Friday, April 19, 2013

Crazy April and Emotional Soapbox (You've Been Warned)

This has been such a crazy week. First, on Monday, was the Boston Marathon bombing (as I write this, the manhunt for the second suspect continues).

Then, on Wednesday (warning - soap box vent coming up), lawmakers failed us by failing to close a loop hole when it comes to background checks with gun sales. 

That alone was frustrating, but of course it doesn't end there. I am tired of the criticism of the President for his speech that day. I felt his human fallibility and passion for those that are heartbroken over the senseless deaths of people when guns are put into the wrong hands (including himself being heartbroken). Yet, he was accused of using them as pawns so he could fulfill his agenda like a robot without emotion.

First, let me preface by saying, I am not anti-gun. I believe in our 2nd Amendment rights. But I believe in carrying out those rights with COMMON SENSE. No matter how you smoke it, guns are meant to kill (whether it be a person, beer can or animal). Because that is their objective, we need to be smart about it. However, we're humans and common sense and logic is often down with the sewer. 

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords with Astronaut Husband Mark Kelly
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly are two of my heroes when it comes to gun philosophy. They're gun owners and they also favor stricter common sense laws. Oh, and Gabby was shot in the face by a deranged gunman back in January 2011 (Alexander was only 2 weeks old). She knows the issue more than many of us can ever understand. She also favors her Second Amendment gun rights and she has the right to stand by the President on this. Yet, she was accused of being a pawn of the President. Completely untrue. She was passionate about an issue and wanted to fight alongside him!

Would this new law completely solve the problem? No. The coward that killed those little children in Newtown last December would have still been able to get the firearms, as they belonged to his mother (whom he also killed that morning). But any little measure helps and brings more common sense to the table. 

I look at it like closing our doors and locking our homes. Do we just leave them wide open and say, "Doesn't matter...if someone really wants to break in, they'll find a way....why should I bother closing and locking my door?" 

No. We still take those extra measures. Do break-ins still occur? Yes. But we're usually smart about taking security measures and closing our garages and locking our homes. Doing so does prevent many break-ins. 

And someone breaking in and taking our property isn't nearly as dangerous and tragic as someone losing their lives to gun violence! Yet, that same common sense with protective measures certainly doesn't exist when it comes to gun laws. 

As a side-note, I brought up this comparison a few months ago and I got a response like, "I use my gun to protect my home." That's all well and good, but if no one is home and someone breaks in, how can your Glock help you? It can't. Hence, we take these extra measures by closing our doors, locking them, closing our garages and many even have an alarm system (and I highly doubt this person only uses his gun to protect his home. I'm pretty sure he locks his doors when they're not home). Let's do the same common sense measures with our firearms.

I'm tired of the conspiracy theorists that are convinced by the paranoia that their guns will be taken away. I'm tired of the people that are so wrapped up in politics that they are so easily influenced and manipulated - whether it be e-mails with misinformation or the opinions of talking heads that equate this administration to the end of days and our President as the antichrist. 
I added this for the art and pretty colors. Yeah, that's it. ;-)
I'm tired of the disrespect of our elected leaders. Am I angry at the senators that voted against this measure to close loop holes with gun sales? Sure. On a political level, I am very dissapointed and I hope future elections send the message that they're not doing the job they were elected to do. 

Did I have a problem with Bush? Sure. But I respect him as an elected official. He would be a riot to have as a neighbor and I would look up to him in the capacity as a former leader. Politically, he was not my favorite person. But the attitude and disrespect I'm seeing for our President is just wrong. You don't have to agree with him, but he is our President.  I've even seen the viewpoint (it isn't new, but more and more maddening) that President Obama is not really bothered by the deaths of innocent children and that it doesn't register on that level with him. He only comprehends it on a political level. It would be one thing if that viewpoint was held by just a few with seriously skewed mindsets of the world, but sadly it's not. 

I was teaching Primary a few weeks ago. I was explaining to the kids the definition of the word "elect" because we were discussing Emma Hale and how she was selected to compose hymns. "Elect" has a few different definitions, but you can see how it comes down to the same principle of being "selected".

1. To select by vote for an office or for membership.
2. To pick out; select: elect an art course.
3. To decide, especially by preference: elected to take the summer off.
4. To select by divine will for salvation. Used of God. 
We were discussing Emma Hale being an "Elect Lady" as per the lesson manual. Since "elect" means chosen or selected, the kids were also familiar with it in terms of a voting election. One of the kids said, "President Obama was elected." I just nodded and said, 'That's right. He was selected by the votes." (I don't throw any of my politics in my lessons as no one should). 

Just as I said that with the intention of moving to what "elect" meant in terms of Emma Hale, and the lesson, another one of the kids said, "President Obama...." and he did a thumbs down with a fart noise. 

