Gun Ownership In Itself Is Not A Second Amendment Right

I find it pathetic that Republican leaders immediately begun moralizing that now, in the wake of the horrific tragedy that occurred last Friday night inside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, is not the time to discuss new, effective gun control laws.  If not now, in the wake of twelve innocent lives shot dead and another fifty-eight wounded during a midnight premier screening of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” when is the time to properly discuss gun control?

Proponents of gun ownership and the firearms industry cite the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms.  However, these folks all seem to leave out an extremely significant section of the actual amendment.  The Second Amendment, as passed by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill Of Rights, states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  A well-regulated militia, in this day and age, to me would refer to the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and the National Guard.  Yet, this very important phrase of the Second Amendment is never mentioned by gun advocates.

America’s fascination with firearms has evolved into the most violent nation on Earth, with the possible exception of those countries who are presently engaged in actual warfare.  We are arguably the most violent nation in our planet’s history.  There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon, yet our politicians quiver in fear of reprisal from the National Rifle Association dare they have the courage to speak up for sensible gun laws.  Politicians who do speak out in favor of new gun control legislation face the wrath of the NRA come their next election.  In just about every instance, a politician who did speak out for sensible gun laws was defeated at the polls due to the powerful influence of the gun lobby.  To believe that arming every citizen is the answer to curbing gun violence, as the NRA espouses is just preposterous.  Growing up during the hay-day of Westerns ruling television networks, the image I always remember is that the very first thing the town sheriff did when cowboys came into town after a long, hard cattle drive to visit the local saloons was to take away their guns.  However, just the opposite is occurring throughout America as more and more cities and states are allowing the concealed carrying of firearms into drinking establishments.

The following is a partial list of mass murders that have taken place in the United States just since the horrendous tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 that resulted in the death of fifteen students:

Twelve dead in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999,
Six dead in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999,
Five dead in Wichita, Kansas in 2000,
Seven dead in Wakefield, Massachusetts in 2000,
Five dead in Queens, New York in 2000,
Six dead in Chicago, Illinois in 2003,
Six dead in Birchwood, Wisconsin in 2004,
Seven dead in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2005,
Ten dead in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2005,
Six dead in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in 2006,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2006,
Six dead in Carnation, Washington in 2007,
Five dead in Crandon, Wisconsin in 2007,
Thirty-two dead at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007,
Nine dead in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007,
Six dead at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois in 2008,
Six dead in Alger, Washington in 2008,
Thirteen dead at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009,
Nine dead in Geneva County, Alabama in 2009,
Ten dead in Covina, California in 2009,
Thirteen dead in Binghamton, New York in 2009,
Six dead in Santa Clara, California in 2009,
Eight dead in Carthage, North Carolina in 2009,
Eight dead in Appomattox, Virginia in 2010,
Nine dead in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010,
Eight dead in Seal Beach, California in 2011
Seven dead in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2011,
Six dead in Tucson, Arizona in 2011,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2012,
Five dead in San Francisco, California in 2012 and
Seven dead in Oakland, California in 2012.

This is a staggering list of senseless murders and families shattered, and does not detail the considerable number of wounded in the carnage.  What is alarming is that the percentage of Americans who believe we need stricter gun control laws is decreasing.  What does it take for a nation to realize that something is desperately wrong with our culture of guns and violence?  The NRA has convinced a good number of Americans that President Obama’s hidden agenda if elected to a second term is to take away all their firearms.  Yet, in the only two firearm bills signed into law by this president during his first term in office lessons current restrictions on gun control, contrary to popular opinion.

If a person wants to own a firearm, fine, join a well-regulated militia as required by the Second Amendment.  We, as a country always seem to be at war, so there will always be a need for someone who aspires to shoot something.  I see nothing wrong with a hunter owning a few rifles, but as a general rule, hunters do not shoot their prey with assault rifles capable of firing hundreds of rounds automatically without having to reload.  For anyone to have the ability to purchase military assault weapons capable of creating the type of massacre seen in this country time and again over the past decade is asinine.

