Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GUN CONVERSATION..January 15, 2013

This is a Facebook conversation I had with several responsible gun owners regarding how the nation might best respond to the epidemic of neighborhood massacres where high power semi-automatic weapons are always the weapon of choice.




Columbine Massacre

Semi Automatic War Weapon


Jim Hibbett: Why would anyone rush to the conclusion that these words(Obama's  general statement about suggestions  forthcoming for reducing the likelihood of more citizen massacres. He also said their may be some actions he could initiate by executive order.) indicate that the second amendment is being threatened? It may mean that all gun purchases will be required to have registration and background checks and possibly some type of weapons of war be made illegal(as they used to be). There is so much unreasonable fear around this issue. What is truly making persons afraid now in the land? Ask yourself if it is a legitimate fear, like 'Is someone's family gong to be mass murdered at school or the movies?" or a fear that is very low on the bar of actual reality? There is no way to eliminate all fear in life but there are reasonable ways to reduce true and real threats to our citizens. The later is all this debate is about, not taking away anyone's reasonable guns so you will be suddenly attacked by criminals or the government. REASON not EMOTION needs to be securely in place for this important conversation. Let's take a big breath and pay attention to what is true and real.

Steve Waller The past four years have demonstrated that there is radicalism to the inth degree in office. And, little regard for patience in going through the system of government, but to jump quickly to fulfill a personal ideology.

Jim Hibbett Steve. That kind of statement might be considered by some as a 'jump quickly' unsubstantiated statement based on what feels and not so much what the record shows. We all need to resist letting our tendencies to free deeply running emotions to cloud our capacity to describe what is actually there. Emotion is not a bad thing itself, it is our source of passion, but it becomes a real enemy of reality when it runs the show and takes precedence over careful thought and reason. Saying something is to the' nth degree' is nearly always an exaggeration, not based on any factual foundation. This president's record is quite centrist on most all issues, even compared with previous republican presidents.

The second amendment gives us the right to bear arms and now ...that right is infringed upon when it is altered as to what the government says we can bear... criminals WILL posess guns ILLEGALLY... it is the criminal where strict law needs to happen... there is "talk" as to the government having our military going door to door... WAKE UP AMERICA! Conformity to a society that is ruled by the government is and has been occuring. Take a stand... The ATTITUDE to trust and allow certain guns for us to surrender is an infringement on our rights and freedom.

Jim Hibbett Be careful of such 'talk.' That is usually exactly what it is. Talk really is cheap and usually not fact based.  That is the kind of thing that stirs unreal fear and takes away ones reasonable peace of mind. Obviously there has always been and must always be limits on any right including what kind of 'arms' are reasonable and that do not not become a serious threat to other innocent citizens. If we can't discuss such things without an 'all or nothing' mind set then we can't even have a functioning government. Surely that is not what anyone wants. There are limits and boundaries to all things and in a democracy the "People' through lawful processes sit down and make decisions in the public's interest. There is always and must be a trade off or balance between individual rights and public well being. No one is an 'island unto himself.' This is nothing new. But some , however unintentionally, are letting unrealistic fears stop such a democratic process from happening. This is occurring around several issues facing us as a country. This sets our country back, keeps us from adapting to new realities and facing new challenges. We get into a rut that makes good governing impossible.

Micki Didas Sorrentino As "The People" it is time for individuals to stand up and stop from such changes to occur. It is in these "trade off" as you so put it. That the only thing being traded off is our freedoms. It is this complacient attitude in trusting the government to handle it. It will do just that and take away our rights that our founding fathers fought for.... As I originally so put. It is simple. The second ammendent needs to be upheld. You have to stand for something....or as people fall for everything!!

Mike Nale Jim if you check the laws we have back ground checks in place already you can check this! The mentally unstable idiot that murdered those poor children tried to illegally buy a gun 2 days before he murdered those helpless kids his mom knew he was mentally unstable taught him to use weapons and gave him illegally access to her weapons her careless behavior cost her life and a lot of innocent children president Obamma's head law enforcement pick also gave illegally weapons to Mexican drug cartel members and got many people killed and 2 dea American agents , also giving weapons to Islamic extremest fighting in Syria if you do not want to carry your choice it is my choice and any other law abiding citizen to keep and bare arms guaranteed by the constitutional of this great nation I shed blood 3times in war for this right and to protect this right for other Americans have you ever served your country ?


