Sunday, September 6, 2015

25 Doctrines for a Better Society

  1. Public schools will be funded at the state level rather than the local area. Rich areas and poor areas will not have different qualities of education. Public schools will be funded at the expense of the whole public, sending kids to private schools or not having kids don’t provide an option to opt out of paying for the education of the general public. An educated public benefits everyone.
  2. Public servants in the field (teachers, firefighters, police, soldiers) will be paid more. Administrators will only be paid more based on their years in the field.
  3. Politicians will be paid the median wage of the area they represent.
  4. Property taxes and sales taxes will be repealed, to be replaced with a more progressive income tax (such as nobody pays any tax on the first $25k they earn and everyone pays 50% on everything over $450 they earn, with varying tax brackets in-between). Capital gains will be treated the same as regular income. No cap on security tax. I don’t believe on being taxed both when you earn money and when you spend it. I also don’t like that you can lose your property just because you fail to pay a never-ending tax on it. Inherited wealth and land is treated as income (with an exemption on the first $100-500k of it).
  5. All bacon shall be crispy, not limp or burnt.
  6. Student loan rate will be 0.1%. Public colleges will be free for students who maintain a B average or higher.
  7. Blue laws will be ruled unconstitutional.
  8. Businesses will be able to deduct double the amount of a worker’s salary on salaries up to $100k from taxable profits. This will encourage higher salaries and the put the money in the hands of the people rather than government. This will apply to employees who are US citizens or those with work Visas.
  9. A nation with no poverty is a nation with less crime.
  10. The original, theatrical versions of Star Wars, with only cleaned up original special effects, will always be available for sale on whatever highest definition format is available.
  11. There will be no law barring consensual activity between adults. We can discuss the resurgence of pistol duels later.
  12. Protect the environment and inspect our food. We need an FDA and EPA. Though, people should be able to take unapproved, experimental drugs if they really want.
  13. Legalize all drugs. However, only licensed dealers and suppliers can provide them. Cut out the murdering drug lords and terrorist profits from the drug trade. Advertising recreational drugs will be illegal, but businesses that sell them will be taxed to fund programs to help addicts.
  14. Background checks required for all gun transfers/sales and ammo. No exceptions. For ammo, background checks need only be done once a year. No other restrictions on firearms but keep the Class 3 license requirement for certain weapons. Work to get states to agree on one good training requirement for concealed carry permits so that it makes sense for one’s license to work in all states. That will include: proficiency with a firearm, knowledge of safety, and knowledge of related laws.
  15. Minimum wage will provide an actual livable wage if working 40 hours. Currently, that should be about $14/hour. All jobs will have paid sick, maternity, and paternity leave.
  16. Election days will be national holidays so that everyone can participate. Transportation will be made available to polling locations for those who have need of it.
  17. Abolish the Electoral College. Move power from the states to the people.
  18. Only individuals can make campaign contributions with a limit of $10k per person. No other entities may do so (be they businesses, special interest groups, or labor unions).
  19. Parties must hold their own private primaries. Elections will require the winner to secure 50% of the vote. If none get that, a runoff election will be held between the two options that got the highest votes. This will enable third parties to better compete.
  20. Pizza Hut will sell in the US every type of pizza they sell across the world because some of those pizzas are awesome.
  21. Any war on foreign soil mandates an increase in taxes (minimum 2%) on the people to pay for it. Politicians better think twice before engaging in war and make damn sure it’s worth it. Eliminate the draft. We haven’t used it when needed recently anyway. A volunteer army is sufficient. A nation of cowards doesn’t deserve to survive.
  22. Expedite our immigration process. If people are being transported in barrels in trucks driven by gangsters over here, our immigration process must be pretty terrible. Make those already here and working, going to school, or in the military into citizens if violating immigration law was their only crime. Also, military service guarantees citizenship.
  23. If the government is ever under budget (ha), a refund will be issued to taxpayers in their tax returns.
  24. Major cities will have high-speed mass transit between them.
  25. The government safety net will include food, housing, and health care for all citizens. A society must be judged by how it treats its least.
  26. Abolish "for profit" privatized prisons.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Concealed Carry Course with a Concealed Progressive

            So, I'm back home after a long day. Finished up a 12 hour course to get certification for a CCW permit. It ran 8 a.m. to 830 p.m., including firing range time from 630-830. Last night, I went to bed at 12:40ish. I fell asleep around 2:40ish I think and had set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. This was a long day.

            There were 9 people in the class, including me and my plus one. The instructor was an ex-marine, ex law enforcement NRA instructor. Everyone seemed very nice. Although there was a creepy old guy who looked like the “cleaner” from season 2 of Breaking Bad. There was a lady and her aunt, an African man (as in from Africa with an accent and all) and his lady friend, two gun collectors, and “the cleaner.” Two people weren’t stark white. Diversity! Technically, I’m (mixed) Hispanic, but I look like every other Caucasian.

