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Reality Check: Gun Control vs. Shooting Deaths October 4, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion, Politics, Uncategorized.
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Recent events have me thinking about gun related violence and laws controlling gun ownership. My purpose for this post is to evaluate any correlation between the two and to fix in my own mind what is truth, and what is political rhetoric.

Let me preface my findings with a personal disclaimer and a short summary of my own feelings about the 2nd Amendment:

  1.  I am a disabled US Army Veteran. I do not own a gun, nor do I have a desire to own a gun. I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I have a desire to be a member of the NRA, although:
  2. I believe firmly in the Constitutional right to ‘bear arms’, meaning that the founders of this great nation viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:
    • enabling the people to organize a militia system.
    • participating in law enforcement;
    • deterring tyrannical government;
    • repelling invasion;
    • suppressing insurrection, 
    • facilitating a natural right of self-defense.

I had prepared to present evidence that restrictive gun laws had either a significant impact on the reduction of gun related deaths, or what I admittedly believed to be the case; restrictive gun laws had little or no impact on gun related deaths. What I have found, much to my dismay is that there is no correlation between gun laws and gun related deaths. The raw numbers out there do not point to either conclusion factually.

I could however select my data and statistically manipulate that data to show a strong correlation for either side of the issue, but that would not be the truth. Sadly, that is what we are constantly bombarded with from proponents of both sides of this issue.

If you wanted to take the time to do the research and pull the raw data you would find the task arduous. As I dove into the numbers I found that clear and concise data is very hard to come by. Most findings have so blended the numbers that it is impossible to get a clear picture. I found that most statistics for gun violence, or more specifically; gun deaths, include suicide and accidental shootings. It is very difficult to find hard data that simply says: There were X number of gun related homicides in these states, or cities, for this given year.  Further more, the groups or organizations that present the data at all have convoluted there statistical values to point to a preconceived conclusion.

So, in the end, I have come to the conclusion that there is no direct correlation between the restriction of gun ownership and the reduction of gun related deaths. Nor did I find the opposite conclusion (a correlation between gun freedom and lower gun related deaths).

To be honest, this leaves me completed frustrated. I like to come down on the ‘factual’ side of and issue. If the facts tell me that such and such is true, then I want to be a proponent of that truth. If the facts are not there to support that conclusion then I am saddled with weighing the moral, ethical, social, and political ramifications for supporting an issue.

Gun control is such a case. I cannot say that stricter laws would reduce gun violence, nor can I say it would not. What I can do is look to the Constitution and extrapolate what the Founding Fathers thought could happen to this country if the right to bear arms were not specified as they were.

This country was born of a people who rose up against a tyrannical government. They achieved our independence because of their ability to fight that tyranny, and they were able to do that because they had the means of arms to fight their oppressors.

You may state that we do not have that fear because we are a free nation governed by laws established in accordance with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To that I would have to reply that we are a governed people. Although we are a Republic and supposedly ‘represented’ by those we elect to serve our wishes, the truth is that not enough of us care to involve ourselves in what those representatives are doing. If they choose, as a body, to restrict our freedoms and pass laws that does that, what are we to do?  Rise up?  Absolutely.  If we have the means to resist this possible oppression and restriction of our freedoms we could absolutely rise up and resist.

If, however, we do not have the ability to resist, what are we to do then? We would simply bend under the yoke of oppression, wouldn’t we?

As I talk about this, and as I have thought about it while contemplating gun control legislation, my mind wanders and lands in the middle of the movie “Red Dawn” (both versions). I find myself thinking: if we, as a nation, abolished all arms for its citizens, what would we do if that scenario came into play?  Depend on our military to save us, and possibly die while waiting for help that possibly may never come?  I can continue on with numerous ‘what if’ scenarios and all of them lead me to one conclusion: I need the ability to own a firearm if I choose to do so. As a US Citizen I now have that right, and as a US Citizen I assert that I should be able to retain that right.


