The Boss vs. The Leader

Sorry Springsteen fans, he isn’t The Boss I’m talking about. This is nonetheless a slight tangent from my usual post topics. A Facebook post I shared this past week brought to light a topic I have been thinking about for a while and I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore it further. Bear with me for a bit and I’ll bring it back around.

The boss is known by many titles: owner, manager, supervisor, crew chief, team lead and so on. Unless you work for yourself, it’s the person you work for. The leader on the other hand is the one who leads or commands others. Is there a distinction? I say there is. While a boss may be a leader, the leader doesn’t necessarily have to be the boss.

Workplace bosses may or may not be person we want to work for. They may just be the person who has been there the longest, had the right connections or was in the right place at the right time to get the job. Managing other workers or operations isn’t always the career path people want. Some get tossed into it with hopes they’ll be able to make it work. Some absolutely excel while others do not. Often times the only choice for unhappy employees is to go elsewhere.

If it sounds like I’m being hard on the boss, I am. It’s an extraordinarily difficult job and not everyone is cut out for it. It’s a lot more than policies, processes, procedures and catch phrases. I’ve always contended that managing mechanical, technical or other ‘things’ is easy, it’s the human part of the job that is difficult. Like many people, I’ve been on both sides of the equation and have seen the good, the bad and the very, very ugly.

Leaders on the other hand tend to be those we make a conscious decision to be with. In employment, we gravitate towards or stay with those we see as leaders with a vision we share. Leaders take the time to understand motivation and how it relates to individual and group success. They are fiercely protective of those they lead and are often more critical of their own abilities than of those around them.

Leadership skills, just like management skills, can be taught, trained, nurtured and grown. However just as wealth, stature, family or association does not equal success; education, training and experience don’t make one successful either. There is that something extra, that personal secret sauce an individual brings with them that determines the outcome.

Leadership is also very situational dependent. The individual contributor in one situation may be the leader in the next. Each of us has times we lead as well as times we follow. And not every situation demands a strong and dynamic leader to be successful. Standing in the produce section of your local market with a dory yelling THIS IS SPARTA!! isn’t going to get you extra discounts at checkout. There is also one of my favorite leadership quotes: “You know what they call a leader with no followers? Just a guy talking a walk.”

So why is this pertinent? This is an election year and a lot is riding on our vote. Our next President will shape national and foreign policy as well as determine the balance of the Supreme Court for at least the next generation to come. The results could very well gut the protections we now enjoy under the Bill of Rights. Elements of the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments could be dramatically reinterpreted or revoked in totality in the name of progress towards a self-serving political agenda.

Our votes will decide who sits in the President’s chair as well as many other critical matters on Election Day. We can choose the leader we want to follow, or the boss we have no choice but to follow.

Bob

#oddstuffing, #thebossvstheleader, #leadership, #2016elections, #billofrights, #bornintheusa

Violence is Violence

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Parents Against Gun Violence, Women Against Gun Violence, The Educational Fund to End Handgun Violence… the list goes on and on.

Why is it that all these groups are focusing on gun violence and not just violence?

Guns do not cause violence. A gun is only a tool that can be used in a violent act, just as knives, clubs, cars, fists, feet or any other tool can be used. In fact, depending on the type of crime and location, weapons OTHER THAN firearms are more commonly used. Don’t believe me, go out to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports website and browse the data yourself.

If violent crime is more commonly committed with something other than firearms, why is the focus only on guns? Quite simply, it’s a political agenda. Guns are bad so we’re going to get rid of guns. More specifically, the anti-gun elite wants to get rid of everyone’s guns – except the ones protecting them, they need those. Those are apparently good and necessary guns. Nobody else needs them.

So, if you get rid of the guns, you’ve gotten rid of the violence, right? Wrong. Australia and the United Kingdom, the two most common examples cited as anti-gun utopias had violent crime increase after getting rid of civilian owned guns. And, despite having outlawed guns, both continue to have huge gun problems. Both countries collect as evidence more guns after crimes of violence than they care to admit.

How can this be? They have laws against private gun ownership so everyone should be safer without guns. The answer to that one is actually easy; criminals don’t obey the law.

