Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lawyers Guns and Money

I'll be the first to say that I really don't understand gun politics here in the United States. Both sides seem so radically rabid and heavily politicized toward their respective stances that it seems there is no room for any reasonable discourse or middle ground. Every time we have another tragedy involving guns both sides ramp up the rhetoric even more. I find many of the comments on both sides to be equally distasteful. Unfortunately somewhere in the middle is exactly where I stand on the matter which means that whenever I open my mouth on the topic I seem to offend everyone. I like sport shooting at targets and given the number of varmints that inhabit farm country I feel the need to be modestly proficient with most small arms, rifles and shotguns. I currently own seven guns in various calibres and barrel combinations including several rifles, a shotgun and a couple handguns. I'm currently looking at purchasing some sort of tactical 223 to use as a small calibre varmint rifle mostly because tactical actions tend to be more trouble free than some of the lower end non-tactical weaponry. Unfortunately there are none of those to be had right now at any sane price.

I'm going to state for the record that wherever you personally stand on Second Amendment rights is fine with me as long as you can state your position in a respectful manner. America is a big place and everyone is entitled to and encouraged to have an opinion about stuff like this. I have friends who's views range all over the spectrum on this topic and I'm completely okay with that.

I understand that we can't ignore the Second Amendment and in that spirit it will probably surprise you to learn that I'm against banning the ownership of any particular make or model of gun. In fact I question whether gun control is very effective. Farmers like me use and view guns as tools. Having the right tool to do the job makes the work easier, quicker and safer. As most of you know it's hard to dig a fence post hole with a square mouth shovel. Similarly, but for very different reasons it's hard to kill a coyote or a rabid raccoon with a rimfire .22 or a handgun.  Lots of my Canadian friends own lots of  weapons that the government probably knows nothing about and I don't think there'd be any reduction in threat to public safety even if the government did know about them. The truth is that I and people like me could own entire rooms full of automatic tactical weapons, handguns or whatever you want with exactly no increased threat toward public safety. It's my belief that the key here isn't so much which weapons people get to own as it is policing which people get to own them. In my opinion there is a significant fraction of society that isn't mentally stable enough to consistently handle the level of power that accrues to those who own guns. Poor decisions far too often lead to unenviable consequences when guns are involved. In my opinion we'd do well to identify as many of these people as possible and make it as difficult as possible for them to get hold of guns and ammunition. We're never going to win them all but that's still no excuse for doing nothing in my opinion.

Frankly there are a lot of things that worry me a whole bunch more than gun politics anyway. First on that list is a government that spends nearly twice what it takes in every single year while patting us all on the head and telling us it's going to be all right. If I did that in my business every year I promise it wouldn't be all right. My creditors would get nervous and pretty soon the jacked up interest I was paying on my borrowed notes to appease my creditor's nervousness would force me to shut down. The financial crisis in Europe tells me that countries that are heavily in debt face the same situation.  It also scares me to death to learn that less than half the people in this country contribute a single dollar towards federal income taxes. Is it any wonder our economy is in poor shape ? How could it be otherwise ?

That's the end of my diatribe on guns and money. Unfortunately my brain is too tired to introduce lawyers at this point so I guess it'll have to wait for next time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I apologize to (both) my faithful blog readers out there on my lack of posts lately. As some of you know Melissa and I have had our share of illnesses, family emergencies and other challenges this fall and winter and of course there is Carter to think about these days too. That said, being a dad is by far the best job I've ever had.

One of my cousins who lives in Toronto now mentioned that everyone he knew was complaining about the relatively deep snow that had blanketed the city over the past several days. He mentioned that he had wet pant legs and feet too but instead of making him angry it made him remember some of the good times he'd had growing up in the little village my family has called home for a very long time. As you may imagine this got me feeling nostalgic too. Relative to Toronto, my little home town gets quite a lot of winter as you might guess from viewing the photo below. Wet boots could and did very easily turn into wet pants and even sometimes wet shirts as we slogged through what seemed like feet of snow for months on end. When I review some of the photos we took, and particularly those taken back in the 1970's we DID slog through many feet of snow for months on end, at least relative to today.

It would be hard to separate the village's history from that of my family because they are basically one and the same. My aunt took the photo above from the driveway of my cousin's home. Prior to his tenancy my grandparents lived in the house when they retired from the farm and prior to that my grandfather's aunt or great aunt resided there. The stone building on the right was my great-grandfather's blacksmith shop. My grandmother was born in the house that comes with the shop and my aunt....the one who took the picture above....lives there now. And so it goes with nearly every house along the half mile main (and only) street. In addition to knowing the current inhabitants and the history of the house in question the chances remain good that I'm related in some way to to a current or former inhabitant. To this day the place retains a very high concentration of families who have roots that they can trace...often without the need to leave their house...for a century or more.

I speak from experience when I say that it's hard to leave a place like that but it's eye opening too and it's not all bad by a long shot. This will not be a surprise to most of you but I learned that most of the rest of the world does NOT work in ways similar to my home town. Some of the ideas that I grew up with and that still seem normal to everyone who lives there are honestly quite strange now that I view them as a (partial) outsider.  I've also learned that success at integrating into a new place is primarily based on one's own attitude. If you expect things to be the same as they were in the place where you left I promise you will be disappointed.

As I mentioned earlier all the talk of snow, sledding parties and skating has me feeling nostalgic for the best parts of my boyhood and the wintry part is pretty hard to replicate when I'm staring out the window at green grass and blooming flowers. But of course green grass and blooming plants mean spring and spring very much is my favourite time of year and always has been. Must run now to check the price of grass seed at our local farm supply store. When today's warm rain settles the ground and it dries out it will be time to start re-sowing the pastures. Hope both my readers are well !