MATHEMATICIANS PLEASE GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER

I am fascinated by interesting numbers, like the “Golden Proportion”, or ratio.  However, in researching the number phi φ, or Phi Φ, I have found the usage of these Greek characters, in mathematics, to be completely confused and inconsistent.  Sometimes they are BOTH used to represent the number 1.618…, the Golden Mean, Golden ratio, Golden Proportion, Golden Egg (popped out by the Golden Goose).  Sometimes one (OR the other) is used to represent the “golden ratio conjugate”, or 0.618…  Please, mathematicians, get your act together, and settle on one usage or another, but please be consistent!

Lenny (Leonardo Fibonacci) is probably rollin’ in his grave over this! (purely conjecture on my part – don’t ask me for a “proof”).

I propose that it is logical for (capital) Phi, Φ, to symbolize the Golden Proportion, 1.618…, and (small) phi, φ, to symbolize 0.618… That makes perfect sense in mathematical terms, doesn’t it?  Since 0.618… is the smaller number (and geometrically the smaller portion, 0.618…, usually added to 1 to get the larger golden proportion, 1.618…)?  Quit confusing young, budding mathematicians with inconsistent usage.  On some sites, I have seen the usage confused on the SAME website, and sometimes in the same sentence (or maybe I just imagined that last one).

Don’t ask me for references, I don’t have the energy right now.  Just “Google” it and you will quickly see what I am talking about.

“Rant for the day”.

JUDGMENT TURNS SPIRITUALITY INTO RELIGION

When the urge to point out the errors in others, in diverse ways of thinking, and in ideas contrary to our own takes hold, we too easily fall into the trap of thinking we (and only we) know what is right.  I think it is called pride – when we are convinced that we know what is best for all (projection, too).  I believe this kind of judgment (along with other factors, like greed) is what has repeatedly turned simple spiritual principles of Life into the myriad of religious doctrines and dogmas we see throughout all human history.  Judgment has led to wars, abuses, and atrocities which any rational being can clearly see is not right – “they are wrong, they are in our way, so we need to rid the world of their blasphemy”.  Anything which hurts us, or others, is wrong – what helps and uplifts is right…simple, isn’t it.  The One law of Love, written on our hearts…

DINNER PRAYER FOR FAT FOLKS, LIKE ME

Fire, water, air, and Earth,
I invoke ye now to reduce my Girth.
Let the food which Nourisheth Me
offereth forth Divine Energy,
that I shall fill with Magical Power,
expand my Spiritual Strength this hour.

Let all Excess leave my Bod,
Leaving only what is Good,
for my Fitness and my Health
and Generous Riches –
Bless my Food.

THE “OCCULT” AND “MAGIC” ARE MOST LIKELY NOT WHAT YOU IMAGINE THEY ARE

NOTE: this is all my own personal understanding from my personal experience and study. I would not be at all surprised if your thoughts differed from mine, in fact, I expect that to be the case.

Many authors attempt to convey their concept of what the “occult” is, and what “magic” entails.  Unfortunately, many of them do not possess the great number of years of study in the Western Mysteries, to qualify them to write intelligently on the subject (of course, they do it anyway).  In addition to that, many are writing from a strong religious bias, which prevents them from making any real or substantial contribution to the understanding of “that which cannot be understood”.  The final “kicker” to all this, is that the masses of readers who are ignorant of such things, readily take the misguided writings of such authors as truth, with not even a meager attempt at verification of the veracity of such writings.  No understanding of real magic, or any real knowledge of the occult can come through research of the myriads of unenlightened expositions on the subject.  It is only through many years of concentrated effort, and through the guidance of some reputable “Mystery School” or wise teacher (there are many who claim to be wise, but do not have real wisdom), that even a superficial appreciation of the enigmatic symbolism begins to dawn upon the aspirant.

I wish to do my part to dispel (dis-spell) the misinformation that is rampantly promulgated as truth in this area.

The simplest description i can come up with, of what the occult (and magic, sort of) IS, is the journey to “consciously rediscover the divine spark which already exists, and has always existed, within each and every person – AND thing, in the Universe”.

Occult – “hidden”, secret – refers to the “oral tradition” which was historically transmitted from teacher to student within the religious priesthood, alongside the “written tradition”, which presented divine wisdom in a somewhat obscured and concealed way, for more general consumption. Without clearly revealing specific information which was considered “dangerous” for the common, uneducated, illiterate, and ignorant person to know, they (whoever “they” are, in any time, context, or society) supposedly “protected” their subjects from this “dangerous” knowledge (sound familiar?). Most likely, they were protecting their own (asses and) “authority” over the ruled, subjugated, and enslaved masses. With these texts, some basic “laws” for behavior, and punishments, were presented in whatever “sacred” book existed in any given authoritarian “religion”, or government. The goal of such was (is) to control, contain, and subjugate the masses to the will of the <insert your own self-proclaimed authority here> government or “church” and its political hierarchy (the names change, but the hegemony, sovereignty, or supremacy remain the same). These “authorities” used it as a method to keep their subjects pacified and minimally “happy” (and it works exceptionally well). The “powers that be” did not want the common folk to rebel when they took exception to being enslaved to the “elite”, or bent to their “will”. This situation has existed throughout all of known history, and still exists today. There is always someone who wants to be “boss”, and “fear” of the unknown, or the nonexistent, or of the threatening “other”, is one of many psychological tools used to establish and perpetuate this assumed “authority”. <insert audible sigh here>. Many times, this “tool” takes the form of a sacred religious text.  Don’t you know, if it is “sacred”, how dare anyone question it or take exception to the direct word of (some contrived, fictional) god!

This most “dangerous” information was partially this: the knowledge that each individual was created equal to any other. Each person, and thing, in the Universe is a unique and special divine “Spark” of the Whole, of the Unity. No one “thing”, or “being”, is better, or more valuable than any other. ALL is sacred. Also, each person is given the SAME (spiritual) potentialities and powers as any other. Also, each person is free to do anything of which they can conceive and desire, without any consequences in any kind of “afterlife”. There is no “hell” after death, it is a contrived fiction born in the minds of the power-obsessed. The only consequences for our actions, are those imposed by others, or by “society”, in THIS life, in the physical realm. This is (part of) the occult knowledge which is considered to be the most “dangerous” (possibly) to each individual; if they knew or even thought they could do anything without eternal consequence. They might choose to do things which carry the risk of death or maiming to themselves , or to others, or, more importantly, to the “governing” authorities, or to society itself. I am not saying that this is not a serious concern for those who present this information to others – in fact it IS. There have been periods throughout history where this knowledge was studied widely, and generally accepted. In fact, there was a time when you were not considered properly “educated” without this knowledge, especially in the “elite” circles of society (especially during the early Renaissance ). However, there have also been times where the “elite” considered this knowledge dangerous to their rulership. As a result, for example, the “church” waged a campaign to stamp it out, and branded it as “evil” (except, of course, for themselves). Remember the crusades, and the inquisition? (I refuse to capitalize such abominations)

