CQ…Clark Here

Thoughts and opinions. LOTS of opinions.

Archive for the tag “NRA”

Post Election Reflection, 2012

I have taken a break from Facebook.  After the election, I was hoping this would not happen, but the “end zone celebration” I saw from some was disheartening.  And I was so heartbroken over the results that I just needed to distance myself for a time.  I posted a couple of thoughts after the election, but since Wednesday I have seldom visited FB.

Wednesday morning, after the 2012 Presidential election, quite sincerely I posted the following on Facebook:

Brief thoughts on the election:

1) I am VERY happy for my friends that were pulling for Obama. Many were really invested in a win by him, and for them, I am truly happy. I do hope that all this silliness of “voter fraud,” disenfranchisement” and so on will be put to rest.

2) God is still on his throne. He did not wake up this morning, check the paper, slap his forehead and say, “Holy crap! …How did this happen?” He knows, he watches, and no matter who is the President of the US, He directs the course of history.

3) I worry for America. I believe we will be looking at a radically (not in the political sense) different country. In my opinion, we have slid a long way since the “Shining City on a Hill” that we were under Reagan.

4)I am disgusted with the Republican party that they cannot present a candidate that espouses conservative principles. I mean TRULY conservative principles. When done properly, conservative principles resonate with every voter group in the US.

5) I like cats. A lot. As much as I like dogs, maybe a bit more. This is perhaps a bit unusual for conservative types, so I am hoping when the liberal zombie police come to eat the livers of all good conservatives, maybe they’ll give my house a pass because I like cats. (kidding, people)

6) I still like good beer, and it is there for our enjoyment. I don’t care what one’s political position is, if you make good beer, we are best buds. Although, I MIGHT direct certain friends toward skunky beer due to their politics. *cough SteveS*

Of course I was being humorous with the last couple points, but the first four were completely serious. I woke up on Wednesday to an America for which I fear. I prayed more sincerely for President Obama than I probably have in the previous four years. I prayed for America, for my children, for my wife, myself, my friends and family.

I started musing on this about a week ago with a post from a liberal friend of mine. He had posted a “Nation of Change” article written by Robert Reich. Read the article here: “We the People, and the New American Civil War”. I had wanted to comment, but my thoughts were far too detailed to present in Facebook’s format.

First, a personal disclaimer regarding Mr. Reich. Robert Reich was in Bill Clinton’s cabinet as the Secretary of Labor. If one asked him, I believe he would say that politically he is a Moderate. But I have trouble with that. His background, his education, his statements all indicate to me that he is definitely liberal, and comes from a liberal perspective. So, I have a problem with him right there. Whatever one’s politics, my preference is that one be honest. Call it “Liberal” or “Progressive,” be honest about your stance.

In his article, Mr. Reich’s point is that our main challenge as a nation is for all of us “to rediscover the public good,” and what he indicates is that we need to meet more in the middle, and basically disregard the far right and the far left. There are several problems with Mr. Reich’s article, and I believe Mr. Reich to be much closer to the “far left” than he pretends to be.

In his first paragraph, talking about the vitriol of the latest Presidential campaigns, he feels that it is “Worse than the Palin-induced smarmy 2008. Worse than the swift-boat lies of 2004…” The problem is that in 2008 the only vitriol that I recall was toward Palin, not because of her. The hatred, vicious name-calling, and sexualizing of Mrs. Palin was truly appalling, and had it been a woman of the Democrat party being treated as she was by someone of the conservative persuasion, the howling and backlash would have been heard around the world, and yet how she was treated is apparently ok according to liberal standards (side note: I am not speaking of all liberals, I have many liberal friends that I cherish and trust. When I speak of liberals here, I am talking about what I see nation wide, in the media, and in the entertainment industry). Further, nothing that the swift-boat veterans said was inaccurate or lies. These were valiant men, serving with distinction in a miserable conflict. These men came forward and testified against the 2004 Democrat candidate for President and his claims of serving with distinction. And that is their crime. They disputed the only veteran the Democrat party has been proud of since the Vietnam war. And that is because he publicly denounced, not only the war, but the men who served in it. These men came forward, knowing they would be reviled, to set the record straight. And Reich calls them liars.

