Thursday, October 23, 2008

Does Owning A Gun Make You Safer?

Does Owning A Gun Make You Safer?

I received an email challenging me to address the question: Does Owning A gun Make You Safer?

My name is Edgar Acosta and I am an editor at Opposing Views. I came across your site, liked what I read, and wanted to introduce us because we both write about gun issues. is a debate site where experts go head-to-head on many topics. I think you might be interested in our debate "Does Owning A Gun Make You Safer?" which can be found at:

The experts in our Gun Ownership section include such names as the NRA and Gun Owners of America.

I believe that you and your visitors will appreciate this debate and might want to weigh in with votes or comments. If you like our site, we would appreciate it if you would write a blog entry about us or give us a link to the debate at :

You can create a profile page giving readers information about you and links to your site. Or, if it is easier, I can do this for you. In the next couple of weeks we will be adding a blogosphere section to each debate in which we will directly feature outside blogs like yours.

Thanks for taking a minute to have a look at what we are doing. Let me know if you have any questions or recommendations for experts or debates.



This is obviously a transparent attempt to increase traffic to a new website, but the question is germane to Second Amendment issues, and so I will respond.

Does Owning A Gun Make You Safer?


Simple ownership of a gun does NOT make you safer.

It might. But it probably would not.

Sure, School and Church and Shopping Mall shootings have demonstrated that Gun Free Zones are often considered to be nothing more than Target Rich Environments, but even though the possession of a gun by a supposed 'victim' has been demonstrated to stop the predation of Aggressors, the mere fact that YOU have a gun doesn't automatically make you "safer".

The possession of a gun only makes you a potential saviour of those self-identified Vicims who are actually shot.

The only way in which a gun can make you safe is if you are trained and ready to use it.

Even if you have a gun and are attacked, or are a member of a group which is attacked, there is no magical forced related to the ownership of a gun which will protect you.

A gun is only tool.

A gun can only "make you safer" if:
  • you have it in your possession;
  • you are trained to use it;
  • you are prepared to use it;
  • you actually DO use it, in a situation where you or others around you are threatened
  • you have the basic skills to use it appropriately and skillfully
  • you can identify the attacker, and are prepared to use your gun to nullify his attack
If you cannot or will not prepare yourself for those imperatives, 'having a gun' will serve no useful purpose in the drive to "make you safe".
Remember all of the Hollywood Liberals who famously pledged to leave America if George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004?

DO you remember that (to our everlasting disappointment) ... they didn't?

Why? Why, oh why didn't Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins and Barbra Streisand emigrate when they promised they would?

Answer: it was just too darned inconvenient.

Times are changing, and it's a lot easier for disgruntled quasi-Americans to move to another country.

Consider Canada!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No blogging tonight

SWMBO had a bad day. The side effects from her first chemotherapy were pretty dramatic.
Nausea ... is a bad thing, which leads to worse things.

I apologize for not being able to "get beyond it".

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

We certainly hope so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Senator Tarzan"?

Churches, for federal tax exemption purposes, are defined by Federal tax law as 501(c)(3) organizations. That is, they are not required to pay Federal taxes as long as they abide by certain restrictions. Violations of those restrictions may lead to revocation of their 501(c)(3) standing. Many, perhaps most churches are not heavily funded. They often operate on the proverbial shoestring, relying heavily on voluntary labor by their membership to perform such mundane duties as janitorial, maintenance and other administrative necessities. If they had to pay taxes on their income (mostly voluntary contributions), they would not be left with sufficient funding to continue operation.

What does that mean?

It means that the Federal Government has the power and the ability to put any single church out of business by administrative fiat.

What are these restrictions?

According to an online publication of the Internal Revenue Service, here is part of what that means:

All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
■ their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder or individual,
■ they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests,
■ they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation,
■ they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, and
■ the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.
[ED: all emphasis in quoted materials is added by me; it is not part of the original material.]
In the current campaign season, there are two clauses which are particularly important:

"[T]hey must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation".

That means that they may actively support or intervene in an attempt to influence legislation, as long as that activity does not constitute "... a substantial part of their activities..."

What does "substantial" mean?

It means whatever the IRS says it means.

Here's the other important clause:

"[T]hey must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office".

Notice the difference between the two clauses. The first clause includes the provisio that political activity not be substantive.

The second clause is absolute. There is no room for equivocation. "No" means NO!

Here is a 22 minute video of a sermon given by a preacher who has not much more admiration for a Political candidate than I do. I have no idea why he persists in referring to that candidate as "Senator Tarzan" ... perhaps I heard it wrong.

However, it is clear that this preacher is not only "in opposition to" the Candidate because of political reasons, but also because of the threat which he seems to believe the candidacy constitutes to Christianity itself.

Brave and bold, to take on the Federal Government, the Internal Revenue Service, and the man who in 24 short days (from the creating of this video) may be advanced to the position of the most powerful man in the world.