This is why certain things were kept “hidden”. The fact is, that there are some who choose to follow the left-hand path of chaos, destruction, and domination by force and will (mostly the “elite”), but the majority (I sincerely hope) who are knowledgeable in the “occult” look within to find the power to change those things about themselves which need improvement, or which are standing in the way of further spiritual growth. Such people understand that we are ALL part of the SAME being, and that to harm any part of that whole, is to harm oneself. They learn the responsibility of having this greater understanding (“noblesse oblige” among the truly “blessed”), and take their responsibility to the Whole seriously. Most learn to value and love all of creation, developing great tolerance and compassion towards all. This greater understanding probably exists naturally to the child who has not yet been indoctrinated, but the same understanding is otherwise not a natural part of the “little” self, or ego, but needs to be relearned and re-experienced. This knowledge is dangerous in the hands of those who are foolish, seek to enslave and subjugate, or who are not mentally or, more importantly, emotionally entirely stable. Those on the left-hand path either: do not realize the responsibility which naturally accompanies this greater knowledge, or actively reject and denounce that responsibility. They make a conscious decision to reject responsibility to others, and to the Whole (and, in turn, reject that responsibility towards THEMSELVES as well, since they are part of that Whole – whether they realize it, or not).

So, you can see the possible danger of everyone knowing and realizing the simple truth that all are equal, that all are free (within the limits and bounds of the physical laws, like gravity) to think, plan, say, or do, anything they want, without fear of punishment in the hereafter. ALSO, the knowledge that there is NO authority separating any individual from direct unity with God, or the Whole of the Universe. There is just the individual, and then God, with no “earthly” authority in between. (Matthew 23:9,King James Version (KJV): “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven”. The “mediator” between God and humanity, as described in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:5), contrary to surface appearances, is a “spiritual” reality, which does not actually “separate”, but rather provides the BRIDGE, or spiritual mechanism, for any aspirant to attain the conscious experience of unity with the Whole. It is a means of connection, rather than separation.

The occult knowledge also includes the idea that we can each reclaim, and experience personally, oneness with that Unity. The fact is, that all things ARE constantly in a state of unity with the ALL, but because of individuation (individualization), we have lost, forgotten, or simply cannot perceive, the CONSCIOUS knowledge and experience of that unity. The process of taking on a physical form, and the total immersion in the overwhelming sensory experience, which is physical life on the physical plane of existence, hides our conscious connection with the Divine within the overwhelming sensory “noise” of life. The goal of both the mystic, and the occultist alike, is to regain that CONSCIOUS experience and knowledge of the oneness with the Divine, which each and every “thing” in the Universe already, and continually, possesses.

Yet another piece of the occult knowledge, is also the very basis of every major religion of humanity. That is the full knowledge of BOTH the Immanence AND Transcendence of the Divine. God lives both “through” and “within”, each and every part of creation, and is unified with ALL of that creation – AND, is also One with all that does NOT exist within creation. We can think of God as being Unified with Spirit and Soul… and with No-thing (that which does NOT exist), and with infinity, eternity, immortality etc. This thought includes ALL the potentialities and possibilities which COULD exist, but maybe, do not exist in “reality” (whatever that is, who knows!?). The ideas of any and all possible “alternate” universes, exist within the Mind of God, whether, or not, they actually physically exist in some reality parallel to our own. The bottom line IS: that God is everything that exists (signified by the Divine name “Ehyeh”, or “Eheieh”, in the Bible), AND everything which does NOT exist, except as possibility, except in thought. I will throw in here the concept that everything which we THINK exists, is also nothing but thought in the Mind of God.  Physical existence only “appears” to be substantial, because we THINK of it that way. It is all based on our mind’s interpretation of sensory impressions. There is nothing which is NOT God, and there is nothing that can ever possibly exist outside of God, including nothingness itself! There is no possible idea or reality which can exist, except WITHIN the Mind (and Being) of God. How’s that for a mind-blowing supposition. I will leave you to work out all of the possible implications.

The preceding includes a good bit of the basis of the occult doctrine. It is “said” that an adept, one who has achieved conscious unity with the Divine, has complete power and control over all the natural forces of the physical Universe. The only individual who is capable of reaching this level, is, by definition, also one who realizes, and fully, faithfully accepts, the huge responsibility which accompanies this level of Oneness with the ALL (and the No-thing), and the power that derives from this conscious Unity. No person of “evil” intent (“evil” and “good” are only relative to OUR perceived physical state of being, but have no meaning from the perspective of the Unity) is capable of ever attaining to this adept level, because its attainment requires serious acquiescence to the Divine Will, and complete acceptance of, the great responsibility of, wielding  this power in perfect agreement with the Will of the Divine. Only an aspirant of “pure” heart can attain it, because of the very nature of what is required for such a quest to be successful. It cannot be a quest for selfish ends, but rather a release of all personal goals, in pursuit of “God’s Will” (whatever that may entail).

That about sums up the essence of the “occult”. There is nothing inherently “evil” about the occult, it is simply “knowledge” of certain Truths regarding God, humanity, and the Universe. That knowledge itself is neutral: it is simply knowledge. What makes it “good” or “evil”, to our relative “human”, conscious thought , is the purpose to which each person directs that knowledge, and the motivations of any such individual. The only way to correctly judge what is good, or what is evil, is by whether or not it is in accordance with the Divine Will. This seems paradoxical to the doctrine that the Will of God is ALWAYS done no matter what, and that it is impossible for anyone to do anything which is NOT within the Divine Will. If this is so, then that Will must also include, by definition, all of the seemingly “evil” (to us) things that are done. This concept takes a very long time, and lots of serious meditation, to begin to grasp (or maybe I was just a slow learner). Keep in mind that the whole idea of “good and evil” is only a concept which WE apply at a human, “individual” level of being. On the cosmic scale of the Unity, there is no good or evil, everything simply exists, “it is what it is” – period. There does not exist any authority outside of God, let alone ABOVE God, which could render ANY kind of judgement on God, or “Its” thoughts, “Its words”, or “Its” deeds. Nothing can exist above, or outside of the totality of God, who, to us, as physical beings immersed in “reality” or “life”, is totally unknowable, and inconceivable – while we remain embodied or incarnate. Therefore, there is no human characteristic, either good, or bad, or any other, which can be placed upon, or applied to, the Transcendent. I like the saying “it’s all good” as well as the next person, but that statement, even though it attempts to illustrate the idea just presented, is, in actuality, not entirely true. This impossible idea of placing any judgement on God, whether by ourselves, or by any authority which is outside or separate from God (the likes of which cannot exist), is reflected in various theologies. It is the reason Christian theologians say that God is only good, that no evil can exist in God. However, their theology is somewhat faulty. It is just as false to say that God is “good”, as to say the opposite. God simply “IS”, and even that concept only approximates, but can never quite fully express, the reality of the Divine Essence. Everything that exists, is a Divine piece, or “Spark” of God. It is impossible for anything to exist which is NOT an integral part of God. That is the meaning conveyed by the Divine name Ehyeh (or Eheieh) in the Bible.

