Repeal the Second Amendment?

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A few influential liberals have suggested that we should repeal the second amendment.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This would be a simplistic mistake in my opinion that our country may regret years from now.  Currently there is a concern about mass shootings but I think steps can be taken to reduce this threat without repealing the second amendment.  The total elimination of all danger to soft targets can’t be accomplished by taking away the rights of law abiding citizens.  The emotional upset from the terrible deaths of innocent people is understandable and we should take action to insure that these types of deaths are prevented.

The people who belong to the NRA and similar organizations did not kill those innocent people.  The current revolution style anti-gun movement seeks to demonize the NRA and any politician accepting contributions from them.  This approach may backfire.  It would be better if common ground could be found to prevent deaths.

The second amendment is relevant for today just as it was when written.  Many people today are unfamiliar with personally using firearms.  We live in nice safe neighborhoods and have armed police to keep the peace.  Many types of large scale disaster scenarios could easily happen to sections or all of our country that might make safety in your neighborhood more questionable.   It may be comforting to have your own Arms available to protect your family.  The police simply do not have enough officers to go around in many disasters and the national guard may be taking care of bigger problems.

I agree with Thomas Jefferson who said, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”.

 

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What should we do about Guns?

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Revolver

Allowing children to be shot and killed in schools by disturbed individuals needs to be prevented.  Existing gun laws should be enforced and meaningful modifications should be made to gun laws at a national level.  Every large gun free school zone is an easy target at this time because there is no defense against an armed intruder with any type of weapon.

Making all guns illegal for all law abiding sane citizens is not going to happen in the United States within my lifetime.  We need to do practical things.  The appearance of some types of guns may be intimidating but that does not necessarily mean they should be illegal.  The number of shots a gun can fire without reloading is what makes mass killings using guns possible.  The dangerous appearance of a gun does not make it more deadly.  Even new AR-15’s could be legally limited physically to a lower number of bullets at any one time.  It is understandable that the survivors of the horrible murders at the Florida school would be grieving and want a ban on all guns.  Instead I believe that modifications to our national gun laws are the correct thing to do.

Assault rifles can be made that are no more deadly than hunting rifles or revolvers  by simply limiting their capacity.  The term assault rifle just describes the appearance of a weapon.  New guns of any appearance could be limited to a certain number of shots without reloading to decrease their deadliness in the hands of mass killers.  This type of legislation may reduce future killings however a crazy person with intelligence can always find a way to break the law or use an alternate method of killing people.  In addition, immediate confiscation of all existing high capacity guns would be difficult and a black market would be created.

All large schools should have at least one trained qualified guard armed with a high capacity gun to prevent large numbers of confined children from being killed by someone with a gun or some other type of weapon such as an improvised explosive device.  Some carefully background checked teachers could be offered equivalent training in firearms and allowed to carry a concealed weapon under the right conditions for the purpose of defending students.  Not all teachers would be suitable to this task but a potential intruder could never be sure which teacher is armed.  Allowing some carefully trained teachers to conceal carry would allow smaller schools to have a defense against dangerous intruders.

Guns are not the only way to kill people but they are the easiest.  Improvised explosive devices, poison, vehicles used to run over crowds and other methods need to be reviewed because some nut may try to do them.  I think that any significantly large school should also have a K9 trained to detect bombs, detect guns in lockers and bring down an armed intruder.  We are living in an age of terrorism and terrorists may also attack schools because they have seen how it affects our society.  Complete gun free zones at some large schools for regular civilians only may be acceptable but there must be some type of defense capability when children or anyone is being forced to go into a confined area with many other people.

I think that modifications to gun laws at this time should initially be concentrated on modifying the physical shooting characteristics of new guns.  Reducing the magazine capacity or the time between when each bullet can be fired would limit the ability of crazy people to kill people with that new type of gun.  Old higher capacity guns would eventually wear out naturally so draconian confiscation would not be necessary.

Even a low capacity gun can be used to kill a person but there are also other ways to kill people.  Even if we did outlaw the possession of all guns, people would still kill other people using some other method.  Mental health needs to be addressed and the role of social media in promoting violence.  Lots of people owned guns where I grew up but there was never any mass violence.  I even recall a firearm demonstration of a muzzleloader at our school and there was no hysteria.  Today it is different because parts of our society have changed their value system and extreme points of view combined with bullying or other problems have caused people to act out violently.

 

Space needs to pay for itself.

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The United States needs less space exploration at the expense of the taxpayer and more space exploitation for profit. Sending humans to Mars is wrong at this time because we should use that same money to establish near earth space infrastructure that can support for profit opportunity in the near future.  Look at the human moon landings as the example of a not for profit enterprise controlled by the government and paid for with taxpayer dollars.  We landed a few humans on the moon in a heroic fashion at great cost and risk.  In return for this great effort we received a short temporary boost in our national pride and a few moon rocks.   We should have established a permanent nuclear powered base on the moon at that time for industry, mining, research and military purposes instead of just collecting a few rocks that are really not that critical.  We should not repeat this same mistake with an expensive human Mars landing as proposed by the current U.S. administration.

