Is this what it looks like?

Is this what the birth of a regime and the end of a democracy look like?  I don’t intend to be melodramatic with that question.  I ask it honestly.

This week our government began deleting web pages.  These weren’t just “position” pages.  They included actual science and study.  Now they’re gone.  This week our government issued a gag order.  Only the trusted inner circle could use social media.

I was on the Badlands National Park  twitter feed when the posts were deleted.  These weren’t political posts.  They were statements of scientific fact such as, “The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm).  As of December, 2016, 404.93 ppm.”  I watched the posts disappear because they didn’t fit the mandated narrative.  Think about that.  We now have a government mandated narrative.

This week we were introduced to “alternative facts.”  These are even more scary than censorship.  We can delete information such as pre-industrial CO2 concentration and hope people forget.  Alternative facts tell us to disbelieve what we saw.  I watched the inauguration and thought, “Huh.  A lot of empty spaces and seats.”  Now I’m told it was a record breaking attendance.  My own sensory input is wrong.

Data is eliminated, and we are told how to think.  Is that open government or the beginning of something different?  Our new leader continues to seek validation and announces an investigation into a voter fraud narrative that has already been thoroughly debunked.  Why?

My social media feed is filled with scared and angry people.  Is that statistically representative?  I doubt it.  How is it different from, “People tell me…”?  How many times have we heard Trump say, “People tell me it’s great.”  What people?  Where?  When?  We don’t get those answers so my social media feed is just as valid.  I can at least identify the people.  Our citizenry is worried.  What does our president do to alleviate those concerns?  Nothing.

Today, our president put his signature on denying Muslims into our country and announced he was proceeding with his wall.  The wall is a symbol.  It won’t accomplish anything, and his vehement spending cuts supporters don’t care that it will cost hundreds of billions.  Know who else has a wall?  China.  Is that whom we’re emulating?  Psst…authoritarian rule throughout their history.

It all seems like Orwell was a visionary.  Is it?  I hope not.  We’re in week one, and our scientists, our conservationists are already hiding and posting from anonymous (I hope for them) accounts.

What will week two look like?

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Quantifying loss

I see a lot of social media posts about the grim reaper that 2016 has been.  It certainly seems like it has taken a higher than usual toll on our cherished celebrities.  Two days ago, we had to put my dog, Bailey, down.  It has been a sad time in our house.  To occupy my head, I started thinking about quantifying loss.  Is it possible to objectively say this year has been worse than others?

First, let me be clear that the loss of a loved one is devastating to those close to that person…or pet.  I am not suggesting one death is a greater loss than another to the friends and family of the deceased.  I am exploring how that loss affects us, the general public.

The first criteria I established was level of fame.  Here is a list of celebrities who died in 2016.   I don’t even know who some of these people are.  I researched methods of measuring fame, but they are inexact at best.  A rudimentary approach is a simple google search of the person and how many responses come back.  This is skewed by the actual death, and it can’t be measured retroactively.  I can’t google Natalie Cole in 2015.  What I can determine is how famous someone is to me, and I can make assumptions about general public awareness.  I doubt many people don’t know who Muhammad Ali is.

Next I added current relevance.  While probably every American knows who Nancy Reagan is, making her fame level very high, how many of us have really thought about her in the last twenty years?

There is a marked difference in response to the death of Fidel Castro and say, Gene Wilder.  To account for this, I added “belovedness.”  For Harry Potter fans, Alan Rickman, who portrayed the ultimately heroic and devoted Snape, was truly cherished.

The unexpected celebrity deaths seem to punch us in the collective gut even more.  To at least partially account for this, I indexed age against U.S. life expectancy for men and women.  I recognize that not all celebrity deaths are American, but I am exploring American reaction to them.  Our life expectancy for a male is 76 years so we respond to the death of a British actor in relation to our frame of reference.  So, David Bowie’s death at 69 is 91% of life expectancy.

I ended up with this formula:  Response = (Fame + Relevance + Belovedness) +/- Age Index.