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

U.S. Presidential Election Campaign Advertisements

Has there ever been a better presidential election campaign commercial advertisement than the current one sponsored by President Barack Obama in which presumed Republican candidate Mitt Romney is trying his darndest to sing “America The Beautiful” while graphics detailing both Romney’s business practice of outsourcing jobs overseas while CEO of Bain Capital and his personal financial philosophy of hiding his vast wealth in overseas tax havens such as Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands to avoid paying his fair share of income tax scroll along the screen?

Whichever campaign advisor who recommended that Mr. Romney sing what many perceive to be our second national anthem during a campaign appearance at a retirement village in Florida just days after the president so soulfully sang a couple of lines from Al Green’s classic song “Let’s Stay Together” when he appeared at a fundraiser at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem this past January should have been fired immediately!

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

Flowers #51B, 26A, 110A & 52A

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The flower Fuchsia was first discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) by French monk and botanist Charles Plumier in 1703.  There are now more than one hundred known species, mostly located in Central and South America.  Mr. Plumier named the plant after German botanist Leonhart Fuchs.  Although this plant is both beautiful and unique in appearance, I find it somewhat difficult to photograph as it flowers downward.

Note: I sometimes will double-check the quality level of photographs I have posted on WordPress.com on a computer at my local library to verify that the quality of the photographs posted are the same on a computer different from my own.  On more than one occasion, I have been embarrassed by what I saw.  I have tried contacting support to see what could be causing this problem, but have yet to determine what the exact cause is.

I have also yet to figure out what is causing the uploaded photographs to look slightly askew when viewing the finished posting.  This is not the case of the actual photograph scanned onto my computer (yes, I still proudly shoot film) nor when I first upload them into my WordPress.com blog page.  Again, I am embarrassed by the final product, as it appears that I care very little by their actual appearance.  As a neat freak and a perfectionist (both a blessing and a curse), this is far from the truth.

If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

Steven H. Spring

 

 

Violence Is Uncle Sam’s Middle Name

I can already hear the rhetoric that will soon come forth from gun advocates; that if everyone was packing heat last night inside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado while watching a midnight screening of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” then alleged gunman James Holmes would have been shot dead before he had a chance to kill twelve innocent people and wound another fifty-nine.

However, I find two faults with this argument; one, if everyone pulled out a gun and started firing away, how would you know who was the psychopath who started shooting in the first place and who was another bystander attempting to take him down?  It seems to me that this scenario would result into some sort of Wild West shootout, especially when you consider the alleged shooter first set off some sort of smoke grenade and/or noxious gas.  It has been reported that Holmes was wearing ballistic-proof body armor head to toe, so shooting him most likely would have done little good, unless you were armed with a very powerful handgun.  My second thought is, if America had stricter gun control laws, the shooter most likely would not have had an assault rifle loaded with a high-capacity magazine in which he was able to shoot so many people, along with a single-barrel shotgun and a .40 caliber pistol.

America’s fascination with firearms has turned it into the most violent nation on Earth.  We are arguably the most violent nation in our planet’s history.  We have violence in our television shows, in our music, in our schools, in our workplace, in our shopping malls and throughout every aspect of our everyday lives.  I am a news junkie; however, I stopped watching local news many years ago.  With their “if it bleeds it leads” mentality, I grew sick and tired of seeing so much senseless violence and destruction of lives every single night that occur in my hometown and state.  There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon, yet our politicians cower in fear of the reprisal from the National Rifle Association dare they have the audacity to speak up for sensible gun laws.

When you consider that we seem to be perpetually at war throughout the world, we as a nation are a very violent people.  Not only do we spend more money on our military than the rest of the world combined, but we are also the world’s leading arms dealer, arming not only our friends but our enemies as well, all in the name of the almighty dollar.  Violence is United States’ middle name!

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

 

Penn State University Sexual Abuse Crimes

The following is a copy of my letter to N.C.A.A. President Mark Emmert concerning the raping of young boys by a former football coach at Penn State University and the coverup of these crimes by university officials.  The actual rapes themselves were terrible enough, however for university officials to knowingly coverup the crimes as to not tarnish the sacred image of the school was far worse in that it allowed Jerry Sandusky to further prey on his victims.  School officials and the university itself should be held accountable!