Unfortunately for those who believe they can live in a gun-free utopia, the gun genie is out of the bottle. Criminals know how to get them through illegal means, or if they want, to build them themselves. And we’re not talking about high-tech 3D printers and CNC machines; we’re talking low-tech $10 trips to the hardware store. The information is out there, easy for anyone to use. Home built firearms in different parts of the world aren’t just zip guns anymore either. They are sophisticated, reliable, cheap and readily available.

If you’re thinking – okay, but what about mass shootings? If we get rid of guns, we won’t have those any more, right? Think again. In countries where guns are not as readily available there are still acts of mass violence, they just use other tools. Knives, explosives, chemicals and cars are just as deadly and just as effective.

But for argument sake, let’s say all the guns are gone. Now what? For a hint, take a look at the United Kingdom’s “Save a Life–Surrender Your Knife” program. They’ve even gone so far as to consult with 10 top chefs from around the country who have concluded that there is no need for a long, pointy knife. Does the “nobody needs a …“ logic sound familiar?

Here’s the United Kingdom’s advice for not becoming a victim of knife violence:

Don’t be a victim

If you feel you are in immediate danger from knife crime there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Move away from the situation towards a public place (shop, house, restaurant etc.) as quickly as possible.
  • Make as much noise as you can.
  • Instead of carrying a knife, carry a personal alarm.
  • Don’t fight back.

Once all the long, pointy knives are gone, what do you outlaw next? Smaller knives? Letter openers? Baseball bats? Lengths of pipe? Pointy sticks of wood? Martial arts?

Firearms do not cause violence, just as knives, clubs, cars, fists and feet don’t cause it either. It’s the person – the individual – who chooses to commit the act of violence against another. If you want to curb violence – you will never eliminate it – you must solve the societal problems that cause it in the first place.

Keep in mind that firearms and other force multipliers are used to defend innocent lives every day in every corner of this country. Banning the right to effective self-defense only turns citizens into victims or scapegoat criminals if they do choose to protect themselves and their families from violence.

Violence is violence, the tool is irrelevant.

Bob

#oddstuffing, #violenceisviolence, #selfdefense, #2ndamendment

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

There’s a popular anti-gun argument that their right to be safe from guns trumps the Second Amendment right to bear arms. They are specifically referring to the phrase: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The logic stems from a section of the United States Declaration of Independence, which reads:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Whether or not the Declaration of Independence should be incorporated into the body of United States case law on the same level as the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as proponents of Declarationism insist, is actually irrelevant here. I’ll even stipulate this single phrase establishes the concept of natural, unalienable rights critical to all that followed for our nation.

At the same time, the concept of claiming an infringement of rights based on a subjective personal preference to not have firearms legally possessed by others around them – because not feeling safe restricts their ‘pursuit of happiness’ is just plain ridiculous. The opposite side of course is where would that right apply to someone whose personal preference is to own and use firearms for their own protection?

Beyond the academic argument, I used to think my Second Amendment rights; my right to bear arms for self-protection meant nothing to your feeling of safety. I now realize it is the exact opposite. My firearm, or more accurately firearms in the hands of private citizens who are willing to defend their lives and the lives of their families, DOES impact you. It makes YOU safer, even if you don’t like it or understand why.

A potentially armed citizen means the criminal doesn’t know if his intended victim is armed or not. Criminals don’t like armed victims because they turn out not to be victims at all. Proactively taking away legally owned firearms because it will give someone else a false sense of security actually makes them less safe. Knowing private citizens are unarmed and no threat to the criminal makes them more willing and able to attack.

If you want to blame someone for not feeling safe, start with the politicians you put into office. By making it harder for honest citizens to defend themselves, they make it easier for criminals to victimize them. Instead of helping their constituents become hard targets instead of soft ones, they refuse to prosecute those that do break the law, fail to insist on harsh sentences for the very few who are convicted, and let the offenders out of jail early or avoid incarceration all together. Remember, “common sense” “tough on criminals” “safety for all” gun laws do nothing to prevent criminals from getting guns illegally and using them against you. News flash: Criminals break the law! More laws aren’t going to change that.

Rights in the United States are difficult and we take a lot of it for granted. For example, the First Amendment right to free speech means others are going to have the same ability to speak their mind as we are, even if it’s completely opposite or offensive to us. The same goes for the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Agree with it or not, that right is as much a part of the United States way of life as free speech and is protected by the same Bill of Rights.