So, Abe Vigoda passing away at 94 looks like this:  F5 +R2 + B8 – AI 23% = Response of 12.  By comparison, George Michael dying at 53, with fame of 8, relevance of 4, belovedness of 8 and an age index of +30% has a response score of 26.

For me, who came of age in the eighties, David Bowie has a score of 29.7.  Prince has a 32.5.  And, with a resurgent relevance score due to her return as Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher has a punch me right in the feels score of 34.

By comparison, 2015 did not have a single celebrity death with a response score above 28.  We lost Leonard Nimoy and B.B. King last year, but they were much older.  Maureen O’Hara was certainly beloved, but she was 95 and long out of our collective consciousness.

Robin Williams, in 2014, received a 33 but was far and away the highest score.

I calculated the notable celebrity deaths of other years, and I can say with the exact precision of inexact science and questionable math, to quote my better half, “2016 sucked dick.”  I would speculate that the values I applied in each formulation at least approximate a median response.

So, you can calculate for yourself or quote me as an expert.  2016 was, in fact, an epic shithole of a year as far as losses of icons go.

Incidentally, my dog passing away at only 8 years old, gets a response score of 36.  So, 2016, fuck you and good riddance.

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Preparing for the end…

I went on a backpacking trip this summer with my dog, Bailey.


This is the goofy boy.  I’ve taken him on many hikes through our local woods but this was our first multi-day outing.  I covered 36 miles.  He covered about triple that, dashing up the trail, returning to see if I was still on the way, and venturing off trail to smell interesting things.  I kept him on leash for the first….50 yards.  After that, I let him loose, and he did his job.  He returned whenever hikers were approaching.  He sat by my side while they passed.  I’ve hiked the AT almost twice.  He is a much better blaze finder than I.



He has been my companion, and he has been my friend through many of the most difficult times of my life.  He sat next to me whimpering when I learned my son had died.

He doesn’t know why he gets to sleep in my office now or why he’s getting so many treats, but he sure likes them.  I’ve lost many people in my life.  This hurts at least as much.

When he was a puppy, we would take him for walks along the beach.  He would whine and curl up in a ball until we carried him.  As he grew, Lori was worried he might be aggressive with the cats.  We foster terrified cats, and Bailey is our liaison.  He lies down and lets them hiss and spit and eventually curl up next to him.

He loves playing ball.  I’ve never found the end to his willingness to chase and retrieve a tennis ball.  He loves tearing apart the cardboard center of the paper towel roll.  He loves standing over the cats while they eat breakfast and cleaning their bowls when they’re done.  He loves dashing into the woods, following his nose, rushing from one interesting smell to the next.   He loves swimming…in anything.

I learned this week that Bailey has lymphoma.  We have maybe weeks.  He doesn’t know.  He’s just digging the extra treats.  I love my dog.


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Gut punched…

I woke up this morning gut punched….just deflated, demoralized…and sad.  There are many rifts and problems in our country, but I did not believe we were capable of what we did yesterday.  Donald Trump is our president elect.  I have been trying to wrap my head around that concept all morning.  Donald Trump is our president elect…

We elected a draft dodger who called a prisoner of war a loser.  We elected a man who mocked a reporter with a degenerative disease.  We elected a man who called one of our largest ethnic groups “rapists and drug dealers,” and wants to round them up for mass deportation.  We elected a man who wants to target and monitor Muslims because of their faith.  We elected a man who brags about sexual assault and thinks it is acceptable to demean women, and he has a court date in December with one of his victims.  We elected a man who wants to punish women who get abortions…and who used to be pro-choice.

We elected a misogynistic, racist, islamophobic, homophobic, sexist, bullying, fucking game show host as the leader of our nation!

I did not think we were capable of this.  I did not think we, and by “we” I mean the older, uneducated, white males who gave him the victory, could be so cowardly, insecure, and selfish.  Yes, I get that our society is shifting.  The privileged perch that heterosexual, Christian, Caucasian males have held for so long is eroding, and that is scary for those clinging to it.  Our society is becoming browner, and your neighbors may not believe in Christ.  They may be two males, and they, gasp!, are married.  You’re competing for jobs in a global economy against people from vastly different cultures.  Your boss may be a woman.  Your very “us-ness” is threatened so you lash out at the collective “them.”

