The 2016 Presidential Election could end up being a seminal moment in United States history, political or otherwise? The combination of a celebrity culture, minute by minute media coverage, underlying societal fears -LGBT rights, terrorism, immigration, gun violence- a political dynasty, -i.e. the Clinton’s- outrageous economic inequality, and a polarized Congress could very well push the nation beyond it’s fragile insecurity, and blowing a proverbial gasket? I could be incorrect? I might just be caught up in the hyperbole of the moment, stuck at the crossroads intersecting the rational and irrational? Thing is, as terrible as things could get, there’s a piece of me that hopes I am right. From my low perch, a shake-up, rather than a shake-down, could be good, if not necessary, for the long term health of our country? Then again, we could unravel to the point of no return? Every Empire in world history has eventually come undone, some gently, others quite traumatically, effectively erasing it from that present.

People are wound up out there in Starbucks land. More so than I can recall in 40+ years. Friendly discussions with strangers easily swerve headlong into traffic, voices talking over one another, no intention of budging from their “common sense” opinions. There was a time following 9/11 where folks were actually reporting to the FBI people who spoke out at the gym or supermarket. That was a time of paralytic fear. Anger though, a secondary emotion born of fear, processes through a society much differently. Folks wont go the FBI in a climate like this. For many, the FBI, the government in general, is perceived to be the enemy, not to be trusted. “They’re all liars and crooks,” is the predominant feeling.

In their own ways, both Clinton and Trump embody one side each of that coin. Sanders offers something different, a truth, authenticated by decades of solid positions. Bernie is not relevant to this essay. -Not today at least with HRC the probable nominee. Did anyone actually believe anyone BUT HRC would be allowed to proceed?- Trump presents a simple message. He has buried the ‘dog whistle’ altogether, and just comes right out with the language of much of the right, especially the ‘Tea Party’ crowd. Which is ironic because that movement was launched with Koch Brother money, vocal #AnyoneButTrump political operatives. With Clinton the divisiveness is more difficult to pick up on and understand. In fact, I am unsure of my own analysis at this time. Her lies are heavily scripted and designed more for damage control than votes, platitudes rather than abrasion.

An example of this was Clinton’s speech following the abominable massacre in that Orlando dance club. From the beginning it was complete bullshit. “As American’s we come together…” all that crap that’s simply untrue. If it were true, we would collectively demand policies to better protect us from these daily occurrences. There was much more to dissect but really, no thanks? Then we have the private server and email she used while serving in one of the most important US Government positions: Secretary of State. Now, deep down, we all know why this was done; she wanted control over her correspondence, thereby having the tools necessary to provide information to her liking. Control, possibly a little paranoia, period. After this was exposed however, instead of simply telling the truth up front, washing her hands of it more than a year ago, she decided to roll from one lie to another, perpetuating the Clinton dishonesty. Why Democrats have continually papered over the issue, brushing it off as insignificant, belies a greater truth in the DNC apparatus. Tunnel vision. A coronation. All the talking points on the right substantiated, sadly.

I have been staying in a rural area without phone or internet, so my observations could be quite different from the person who is updated daily, or even hourly. I go 3-4 days without new information making for quite a slog once plugged into the machine. It is addictive, I admit, thinking about moments ahead, not knowing immediately, then returning to news such as the mass slaughter in Orlando. If anyone reading this can, I fully endorse unplugging as best as you can for several days at a time. An entirely fresh narrative comes into focus, realizing so much of the 24 hour cycle is quickly forgotten, vanished before we plug back in. So was any of it important? The tragic irony of Muhammad Ali’s funeral followed by the largest mass shooting in US History will never be lost on me, but I wonder if it crossed many folks minds, already drowning in the cyclone of our mass media modern machine? Ali, a Muslim man of peace gone. Trump, calling for more violence and a religious test to live in that same country.

All for today…. to be continued










On a snowy Christmas morning, in what feels like a lifetime ago, Santa had left my present leaning up against our families fake, tinsel and star crowned tree: my first rifle; I was 10 years old. I consider myself an open minded, liberal leaning American. In today’s political climate however, my belief that allows me to accept this gift as rational, within the context of our lives in the early 1980’s, paints me a cultural lunatic. I can understand the concern of parents who’ve lived outside of our then rural life, nevertheless, black and white idealism, in my opinion, precludes one being an authentic idealist.

I am not one of these 2nd Amendment absolutists. In fact, I am opposed to the sale of weapons of war throughout society. The only practical use for a assault weapon combined with armor piercing ammunition and high volume magazines is that of warfare between similarly armed men on the battlefield. I even seriously question the use of these weapons by most law enforcement agencies in but the most serious of conditions.

That photo captured in Ferguson Missouri, showing an unarmed protester directly down the barrel of a turret mounted machine gun left a powerful impression on me as a combat veteran. It was symbolic and profound. The destruction of our 1st Amendment through an overly broad interpretation of our 2nd. Those who are unwilling or ignorant of the irony should take stock in the lessons of history where free speech and the right to protest the government have been squelched.

My first gun was a Ruger model 77, .22 long rifle. My family owned several guns, from shotguns to pistols. However, we did not own any assault weapons. We lived the majority of our life in an extremely remote region of Alaska where hunting and fishing were beyond sport and closer to subsistence. At the age of 8 I was wearing a .44 magnum while out of the home, in the woods, hiking, fishing or camping, as protection from aggressive bears. I was responsible and well schooled in firearm safety. I still vividly recall my grandfather shooting an apple with my little .22 perched upon a signpost. The apple basically exploded, followed by his words, “that could be someones head. Even this little .22 needs to be always respected.” Not every 10 year old will absorb such wisdom, I know. I suspect the same amount of adults suffer from this same flaw? If my parents suspected or had reason to believe this of me, I would have never been allowed the responsibility.

I said all that to say this: the more ubiquitous these weapons become, the more paranoid our society seems to become? That America will be invaded by some ragtag army of terrorists, or that our government will swing tyrannical, both grow from that same seed of paranoia. We have a government to protect us from that so-called army. And if the government goes all martial law, assault weapons owners will find themselves in one of two unfortunate camps: 1. a part of that twisted tyrannical government without realizing it, or 2. so fucking scared and impotent up against a machine so much heavily armed and sophisticated, they’ll be unable to fight back, let alone defend themselves.

Machine guns can be quite fun to shoot, as long as the target cannot return fire. So my compromise is this: armories and target ranges could provide security and safety over these weapons when not in use. Americans could still go hog wild at the range, -fuck, let ’em have some RP-G’s, Mortars and LAW’s to fire off at these facilities even- but that’s where these arms will stay, locked up until our military is being overrun at the Mexican border, or President Bush IV declares martial law. You want a few 12 gauges, a 30.06, some handguns, no problem. You want a weapon of war? Sign up and head downrange.