Thursday, October 05, 2017
Why do I need to buy one to shoot at the range? In a rather annoying twist, despite the fact my club has pistols I can hire, that is presently useless to me as the law prohibits me from buying ammunition unless I can show registration papers for a pistol that takes that particular ammunition. I would not at this point have purchased my own gun instead opting to use club pistols, except that it is legally difficult to participate without owning one of your own. Seems a bit counterintuitive really.
So why am I writing this? Because I wanted to contrast my ability to acquire guns with the news story yesterday of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. A man armed with a high powered, automatic assault rifle sat on a rooftop and shot the crap out of a crowd of people, killing 59 and wounding many more. In Nevada, the military grade rifles he purchased are legal to buy off the shelf, with no background checks, licensing or mandatory education required. Fully automatic rifles are illegal to sell, however after-market modifications to make semi-autos into full autos are considered to be legal. So while you can't buy an automatic off the shelf, it's legal to possess one in Nevada at least. Unlike many of the cases we see in the US, this guy was legally entitled to possess the guns he had, so the "laws won't stop illegal guns" argument doesn't apply here. More people died in that shooting than were killed by guns in Australia (excluding suicides) in the entirety of 2016, or in 2017 to date.
Australia's laws are restrictive, and awkward and in many cases poorly thought out. A probationary licence holder can't own both a centrefire and a rimfire pistol, because this one guy went on a shooting spree at his uni with that exact combination: probationary licence, one centrefire pistol, one rimfire pistol. He killed 2 people, and injured 5 more. However, had he had two centrefire pistols with him which are typically higher calibre, the damage may have been more severe. Those injuries could possibly have been deaths, or at the very least more significant. But as a result of this event, we now have a rather odd law - one that prohibits a situation that in the hands of a crazy person is arguably less dangerous than a situation it allows.
On the other hand, the US's laws allowing a laissez faire approach to military-style weapons are resulting in frequent mass shootings in a peace-time, Westernised democracy. Sure, I can point to countries with higher rates of gun crime, but none that any sane person would want to consider the benchmark for a reasonable rate of gun crime. They're countries with known corrupt governments, rampant gang activity, military control, or significant drug trade. "The US: Fewer gun-related deaths than Columbia" doesn't exactly instil confidence.
What am I yammering on about? I'm just thinking about sensible gun control. Australia needs to re-examine it's gun laws and consult with people who are experts in the subject matter about whether they're sensible laws. If allowing someone like me to purchase ammunition at the shooting range means I don't need to own my own pistol in a safe at my home in order to shoot for sport; and the goal is reduced gun ownership; maybe that law might need a rethink? Does prohibiting probationary licence holders from acquiring both a rimfire and centrefire actually achieve anything? Or, more likely, was it just a political maneuver to be seen to be "doing something" in the wake of a tragic event? Can we make legitimate gun use less onerous while still maintaining our exceptional low gun crime rates?
For the US, I know that gun ownership is at the core of what they understand freedom to be. I disagree with that perspective, but it's a reality. That being said, I'm "free" to own and drive a car, but there's regulation around how that plays out. My car has to fit within guidelines. I need to be licenced, and my vehicle registered. In order to gain my licence, I have to demonstrate competence and understanding of the responsibility involved with operating a motor vehicle. And if I want to drive a larger, more complicated vehicle then there's further licensing and compliance associated with that. My freedoms aren't being significantly impinged upon by all of this - the freedom of others to live without fear of an incompetent me in an out of control truck running them down is simply being protected. Sure, that will still happen from time to time regardless, as will shootings. The "there will still be illegal guns" argument is true, but it's just not the whole story. Regulating gun ownership reduces gun-related deaths. If you can screen out people with known, significant mental illness through licensing and background checks; limit access to guns whose only purpose is to kill lots of people very quickly (an XM15 is not a good choice for any other purpose I'm aware of); and comprehensively educate new gun owners on safe handling; surely - surely - that would have to have a positive impact on rates of shooting deaths.
What do you think? Am I missing something important? Do you have a view on gun control and want to tell me how wrong I am? Go for it in the comments.
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Last time I posted publicly on this blog was May 3, 2012. Five years later, things are much different, and that's certainly a good thing.
I got re-married. My wife was married previously also, and similarly had her spouse decide self-interest was their highest priority. As a result, there's a fantastic mutual understanding that I wouldn't have found in someone who hadn't been through that kind of awful experience. It obviously does bring it's own set of challenges also, but you know... swings and roundabouts.
My wife and I have had 3 children, 2 of whom are daughters, bringing our total kid population to 5. We're done now. Kids are awesome, but they can cause spontaneous loss of sanity. We walk that line daily.
There's been a number of diagnoses amongst my children, particularly my second youngest who has autism and is completely non-verbal at almost 3. That's been a steep learning curve.