Rather than at least adapting and competing, because embracing our growing cultural richness is beyond the realm of possibility, they found a bully who channeled all their fear and hatred.  They found a champion who said it was okay to be a bigot.  It was okay to objectify women.  It was okay to expect the privilege to continue.  It was okay to not only not stand up for those who need and deserve our support, but to attack them for threatening our us-ness.

I saw that throughout the campaign.  I saw it build and grow.  I wasn’t blind to it, but I am still gut punched today.  I am because I thought, in the end, enough of us would vote with the good of at least some others in mind.  Perhaps a wife or a daughter?  In my opinion, a vote for Trump was one of pure selfishness.  The fifty year old, protestant, non college educated, white males who overwhelmingly voted for Trump did not think of their daughters.  They thought of themselves and their fear of marginalization.

Trump’s snake oil genius was convincing them to do so.  What do they think he is going to do for them?  Put the little women back in the kitchen?  Shove the gays back in the closet and toss all the brown people out?  Even if he actually cared about them, what do they think he’s going to do?

I didn’t think we were capable of this.  Donald Trump is our president elect…



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A rant on college teachers cont’d…

My last post sparked a lot of discussion.  Here’s a slightly more thoughtful and reasoned consideration of the subject…but I do love me a good rant.  This post won’t make much sense unless you read the last one.

I’ll start with my perspective on what effective teaching is.  I think the bare minimum, the cost of entry, is the student leaving your course having learned whatever it is your course was supposed to impart.  Think about the favorite teachers you’ve had.  Are they your favorites because they killed it on making you understand the Pythagorean theorem? Did you love them because their course was easy?  I doubt it.

They did something more.  What was that?  Inspired you?  Broadened your world view?  Challenged you to go further than you believed you could?  Made you love a subject you had been dreading?  Just made you eager to come to class?  Some combination of those things and others?  I’ll guess the answer is some variation of “all of the above.”

Now, how did they do that?  Were you inspired by the crisp, tailored suits and flashy cufflinks of your instructor?  Was it their ability to talk for two straight hours?  Perhaps it was how they established that they were superior to you?  Maybe it was that they demanded your respect and attention and didn’t return either of those things?  Did they disregard how you learn best because they were the expert?

I set the bar for effective teaching higher than checking off a list of things the student was supposed to learn.  I have had so many great teachers throughout my life and career that I don’t think there is a scarcity.  That is why clock punchers cause rants.  They’re taking up valuable space and cause tremendous opportunity cost.

I was taken to task by a couple educators whom I greatly respect…and by a few more whom I view as the target of my rant.  For the former, I’ll expound a bit.

*”Dress for success” is a dying remnant of the baby boomer generation, and it doesn’t work.  There is a reason essentially every company in the world has moved to business casual or outright casual work attire.  There is no correlation between wearing a tie or pantyhose and work performance.  There is ample evidence that people comfortable in their attire perform more and better.  I’ll maintain from my rant that outdressing the audience is a crutch.  If you need a coat and tie to establish your position, that is a flaw in your arsenal.  One professor told me she just likes dressing nice.  I respect that.  I would still argue that it creates an additional hurdle for her in connecting with students.  There is an implicit differentiation in the student – teacher relationship.  It does not need to be exacerbated and any amplification of it detracts from….

*Connecting with students….I firmly believe that little more than checking off boxes can be achieved without the student engagement that comes from personal connection.  If you teach…pick a subject…Economics 101…no, you don’t need much of a connection to send your students on their way at the end of the semester with a solid understanding of the price elasticity of demand.  I so want you to do more.  What additional effort would it take to get your students to go research the Reagan tax cut just to learn how supply side economics is still affecting us today?  How about motivating them to do the research and math to analyze the viability of that vegan, gluten free, locally sourced craft coffeehouse they want to start?

*It is not just being “fun.”  I absolutely believe that having fun puts people at ease and makes education easier to happen, and funny works for me.  Powerful is not my forte but can be just as effective.  What are your strengths as a human?  Go with those.  Inspirational, conspiratorial, sympathetic, whatever.  Don’t be boring.  Don’t be didactic.