Jim Hibbett Well Micki. It likely is not as simple as you wish and the only way healthy government has ever worked, including with the founding fathers, is that all stake holders(gun owners are a steak holder but not the only ones, that is all I am saying) have a voice that WILL BE HEARD . That is what people have died to protect, not that one voice alone be heard with no other discussion allowed. No right or amendment is above the open and honest scrutiny of the people. No one can ever get all they want, not if you wish to have a real democracy and true freedom. There is the individual and there is the community and both have to be honored and protected. Yes , if there is no trade off then you have either tyranny(which you fear) or chaos and every person for himself(which you also should fear.) Balance is always the only reasonable goal for a democratic society. It is uncomfortable to say the least to be a citizen during times of great social change but we should be thankful that we have a voice for how changes unfold in the democracy, but no one gets to call all the shots. It is that simple. That is where we always have to start if we love freedom and democracy. There is no other right place to seek solutions to different opinions.

Jim Hibbett Is it possible to stick with the topic presented? To go everywhere is another way , however unintended, to keep the conversation from going anywhere. This is the kind of thing that the national conversation must move beyond and that we hopefully can agree we want to move beyond. Otherwise as a nation we have no capacity to make genuine decisions and policies in the best interests of all.

Micki Didas Sorrentino I clearly have expressed how I feel on this issue.I will not go back and forth. Yes,it is that simple. The People need to stand as a whole and not let the second ammendement be infringed upon. That is how tyranny starts...freedoms being taken away....

Mike Nale Without the 2nd right amendment in place we would also lose freedom of speech the right to gather and all our other rights a man who has the right to bear arms is a citizen a man who does not is a subject !

Jim Hibbett We have regulated the use of automobiles all along and continue to require higher standards of safety and we attempt to keep drunk drivers off the road. Nothing is perfect but we genuinely try and do make progress in safety. Few are on the sidelines demanding that it always be left as it is and no new regulations and requirements be formed. Some are wanting the gun issue to never be thoughtfully  studied and appropriate regulations formed with the expectations they be seriously enforced. There is this powerful voice in the room that uses its power to squash any genuine oversight.  A power that funds many of our politicians and requires them to not  have any serious discussion about  gun safety. This power  protects the status quo no matter what new crises the country finds itself facing. That is what needs to be seen and changed. NO one gets to call all the shots.

Jim Hibbett Actually armed citizens lowers our freedom to assemble and speak out for all know that someone with a gun may not like what is being said and feel threatened by free speech. Thus free speech is hampered and damped down by the unspoken threat of violence.

Jim Hibbett Micki. As I attempted to explain for anyone to say their way or the highway, no discussion allowed or I will leave the table, is not patriotic or American. It is highly self centered and assumes ones personal individual wisdom is always greater than any other voices. when did this idea of democracy take such strong roots? It seems this particular issue really brings it into the open.." I don't care what anyone thinks or a what anyone's concerns are, my way or nothing.... or I will leave the conversation.' If that is not what you are saying please correct  me. I'm seeing this democracy destroying attitude in too many voices. Not a good sign for any of us as a nation. I'm confident if we keep talking to each other some of that attitude will dissipate . I surely hope so.

Mike Nale I have freedom of speech also I all fought to guarantee that right for ever American !

Randy McJunkins @Jim... If you are saying that my ability to protect my family should be negotiated by someone other than me you are wrong. The second amendment was not written to guarantee America that they will have the guns needed to hunt game. Hunting was an ever day thing back then. It was written to give us the ability to protect us and our family from people wishing to do us harm, with a strong emphasis on the Government. Owning a weapon of choice is not so we can cause harm to the general public, it is a strong deterrent to keep the criminal element at bay. Look back through history, other countries would not attack us because they knew “there would be a weapon behind ever blade of grass”. Now if you limit America to let us say, you can only own shotguns for hunting. Do you really think that anyone, whether it is another country or our own government, is going to be worried that you brought a shotgun to a machine gun fight??? You buy home owners insurance to protect your house, although it is highly unlikely you will ever need it for its core purpose. History has shown that people in the past has really need this insurance and the ones that had it were extremely happy they did and the ones that did not have it wish they did. I buy guns as insurance to protect me and my family. Although I it is highly unlikely I will ever need them. History has shown were people in the past has really need them but their Government had taken them and said “we will protect you”. Where are they now? How many glowing examples do you need before you understand it can happen to anyone at anytime. It has been shown that all but one of the mass shootings in the recent past has happened in “GUN SAFE ZONE”. There have been MANY ones that happen in other places that good people stood up and defended themselves and others with guns of their choice. If you truly think your Government could never take you rights away from you totally then you really need to pull your head out of the mud. Read your history at all the examples from the past. The second amendment is non-negotiable. It does not say the right to bear arms that is approved by the Government. It was written for us to be able to protect ourselves from ALL enemies foreign or domestic. And if my enemy is carrying an AK-47 I sure don’t want to be holding a shotgun.