“and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” 14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’” 15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation. Exodus 3:13-15, Complete Jewish Bible (CJB).

Those who study the occult teachings, both the “light” and the “dark”, are, by definition, spiritual people who at least believe in some form of a God, even if their conception is of a totally impersonal One. It would not make sense to make the effort to get to know an entity, if you do not believe that entity exists. Even those who are seeking to know that force for the purpose of gaining power, at least believe that such a force exists. In my experience, the majority of those who study the occult Wisdom are gentle, loving, dedicated, moral, and compassionate souls who are seeking only to reach greater depths of understanding in, and in experience of, God. They are simply seeking to better their own character, and better the world around them, by periodically testing each of their beliefs in light of their whole personal experience and knowledge.  It is a necessary trait of such individuals to continually learn, and to never stop seeking greater spiritual understanding.  Even when that quest comes up against formidable barriers, such as the seeming paradox of “predestination versus free-will”, From personal experience, I say that if one continues to pursue understanding and wisdom in all things, and continues to “push through” the seemingly insurmountable barriers of understanding which reveal themselves in the pursuit of God, one will eventually gain the prize of multiple “revelations”, in the form of knowledge, or direct experience of the “Unknowable”.

Never stop striving for perfection, regardless of the supposed pointlessness of attempting to apprehend the difficult paradoxes intrinsic to spiritual mastery of the mysteries of Life Eternal!  If you continue on, despite trials and tribulations, you will eventually reach your goal.  Just maybe not in THIS incarnation.

ARE YOU AN AVID CARDBOARD BOX COLLECTOR?

If you are anything like me (God forbid), then you have many empty cardboard boxes just laying around unused.  Especially now with eBay and Amazon, I have a ton of the cutest little boxes you have ever seen.  Who can stand to just throw them out?  Why, someday I might need to store something in one of them, indeed, I already have.  In fact, when I go looking through boxes of stuff looking for something specific, it’s almost like Christmas again!  I find things I didn’t remember having.  In fact, I wonder if some boxes got mixed up in a prior move, since I don’t remember ever seeing their contents before.

After all. I need to keep a variety of sizes, since I don’t know what I will need.  Who knows when I might need to move to a new place, and this would save me from having to buy boxes just to pack up stuff (that costs money).  It is easier to just throw them into a corner than to actually get out the knife, break them down, and throw them into the recycle bin (to do that, I usually need to cut them into smaller pieces to get them to fit).  That’s just a lot of heavy work, so into the corner they go.

Well, never fear, I have found a great use for a number of them!  You know, those old aluminum windows that leak like a sieve (what’s a sieve? What are you, a millennial?  No, millennials most definitely KNOW how to use Google.  Google it, for God’s sake!)?  Well, it started out that the light downstairs (in my lower-level mancave), where all my entertainment equipment, computers, and workshop reside, was too bright, and it glared off the TV screen.  Well, I fixed that problem up right quick.

Lately, with the unseasonable cold temperatures, combined with the leakiness of my old windows, got me to worrying about my heating costs (gotta save as much as possible when it doesn’t stretch like it used to stretch).  It just so happens that cardboard makes really good insulation.  Yup, a couple rolls of duck tape, and some scissors will clear that problem up good!  It is a heck of a lot easier to install than that plastic stuff you shrink with a hair dryer – you know the stuff.  Did I mention that the plastic stuff costs MONEY, and does nothing to solve the glaring light problem.  Now, the neighbors might wonder if I have moved out and boarded up the windows, but who cares about neighbors anymore anyway.

So, hopefully, it will help with the heating bills this winter, which might be a doozy thanks to the weather patterns being screwed all to hell by global warming, which many political bigots…oops, I mean big shots (damn computer…hehe), keep refusing even exists, because, ya know, DONORS, MONEY, POWER.  If cardboard is good enough for the homeless, it’s good enough for me! Remember…

Ya might be an Ohio Hillbilly if…

My Own Cumulative Dieting Wisdom

These are all the factors I have found (over many years of “trial and error”) to be necessary in order for ME to consistently (finally) lose weight, and not get hungry.  If you have found that your body resists every attempt to shed pounds, even though you have stayed consistent with a lower calorie diet plan, like a 1200 calorie “balanced” diet, maybe there is a thought or two here that might help.  Every person is different, and what works for me, may not work for you.  However, I am sure there are many people out there who have similar experiences and body types, who might benefit from this blog post.

NOTE: I am not a doctor or dietitian.  Do not take anything in this post as medical advice.  This my experience, and I share it with you in case it might be helpful.  Your failure to consult proper medical and nutritional counselling is completely your responsibility, not mine. Anything posted here is purely my own experience, and the dietary opinions shared are just that, my own opinions.

I have been at this game since childhood…mostly unsuccessfully. It is through combining ALL the knowledge I have gained over the years into one plan for eating, that I am finally doing it successfully.  Just for your information, I am a 58-year old, disabled, and sedentary male.  My past highest weight was about 350 pounds.  I lost about 50 pounds many years ago, by convincing a doctor to prescribe Metformin to me, even though I am not diabetic and my fasting blood sugars are consistently in the 90’s.  It took about 9 months of taking it before I suddenly started dropping weight, even though I was not following any particular diet at the time.  I am currently at 248 pounds, and consistently losing weight.

HERE WE GO!

RULE: NO diet will work, with which a person is uncomfortable, unhappy, constantly hungry, or unable to follow for the long term. The only diet which has the possibility of working long-term is one which fits comfortably with the lifestyle, needs, and tastes of the person. It must be a style of eating which satisfies hunger and is palatable. A diet which allows weight loss over time, is the same type which will allow the person to keep it off after the goal weight is achieved. Anything else will lead to “yoyo” dieting, and can only end badly (from personal experience).

NOTE: You may have to LEARN to “like” a new style of eating.  This is doable, at least for me.  I will not insult you by making the very false and condescending statement – “if I can do it, anyone can”.  This can only be true when all caveats and prerequisites are first met. Everyone has different abilities and motivations. Just because a person may “currently” find it impossible to change how they are eating, does not mean they won’t sometime find the motivation and strength to make the necessary changes.  Don’t give up!