*I’ll fall on the sword for understanding andragogy.  You teach adults.  There is a whole science of how adults learn.  Understand your student’s motivations, fears, and objectives (back to connection) so you can teach them effectively.

*Poor powerpoint building skills, reading the text, and lectures longer than 15 minutes:  not effective teaching.  Google it.  If you’re particularly anal, EBSCO it.  Corporations, who exist to make money and try not to do things that don’t help them make money, figured these things out long ago.  This leads me to my next point….

*A self described “tenured professor” whom I don’t know took substantial umbrage at my rant.  Although the rant specifically stated why I thought I was qualified to give said rant, he dismissed my paltry experience in academia and with derision suggested I was probably a corporate trainer.  Specifically, he said he lectures for two hours because he knows so much and wants to impart that to his students.  Yes, he said that.  I’ll revert to rant mode for a moment.  Yes, I was a corporate trainer and a corporate director of training, you smug and incompetent piece of shit.  My rant is about you.  Want to learn how to most effectively distribute knowledge and change behavior?  Ask someone with a budget to make and whose every action is reviewed for outcome.  A college professor is essentially never measured on the future actions or performance of their students.  Everything a corporate trainer does will be measured and analyzed by what their students do with the training.  So, which is more likely to produce effective outcomes?  Yes, I get concept versus task and all that crap.  It is still teaching.  One is required to produce results.  One sits in the cheap seats of the ivory tower.

And that was really the point of the rant.  If you teach at the college level, you have such an opportunity to do great things for people.  It is such a substantial opportunity cost when you don’t.  Show up, be passionate, strive to be great.  I’ll reiterate my rant here.  I am not a great teacher.  I am an advocate of great teaching and a passionate student of the art.

In closing, an update about my daughter’s English instructor.  He didn’t show for class again today.  However, his wife and son did….yes, his wife and son.  His son doesn’t teach at the school but, “has an English background.”  So, she’s two classes into the semester, has yet to learn anything, and is going to be taught by the offspring of the instructor.  I get this is now more of an institutional failure than the instructor’s, but really….what the fuck?

(You didn’t think I’d go a whole blog post without an F bomb, did you?”


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A rant on college teachers…

I am an adjunct instructor at a community college.  “Adjunct” at a “Community College”… in the hierarchy of college teaching, I am the absolute bottom feeder.  The pay sucks.  There are no benefits.  There is no job security from one semester to the next.  I love my job.  I love my job like little kids love Christmas morning.  I love my job like my dog loves licking his balls.  I love my job like Kanye West loves himself.  This is all to say I really, really like what I do.

A few events occurred to spark this rant  (the rant is coming.)  My daughter is in a jump start program, and she is attending our local community college in lieu of her senior year of high school.  Today was her first day of classes.  Think back to your first day of college.  Remember the excitement and trepidation?  The feeling that your whole world was about to change right then?  Now, imagine how a young person not even out of high school would feel on their first day.

My daughter’s English instructor didn’t show up.  I don’t know the circumstances.  Maybe he or she is dead.  Maybe she won the lottery and said, “fuck this.”  It doesn’t matter.  A classroom full of students sat at their desks, wasting their time, and waited.  Nobody came to say, “Your professor won the lottery and said ‘fuck this.'”  The school couldn’t even post a note on the door saying class was cancelled.  This was the first class.  Want a how-to tutorial on ways to kill the learning spark?  Here you go.

The other rant sparking event was yesterday when I was in the adjunct resource room at my school prepping for my classes.  A few other adjuncts were there, and they were complaining about how their students don’t pay attention and don’t respect them.  Another, wearing a suit and tie, commented that he dresses that way to command respect.  Yes, he said “command.”  Yet another chimed in with how it is impossible to connect with students today.  I was biting my tongue so hard it probably started to bleed.

