William Thien

Posts Tagged ‘Gun Rights

One of the most important tools in a politician’s toolbox is the “single” issue. Single issues are issues that cause a voter to toss everything else significant to them out the door when making a decision about who to vote for, casting their ballot in favor of the candidate that supports the voter’s favored single issue. Single issues motivate voters and divide the electorate at the same time.

I believe the following three issues will be at the forefront of the 2020 presidential election and candidates running for office at all levels that neglect these issues will suffer at the ballot box. Here the issues are in no particular order since they are all important to one group of voters or another:

  1. Abortion rights – an obvious choice as Republicans currently around the country are busy writing laws that restrict a woman’s options, infuriating the female voter, while the Republicans are in the legislative majority in many states.
  2. Gun rights – another obvious choice as liberal legislatures are restricting gun rights in states where Democrats are in the majority. This is a movement that is gaining momentum as the leading organization lobbying for gun rights, The NRA, has suffered from financial improprieties and related scandals. The NRA even lost my own renewal payment and when I provided proof from my credit card statement that I paid for two renewals in the same year, I never heard from them again. Go figure they are having problems.
  3. National marijuana legalization and related criminal record expungement. This in my opinion is the game changer of the three significant “single” issues I list here. Why? By the time of the 2020 election it is believed that as many as 15 states will have legalized adult recreational use at the state level. Currently there are eleven (11) states that have legalized adult recreational usage already with 33 states allowing medical marijuana usage. Ninety percent of the country now has legal access to some form of marijuana yet the federal government is still grasping at the public’s neck on the issue. The big three automakers and other large industrialists can have their cars and supplies manufactured in Canada or Mexico where marijuana is legal or decriminalized and sell their products here, yet Americans lose those related jobs, and still the big three automakers and other manufacturers who have offshored their production to Canada and Mexico fight against your right to use marijuana. Furthermore, huge numbers of people have a criminal record for non-violent marijuana possession. There are a number of viable bills designed to legalize marijuana usage at the federal level and expunge the records of those who were caught using marijuana. Numerous presidential candidates from The Democratic Party have publicly come out in favor of such legislation. To my knowledge no Republican presidential candidates favor such legislation, yet a substantial majority of the public thinks marijuana should be legal. This tells me the Republicans are out of touch with the voter.

If you do the math two of the major “single” issues, abortion rights and legislation legalizing marijuana at the national level, favor The Democrats as gun rights is a single issue favored by voters that vote primarily for Republicans.

I myself favor the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use. The widespread panic and moral breakdown of society many Republicans and some skittish Democrats in office said would happen upon legalization in states where marijuana has been legalized has not materialized. In fact, quite the opposite has happened as the states take in huge sums of revenue they can use for infrastructure improvements and social programs. Correspondingly, where adult and medical use is legalized, usage among adolescents goes down, too.

Fear is a powerful motivator. A similar method, the installation of fear was used by Democrats during the wave which legalized concealed carry across the country that installed Republicans in office who favored concealed carry, a movement which happened in hundreds of elections at both the state and federal level during the last ten years.

Copyright © William Thien 2019

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A while back I suggested that the reason a number of the larger computer manufacturers were chiming in on the gun rights issue was because computer manufacturers find gun sales to be in direct competition to that discretionary income which Americans use to purchase firearms, to purchase firearms instead of home computers, that is. I still believe it is the case. Yet that observation is only half of the story in my estimation. That’s not all.

What nobody in the media or anyone appear to be doing is amassing any data on whether or not the mass shootings were perpetrated by people who also play first-person shooter games on their computers and on the devices sold by those computer manufacturers and related corporations that hook up to televisions. Nobody seems to be seeing if there is a direct correlation, but we can all be rather certain that more people than ever, adults included, are playing first-person shooter games on their computers.

The data will show that for certain.

I believe there is a direct correlation with first-person shooter games and the increase in violent crime in The US. Even the games that are not branded as first-person shooter games frequently involve violent, psychotic scenarios where shooting unarmed human targets is involved. With each level, there are new targets as the tension on the screen builds and builds and builds until eventually there are no more levels for the addicted gamer to conquer. What do they do next to get their fix? Has the line between fantasy killing and reality already been erased by that point? Does the gaming industry know it? I think they do.

It is my opinion that the reason the media are not discussing the correlation is because the larger manufacturers of such games and computers that drive the games also own large shares in many of the media outlets. Instead, the computer manufacturers and video game manufacturers chime in on gun ownership to shift the focus.

