Friday, April 20, 2007

Stop Household Cleaners before They Stop You

Friday, April 20, 2007

I want to begin this article by saying that, of course, the events that unfolded at Virginia Tech this past Monday are horrifying and have touched the lives of every American, as well as people across the world. One can’t say enough about the strength of the VT community and the grief/shame of so many South Koreans, a very proud people who should not let one disturbed human being keep them from holding their heads high.

With that said, I think that it’s time to discuss (as Chris Matthews and Brain Williams felt it was appropriate to do the DAY AFTER on MSNBC – quite a tasteless move) the underlying issues behind this awful tragedy. If nothing more comes out of this massacre, we should make sure that we use it as leverage to ban all firearms. Yes, that’s right, what better event than a nationally televised mass murder, the worst in history, to catapult the anti-gun lobbyists to the forefront of national debate. Because, after all, it wasn’t a sick, uninstitutionalized, nut case who committed those 32 murders at Virginia Tech . . . it was those two handguns that did the killing!

In 2003, the National Safety Council published a statistical report entitled “What Are the Odds of Dying” in which they calculated the lifetime odds of an American citizen dying from a number of different causes [1]. Their study was based on data from National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau [2,3]. In 2003, 44,757 people perished in car accidents, 48,071 in all transportation accidents. 19,457 people died as a result of “accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances” and 17,229 people died from falling, while only 11,920 people met their demise by being shot with a gun. In their study, the NSC found that the average American was over 4 times more likely to die in a transport accident than assault by firearm. The average American is about 63 % more likely to be accidentally poisoned to death and 44 % more likely to fall to their deaths than to be assaulted and killed with a firearm. Therefore, I propose that we put a ban on all automobiles, poisons (i.e. household cleaners – especially bleach, that one’s a doozy), and heights (i.e. stairs, tall buildings, cliffs – especially cliffs). I don’t like cleaning or heights much anyway. How does that sound?

I have yet to hear of a single case in which a gun jumped up off a table, pulled its own trigger, and killed somebody. For goodness sake, the problem is the people, not the guns.

[1] National Safety Council, NSC.com, “What Are the Odds of Dying”, http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm.

[2] National Center for Health Statistics, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/Default.htm.

[3] U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/.

Other websites of interest:

http://www.christianaction.org.za/firearmnews/2003-3_SelfDefenceMyths.htm

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Insincere Politicians

I wrote the following article several months ago, but still believe that it holds true today:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

President Bush addressed the nation today regarding the current situation in Iraq and the new strategy to be implemented in that troubled country. I am not a military expert. I don’t know if the proposed increase in troops and new plan will lead to success and thus allow the U.S. military to return home. As such I would never presume to know for certain what is best for our country in the long run when it comes to this scenario and I certainly did not sit down tonight to write an argument for the President’s decision nor for troop withdrawal. What I did sit down to discuss is the disillusionment I felt upon listening to the Democrat response to the President’s speech along with the consistent “it’s time to leave Iraq” mantra of the party leading up to and following the November 2006 elections.

I should be upfront and inform the reader as to my personal political persuasion. If it has not already been made obvious let me leave no doubt that I am a conservative mind. Consequently, I undoubtedly bring a bias to the discussion that is difficult for me to gauge, despite my human nature that insists I am capable of achieving an objective viewpoint. But upon watching the Democratic response to the President’s speech by Senator Dick Durbin I was not surprised to hear that the party’s position is still that it’s time for the Iraqi government to suck it up and for us to pack it up. This, I must admit, is quite an enticing position, not only for me, but for any American who hates to see American soldiers fall in the line of duty. As much as my moral compass insists that the lives and freedom of the Iraqi people are worth fighting and dying for, I am tempted to agree with the senator from Illinois and I must admit, part of me says they’re not. It is exactly this sentiment that won the Democrats control of both Houses of Congress and lost it for the Republicans last November – a position rarely disputed among political pundits – despite that fact that the party almost unanimously supported the war in its early stages (i.e. when it was popular). Upon agreeing with the President tonight on CNN Senator John McCain, Larry King asked McCain if he had considered the political implications of his position, especially considering the fact that many Republicans are now at odds with the President’s point of view. The Senator answered, “I would much rather loose and election than loose a war.” I was actually surprised to hear such strong words from a man who many consider to be the Republican frontrunner in the 2008 Presidential elections. McCain’s words sound to me to be absent of any political calculation. And therein lies my disillusionment with the Democratic Party. So I sincerely ask the reader, am I wrong to suspect that the current Democratic position on Iraq is not only the easy way out, but also the politically popular position that they believe will catapult their party to Presidential victory in 2008? I can’t really see it any other way – in which case it’s difficult to view the current democratic leaders as anything other than political opportunists, or in other words, insincere politicians.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Flying Box Assults Unsuspecting Grad Student on Prospect Street

Today I got hit by a flying box.

Yes, you heard me.

A flying box.

In re-living the marginally traumatizing event over and over in my head, I'm reminded of the old Macintosh screen saver with the flying toasters.

I was waiting to cross the street. Standing on the sidewalk. Minding my own business. A strong gust of wind came up from behind me, shortly after which I was accosted by an empty cardboard box that had managed to catch flight, using its sinister lid flaps as makeshift wings to execute the epic aerial assault.

After the initial strike, the assailant fell at my feet and was shortly thereafter whisked away down the street to continue its rampage, I’m sure, on other unfortunate and unsuspecting students.