I do not claim to be a great teacher.  I have a terminal degree in creative writing, and I don’t even teach creative writing.  Where I do claim to be great is in how much I fucking care.  A student may not like me.  They may not like the teaching I provided, but no student of mine will ever say I didn’t do everything I possibly could to help them learn.  Every student who passes a course of mine will have learned everything the course was intended to teach, won’t be bored out of their fucking mind…and hopefully much more.

So, disgruntled or frustrated college teachers, here’s my list of things to help you suck less.

*Get off your high horse.  Blow your pedagogy and andragogy out your ass.  Your students don’t care, and they just think you’re a pompous dick when you start spouting off to demonstrate how smart you are.  Hint:  your students assume you know more than they do.  That’s why they’re in your fucking class.  You don’t need to demonstrate it.

*Quit taking attendance.  If students aren’t showing up for class, they may have actual lives outside of your class (shocking, I know), or they may find you boring as fuck, or they know they can ace the class regardless of showing up.  You should acknowledge the first, and the next two are all on you.

*Allow and encourage them to address you by your first name.  Yes, we’re all very proud of the advanced degrees on our walls…except your students.  Demanding the “Professor” designation is just you telling them that you think you’re special.  Want to connect with someone?  Don’t start with telling them you’re separate and better.

*Show up.  I mean this in the literal sense (recall my daughter’s experience above) and figuratively.  Want to engage your students?  Show them you’re engaged.  Do as much work, or more, than you’re asking them to do.

*Take off your fucking tie.  Unless you teach at Wharton, I doubt any of your students are wearing a tie to class.  Your “professional attire” is not demonstrating your commitment to professionalism.  It is just another way for you to set yourself apart from and above your students.  The exception is bow ties.  Bow ties say, “I’m a quirky dork,” and that is awesome.

*Be accountable to your students.  If my daughter’s English prof shows up and lectures the class about commitments and responsibility, I will encourage her to give him the one fingered salute.  We, the teachers, set deadlines.  These are necessary for logistical reasons and our sanity.  Set deadlines for yourself and tell your students.  Don’t drop their grade on a paper because it was a day late then get around to grading those papers three weeks from now.

*Stop restricting their use of cell phones.  If they’re staring at their phones the entire class period, that’s on them for missing the pearls of wisdom you were dropping, and you’re boring as shit.  Plus, their phone is intricate to their lives.  You don’t have to understand.  Just accept it.

*Respect is earned.  It isn’t commanded.  It can’t be ordered.  If you want respect, earn it.  Respect is also overrated.  I’m sure half my students think I’m a goofball dork with possible mental deficiencies.  I don’t care.  I care about getting them to participate and learn.

*Recognize that your students are your customers.  They paid.  You’re a service provider just like the guy working the McDonald’s drive through.  Your masters or doctoral degree does not make you a special and unique snowflake to be revered.  It qualifies you to serve your customers.

*Stop giving lectures.  I’m willing to bet that three thousand years ago some Greek listened to Plato drone on for two hours and said, “fucking kill me now.”  Yet, we still do it today.  Think in terms of outcome.  You want the student to leave the class having learned what?  Then, back into that.  What can you do, or better yet have them do, to get that outcome?  If your answer is lecture, just quit being a teacher now.

*Your students are not lucky to be in your class….unless you were Kurt Vonnegut, and then your students were totally lucky.  Otherwise, you’re lucky to get to teach them.  You’ve been given a great privilege and responsibility.  Act like it.

*Recognize that a poor or failing grade is substantially your fault too.

*Quit regurgitating the text.  Unless you’re teaching remedial reading, your students can read.  They don’t need you to read to them what they read.  Your presence is supposed to provide insight, synthesis, application, and context.

*Powerpoint….just don’t.  If you feel compelled to use it no matter what, don’t put 346 words on a slide that nobody can see.  Worse yet, don’t read your fucking slides.  If your content consists of powerpoint slides that you read to your class, just cancel the class and send them the file, and then go to H/R and turn in your resignation.

*If you miss, miss swinging.  I have class activities that do not go at all according to plan.  I tell the class, “Well, that sucked.  My bad.”  We move on.  You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to be right all the time.  Just don’t retreat to a two hour lecture.  Keep experimenting.  Every class dynamic is different.  If your approach is the same for every class, Houston, we have a problem.