Second paragraph: Mr. Reich recognizes the many divisions in America, including “whether women should have control over their bodies, ” speaking of abortion, and I agree with him that the divisions he speaks of are not new. However, the issue of abortion is not simply that of whether women should have control over their bodies, any more than the Civil War was just a conflict over state’s rights. This is a topic that rates its own blog at some point, I suppose, but for now, suffice it to say that Mr. Reich oversimplified it here, and I believe he likely does it purposely. Or else it is that simple in his mind. Either way, I think it is telling.

I like what he said about things being more separated, geographically and online; this may have a spark of truth. It does seem that we have clustered as conservatives and liberals, without a ton of contact. However, I think that if one is seeking, regardless of political persuasion, relationship with people, it is actually easier to find than before. Many of my liberal friends I have found on Facebook. I enjoy spirited, passionate debate on issues (clearly, they never win, but it’s only because their feeble arguments wither in the presence of my stunning repartee, and the blinding logic of my positions. Right guys? Hey! Did you ever notice when one is correct, one says, “right?” One never says “left.” Kidding guys. Love you all!) with a number of committed liberals, who are just as convinced of their position as am I. We respect one another’s positions, thoughts, and backgrounds. I find that I am actually more brutal with those with whom agree than I am with those that disagree. I insist that my friends be shown respect and consideration, and I try to moderate the debates with those ideals.

In paragraph six, of Mr. Reich’s article he mentions Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, and proclaims both of them to be “ultimate arbiters of truth.” I cannot speak of Murrow, as that was quite some time before me. However, I understand that his fall from grace with CBS happened when Murrow bitterly complained that CBS was giving equal time to individuals on the opposite side of the issues he criticized. Further, Cronkite broadcast also at a time in which he was not the “ultimate” arbiter of the truth, but the only arbiter of the truth. Both men had, and enjoyed, unfettered and unopposed voices in what they presented to the public. And this I believe, is the actual problem. Mr. Reich goes on to attack Fox News and Rush Limbaugh as eagerly exploiting the anger and frustration of the “white working-class.” Mr. Reich calls them “pedlars of petulance,” and states that many of today’s politicians have “gained political power by fanning the flames.”

But I believe that Mr. Reich is emblematic of what the actual problem is here. I believe what he is actually upset about (and I doubt he would agree, or even recognize this) is that conservatives actually have a voice. Conservatives have avenues to get the news that are not controlled by those with whom they disagree. Avenues that are not presenting only one viewpoint. Fox News in particular is reviled by the left, and often cited for its “lies.” Does Fox News lie? Most of the “lies” presented are merely a different viewpoint from the person making that claim, and often, inspection finds that they aren’t lies at all. Further, Limbaugh, although sometimes bombastic, seldom presents anything that could be accused of being a blatant untruth.

I remember when I first heard Rush Limbaugh. It was probably close to twenty years ago, and at the time, I hated talk radio, and I only tuned in because a friend suggested I do so. When I listened to Limbaugh’s show, I nearly wept. I honestly thought that I was one of the few people in the entire world that believed as I did, but here was a man speaking from a position that resonated with me. I continue to listen to Limbaugh, not to “get the truth,” but because in my opinion, he presents the truth. Do I agree with all he says? No, but it’s not that difficult to separate that stuff out, and I think most can do the same.

Same with Fox News. Is it biased? Yep, but they make no bones about it, as opposed to CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and on and on. Nearly every news outlet has a slant or bias, but my frustration is that they refuse to admit it. I would have much more respect for any of the above if they would admit their bias, and work to present the other side. Fox News has a list of liberal commentators and contributors that clearly and cogently present the liberal viewpoint. As far as I have seen, the other networks may have a token conservative or two, but no one noteworthy, and very few that are taken seriously by anyone.

Here is the problem. The “left” has become the new “center.” and “meeting in the middle” means capitulating with the liberal position. Vitriol? That expressed against those with a conservative position is unrivaled and more frightening than anything one hears from a conservative position. Express a conservative thought or position? You are at best uncaring, and more likely a hateful, angry person. None of the conservative entertainers or commentators express the hate and anger expressed by liberals in the same industry, and yet those on the left are defended, and their jokes draw long, sustained laughter. Very seldom (and I am being generous, here) are they castigated for their words, let alone punished or an apology demanded. List something Limbaugh said that was hurtful and I can list ten from top liberals. And I can almost bet that Limbaugh apologized for what he said, unlike the comments from the other side of the aisle.

