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Weapons for peace

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I live in Texas where the very idea of gun laws cause heartburn. We like our guns. My father collected them and my co-workers discuss their firearms in the break room. In the novel x0 my telepathic hero Lola has a gun in her purse and has to consider whether her new powers will render her unable to use it. Guns show up in my next two novels as well.

In spite of the disposition of my home state, and the behaviors of my fictional characters, I am an advocate of reasonable gun regulations.

According to the blog of the Houston Chronicle a state gun law scorecard was released yesterday (Dec. 9) which showed that in the last year 21 states have created or expanded gun laws while 25 other states, including Texas, get F’s for failing to provide the most basic safety restrictions.

This didn’t surprise me, but it prompted me to learn more. Thanks to a website called Texas Gun Laws I found out that in Texas

  • There is no waiting period for purchasing a firearm
  • There is no state registration of guns
  • If you have a concealed handgun license you may carry as many hidden revolvers as you like
  • You can get a CHL now with four hours of instruction and a proficiency exam at a shooting range
  • You can keep a gun loaded and within reach in your car, and a school campus cannot prohibit you from doing so.
  • You may carry a gun while drinking but not while legally drunk
  • Machine guns, suppressors and other assault weapons are perfectly legal
  • There is no limit to the number of rounds the magazine for your gun may hold.
  • Background checks are required by federal law and Texas leads the nation in running them. No check is needed for sales between private citizens or at gun shows
  • Texas averages about ten major gun shows a month
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That’s a lot of firepower out there folks, in a lot of inexperienced hands. Additional changes have been proposed to allow concealed weapons to be carried into a bar and into places of worship, and to allow weapons to be holstered so that they are visible.

Accidents happen. Stupid things get done. Tempers flare, people show off, children get curious. Is this sort of world we really want? Not me. I like my heritage and my freedom, but I also like my peace of mind. The idea of a whole lot of barely trained people strutting around with assault weapons does not make me feel safer.

How does one fight the sort of paranoid movement that wants the most dangerous of guns readily available? Luckily there are other kinds of weapons in this world and other ways to fight.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in peace

 

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World Peace Update

Click here to visit theWaging Peace website

Click here to visit the
Waging Peace website

North Korea continues to try to position itself as a serious threat to world peace.  Does it take size and might to seriously disrupt this world?  Or will a minimum amount of destructive power combined with sufficient meanness suffice? Sadly, 911 supplied that answer to us all, and now we collectively hold our breaths while North Korea asks foreign embassies in Pyongyang to consider evacuation.

Meanwhile this past week Egyptian security officials say five people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians just outside Cairo, and a Taliban assassination attempt on the governor of Afghanistan’s southern province failed but caused several American and Afghan casualties.

There is some good news. Connecticut passed a new gun law that specifically bans the sale of ammunition clips that hold 10 bullets or more, and the state now requires background checks for private gun sales. Sadly, that momentum failed to carry over to the U.S. congress where, in spite of a majority support for both limiting the sale of automatic weapons and for strengthening background checks, our elected representatives won’t even let the issue come to vote.

Rich Lowry of the National Review took a bit of a victory lap yesterday saying “The president’s push for new gun laws looks, at this juncture, like a complete fizzle.  … The most concrete effect of his advocacy has been … to stoke increased gun purchases on fear that the government wants to ban guns. He set out to lead a great crusade for gun control and ended up the best friend the gun industry ever had.”

Talk about sad.

tankHowever, this past week the U.N. General Assembly voted 154-3 to approve a treaty that regulates the international arms trade and will establish the first international standards for cross border sales of small arms and ammunition, tanks, attack helicopters, armored vehicles, missiles and missile launchers. Yes, missile launchers. The resolution aims to nudge nations towards barring weapons sales to terrorists, criminals and human rights violators.

Let’s hope the predators of the world don’t respond like so many of our own paranoid gun extremists in the United States have. Wouldn’t you just hate to read that the sales of armored vehicles and attack helicopters have spiked worldwide because we are trying to make the world a more peaceful place?

 

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2013 in peace

 

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Guns for World Peace?

My father was an avid gun collector and a mildly enthusiastic hunter. I got to traipse along on an occasional pheasant hunt myself, and under his careful supervision I shot the hell out of a some hapless aluminum cans as a child. My main character in x0, Lola, shares a similar background with guns and (like me) she owns a small handgun for protection and I support that right. Mine sits in a drawer. She almost had to use hers. However…..

knotted gunThe right to own a hunting rifle or a gun for protection is not infringed upon by reasonable laws forbidding me from owning semi-automatic weapons. There simply is no law-abiding need for that kind of destructive firepower. I do not get to own Ebola cultures.  Small nuclear weapons.  Nerve gas. Land mines. My own tanks. Someone please explain to me why some otherwise rational gun owners explode into fury at the thought that some types of guns just do not belong in the hands of the general public?

Nor are my rights infringed upon by always requiring background checks and waiting periods. (I’m looking at you, gun shows.) In fact, my safety and the safety of all of us is increased by demanding such.

The gun owners in my immediate family have all slowly dropped out of the NRA, one by one becoming disillusioned with that organizations zealous refusal to support legislation that sensible gun owners favor. With every new tragedy, the NRA says this is no time to talk about gun control. For heaven’s sake.  When is there a better time?

The above sculpture, usually referred to as the Knotted Gun, is actually titled ‘Non-violence’, and I first admired it in a visit to New York in 2003. It stands outside the UN building and was presented as a gift from Luxembourg. It points the way toward a world of peace that we all yearn for, my gun toting relatives included. Until such a time as we do have world peace, however, reasonable people may wish to own one. But now would be a very good time to get over the idea that his means that they can own any kind of gun, any number of guns, and that they can get those as fast and as easily as they would like.

Guns are dangerous. People are dangerous. The combination is deadly. That’s what my dad taught me in western Kansas before he ever let me shoot. Isn’t it time we all agreed that society has the right to regulate and monitor that which so clearly can result in so much tragic loss of lives?

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in peace

 

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Dynamite and world peace

World peace  ….  that favorite topic of beauty pageant contestants and those attempting a serious drinking toast ….. was also an obsession of the inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel.

His personal recipe for world peace was to use part of the fortune he amassed from his invention to present an annual award to the human or humans who had done the most in the past year to make peace happen.  Along the way people as diverse as Mother Teresa, Leo Tolstoy and  Henry Kissinger have been honored. The award is presented every year in Oslo Norway, and a few days ago the author of this blog got to visit the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.

I and the character I created, Lola Zeitman, both share Alfred Nobel’s obsession with the concept of world peace. Lola believes that empathy is the key to getting along, and that if we could all just walk in each others shoes (or feel each others feelings) hatred would be difficult. I like to think that she is right. However, I may be less of an idealist than Lola. Humans are remarkably clever and I fear that even if we all became telepathic tomorrow, we’d still find a way to hate, not to mention figuring out a hundred new ways to manipulate and take advantage of each of other.

I do now know, however, that Norway is a stunningly beautiful country (see waterfall at right), Oslo is a fascinating city (see statue above) and the two exhibits at the Nobel Peace Center during July 2012 were truly moving. I walked away with a few trinket souvenirs, and the belief that if even the man who invented dynamite can reach out for a solution to war, maybe there really is an answer out there somewhere.

Go here for more information on the Nobel Peace Center and here for details on the Nobel Peace Prize.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in peace

 

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