*Celebrate the student who challenges you.  Give them candy.  In a not weird way, give them a hug.  Your job is to make them think.  If they thought enough to disagree with you and had the comfort level to express that, you are a rock star.  You get candy too.

*Get to know your students and let them know you.  I strive to know as much as I possibly can about each student…their job, home life, aspirations, passions, ideals, guilty pleasures, and how they learn.  Why?  Because it is easier than teaching a stranger.  After about two classes, they know all of those things about me.  Why?  Because it is easier to learn from someone you know.

*Although I told you to blow your andragogy out your ass, learn about it…..just don’t expound upon it in your class.  It is the theory of adult learning.  Adults learn differently than children do.  In college, they are there voluntarily.  They expect a return on their investment.  They want to know why the content is important and what they’re going to do with it.  They don’t assume everything you say is gospel.  Tell them what you’re doing and why.

*Some students are dicks.  Yup, I said it.  They are still your customers.  You still have to do your best for them.  If you think most of your students are dicks…you’re probably the dick.

*Make them think and question.  I’ve heard colleagues say they don’t allow essays on immigration, abortion, religion, etc.  My response is “What the fuck?”  The point of an essay is to challenge a position.  Do you have them challenge the position of what?…. house plants?  A big point of higher education is to question and explore.  Your job is to keep things on the rails.  If you can’t do that, shame on you.

I primarily teach composition.  It is a required course.  Nobody wants to take composition and nobody wants to be a professional essay writer when they grow up.  I am an adjunct teaching composition at a community college.  That is my qualification for authoring this rant.  If I can engage my students and get them to learn, you have no excuse.

I opened with the shitty pay and such of an adjunct faculty position.  If you don’t like those aspects, organize a union or quit.  Don’t half ass your way through a semester.  You’re doing a disservice to your customers, and you’re taking up space.  In spite of how much people bitch about adjunct work, and in spite of how many shitty adjuncts there are, these jobs are still very competitive and difficult to land.  If you can’t connect with your students and feel you’re not respected, learn and adapt, or get the hell out of the way.  There are many passionate, talented educators waiting for their chance to actually educate.

If you can’t show up for the first class of the semester, and your school can’t notify your students in a timely manner, go work at the DMV.  You’ll fit right in, and you don’t deserve to be a teacher.





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Our death by gun epidemic

We had another mass murder.  I might ordinarily feel a moment of sadness then yawn and think, “This is America.  We have them daily.  It’s what we do.”  This one, though, was a record breaker.

We’re still shy of the year’s halfway point, and we already have almost six thousand deaths by gun.  Yes, I know we have many deaths by auto, deaths by medical malpractice, and probably a bunch of deaths by crockpot.  I didn’t research the last one.  The distinction I see is that cars, medical treatment, and slow cookers contribute to our lives and societal well being.  Guns do not.  So, save the strawman argument about the number of deaths by tinfoil or bubble gum.  Guns have a singular purpose, and that is to kill.  There is a reason the mass murderers use guns and not tinfoil or slow cookers…because the guns are efficient at killing and Reynolds wrap is not.

Yes, deranged people will find a way to kill regardless of the tool.  I get that.  I’m suggesting we actually do something to address the dead 6K, not hopelessly attempt to eliminate violence.  If you’re adamant about having your guns, what is your number?  How many dead does it take for you to care enough?  It is clearly more than 6K for many.  I find that in itself appalling, but okay.  What if we could make it just 6K annually?  Is anyone opposed to decreasing the number of deaths by gun?  Don’t jump ahead to costs and ramifications and start saying, “Yeah, but…”  Just consider that question by itself.  Would you like fewer than 6K people to be dead right now?  I think a good place to start is prohibiting anyone who opposes the decrease from having a gun.

I refuse to believe we can not at least improve our death by gun epidemic.  Many free nations do not have our daily mass murders.  Clearly it is possible.  Yes, we have more guns than all the rest of the world population combined (I’m speculating there.)  That isn’t a reason not to try.  “Aw, fuck it.  We just have too many guns.  Let’s resign ourselves to daily mass murders.”  That is actually pretty much what we are doing.