Jim Hibbett Have you tried to find a bazooka and maybe a can of nerve gas or bombs to add to your arms to protect yourself Randy? This debate is not about you having reasonable guns to protect your family. It is about doing what we can to lessen the chances of the wrong persons having easy access to true weapons of war and slaying our innocent children and adults.(please keep those very real images in mind when discussing this topic. that is all its about.) The fear we all have of that is EXTREMELY real and even certain to happen. (because we have negligently let our land be proliferated by weapons of war.) The fears you have mentioned though possible are nearly infinitesimal compared to our very real Public fear of these repeating massacres. There are numerous things we can do without taking away anyone's right to bear arms to decrease the likelihood of them continuing and growing. All rights have limits and ALL Americans have a voice interpreting and deciding those limits, not just a few who very strong feelings about it one way or the other. Just as no one would suggest that bazookas, nerve gas and bombs be on legal market at gun shows, many of your fellow Americans(not the government) believe some other weapons of war be considered as ones to add again to that list. Responsible gun regulation is only one arm of a serious effort to reduce the chances of mass killings or our own people. Your opinion runs the risk of appearing that your interests lean very much toward self interest rather than also public interest. You don't want that to happen I'm sure. This debate has been postponed for at least two decades for irrational reasons. We are finally getting around to sitting down to have an honest talk. That is always good whether in a family a town or a nation.

Randy McJunkins OK Jim what do you call reasonable? And do you really think taking my ar-15 away from me is going to stop mass killings? If a person wants to do harm to people he is going to do it. In China, I think on the same day as Sandy Hook, there was a person that killed a mass with a machete. You people don’t seem to understand taking ones guns will do nothing but hinder good people from protecting themselves or others from these people. Think if you can if there was an armed officer in any of the mass killings. First off the person probably would have never attempted the crime, but if he did attempt it the outcome would have been totally different. Let’s say hypothetically someone who has made their mind up that they are going to break into someone’s house and harm them. Now they have two houses to chose from, yours where they know you have no guns or real way of protecting yourself. Or mine. Which do you think they will chose? There are other ways of stopping these horrible crimes than taking someone’s rights away from them. Oh and if it required me to have a bazooka or tear gas to stop this guy from breaking into my house and doing harm to my family, I sure would be glad I had it. And pardon some of the wording, I really hate auto correct.

Jim Hibbett Anyone ever feel surrounded? I've spoken my peace for this post as well as several of you have. I will add I have heard no one , on this post, express any serious concern about the only reason I'm talking..... innocent American people, many no doubt gun owners, being massacred by high powered weapons of war. I just have not heard that as what is topmost on anyone's mind. Take a look at all the comments above and you will not see this as the problem being lamented. I've heard the concerns you have expressed. What I have heard is, in my own paraphrase , ' My personal world is going to be greatly jeopardized and my quality of life seriously harmed if weapons are war should become illegal." I just do not see that threat to you as realistic. I do not think that is true in any serious way. If I did I would be quick to support you in your being mistreated or harmed. Respectfully.

Dave Long The Second Amendment discussed so thoroughly here is part of the "Bill of Rights"! The Bill of Rights is the very foundation of our Republic! Please note that it is not #5 or #9 it is #2 because of it's importance! You are right Randy, the second amendment was created to afford us the means to protect ourselves from our own government not for hunting. Jim, you use the term "reasonable" to describe weapons you believe we should be allowed to keep. Who decides reasonable? The same President and Senate that haven't passed a budget in over 1000 days? The same administration that has spent more in four years than the three previous administrations combined, and tripled our national deficit in that four years? Are second amendment supporters selfish or self-centered because they do place their own families' security ahead of the general population? If it comes down to you or the other guy, who will you put first? Yes, the welfare no scratch that, welfare has become an ugly word, the well-being of the general population is important and certainly it is something we should all be in favor of, but secure and protect your own life and family first. Fully automatic weapons, which are illegal to own have been stolen from National Guard armories and police stations. Did the restrictions stop some criminal or nutcase from stealing them ..NO! Promoting self-reliance, patriotism, decency, parental responsibility, and Judeo-Christian beliefs will do much more good toward protecting the general population than any amount of regulation will. Pandering to the many individual, minority groups and minority religions while restricting the open practise of Christianity in our schools, public gatherings, and government institutions has eroded the morality and therefore the safety of our nation and it's citizens!