I might add that Hollywood is in bed with the computer gaming industry. How many movies have you seen that were originally computer games? No wonder Hollywood is calling for gun control all of the time. Clearly it is a diversionary tactic. Does Hollywood know computer games and the related movies are blurring the line between fantasy murder and reality? I think they know it.

I would not be surprised if the families of victims of mass shootings along with a creative litigator could make such a correlation and began to take legal action against the manufacturers of such first-person shooter games and the related equipment used to generate the gaming environment. There is more money in the gaming industry than in the firearms industry, to be sure.

The manufacturers of the games are after all directly responsible for the “experience” and “the environment” resulting from the games, are they not? Yes, of course they are.

Instead of focusing on gun ownership in America, maybe we should be taking a closer look at the computer gaming industry and Hollywood. Americans have owned guns since the beginning. In contrast, an increase in mass shootings and the broad social acceptance of first-person shooter games are a relatively recent phenomenon.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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One of the reasons the media try so desperately to label mass shooters as “psychologically unstable” following a mass shooting is that in doing so the system itself to which the media represent, the government and the corporations which advertise using the media, avoid being labeled as well, avoid being labeled as perhaps repressive, oppressive, inefficient, bloated, parasitic, socialist, communist, what have you.

No one would dispute that there has been a recent increase in mass shootings. At least on the face of things it would seem that the number of shootings has increased. Does this mean that there is a direct correlation with an increase in government oppression or repression or any other such indication? Because the weapons used to commit those mass shootings have been around for some time and available to the public all the while. The weapons have been around much longer than the recent increase in mass shootings to be sure.

With the implementation of such legislation as The Patriot Act and the steady increases in the numbers of law enforcement (nothing wrong with law enforcement, just making a point), the historical expansion of the surveillance state, the cameras everywhere you go, the monitoring of internet activity both by the government and corporations who shove tailored sales pitches at you while on the internet and then chase you up and down the road with advertisements, I think that it is quite possible there is a generalized public reaction to these changes, to the expansion of the surveillance and media state, to the “by definition” increase in government AND corporate oppression as defined by the increased, smothering government presence in many communities and in the increases in taxes to cover the costs of such expanded government behavior. Are we seeing the beginnings of a mass public attempt to shake it all off? To a certain extent, I think we are.

In other words, smothered by this new surveillance state it is hard to catch a breath of the fresh air of freedom in this so-called land of the free!

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Regarding the gun debate, particular media pundits like the one I heard the other day like to say that the 2nd Amendment was written at a time when firearms were muskets and flintlocks and the 2nd Amendment as a result is outdated and should be repealed. Here is my response. The constitution was written at a time when only the printing press existed. There were no cameras, no television, no helicopters, no drones, there was no internet, just pen and paper. How would today’s members of the media like to return to the days of the one-off printing press, a new sheet for each turn of the handle?

Answer that! What do you think?

Copyright © William Thien 2016

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Respect for the law and obedience to the law are two different states of being in the larger social context of “community.” Respect for the law comes out of a belief that what the law does for the community is generally good. Obedience to the law arises out of a fear of the consequences of not obeying the law. Though both respect for and obedience to the law may achieve the same result, clearly one, a societal respect for the law, is better.

Respect for the law is better in that members of society will actively participate in maintaining the law and living by the code of the law and the larger effect of that is that perpetuating the law is much less expensive to the public because policing and enforcement of the law are much less costly when the population is actively and willingly involved in those tasks.

Getting a population to adhere to the law when they feel it is not in their best interest, when they feel the law is unfair is always more expensive, substantially more expensive and always results in a substantially larger tax levy to cover the cost of law enforcement.

When you examine what is happening in Chicago with regard to the massive shootings almost every year (two years ago The National Guard was brought in) you must conclude that clearly there is little respect for the law or obedience to it for that matter. At 82 wounded and 15 dead over the 4th of July weekend, those casualty rates are higher than in Afghanistan during the height of the conflict. Only it’s not Afghanistan, it’s Chicago. Stop what you are doing, set whatever you have in your hands down, and think about it. Really. Take a moment and think about it.

Now, I do not reside in Chicago. It’s a remarkable city and I enjoy visiting it every chance I get. The people are wonderful. But the cost of policing the kind of behavior as was witnessed this last July 4th weekend surely must be supplemented with Federal Dollars. All of the funds going to support that beleaguered police department are not arising from local tax dollars, all of our dollars as well from around the country are flowing in for sure. ALL urban police departments receive substantial federal tax subsidy.

