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A Geek's Eye

14th July, 2016. 5:56 am. Brain-Dead

All-night nightmares ... all-night sad dreams ... all-night holes in my C-PAP tubing.

I'm not ready for the world, let alone work, today.

Current mood: exhausted.

Make Notes

12th July, 2016. 10:38 am. LA Fitness Can Blow Me

Dear LA Fitness and other gyms: I appreciate that you need to make money but stop sending me invitations to join classes or hire trainers. Again and again, I've asked, "Is your trainer/class able to tailor their lessons to someone with asthma and/or physical disabilities?" only to get silence. Well, by "silence" I mean no answer to my question ... just more harassing spam telling me to take their classes.

Yours,
Dave

Current mood: annoyed.

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8th July, 2016. 9:49 pm. Is This Thing On?

I'm getting so tired of being ignored and interrupted. It's been happening so much of late. I can't take it for much longer. I put on a happy face but it doesn't matter because, happy-or-not, I'm ignored. Family. Friends. Co-workers. Members of the fannish community. It's been happening more and more often. Tonight, it happened four times in the space of a couple hours. And, yes, I get it that my nieces and nephews take a lot of attention. They squeal and shriek and get into trouble. But even when it's not them who are interrupting, I'm still being ignored.

I can't have an adult conversation or even a fannish conversation, it seems. Have I become this damn placid? Am I that much of a doormat? When people talk, I listen. I don't think about what I'm going to say next. I try to hold a conversation.

But, increasingly, it seems like that's something only I do.

I was interrupted by adults, tonight, three times when in the middle of a story. I was near the end each time. And after the interruption, other people just went on to other things. They didn't even care to come back to me. That's how you know how important you really are: when people will use any excuse imaginable to get out of talking to you. That's how it felt, tonight, at the family birthday party I attended.

I say "attended" but, honestly, I could have sent a cardboard cut-out in my place and no one would have noticed.

Sure, the kids interrupted once. Once. I get that: they're kids. But the other times there was no such excuse. I listened to what everyone else had to say; I participated in their conversations. So what the fuck is with this double-standard?

And it's not just family. It's like everywhere in the world, people are losing their politeness and ability to converse. I feel ignored more and more.

I honestly am too tired, right now, to figure out what to do next.

Good night.

-Dave

Current mood: pissed off.

Make Notes

30th June, 2016. 10:02 am. CONvergence 2016, day zero

Day Zero at CONvergence was both stressful and nice. It was stressful because I felt very, very strange: I wasn't in charge of anything. Normally, I spend all day rushing about and putting out fires. I collapse into bed with a horribly aching back, hips, thighs, and legs. I don't feel good.

All of my old friends were working, hard, at setting up the hotel for the convention-to-come. It felt isolating, a bit. Several hadn't even realized I'd not been involved all year in planning and putting together this year's CONvergence. They just simply had assumed I was still there.

But after a dinner at TGI Fridays with Louis, Ian, and Mike V., I went to see Mike's new home (only about 5 minutes from the convention hotel), and then came back to rest and read. I went to sleep feeling really good.

When I awoke, I luxuriated in bed: feeling the soft of sheets against bare skin. I took a long, hot shower without worrying about cost or hot water. I got breakfast and was even given a coupon for a free trip to the buffet by a guy who was checking out of the hotel. I read more chapters of "Ready Player One". I got back to my room and edited the first few pages of my newest short story.

I feel ... good.

I feel better than I normally feel as I recharge my batteries on holiday.

This is how it should be.

For those of my friends still on con-comm, there is a perspective you don't get unless you simply attend CONvergence. I'm seeing things differently, already. It's a useful thing. And the energy you get by taking a year-or-two off from con-comm is amazing! In fact, I'm going to propose a new mantra for those of us who run conventions: "10 years on, 2 years off".

Trust me: based on how I'm feeling right now, we need it.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: peaceful.

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27th June, 2016. 12:30 pm. Deer, redux

So, I just got back from lunch and what do you know? The baby deer came back! One of the two fauns I saw, last week, while sitting out in the gazebo returned!

