The Tally Stick

Taking measure in our times

Why disarming America will ultimately not work

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In the recent aftermath of the latest horrific mass shooting in America, we are seeing the same debate on the direction on where the United States should move in the area of gun ownership and what restrictions should be placed on them.  Admittedly, this is a divisive topic in American politics.   You have three basic camps; people who support private ownership of firearms, other who want to restrict them and the last the people who want to removed entirely from society.   Clearly from the title of the article, I am in the camp that support private ownership of firearms but I am not so dogmatic to think there are some compromises we could make that would clean up our gun regulations without infringing on the 2nd Amendment.

The latest shootings we are now seeing a pattern of the criminals having purchased their firearms legally, having no criminal background and not exhibiting any archetypal behavior that we associate with extremist views that have a proclivity for violence.  When you see people that are willing to basically be under the radar and commit such senseless violence, you really have the re-think about the approach that is used to combat and ultimately deter these actions.

In the United States of America we are a society that values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   With this we have a Bill of Rights that enumerates the rights of United States citizens.  It tells us the limits that the government has on its powers to affect it citizens and limit their actions.  In my estimation we have seemingly forgotten these rights and what they mean.  Of these rights, the 2nd Amendment is one that address what protections a citizens can use to defend themselves, it also tells us that we are expected to trust our citizenry with the private ownership of firearms.  Firearms in America serve three of many good reasons; 1.) Self-Defense 2.) A deterrent to tyrannical rule in a Democratic Republic 3.) A decentralized domestic force to assist against any foreign or domestic invasion.

With all the point above taken into consideration, disarming the American public is inconsistent with the Social Contract that was made when the country was founded and recorded with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights.  Critics will say that we did not have these issues in 1776, so know we need new rules to govern a nation in the 21st century.  This is incorrect thinking, what it means is that our governing representatives need to do their in this reality and to enact policy that is consistent with the rules set forth by our founding fathers.

Take San Bernardino, in this case, all our checks were defeated that were set forth to stop unqualified people from attaining firearms.  Humans that a determined to create havoc and stay off the radar are very dangerous not just because they “could” be anyone but that they are a threat to everyone’s rights because of the justified outrage we have after any mass casualty events.  We are a free society so this can happen so the people need to understand that you will never have perfect security or really anything close to it from these determined lone wolves.

Disarming the public will not stop criminals or terrorist from harming or killing people.  It will only make sure that in places where they are determined to commit these despicable acts, will have less risk of someone at the scene to be able to engage the criminal and potentially prevent or reduce the harm created.  If citizen disarmament laws worked so well, why are the cities with the strictest anti-gun laws have the highest levels of firearm homicide?  If you removed the 5 U.S. cities with the highest firearm homicide rate, we actually far near the bottom globally for gun violence.  Critics never address this, because if they did, they may need to concede that ultra-restrictive gun laws do not actually stop gun crimes.

In the opening, I said I was not dogmatic about guns in America and I do have a solution that I would support to address some of the concerns that I believe are reasonable about people that have a low opinion of private firearm ownership.  They mention that many people are not trained and we have too many preventable accidents, that also follow-up that the 2nd Amendment mentions “a well regulated militia”.   I agree that this is an issue and something needs to be done.

If I had a decisive vote, I would make a training, proficiency and safety class be required with any new firearm purchase.  It would basically be how you now purchase firearms but after you fill-out the paper work on your local gun-dealer, he would schedule you for a class 5-7 days after the initial purchase.  You would show up at the schedule time for a class run by the gun dealer or local range, they would go through the curriculum & proficiency test and once you pass this basic test, you would be given your firearm and the public can rest a little easier knowing that every new firearm owner has had to demonstrate that can safely and accurately (close range) operate that firearm.  Over time as the training gets good, you may even have situations where crime is prevented because of people who are trained to react in a situation where police can not be everywhere and seconds count.

Written by Tally Stick

January 3rd, 2016 at 4:19 pm

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The culture of intolerance in a democratic society

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Over the previous fifteen months we have witnessed the rise of intolerance in America.  From my perspective it started in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.  This incident involved Officer Darren Wilson and the unarmed suspect, Michael Brown.  It was alleged by the public that the shooting was unjustified based on accounts that Mr. Brown (African-American) was unarmed and was being profiled by police officer Darren Wilson (Caucasian) in a case of a robbery at a local store.  The APB description was interpreted by the police officer to fit Mr. Brown’s profile. There was an altercation in which the ultimate outcome was the shooting of Mr. Brown after he allegedly attacked the officer and went for his firearm.  After the investigation, the Grand Jury did not feel it had enough facts to support an indictment of the police officer for an unjustified killing of the unarmed suspect.

This sparked an outrage from swaths of the public and started riots in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area.  In the proceeding months, a few more high profile police officer shootings occurred involving unarmed African-Americans.   Some of these cases had video evidence that still did not lead to any prosecutions.  Growing sections of the public were not accepting of these facts.  During the unrest and subsequent protests, we saw the rise of a new political activist movement called Black Lives MatterThis movement seeks to reform policing and seek justice in what they term “extrajudicial killings” of minorities by police officers across the United States.