Yes, gun ownership is a constitutional right.  So what?  We’ve amended the constitution many times.  Why is that rule a sacred cow?  I think it should be amended, but I’m interested in actually addressing the problem, not with an endless legislative debate ultimately decided by NRA political donations and a spineless congress.

Normal people want guns to protect themselves, to hunt, or for sport.  I’m fine with all of those.  I don’t agree with them, but I respect that others view the guns as important.

So, I propose to not inhibit anyone from having all the guns they want, but implementing the following steps:

  1.  Any diagnosis of mental illness precludes you from having a gun.  Right now, you have to have a court say you’re insane or have a court involuntarily admit you to a mental hospital for you to be precluded from getting a gun.  Both of those are very rare and don’t address the millions of unstable people with access to weapons.  I’ve attempted suicide more than once.  I can buy a gun.  Hospitals already are required to report certain injuries like gunshot wounds or drug overdoses to the police.  I’m fine with therapists having to report all patients to a database.  Yes, that would include me.
  2. Any time in prison precludes you from owning a gun…forever.  You committed a crime.  You don’t get a gun.  Right now it is decided by state and varies widely.
  3. All gun sales must have a background check.  ALL.  Gun.  Sales.  The ridiculous loopholes in this current law are entirely due to the NRA, and they can blow me.
  4. All gun owners must pass a training course.  Just like driving a car or selling insurance.
  5. All guns must be registered and insured.  Yeah, yeah, registration allows the government to know who has guns when they’re ready to initiate their tyrannical, martial law takeover.  First, that gives far too much credit to the competency of our government.  Next, the 2nd amendment was written when citizens and the military all had muskets.  Have all the guns you want.  In this century, you’re not stopping a military takeover with firepower.  We have to insure our cars in case we run over someone.  The registration requires annual inspection and proof of insurance.  This enables us to confirm you didn’t sell the gun.  The insurance covers your gun being used to kill someone, by you or someone else.  Don’t want to undergo inspection, registration, and insurance for your already owned guns?  No worries.  Amnesty window to turn them in.  If you’re not willing to do these simple steps we do for cars, your gun ownership conviction is not strong.
  6. Any crime committed with use of a gun carries a sentence of life in prison.  No parole, no loopholes.  Use a gun to commit a crime, go to jail forever.
  7. If a gun you own is used to commit a crime, you are as liable and culpable as the perpetrator unless it can be proven you properly secured it.  Responsible gun owners should have no problem with this.
  8. All gun sales will have an additional “sin” tax to deter use.  We do it with tobacco and alcohol.  It is your constitutional right to own a gun.  The constitution doesn’t say it has to be cheap or easy.  The revenue will be used to advance “smart gun” technology such as finger print detection so only the owner can fire a gun.
  9. All gun purchases require proof of trigger locks and safes.
  10. No modifiable guns can be owned, sold or brought into the U.S.  Every fucking mass shooting, some dipshit has to point out that a semi-automatic rifle is not an “assault weapon.”  An assault weapon fires on full auto.  AR-15’s can be easily modified to actual full auto or simulated full auto.  On semi-auto, they’re inefficient for home defense so the only real reasons to own them are penis size compensation or killing a bunch of people.

So, if you want to own a gun just for protection, hunting, or sport shooting, you still can.  You can own all you want.  It will require a little more effort and more money.

Will this stop the deranged psychopath from acquiring a gun and mowing down a school, church, or nightclub?  Nope.  What it will do is decrease the level of ownership and the rate of purchase of guns.  Will it create a black market for existing guns?  Yup.  Ever bought anything on the black market?  Costs a fucking fortune.  Will death by knife, tinfoil, bubblegum, and every other strawman argument go up?  Probably, but the net will still be a decrease in deaths.  How do I know this?  Because half the fucking world has already done it.

I think I lowered the 6K.  Don’t like my suggestions?  Great.  Offer some actual solutions instead of the clichés about only criminals will own guns and it takes a good guy with a gun.

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