First, I was just packing up to go back inside and I heard something behind me. I turned from where I was sitting and there, not more than five or six feet (having just stepped from the grasses leading down to the pond's shore) was this little, speckled deer. He seemed, at first, a bit surprised and, after a moment (before I could get my camera out), he bounded away.

A few moments later, I saw the faun again as -further down the trail- he bounded across it to dive into the rushes and bushes and grasses on the other side.

It was so beautiful!

I left a small handful of granola on the trail where I'd first seen him bound away on the off-chance that was a path he liked to use.

Current mood: happy.

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23rd June, 2016. 12:36 pm. Deer on my Lunch Break

On my lunch breaks, I often take a walk around the small pond out behind the Minnetonka office. I’ll sit in the gazebo, there, and watch the nesting pair of barn swallows as they care for their chicks up in the rafters.

Today, though, these two baby whitetail deer came by. I didn’t see their mother, but no doubt she was in the vicinity. They were very small! I got to watch them only for a few minutes before they walked on into the higher grasses. I thought I’d share the photos with you.

Enjoy!

Baby Whitetail Deer by my office in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Baby Whitetail Deer by my office in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: pleased.

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23rd June, 2016. 7:20 am. Observations on Sleep, Waking Up, and Restful Calm

An observation: last night, I slept well. My sleep was deep, comforting, and rejuvenating. I woke up, once, to use the bathroom. Towards morning, prior to my alarm going off, I semi-woke-up. By "semi-woke-up" I mean that I became conscious enough to be cognizant of my surroundings, check the clock above my head, but still able to roll over and return to sleep. This process happened at least twice in hour before my wake-up time.

When my alarm went off, I was able to turn it off without falling back asleep. However, I was able to luxuriate in the sheets for about fifteen minutes. By "luxuriate" I mean "gradually working my mind and body to a satisfied and ready-to-get-out-of-bed state" while simultaneously "enjoying the soft feel of sheets against my skin". I enjoyed the wakeful tiredness and didn't rush the process of getting up.

My observation is that, as a result of all this, I'm calm and centered. I feel rested. Problems I had been seeing over the past few days are not haunting me. I have a tiredness in me but I think that's my mind mistaking "calm" for "tired". I have a calmness in me. That calmness came from my sleep and gradual wakefulness.

Doctors tell us of the importance of a "good night's rest". What this means, in a practical sense, varies from person to person. But there can be no doubt in my mind that many problems are solved by a truly "good night's rest".

This means:
  • Few interruptions in nightly sleep
  • Early to bed (such that you have time to not only sleep long enough but aren't rushed when waking up)
  • Taking your time getting out of bed
  • Not feeling like you are being rushed when coming out of sleep and preparing for your day
When it comes to planning my sleep each night, I think it might be best if I get all of normal "morning" tasks out of the way the night before (as much as possible). This means: prepping for a quick breakfast, taking a shower/shaving, and gathering what I'll need for a quick exit from the house for whatever tasks I need to perform the next day.

That small degree of planning and pre-work, I think, may make more sleep cycles as restful as this most recent one.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: rested.

Make Notes

22nd June, 2016. 8:08 am. An Answer To Criticism Re: Guns and Gun Accessibility

An old friend of mine recently criticized my change in views towards gun ownership and the Second Amendment in the wake of the Orlando Atrocity.

What I originally wrote was this:
Given the events of this past Sunday, the atrocity committed at Pulse night club in Orlando, I've been needing time to think. Mostly this is because everyone has an opinion and I'm stuck with knee-jerk reactions and a dull recognition that I don't want anymore on my plate right now. But the events eat at me. I feel, every time I see that murderer's face on the news, as if I'm in someone's cross-hairs. I twitch and bristle at the various arguments brought to my attention. I even find other people's lack of engagement with what makes me feel so targeted and unsafe to be anger-inducing. That's because, in my mind, everyone should feel the same rage and frustration ... everyone should feel as violated as I, and others in the GLBT community, feel.