Robots can explore Mars and the outer solar system more efficiently and safer than any human can.  Mining our moon and any asteroids we can relocate to near earth orbit has a greater potential for real profit in the near term.  A nuclear powered electromagnetic mass driver built on the moon could send large amounts of processed or raw lunar material  into orbit around the earth.  Space based solar power collection systems could be built with these materials and the resulting power sent to earth based collection systems via microwave transmission.  These solar power systems could eventually eliminate the need for any dangerous nuclear plants or dirty fossil fuels on earth.  Global climate change due to human CO2 emissions from fossil fuels would be unnecessary.  In addition large space based systems could be built that could modify the climate on earth if it is disrupted by nature.

Pride and glory are the primary reasons humans want to put their first footprint on Mars.  The vast bulk of people on earth would not be helped by putting humans on Mars.  Why not let cheap AI controlled robots go explore Mars instead?  No one cares if a robot dies in a slow motion horrible accident.  Why not put more taxpayer dollars into near earth space industry infrastructure that will help the people living on this planet?    Space industry of this type would create many new jobs on earth and improve the immediate quality of life for everyone.  Capitalism in space needs this type of infrastructure to make a profit.

 

 

 

President Trump’s SOTU Speech.

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President Trump’s state of the union speech was fairly reasonable and presidential in my opinion.  I don’t agree with every policy Trump advocates but this speech was acceptable.  Some of the hero guests he pointed out were even inspirational.  The North Korean defector whose legs were amputated and used crutches to escape through China was an excellent example of this group of people.

His proposed pathway to citizenship for daca dreamers is just common sense and in line with the values of the United States.  His idea of a “Great Wall” across the southern border of the United States could be done but is not needed and would be a severe eye sore across many areas of pristine landscape.  Walls are appropriate for many border areas but drones, other technological devices and an increased number of border agents would be a more intelligent solution.  Great Walls are ugly in an open landscape, they are not cheap and they can be breached.

Changing the Afghan war rules of engagement was the appropriate thing to do.  Obama’s rules of engagement were getting Americans killed.  Wars are not won and ended by choir boys.

Trump’s personal life and harsh stupid statements do not concern me as much as the policies he advocates for our country.  Not everything Trump advocates is wrong and Democrats should work with him on areas that are clearly acceptable to anyone with some common sense.  Democratic obstruction will only cause their party to lose the next election.  If Trump stays with the tone and policy he demonstrated in this speech he will win the next presidential election no matter what the democratic party does.

 

Government Shutdown = No Congressional Pay.

Why does Congress get paid if it can’t do its job?  Congressional pay should be stopped along with any benefits such as subsidized government health insurance for Congress until they pass a budget.   Anyone else would not get paid if they were this incompetent.

American soldiers will soon be faced with the prospect of delayed paychecks if the government shutdown continues.  They are working and deserve pay for their dangerous jobs on a timely basis.

I am in favor of some type of amnesty for illegal immigrants especially those covered under DACA but the Democrats are wrong to shutdown the government over this issue.  In the long term I favor some type of merit based immigration with exceptions for immigrants being persecuted in their country of origin.  The correct place to address this issue is to win the next election and do what the American people’s vote indicates.  I don’t really like all the policies of Democrats or Republicans but they should find a way to get the basic business of government done without resorting to government shutdowns.

The following actions should be taken in the event of government shutdowns due to congressional incompetence:

  1.  Members of Congress should receive no pay for the remainder of their terms if they vote against any budget during a shutdown.
  2. Congress should receive no subsidized government benefits or perks such as health insurance.  This should apply anyways until there is 100% health insurance coverage for every American.  Congress can buy 100% of their own health insurance like everyone else.
  3. If the government shutdown continues long enough that soldiers are not paid on time then members of Congress should not be allowed to run for election again because they can’t get their job done.  New people are needed to get the job done.

These actions may require a constitutional amendment to implement but they could also probably be passed by Congress under some conditions.

 

Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

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President of the United States of America.

I am not a super fan of everything President Trump does but he is right to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.  The United States should not be afraid to acknowledge that real world situation just because we are afraid of threats.  Terrorists may use this occasion to strike against us but they would have hit anyways for another reason of their choosing.  Israel is an ally of the United States and Trump is right to make this embassy move.

Peace has never been achieved by being afraid of accepting reality.  Blind appeasement and total pacifism only work so long before someone shoots you.  At the same time, the Palestinians have legitimate grievances that should be addressed by fair negotiations.  It does take two reasonable parties to negotiate and currently neither the Palestinians or Israel seem to be that willing to be friendly with each other.  I do not believe that total peace between Israel and all of the Arab countries will be achieved within my lifetime by human efforts alone.   Reality may not be pretty but it demands we deal with it instead of living in a dream world.