This post is not intended to be an apologetic for Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. And I intentionally oversimplified the issues. My intent is to describe my thoughts on the political divide in which we find ourselves, and the disparity I see between left and right. In today’s world, the NRA (National Rifle Association) is not a member-driven group intent on protecting one of our basic Constitutional rights, it is an extremist organization. Focus on the Family is not an organization seeking to preserve the family as the Biblical center of our society, it is a hate group. This is a clear shift in where the country has come from. Those who believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God are not sincerely trying to follow God’s design for their lives, they are dangerous haters, trying to shove their zealous religious beliefs down people’s throats.

I am not a Luddite. I love technology, and love many aspects of where our society is right now. However, I believe there has been a shift in our society, and one that I do not see as altogether good. I believe that we must show dignity to all, regardless of viewpoint. However, it seems to me that the pendulum has swung to where those with a conservative viewpoint are increasingly seen as loony, stupid, or mean, or some combination of the three.

After the recent election, I found that I despair for our country. President Obama was elected back into that office, and now has four more years to work on his vision of America. And I believe that vision to be bad news for our country. Call it Socialist, Statist, or simply Progressive, it doesn’t much matter, it amounts to much the same thing. I believe we will see more confiscation of wealth (but not from liberal celebrities). I believe we will see an expansion of government’s role in our lives. I believe we will see the declining of America’s prestige in the world. I believe we will see a reduction in the military. I believe we will see more, not less, terrorism. I believe we are in more danger economically, socially, and physically than ever before. We are a Representative Republic. And the president has been re-elected. And I fear for what that means for all of us.

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Gun Control

Up to now, I have written little regarding politics, but recently comments have moved me to this post.  Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, and uber-millionaire, has made some comments about gun control.  In case you missed it, here it is:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mayor-bloomberg-comment-police-strike-congress-attention-gun-control-debate-level-drew-mixed-reactions-article-1.1120980

In brief (and I’m paraphrasing), he said that he just doesn’t understand why cops don’t go on strike until gun control laws are enacted, and guns taken away from, well, everybody.

First, it is completely reprehensible that Bloomberg, or anyone else, will politicize events like the Colorado theater shooting (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/james-holmes-colorado-shooting_n_1692381.html).  Disgusting.  Let it alone for a bit, let the victims’ families have some time, and get Holmes in jail in preparation for his execution.  At least give it a couple of weeks, then if you must, bring politics into it.  But no.  About ten point five seconds after the last victim hit the ground, Bloomberg comes out with his crap.

A bit of background, here.  I have been a career policeman for over thirty years, first in a small town, then as a cop in a larger city, and now I proudly serve as the Chief of Police at a small University in north western Pennsylvania.  While with the City of Erie, PA, I served as a street patrolman and as a detective.  I also was on the SWAT team and Honor Guard.  In detectives, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant and founded the Homicide division, was co-head of the Burglary division, and ended up working white-collar crimes (forgeries, frauds, bad checks).  I have worked with the FBI, with the U.S. Treasury, and with the Secret Service.  I realize this is not New York City, but I have seen and done a lot.  I have had friends die in the line of duty.  I have had friends shot and their careers shortened by gunmen who I am ashamed to say lived to see prison.  I have faced guns, knives, and angry women (just which is more deadly, I will not speculate).  I have investigated homicides by guns, knives, strangulation.  I have investigated sex crimes, child abuse, bank robberies, and granny’s lawnmower being taken from her garage.  I have seen children murdered by their parents, teens shot by boyfriends, and kids hit by trains.  And I have done what I can to help the families of those victims.  I once held the sister of a boy killed by a train.  Three young kids were on their way to their home in the projects when they decided to run across the tracks ahead of an oncoming train.  She and their friend made it.  Her brother did not, and she watched the train smack him and fling him to the side like so much tissue paper.  She clung to me, and would not let me go for over an hour.  In a hot, cramped little apartment I was her life-preserver, keeping her afloat.