But, of course, that's insane. And, even given a magic wand that could make people believe and feel what I want them to, I'd not use it. I wouldn't wish this feeling upon anyone.

It's especially frustrating because it feels like I'm making it all about me when I don't live in the area, I don't know anyone who died or was injured, and I'm comfortably living in a city where such attacks seem unthinkable.

But that's only "seem". I know it could happen anywhere.

And that's why I took yesterday off work. I needed time to process things and honestly think about my fundamental beliefs. I needed to address my philosophies with regards to membership in the GLBT community, my identity as a "mostly gay" bisexual, my thoughts on guns, my thoughts about freedom, my thoughts about law enforcement and government oversight, and my beliefs about what a "better world" actually looks like. For years I've built worlds as part of my hobbies of writing and gaming. I've even had fantasies about how I would shape the real world, if I could. But the recent mass-murder has cast question on my fantasies and I needed to re-evaluate what those are. At the very least, I needed to sort through them and come to some conclusion about what to do, next.
The United States Constitution, by way of the Second Amendment, gives us the right to bear arms. A strict, literalist interpretation of that Amendment says that this is only in the confines of a "well-regulated militia". However, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment applies to individual citizens with regards to gun-ownership, too. But in addition to that, one of the most strict legal minds --the recently deceased Antonin Scalia-- has also said that there is an expectation, behind the Second Amendment, that the guns we have a right to own and use are not the sort of military-grade armaments that fire round after round. In short, with agreement by almost all the other Supreme Court justices, the type of guns Americans are guaranteed by the Second Amendment still should "[prohibit] the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons'." This, further, has been defined as "military-grade" armaments.

I have, in my life, favored few limitations on the ownership of guns. However, my association with people who have military experience has taught me that this is too easy and too broad of an ideal. This recent shooting is also making me re-think many of those positions. To quote President Obama, "there are common sense measures" that can be applied to gun ownership. "People with possible ties to terrorism who are not allowed on a plane shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun." And there are other measures, too, with regards to the mentally ill and people who are under investigation for possible ties to terrorism or suspected of planning assaults. There are other ideas, too, such as requiring safety training or licensing --even at gun shows and non-traditional purchase locations-- that I feel should be acceptable.

But this all points back to reconsidering what I think should be "Constitutional" in my view of a "perfect America". Just because something is in the Constitution doesn't mean it should necessarily stay there or remain inviolate in its interpretation. So, what I'm trying to do is assess this. I'm trying to figure out where I stand with regards to this powerful, messy document and its many Amendments.

I will outright refuse any "slippery slope" argument or ad-hominem/straw-man attacks on the ideas I consider. I will address only arguments that have actual research behind them and whose proponents demonstrate a logical and calm detachment when dealing with challenges to those arguments.

So, that's what I did.

I relaxed all yesterday morning. I did some writing. I got lunch and did some more thinking. I did some research ... a lot of research.




I have come to the conclusion that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution needs to be repealed and replaced with something clearer and more in keeping with the realities of 21st century life. I still believe that individuals need the right to keep weapons but I disagree with the type and conditions under which they are allowed to do so.

The fear, at the time the 2nd Amendment was passed, was that the early Federal government was growing in power and about to make itself something akin to a monarchy. To defend against that, the 2nd Amendment was created to make sure the people needed for conscription into militias to defend against that possibility would have the weapons needed to do so. At the time, there was no standing army. This made sense.

Times have changed. I do not believe a person has a right to own any weapon, regardless of power. I believe that between the low and high ends of weapon power and flexibility there exists a cut-off point that we should make hard-and-fast. I believe that semi-automatic and automatic guns are just above the cut-off point. I believe they should be allowed only in the hands of military personnel.

All other guns should be registered at a federal level. Prior to purchase, a purchaser must pass a background check to make sure no violent crimes have been committed for which that person has not fulfilled their legal obligation and/or incarceration.

