The World of 2015

I will be back in the United States in 2015.  I’m not really sure when, but it will be 2015.  There are some early Close of Services in March.  Then again, I want to travel.  It’s all too far away to think about with any precision.  I will be back in the United States between March and July of 2015.  When I do, the country will be mostly the same.  It’ll be the small things that will have changed.  That’s what I spend a lot of time thinking about.

Family
-My dad will be 58 and getting closer to retirement.
-My mom will be 57 and about to start her last year of teaching.
-My sister will be turning 30 around the time I get back.
-Dasia will be 15 and probably have a Driver’s Permit.
-Jade will be 13 and getting ready for High School.
-Kyra will be 10 and starting Middle School.
-Sidenote: My parents will likely have a new dog!

Technology
-IPhone 7 will probably be the big thing.
-The PS3, the XBOX 720, and independent game systems will be on the market (I want one).
-The new technology will likely be “flexible tablets.”
-Google Glasses will be on the Market.
-Supermarkets will have more “do it yourself” checkouts than human checkouts
-Space Tourism will allow civilians to orbit the moon in a “Lunar Hotel”
-Self-driving cars will be on the road, but not ready for general sale.
-Personal Computers will have up to 100 TB hard drives.

Politics/News
-The New World Trade Center in New York will be open
-The first Presidential Candidates for 2016 will already have announced their candidacy.
-The Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned.
-3D Printing will render gun control obsolete.
-For the first time since I was 12, the United States will not be at war.

It’s strange to think about a lot of these things.  Everything moves so quickly in the world nowadays, that a lot really does change in the course of two years.  It’s all very exciting and scary.  By the way, if you find this stuff as fascinating as I do, I get most of it off a single website.  Check it out.

http://www.futuretimeline.net

 

 

Gun Control & Mental Health

I sent my letter regarding the Connecticut shooting to ten of my elected officials.  In the hope of keeping them accountable, today I am going to let you know where each of them stand.  I will follow up on this as more details become available.

Colorado State Representative Dave Young: The only person who has responded to my letter thus far.  It was a beautiful response.  His focus is threefold: Better mental health help in Colorado; limit gun ownership for those with serious mental illnesses; close the gun show loophole.  Although he does not agree with me on banning semi-automatic weapons and extended clips, that is okay.  That needs to be done at the Federal level anyway.
Colorado State Representative Steve Humphrey [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Glenn Vaad  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: He helped put together a much needed mental health expansion in Colorado–which needs to be approved by our state congress.  He also called for closing the Gun Show Loophole.  Hickenlooper called for “a debate” to take place regarding gun control, but has yet to release any specifics.

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Representative Jared Polis: Polis has also focused on closing the gun show loophole.  He is also very outspoken about increasing mental health help in Colorado.  No word yet on Gun Control.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Senator Mark Udall [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
President Barack Obama: Obama has been solidly in the pro-gun column his entire presidency.  Fortunately, the events in Connecticut are forcing him to the left.  He appears to be actively pushing for an assault weapons ban.  He has also has talked at length about mental health.  For a President, however, I expect action–not just talk.

I will update this list again in a week or two.  In the meantime, i suggest you write a letter to your elected officials about what you want to see changed.

~Richard

Reaction to Dark Knight Rises Shooting in Aurora, Colorado

 

We all react to different types of news stories in different ways.  I like harrowing stories about a person who overcomes the odds and beats cancer.  I feel utterly exhausted when I hear stories about the presidential election.  But then there are stories that I don’t know how to handle.  Like today.  Less than an hour south of where I live, I man walked into the midnight release of The Dark Knight Rises and shot more than 60 people.  12 are dead.  If you haven’t seen the story, click here.

I feel like I react to shootings differently than most people.  I don’t know if that is actually the case.  I start off like most people.  There is an overwhelming confusion about how someone could do such a horrible thing.  The how is what gets me.  I know in the days ahead, everyone will be asking the why.  Why did he shoot a six year old and kill her?  Why did he pick that theatre?  Why a random attack?  The questions are endless.

But my question is: How?  I literally do not understand how someone picks up a gun and shoots 60 people at random.  How can your internal working be so fucked up that you do not understand what you are doing is wrong.  Or do you understand what you are doing is wrong—but you just want to go out with a bang?  If that is the case, why not just commit suicide?  How is killing a dozen people and striking fear into the movie-watching nation better?

My confusion transforms quite quickly.  I spent an hour this morning holding back tears as I read the reports.  I do not know anyone involved…but I feel like I could.  They are right there.  As I wonder about the dead, the injured, the mothers, father, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, and friends of each victim, I start to realize that something like this will dramatically affect the people of this state and this country.  So many people are touched.  I don’t know anyone involved and I am still deeply saddened.

Is it wrong that my thoughts quickly turn to anger?  I live in a country where our second amendment rights are closely guarded.  Although I live in this country, I do not share those beliefs.  Guns scare me.  The destruction that they cause is absolutely frightening.  My problem, however, is not that people own guns.  It’s that everything around owning a gun is easy.  People with mental disorders—such as the man responsible for the Tucson Massacre—are not restricted from owning guns.  Why would we allow someone who is proven mentally unstable to own a gun?

Then there is the extended clip.  I do not know the specifics about the gun here in Colorado.  But in Tucson, where Gabby Giffords and many other were shot, the shooter used a gun with a modified clip.  The extended clip allowed him to continue shooting without reloading for an extended about of time.  I can only imagine the same type of thing is responsible here in Colorado.  How does a man get at least 60 shots off?

I grow angry because the fixes are easy and our government does nothing.  Why can they not agree that extended clips are dangerous and make them illegal?  Why can’t they agree and put restrictions on ownership of guns for people with proven track records of mental instability?  It angers me to such a level that our Congressmen and candidates bicker as the people of this country die in disgusting ways.

Supermarkets.  Schools.  Movie theatres. We are supposed to feel safe in these places.  But the laws of the land no longer reflect the mentality of the land.  I am scared.  I literally cannot bring myself to go see the Dark Knight Rises this weekend.  I love movies, but I cannot understand this…and thus don’t feel like I know how to react to it.  I want to feel safe.  I know we cannot be protected from everything without sacrificing certain right.  But let me make something blatantly clear.  I am okay sacrificing certain liberties regarding guns and the second amendment in order to feel safe again.