Why? Is it merely that urban populations are suffering from economic blight and they are warring for sustenance? Hardly. Is it because there is substantial political discord among the urban masses? Very unlikely because most urban areas tend to vote as a solid block. Is even asking all of these questions in an attempt to determine a reason for such behavior after what is possibly decades of such activity even justified following so many attempts to adjust social norms, fund certain behaviors through entitlement programs, even change numerous times the lexicon with which we speak? Of course not.

Then what is it? It is the law. It is the laws. It is the combination of various socialist/communist laws coupled with a variety of laws governing consensual behavior that has created this poisonous soup once called The American Melting Pot.

It is the legislated cabal of entitlements that fertilize all sorts of what I call “sex for money” programs that reward women for having children out-of-wedlock, for example. It is the laws that govern adult consensual behaviors, the prohibition of certain activities that society finds acceptable behavior behind closed doors but fears what will happen when the laws governing such behavior loosen, because the system is telling them general pandemonium will ensue (look what there is now, is that not general pandemonium?). In that last circumstance, organized criminal activity takes control due to the profitability of the circumstances and you begin to see various forms of “street justice” being meted out and with that a general breakdown in respect for the law. What we are witnessing today is merely an amplification of that disrespect for the law which results from the combination of social programs and laws governing the behavior of adults. In a way, it is not unlike the period of alcohol prohibition, only worse because then, such massive and expensive social programs did not exist. Today, the problem is many times worse than during the prohibition of alcohol as it is exacerbated by heavy and expensive social burdens placed on the ordinary citizen.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what is happening in Chicago today. I’m convinced. Certain. And it is that general breakdown in respect for the law that makes law enforcement so very, very expensive, both in dollars and the lives of those who offer up their lives to enforce the laws.

We must not fear changing the law to prevent bankrupting our society, both economically and socially. Because that’s exactly what is happening now. When there is no peace, when travel is restricted, when taxation for maintaining the general peace and well-being of our society grows so astronomically, as it has, the law must change. It must. There is no other solution.

Failure to adjust the laws to social norms, failure to require those who cannot control their personal interactions or to pay for the result of those interactions, is bankrupting our country. Look at the national debt! It’s no accident it is so huge. If we refuse to address the matter legislatively we can only blame ourselves. The government keeps trying to hide the surmounting debt!

When will the economy reconcile itself with the realities of our country’s debt and socio-economic condition? How far off is the next Black Friday? Who is to say if our government continues spending like it does and enabling behavior like that?

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Pardon my getting to this one so late, I don’t watch much television, don’t even own one really that gets a signal, but I was visiting someone and did you happen to watch that “hour long” news program last Sunday evening that is made up of a number of minutes, sixty of them to be sure? They opened with a piece on all of the mass killings, shootings in particular (they focused on gun crimes for some reason which is revealed later in this observation) that have occurred over the last couple of years, by men. The reporter interviewed two notable psychiatrists who concluded that the shooters were all suffering from some form of schizophrenia though the two psychiatrists/psychologists approached the matter from apparently different angles.

One of the psychiatrists suggested there was a genetic connection to the behaviors and showed some pictures of the brain. Wow, nothing like expert testimony. Another said people were not being treated in the United States who needed treatment. Millions, he concluded, need treatment and were wandering around cities, it was suggested, like zombies. There may be a lot of schizophrenics ambling around, but the story wasn’t really about them. The net effect, the hope of the producers I am sure was to create a panic, but not about schizophrenia, the hope was to create a panic about guns, another panic about guns.

For one thing, most of the people they were talking about, not the ones who committed the mass shootings, the ones who were ambling around in the cities the one psychiatrist suggested, wandering around “untreated” that needed treatment don’t have the financial wherewithal to purchase guns. Most don’t know how to put on their own clothes. Many may even be victims of the most recent “great recession” and haven’t eaten properly or had a good night’s sleep in years. That’ll make you look schizoid, I’m sure. They probably can’t even afford a good hair cut.

The segment focused on people with guns, pictures of people with guns, stories about people with guns, people pointing guns, people talking about guns, heresy about guns, word of mouth about guns, one of them pointing a gun at himself. Then they went to file footage of asylums and other treatment facilities of the past with lots of really strange looking people walking around and bumping into each other wearing improperly tied medical gowns, then right back to the issue of guns. See where I’m going with this? Clever bunch, they are.

Yes, their methods SHOULD be alarming to you.

