Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"You gotta do what's important"

My motorcycle sits in the garage, awaiting a new stator. It's been there for several months. Every time I walk in I swear it glares at me. There's this guy I know (not because I want to), who quits jobs on a regular basis. Yesterday, he came by the house and we had a conversation out by the garage:

Him: When you gonna get the scooter running?

Me: I don't really know. It's not a priority, right now.

Him: Yeah, it is, man. Summer's comin'! It's ridin' season!

Me: I know. Right now I'm focused on the business I started about a year ago. That's where my time and energy are going these days. Once it's solid I'll have time to ride a lot.

Him: *shaking his head* You gotta do what's important.

Me: I am

Him: *walks off, laughing and still shaking his head*

So, why is it that so many people:
  1. Say they are unhappy in their jobs
  2. Say they would like to own their own business, and
  3. Treat you like you're stupid when you do what owning a business requires?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Some people are truly annoying

To The Military Wannabe,

Yesterday I had the distinct displeasure of sitting in front of you during the CHL class we both attended. I found your comments to be asinine and reminiscent of those an adolescent boy makes when trying to sound “all grown up”. The difference is, an adolescent boy will grow out of such things as he becomes a man. You are many things. A man is not one of them. Allow me to touch on just a few of your comments to illustrate my point.

  • Your insistence that when forced to use deadly force, specifically a firearm, the goal should be to “shoot to kill” was, well, stupid. We live in a society that has laws and concepts designed to ensure relative peace and tranquility (that all of our laws don't successfully contribute to that is irrelevant). Among these is the idea that if a life is to be willfully and deliberately taken from a criminal, such a decision will be decided by courts and juries and carried out by an appointed agent of the state. Neither you nor I get to be vigilantes, regardless of the temptation to do so. If you do so, you will very likely go to prison for a long time...as well you should. Because, contrary to your assertion that you can “sway a jury” you are far more likely to be tried and convicted for the crime of which you'll stand accused when you do what you said and admit under oath “you bet I shot to kill cause he had it coming” (an admission you said you would make). We shoot to STOP. Whether the threat is to us or someone else, that is our goal. Once the threat has been stopped, we stop shooting.
  • I feel compelled to point out two things regarding Tom Clancy novels. First, they are fiction. This means that while Mr. Clancy may have done extensive research for his novels, they are not true and the US military does not base it's SOP on his writings, your suggestions otherwise notwithstanding. Second, you are not “the closest thing there is to a real life John Clark”!
  • Continuing with the Clancy comparison, your claim to have been part of the SOG is, shall we say, dubious, since it was disbanded in 1972, almost 20 years before you claim to have been born.
  • Enlisted personnel in the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps do not go to basic training. We go to boot camp.

The reason the real military people in the room, whether active duty, those who served a few tours or those who retired wouldn't talk with you is not that they were “intimidated by a real warrior”. It's because they recognized you for the fraud and liar you are. You, sir, disgust those of us who have served.

Good day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why deal with my problems when I can focus on yours?

I was thinking about this as a result of comments on another blog. I've been struggling with trying to understand why some people seem so willing to limit the rights of others. Not just gun rights, but other civil liberties as well. It also happens in religion. Recently, I realized I was over-complicating this thing. The answer is not complicated, at all. It's this: Some people are afraid of freedom. While they may give verbal support to the idea of freedom, the thought of people actually enjoying and exercising freedom scares them. It scares them beyond what they can handle and far more than they will admit. In order to deal with that fear, they tend to do one or more of three things.

  1. They point to prior undesirable or even horrific events to demonstrate what happens when people exercise their rights. That it's only a relatively few who abuse their freedom to do wrong, is irrelevant. The fact that it has happened at all is proof of the danger of freedom. If freedom is to exist, it must be restrained or limited, is their cry. Interestingly, these folks may be in situations or live in places where they claim such things seldom or even “can't” happen. More denial.

  1. They raise the specter of vast chaos if more people were to exercise freedom. The horrors of the past are nothing compared to what will happen if there are fewer restraints on freedom or if more people choose to exercise it. Surely we are facing unprecedented mass confusion, at best and an explosion of abuses at worst. So, this "unfortunate" and "ill-informed" focus on freedom must clearly be opposed.