“Where Is The Love?” July 18, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction

Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity


A Father’s Job June 18, 2017

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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My wife and I raised 3 children together, while we have not always been successful at being parents (we all have our weak points and occasionally fall short of our goals – after all we’re only human) we have for the most part succeeded in raising 3 healthy, happy, productive and loving children.  So what I will share with you here is not coming from a parental “educator”, it is the hard won knowledge of a father with 70+ year experience raising children.

As father’s it is our job, our God-given duty, role, responsibility and ultimately, our loving pleasure and privilege to embody and demonstrate the following traits for our children:

Person of Refuge

Dad’s we are the person in our children’s lives that they think of when they need protection. We are the person they will run to for refuge. That means we have to always be available to our children, the safe haven they can quickly, freely and naturally come to for protection and rest. As a place of refuge, we need to reflect to our children that we are a secure place for them and not a place of scolding or threats.


This role encompasses our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual protection. As children we particularly need protection, and we need to have our values, purities, and our honor protected into adulthood. A father not only protects his children from harm, but protects their hearts and minds as well. (2 Thess. 3:3)


This is perhaps one of our more instinctual roles of a father. A father initially provides necessities. He also creates an environment for growth through love and encouragement. We look to our fathers to provide for us what we may not be able to provide for ourselves while teaching us how to eventually become independent. (Genesis 22:14)

Friend and Supporter

Being a friend to our kids doesn’t mean that you are a party buddy! It is said that a child learns how to interact with others on the lap of a father. We seek a sort of friendship with our father that teaches us what friendship is. A healthy friendship with a father gives us boundaries and helps us understand what is safe and what is not. (John 15:15) You need to always be available for your kids, listen to their delights and their problems. You must consistently be there when they need you, to be filled with unfailing love, mercy, compassion and slow to anger. Children today face so many more difficulties in life than 30-40 years ago. What tears children down is being overwhelmed with problems, hardships and life’s trials with no one there to support them. Fathers need to be someone who can provide strength and support, that person they can rest and rely on, as they grow in every area of life.

Counselor – A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)

Companion and Counselor

There are too many kids in the world today that rarely if ever hear a word of encouragement or affirmation. Fathers, it is so important that we communicate with our children. You need to continually encourage them, let your kids know that they measure up, that you are proud of them and their accomplishments. Let them know that you have a special place in your heart for them. Tell them again and again how great they are.  A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)


Dad’s don’t hold grudges and are quick to forgive their kids. Growing up for kids today is challenging and if we are honest with ourselves, when we were growing up we had our moments. We made mistakes, we had our bad days where we were downright mischievous, we rebelled against our parents.

Fathers need to be patient when our kids do something wrong. We don’t hold grudges or hold past mistakes over their heads. Now this doesn’t mean we are indifferent or passive, but great fathers will instill wisdom in our children through love, not anger or rudeness and not criticism or harshness.


One of the earliest thing children learn growing up is whether they can trust those who care for them. Fathers need to commit themselves to being consistently trustworthy in the lives of our children. This is the foundation in providing our children with a stable environment. Our children should always be able to rely on Dad to be dependable, truthful and consistent.

Life Teacher

Not withstanding the roles clarified above, as Father’s we are “Life Teachers”. We have a responsibility to educate our children in the things that make daily life bearable for those around us (those who live, play, and work with us) things like:

Using magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you.

Being honest, being on time, being diligent, showing friends their sympathy, as well as showing utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Manners and cleanliness:  being clean, not talking with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage, being organized, taking good care of their belongings, and that it’s not okay to touch others without permission.

Being honest, you do not have a right to something just because you want it. If it is not yours, don’t touch it.

Fatherhood is not to be taken lightly. It is the most challenging, difficult, exhausting, but, by far, the most rewarding role a man can take on.

Fatherhood takes work, it takes training and education, it takes many hours of labor just to get the basics done right. This job, Fatherhood, is a contract position and the term of the contract is in fact: forever.

The job you do, as a Father, will have effects on the health and welfare on your immediate family and all those they encounter on a daily basis. It will have an effect on your children’s children and all those they encounter on a daily basis, and will have an effect on society for generations to come.