 

July 18, 2012

Dr. Mark Emmert
President & CEO
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana  46206

Dear President Emmert,

I write in regard to the very disturbing sexual abuse crimes that occurred at Penn State University over the past fifteen years that resulted in the firing of their much beloved and respected long-time head football coach Joe Paterno.  Not only was the repeated raping of young boys shocking, however the coverup of these rapes by the most authoritative officials at the university abhorrent and most likely criminal as well.

With the release this past week of the report on the eight-month long internal investigation of this sordid affair by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, I was horrified to read that Mr. Freeh concluded, “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”  This report accuses former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, former Director of Athletics Tim Curley and Coach Paterno of knowing the raping of children by Jerry Sandusky were occurring as far back as 1998 and not only did these men do anything to prevent these rapes from further occurring but they allowed the former coach continued access to the football facilities after he retired, not long after the first report of a rape occurring at the facilities.  Mr. Freeh’s report determined that “Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest” and that these men prevented any sort of official investigation and were implicated in the coverup of these crimes as well.

If any case in the long, troubled history of N.C.A.A. sports warrants “death penalty” sanctions, this certainly is it.  The old adage that the coverup is always worse than the crime undoubtedly holds true in this circumstance.  For the former school president, vice president, athletic director and head football coach to allow these crimes to continue for years as to not tarnish the image of the university is criminal as well.  The young men who were repeatedly raped by the monster Jerry Sandusky will bear the emotional scars of these crimes for the rest of their lives.  This was a football program, athletic department and a university unrestrained and with absolutely no institutional control.  I strongly urge the N.C.A.A. to impose a five-year “death penalty” against the Penn State football program at the very least.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

 

 

Mt. Rushmore #101A, 102A & 106B

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Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, located in the scenic and sacred Black Hills, in the southwest corner of South Dakota, USA, features sixty foot tall likenesses of Presidents (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  The monument was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum.  Construction began in 1927 and was originally designed to feature head to waist images of the presidents.  However, lacking of funding halted construction in October of 1941, seven months after the passing of Gutzon.  The memorial has been a part of the U.S. National Park system since 1933.

Note : I sometimes will double-check the quality level of photographs I have posted on WordPress.com on a computer at my local library to verify that the quality of the photographs posted are the same on a computer different from my own.  On more than one occasion, I have been embarrassed by what I saw.  I have tried contacting support to see what could be causing this problem, but have yet to determine what is the exact cause.

If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

Steven H. Spring

Are America’s Best Days Behind Her?

With a reported one million households and businesses still without electricity a week after two freak, hurricane force storms wrecked havoc across the entire eastern half of our nation, there is a very simple solution to ensure that future storms will not cause the type of damage to this country’s electrical grid as witnessed on June 29th and July 1st.  Not only would my recommendation prevent future power outages, but it would also jump-start our ailing economy as well by putting the American workforce back to work, earning a living wage (not to be confused with the minimum wage) in which to adequately raise their families.

The solution to this problem is to completely overhaul this nation’s entire outdated, overloaded and rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.  While we are replacing our entire system of roads, bridges and highways, we should replace not only our century old sewer system but bury all electrical, telephone and television cables as well.  These cables should be installed inside some sort of PVC pipe, or something similar as to allow for future updating and replacing of lines without having to tear up the asphalt or concrete roadwork.  By burying all our electrical cables, not only will we be rid of all those hideous overhead wires, but also fallen tree limbs will never again knock out power.

These recommendations would be very costly and would take many decades to implement, however our entire infrastructure is in dire need of updating and replacing.  There is a very simple solution to paying for this expensive agenda: cut our $1.5 trillion annual military/intelligence budget in half.  Our roads and highways are crumbling, our sewer system is one hundred years old and our electrical grid is vastly outdated.  Just yesterday, President Obama signed into law a $105 billion transportation bill to finance transportation projects for the next twenty-seven months, creating three million jobs.  However, this bill provides just a small fraction of the work required just to keep up with the needed repairs on our degenerating system of roads and highways.  And if this two-week heat wave in which the entire eastern half of the United States experienced 100 degree temperatures is an indication of thing to come as our planet warms due to the burning of fossil fuels, our current electrical grid will be overwhelmed as air conditioners attempt to keep us cool.

Once upon a time, America accomplished great things.  Those days apparently have ended.

Steven H. Spring