Monday, December 17, 2012

Notes from the Cave



My parents were here for Christmas this past weekend, flying in from Texas on Friday.  We had dinner at The Pub on Friday night, then saw A Christmas Carol at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park on Saturday.  The kids got to open their presents from their grandparents, and I got a badly overdue new cell phone - a Galaxy S3, which I am thrilled with.  It's the first time I've ever owned a top-of-the-line cell phone.  When it comes to phones, I've always been 3-4 years behind the curve.  Of course, this one will be surpassed, no doubt, in a few months by something else, but at least I'll have a respectable phone for a while to come.  

Next weekend, I will be off Saturday through Tuesday.  I am really looking forward to that extended weekend.  It'll be the longest I've had off at one stretch since my vacation in July.  (Although, I can't really complain because I'm just finishing up the second 3-day weekend I've had in a row, and this will, as I said, be followed by the 4-day weekend coming up.)  

Despite two 3-day weekends in a row, I haven't gotten any legitimate writing done on my new book.  The book is a history of American political parties called Washington's Nightmare, and I had been making really good progress on it until a few weeks ago.  Now I'm stalled out, not because of writer's block, but simply sheer laziness.  I keep getting involved in other things.  In my defense, however, even though I've had double 3-day weekends, I've been really busy with family things throughout both of them.

In the wake of last Friday's horror in Connecticut, I considered writing a piece on gun control, but ultimately decided that nothing I would have to say hasn't already been hashed out by others who can probably say it better and more persuasively than I can.  Still, I thought I might make one comment to give people a little food for thought:

In the United States, we value our rights to own and use firearms.  This right is enshrined in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.  But like any valued freedom, there is a cost.  The cost, for instance, of freedom of expression is a multibillion-dollar porn industry.  The cost of freedom of speech and assembly is a KKK march or a Westboro Baptist Church funeral picket.  The cost of a fair judicial process is that sometimes murderers get acquitted.  The cost of free elections is that uninformed and misinformed people still get to vote.  

The cost of the right to bear arms is that, sometimes, schoolchildren get slaughtered.

The U.S. has one of the highest gun-related murder rates, suicide rates, and accidental death rates in the entire world.  Among developed, or "First World," countries, the U.S. is at the top of all three of those lists involving gun-related deaths.  

Is your right to own a handgun, because you enjoy target shooting (or any other reason), worth all those lives?  

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