Half-Cocked Gun Rules

Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins. – Ayn Rand

That quote makes me think a lot about a lot of things. Considering the person who said it makes me think even more.

Guns! Is there another topic in American culture that instantly lights a fire under so many people? And is there another topic that has been at the center of so many horrific events in the past few years. Sandy Hook Elementary, the Washington Navy Yard, the Aurora movie theater, and most recently my alma mater, Purdue University.

I’ve vacillated in my opinion about guns throughout my life. I believe in the rights of all Americans. But at the same time I believe all Americans also have the right to be safe in their communities.

So where am I today on this issue? Well, I was very saddened following Sandy Hook that absolutely nothing changed. Proposed federal legislation that did NOT take away guns, and in effect only heightened background checks, failed to pass. Since that time, 2/3 of the new laws passed on state and federal levels have loosened gun regulations. And all this is going on while numerous polls show a majority of Americans favor stricter overall gun laws. I just don’t get it.

So here is where I stand. I think Americans should be allowed to own guns. But every gun owner should have a license to own, yes OWN, a firearm. Additionally, a separate license should be required to purchase ammunition. Both guns and ammunition should be taxed over and above the regular tax rate. Money from those taxes should be used to enforce existing gun legislation.

Now before you start hurling accusations at me, let me explain. I didn’t say any of these licenses need to be expensive. But think about this; we require people to have licenses to drive automobiles. Those licenses are acquired by passing tests which prove the applicant knows enough to be driving an automobile. Why shouldn’t a similar situation be in place for guns?

Here are the results. If you want a gun, get one. But first prove you know enough to have one. Licenses could be obtained at any gun shop. And I’m sorry, but sales of guns should be prohibited by anyone who does not require the buyer to show their license.

You want to collect guns? Great! Get a license. If you don’t want to shoot them, fine. That will save you the cost of obtaining a license to buy ammunition. Ammunition licenses, like gun ownership licenses, would require applicants to further prove their knowledge. All the fees could help fund the enforcement of gun legislation. Police agencies, like other government agencies today, are in woeful need of funds to conduct their business. Here’s a way to help them!

Nobody has to give their guns back under my proposal. And my proposal already has backing. Look here for some more information.

Following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, that country began sweeping gun reforms following years of very lenient gun laws. While the results have been mixed, I think the positives have outweighed the negatives. Don’t believe me? Go see what our own Library of Congress says about it. Something needs to happen in this country!

I’m sure there are ways to make my proposal more effective. I’m also sure that my proposals wont stop numerous cases of gun violence. But it’s a start. And of course there are people out there with ideas just as good as mine – probably better. But the bottom of all bottom lines is this. Guns should NOT be as easy to obtain as they are today!

Now someone please tell me why my proposals make me unAmerican! Please tell me why I am an extremist, liberal, socialist, etc! I am an American! I vote, pay taxes, and am involved in day-to-day society like other Americans! I’m just so so SO sick of nothing ever changing in this country when it comes to guns! 

And for those blatant Second Amendment people out there, consider this. The Second Amendment was NOT in the original Constitution. That’s why it’s called an amendment. And there are – and will continue to be – more amendments. Think about it.




Don’t Overcook Dinner, Ma

While day by day the overzealous student stores up facts for future use, he who has learned to trust nature finds need for ever fewer external directions. He will discard formula after formula, until he reaches the conclusion: Let nature take its course. – Larry Bird

When I started this blog less than a month ago, I had all these wonderful ideas about discussing current events, history, wrongs which need to be righted, etc.  I have ALL these ideas swimming around in my cavernous brain. I should share my wisdom with the world, right? So I blogged – for about a week. Then I got bored. So I began to think. I love to read. But why do I read? It’s a darn good way to drift off to sleep at night, yes. But I’m not reading physics manuals. Though it occurs to me that college-level physics books might get THAT job done faster. Reading, to me, is only worth doing if the subject matter is interesting. Translation: it’s interesting if the author has something to say. So what do I have to say? Hmmm. Well, as it turns out today, not a whole heck of a lot. With that in mind, I’ve reached a decision. I am not going to blog every single day just to get new content up. Yes, I know keeping sites updated is important to generate interest. But if I can’t think of anything good to say, panic and then put up a Jack Nicholsonesque post reminiscent of The Shining, I’m really shooting myself in the foot. And besides, all work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy. (It’s true. Look it up.) So check back on occasion. You won’t see something new every day, I can assure you. But hey, you might eventually. And if I stumble upon a huge secret like Matt Drudge’s breaking of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, you might be missing something huge. You just never know.

E-reader, That’s My Name

I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything. – Steven Wright

True story. I received a wrapped birthday gift on my doorstep back in 1996. When I opened it, I discovered a nice portable CD player (the first I’d ever owned)  with a note from my dear friend. The note said, “Welcome to a brand new decade. – The 1980s.”