Dave Long Jim, I don't know of anyone who was unaffected by the masacre of those innocent children in Connecticut or the theater patrons in Colorado. Those acts are beyond normal comprehension. What we are saying is that no new regulations or restrictions will make anyone safer. Criminals and crazies will always find a weapon of some kind to use in their eveil acts. It makes no sense to restrict law abiding citizens in any way. The people who will obey new laws are not the people who commit these atrocities.

Randy McJunkins Jim I do agree with back ground checks for all people. And people with a history of mental illness, assault or felony charges should not have access to any kind of fire arm. And you are wrong to say I am not concerned about the problem at hand. Someone could walk into my son’s school tomorrow and do the same thing. Will I blame the gun he used? No. I will blame the person who used it and then blame the state for removing the SRO from the school system. And you are also wrong about my personal world statement. Yes my family comes first but if I am in a movie theater and someone comes in and starts shooting I am going to do my best to stop that person from hurting anyone, Not just my family. If I am able I will protect any person no matter the color, creed or religion or if they believe in gun rights. I WILL NOT be in a situation where all I can do is watch my family die, or any other person, and not be able to do anything. That is thinking about other people and not just my world. There are good people out there and put in the right spot will react to the situation and stop these crazy people. But they cannot do it if you tie their hands.

Micki Didas Sorrentino I am a woman of few words. Randy and Dave you have worded everything so well. And Peggy...you're great!

John David Putnam I am very glad that there are restrictions on some of the types of weaponry that average citizens are allowed to possess. I favor some of the suggested improvements in background checks, reasonable restrictions and tracking of private sales…..but only with the intention of helping stop the criminal and mentally ill from easy access. I also favor the tough enforcement of the laws that are on the books now. I believe it is possible to stop “straw buyers” from purchasing and then reselling to criminals if the current laws were actually enforced.
Jim is to be commended for defending his beliefs. I appreciate his thoughts, especially when they challenge mine. Yes, he is outnumbered here but that in and of itself does not mean he is wrong. I feel the discussion is slipping a bit into areas that are not entirely helpful so let’s let it be for now…OK?
Thank you all. Really!

  1. Jim Hibbett Randy and other contributors. I have no doubts about your sincerity and willingness to be of service to others. I apologize for sounding otherwise in the heat of discussion. I am truly listening to you and learning. I am also emphasizing I think some of the fears strong responsible gun owners describe and focus on in these conversations, and the national one, are not nearly as likely, statistically speaking, or certain as mass killings are to happen in most places the present national situation. And so I appeal to such gun owners that they consider these less-likely to happen personal concerns be placed at a lower priority so we together can face this massacre epidemic effectively. I appeal to responsible gun owners that your families are far more at risk of being maimed and killcd in a massacre using high power semi automatic weapons(however obtained) than by someone breaking into your home with an intent to kill or mugging you with lethal force on the street. Best wishes to you all. Thanks for expressing yourselves. Signing Off. Jim:)
Micki Didas Sorrentino Jim...everyone is entitled to their own opinion..and discussion about what we feel and think...one of the great things about America!!! Have a great day everyone!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

LES MISERABLES...A SPIRITUAL VIEW OF LIFE...January 11, 2013

I went to see it today. While fresh on my mind I will post my strong and encouraged reaction. If you have not seen it I am not trying to give it away but obviously you will know more than if you read no reviews. ... It makes a strong moral emotional impact. I missed many words in the songs but think I caught the story pretty well. Such movies leave me convinced they are, even if  unintended,  attempts to make the basic Christ story far more relevant and applicable today than typical 'evangelical' and much orthodox interpretations are doing.  If only people could seriously consider that such public collective art and story can truly be a most needed 'word of God' in our culture. Some movies are quite worthless but some could have strong redeeming and  spiritually guiding effects on our time of spiritual wondering as a nation and world.  I rank this movie as one in this category. All the themes are here... the perils of human love, grace, law,evil, good, mercy,  forgiveness of others and self forgiveness.  Very absent, and I am grateful, are any typical orthodox  images of the idea of sacrificial and blood  atonement... where someone has  to sacrifice in order to appease God's  wrathful sense of justice. Yes sacrifice is very needed and appropriate as love's response to life  and to create justice(in the human community... not of God's holiness demanding anyone's moral perfection.) I was moved deeply. I think both main  male characters were too much impressed with the final authority  of any  legal or moral law. One of them , because of devotion to formal civil and religious law, was never able to extend mercy or receive it for  himself. In the end he turned such devotion to law even against himself(This certainly showed his sincere conviction but also how spiritually  misguided  he was all along.) This character  had acts of mercy and unconditioned love  extended to him but he was never able to make it  become fully  conscious that this is  the actual and true nature of God. He seemed rather to see it as  just some weak man who  ignorantly gave it to him to their own destruction. So he is shown as never learning  the most central lessons of spirituality.