People on terrorist watch lists or being investigated for potential crime, for the duration of the investigation (within reasonable limits) should not be allowed to purchase new guns.

Everyone who purchases a gun or wants a gun license should have to pass minimum safety storage and usage laws. These classes should be fully-funded by our tax dollars and staffed by professionals such that no law-abiding citizen has to endure an unreasonable wait to get into these classes. Failing such a class only requires the person take it again, until they pass.

This is what I believe, now.

My beliefs may still change. But, for now, this is the determination I have come to about guns in America.
His response, over several Facebook comments was this:
Dave, I'm sorry but there is very little in this post with which I can agree. You're a great guy but you know nothing about guns and little about some of the processes you propose.

Let's begin with the idea of a well regulated militia. At the time of the framing, "well regulated" meant "well supplied" . "Militia" meant "all men of fighting age". The founders, including George Washington all were very explicit in other areas that the common people should have parity of arms with the government. The fear was that the government would turn against the people and if that happened the people needed to be armed. Time and again, even in these modern days we see the government turn against the people. We see endless examples of police abuse and governmental disregard for our fundamental rights. I’m not calling for a second civil war but I do believe that the common citizen is right to maintain a measure of distrust of the government. There have simply been too many abuses for it to be otherwise.

Before I get into the legal aspects of what you suggest let’s look at guns. You have stated that you think automatic and semiautomatic weapons are a bit over the line. In the first place automatic weapons have been illegal for common purchase since the 1930s. The history of it is that there was a time when you could walk into your local hardware store or pick up a Sears Catalog and for about half the cost of a new car buy a fully automatic Thompson submachinegun. The bank robbers of the day used this to gain a MASSIVE arms advantage over law enforcement and so a law was passed banning weapons of that type from common purchase. You can still buy and own fully automatic weapons but you have to pass a whole raft of checks and investigations and the license per weapon runs around $200 and GOD HELP YOU if you misuse it, transfer it illegally or fail to report that it has fallen into the wrong hands before something unfortunate happens.

Semiautomatic weapons are, well frankly, MOST guns. The definition of a semiautomatic weapon is “One pull of the trigger fires one round” . Most pistols and sporting rifles are semiautomatic. What you’re effectively saying is that the overwhelming majority of guns out there should not be legal. I can’t get behind that as these weapons are used DAILY by decent people just like you and I for personal defense, hobby shooting and hunting.

You say that gun ownership should be licensed while also saying it should be a right. You can’t have it both ways. When you license a thing you make it a privilege. Effective self defense is and has been since the dawn of time an innate human right. This means access to the most effective technology for the task is an innate human right. Not one other right in the Bill of Rights is subject to the idea of a license nor should any of them. You shouldn’t have to pass a test or pay a fee to exercise your First or Fourth amendment rights any more than you should your Second.

You state that no one convicted of a violent crime should be allowed to own a gun. It is already illegal for felons of ANY description to own guns. So a guy who got busted for carrying felony-level weed without bothering anyone is just as barred from owning a gun as a guy who carjacked a mother with her kids in the car. Your suggestion would deny ANYONE who was convicted of a violent crime their right to bear arms including people guilty of a misdemeanor. I personally have been convicted of a “violent crime” . I once forgot I had a knife on me going through airport security and received a class A misdemeanor weapons conviction which appeared on background checks for the next several years. So no, I can’t get behind that. The laws in place are already sufficient in that respect.

You state that anyone on the terror watch list or under investigation for a crime should be denied the right to buy more guns “for a reasonable amount of time” . In the first place who decides what is reasonable? To me a reasonable amount of time is not at all. To someone else it might be six months or a year or longer.

In the second place there is no due process for being on the terror watch list. All you have to do is say or do something the government doesn’t much like. Your internet search history can be used as grounds. You can have the same name as an actual terrorist. Any number of things that have nothing at all to do with committing actual crimes can get you put on there. So no. What you suggest is precisely the sort of thing the founders DID NOT WANT happening to this country. Denial of fundamental freedoms simply on suspicion of wrongdoing or getting on the wrong side of the government. It is why the 2A exists.