In the context of the Declaration of Independence, happiness was about an individual’s contribution to society rather than pursuits of self-gratification. Reimagining the definition of this phrase as means of disarming law-abiding citizens is the epitome of self-righteousness.

Perhaps it is time for all of us to be more concerned about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, for our nation – and not for ourselves.

Bob

#oddstuffing, #lifelibertyandpursuitofhappiness, #constitution, #billofrights, #2ndamendment

American Gun Owners

If you believe some politicians and gun control zealots, United States gun owners are a stereotypical group of overweight, uneducated, middle aged white men who are most likely ‘compensating for something’. Firearms owners are referred to as gun nuts, survivalists, anarchists, domestic terrorists and baby killers. In the words of our own President; “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I’ve been very fortunate to live and work in a number of areas in this great nation, and visit many others. If there’s one thing I can say with confidence; there is no such thing as a stereotypical American gun owner.

Being involved with firearms through sport, retail, as an advisor and a law enforcement officer, I have come to appreciate there are no demographics not well represented. Men and women, rich and poor, old and young, urban and rural, highly educated and school of hard knocks, every religion, every profession, every political following, every vocation, every race, – otherwise known as a cross section of America. The fastest growing customer segments in industry continue to be women and those with a Hispanic ethnicity. All very far from what some would have you believe.

In the United States, with a population of approximately 320 million, there are an estimated 350 million legally owned firearms. Of course, not every American owns a firearm. In fact, one estimate indicated the average number of firearms per owner has risen in recent years from four to eight. In 2015 we saw record firearms sales across the country and the trend is continuing at record rates into 2016.

The reasons for firearm ownership are as varied as the owners themselves. Firearms are owned for sport, hunting, protection, collecting, investing, heritage and yes, just because they can.

There is however one thing all firearm owners do have in common. They are all universally blamed for the actions of others. Very few others are lumped together in this manner. When a criminal uses a gun, it’s the fault of all gun owners. When a terrorist uses a gun, it’s the fault of all gun owners. When any owner uses a gun irresponsibly, it’s the fault of all gun owners. The answer from the ruling party is to preemptively punish all gun owners to keep them from doing something they had no intention of doing in the first place.

Here’s the thing: bad people are going to do bad things. Stupid people are going to do stupid things. No amount of legislation, oversight or government control is going to stop that. Criminals aren’t going to turn their life around and stop committing crimes because there is a new law on the books. Stupid people aren’t going to become safety gurus because of a new ordinance dictating how to store a firearm in their homes.

Each and every day in this country, the OVERWHELMING majority of those 350 million legally owned firearms are NOT used in crimes or in an irresponsible manner. They ARE used to protect, to defend, to hunt and to shoot. They ARE used to educate youth and new shooters from all walks of life on safety, marksmanship, heritage and personal defense. They ARE used in a safe and responsible manner.

Responsible firearms owners are everywhere in every community, whether you see them or not. Simply owing and using a firearm does not make any of them the next potential crazed lunatic killer, nor does it mean they will be the poster child for safety. Each individual is responsible for their own destiny, not that of the millions of other firearms owners in the country.

As honest, law abiding firearms owners, there are some things all of us can do. We can promote safety and responsibility in our community, at shooting ranges and in the home. We can lead by example of what a good, respectable firearm owner is to our children, family, friends and community. We can stand proud and be all of the things the media and gun grabbers say we are not. Most of all, we can be ourselves and still be the average American gun owner.

The Truth, From a Certain Point of View

In Star Wars VI, there is an exchange between Luke and the spirit of Obi-Wan where Luke questioned him about the death of his father. Obi-Wan explains “… So, what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.” “… you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

We see this play out in our galaxy all the time. During criminal trials, theoretically a quest for truth and justice, prosecution and defense expert witnesses carefully examine the exact same pieces of evidence and come to completely opposite conclusions. Both, according to these highly educated and respected experts in their fields, are the absolute truth.

How is this possible? Aren’t the facts the facts and the truth the truth?

A political example comes from the impeachment and acquittal of then President Bill Clinton. In a deposition he stated: “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. “ His statement was predicated on his definition of “sexual relations” to mean only vaginal intercourse. So, what he said was true, from his point of view. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most men could not expect to survive this particular defense strategy with their partners.