The other was taught by the injustices of life to hate and mistrust life and others but then, due to a direct uninvited experience of grace from an official of religion, he had a transformation. He then was able naturally, not by self determination, to act with grace and love toward others along his convoluted  path. So he experienced both receiving and giving love and grace throughout  his life. But his learning was still not complete for he felt that  law breaking and failed character in his early years were a part of his life story that  he should shield his adopted and dearly loved daughter from. He made arrangements for her to never know of his actual  shadow. This showed, I think,  that he did not yet realize that his moral failures were just as much necessary and as important part of the story of his spiritual  life development  as those actions of love and grace that he selflessly  performed. 

My heart sunk when it seemed that the daughter was not going to be given the full 'truth' of her step father's  spiritual journey. In the end she did find him and was able to learn the full truth from him. This gave her a chance to learn of how  grace and love had transformed her Dad's life and it gave her father his last lesson... which is that anyone who loved him was delighted  to forgive him and  to thereby even more appreciate the good qualities of his life. And certainly  the greatest lesson of all  is that he was invited to forgive and fully receive himself , as he had done for others, including the lost and shadow side of his early life. These are to me the central elements needing stressed in the Christ story in our day. Personally I do not think such movies  catch the eye of the nation simply by chance. We can learn much from them. Good to remember this novel was written in 1830, quite ahead of its time as a  real life parallel to a spiritual  interpretation of the gospels'  story of  Jesus.

Monday, January 7, 2013

EVOLUTION, THE IMPORTANCE OF....January 7, 2013

 It has just struck me why a basic belief in the continuing 'evolution of life' on the planet is so very important in our times. When one believes that the nature of life is to be always unfolding into a future that is always becoming something different s/he is motivated, open-minded  and enlivened by the very important question, 'what is next?' Such a mind set frees one from those aspects of any ideology or religion that obsessively clings to the past and how ones forebears have experienced and interpreted the world. It also motivates one to want to cooperate with the unfolding of an improved quality of life on the planet, to be on the 'right side of history', whatever that is going to be. And it is surely to be something different than it is presently. To believe that such change is not the nature of life leads one to dig in their heels to keep the same beliefs and attitudes in tact, to be defensive against change rather than trusting and trying to cooperate with that which is very likely destined. The 'static view' of life  leads one to be committed to the past as being the 'good old days.'
Fossils Around The World- A Primary Way Of Learning About  Evolution
Such changes in our day likely include social ones like the unfolding equality of all races and sexual orientations,the definition of family, cooperation with factors that have made of us all a global community and the growing sense that our most trusted institutions(i.e. government, religion, and education) are in need of pronounced changes and reformation- not to the past but for the future. Belief in evolution pushes us to imagine what these changes should be and look like and to give our energy to such creativity. Such change always involves times of sadly relinquishing once important and cherished beliefs as structures of the past. Whether one places all such systems into a framework of essential, and somewhat anxious, change or considering them as being eternal structures needing preserved at all costs by human effort makes a very distinctive difference in how we live life and especially how we solve problems.

I don't think this difference is primarily one of political parties. Evolutionary thinking may actually be a way around our extreme political polarization for it is something that is not necessarily incongruous with parts of  various political and some religious perspectives. Probably the major force that keeps our country's majority from not trusting in an evolutionary perspective is a variety of religious belief which interprets 'God is the same yesterday , today and forever' as being a God who is static and not at the center of evolutionary change in the universe.  That is a tragic misapplication of that beautiful  statement. In a sense there is 'nothing new under the sun' but we already know there are fathomless ways the fundamental functions of nature can rearrage to always be bringing a 'new creation.'  As one who believes in such evolution and is also a Christian, I think a 'static view' of life and of the ultimate God is tragic and especially dangerous in our present time, one of tumultuous and necessary change.


In the past my religious opinion had led me to be strongly opposed to any serious belief in a general theory of biological, social and theological evolution. But I'm convinced there is no real threat to one's developing belief in God and the hopeful point of view for humanity  that Evolution generates.  In my strong 'vision' like experiences of mid- August of 1985  one of the highlighted initial themes presented in symbolic language was Evolution. Included in the symbols, which  in the context given was at once shocking and humorous, as the answer to my question regarding  the nature of our human origins was the head of a baby gorilla coming out of its mother's birth canal. This spoke very authoritatively instructing me to give much closer attention to the, origin, foundations and progression of evolutionary thought and to its very important,even essential, contribution to human knowledge and survival. Jim Hibbett