I agree that gun safety should be taught. But not as a requirement for gun ownership. It should be taught in the schools along with drivers ed and sex ed. And as a gun owner who has actually pulled his gun in defense of home and family I believe gun owners should be held accountable for any harm done with an improperly secured firearm. It makes me SICK when I hear about some innocent child finding Daddy’s unlocked pistol and killing themselves or someone else.

Finally what you fail to address in your reasonably worded if generally wrong-headed post is the inverse relation between citizen disarmament and citizen safety. It is a statistical FACT that most mass shootings occur in gun free zones . The Orlando atrocity happened in part because the Florida legislature passed a law stating you can’t carry a gun in places that serve alcohol. This may sound reasonable until you realize that states like ours which permit guns in bars take a VERY harsh approach to people using alcohol while armed. The Minnesota definition of legally intoxicated while carrying a gun is HALF what it is for driving a car. Penalties run to revocation of carry permit, confiscation of weapon, huge fines and lengthy jail times.

Time and again we see these degenerate savages -and yes, here I WILL slip into ad hominmen and personal attacks because while you deserve my respect anyone who decides to massacre a bunch of people for no good reason does not.- targeting places where people cannot fight back effectively. San Bernadino, Orlando, on and on and on. Meanwhile places where the would-be murderer can reasonably expect their potential victims to be armed are oddly free of such incidents. And when they pick a place where someone turns out to be armed it seldom if ever goes their way. I wasn’t up ten minutes before an example popped up in my feed. The MATH Dave, is that gun free zones and citizen disarmament get people killed. You are just one of a long list of people I care deeply for who are LGBQT. The idea that Orlando could happen here terrifies and sickens me and I’m grateful we live in a state where people can take an active hand in their own defense.

You’re right that changes need to occur. You’re wrong, my longtime friend, about the nature of the changes. We keep passing stricter and stricter citizen disarmament laws. And more and more people keep dying in the places most heavily covered by them. We need to acknowledge that citizen disarmament is a failed policy. That it is getting good people killed . We need to start addressing criminal misuse of a firearm. We need to do everything in our power to assist our fellow citizens in the safe and effective exercise of their innate human right to defend themselves against the criminal who make up a tiny but his visibility percentage of our population. I’ve said it elsewhere. I’ll say it here. We don’t have a gun problem in this country. We have a character problem. Best regards, hope to see you at Con.
Following is my final response:
Good day.

You say that I know little about guns and I can accept that; especially when compared to your own encyclopedic knowledge. But while I may know little about guns, I know history very well. I know quite a lot about politics, society, culture, and the evolution of law and societal perspectives. Given that my initial post on guns was already long, I did not go into great depth about my proposed ideas. Hence, many of "the processes" you critiqued were kept purposefully vague.

I recognize that each proposal does not have a single outcome: even hypothetically. I do not think that everything I have proposed would have the intended result. Nor do I believe in a foregone conclusion (or even foregone likelihood) of the outcomes you describe. My positions change. My proposals are a result of that change. As I go forward in life, I will figure out how to implement them. I will propose specifics in keeping with my positions in support of my proposals. All I can say, if you do not trust how things will come out, is to trust me that I'm going to do my best for the lives of myself, my friends, my family, and other people whom I do not even know.

I have read every word you wrote to me; I digested them and thought about them. I owe every thinking human being the same courtesy but you, being a friend, I owe it even more.

To start, there was some nuance missing from your argument about the historical basis for the phrase "well regulated militia". At the time the Second Amendment was being championed, it was by members of the Democratic-Republicans who opposed the Federalists. The crux of the acrimony was over the Federal government having gone through unprecedented growth and expansion of powers at the time. This included the foundation of U.S. Department of the Treasury. Federal expansions of power were concerning to those who wanted stronger, independent states. They feared the federal government might attempt to become a new form of monarchy. In order to oppose that, since the United States had no standing military, the Democratic-Republicans knew that opposition to such tyranny would have to come from the conscripted militias. Therefore, in order to stand against a hypothetical coup and expansion of federal authority, they wanted the people to be armed so that militias could be formed to oppose such a take-over.

