Growing Pains

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Growing Pains

Have you had your pain today? Does an apple take the taste away? Are we here to push the boundaries or float upon the surface? Shall we dare to drown in our fear only to come up for air violently gulping a piercing knot of pain into our gut? The pain is never enough. My desires are fed by the searing pain of not-enoughness. I shall forgive my parents for not giving me everything that I want. No, I thank my parents because that pain caused me to achieve my goals of college and entrance into the world of work. I embrace pain. I clench my fists and grind my teeth in anticipation of the pain that will allow me to swallow my pride and guide my eyes to all that is right. Wrong cuts like a knife and then there is pain. My sweet, beautiful, bloody pain that seeps into my heart out through my pulmonary valve to feed my soul. Ahh… there I grow again.

30 Year High School Reunion-That Sure Went Fast!

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30 Year High School Reunion-That Sure Went Fast

I am about to have my 30 year High School Reunion! It’s official! I am middle aged. Crazy?! I also understand how incredibly blessed I am. 30 years ago, both of my parents were alive and I wondered what my life would turn out to be. Now, I know and I feel like I’ve just begun. I have learned to embrace change and more importantly, to always be true to and embrace myself.

I now know that, I am good, I am great, I am grace and I am love. It will never be to late for me to be all that I came to be.

Here’s to many more healthy, happy and fulfilling years for me and the wonderful classmates of Edison High School Class of 1983!

Ghetto Spirituality

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Ghetto Spirituality

I subscribe to a ghetto spirituality.
Somehow, no drama suits my everyday reality.
Guided light never suited my child’s mentality.
Original sin greets my divine individuality.
There’s no church and no pews, in my ghetto spirituality.
Brothers and Sisters see love’s innate commonality.
Golden rule trumps any judgmental brutality.
There’s always room for more, I love you in your totality.
Suits me fine and my neighbors too, this ghetto spirituality.

Lessons from the Animal Kingdom

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Lessons from the Animal Kingdom

Animals never have the threat of atomic or nuclear wars. They have disagreements, definitely. But, I have never heard of a territorial group of elephants fighting other elephants. When has a pride of lions fought the hippos for territory? Aside from a few exceptions, animals just exist. They don’t worry about money, or material possessions. They don’t worry about aging. They don’t diet, because they always eat just enough. They don’t have to pay for their entertainment, they create their own games. Yes, they hunt and kill. But, they only hunt what is necessary for their own survival. Animals don’t pollute. All of their waste is biodegradable. They know how to relax. They care for their young, but, they let them grow and become adults, as well. They understand when it is time for one of their own to die. They let it happen, and seem to understand that it is a part of life.

We are supposed to be the more intelligent species. Where did we go wrong? When will remember that we are just another animal that inhabits this wonderful planet, earth? I hope we do, before it is too late.

How to know if you are a Rabid Dog Owner

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How to know if you are a Rabid Dog Owner

10 ways to know whether you are a Rabid Dog Owner:

1) You want to raise your leg when you have to urinate.
2) When you see another dog’s poop on the sidewalk,
you want to smell it.
3) You have an urge to be petted behind your ears.
4) Dog food makes you salivate.
5) You want to bark at strangers.
6) You want to stick your head out of the car window
when you are driving.
7) You want to lick yourself when you are wounded.
8) When you’re happy, you want to wag your tail.
9) You want to chase cats.
10) You feel more comfortable on your hands and your
knees.

If you said “Yes” to seven or more of the above-
you are a Rabid Dog Owner-BEWARE!

A Conservative Case For An Assault Weapons Ban

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A Conservative Case For An Assault Weapons Ban

By Larry Alan Burns
December 20, 2012
Last month, I sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson. That tragedy left six people dead, more than twice that number injured and a community shaken to its core.

Loughner deserved his punishment. But during the sentencing, I also questioned the social utility of high-capacity magazines like the one that fed his Glock. And I lamented the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004, which prohibited the manufacture and importation of certain particularly deadly guns, as well as magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The ban wasn’t all that stringent — if you already owned a banned gun or high-capacity magazine you could keep it, and you could sell it to someone else — but at least it was something.

And it says something that half of the nation’s deadliest shootings occurred after the ban expired, including the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. It also says something that it has not even been two years since Loughner’s rampage, and already six mass shootings have been deadlier.

I am not a social scientist, and I know that very smart ones are divided on what to do about gun violence. But reasonable, good-faith debates have boundaries, and in the debate about guns, a high-capacity magazine has always seemed to me beyond them.

Bystanders got to Loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, chose as his primary weapon a semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines. And we don’t even bother to call the 100-rounder that James Holmes is accused of emptying in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater a magazine — it is a drum. How is this not an argument for regulating the number of rounds a gun can fire?

I get it. Someone bent on mass murder who has only a 10-round magazine or revolvers at his disposal probably is not going to abandon his plan and instead try to talk his problems out. But we might be able to take the “mass” out of “mass shooting,” or at least make the perpetrator’s job a bit harder.

To guarantee that there would never be another Tucson or Sandy Hook, we would probably have to make it a capital offense to so much as look at a gun. And that would create serious 2nd Amendment, 8th Amendment and logistical problems.

So what’s the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.

I even say it as someone whose feelings about the NRA mirror the left’s feelings about Planned Parenthood: It has a useful advocacy function in our deliberative democracy, and much of what it does should not be controversial at all.

And I say it, finally, mindful of the arguments on the other side, at least as I understand them: that a high-capacity magazine is not that different from multiple smaller-capacity magazines; and that if we ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines one day, there’s a danger we would ban guns altogether the next, and your life might depend on you having one.

But if we can’t find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.

There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.

It speaks horribly of the public discourse in this country that talking about gun reform in the wake of a mass shooting is regarded as inappropriate or as politicizing the tragedy. But such a conversation is political only to those who are ideologically predisposed to see regulation of any kind as the creep of tyranny. And it is inappropriate only to those delusional enough to believe it would disrespect the victims of gun violence to do anything other than sit around and mourn their passing. Mourning is important, but so is decisive action.

Congress must reinstate and toughen the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Larry Alan Burns is a federal district judge in San Diego.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times