Monday, December 24, 2012

Special Christmas Ebook Sale!

Starting today, December 24th, authors Robert Ford, J. F. Gonzalez, Brian Keene, Kelli Owen, and Robert Swartwood have teamed up to make several of their ebooks available for just 99 cents each -- over twenty titles!
  • From Kelli Owen, her novels Six Days and White Picket Prisons, as well as the novellas Waiting Out Winter and The Neighborhood, and the collection Black Bubbles -- all available in the US Kindle Store and the UK Kindle Store.
This special sale will only run through Wednesday, December 26th, so grab your copies now!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Facts All Come with Points of View. Facts Don't Do What I Want Them To.

The shooting today was an indescribable horror to be certain and my heart and sympathy goes out to the parents and friends and families of the victims today. As a person, it saddens me, and as a parent, I cannot, and do not, want to imagine the sheer and utter grief they must be going through at the tragic and senseless loss of a child today and the everlasting pain to come for them each and every day.

I see people posting on Facebook, doing their thing, expressing their opinion, and voicing a reaction. It's called "Social Media" for a reason...and whether it's religious, political, or a reaction to some sort of terrible event such as this, whether you want to read it or not, everyone has the right to their opinion. It's their own personal platform, so have at it, take the digital soap box and say what you will.

Because I am.

I just saw a post that had a letter written out:

Dear God,
Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?
A concerned student.

Dear Concerned Student,
I'm not allowed in schools.

I've read short rants: OUTLAW GUNS! ALL OF THEM!

I've read long rants and charts about gun-related violence.

I've read poetry and posts about parents hugging their kids a bit tighter tonight.

I even read a great quote from Gandhi:
You must not lose faith in humanity.
Humanity is an ocean. If a few drops of the ocean are dirty,
the ocean does not become dirty.

The post I read that I come close to agreeing with the most was one of my brother's... stating that if he was the parent of one of the fallen children, he'd like ten minutes alone in a room with the gunmen. I understand his post completely, though I would take a completely different approach to my own revenge... and yes, there wouldn't be a turning the other cheek for me on something like this. There would be revenge. Would it change the fact that a child of mine was dead? No. No, it wouldn't. And I know it wouldn't make me feel better at the loss of one of my children, but be damned if I let the individual continue to breath the same air that my child once did. Sometimes karma works out... other times, it needs a good elbow check.

Here's the thing. In this country, guns will never be outlawed. Not going to happen. I agree there could be tighter gun control laws, but they're never going to be outlawed, nor do I think they should be.

But Bob! If there were no more guns, then these kind of tragic events wouldn't happen!

Oh? If a mentally disturbed individual gets it in their head to do something like this, it's going to happen - with or without guns.

Need I remind you of a death toll of 168 people and over 800 wounded In Oklahoma City with a Ryder truck, about two and a half tons of fertilizer and some racing fuel?

Quiet, upstanding, former military guy named Timothy McVeigh.

Or the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo - killing 13, severely injuring fifty, and causing temporary vision problems for at least a thousand.

There are more dangerous things than guns, friends and when you close the door to one evil, sometimes it only opens the door to another evil that's infinitely worse.

The details are still unraveling on what happened at the elementary school. Hell, reporters seem to have even gotten the name incorrect and some poor guy on Facebook had his page shut down because of people slamming and post on it — and the guy's friends — because of the error.

But even though the details are sketchy, I think it's safe to go ahead and figure the shooter was incredibly unbalanced. So far, the details seem to point to the fact that they weren't even his guns. They were registered to his mother.

If people want guns in order to commit some heinous crime — whether it be a bank robbery, or a mass shooting, or anything else — they'll find a way to get them, illegal or not. Don't think so? You're fooling yourself. I could take a forty minute drive in a couple of directions right now from where I live in no-one-gives-a-shitville, USA and buy unregistered pistols, rifles, and probably with a bit of prodding, fully automatic rifles, as long as I had the cash.

And gun laws won't change a thing about that, except if you outlaw guns, then the outlaws will have the guns.

I'm not going to stand here on a pulpit and say I'm behind the NRA. They are an organization that I've watched as its members act on an almost cult-like method of operation. But I do think it's the right of Americans to bear arms.

I am a gun owner. I grew up around gun owners. I know and am friends with lots of gun owners. 

A gun is an inanimate object and can do nothing on its own. It's not the gun, it is the person behind it that causes the problem. Just as a person can purchase bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer for their crops instead of using it to blow up an office building.

"Ok, asshole," (I can hear some of you say), "what's the freaking solution? How do we prevent things like this from happening?"

Well, to be honest, I don't really know. This type of mental imbalance usually doesn't happen at the flick of a switch — drug-induced insanity aside. How about mandatory mental check-ups along with the physical during our years at school? Believe me when I tell you, the well of crazy runs deep, but it doesn't suddenly spring eternal. That cold dark pool takes a long run from a tap before it spills over the stone walls that contain it. Maybe a smart high school guidance counselor could spot the signs early... maybe not. But it can't hurt, can it?

As for gun control - sure, I agree with some of the rants going on. I don't happen to think anyone really "needs" a 30-round clip for hunting deer. You can't hit a deer in ten? Too bad. Learn to shoot better. As for banning semi-automatics? I don't think so. 

Given the choice in walking out of my office during a late night, I can assure you that I'd insist on having a semi-automatic on my person rather than a revolver. If the shit hits the fan and you end up in a bad spot where speed of firing makes the difference between your life and lying in the alleyway bleeding to death, then semi-automatic it is.

Again - it's not the weapon... it's the person behind it.

But this is just my opinion... and in the words of one of my best friends (unnamed, as to not inadvertently drag him into this potential firestorm) — also a gun owner, and an extremely responsible one — your mileage may vary.