1. Low carb diet. Avoid fruits, starches, grains, and other high carb foods. This is NOT a no carb diet, although, if results are not seen, an initial period (i.e. TEMPORARY and short-term) of NO carbs may be needed to stimulate an initial decrease in insulin resistance, to the point where a more reasonable and “livable” daily diet will then continue to allow weight loss.

2. No “high glycemic index” starches, especially corn, rice, and potatoes. They contain carbs which may stimulate the pancreas to excrete too much insulin, too quickly, into the system to handle the carbs. This may lead to higher insulin resistance, and over time, to pancreas exhaustion and type 2 diabetes in individuals who are prone to it.

3. No grains. They have too many carbs, and contain the highest levels of Monsanto Roundup herbicide (glycophosphates) of all foods (along with corn, peas, potatoes, soybeans, and many other crops, and to a lesser degree all other foods grown in the US). Glycophosphates have been classed as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, they have been hypothesized to MAYBE contribute to type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance (I have not yet found definitive studies to back that up).

4. No foods with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Also try to avoid additives such as maltodextrin. Sugars are believed to be the main factor in widespread obesity and type 2 diabetes, especially in the USA. They attack by greatly and quickly increasing insulin levels in the blood stream. This is possibly the number one factor in weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Sugar substitutes such as “Nutrasweet” may yet cause problems for me, but they are not preventing me from losing weight. I think the jury is still out on those. Plus, I think it affects some people more than others. I do not seem to be having a problem with them myself.  Sure, there are many who can tolerate all the sugar, and never have a problem with diabetes or obesity…I am not one of them.

5. No highly processed red meat (especially bacon and hot dogs). I am avoiding all red meat. I am also limiting my use of poultry products. There is a lot of speculation, and many unknowns involved with the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in the meat industries. A recent study shows that nonhuman sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), stimulates an immune system response in humans, may lead to inflammation, and may also play a role in type 2 diabetes.

6. Reduce sodium intake to at, or below the FDA DV(Daily Value), increase potassium intake to above sodium intake, and attempt get somewhere close to the DV for potassium. Reduce salt, increase “natural” potassium. Potassium supplements can cause too high a potassium level in the body, leading to trouble. “Trouble” is much less likely to happen through intake of the natural potassium in foods.  Not everyone is sensitive to higher levels of salt, but others may experience edema or high blood pressure as a result of high intake levels of salt and/or not enough potassium to balance the body’s all-important electrolytes.

https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/dailyvalues.aspx

7. No, or very little alcohol. The subject of alcohol and fat is incredibly controversial, with experts on both sides. Here are some things I know. While the body is burning the alcohol, it completely stops burning carbs and fat. So while you drink, at a minimum you are putting off weight loss. Alcohol messes with several hormones, particularly by increasing cortisol, which is directly related to the storage of “belly fat”. Heavy drinking likely leads to more severe health issues…ever heard of liver failure? Mixed drinks usually have lots of sugar in them to make them palatable – don’t do it, the sugar may go directly into fat storage. Alcohol may also increase appetite, especially for things which are salty (chips, pretzels, etc.) and greasy. Coupled with the reduced self-control it sometimes brings, a binge of drinking can also be accompanied with binge snacking and eating.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/does-drinking-alcohol-make-you-fat.html

8. No trans-fats. Keep saturated fats in line with the DVs (Daily Values) set by the FDA. In fact, my diet pretty much meets the requirements for minerals, cholesterol, carbs, fats, etc. set forth by the FDA’s DV list.

9. Don’t eat a lot of fruits. They are very healthy, but also contain natural fructose, and other sugars which will NOT help you lose weight. I can’t stand grapefruit, which is a better fruit choice, so I don’t eat them. Eat fruit sparingly.

AGAIN: this is NOT dietary advice.  These recommendations are simply what “I” had to do to finally lose weight.

10. My food must be easy and quick to prepare – if I have to do much cooking at all, I won’t stick to it.

11. My food must be soft, since I am horribly lacking in teeth to chew it with (and cannot afford the oral surgery I need before I could get dentures). 😦  I occasionally will eat bananas, which does not seem to interfere with my weight loss. I once tried pureed apples, but it was too much work, so I stopped (applesauce has added sugar in most cases).

12. Take a multivitamin to make sure you are not missing something important, but don’t go crazy with supplements. Get potassium from food, not pills.

13. No fast food, at all. Try to do the Chinese buffet rarely, and try to make better choices when there. Chinese food has lots of sugars in their sauces. Eat lots of veggies, no breaded foods (deep fried), and less rice. Chinese food is my personal favorite.

14. Make sure to read all food labels. Eliminate anything which lists “sugar” or “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients. Try to eat the “least” processed foods you can. Get vegetables which are fresh, or, for canned food,  look for “no added salt” on the label. Watch for high levels of “saturated” fats or any “trans” fats. It is acceptable (politically correct) to be trans-phobic when it comes to fats! Become familiar with the FDA DV chart, especially concerning fats, carbs, protein, sodium, potassium, and cholesterol. Learn what to look for on labels…you will likely find that what you have been buying is loaded with nasty stuff that will keep you fat (and possibly unhealthy)! It is a mystery to me whether or not additives, such as coloring agents, flavorings, and preservatives have negative health affects.  I look for foods with the fewest of these items.

CHEATING: Everyone cheats occasionally (in relation to dieting. I am not referring to other forms of cheating!). If I am out with family for a holiday at a restaurant, I am not so careful. I still try to stay away from sugars, but I don’t obsess about what I order. Please note, that my cheating at an eating joint is VERY occasional. Only major holidays and maybe once every two or three months. IF you notice yourself cheating a lot (your mind has a tremendous capacity to minimize, without our even realizing it!), there is likely something not right with the diet you put yourself on. If done right, I believe you will be satisfied with what you eat, and will not feel the need to snack. Now, at first, some adjustment of habits, and of your body to the new food, may be needed before you stop being constantly hungry. After that, you should be good (we hope). I have been at this since I was a child – so be patient. Learn from my mistakes, and from all the things I have found which prevent a person’s weight from coming off.

COMFORT FOODS: I was a great sandwich person, which I had to give up to lose weight. Grains have too many carbs, sandwich meats may cause other weight-related problems, and ketchup (which I have a life-long love affair with) has high fructose corn syrup which most likely WILL sabotage your weight loss. I have substituted tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s – which is much better than generic vinegar) and mustard instead. To kill any hunger problems I have, I use cheese, cottage cheese, and “natural” peanut butter (the kind with peanut oil which you have to stir). There is nothing like a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, straight from the jar, to completely kill any hunger pangs. These foods have some carbs (the cheeses), but not a lot. They also have some saturated fats, but also contain a lot of unsaturated fats, which are a good thing (unsaturated fats, especially Omega 3’s, can raise HDL, your “good” fats). Find some comfort foods, which fit into a healthy diet, and allow you to lose weight while eating them.

EATING OUT: See item #13.