We moved into a smaller house to save money towards our goal of living on acreage. Then we had 2 children in close proximity, and now it's too small. So we're going to move again soon.
I've spent more time on my drumming, with some limited improvement. I made a YouTube channel to publish some drum covers, but they're few and fairly crap. Check it out though: www.youtube.com/justinplaysdrums
I took up pistol shooting with my eldest, which has been an eye-opening journey.
I put on too much weight. Then lost a little. Then put on too much more. Working on incorporating more exercise into my routine, but it's hard with the little ones.
My view of the world has changed a lot too. I think I got old. I'm pretty cynical about what happens outside of my immediate bubble. There's a lot of hate for my particular worldview in the media and in political circles. I don't align with any major political party view. I just get frustrated, mostly.
During the time I was on my own, I developed a real love for live music - mainly the big, loud and full of energy variety. I've seen Paramore 4 or 5 times (including meeting them pre the Farro brothers leaving), Jimmy Eat World twice, Anberlin twice before they split, Yellowcard before they split, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Coldplay, and The Temper Trap. Possibly a couple of others I've forgotten (Edit: Twenty One Pilots! Knew I'd forget someone...). It's hard at the moment with really small children to get to shows, but I plan to continue to do this as often as I can.
That's it for now. Consider yourself caught up. 😀
Thursday, May 03, 2012
I know a story of a man who did that. On a scale that I find it hard to comprehend. In a time when there was one spiritual Christian authority in the Roman Catholic church who held not only the belief that they were the only authority on truth, but had linguistically locked up the only means by which you might be able to test that, he stood up and said "Your doctrine on salvation is wrong", challenging the authority of the papal structure of the time. I don't know how modern-day Catholics feel about Martin Luther and the Reformation, but it seems to me it would be a fairly big deal even today. Even if they acknowledged corruption in the church at the time, they'd have to think that on at least some level Martin Luther had it wrong, I would think. I could be wrong. But for me as a member of a church that formed from the linage of the Protestant movement, what he did directly relates to the way I live out my faith today. Truth, it would seem, is a big deal.
It seems almost blasphemous to compare my trivial matter to this. I believe something my church does not. In the context of my church as an institution, it's a ripple in a pond. If they tomorrow were to accept what I thought, it would not destroy the underpinnings of Baptist..ism. If they don't agree (right or wrong), it doesn't mean they're walking in some great fallacy that will cause millions to miss something vital to salvation. But for me, I see it as true which makes it a big deal to me. And my church are not happy for me to believe that, at least if I'm actually going to believe it. I cannot lead people in any capacity if I'm going to lead them while holding this belief. For my church, that's not an acceptable situation, and I can appreciate that. At the same time, I'm being ostracised for thinking for myself. So far, I have had my loyalty, honour, commitment, and motives questioned. I expect more.
BUT (and it's a bold, capitalised one), I'm not so proud as to believe I couldn't be wrong. I could be. It has happened before, and this is why I haven't explained the what and why of all of this. To do so publicly and then find out I was wrong would be devastating for me, as it may mean other people would start to think the same because of me.
What I did want to say was this:
I'm genuinely seeking truth from the Bible about what God actually says to His people. This morning, I sat and prayed for divine leading, and then read Matthew 1 through 3. Tomorrow I'll do the same and start at Matthew 4 and read from there. When I get to the end of Revelation, I'm going to go back to Genesis and read from there. This to me seems the best way to approach this. I'm asking God to show me. Asking that if I've got it wrong, He will point me at what is right. Surely, surely where you're asking questions about something you've been taught, to go back to simply the word of God is the best, if not only way to find what is actually true.
Monday, January 30, 2012
So I have some medium-size things to say, and I wanted to put them in a post all together. I've gone back and read posts from my blog in the past in the same way one might look at photos from years gone by. It can be revealing, or cathartic, or surprising, or a number of other fancy words. Basically, it's why I'm putting these thoughts together.
Someone Is Wrong On The Internet!
I've just spent my evening writing to someone I don't know to try and convince them of something they didn't ask to be convinced about, because it's something that is important to me. Not a religious argument, btw. Just something that reflects a little on me, so I wanted to advocate on behalf of those like me. Cryptic enough? ;) Anyway... I wonder sometimes why I care so much about what random strangers think of me.
Internet Dating Is Unfun
I'm paying far too much money to make new "friends", where the inverted commas define a class of person with whom I've had a couple of coffees and conversations, whom I've parted on good terms with, but who doesn't really want to pursue things any further. It's nice that it's friendly, but it's gut-wrenchingly soul-destroying that I am clearly predisposed toward being in the "friend zone". It's like my teenage years all over again, without anywhere near the degree of opportunity. Maybe I need a wingman...
Fat People Are Less Likely To Get Married (statistical fact)
I'd heard this before, but had to find the reference. I think there are other studies that find the same conclusions.