This was pointed out by Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court Justice. He used this historical truth to justify the decision that the Second Amendment should be applied to average citizens. Since "militia" referred to everyone who could be conscripted, the majority decision that Scalia wrote interpreted the Second Amendment as applying to every American citizen.

However, as others have pointed out (both at the time of the Heller Decision and since then) that the Second Amendment was predicated upon the United States not having a large, well-trained, standing military. The early U.S. government officials also did not have any other government they could point to for examples of how this would go. They were justified in their enshrining gun ownership in the Constitution at the time. And while I agree that it is fair and understandable to distrust the government, I don't believe that this justifies the ownership of weaponry. Since the late 18th and early 19th centuries, we have put in place many, many other measures and mechanisms to stop rampant over-reach of powers that do not require weaponry or physical combat.

Therefore, I believe people have a right to own weapons, but not without caveats.

As for "governmental disregard for our fundamental rights", in every case so far, it has not been resolved by an uprising dependent upon force of arms or threat of force of arms. There have been plenty of armed conflicts and riots (especially with regards to race during the 1960s) but the resolution was always political. So far, the violence has largely been on the side of those trying to prevent change and oppose human rights and dignity.

Furthermore, even if violence had proven to be the ultimate end and solution, I do not favor a system of reform that is based on violence or threats of violence. I may not always show it, but I am a disciple of non-violence. I leave fighting for games, movies, and fantasies which amuse and entertain but only because they are not real. I maintain a healthy distinction between reality and fiction when it comes to entertaining violent resolution to problems. Real violence is necessary. But its necessity comes when all else has failed and exists not to end a problem but to stand watchdog over the expansion of tyranny and evil. Again, though, I am no longer convinced that the Second Amendment does this or could even guarantee a chance of success in the modern world.

Later, you said I used incorrect terminology in describing what I proposed. I may not know all the terms. I admit that. If I misused "automatic" and "semi-automatic", I apologize. The intent behind my proposal was this:the banning of firearms that fire in sprays of projectiles in fast, vast quantity or firearms that produce significantly powerful ballistic force that could cause enormous, disproportionate amounts of damage (say, in excess of a hunting rifle). I do not feel there is significant justification for the use of these weapons in "personal defense".

As for people who use these daily for hobby shooting and hunting, I think that being able to rent such guns from sanctioned and carefully controlled shooting ranges or hunting grounds, would be sufficient. On their own, in the wilds, I think there is little justification for personal ownership when compared to the massive amounts of damage these weapons can do.

You criticized my statement that gun ownership should be licensed while also saying it should be a right. I disagree when you say that "you can't have it both ways". I propose giving a person the right to have weapons only pending licensing. That is the very definition of meeting a right to ownership and requiring licensing. Furthermore, to lower the bar of entry to zero, I believe that every citizen should have no out-of-pocket cost to acquire such licensing and training. I also believe that licensing and training facilities should be completely funded by the federal government across the nation such that anyone, anywhere, would have access.

I agree with your assertion that self-defense is a human right. I do not agree that this means access to "the most effective technology". I believe that the fundamental human right allows a person to defend themselves with what they have access to. It does not require that a person be given access to the highest level of technology or military-grade weaponry. And while this may, under some circumstances, impede the efficacy of self-defense, it also impedes mass slaughter through misuse of advanced technology.

You also stated that because no other right in the Bill of Rights is like my proposed "must be licensed and registered to fully partake in it" that my proposal is on shaky ground or is invalid. I disagree. The fact that my proposed revision of the Second Amendment would require licensing is not an argument against it. Rather, it points out the unique position of guns and the side-effect of causing disproportionate damage and loss of life-and-limb in everyday society.