Depression in Men April 4, 2017

Posted by JP in Absolute Favorites, Discussion, Uncategorized.
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(none of the following is my work, just me passing on to you the information from experts regarding a widely unrecognized issue)

Depression in men has long been an ‘unrecognized’ problem, It seems likely men suffer from depression just as often as women, but they are less likely to ask for help.

Men tend to think of themselves differently than women and this can be quite unhelpful. Compared with women, they tend to be far more concerned with being competitive, powerful and successful. Most men don’t like to admit they feel fragile or vulnerable, and so are less likely to talk about their feelings with their friends, loved ones or their doctors. This may be the reason depressed men often don’t ask for help. Men tend to feel they should rely only on themselves and it is somehow weak to have to depend on someone else, even for a short time.

Men also tend to be less adept at recognizing symptoms of depression than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. And while men may experience classic symptoms such as depressed mood, loss of interest in work or hobbies, weight and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems, they are more likely than women to experience “stealth” depression symptoms such as irritability, substance abuse, and agitation.

Instead of talking about how they feel, depressed men may try to make themselves feel better by using alcohol or drugs. This will usually make things worse in the long run. Their work will suffer and alcohol often leads to irresponsible, unpleasant or dangerous behavior. Men with depression also tend to give their work a higher priority than their home life, which produces conflicts with their wives or partners. All of these things have been shown to make depression more likely.

For married men, research has shown trouble in a marriage is the single most common problem connected with depression. Depressed men can’t cope with disagreements as well as women. Arguments actually make men feel very physically uncomfortable. So, they try to avoid arguments or difficult discussions. Depression in men often leads to the situation where a man’s partner will want to talk about a problem, but he will not and will do his best to avoid talking about it. The partner feels they are being ignored and tries to talk about it more, which makes the depressed man feel he is being nagged. So, he withdraws even more, which makes his partner feel even more that they are being ignored . . . and so on. This vicious circle in male depression can quite easily destroy a relationship.

Depression affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. More than just a dip in mood in response to life’s setbacks and disappointments, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.

Depression in men can often be overlooked. Many men find it difficult to talk about their feelings so they tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany depression. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated.

Men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It’s important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. Talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind.

There is plenty men can do to overcome depression. The important thing is to recognize the symptoms.

The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:

  1. Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
  2. Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive or controlling.
  3. Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.

If you identify with several of the following, you may be suffering from depression.

  1. You feel hopeless and helpless
  2. You’ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  3. You’re much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  4. You’re consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or using TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate
  5. You feel restless and agitated
  6. Your sleep and appetite has changed
  7. You can’t concentrate or your productivity at work has declined
  8. You can’t control your negative thoughts

If any of this strikes a cord with you I urge you to speak to your doctor, or visit: Anxiety and Depression Association of America 

Friends in Safe Spaces March 17, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Five Truths March 15, 2017

Posted by JP in Uncategorized, Venting.
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More political thoughts… March 12, 2017

Posted by JP in Politics, Stupidity, Uncategorized, Venting.
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As I have been reading news reports regarding the various issues facing our Nation I am continually amazed at the inability of people to see truth through all the rhetoric, obfuscation of facts, and to employ a bit of common sense. It seems to me that too many people are blinded by their ideology and refuse to be objective in viewing the issues, and solutions to the problems that face our country.

I am by no means perfect, or completely unbiased in my thoughts and feelings about many of the issues being discussed in the media, however, I try to be balanced, fair, and objective before forming an opinion. I actively seek out contradictory opinions, and information regarding an issue before I take sides on a particular issue and often times because of this practice, my ideas and opinions fall out of the ‘norm’ of my usual conservative viewpoint.

Looking at some of the issues I see that reasonable, and commonsense solutions are entirely possible, if one steps away from the ideology and inflammatory rhetoric of the vocal extremists.


Entrance into this county illegally must be ended, completely. We have laws that govern immigration and those laws must be enforced, consistently and completely, albeit, with a hand of compassion.