As time goes, the movement has become more active and militant (in a non-violent but aggressive stance), infamously interrupting, civil rights activist and Presidential hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders.  This is an important footnote because we have not seen a rise of cultural activism in America since the decade of the 1960s.  In the 1960s we have a major change in America, protests of Vietnam, rise of the hippie movement as a rejection of traditional America,and killings of civil rights leaders (Dr. King, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton and various others during this struggle).  This sent a stark message that if you challenge the status-quo enough, you might pay with your life.   This not only derailed many of these movements but also chilled the era of grassroots activism.

Fast forward to 2015, we are currently seeing the rise of new activism in America.  It is gaining strength while becoming more intolerant to any dissenting opinions, or attempts to more moderate views, to address concerning issues that revolve about inequality, racism or cultural appropriation, to name a few.  Its roots seem to be stemming from college campuses, which have always been fertile grounds for alternative intellectual thinking and activism.  The problem is that many of these issues do not seem to carry the same breadth and depth of the civil rights era.  I mention the civil rights era because it seems like all struggles are expressed to have the same gravity.  I don’t mean to offend, but you had very overt actions and clear policies that were against minorities.  Other than the misplaced episode in which a line of student protesters got maced in full view of the public, we do not see the iconic pictures of African-Americans getting fire hosed, dog attacked or beaten fragrantly in the open as we witnessed in the 1960s.  This does not minimize these issues in any way but, at the same time, it is a short-sighted view to see any perceived affront as a good reason to appeal for others to support protest in an aggressive manner like we saw in previous decades.

Yes, we have serious issues of policing in America and a disproportionate number of criminal proceedings are against minorities. On the other hand, we have made real improvements since then and we are still progressing forward in these areas today.  What is happening is that progress is being slowed because we have people taking a divisive approach when we need an inclusive solution.  This ultimately pushes people farther apart and if you are from a contrasting race, and don’t fully agree with that side, you are called a racist sympathizer.

This leads us to the point of this article.  What I have witnessed during these protests is the growing intolerance of opinions; people disagree while disregarding the logic or solid reasoning presented.   In the example of Black Lives Matter, critics say All Lives Matter, this was a direct challenge to the idea that incidents that happen to African-Americans should be on a pedestal compared to other races if the same incident occurred.  It is ironic that when inequity happens we should favor certain groups, rather than all, when solving inequity: this should be a long-term solution to bring us all closer as a nation.   Instead, we see a media-fuel movement to Balkanize groups into identity politics where you need to look first at your racial background or social-economic position to see where you should stand and support.  That is completely in contrast to what America was founded for, even if it took us until to today (2015–beyond) to make good on that promise.

This has succeeded in turning huge groups of young adults into activists with a hammer looking for nails.  We are not a perfect nation nor are we perfect people and expecting more is wishful thinking.  Among democratic values, tolerance is one of the most important.  What it means is that I accept a free and open society and I am willing to tolerate opinions that I disagree with.   In exchange, I will be tolerated for having opinions that may be outside of the normative consensus or what others call, political correctness.  Democracy is not a winner takes all endeavor.  Functioning democracy means you incrementally progress with debate, compromise and using the bully-pulpit to influence public opinion so that truly universal ideas are moved ahead for the whole nation, not just small segments that scream the loudest (not saying there isn’t time to be loud).

The Atlantic recently published two articles that have been written to address this growing intolerance and confusion. They discuss what society is supposed to provide and how we should handle these issues.  In The Coddling of the American Mind & The New Intolerance of Student Activism they addressed issues that are all revolving around this issue of how we should react to things we find offensive and what kind of environment we should creating to train our younger generation.   A quote from The Intolerance of Student Activism sums it up, this is an exchange between student protesters and administrators about an email regarding appropriate Halloween costumes; “Then why the fuck did you accept the position?! Who the fuck hired you?! You should step down! If that is what you think about being a master you should step down! It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here. You are not doing that!“. This was in response to an email sent around to students on the subject that if they were offended by Halloween costumes then they should look away or go tell them they are offended, they should not try to appeal to a third party to solve their problems.  In the video you can see the Yale students using the same tactics as Black Lives Matter to shut down any two-way discussion that we would expect in a civil democratic society and instead shut the opposing opinion down by ultimately telling him that he was not even worth listening to and he was “disgusting”.   That is not tolerance and honestly it sounds very authoritarian at its core.

Now I am witnessing many young people looking for any issue that may be considered unfair or mean and using that as a platform to demand change, no matter how trivial it may seem, in a manner that is not collective resolution, but instead as an entitled demand.  With this rise of political correctness, aggressive activism and the idea that they know (intolerance) the right way to handle situations, these movements have led to a very divisive environment where it chills (censors) free speech, which is supposed to be one of our highest values in our democratic culture.  We are regressing in this area and it allows the rise to more extreme ideological elements which have a form of intolerance to opposition in their dogma and more extreme solutions if they do not get their way.  That is dangerous if you let it grow without challenge.  I cannot explain to you the utter demonization that is happening in American politics to the political candidates leading up to our Presidential Election in 2016.  Each side is making the other into literal monsters so that even if you agree with one of their positions but disagree with many, you are a political pariah and should be socially shunned.  That is a sad state of affairs if we truly embrace our democratic values.

