The Road to Farley

The Road to Farley

Sunday, February 24, 2013

He Did It Again

I'm not a regular blogger for two primary reasons. One, I never seem to have the time. Life just gets in the way, and this is way down on the priority list. Two, I usually have nothing interesting to write about. I have no muse.

I am learning that I can count on one of my Facebook friends to get me riled up. You know, the one who set me off after the election with his rant about food stamps? This week's subject -- gun control. Of course, gun control.

Here is a snippet of his original post: this point I'm seriously considering buying an assault rifle.  ...I'm absolutely sick of this administration using the Constitution as toilet paper. It is for this very reason that the 2nd amendment was prevent a tyrannical government from usurping the rights of the people. So... should I decide to pursue my right to bear arms...and our beloved President decide to visit my home to try to confiscate said weapon... the phrase "cold dead hands" comes to mind. What will have to be determined is whose hands are cold and dead. 
Oh, it gets better. Before I proceed, I will provide my personal opinion on the issues of gun control currently being debated.
  • Clearly, this becomes a much more passionate issue when the events that we have seen in the past year occur. Making key decisions at a time when you are shocked, grieving, angered, and looking for justice is not the opportune time for a thoughtful discussion where long-term ramifications are considered. Frequently, wrong decisions are made because "we need to do something."
  • I personally am not passionate about guns, but I have several responsible gun owners in my extended family. All legally owned and licensed. I have no problem with this, and I do believe that our right to bear arms should be preserved.
  • I don't believe that enacting stiffer gun control laws is going to magically fix this issue. If that were the case, this country would have no drug problems, right? Drugs are illegal so how do people get them? Oh....people are willing to break the law to sell them because people are willing to spend whatever to get them. You see where I'm going with this.
  • The tragic events in the past several years have one common theme beyond the use of high-powered assault rifles -- mental illness.
  • And, back to those high-powered assault rifles. As a complete novice on this topic, it seems to me that these military rifles were manufactured with the sole purpose of killing or maiming a lot of people as fast as possible. I'm sorry, but I just don't see this as something normal Justin Citizen needs. (Inside family joke referenced there.) These are not used for hunting squirrel or deer. And, if you are just using them for target practice at the range...I don't get it.
There, so you see where I stand. But, back to my friend's post. Another friend of his countered that, while he himself was a gun owner, he did not think military-style assault weapons should be used anywhere than in the military. My friend responded back:
The point is we can't give up freedom in the name of security irrespective of the rhetoric. The Government is not in a position to dictate what any of us can and can't do when it is Constitutionally protected. An unarmed citizenry is exactly what the Founding Fathers were protecting against. The Constitution is an amazing document and the authors had unbelievable foresight. Had they wanted to stipulate the type of weapon the People could bear they would have. Instead they saw fit to assure that the People would never find themselves in a position where they can't defend themselves.
OK, hold up....I'm not a history buff, but wasn't the second amendment written in the 1790s? People were toting around muskets, bayonets, and cannons. How could they have envisioned high-caliber assault rifles capable of taking out hundreds of people in a matter of minutes? That's just a stupid argument. We've evolved. Let's move on.

I couldn't help myself, so I had to reply. I suggested that I would like to bear some arms myself for protection. I'd like some nuclear arms, please. Given how scared we all are that North Korea and Iran are stockpiling nuclear weapons, nobody wants that to happen. Here was his response, in part, to my albeit sarcastic comment:
The point of the Constitution and the Amendments it contains is to assure the rights of the People take precedent over any governing body. In 2010 twice as many people were killed by hands, fists, and feet than by any type of rifle. Why aren't they banning hands?
Are you kidding me? First of all, where does he get these statistics? Second, it's not even the same comparison. The discussion is about restricting access to a manufactured piece of equipment that was designed for military use to kill people? I contend it was never anticipated to be widely available to the public.

The funny thing is, if--God forbid--someone in his family was killed at the hand of violence, this guy would be the first one standing outside the courthouse with a placard in his hand demanding justice.

At the end of the day, I also think our government is pretty hypocritical. The U.S. is the top exporter of firearms in the world. We want to limit every other country's development of nuclear arms. Yet, we think we can do whatever. It's easy to see why some other countries do not like America.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Comings and Goings

I can't believe it is already February. January was here and gone before I knew it. Actually, that's not exactly true. I knew that January was here every step of the way. 2013 has come in like a lion for me, and I thought that was not supposed to happen until March.