It is said that this nation was built on immigrants, and immigration is a cornerstone of the concept of America. To this I agree, however, we no longer ‘need’ immigrants to build the Nation so it makes perfect sense to ensure that those who do enter our country can be a benefit to our society and intend us no harm. Subsequently, the Administration’s temporary travel ban is a logical, and acceptable, precaution to take while the Government improves our vetting process to better ensure that those immigrating here in the future benefit the country and intend us no ill will.

Current illegals should be subject to current laws governing residency and deportation. Those that are productive, beneficial, members of our society need to be provided with an opportunity to attain legal status and become contributing residents (taxes, etc.). While those who are apparent drains on our society (ie; criminals, those receiving public aid, unemployed, etc.) should be sent back to whence they came.

State and City governments who refuse to cooperate with Federal Immigration rules and law must absolutely have all Federal funding withheld. Sanctuary city policies must be eliminated and those officials refusing to comply with the laws should be removed from their positions and/or prosecuted.

It is important to remember this: When the federal government abolished slavery the US economy did NOT collapse, despite the protestations of the slavery proponents. The same will be true by the elimination of the illegal alien labor force. It will require some economic adjustment, but it will not be a devastating blow to the economy as some have suggested.

Health Care:

The Affordable Care Act, implemented by the Obama administration through force and lack of proper legislative process was doomed to failure at its inception. The idea was good, I believe everyone should have access to adequate health care (preferably at little or not cost to the recipient – and yes it is possible). The problem was the law itself was flawed and unsupportable as written.

The new health care law being touted by the GOP is not much better than ‘Obamacare’. There are some improvements, but overall it is still lacking. What needs to happen is for Congress to launch into a full-scale, bipartisan, assault on the issue, partnering with the health care industry leaders and develop a system in which everyone receives coverage at low/no cost and allowing those who wish to pay for their own coverage to do so.

To do this there are a few things we all need to understand:

Businesses (drug and insurance companies specifically) will NOT be making large profits – the best they could hope for most likely would be to break even on the provided coverage and perhaps more profit on the voluntary/optional plans.

Tort reform MUST be implemented. We cannot reduce health care costs effectively if doctors, clinics, and hospitals are subject to outrageously high settlements, or are continually defending suits from claimants not happy with the care they received.

Federal, State, and City governments (specifically Congress) must have the same coverage as the average citizen. What is good for one must be good for all.

Elective procedures (including abortion) should NOT be covered under the provided policies. Of course they should be made available, but at the consumer’s cost.  If I want to have a vasectomy, or a  nose job, or a butt implant, I should be able to do so as long as I am willing to pay for it.

Individual rights:

Women’s rights, LGBT rights, Minority rights, etc. must NOT preclude anyone else’s rights. This includes religious tolerance. Above all else, this nation was founded upon the ideal of religious freedom. That freedom must remain a hallmark in our pursuits of rights and freedoms. To force a person, or business owner, to comply with a practice that violates the dictates of their religious beliefs is abhorrent. One cannot assert that a Christian baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding is discriminating unless one can show that the operation of their business is discriminatory as well (do they refuse to employ homosexuals? Do they refuse to sell cookies, or cupcakes to people based on their color, nationality, sexual orientation?)

We are all equal, we all breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, and are citizens of the same country. We must all be treated equally, fairly, and without extra consideration, or less consideration.

So many out there today throw around the words ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ and yet fail to realize that their very actions are definitive of what they accuse others. Any organization that promotes the advancement of any group above any other is by definition ‘racist’.

Of course, I do recognize that at times there are practices that do not comply with this Country’s laws and philosophy’s of equality and fairness regardless of race, creed, color, nationality, gender, etc. but those practices needs be reconciled specifically and not made to appear as a national fault.

It comes down to the same idea as immigration; we are a nation of laws, and we must comply with those laws, and enforce those laws.

Taxation, Budget and Economy:

So much of what we do, want to do, or should do, in this country revolves around cost. The issue is that we seem unable to conceive of how to pay for the things we should do (health care and education for instance). While the problem is not simple to solve, it is solvable.