This was written to illustrate how this movement of intolerance on the back of real issues and injustices is growing and it is drowning out many reasonable voices that dare challenge the popular consensus.  This is feeding the extremes and we will continue to see it pour into our politics, daily lives and relationships.  I personally have felt more isolated in my social media because I see pot-shots taken on all issues that are said to be conservative or traditional.  I see the strong support and many mindless opinions.   It makes me almost not want to bother engaging because of the backlash you have to endure just to reason a contrarian opinion that challenges any current political correctness.   We did cover a lot of ground in this piece but I hope this will show you that these are not isolated incidents but actually a growing trend that could lead to a cultural revolution under everyone feet and once it is complete many will feel like strangers around their fellow citizens.

Written by Tally Stick

November 22nd, 2015 at 6:55 pm

U.S. codifies two-tiered justice system with landmark HSBC settlement

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Like most people, it still is just starting to sink in that we are officially in a two-tiered legal system in the United States of America.  The precedent is now set that law can be arbitrary base d on the economic and political effect that legal prescription would have on different social-economic systems.  Some would argue this has always been the case but it has never been to brazenly admitted in a criminal Investigation.  This company’s (HSBC)  influential and economic place in the global financial system, allowed  it is support terrorism, trade with the enemy (Iran) and give material support to Mexican (likely other) drug cartels that I know the Mexican state sees as domestic terrorists.

We are now officially in a society where the wealthy and powerful can now break some of our most precious laws with almost impunity.  This is not meant to single out HSBC either.   All major U.S. commercial and investment banks have all been given the same treatment by the Justice Department (Justice for who?), by allowing them to settle without any admission of guilt and avoid criminal prosecutions.

Links to Settlements:   Bank of AmericaJP Morgan ChaseGoldman SachsWells FargoCitigroup (This list goes on)

What message does this send to the people?  Following the law is only for the common-folk?  Who is to say that this will not lead to general lawlessness among average citizen who now have perfectly clear evidence that the system is rigged and the deck is stacked against them.  These are not just petty crimes either, the entire U.S. foreign policy for the last 4o+ years has been built against the actions that HSBC committed (War on Drugs & War on Terrorism).

Anyone else would of, if they even committed one of the 17,000 noted infractions in this case, served hard prison time or ended up in a military prison and or court.  Instead an economic calculation was made that ended up saying that this companies position in our financial system was so great (Too Big to Fail), that a tarnish of its reputation would actually bring an economic collapse (not likely).  Even if you take that statement at face value, if our system is built upon this sort of foundation, then maybe it deserves to collapse so we can find our moral center again and learn what the “Rule of Law” & “Precedent” means.

An option would of been to fine “AND” jail the perpetrators.  I believe when history looks backs, this will be looked upon as a watershed moment of this current regimes fall from grace and decency.  To look on the bright side, this likely means we are closer to the end than the beginning.  We have lost our center and direction and now we are rushing faster than ever to prop up failed states, we just haven’t found the courage to admit it.  If it does come to that, please so not throw all the good we have done when finding ways to deal with your anger and frustration.  We still have the capacity to great good and unmentionable acts of evil.

Here is a great writeup about this from The Guardian, please take a hour to read the comments that are over a thousand now.  It really enlighten me on how people can justify these actions.

 

Written by Tally Stick

December 17th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

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Occupation Wall Street Political Party?

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While looking at this movement and how it is evolving, a political organization was my pick as an eventuality in its natural progression.  They have tapped into a current expression of distrust and disgust with corporate and financial greed, corruption and as facts come to light, likely outright fraud.  Once I heard the media bringing up this subject relentlessly, I knew it was only a matter of time before something would form from the ether.

I have found two websites that seem to fit the bill.  I am not sure if either are official or affiliated and we don’t even know what official means in this movement yet.  With this being such a growing subject and movement.  I thought some people might be interested in the more serious and formal progress of protest.

Here are the two links:

Occupation Party (Has a forum for discussion and discourse)

The Occupation Party (Seems to be more motivational than political orientated at this point but it does have discussion but in a non-forum format)

Written by Tally Stick

October 17th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Renaissance 2.0 – Economic Explanation of the American Economic Empire (Must Watch)

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It has been a minute since I have post on the Tally Stick.  It will be getting much more information.   My work life has been very busy but now my time is freeing.   With such a long hiatus I am coming back with some very hard hitting information.  I implore everyone to watch this and send it to your friends.

This video is the best example I have found that actually explains our monetary system.  It goes over the history of its formations and what happened at each turn that brought us to this financial empire we are living in today.  The first step in any solution is to understand the system and its flaws.  Please add your comments.

Lesson 1 ”

The Rise of Financial Empire

” (6 part series):

Link to all six lessons (Click Here)

Written by Tally Stick

October 11th, 2010 at 11:45 am

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