FISH: In general, fish meat is (has been?) the best type of meat for human consumption. However, pollution has caused problems even with this food source. Plastic beads, mercury, chemicals killing the algae (essential for the survival of life), and more, are making this food somewhat problematic.

For practically every food or substance out there, there is someone who will tell you it is bad for your health. On the other hand, we either eat or die. I know there are problems with some foods I eat, but it is a matter of determining what is most healthy for you, and hope the bad stuff does not end up killing you. With all the controversies, lies, and half-truths, it is hard to know what a person is to do. In the end, you find what works for you, and ignore the rest. If mercury in my brain starts to become a problem, maybe then I will again alter what I am doing. Right now, weight is my most pressing health problem – at least one that I can do anything about.

I have found it necessary to combine ALL these things together in order to lose weight. In the past, I have been on many 1200 calorie “balanced” diets, in which I never lost a pound. It is a great shame, but the best government-provided information on healthy dieting, even  20-30 years ago, was exactly the WRONG way to lose weight (according to a more modern understanding)! It hurt me rather than helped me. It is only in recent decades that some of the REAL causes of weight gain, and some of the REAL answers to it, have become known (in my opinion). I have constantly researched all these things for decades, trying to sort the truth from the fiction, and finally found something that works, and fits my lifestyle and personality.  I had to become somewhat an expert in nutrition in order to understand what needed to be done in order to entice the body to shed fat. Maybe you, too, will need to do the same research to understand the requirements of your own body.

There are numerous chemicals allowed in the US, which have long been banned by most European developed countries. China is still using many of the same things we are, and are also suffering a great increase in “weight gain” and related problems. Yes, even the “skinny” Chinese are not so skinny any more. This should say something about all the fertilizers, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, etc. which we (and the Chinese, and a few other countries) are still using. According to research, general environmental pollution is wreaking havoc on the health of so many people, and we are going to end all life on the planet if we don’t change our tune.

This was just supposed to be a short list of my own dietary requirements, but, being a blogger, I just could not help myself, and it has become an informational piece as well. If you are one of those overweight people, like me, who has run into a brick wall with weight loss, and out-of-control appetite (likely related to insulin levels), then maybe some items here might be the ones you need to become successful. Good Luck!

LABELS, MEH

People who desperately search for existing “labels” with which to define themselves, are terrified of accepting their own authority to decide who they are, or terrified of what they might find if they look too hard. People who, too desperately, want to “belong” to a group or ideology, are just setting themselves up to be “bound” to that ideology. If they cannot fit their personal understanding into some external authority’s “box”, they do not feel that they yet know themselves sufficiently well (which is most likely true). Trap number one: once they accept a specific label as their own, they then try to fit the rest of themselves into that box, even if it is not a perfect, or even a good, fit. Peer pressure can lead them to conform, even when it isn’t really an expression of their authentic self. Trap number two: once they have become sheep to that ideology and take on its more finely defined traits (which someone else defined) as their own, they then use that label as an excuse to limit further introspection and personal growth. Many people never make it out of the boxes into which they have willingly and intentionally placed themselves.

I, for one, don’t give a shit for labels. I may give 1/4 to 1/2 a shit simply because labels are a communication tool, a tool which has been overused and abused. SOME people seem to have this uncontrolled desire to have their own “personal” label or labels. If they cannot find a decent “existing” label, they simply make up a new one! We are drowning in labels these days, and some of the more arrogant folks even expect others to, not only be aware of, and adopt their labels, but even insist that everyone else use them in speaking with these illustrious, intellectual models of humanity/huwomanity, else the perceived offenders are “labelled” as being rude and disrespectful. (yes this is a slight “dig” at “political correctness” and SWJ’s, of which, I partially identify). In fact, if YOU are also one who gives less than a shit for labels, you know that others can get very annoyed when you refuse to put yourself into a trendy “box” so they can neatly identify you in their internal “Rolodex”.

I can, and have, used the labels “republican”, “democrat”, “independent”, “progressive”, and “democratic socialist” to describe myself in various conversations, at various times, but the truth is, that I don’t neatly fit into any one of those boxes. I have developed my own opinions on individual issues, and could care less into which box those opinions fit. I feel no insecurity about simply being who I am at the moment, and who I will become in the future. I don’t need to fit in with any specific “club” to feel satisfied with knowledge of who I currently am as a sapient and sentient being. The irony of labels and labeling is that people end up fighting amongst themselves over the labels they have used, whether they have properly used those labels, and whether or not they “deserve” to appropriate those labels as their own (instead of arguing over more important shit). It seems that each such person who appropriates any specific label, then “becomes” the authority and sole arbiter (arse-biter) for that label. If you aren’t MY kind of “X”, you aren’t really an “X”. It would be hillary-ous, if it were not so sad. I honestly empathize with those LGBT…Q…..A…….. folks who do not feel they adequately understand their own sexual identity partly BECAUSE they have not found just the right “label” to use in describing their sexual identity to others (why not just use something like “sexually unique”, or just not let it bother you? Just a suggestion. I am not being snarky here, and not trying to tell you what to do. I know that the process of self-discovery can often be a painful journey).  Everyone likes to “belong” to some group of others and feel like they are not “the only one”, but nobody needs to fit the preconceived notions of anyone else.

This leads to my personal word of advice for today:

Be who you are, be happy being who you are, don’t worry if you have not yet completely figured yourself out (it is a lifetime process). don’t give a shit if others do not completely understand you (I know, people have a need to be understood, but you WILL be a happier person if you can just let go of that need, and be OK with being less than completely understood, which is not an easy thing to do, let me tell you, been there, done that), and…

FUCK THE PROLIFERATION OF LABELS (FTPOL)!

The Great American Neo-Fail

Where Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism truly fail, is with their blind faith in competition to regulate everything, from business to government, to the “99%”. It is a complete “dog eat dog” mentality that fosters a lack of compassion, increased suffering, and endless violence. What is really needed instead, is cooperation and collaboration which foster open caring, sharing, love and teamwork. This is the true democratic ideal. The Neolib/Neocon ideology has failed utterly to provide a workable system or any workable alternatives, but not so with the “Progressive” left. Bernie got the ball rolling, and Jill Stein still carries on with a viable alternative that promotes cooperation over competition.  People, Planet and Peace over profit!

BOTHERED

Hi there…Happy Saturday.

I find myself bothered this week by a trend I have been seeing in both politics and YouTube videos. Yes, it isn’t new, and maybe it has something to do with the particular videos I have been watching (my bad). It bothers me nonetheless (who even uses “nonetheless” anymore).

I have seen a constant barrage of hate, anger, judgement, and disparagement of others…maybe because I watched the Republican National Convention this week, hmmm? I partly blame the “media” for what they purposely choose to present to the public, but why do they choose only negative issues to present? You would think that there were no positive stories anywhere in the world.