Taxation: A flat tax rate on individual income is the most equitable solution. In our current taxation scheme an individual with a higher income is taxed at a higher rate than those with lower incomes. My question is this: does that individual with a higher tax rate receive a higher level of representation in the government? Does my 25% tax rate entitle my vote at the polls to carry 25% more weight than someone only taxed at 10%?  No, it does not. Consequently our tax system contravenes our nation’s founding philosophy protesting ‘taxation without representation’.

Federal grants to foreign countries: Our government sends billions of dollars to other countries. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of global stabilization and promotion of peace and cooperation, the reality must be faced that much of our internal needs can be paid for if those monies were directed inward instead of outward.

Funding of Public Assistance programs: If we discontinue providing Public Assistance to those who are in our country illegally we could saves millions of dollars in Public Aid. It makes no sense to me that our government would give someone money who is not a citizen, or legal resident. Why pay someone to violate our laws?

Tax subsidies to businesses that are profitable already.  Why should be give money to a business that makes a profit? Can they not utilize their profits to pay for whatever the subsidies are paying for?

Tax subsidies to US business moving operations out of country: While this practice is being addressed by the current Administration I must mention it here; if you move your operations out of country you should lose all government assistance, and have your products taxed upon entry into this country.

The bottom line for me comes down to this: My family budgets our money in order to pay for the things we need to live. If I do not have the money for something I want, I do without. If there is something the family needs we revise our budget in order to divert the necessary funds to that need. We do not live outside of our means and we prioritize needs and wants in order to live within our means. The government should do no less.

Give Peace a Chance March 8, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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No minds - If you are going to be close-minded would you mind being close-mouthed as well?

Take out the trash February 12, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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This morning I heard an interesting analogy regarding forgiveness:

When someone sins against you (does you harm in some way – emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) it is like they have brought a bag of garbage to your house and dropped it on your living-room floor.

Forgiveness is simply the act of you picking up that bag of garbage and taking it out; disposing of it so it is no longer in your house. However, many of us do not take out that garbage. We may move it around – take it into a back room for example and shut the door (out of sight, out of mind…. really?), we may just push it over to the side of the couch, or leave it sitting in the middle of the floor.

The problem is that the garbage is still there. It begins to smell; even if it is in the back room with the door closed, the smell will eventually come out and permeate our entire house. The smell will overshadow everything good in our house and lessen the good with its rotting stench (ever try to cook and eat a delicious meal in a dumpster?).

Our house is our life. It is the entirety of who we are, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The smell of rotting garbage that we have not disposed of properly will eventually permeate our lives ruining everything that we have, or do, or try to do, and will poison and sicken us.

Forgiveness thought of in this way makes a whole lot more sense to us as we reflect on the biblical admonitions to forgive:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Forgiveness is not about the blessing of another, it is about the blessing of oneself; of following the example of our Lord in His faithfulness to forgive us of ALL of our wrongs, and it is a practical way to keep ourselves healthy in body and spirit.

Anti-Trump protests are hipocracy at its worst February 8, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Where was all the talk of Presidential ‘legitimacy’ when Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with a 5.56% LOSS in the Popular vote? Where were the riots, the ‘not my President’ protests? Where was all the nonsense when Clinton won with a much wider deficit than Mr. Trump?

2016 Election:

Trump 45.98% Popular vote, 56.5% Electoral College

1992 Election:

Clinton 43.01% Popular vote, 68.77% Electoral College

Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election. That’s a direct threat to our democracy.

That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election…

And let’s be clear about what he’s saying and what he means. He’s denigrating—he’s talking down our democracy. I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our major two parties would take that kind of position.

Hillary Clinton on accepting the 2016 election results

On immigration:  President Trump institutes a temporary halt on immigration almost identical to the halt instituted by the Obama administration in 2015, yet there is and uproar from the left (and even from Obama himself).

Mr. Obama used his rights as president to put a halt to some immigrants from arriving here six times. President George W. Bush used the executive powers six times as well, Bill Clinton did so twice, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter instituted bans using their executive powers a combined seven times.

Where were all the protests for those 19 bans? Where were all the cries of racism?



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