It's obvious that he is a man of conviction. Whether you agree with him is between you and your conscience. Or between you and your God.

But if this preacher can challenge the IRS, can a blogger do less than defy McCain/Feingold?

H/T Paul M.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

SWMBO report: Not Ready for Prime Rib Time

This is a follow-up report on SWMBO's first chemotherapy treatment. It is intended to inform Sandie's many friends and acquainances.

It's a personal notice, and is not intended to be entertaining. Everyone is welcome to read it, of course, but if you are not acquainted with SWMBO and don't care to read this kind of thing, please don't feel obliged to continue.

When SWMBO returned home from Seattle Saturday Afternoon, I was waiting at her house to greet her. There was a floral arrangement on her front porch from her niece, so I moved it inside and aired out the house while I waited for her.

I greeted her at her car and told her to go inside and read the card while I brought in her luggage. That consisted of her three bags, her small walk-around pulse-supply of oxygen, as well as the large oxygen tank system which she need to breath easily while she slept.

She was still feeling strong, and was in a very good mood. We chatted for a couple of hours and got caught up. She told me about her doctor and her treatment.

One of the things that I wasn't aware of was that the chemotherapy included both an anti-nausea medication and an antihistamine, intended to avoid the side-effects from the other, more deadly heavy-metal drugs. She had also received a prescription for anti-nausea medication, which she had filled.

After chatting for a while, I suggested that the new Indiana Jones movie had just become available on DVD. I had bought the previous 3 episodes for her viewing pleasure a few weeks ago, and I thought it would help pass the time while she settled into her regular routine. I offered to go to the video store and rent it, and invited her to come along. I expected her to pass, as she had just completed a 5-hour commute from Seattle to Geekistan, but she gladly accepted the invitation as we wanted to go to the grocery store to get something for dinner.

At the video store, there were no available copies of the movie to rent. However, there were a few new copies for sale, so we bought one to complete her collection.

After shopping at the grocery story, we went home and almost immediately started the movie while we settled down to dinner.

While watching, we learned two things:
  1. Magnets attract Gunpowser, Lead buckshot from a shotgun shell, and gold coins. I did not know this.
  2. Harrison Ford is too old to realistically play an Action Hero. I short of expected this.
But we both enjoyed the movie.

We capped the evening with a half-pint of Haggen Daaz Vanilla Ice Cream (for me) and a cup of some yogurt treat (for Sandie, who can't eat sugar, red meat, starchy foods, and a host of other foods without which I would starve to death.)

We stayed awake as long as we could, alternatively chatting and watching bad Cabel television, and then got a good night's sleep.

Sunday morning I arose early to go get the Sunday newspapers at the local 7-11. I turned on the coffee before I left, and by the time I got back Sandie was up and sitting on the couch, reading.

She was much less ebullient. In fact, she dozed on the couch for much of the day. About noon, she decided to take the first dose of the anti-nausea prescription because she was feeling queasy.

During the day she became even more quiet, and tired. She ate a couple of times, but never had much of an appetite.

We had been told to expect this by Sherrie, Queen of the Jungle, and by her doctor. Apparently, the added medications give the patient a false sense of good health until they wear off. Then lassisitude and nausea take over, rendering the patient incapable of more than an occasional burst of energy. Phone calls from friends and family help, but then the lassisitude returns.

We had received an email from friend Randomly Hitten and his lovely wife, Misses Hitten, on Thursday. They said they planned to be in Geekistan on Sunday (today), and wanted us to join us for dinner ... their treat.

I had replied that this was probably not an invitation which we could accept, as SWMBO would most likely going to be not going to feel like eating, let alone appearing in public and feeling up to a social occassion.

This turned out to be true, and while we were disappointed that we could not join our friends we were also grateful that they had understood the situation. In the actual event, they didn't call asking us to meet them for dinner, and we were grateful because it would have been even more disappointing had we needed to turn down their gracious invitation again.

When I finally left SWMBO, she was feeling about the same. She wasn't hungry, and I didn't expected her to be.

I just talked to her on the phone. She still has no appetite, she still feels a little queasy. She talked to her boss and received permission to telecommute from home tomorrow.

As for the rest of the week, she'll be 'playing it by ear'. She'll go to work if she can, and if not she'll provide support from home as she is able.

She's a brave, strong lady and she is dealing with a difficult situation as well as anyone can be expected to do.

Next week she will have to drive to Seattle again for her second Chemotherapy treatment. (Her Sister The Angle will be driving her up and back the same day -- the appointment isn't until 12:45. After that, she should be able to take the treatments locally, which will be much easier on her.

The good news is that her Seattle Oncologist has said that he is very pleased with her treatment, and a second review of her tests suggests that they may be able to reduce the schedule from 12 weekly treatments to 8 weekly treatments.

This is very good news indeed, and I hope that things work out as well as he has so optimistically offered.