The reality is there is no such thing as a single truth. The truth for each of us is an interpretation of what we bring in through our senses and run through a filter of education and experiences as well as our own beliefs and personal prejudices.

So why is this so important right now? With the passing of Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a replacement must be appointed to the bench. Justice Scalia, the longest serving justice of the court at the time of his death, was a strong and vibrant jurist noted for his originalism interpretation of the Constitution. He was the author of many important decisions, including the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller, a critical Second Amendment ruling.

If the truth was always the truth, any qualified jurist could be appointed to the Supreme Court. The decisions made by a Democrat or Republican appointed Justice would be the same. All decisions would be the simple, inescapable truth based on the facts and the law, and nothing but the facts and the law.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Presidents appoint Supreme Court justices with views similar to their own who are likely to rule in a manner consistent with their certain point of view. With these lifetime appointments, Presidents are influencing the outcome of cases brought before the nation’s highest court for decades.

Our current President has already shown a shocking disrespect for the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law. He now has the opportunity to replace a conservative jurist with an originalist approach with one more in line with his views. Names reportedly on the President’s initial shortlist include those who have a well-documented history of seeking to gut the protections of the Bill of Rights in pursuit of a politically motived agenda.

While I abhor partisan political games regardless of the party involved in them, I shudder to think of the long term implications to American’s rights should our current President appoint a new Supreme Court Justice during his final months in office.

This is of course a game and all games must come to an end. And of course, not all games are won. What we hope for is the individual elected as our 45th President will respect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law, as well as the citizens of the nation it protects. Given the infighting from all our potential nominees, this is far from a sure thing.

Justice Scalia’s death raises the stakes for this year’s Presidential election significantly. Not only for the candidates running for office, but for our current Senators who must play the game very carefully until the general election. It also falls upon us – the voters – to actively participate now and choose wisely at the polls in November.

Bob

#oddstuffing, #truth, #elections, #politics, #2ndAmendment, #vote #SCOTUS #Scalia

Criminal (In)Justice System

The United States is considered the global leader of economy, foreign investment, technology and military power. Yet at the same time, our nation incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other in the world. One would think the leading superpower would do a better job with crime and justice within its own borders for its own citizens.

The symbol of the justice system is Lady Justice. She is blindfolded so as to be objective and impartial, without favoring identity of wealth, power or any other factor. She holds scales to weigh evidence, impartially and on its own merit. She also holds a sword representing punishment.

One of the concepts I recall from studying criminal justice many years ago was that in order for punishment to be an effective deterrence, it must be swift, severe and certain. Unfortunately, American justice has become anything but.

Criminal prosecutions are all but certain. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to solve cases and apprehend those responsible, criminal cases are not always pursued. The vast majority of cases are plea-bargained for greatly reduced charges.  The process is by no means swift. Even simple cases can take months or years to resolve. Complex, serious crimes can take much longer to wind their way through the courts. Where a conviction is obtained and punishment is given to the offender, it is most often far less than the law always. Due to prison overcrowding and initiatives such as California’s Proposition 47, more offenders are spending far less time incarcerated. Those who do serve actual prison time emerge more hardened, connected and willing to continue committing crime than when they went in.

Unfortunately, justice is also recognized as being disproportionately administered depending on the class, status or vocation. Equal crimes should not result in unequal consequences.  It’s not hard to immediately think of examples where the punishment did not fit the crime, both to the advantage and disadvantage of person who committed it.

The most common strategy to address crime is to pass more laws making more activities illegal.  The rational is that by adding additional ‘crimes’, criminals will be deterred from illegal acts. In reality, it only turns innocent people into criminals and fewer actual criminals are punished for the crimes they do commit.

The result for those who choose to break the law is they have very little fear of the law, law enforcement, the courts or any potential punishment. They know they must be treated properly by law enforcement and if their case ever does get to court and a conviction obtained, the punishment will be more of a temporary inconvenience than a deterrent.  Sadly, our system affords criminals more rights than their victims.

The only remaining element a criminal has to fear is from their potential victim. Yet current and proposed laws make it increasing difficult or impossible for the average, non-privileged citizen to protect themselves, their family or their property without becoming criminals themselves.

