What is wrong with our nation?

Is it just me, or has our nation, collectively, gone off its rocker?

First, let’s discuss all the recent violence. It seems you can’t turn on the news without hearing about a local shooting (in Denver, shootings were rarely reported on the news, presumably because they rarely happened), stabbing, beating, or some other form of violence happening in what used to be a relatively safe metropolitan area.

Second, public voting. I’m not talking politicians or their lame excuses for bills, I’ll get to that in a minute. Last November, both Colorado and Washington voters decided they didn’t need to worry about federal laws, and voted to legalize marijuana use in these states. Since when can we voters vote to “override” a federal law just because we don’t like it? If we can do that, why don’t we do something productive, say like vote to ignore the IRS and their crooked laws? Nah, it’s funner to just get stoned.

Third – politicians. My most immediate beef with politicians is Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper. (Yes, that’s really his name.) Mere minutes ago, Hick decided to give clemency to a man who has been sitting on death row since the 1990’s for the murders and attempted murder of 5 Chuck E. Cheese’s employees as they were closing up one night. He used to work there, and I think the story was that we was upset for getting fired, so he came in one cold night in December and executed the kids and manager that were working there. My friend (and babysitter), Sylvia, was shot in the back of the head, execution style, and since she was vacuuming, hadn’t heard the previous gunshots. Many news articles I’ve been reading state that Colorado’s death penalty is “unfair” to the three men on death row. UNFAIR??? REALLY!?!?! Unfair is this person changing many families’ lives forever by removing their loved ones from this earth way too soon. Since when does one man, regardless of his position or stature, think he knows better than a 12-person jury of one’s peers on what the punishment should be?

While we’re talking about Hick and other “interesting” people serving on Colorado’s Capitol Hill (I changed the word “morons” to “interesting people”). In the wake of the recent gun violence, they passed laws to restrict Coloradans’ ability to exercise their 2nd amendment rights. Before signing one of the bills into law, Hick knew he’d be driving a profitable business out of Colorado, taking many well-paying jobs and tax dollars, by signing one of the bills. Even though he was a profitable business man before becoming governor, he decided to sign the bills and boot that company out of Colorado. Good business decision! Hick is showing that he got to his position in life by being a people-pleaser. Hey, I even voted for the man (even though I was a registered Republican at the time and he’s a Dem) because I thought he would bring some business sense to the office. I was obviously wrong! So his job over the years has been to simply sign every bill that’s come across his desk. I just googled Hick’s veto record, and was taken to colorado.gov, which states in the five main press releases that Hick has signed 26 bills and “several bills” in releases dating back to May 14, 2013. Yes, that was just 1 week ago yesterday. I think the man needs to go to dictionary.com to look up the word “veto” – you can’t tell me everything coming out of our politicians is worthy of being signed into law! I’m not saying veto everything, but once in a while, the man should show some backbone by saying “hold on a minute…” But that obviously doesn’t happen with our current Gov. (How soon do we get to vote him out?!?)

I’ll probably save my rants against national politicians for another post. I’m sure there will be plenty to discuss in that blog post. BTW – I plan on posting more often on my blog – I used to share my opinions on my Facebook page, but certain people have started insinuating that I get all my information from Fox News (which I don’t watch, and I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been on their website), and I’m tired of having to defend my opinion on Facebook to people who refuse to consider any opinion other than their own. (To borrow a quote, I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man!)

Recent violence, consequences, and our Constitution

There have been many public acts of violence recently. The Aurora, Colorado theater shootings and the Sandy Hook Elementary School are the two that come to mind for me – Aurora because it happened in my back yard (figuratively speaking) and Sandy Hook Elementary because it happened mere days ago. This also reminds me of another shooting that happened many years ago, ironically on December 14, like the Sandy Hook shooting. This past shooting took the life of the a sweet young lady who we had used as a baby sitter on several occasions, she was the sister of my wife’s close friend and the daughter of good friends of mine.

I find these acts of violence abhorrent, and take comfort in knowing that the perpetrators will be held accountable, if not in this life, then surely in the next. What I also find disgusting is the focus the media places on those responsible for such horrific acts. Ask people familiar with the Chuck E Cheese shooting, and many will be able to recall the name of Nathan Dunlap, the shooter. How many people remember any of the victims, like our babysitter Sylvia? How many people can tell you the last names of the Columbine High School shooters from 10+ years ago? How many names of the victims are remembered?

Why is this? I believe it is because of the attention the media places on these perpetrators. They become sensationalized and household names. Those sick and deranged people who pull off these acts of violence typically have other villains whom they have idolized. Klebold and Harris were fascinated with Hitler, and shot up Columbine High School on the anniversary of Hitler’s death. Who knows how many of these people decided to pull off their acts of violence after seeing reports of other violent events? Are they trying to be more sensational than their predecessors?

How much is said about the mental health of these violent individuals? Surely one must have something going wrong in their brain if they decide to take several lives of innocent people without provocation nor warning. As almost a side thought, our local newspaper mentioned that the Sandy Hook shooter may have had a form of autism. If you have heard of the shooting, have you heard of this kid’s mental deficit? The blame and focus of these events typically turns to the devices used to kill their victims. Guns and lawful gun owners then become the target of new and tougher legislation, because obviously guns are the cause of this violence.