Of course, since money is the ONLY driving factor in business, then they choose whatever sells to the public, which happens to be lots of violence. The public seems to really like fighting because of its sensationalism. This is even more worrying. Why does the public want to concentrate on death, anger, and struggle? Maybe because people are angry, frustrated, and desperate for anything to deflect their attention from their own problems? This is enough to bother anyone who gives a moment’s thought to what is going on.

I am also finding that many of the YouTube videos that gain the most views include those which make fun of other YouTube video creators, demean them, and point out the (perceived) stupidity in them. The inspirational ones are not nearly so popular because they are not as sensationalistic. OK, I said this was not a new phenomenon. It has been happening for a long time. Maybe that is ONE reason why our society remains filled with violence…don’t you think, maybe?

Whatever we all focus our attention on, feeds into the collective subconscious, and affects the mood of those around us, the country, and the world. This constant focus on negativity makes it truly difficult on those who wish to encourage peace, love, and the celebration of our beautiful diversity, to make the world a better place. As we have just entered the Aquarian age, a time when all humanity will eventually come together in peace and harmony, we see increased resistance to the change. I have a feeling it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Change never comes easy, even when it is change for the benefit of everyone.

Well…here’s to hoping for more positive vibes! But I remain bothered…for now…

GUN CONTROL – A PLAN

This last post in the three-part series on gun control covers my proposed gun control plan. I will present a few background issues which affected my reasoning in the details of its implementation. This idea is not original to me. Others have proposed similar plans.

Ask yourself this – which right is more important, the right to life, or the right to own guns? In cases where it comes down to a compromise between the two, which would you favor? If there were ways to increase the safety and security of the public, and still allow “responsible” (as I defined in my first post) citizens to own guns, don’t both sides win? Balance in all things is one of the factors in how I think, and in my decision-making processes.

Causes of gun deaths include a) accidents (which are completely preventable so long as people follow ALL safety rules at all times, which we know is not going to happen because there are always stupid people who think they know better – “Darwin Awards”) b) gun deaths (including suicides) due to anger, stress, domestic disputes, economic problems, etc. (impulsive) and c) gun deaths due to premeditated murders. Mass killings with guns can be due to either environmental conditions or premeditation (as in actual terrorist incidents, which are rare). I must say that in my opinion, many of the mass shootings which the media and right-wingnuts have publicized as “terrorist” are actually due to mental health problems such as anger, resentment, and stress rather than to actual, verifiable terrorist ties. We have too many “fear mongers” in America, on BOTH sides of the gun control issue who are pushing their own political agendas, rather than addressing the actual root causes of gun violence in a sane and reasoned way. Have I covered all the causes of gun deaths and injuries here?

One aspect of a safety plan must be comprehensive education on gun laws and gun safety including periodic reminders of these things to gun owners, and mandatory initial training, with periodic refresher courses (as simple as review of a video every few years, and public safety ads).

Another aspect is making sure prospective gun owners are proficient in owning, operating, and accurately shooting firearms before letting them purchase guns.

Comprehensive mental health reform in America is desperately needed to address the anger, rage, resentment, and stresses which incite a normally stable and non-violent individual to become a killer. People are not born killers, environmental conditions create violent people. This is not actually a part of this gun control plan, but should be pursued separately by researchers and legislators.

We need comprehensive justice system reform. It is a travesty of justice that too many murders, especially regarding minorities, are committed by law enforcement officials, even committed against unarmed and helpless individuals in police custody. These officers must be held to account for their crimes. This in no way impugns all of the honest and noble members of our police forces who do their public service with all integrity. There are a few bad apples (maybe more than a few), including some outright racists who think they are above the law, who need to “brought to heel” and held to pay for their crimes, and no longer be protected by their fellow officers and the courts. This situation of affairs is unacceptable.

We need to solve the economic injustice which often leads to domestic disputes over lack of money, further leading to domestic violence, and sometimes maybe even mass murders. I will point out here, that the number ONE domestic issue spouses fight about is the lack of money, or money management. This is an actual fact even though I don’t have the references at my fingertips.

Any gun control plan must focus mainly on keeping guns out of the hands of those who are mentally unstable or have shown violent tendencies, and all who have been convicted of violent crimes (TBD by legislators, not by me).

A plan must include some method of data collection and communication, paper or computerized, to adequately track violent offenders and those who are not mentally stable enough to be gun owners. This method MUST also allow for reinstatement of rights to own and purchase guns in cases where a) offenders awaiting trial are absolved of guilt, b) least violent offenders have served their sentences and are deemed to be capable of gun ownership again by some authority such as a judge or ranking police official, and c) those with temporary mental health issues which have been sufficiently addressed as determined by mental health professionals. More details will be forthcoming.

The purpose of the plan is twofold – to be implemented in such a way as to not cause undue burden on “responsible” gun owners or unnecessarily restrict their right to purchase firearms, AND to provide a method of significant harm reduction relative to firearms-related accidents, injuries, and deaths.

I have considered a number of proposed methods of gun control. Most of the methods pushed by politicians are woefully inadequate, and only address SYMPTOMS rather than the underlying problems which lead to gun accidents, or cause people to become killers. However, ACCESS to firearms, even though it is only one of the SYMPTOMS of gun violence, must still be addressed by any effective method of control. Banning people on federal watch lists is a very problematic proposal. Also consider the fact (I have seen the pie charts which show the varieties of killings) that the number of people killed in mass shootings is miniscule compared to the total number of gun deaths (I have seen the figure of 33,000 per year in the US) even though these mass shootings are generally the only deaths which get hyped in the press, and which get the attention of the public, and thus our lawmakers. Proposals which ban certain weapons, or magazine sizes, or requiring background checks before buying AMMO (not gun background checks), are anywhere from woefully inadequate to overly restrictive to “responsible” owners (“responsible” being as I described in part 1 of this series of blog posts). There are pros and cons to each of these proposed laws, but I believe there is a better proposal. I will attempt to describe it to you in this post. Keep in mind that it is not comprehensive. Any truly comprehensive plan must address the corruption of our political system by corporate interests (i.e. the NRA and weapons manufacturers), injustice within our justice system, economic injustice, and our inadequately-funded mental health system. My plan does not address these broader issues, but provides some measures to reduce the effects of ignoring them.

Let me point out one idea here. If ALL of the ROOT causes which turn people into killers in the first place were solved, then the need to control access to guns themselves would become a non-issue. If nobody becomes a killer in the first place, then no amount of weapons in the hands of “responsible” people, who are not killers, would ever be a problem. I fully realize this is not realistically reachable goal as it stands today, therefore some restrictions on the ACCESS to guns is necessary. But imagine a world full of peaceful, loving people, where any need for guns for self-defense no longer exists. No more war, no more nukes, no more armies, no more weapons at all. It would truly be glorious to live in such a world…but we don’t.