Dealing with crime by increasing the volume of criminal statutes is not the answer. To reduce crime you have to solve the underlying causes of it. That means dealing with education, poverty, mental health, race, drugs, family, equality and politics – the problems our citizens must cope with every day.

Will we ever stop all crime? Of course not; free will gives us the ability to choose our own path, lawfully or not. But it doesn’t mean we don’t work on the primary causes or correct the justice system by vigorously enforcing the laws we already have to their fullest extent.  It also means we don’t eliminate the right of individuals to protect themselves and their families from those who have very little to fear from our criminal injustice system.

Bob

#oddstufing, #crimeandpunishment, #criminalinjustice #victimsrights

Free Speech Will Survive

This past week Facebook announced additional updates and enforcement of their terms of service for individuals offering firearms for sale on the social media platform as well as on its photo-sharing site Instagram. Post, threads and entire pages began disappearing around the country. Not only were individual’s sale posts targeted, but also legitimate retailers and firearms related information exchange groups, both private and public as well as the individuals who served as administrators on the offending pages.

Lesser reported on but also impacted were Curio & Relic collectors who possess Type 3 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL’s) who are legally permitted to do non-dealer acquisitions in most places outside of California.  Also caught up in recent sweeps have been the marijuana dispensaries that, while legal, licensed, taxed and regulated in their area, have also been given the boot.

The seemingly randomness of the enforcement, immediately and unceremoniously unpublishing some pages while leaving other competing pages intact, removing some posts but leaving others of nearly identical content, lead many to believe the cause was everything from algorithms run amuck, solo malcontents with an axe to grind, local activists & NIMBY’ers to a coordinated national gun control group attack.  The result has been a lot of confusion, finger pointing and even some allies turning against each other.

Of course, the timing – as the presidential primaries are just getting under way, smack of politically motivated censorship aimed at disrupting opponent’s focus on the candidates and elections. Probably a coincidence, but who knows.

Regardless of how it was implemented, Facebook states the new policy arose from the company’s review of its rules following its recent efforts to encourage new forms of commerce on the site.

Believe it or not, this isn’t something new. Facebook announced restrictions on commercial activity back in 2014. See the press release here: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/03/facebook-instagram-announce-new-educational-and-enforcement-measures-for-commercial-activity/

A couple of things to keep in mind here: We use Facebook’s social media platform for free. Unless you pay for ads for non-restricted products, there is no cost. And to Facebook, YOU are the product. They make BILLIONS of dollars a year selling access to us and information about our likes, habits and… well more information than we really want to admit they have about us.

The discouraging thing here is Facebook has become a staple in a lot of our lives. We use it to communicate and stay in touch with friends, family and other like-minded folks around town, the country and the world with just a few likes. Companies use it to communicate with customers. Government entities use it to inform the citizens they serve. Clubs, religious institutions, neighborhoods and information sharing groups use it to communicate with members.  Its ubiquitous nature, being on our computers, tablets, and mobile phones lets us get news about what’s going on in Facebook faster and often more reliably than we can from traditional news outlets. It has connected more people than has ever been possible before.  Because of this, we’ve become far too reliant on a single tool that is subject to the whim of someone who may or may not agree with our point of view.

While Facebook is free and open to all, we tend to forget this environment is owned and operated by a corporation; it is not a free, open space like the Internet itself, even though it may feel like it. While I expect there to be 1st Amendment challenges to these latest actions, the private product terms of use will most certainly prevail, even though Facebook seems to have broken some of it’s own rules enforcing it.

If you’re thinking what’s next, you’re not alone. Who’s to say Facebook won’t expand the definition of banned content to include religious practices, the promotion of civil rights, criticism of the government, or even criticism of Facebook policy.

Personally I find it sad Facebook has chosen this heavy-handed approach. One would think they could more effectively encourage legal behavior, even if they don’t especially like it – by facilitating the actions and ensuring it remains legal, instead of slamming the door on those who participate in it.

If nothing else, this latest action provides opportunity to a number of alternative social media platforms and sites such as MeWe, Gun District and many others who are vying for the customers, traffic and revenue Facebook is turning away.

Yes, I have voiced my dissatisfaction to Facebook about their new policy and enforcement practices and will continue to do so. Will Facebook give a tinker’s damn about anything I say, one user out of 1.59 billion? I seriously doubt it. But then again, I’m not the only one.