I’ve always been a bit slower than most to adapt to new technology. So when I received an E-reader for Christmas in 2012, I didn’t know exactly what to do at first. But then, a few months later, we got a wireless router. For those who are technologically challenged, an E-reader (electronic reader) needs an internet connection to be able to download books. Otherwise, you’ve basically got an expensive rock. It was like flipping a switch.

Since that magical day, I’ve read (so far) 31 books. And we’re not talking Dr. Seuss here. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1280 pages,) The Fifties (816 pages,) The Cider House Rules (640 pages), and books by such great authors as Kurt Vonnegut, Pat Conroy and Peter Criss. (Sorry, I’m a big KISS fan.)

It was so easy during down times at work to pop open my E-reader and get lost in the world of Schofield Barracks just before the start of World War II, behind the scenes in the creation of the classic movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and other places only accessible by books. Almost every night, I snuggle under the covers with my E-book, reading until I can barely keep my eyes open.

My E-reader offers a host of books for free through an exchange program. Many titles are also available for reduced prices via special offers. And I don’t have to cart around a pile of books to read them. All these books are saved forever on my device. I can re-read them whenever I desire.

A lover of reading all my life, it’s been a long time since I’ve read so voraciously. I never thought I’d step away from the feel, smell of a printed book in my hands. But I must admit, this E-reader was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. And it’s made reading SO much easier.

So if you’re a reader like I am, you might want to check out an E-reader. Traditionalist or not, you probably will love it.

And as you can probably tell, I’ve specifically left the name of my E-reader out of this post. But if the company that sells it (hint: whose name makes one think of rainforests) wants to send me royalties for advertising it’s product, I welcome them to contact me. I’ll be glad to put down my book and discuss an arrangement.

Politics as Usual?

All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members. – Morris West


Throughout my professional career I’ve had the unpleasant task of writing stories about politics. This politician promises that. That politician did something wrong. The other politician disagrees. Blah, blah, blah.

Then I see things like the scandal that broke the other day in New Jersey concerning the George Washington Bridge. A Gov. Chris Christie aide pressed for lane closures on the bridge to anger a mayor who did not support Christie. The result was chaos in said mayor’s city on the New Jersey side of the bridge.

The governor, to his credit, immediately apologized and fired the staffer, saying he did not know anything about it at the time. Who knows the rest of the story? I’ll let the talking heads fight it out on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc.

I just couldn’t help thinking about all those people stuck in traffic. How many people suffered because they could not get to work, the doctor? I read that one woman died because emergency workers had to deal with the jam and were not able to reach her. I’ll bet you anything that at least a few people got fired because they were late for work. I will also bet that there were some insiders, lobbyists, etc. who knew what was going on at the time and either said nothing or actually tried to help. 

Politics in the United States has always had it’s share of corruption. To get and stay in office, politicians will often say anything, do anything. Lie about the opposition? Sure if you don’t get caught. Play a dirty trick on the opposition? Same answer. But there have been times, the bridge incident included, when innocent civilians have been made to suffer due to political shenanigans. That’s a game changer!

I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Martian, etc. ANY time that politicians hurt the public in order to make a political gain, they should be exposed, shamed, and brought down in the harshest way possible. That’s why I think it’s time for some new laws in this country. ALL elected officials should have their e-mail discussions, phone records and other correspondence automatically made public for those who wish to see them. Finance reform, where each candidate is given a set amount to spend, then given equal free time on television, should be the norm. ALL gifts from lobbyists should be banned. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Does anyone else have any ideas?

Lincoln called it a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In many ways, that’s no longer true. It’s a government of the politicians, by the lobbyists and for themselves. It should perish from the earth.

Here we go…

Journalism is literature in a hurry. – Matthew Arnold

I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally taken the step to start my own blog. 

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Curt Slyder. I live in northwestern Indiana and have spent the majority of my adult life as a journalist. That means I’m paid a little money to write a lot of words that inform readers of goings on in a way that persuades them to give my employer money. I’m supposed to keep my opinion to myself and try to complete the story presenting as many sides as possible in equal amounts. I’ve been able to do that pretty well throughout my career…

But, yes, I do have opinions. Sometimes they even make sense. It’s a great big world out there with countless things going on to write about. How can I just sit on the sidelines?

My plan for this blog is to spread (like a virus) the thoughts rambling around in my head. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life. And I try to stay in touch with what is happening in the world. I want to inform people. I want to assist people. I want to make you think. I want to make you laugh…intentionally…at times. I want to make you come back for more.

So please feel free to come back whenever you want. If you like what you see, feel free to comment. If you don’t, feel free to comment. If you want to send me money, feel free to drop by my house. My wife is an excellent cook.