I said to him, "Really? That's how we show respect to our elected leaders?" 
He said he was sorry and we moved on.  (And yes, if Bush was still the president and a kid did the same thing, I would have said the same thing.)

It's heartbreaking that just because his parents do not like our President, they have to send the message that disrespecting our leaders is okay as well. Disagreeing and disrespecting are two different things. Sadly, people's emotions are so high, that it is forgotten and it's passed onto our children.  
I've received politically slanted e-mails from family or friends or those I even go to church with (or have gone to church with in that past) that contain so many lies and exaggerated information. 9 times out of 10 the information is usually debunked by the actual facts and

Yet, people still believe them and forward them on. And many of these same people truly believe that the only people that are having a rational discussion about what to do are the ones who want to arm teachers and the staff at schools. I am saddened by this as well. I am angry by this. 

Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their weapons
I look to the lessons of the Book of Mormon for comfort. Slaughter for slaughter only led to extinction - not just with the Nephites and Lamanites, but the Jaredites as well.

I love how the Anti-Lehi-Nephis dealt with the issue of violence. They buried their weapons and vowed not the use them again. Did it mean the violence ended? No. Those that made no such vow and those that were still determined to use the weapons to commit acts of violence still did so.  I admire the tenacity and integrity of the Anti-Lehi-Nephis for their vow to bury their weapons. Their vow was not in vain.

Anyway, that's it with my soapbox for now. If I had any blog readers at all, I probably chased off half of them (so I might have 2 left) due to my views that do not burn our President in effigy. 

I'll also add President Uchdorf's (Dieter F. Uchdorf is the Second Counselor in the LDS First Presidency) words because well, they're fitting here. And also, because it's
President Uchdorf saying them:
"As you accept the responsibility to seek after truth with an open mind and a humble heart, you will become more tolerant of others, more open to listen, more prepared to understand, more inclined to build up instead of tearing down and you will be more willing to go where God wants you to go"- President Utchdorf
My own emotions are still running high because if the Boston bombing and gun law disappointment wasn't bad enough, there was a huge explosion at a plant in Texas Wednesday evening that has killed at least 12 people (the numbers are still rising) and injured dozens more.  The explosion occurred near Waco, where 20 years ago today was that fire inside the Branch Davidian compound that killed more than 80 people inside.

However, tragedy and disaster is no stranger to April. April does not usually mean happy turn of events. I started seeing this pattern in the 1990s after the Waco, Texas Branch Davidian fire, Oklahoma City bombing and the LA Riots. My birthday is in April, so that's probably why I noticed the pattern early on and thought, "What is the deal with April?"

Being a history nerd, the April findings were staggering. And if the Columbine massacre in 1999 and now the events of this week are any indication, the "April Affect" still continues:

April 4, 1968 - Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. 

April 6, 1994 - The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a  plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down.  

April 11, 1970 - Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m. Fifty-six hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded in the service module. A few days later is a happy ending, however, dubbing the mission a "successful failure" in that no one had lost their life.  Yes, Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies of all time.

April 12, 1945 - President Franklin D Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

April 14, 1865 - President Lincoln was shot (and died the next day) while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington.
April 15, 1912 - The Titanic tragedy. 

April 17, 1961 - Bay of Pigs fiasco. 

April 18, 1906 - The San Francisco Earthquake 

April 19, 1993 - At Waco, Texas, the compound of the Branch Davidian religious cult burned to the ground with 82 persons inside.

April 19, 1995 - At 9:02 a.m., a massive car-bomb explosion destroyed the entire side of a nine story federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 persons.

April 20, 1999 - The devestating school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, as two students armed with guns and explosives stormed into Columbine High School. 

Note: Sadly, Newtown Connecticut's school shooting last December was even worse (as far as lives lost) than this one, which was previously the most deadliest.

April 20, 1889 - Hitler was born in Austria. It is no coincidence that Hitler's birthday and the Columbine massacre occurr on the same date. Did the shooters at Columbine also want to make a big deal in that it was also 110th anniversary of Hitler's birth?

April 26, 1986 - The nuclear accident and disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine.

April 29, 1992 - LA Riots erupted in Los Angeles

Note: That was my 17th birthday.

April 29, 1945 - While in hiding in Berlin, Hitler and Ava Braun were married. 

April 29 and 30, 1975 -  The evacuation by helicopter of American civilians and some 600 Vietnamese from Saigon, South Vietnam in the mission titled Operation Frequent Wind. This was officially the last days of the Vietnam War. I was born during this (not there, obviously). Why my parents didn't keep a newspaper or mention this significance boggles my mind.

April 30, 1945- Hitler and his new bride committed suicide as Berlin's defeat was imminent. 

No, I'm not hiding until May. Are you kidding? We're running out of the kind of weather that means we can go outside! 

Until next time, and happier entries.

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