Legal, responsible commerce will survive. The free exchange of ideas and information will survive. Free speech will survive. It may just happen outside of Facebook.

Bob

p.s. Odd Stuffing content is also available at www.oddstuffing.com and on MeWe at https://mewe.com/join/odd_stuffing – just in case.

#oddstuffing #neverdoubt #facebookcensorship #2ndamendment #freespeech

 

When Seconds Count…

We’ve all heard the saying: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. But what does this mean to you and your safety?

All law enforcement agencies have an average response time to emergency calls in their jurisdiction. This is the time from when a call is received at the dispatch center until the first unit arrives on the scene. In small cities, that time may be as short as three to five minutes. In larger cities it may be 10 to 20 minutes, or more. Rural areas may be 15 to 30 minutes, or even as long as an hour for remote areas. This of course is an average and you may have an officer patrolling around the corner or every on-duty officer could already be tied up with an emergency and the responding officer will be coming from a neighboring agency. And no, living next to a donut shop will not guarantee a quick response.

Realize that when an officer is dispatched to an emergency call, they are going to do everything in their power to get there as quickly as possible. I know from my experience as an officer and the officers I worked with, we understood the urgency for the person on the other end of a 911 call. All the officers I’ve ever known and continue to be associated with in one form or another are dedicated to getting to you as fast as they can. If you don’t believe it, look up the statistics of officers injured and killed every year responding to calls for help.

So, best-case scenario you are probably looking at around three to five minutes. How long is that? As a comparison, a professional boxing round is three minutes. How do these professional athletes look after three minutes? If you’ve never tried to fight for three minutes straight, it can be pretty eye opening. Find a gym where you can put on the gloves and all the proper protection and go as hard as you can against an able opponent for one round. It’s a lot harder than you think. In real life you are going to be in a fight for your life and may be facing multiple, armed attackers in your home or on the street. In real life, there are no helmets, no padded gloves and no bell at the end of three minutes.

Now I’m going to toss in another variable that no one ever talks about. That average response time is AFTER someone calls for help. If you are alone and attacked, you’re not going to be picking up the phone and calling 911 while you’re fighting for your life. If there’s someone else with you who is physically able, chances are they’ll be helping you. It’s likely going to take at least a third person or uninvolved witness to see what’s going on AFTER an attack has started to recognize you need help to dial 911.

Why is this important? That time between the BEGINNING of the attack through when someone calls 911 to initiate the response and until the first officer is on the scene is all about YOU. It’s you having to defend yourself with whatever you have at your disposal.

If you are a member of society’s elite, a million/billionaire or political heavyweight, you’ve got at least one person or an entire team of heavily armed professionals whose only job is to keep you safe. You’ll probably weather most any type of attempted attack completely unscathed.

For the rest of us, our personal safety is our own responsibility. The police cannot be everywhere to protect us and quite frankly, we wouldn’t want to live in a society where we were under close government scrutiny 24 hours a day. Read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four if you’d like a hint on how this world would look.

Each of us must all be responsible for the safety of our families and ourselves. This starts with not putting yourself in situations where you can easily become a victim and becoming a hard vs. soft target. It also means having the absolute best force multiplier you can safely, responsibly and effectively deploy on your person and ready – and willing – to use. Most importantly, it means having the right mental attitude to fight for your life or your family’s life when you have minutes to wait for help to arrive.

Bob

‪#oddstuffing #whensecondscount‬ ‪#‎responsetime‬ ‪#‎hardtarget‬ ‪#‎2ndamendment‬

If You Like Your Guns, You Can Keep Your Guns

This quote is of course a parody. Here is one of the President’s actual quotes from the International Association of Chief’s of Police conference on October 27, 2015.

“Every time a mass shooting happens, one of the saddest ironies is that suddenly the purchase of firearms and ammunition jumps up because folks are scared into thinking that Obama is going to use this as an excuse to take away our Second Amendment rights. Nobody is doing that.”

Over and over we’ve heard the President claim nobody wants to take away our firearms or our Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, as we found out from his Affordable Care Act quote, this is not the case.

“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Here is the reality of what’s going on. In municipalities, states and in Congress, new draconian restrictions on firearms and ammunition are being introduced at a blistering rate. All claiming to fully respect the Second Amendment, yet at the same time stripping law abiding citizen’s rights, and yes, their lawfully owned firearms away from them.