Using this same line of thinking, I propose we put the same scrutiny on other methods used in mass murders in the recent past. Oklahoma City in the 1990’s saw the slaying of many, including children in a day care facility. We should therefore place restrictions or perhaps outright bans on fertilizers, household chemicals, and UHaul trucks. September 11, 2001 – I don’t need to recount details of this infamous day – but using this same line of thinking, I think we need to restrict access to or ban the use of commercial aircraft. With this same date in mind, I think we should also outlaw box cutters, as they were allegedly used by those who flew the aircraft into buildings. Last year in a suburb north of Denver, a woman was driving in a way that no one should be, and in the process, landed her car on top of another car carrying a family of 5. Perhaps cars need stricter legislation. Obviously, what I am saying is ridiculous. We didn’t focus on the weapons of destruction in those events, but when a firearm is used to kill, instantly we hear that guns are evil and need to be removed from this country.

In a recent Facebook post, I mentioned that firearms played a huge role in the formation of our nation and the liberation from the monarchy of England. If the early colonists had not possessed or had not used firearms, we wouldn’t call this land The United States of America, we would still be paying taxes to the monarchy of England, and we would all be speaking with British accents.

That brings me to the 2nd amendment. Our founding fathers must have felt that having the right to keep and bear arms was important enough to make it the 2nd amendment to our great constitution. I have heard so many people saying the 2nd amendment has outlived its usefulness. To this I ask, what would be our option if our government stopped being of government of and for the people? (Yes, I know we are quickly getting to that point!) We would simply become the subjects to whatever tyrant that was able to destroy the constitution and take our rights away from us. Obviously there are many people who seem to be ok with that. If they want to live like that, perhaps they should find a country with such ideals and move there.

Personally, I believe the constitution was written by inspired men and is timeless, in that we have not outlived its usefulness. It has been said by leaders in my church that the constitution would “hang as if by a thread.” We are rapidly approaching this point! All it takes is subtle attacks on each element of the constitution until we, as Americans, accept these attacks as part of our progression or we throw our hands in the air and say “What can I do?” Those who have flown commercially in recently have experienced the destruction of the 4th amendment. How many people realize that? Wikipedia’s summarizes the 4th Amendment by saying “Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.” How many of us have posed such a risk to our fellow passengers that warranted a virtual strip search? The actual text of the 4th Amendment states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

How many people feel “secure in their persons” knowing that someone in a little room in the airport is looking at essentially our bodies as seen with x-ray vision? How many people feel secure knowing that they have been subjected to radiation over our entire bodies to satisfy “air travel security?” But what are our alternatives? If we decline the virtual strip search, we will have the pleasure of being groped over almost every inch of our bodies in order to “prove” that we are not going to harm our fellow passengers. This is not to mention TSA rummaging through our luggage randomly, whenever they desire. This, in my opinion, violates my right “against unreasonable searches” in my “effects,” this being my luggage. It almost makes you want to launder all your clothing upon arriving at your destination, doesn’t it?

Let’s talk about the 5th Amendment. Everyone has heard someone say, whether under oath or in jest, “I plead the 5th.” They cannot be forced to testify against themselves. But do you know that the 5th Amendment also protects abuse through Eminent Domain? What is Eminent Domain? It is when a government decides they need your property more than you do, and they take it. The 5th Amendment states “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” I guess the “just compensation” value depends on who you ask. If a home is taken under Eminent Domain, I can guarantee an appraiser is not brought in and the homeowner is not given fair market value for their property.

I could state more examples of constitutional rights and federal laws being mocked, and perhaps I will post a some later time on my feelings on this. So what can we do to preserve the constitution? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that if we sit idly by and wait for others to “fix it,” it will never get fixed. There are simple things that can be done – pay attention to what is happening in Washington. Write your senator or representative. It’s easy to do – they all have forms on their websites. I always get replies whenever I write. Granted, they are often form letters, but it lets me know my email was seen by someone. Call them on urgent matters. You most likely won’t talk directly to your senator or congressman or woman, but your voice will get back to them, especially if their phones are ringing off the hook from constituents calling to have their voices heard. Sign up for email lists for causes that you believe in.

I don’t care if you have the same beliefs that I do or we are polar opposites, but I do care that we Americans need to wake up and stop being “sheeple” – going through life like lambs to the slaughter. To quote a country song I once heard, “You’ve gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” We’ve been falling long enough, it’s time to be heard in Washington and to remind them they work for us, not the other way around.

Letter written by gang member

Well, if the title doesn’t make you go “Huh?” there probably isn’t much you haven’t seen.  On the local news channel’s website in Denver, there is a story about a letter allegedly written by the gang member who fired shots into the limousine on New Years Eve/New Years Day 2006/2007, which killed Denver Bronco Darrent Williams.

Why do I say “Huh?”  Since when do gang members write home about who they shot or who they killed?  If you ask me, it sounds like someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame has fabricated this “letter” for whatever reason.  I have never heard of a gang member writing anything to anyone about anybody.