            The class was very boring (to me who already had basic knowledge). The instructor seemed to rush through stuff just so he could get us on the street carrying concealed weapons. However, he had many interesting personal stories. I think I stood out in class as one of the more vocal people, asking lots of questions (but trying not to stir the pot as you might have expected).

            My only real worry about this class was putting up with a bunch of political propaganda regarding guns. The instructor did make the silly remark that asked why we don’t ban knives along with guns because they kill people too; however, I became surprised later on. The instructor, NRA no less, said everyone who buys a gun should have a background check (additionally, that we should improve the system to contain more background information and gun registration). One of the gun collectors also made comments that seemed to come from both political spectrums. (I convinced the other gun collector to buy an UpLula magazine loader like mine. It’s made in Israel so you know it’s hardcore.)

            I don’t know that these people know that improved background checks were something Congress tried to pass last year but failed at due to NRA propaganda, but I kind of doubt it. Maybe, just maybe, some NRA members are like Catholics in that they may not agree with everything the Pope says.

            Even more amazingly, the instructor and several others criticized the “open carry jerks” who have been in the news lately. The instructor said they’re being called “whamos” on the internet which means “military wannabes.”

            I got some free coupons though the gun shop didn’t have anything I wanted. None of the holsters fit my gun. Even with the coupons, ammo can still be bought cheaper at Bass Pro Shop which isn’t considered by most to be the cheap place to buy ammo.

            So anyway, I scored 100% on the written test (which he had us grade ourselves).

            At the firing range, I impressed myself. The attached pictures pretty much say it all. Everyone in class was just stunned and congratulating me, asking about my shooting background. I wasn’t even shooting with my “dominant eye” (which happens to be the left one despite being right-handed) or using the breathing control methods they recommended. Rather, I shot how I’ve always been trained to. Frankly, I was surprised everyone’s targets weren’t more like mine.

            I got some comments to shoot elsewhere or to draw a smiley face, but the instructor chastised me that headshots didn’t count after drawing one eye. Other than that and the shot someone else made on my target near the gun, all my shots are grouped in the two spots where the instructor said to shoot. All in all, about 50 shots to the center.

            They allowed some free shooting afterwards so I finished the smiley face, and the instructor challenged me to do a double-tap (two in the chest and one in the head) which he said I did. My plus one told me to stop showing off when there was just 3 of us in the range and to be sure not to be late back in the classroom. (Hey, they said two hours of range time was included, and I wanted to get in my range time!)

            So anyway, got my certification certificate which is just a qualification letter and not an actual license to carry. I also got a certificate for completion of the NRA basic pistol course which was part of the class.

            As this is being posted about a year after it took place, I’ll give an update that I totally understand why some people feel the need to buy so many guns. I’ve always collected things, be it movie memorabilia or really anything. Since getting back into target shooting, I’ve bought several new guns that are considered among the best for target shooting. A CZ SP-01 (upgraded version of one of the most common military 9mm sidearms in the world which has also been used to win competitions) and an XDM .45 with 5.25” barrel (the competition ready model). I also ended up getting a Ruger LCR which I’d previously considered. Only, I got the .38 model with fiber optic sight which improved upon the horrible base model sights and is an ultralight revolver. I discovered the .357 was both more heavy and also wasted most of the power of the .357 round in a short barrel. Rugers are renowned for their durability. However, I still prefer to carry my XDS. With the N82 Tactical holster I bought, nothing is more comfortable.

These all come highly recommended.
              So the question should probably be has this (what some would call a) progressive liberal carried since taking this course, the answer is yes if my previous mention of holster comfort wasn’t a giveaway. Sometimes, I’ve just done it because I paid money to get the certification and license and other times because I was going to an area that wasn’t so nice. At times, I thought of it as doing a social experiment to see how the crazy gun nuts live. After a while, I’ve started to wonder if I’ve become one of them. Well, I still believe all gun purchases and transfers should be subject to a background check. It’s been painless whenever I’ve done it. I say, don’t make it easy on the bad people. Force them to buy their guns from other criminals. See my earlier article on why I support background checks, want to expand them, and want to improve them (so that they are more effective and only ban individuals who are a real danger to society).

            However, I’ve found myself frustrated when I see signs on businesses that say no guns allowed. I think to myself that, “Sure, this will keep out a law-abiding tree hugger such as myself with a concealed weapon he’ll never touch, but this won’t keep out anyone coming in to shoot up the place.” So, I’ve come around to the anti-“gun free” zone side. It’d be different if such places had metal detectors and provided security for those inside.

It would also be a different story to only forbid open carry, especially as concealed carry is a special privilege that adds to the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. After all, someone slinging around an AR-15 on their back can not only make others uncomfortable, but it is also a large object that can get in the way, accidentally hit others when you move, and cause other related issues.