SO…

One thing an effective gun control plan needs to include is mandatory EDUCATION. Let me give you a direct analogy using something we all are familiar with…driver safety.

There is a reason we see constant ads and reminders on TV and in the press that remind drivers to “don’t drink and drive”, “buckle-up for safety”, “don’t text and drive”, if you are sleepy get the hell off the road (my paraphrase),…etc. It is true that people sometimes ignore these things, and accidents happen, but the constant education and reminders reinforces these thoughts in the minds of drivers, and reduces the number of accidents that would occur otherwise. I have not researched the statistics (and I mistrust many statistics as misleading anyway), but there is a reason why someone pays good money to put these ads on TV and elsewhere…they reduce traffic fatalities. Children are very observant. Imagine a young child, securely strapped into a child safety seat, reminding their parents to “buckle-up”. It happens quite often, as most parents must surely know.

Any comprehensive gun control plan needs to include mandatory gun safety EDUCATION. If gun owners were constantly reminded of basic safety rules, and were forced to learn basic gun safety before being allowed to be a gun owner, I believe it would reduce the number of accidental gun deaths. When was the last time you saw a public service ad urging gun owners to “always point a gun in a SAFE direction”, or urging children to never touch a gun without an adult present (this does exist, at least in schools), or to “make sure every gun is unloaded”, or “always store firearms in a secure, locked gun safe”? I believe it would at least reduce the number of gun accidents. And maybe if children were exposed to such ads, it might instill in them at a young age a healthy respect for guns and gun safety. Many of them will grow up to be gun owners themselves. More on how this might look in practice later.

THE PLAN

Finally, here it is, my actual proposal. It is a basic outline, and many details would need to be worked out, but I think it could be effective in reducing gun injuries and deaths.

It is really simple, and has been proposed by others. It is not an original idea of mine. Treat gun ownership similarly to how we treat licensed drivers. If you need a license to be able to operate a potentially deadly vehicle, then license people who are of age (whatever that may be, like 18 or 21) to be able to legally PURCHASE weapons and ammo. It is not so much an issue of “ownership” as an issue of “access” and ability to “purchase” guns and ammo, although there are aspects of ownership rights involved as well.

Most individuals who would become licensed would probably do so at a younger age, just like those who get their driver’s license for the first time. Initially, present gun owners would also be required to get a license in order to purchase any further firearms or ammo. There would be a more lengthy and stringent process to get the license for the first time, but a process which is not unduly burdensome or lengthy. Once the license is obtained, the gun owner would be free to purchase any of the weapons and ammo which are currently allowed today. So long as an individual does not commit violent crimes, violate gun regulations, or develop serious mental health issues, they continue to have the right to buy guns and ammo freely. This license would need to be periodically renewed (such as every few years). Anytime a person has a violation or serious mental health issue, a method of suspending the gun license must be in place. I will talk more on details shortly.

For this to work, there must be some kind of government bureau (similar to the BMV, but more organized – insert cynical smiley here -) who has the authority to initiate background checks of first-time applicants, issue licenses, and manage the suspension or revocation of licenses, in cooperation with law enforcement, the judicial system, mental health professionals, and qualified gun dealers. Yes, there are a number of issues and details which lawmakers would need to deal with to get this system set up and working.  Hereafter I will refer to this entity as simply the “bureau”.

First-time applicants would first need to apply with the “bureau” which would initiate a THOROUGH background check with the FBI, state and local law enforcement agencies, and POSSIBLY other federal agencies (CIA, NSA, INTERPOL, for naturalized citizens and legal immigrants?). This must be a more stringent background check than the idiotic 3-day waiting period check used today. The data obtained through background checks will remain PRIVATE to the “bureau”, and only available to “bureau” employees. A license can only be obtained after a successful background check. Some kind of appeals process must be in place for applicants who fail the check for some reason, and possibly due to some error, or for the case where a check is taking too much time. NOTE that no license may be issued without a successful check taking place, or a judge issuing a successful process appeal judgement. Yes, there are details here to work out, but automatically giving a license just because the background check is taking longer than 3 days is unacceptable. Keep in mind that we currently have a system of background checks in place, even though it has glaring flaws. We just need to fix some of the flaws for it to work effectively. Also, the background check is only done the first time a person gets their license.

For privacy reasons, the only data the “bureau” is ever allowed to share with law enforcement and registered gun dealers is the status of a license, whether it is active, under temporary suspension, or permanently revoked, along with the identity of the licensed person. This data will not be available to the general public unless they are registered with the “bureau” to SELL firearms. No more private sales of firearms are allowed, except when transferred through the agency of a registered gun dealer. This would apply to gun shows. If two people want to sell guns between them, it must be done THROUGH a licensed dealer (of which there would be many available at a gun show to do the transfer or sale).

There is nothing in this system to prevent two people from illegally exchanging firearms.  We have that situation today.  The only deterrent is the fact that the gun “registration” does not get altered.  This leaves the original owner still having the gun registered to them.  If the gun should happen to be used in a crime, guess who the police are going to come after? Note that in this plan, the “bureau” would not keep records of individual firearms purchased or owned. This answers some of the privacy concerns. However, current systems of gun registration may be kept in place for law enforcement purposes.

A first-time applicant must complete a course of training which includes gun safety, gun laws, training in operating various types of pistols and rifles, and physical demonstration of accurate operation and shooting of firearms. Such a course must be certified by the “bureau” to include a basic minimum of training which meets their requirements. The shooting portion, at least, would need to be done at a gun range (attached to a gun dealer, or through a hunting club, or similar organization) under supervision of individuals approved to certify the applicant’s proficiency and accuracy. Once applicants complete the course of training, they would then receive an official, signed certificate which they would take to the “bureau” as proof of completion.

Once an applicant has been notified of a successful background check, they can then take their certificate of course completion to the “bureau” who will make a copy for storage (the applicant keeps the original). The applicant must then complete a written (or computerized) test, similar to a driver’s written test, to prove they have a minimum knowledge of gun safety rules and laws. Once they pass the test, then the license will be issued. This license may possibly be  a photo license. A person would still need their driver’s license or state ID to verify age and identity as well. It is possible that a gun license could also serve as a valid photo ID.

Once a person is licensed, only a periodic renewal is necessary, as long as no restrictions on the license have taken place. As part of the renewal process, the license holder must watch a video on gun safety and laws, just to reinforce this information in the license holder’s mind. This renewal could be done similarly to driver’s license renewals, every few years.

The holder of an active or unrestricted license can go to any registered gun dealer and purchase whatever guns and ammo they desire, without any waiting periods. The dealer would use the driver’s license and/or gun license of the individual to verify the buyer’s status to purchase guns and ammo. The dealer would use the gun license number via computer, phone, or whatever mechanism is devised to communicate with the “bureau”, and the “bureau” will respond with only the license status and identity of the license holder. Once the “active” status and identity are verified, the dealer can proceed with the sale.

