The Soapbox Archives:
Yes, but what are they going to do to decrease the likelihood that it'll happen again? If they don't do anything, then their thoughts and prayers are less than worthless because they're just allowing it to happen again and again. Praying to God is suppose to give them the wisdom and courage to do what they'd really rather not do. It's up to men and women to do the right thing.
Some say that it's not a gun problem; it's a crazy people problem. Yes, that might be one of the symptoms, but then some of these politicians are also against "Obamacare" even though it contains provisions for taking care of mental health.
Let's make this perfectly clear: I'm not against the lawful ownership of guns. I'd like to learn how to shoot a gun one of these days. I just want to keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them (terrorists, crazy people, criminals, hate groups, etc.). The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is not a suicide pact (to steal a line from a Tom Clancy book). Anyone who thinks that unfettered gun ownership is worth the lives of hundreds of innocents, including children, has to be a cold heartless bastard.
However, I think I understand the strategy of organizations like the NRA. Crazy people and terrorists (sometimes one and the same) factor into the NRA's plan. If there's a mass killing by someone with a gun, the NRA will say that if there had been an armed civilian in the area, he would have shot the bad guy. And that is the best way to arouse a large number of people into supporting gun rights and going out and buying even more guns. The dead people (including those children)? Collateral damage in the war for gun rights. Otherwise, the NRA would have to convince people to support gun rights, one voter at a time and that takes too much work.
Note that soldiers and law enforcement train in armed confrontation situations for hours upon hours, and then they go back for more training. They go through scenarios where they have to make a split-second decision to shoot or not to shoot and whom to shoot. They train to not shoot innocent bystanders. And occasionally, an innocent victim will get shot in a battle with the bad guy anyway. I believe that an armed untrained civilian is just as likely to shoot the victim as the perpetrator.
I was just wondering: is there any sort of poll or survey done that compares every elected official's stance on strengthening background checks for guns and their view on requiring IDs for voting? I'd be interested in how many people said "yes" on one and "no" on the other.
If memory serves me correctly, this website was started on November 28, 1995. At the time, I was sending out a weekly email newsletter on the swing dance scene in Boston. *That* started as an effort to let all my new dance friends know about all the new happenings on the swing dance scene (in 1991). The website was just an excuse to learn how to create a website and I got carried away with it as the newsletter more or less faded away.
It's been a long time and a hell of a lot of work. During that time I've seen better websites such as TotalSwing.com and Best Coast Swing disappear; the New England Swing Dance Server was on life-support for years and years and years and it seems to have finally died.
This website on the other hand, survived because I was too stubborn to let it go (much like I was too stubborn to let the Boston Swing Dance Society shut down while I was in charge of it; it shut down after someone else took it over. :-P ).
It's been said that plagarism is the greatest form of flattery. I once caught someone copying material from this website and using it in theirs; he copied my mistakes too. I even caught another website that copied whole pages of HTML and used it as their own work; they used my original wording which some of you might noticed has its own peculiar language patterns.
This website also changed its appearance as I noticed something I liked or disliked. The way it looks and works as it stands today is a tradeoff of how much more work I want to put into it and how much more incremental marginal gain there was. It's still the same basic HTML code entered in Notepad. I haven't kept up with the technology because it's not what I do for work and I type fast enough that it didn't matter. I've gotten praise for how fast it downloads and displays; that's because I don't put in any coding junk that requires computing time or additional downloads. And I take the time to resize images on my website for faster downloads.
To be sure, though: This website has never been about technology. The one goal of the website is to present accurate and current information. A website can be pretty and easy to use, but if it doesn't have useful information, then it's useless. My goal is to current and relevant.
How can you help? Make sure your favorite venues are listed, and if they aren't, get the venue's organizers get off their butts and send their information in. Once this website reached critical mass, I stopped looking at other websites for information I didn't already have. I want the vendors to send me their information so they can take responsibility for the accuracy of their listings. I just don't have the time to look for information anymore, especially since I got married a few months ago. As I reach a lot of dancers, especially new dancers, it's up to the people who make money off dancing to get their information to me. This website is not a profit center for me, as evidenced by the lack of ads.
Note that this website has "sponsors". They cover my costs. That's it. They don't have any say in how I run this website. They do, however, help promote their competitors to the same audience. Be sure to thank them for that.
One last thing: I'd very much like to thank the incredibly wonderful Roberta Tovey (who has a Ph.D in English) for the hours editting the Boston Swing Dance Society newsletter and for patiently listening while I argued against all the changes she made to my writing. She made me think about what I wrote and how I wanted to present it.
I went out to eat with a friend recently. I sat across from my friend and my friend coughed. While my friend covered up their mouth with their hands, I felt the remanents of the cough on my hands. Oh great. Their germs got on my hands just before I have my meal. Luckily the food hadn't arrived and I wasn't having anything that required eating with my hands like a sandwich.
I was at a supermarket that was on my way home to pick up some deli stuff. While I was waiting, the one guy behind the counter coughed into his arm, just before he was going to put some deli meat into a bag for a customer. That got my attention.
That customer had something else to order and while the guy behind the counter was getting ready to cut the item, he coughed again into his sleeve. I decided that enough was enough; it was time to go. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but he coughed twice around the food of the same customer. I didn't want him coughing on food that Denyce was going to eat so I ended up driving to my regular store, adding about 20 minutes to my chore, where they strongly suggested that I write in on their website because it's a big deal to their management.
At the Barnes & Noble store in Burlington last night, there were probably 15-20 people in line. There were probably 4 cashiers at the time so the wait wasn't really too bad, though I wish they had magazine racks along the line.
Some kind soul came skipping along from the back of the store and told us that there was no line at the cashier in the music department. After we made our purchases, I too went along the line to tell everyonoe that there was no line at the cashier in the back.