So this one is hard to come to grips with, but I've thought about it lots and it does make sense. Yes, to express it in cliché: true beauty comes from within. But when you first meet someone, that person in your mind consists of perhaps 90% how they look, and maybe 10% the conversation you've had with them. Over time, as you get to know the person more, the character attributes they possess, their interests, etc., make up more of the picture, and so someone who is physically unattractive can still be found quite attractive by a member of the opposite gender based on who they are as a whole. But if you are dating outside of your normal social circle, it's not uncommon to decide after a date or two whether or not you want to continue seeing someone. And really, how you feel about that person is based fairly heavily on their appearance. This all sounds quite shallow (and let's face it - it is), but being on the statistical downside of this particular factoid, I can see that there's not going to be any changing it. And I can see that I'm doing it as much as anyone else. It's just how it is, but interesting to consider how we behave in this context.
I made the following statement to my psychologist (gasp! yes, I see a psychologist occasionally):
"From my observation, a person in my situation who doesn't find their way into a new relationship doesn't recover."She asked me a few questions about this: What situation? Any relationship? Define "recover"? When I'd answered, she rephrased the statement slightly to pinpoint what I was talking about. Something like:
"From my observation, a person who has lost a satisfying long-term committed relationship against their desire, who does not find another committed, long-term relationship, does not return to the level of emotional satisfaction they had prior to the loss." (my rather haphazard paraphrase - I don't remember the exact words now)After saying this, she sat there and thought for a minute, and then said:
"I'd agree with that."This both makes perfect sense, and also flies in the face of a lot of the well-meaning advice I've got along the way. Specifically, the advice that I need to "be happy on my own" in order to be emotionally healthy enough to not be on my own. Quite obviously when you're in a long term relationship, you clear other stuff out of the way to make room for it. You compromise. Sacrifice. Change plans, and make plans. When it's removed, you're not the same person you were prior, and can't just go back to being fine on your own. Ever. You have two choices: make do, or fill the gap. People make do a lot. They throw things into the gap that hide its size for a little bit. Maybe. But ultimately, there's something not right whether they'll admit it or not, and everyone else can see it.
I find often I feel bad for wanting to get married again as more than just a casual aside. I actually really want to, and am keen to persue it as a goal. But it's almost like it's socially unacceptable to be that guy or girl. The word "desperate" comes to mind. I'm not desperate. Just tired of tripping over the gap all the time.
Internet Dating Is Unfun, Part 2
Clearly, eHarmony has decided that I'm an outdoorsy kind of person, and that I should only meet other outdoorsy people.
- My Playstation and Mass Effect 2
- Sites that deliver a random funny image every time you click a button
- General lack of motivation
- Writing blog posts
Sunday, January 01, 2012
We drank cider, and tried to control the rabble of children that outnumbered parents 3-to-1. We stumbled over how to fill time until the midnight fireworks, by which time one gaggle of children had already left, and the remainder were beginning to fall into unconsciousness on the living room floor. As soon as the fireworks ended, I helped my eldest find a collection of cards he'd brought, lost, but absolutely had to have for tomorrow, and then gathered my youngest sleeping in my arms and herded them both into the car.
I heralded the new year with friends, but this year it felt like we were soldiers looking back on a long battle behind us. A year's fight is done, but so much has been lost along the way, and the road ahead doesn't lead us back to a comfortable home and a ticker tape parade. We sit in the quiet trenches and look at each other wondering where to from here. Around us lies the fallen remains of friendships that have been lost. Ideals destroyed. Visions shattered. For some of us, we bear the wounds of betrayal - from friends we trusted, colleagues, spouses. Some of us are fed up from watching those we once admired as people of substance crumble and fall around us. All of us have pondered escape, and the sweet aroma of a new beginning in another locale I am sure will see at least one of us absent in years to come.
But as for today; today we are the stalwarts. We are the remaining steadfast few amongst the many of our cohort who said words and made commitments that now are lost; caught in the merciless crossfire of a narcissistic culture. Those who still stand, who still fight, for values they professed when such profession was easy. We are far from perfect, and God knows we are judged for it, but I for one will not fall to the shots of those who have deserted and take aim to appease their guilt. We stand guard over a way of life I believe in, and for the sake of my children I cannot in good conscience avoid the line of fire. I will not back down. I will not surrender. I will not take my life for granted.
Friendship requires trust. Marriage requires faithfulness. Love requires commitment. I will no longer tolerate friends I cannot trust. I will stand against those who are unfaithful to their marriages. And I will commit to love my children, my friends, and my God with all that I am. For me, there is no other way to live - these things I believe in, and I would be less of a man if I were to step away from them.
This is not the direction I intended to go with this post, but it's where I've ended up and I'm content with what I've written. If I can accomplish nothing else this year, I will stand. And if that's not a New Year's Resolution, I don't know what is.
Happy New Year, everyone.