Much of this is no doubt related to the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the Friedman v. City of Highland Park from the 7th Circuit Court. Invigorated by the lack of high court’s willingness to rule on this case, outright bans as well as registrations schemes are popping up around the country.

A quick note on firearms registrations laws: The reason, the only reason for a firearms registration is to facilitate a government’s ability to confiscate them later on. Long term or short term, all registrations have eventually led to confiscations.

And that’s what we see going on. In areas where certain types of firearms – most often, but not exclusively, those deemed unsuitable for civilian ownership and labeled as “assault weapons” are not being banned outright, they must be registered. These registered “assault weapons” can never be sold or given to another individual in the state, not even to descendants through inheritance. Once the current owner dies, the firearm must be removed from the state or surrendered to law enforcement with no compensation. The full registry of “assault weapons” is eliminated with the current generation.

On one hand we have the President of the United States standing before the American public and swearing that nobody is trying to take your guns. On the other hand, we have members of his own party in the nation’s capitol and around the country pursuing laws on what the President has called his highest priority issue. It leads us to a disturbing dilemma. Either the President does not know what is going on or he is not telling us the truth.

Personally, I find this to be one of the saddest aspects of what is happening. Our nation’s leaders stand up and make up a narrative they want the country to believe with little to no accountability. Press events and so-called town hall meetings are tightly controlled and scripted to create and distribute the story. And while it would never be acceptable to interrupt and call BS on a sitting US President – we must respect the office, even if we do not respect the individual in the position at the time – we absolutely must call these things out. We must call it what it is, BS.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2016 will be the year to be heard. Be respectful, be polite, but absolutely be heard.

Bob

#oddstuffing ‪#‎2ndamendment‬, ‪#‎registration‬, ‪#‎confiscation‬, ‪#‎liesandtruth‬

The First Amendment

As we see a plethora of new anti-gun legislation being introduced in California, across the country, and in our nation’s capitol, I thought it might be a good time to remind ourselves of what our 2nd Amendment rights protect.

Like the vast majority of this country’s citizens, I am descendant from immigrants. The matriarch of our family made the difficult decision to leave her home and come to the United States many, many years ago. As an outspoken young woman, something uncommon in the era, she faced a dilemma. In her home country, she was relatively safe walking the streets, as the Crown’s punishment for crimes was extraordinarily severe and exceedingly cruel. At the same time, she was unable to voice any opposition or criticism against the rulers for fear of suffering the same fate, a fate her family would never be able to question. She chose to immigrate to the United States realizing that she would not be as well protected by the State, but at the same time would have freedom of speech, among many others.

The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are unique in the world. The protections it guarantees have never been duplicated. Our founders set down these principles as the basis for everything that followed and they are reflective of the struggle they faced leading to the formation of this country.

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

These freedoms are not easy. The First Amendment means we as citizens must embrace and defend these very rights for those we do not agree with. It means others will be able to speak positions opposite to our own and even in disapproval of the very rights that allow them to voice the opinion in the first place. It means our country will be made up of people who exercise all faiths and reported on by a press unencumbered by government censorship. It means being able to associate with people of our own choosing and being able to petition our Government with complaints.

What is the cost? The cost is a less controlling government and more tolerant country. It means we will not live in a police state where our thoughts, our words, our faith, our actions are controlled in order to make us ‘safer’.

This is where the Second Amendment comes in. The right of the “people” to bear arms is what protects the First Amendment and the entire Constitution. It not only allows us to defend our nation and ourselves from others who would do us harm in a free society, but it ensures our government will abide by it’s own promises. Without it, there is no freedom.

We bear the responsibility of our First Amendment rights every day. Some say the Second Amendment is outdated or only refers to muskets or hunting. We disagree, but if we are defenders of the Constitution, we must also defend their freedom of speech and their ability to petition the government for redress. The ultimate measure of the decision on their grievances is of course the Constitution itself and it is in that we must believe.

As citizens of the United States, we enjoy freedoms found no place else in the world. It is an honor to live in this society, as well as a burden – one we are very grateful to have. But these freedoms come at a cost. It means we are responsible to live up to the principles our founders established and defend them – all of them – with all of the rights our founders fought and gave their lives to hand down to us.

Bob

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