You say that I said a person "convicted of a violent crime should be allowed to own a gun". You have misunderstood me. My exact quote was "a purchaser must pass a background check to make sure no violent crimes have been committed for which that person has not fulfilled their legal obligation and/or incarceration". If a convict has fulfilled their legal obligations (including being incarcerated), they should be able to buy guns.

You also criticize my use of the term "reasonable" when applied to the length of time a criminal is prevented from owning a gun. Like all laws that use the term "reasonable", that's left up to the state. That term is used in most of our legislation to allow enforcers of the law some leeway while simultaneously allowing society and its lawyers to over-turn such a decision by successfully arguing it in a court (such as in the case of "reasonable search and seizure"). You start with that definition and the courts craft precedence.

As for there being no due process for being on the terror watch list, I believe that there should be. Shadow courts should be abolished and all decisions taken by the state should be subject to civilian oversight. I am not a fan of secrets. When I propose that people on the terrorist watch list should not be allowed to purchase guns it goes along with that proposal that there should be due process. In fact, in all my proposals, I believe in due process and oversight.

I agree with you that gun owners should be held responsible for an improperly secured firearm. I do not agree with you that gun training should be taught in the schools. I wouldn't oppose such a thing, mind you, but with my previous statement about making safety and use training universally available should a person request/desire it, I would rather go that route instead of making it a part of a K-12 curriculum.

Finally, your assertion that there are more mass shootings in gun-free zones when compared to areas without restriction is not something that I could corroborate when looking for articles from any non-political research group. The argument is also correlation and not causation. When looking at articles elsewhere, you find a wide range of conflicting testimony that plays out along ideological lines. The only articles I've found from non-political sources (such as USA Today) have indicated your assertion is not true and that the studies claiming it is, are spurious and put forth by the NRA and those who have a vested interest in expanding gun ownership and use. It is unsubstantiated opinion.

I believe that each of us has a right, in our personal homes and businesses, to determine if and what weapons are brought in. In my home, for example, guns are not allowed. With regards to other weapons, I reserve judgment.

I used to believe much as you do. I have changed my beliefs, over time, as I have researched the politics and needs of society. I have not reached my opinions arbitrarily. Neither have you.

Many of my proposed beliefs may be difficult or even impossible to encode in the law. This will not stop me from trying to move in that direction. Many ideals serve as goal-posts towards which people move. They may be impossible to enact in a literal sense. But they provide guidance and an ideal towards which we reach when trying to build a better world. That's how I see my beliefs: not as a straight-jacket but as a sign pointing the way forward.

I will, of course, continue to evolve and change. My views will always evolve and change, including on this issue. For now, this is where I stand. As more evidence comes to light, I will evaluate it in context of who paid for the research, who collated the evidence, what bias might exist in its presentation, and what the best good for the most people should be.

For me, guns and gun ownership are not my highest priority. I do not begrudge you that, in your life, they are very high priorities. The relative priority of where we stand with regards to the issues does not make our views more or less accurate. I like you and enjoy your company. I disagree, these days, with positions I used to embrace. Exposure to some very detailed writing, reaching outside my own political bubble of ideological belief, and the evolution of events in our country have each impacted me in some way. I am this man, now, and have stated my beliefs and proposals so others would have a chance to understand my changes.

For now, this is where I stand.


Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: contemplative.

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21st June, 2016. 6:10 am. Not Afraid To Be Gay - Orlando Shooting



Current mood: honest.

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20th June, 2016. 7:46 pm. Dosage Stuff - Staying The Same

I like my psychiatrist but I have to say, I'm not sure how to read him. He did say that the recent events in Orlando are influencing many people and even on my full dose of Cymbalta I could feel justifiable depression. He said if I experience other such bouts to tell him and we can consider raising my dosage from 60mg/day to 90mg/day.

I'm not sure I want that. I don't want larger and larger dependencies. For now, I'm just going to keep going for therapy and shoring up my brain with the meds. Hopefully, I'll find grounding in my life before much longer.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: tired.

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