  1. They paint the proponents of freedom with a very ugly brush. Said proponents are accused of advocating anything from the mildest of offenses to the most despicable of behaviors. Only social pressure or lack of the proper incentive, trigger or set of circumstances has kept them from acting out on their most base urges themselves. Fortunately, our control advocates are there to oppose them and provide a solution.

But wait, there's more. See, this fear of freedom looks, on the surface, as if it's concerned with what will happen if a large number of people who lack restraint are suddenly empowered by freedom. That's not the way it really is. It has far more to do with the one advocating more control over others than it does anyone else. He or she is afraid. Afraid of a perceived threat? Often so, but also afraid of his or her own urges and issues. It's not simply about what others will do. It's what I (the control advocate) might do if allowed to be too free. And so, three things are done:

  1. The relatively small number of incidents is ignored or called irrelevant. The “controller's” neighborhood/social class/professional association/doctrinal group is declared free of the objectionable behavior(s). Objective reality is denied.

  1. The fears and insecurities of the control advocate are projected onto others.

  1. The person in favor of more control over others and more restrictions on freedom rushes to take up the cause as a way of countering his or her own issues.

There we have 3 classic, and common, defense mechanisms. Denial, projection and reaction formation. All as a way of dealing with their own fears, anger, rage and urges. Defense mechanisms are designed to protect us from psychological or emotional harm. We all use different ones at different times to protect us from both external and internal things. That's normal. External things might be something like the death of a loved one. Internal factors are often those things about myself that I find unacceptable, but that I'm not willing to consciously face and admit to.
The control advocate who fears freedom doesn't simply fear what will happen if you or I exercise our freedom. He fears what he might do if allowed to exercise his freedom. He fears his own issues, his own anger, his own rage and his own urges. And so, he denies his fear, he projects his issues onto others and he endorses something that opposes in some way the things he fears in himself.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Important decisions

The ancient Greek city-states had the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Marathon, Rome had Horatius on the Bridge.  In spite of some debate among historians, all justifiably stand as testaments to what a relatively small but determined group (or an individual) can do when facing seemingly overwhelming odds. Everyone with an interest in character should read about them. My adopted "home state" has its own equally compelling story (more on that, later).

There is a lesson to be learned from these events. Contrary to what some suggest, the primary lesson goes far beyond military operations and armed encounters. The lesson is independent of the times, places and cultures in which the participants lived. The lesson is about duty, character and honor. There are times when those who declare themselves to be honorable men and women must make a decision. That such a decision will, for most of us, thankfully seldom involve arms or violence makes it no less important. Will we oppose the thing that proposes to take from us that which we claim to value most (e.g. home, family, liberty, security, life, faith, dignity, honor) or will we decline to do what must be done? Will we decide to disgrace ourselves and all we claim to hold dear, or will we stand in the gap? Will we do what is right, or what is convenient? Are we willing to face the fact that we might not win and do what we must anyway, or will we use the possibility of loss as an excuse for cowardice?

If you decline or refuse to resist tyranny, speak out against injustice or protect your home and family, how will you call yourself a man or woman? If you suggest to others that they, too, embrace cowardice how will you look yourself in the mirror or your family members in their eyes?

Listen to the words of Samuel Adams and try, really hard, to look beyond the current debate over gun rights.  Look instead for an attitude toward what is right and just.

  • "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

As for my adopted "home state"...

177 years ago, today, a group of 189 Texans fought a desperate battle against a force of 1800 Mexican soldiers led by General Santa Anna. In the end, the defenders were all killed. And they took fully 1/3 of the attackers with them. Six weeks later, Mexican forces were curb stomped at the Battle of San Jacinto and General Santa Anna was captured. Remember the Alamo.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Huh...go figure

I've learned something truly amazing! If you choose to post a note letting everyone know of a change in the moderation of comments, you have to actually change that in settings. Oddly enough, the blog settings don't immediately change themselves in response to my thoughts or my writing. Weird...