as much as we need the discussion on racial prejudice and equality for all. Maybe it’s time to stop tweeting and start real meaningful discourse. Actually it is way past due. Let this be the start.

I am sad today for the victims and their friends and families and those that were there or in the vicinity who will be forever affected by this horrible event. I am sad for the city of Las Vegas and the stigma which has been hung on them. I am just sad.

I’m just sayin’

the photo used here was attributed to at least three different sources:, and  Used here as ‘open source’ material.  

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