What happens to arrested persons under this system? Any time a person is arrested for any violent crime (to be determined by legislators, as servants of “We the People”), all such arrests will be immediately transmitted to the “bureau”. They will use the arrest information to temporarily “suspend” the license. Any time a court clears the person of the crime, they must be REQUIRED to transmit this information immediately to the “bureau” who will then lift the restriction. If a person is convicted of a serious violent crime, or series of lesser violent crimes (such as a pattern of bar fights or domestic abuse, etc) which requires the permanent suspension of a gun license, then it will be permanently revoked by the “bureau” and be entered into their system so that the individual cannot reapply for a license, unless, or until a judge orders otherwise. This applies to all violent offenders, even if they have NEVER applied for a license. No individual citizen can purchase any weapon or ammo anywhere in America without a valid, active (unrestricted) gun license. This prevents anyone not licensed, from obtaining LEGAL firearms or ammo.

How does this get illegal guns off the street? Keep in mind that there currently exist laws and regulations that allow law enforcement to confiscate illegal weapons. These laws need to be enforced, which is one of the main causes of why illegally-owned weapons remain on the street. Legal confiscations by police are not adequately enforced. Most of these laws will not need to change. This plan will not prevent the black market illegal weapons, which exist today from being available to criminals. That needs to dealt with by other means. Again, what this plan DOES do, is prevent anyone who is not the valid holder of an active and unrestricted license, from purchasing LEGAL guns or ammo from any registered dealer. All dealers must be registered in order to sell guns and ammo.

People arrested of violent crimes which require license restriction will be (under legislated conditions) subject to “temporary” gun confiscation. These guns MUST be held by law enforcement until a trial is complete. If the arrested person is cleared, their guns MUST be returned to them and the court must immediately remove their license restrictions through the “bureau”. In the case where they are found guilty of crimes which require permanent revocation of their gun license, their license is revoked, and they forfeit their guns, to then be destroyed (too bad, so sad).

A similar method must be used for those with mental illnesses. However, again looking at how driver’s licenses work, when a medical physician determines you are physically unable to drive, that is entered into your medical record. When the physician determines you are again well enough to drive, the same thing happens. A weakness of this system is that the BMV is never notified (at least I don’t think so) and you are on your honor to not drive, even though there are no restrictions placed on your driver’s license. In the case of a qualified mental health professional determines you are not fit to own guns, that decision must somehow be given to the “bureau” so that a temporary or permanent restriction to your gun license occurs. Today, in cases of severe mental illness, there are already laws on the books which prohibit them from owning firearms. Another failure of our law enforcement officials to enforce these laws is that many times, when a person is diagnosed with a severe mental illness which then prevents them from owning guns, if they already have guns, those guns are never confiscated by police like they should be. This is a failure to enforce laws which already exist, either because the mental health status is unknown to the police, or they simply fail to do a confiscation when it is known. When a qualified mental health professional determines that a person is stable enough to again own guns, they will be obliged to contact the “bureau” to lift the person’s license restrictions.

Yes, there are many, many problems to be worked out with this system. What my plan will do, when working properly, is prevent ANYONE who does not have an active license from purchasing weapons or ammo from any REGISTERED gun dealer. This includes gun purchases made at department stores, sporting goods stores, gun shows, or anywhere else in the US. This will actually go a long way in reducing current gun violence, and make it harder for people to obtain weapons for mass shootings, or on the spur of the moment for crimes of passion or suicide. It will keep people in domestic situations, who don’t already have a current license, from impulsively buying a gun to shoot a spouse or family member or anyone else. What it will not do, is prevent a currently licensed member from impulsively shooting family members or others with the guns they already own. This specific case is where more sweeping reforms are needed to address the general causes of violence in America. No gun control plan by itself will resolve the conditions which turn people into killers.

But here is a thought. So many times you here of domestic shootings where someone knew ahead of time that a person seemed likely to commit violence (e.g. court restraining orders filed, domestic disputes reported to police). With the aid of police and the court systems, when such conditions become known, such people should be evaluated by mental health professionals. If they are deemed unfit to own weapons, then the guns they own should be temporarily confiscated, and their license temporarily suspended, until such time as they are deemed again safe to own guns. In the case of restraining orders issued, the judge should have the option of having their license temporarily restricted and their guns confiscated and temporarily held, until the order is lifted.

Just to reiterate, any TEMPORARY suspension of a license should be accompanied by a TEMPORARY confiscation of guns. Whenever restrictions are lifted, the guns MUST be returned. Some kind of appeals process must also be in place to redress grievances. In the case of a permanent revocation, the guns should be confiscated and destroyed.

Maybe it would have been safer simply saying “Implement a licensing system for guns and ammo purchases, similar in nature to our driver’s licensing system”. Maybe I should have just left it at that, without all the details. I guess what I wanted to do is demonstrate how such a system might prevent a large amount of the gun ownership and access restriction problems we have today. It is definitely not a comprehensive solution, but it allows “responsible” gun owners to freely purchase guns and ammo with a limited amount of pain and effort, which is reasonable to expect of those who want to BE responsible owners. We do not consider the effort to get a driver’s license to be unreasonable for the purpose of keeping our roads as safe as possible. Why should any serious gun owner consider these measures as unreasonable in order to provide some measure of safety from gun violence to our society? I, as a gun owner, would not object to such a system myself. Do you have other proposals which you think might work better? Propose them.

Even though it is CLEAR that the founding fathers never intended the second amendment to apply to private gun ownership, it is clear that today, there are those who think that a private right to own guns IS a constitutional right, rather than a legislated privilege. They have good evidence to insist on it. The system I have outlined does not prohibit the private ownership of guns at all to those who can do so responsibly. Even the courts have upheld the loss of constitutional rights to convicted felons and the severely mentally ill (i.e. the right to vote, own weapons, etc.) under legislated circumstances. Our society already accepts these limitations of constitutional rights as reasonable and just (even though there are efforts to restore some rights, like the right to vote, to felons who have served their incarceration). The plan I have described here does not alter our current view of these rights except to add temporary restrictions between arrest and conviction, and regarding temporary serious mental health episodes. It does add a measure of effort and responsibility to those who choose to own guns responsibly, which I think most gun owners would agree with. Most gun owners, who are not executives of gun manufacturers or the NRA, agree that some reasonable measure of gun control is acceptable and needed. Even NRA members mostly agree with the need for some restrictions on access to guns. In my opinion, I think that what I have outlined here provides for a perfectly reasonable level of effort, in order to provide enhanced public safety. I would personally not object to some similar type of system. I know there are plenty who will take exception to my proposal. So be it. Let the games begin…