The story didn’t talk about the woman who recently suffocated her baby boy with a pillow because she was having “troubles.” They didn’t talk about Susan Smith who drove her boys into a locked car into the pond, drowning them so she could have another lover, none of that. None of the really unusual murders committed by women were mentioned. Oh no. Can’t insult the female viewer, she controls eighty percent of the discretionary income in America because ‘genius’ comes home and surrenders his check to the little wife and that’s the last he’s seen of it because now the marketers actually have control of it with their science of advertising control and manipulation of the female brain. Oh yes, it’s a science, one of the most researched and one of the most effective. And you thought you were thinking on your own. Gotta fit in, right? Gotta lose weight, so buy that pill. Gotta be fashionable and buy those clothes made by children. That’s more important than keeping your own people in home-made threads, right.

But we can take away constitutional rights from the American male. That’s who they fear, anyway. Betties historically don’t show up and overthrow governments, but they buy what’s on TV, you can be sure, especially stuff they don’t even need. They’ve turned shopping into a form of therapy. How often have you heard one say she shops to relieve stress. Gotta keep those Betties happy, even if it means taking away George’s rights. George? George?! Are you there? He’s in there somewhere. Why don’t you psychiatrists see if you can find George instead of helping charlatans figure out how to get his wife to spend all of his money? What, you say? There’s no money in that? Betty spent it all, already? Well…I see your point.

What the report did not say is that sitting in front of the perpetual violence on television from a very young age brings on a lot of the type of behavior we are seeing today. In fact, in my opinion, therein lies the foundation for such behaviors, the television, not schizophrenia. Perhaps the television, with its constant, flickering images, its strobing lights, perhaps that is the real source of the violence in America. Epileptics have been known to have seizures after watching flickering television screens. Maybe that’s the real connection, the real source of all of this violence, the television. Haven’t they even done scientific studies on that? Of course they have. They didn’t mention that in the piece. Hmmn. Hey you guys, you left something out. I think it might be the main point.

It was as if, no, it wasn’t as if, the producers WERE glossing over that very and oft-repeated fact for a more subtle argument that was supplanted in the story, that of gun control. Because the story did not focus on any other type of murders. All of the murders, if I’m not mistaken, involved guns or at least that was the main focus. There was talk of guns in every portion of the segment, use of guns, fear of guns, file footage of weird men bumping into each other in overpopulated asylums, then back to guns. Recognize a pattern?

What’s worse, the producers were doing what television does all the time, pointing its finger at the other guy, blaming him for the result of its own behavior. Instead of a ban on guns, how about a ban on disingenuous television news shows that purport to be news and not some form of subtle corporate/big government propaganda or how about a ban on the shoot-em-up shows that are nothing more than propaganda that kids watch? Why not have some real shows with people who are getting taxed to death and whose constitutional rights are constantly being trampled by the triad I speak of in my other essays?

If the media had their way, soon everyone who owned a firearm would have to take some sort of government authorized-standardized psychological battery where if you answered one question that indicated anything they determined they didn’t like, you picked the wrong color for example and people who like that color are statistically more violent, you wouldn’t be able to buy a firearm and you would probably have to go on some form of psychoactive medication when it was all the fault of the flickering television screen and not “guns.” Go figure. It is big pharma’s dream, disarm the population and addict them to psychoactive drugs. The news show is merely doing the dirty work is all.

Just thought I would share my interpretation of that particular segment of last week’s Hour Long BS News episode with you.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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As a political issue, gun ownership has been a significant point of contention between both major political parties in The United States during campaigns and following any major gun crimes.

Republicans have sought to claim the right to the issue of the right of gun ownership while the Democrats have sought to claim the issue of gun control. In that regard it would appear to an outside observer I’m sure that the Democrats fall flat on their faces when it comes to protecting the right to keep and bear arms in The United states, often hiding behind false statistics or fear mongering in an attempt change the laws governing firearms ownership and usage, clearly for matters of political expediency.

In reality the issue of gun ownership in The United States belongs to no political party and it is in fact a Constitutional Right which even the Supreme Court has found to be legal, time and time again.

Just like abortion, gun rights is often THE single issue that determines who a voter chooses. The problem is, party politics is a “package deal.” If you want the right to own firearms, you have to take all the other issues that the party carries in its political baggage as well. The same goes for abortion and other singular political issues. The two major parties are diametrically opposed on both of those two major issues, Gun Rights and Abortion, and it is so clearly delineated between the two parties that to me it indicates there may be collusion between the two parties with the intent to keep the voters divided and more manageable as a population while maintaining the illusion of choice. How else could things get so mucked up?

Our mass media does us a great disservice by constantly inflaming the issue to improve ratings or to sway voters. We should all be aware of such methods so as to be able to discern the true political issues in the smoke and mirrors of political campaigning and insist that the media (by changing the channel, for instance) and our political leadership keep their hands off of our right to keep and bear arms.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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