The year started in the tank because I was still missing my sweet Bailey. I turned 51 on the 3rd, celebrating another year with the Breakfast Crew downing half-price martinis at Joseph's. Life got a little happier around my house on the 10th with the arrival of Bailey2. She is a little ball of fire, who has made me laugh every day since she arrived.

Then, on the 14th, when I should have been excited for a dear friend's birthday, I was instead mourning the passing of another dear friend's mother. A few days later, I found out my kindergarten teacher passed away. I don't know if every kid loves their kindergarten teacher, but Mrs. Sweeney was an icon in Farley. Everybody had her for a teacher and everybody loved her.

The following week I came down with a mild case of the flu. Several years ago, when I used to scoff at the prospect of getting a flu shot, I came down with a severe case of influenza after returning from a vacation in Australia. I realized then why some people actually died from the flu. Although my flu this time around didn't compare to that, it still knocked me out of work for two days, completely zapped my energy for about four days, and left me with a lingering hacking cough that is only now starting to subside. Nasty germs out there.

Earlier this week, I was scheduled to fly to Washington, DC for a meeting with some of the leadership team at work. I was initially scheduled to leave Cedar Rapids on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., arriving in DC at 4:30 p.m. Due to the ice storm that was pummeling the area at the time, my 10:30 flight was canceled, and I got rebooked on the 3:30 p.m. flight. Secretly, I was hoping for another cancellation. That would have been so nice. We were delayed leaving Cedar Rapids until 5:00 p.m., arriving at O'Hare about 6 p.m. By this time, the sleet and freezing rain were in full force so no planes were taking off. Of course, that meant, there were no open gates for us to park so we were stuck on the tarmac in a little commuter jet for 3 hours. I missed my original connection to DC and was rebooked on the last flight out to DC that night. We finally got to the gate, and I made it to that flight with only about 15 minutes to spare. I arrived at the hotel in DC at about 1 a.m.

On Monday, I left DC on time at 2 p.m. Everything seemed on time for my connecting flight back to Cedar Rapids; however, about 5 minutes before we were scheduled to board the flight was canceled due to fog in Cedar Rapids. American Airlines graciously rebooked me on a flight leaving at 2:00 p.m. THE NEXT DAY. I called our corporate travel agency and they were no help, other than to say I could rent a car and drive home. Ummmm, no. I was already sleep deprived from arriving so late in DC the night before and who wants to drive 4 hours in the dark in the fog? Not me. I opted to take the shuttle to Northwest Indiana to visit a friend.

The next day, I arrived at the airport on time, we boarded on time, and then we sat. And sat. Evidently there was some snafu with the ground crew and nobody had loaded the luggage. By the time a crew showed up to start loading, a thunderstorm had blown in and the ramp was closed due to the lightening. We sat for another hour and 10 minutes before we finally were able to take off. After arriving in Cedar Rapids, we were informed there was no gate because the earlier Chicago flight was still at the gate due to the ground stop in Chicago. ARRRGGHHH!!! Can you say trip from hell? All this annoyance for a one hour meeting.

As eager as I was to see the start of a new year and to celebrate my birthday, I am happy to say goodbye to January. It was a month filled with too many emotions for me and a little too much stress.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

My first post of 2013 should be filled with all kinds of resolutions and optimism. I'm not up for it. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I feel surrounded by sadness that is hard to shake. My significant other's mom has been in intensive care since Christmas Eve, and suffered a setback last night. Another friend's father had a serious heart attack earlier in the week and is still in the hospital. When my friends are sad, I am sad. And, don't get me started on the fact that today is the two week anniversary of my Bailey's death. I'm still trying to snap out of that, but it is hard for me.

This morning I woke up to news that the Senate agreed on a bill to "save" us from the fiscal cliff. Now, the onus is on the House to agree to it. I have no hope that they will. The politicians will continue to politic and accomplish nothing, and we will have smaller paychecks because of increased taxes.

During World War II, the country made all kinds of sacrifices for the war effort. Food and gas were rationed, factories re-tooled to provide military supplies, women went to work to takeover for the men who went to war. Have we made sacrifices in the past 11 years since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began? I'm not sure we have. Collectively, we seemed more worried about we, individually, didn't have.

Anyway, all these thoughts contribute to my weirdness today. Not to worry. My niece and nephew will be here soon to help me de-Christmas my house. There is nothing like the innocence and enthusiasm of a 5 year old and a 20 year old to make you feel better, along with the baked potato soup that is simmering and the fresh pan of brownies.

Happy 2013 to All.