I am a life-long hunter, from the earliest legal age, hunting small game, big game, whatever.  I have held guns, I own guns, and I know how to use guns.  Guns are pieces of steel and alloy engineered to accurately propel a small piece of metal for a distance.  In that regard, they are not much different from a piece of steel engineered and formed to strike a small piece of metal and accurately drive it into wood.  It is not the instrument that matters, it is the person wielding it, and what they do with it that makes the difference.  If a person utilizes an instrument, any instrument, in an improper way, it becomes a tool for evil.  It is not the instrument, it is the person using the instrument.  The differences are that a gun is much less personal (in that it can harm or kill from a distance), and it can harm or kill multiple victims with very little effort.

So, would “banning” guns, or even eliminating them, prevent homicide?  Clearly not, and I doubt that any thinking gun control advocate would say that.  What they would say, I believe, is that it would make such actions more difficult, and require a different dynamic to accomplish such a crime.  Perhaps that is a point.  But assume the banning of all guns for a moment.  Do you really think that will make it all that difficult to commit such an atrocity?  Consider the same type of movie theater as the recent atrocity in Aurora, Colorado.  People enjoying a movie, eating popcorn, relaxing.  Suddenly, multiple bombs go off, killing or maiming dozens of people, with not one gunshot heard.  Fantasy?  Consider:  while sitting here at my laptop, eating a sandwich, I timed myself.  It took less than a minute and a half to find over a million websites on making pipe bombs, and over one-hundred thousand websites on homemade explosives. Guns? We ain’t got no guns. We don’t need no guns! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ guns!  I can make a bunch of pipe bombs with fuses of various burning times, filled with explosive substances, and every piece of this killing machine purchased at my local hardware store.  So, should we ban household cleaners?  Iron pipe?  Nails?  Because with just a bit of planning and time, I can make enough material to kill a multitude of people.

It is a problem of human will and evil intent, not one of “bad” objects.  It is neutral objects being used for evil purposes, and it can be a ball bat, a car, a chainsaw, a knife, or a ball point pen.  Or a gun.

However, it isn’t just gun control that cranked me up about Bloomberg.  There are several things he said that made me want to vomit.  First, his comments were disgusting just on the face.  Cops on strike?  I have been a cop for thirty years, and I have never seen an issue that I thought would justify a general strike by cops.  When I pinned on the badge, I did so as a calling, with a sense of purpose.  Strike?  That is not even in my vocabulary.  Second, even if cops did think an issue worth going on strike, it is illegal in most states for police to do so.  I know this is so in Pennsylvania where I serve, and in New York where Bloomberg lives.  So Bloomberg was kind of showing support for an illegal action.

But you know what really offends me about Bloomberg’s statements?  It is something that as far as I know no one has touched on.  His statement was that he doesn’t understand why cops don’t just go on strike until gun control laws are enacted to protect them.  One of his problems is that the only cops he apparently knows are sycophants and libs who share his views.  I would be willing to bet that most cops, in fact the vast majority of cops, are rather conservative and thoroughly not in favor of gun control.  But this is not the offensive part.  The offensive part is that essentially he is saying, “The issue of gun control is so obvious.  Guns kill cops, and if we ban guns, cops won’t get killed.  Why are they so stupid that they can’t see this or act on this?”  And this ticks me off.  This falls under what I would characterize as “typical liberal thought.”  Now a disclaimer.  I have several liberal friends with whom I have had multiple challenging and enjoyable conversations.  With them there is mutual respect and room for disagreement, as well as passion and commitment.  So when I am discussing “typical liberal thought,” please do not confuse my “debate partners” with my statements.

Bloomberg, I think, likely believes cops to be basically brain-dead thugs, without the capability of deep thought.  Why, they can’t even understand simple issues like gun control!  Clearly they are unlikely to understand more complex issues.  And isn’t that what the liberal elite think of most of us?  African-Americans, Israel, guns, wealth, taxes, the role of government, fill in the blank.  I believe people like Bloomberg think most people simply too intellectually challenged to really understand what is best.

And I believe he shows that with his latest comments about cops.

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