Monday, April 15, 2013

On Boston, And The Shitty State Of Our Media

I need to rant about this while it's still fresh in my head. This is my catharsis...sometimes I have to just get this stuff out so I can clear my head and move on to something more productive.

I started running in 2003 when, in our family's self-flagellation ritual, I stepped onto the scale before Thanksgiving dinner to record my weight. We always weigh before and after to see who eats the most. I stared incredulously at the number.


At five foot six inches, 200 is not a number you want to see related to your weight. Life's tough enough when you're short, but short and fat (and balding!) is a recipe for disaster! And so I started running.

I did 5Ks in 2004, 10Ks in 2005, and a half marathon in 2007. I figured that I would peak there, but I work with a lot of runners, one of whom is an 'ultra-runner' - he has run 100 mile or 24-hour races dozens of times. He's done the Leadville 100 eight times (maybe nine, I forget). It's hard not to get caught up in the spirit of the thing when you're around people like that.

So I ran my first full marathon in 2011 - the Colorado Marathon in Ft. Collins, CO - and I finished in five hours and 46 minutes. I was slow, I was in agony for the last 7 miles, but I finished and I swore, now that I had done a full marathon and could check it off the bucket list that I would never do another one.

In 2012 I ran the Denver Rock & Roll Marathon. I trained harder and finished in 4:52, much improved over the previous year, and was in much better condition when it was over.  I almost immediately registered for the next one.

In 5 days I'll be running the Salt Lake City Marathon. I'm 40 pounds lighter than I was in 2003, and a good deal faster than I was last year. On April 7th I finished a 1/2 marathon in under 1:55, which is no small feat at age 43. I'm primed and ready for this race.

And then come the events in Boston today. As a runner, as a marathoner, I know what it takes to train for a marathon.  I've run more than 500 miles and spent more than 85 hours on the roads training for Salt Lake. I'm expecting to come in about four hours and 20 minutes - or an hour and five minutes slower than what it takes for a 43 year old man to qualify for Boston. That's what makes the Boston Marathon so special. For many people it's the culmination of years of training, countless injuries overcome, thousands of miles logged, many, many disappointments and setbacks until finally, there's that race where everything goes right, and you earn your ticket in. And that's just to get there.  Once you're qualified to run the race, then you have to begin training for one of the most historic and toughest courses the sport knows.

So for many people, running in Boston is the culmination of a lifetime's effort and more often than not it's the only time they're going to get this chance. Every person on that course has that thing in common - they all did the work, they all made the qualifying time, they all know what it means to run on those streets. There's a solidarity among runners at every event, but at Boston, they all had to do more than just register and pay a fee - they had to earn their entry with blood and sweat. In that, they're all equal. It's about as apolitical an event as you can get.

So to hear that Wolf Blitzer has already speculated - in the absence of any evidence whatsoever - that 'Patriots' may be behind the bombings galls me to no end. We must not rush to judgement about any Muslim (Ft. Hood, anyone) who is involved in terrorism, but every time something happens, the media - Brian Ross with the Aurora shooting, now Blitzer in Boston - have no compunction about politicizing the event and smearing the (take your pick - Tea Party, the GOP, Patriot organizations). I'm sick of it.  Almost simultaneously, while Blitzer is bashing on Patriots, I'm hearing (and this is unconfirmed) that they have a Saudi national in custody who was seen putting backpacks in place where the explosion happened - yet Blitzer doesn't mention that.  It may well prove false, but the link to 'Patriot's Day' involvement probably will as well. He should just say they don't know who did it, or why, and leave it at that. Each and every time the media has blamed the Tea Party, or conservatives, or whatever their term for someone on the right is at the moment, they have been incorrect in their assumptions. And, when the facts become known, they never, ever report on the reality and are never held to account.

Nidal Hassan - Muslim, tied to Islamic fundamentalists (Obama: 'don't rush to Judgement')
Faisal Shahzad - Pakistani national, trained by the Pakistani Talibab (NY Police Chief: 'it could be a lone wolf terrorist and not an organization')
Jared Loughner - registered Democrat. (Sarah Palin made him do it)
James Holmes - registered Democrat, Occupy Wall Street supporter (reported falsely to be a Tea Party member)
Adam Lanza - registered Democrat (reported falsely to be an NRA member)

Don't get me wrong - I really don't care about their political affiliation because evil is evil, regardless of the cloak it wears. But if it's worth mentioning that there may be some minute chance that it was a Tea Party member, or an NRA member, etc. who did something horrible, then it's equally important to mention it when it turns out they're Democrats, or Occupy Wall Streeters, or Muslims, you know, just to ensure that they got it RIGHT. At least that would be important if there was a shred of integrity left in our media, but there isn't. They flack shamelessly for the democrats because, well, most of them ARE democrats. It's getting to the point that I can't stand to even watch half of the TV channels because they're so anti gun, anti religion (anti Christianity, anyway), anti traditional values, anti Constitution...well, anti ME. I'd say I've lost all respect for journalists, except that there ain't that much respect there to begin with. It's so pervasive at the networks that it's even corrupted the shows I watch, like Hawaii 5-0 which featured a 5 minute rant by Dan-o when a gun shop owner was a caricature of everything the media and progressive pols make gun owners out to be. I turned it off, wrote a scathing note to CBS and have never watch the show since - and that's a shame, because I think McGarrett is pretty cool, and that Kono is easy on the eyes. In any case, by dropping this show I've gained back an hour of my week.

On the plus side, as I've stopped watching the shows that piss me off, I've found more time for writing, buying guns and ammunition, and stirring the pot on Facebook.

And running, which I'll be doing for (hopefully) about four hours and 20 minutes on Saturday, with my head held high but with a heavy heart for those who, after Boston, will never run again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hey, Feinstein, it's all in the data, stupid!

This is something that I will be expanding on in an upcoming post, but this is an excellent primer. On the Coyote Facebook Page I've quoted a lot of stats recently about crime in the US. I have used this same data source (the FBI Unified Crime Reports) for my data.  I completely agree with this guy (and his subliminal insertions) that the pundits (Piers Morgan) and the politicians (Diane Feinstein) are cherry-picking the data they want while ignoring the fact that we are safer, less likely to get robbed, attacked, raped or murdered than at any point in the last 20 years. In fact, one report I read (and I still have to locate the data source) said that our murder rate hasn't been this low since 1928.

So, the quick gist is we ALL need to keep pointing to the data.  When a gun-grabbing liberal tells you that assault rifles are the cause of all of our problems, respond with "Can you explain the logic behind your statement when ALL rifles account for just 2.5% of the murders in the US?"

When they say that hi capacity magazines are the cause of all of our problems, calmly point out that after the previous hi-cap magazine ban ended in 2004, the murder rate has dropped by 15%. How can those two statements - hi cap magazines cause our murder rate to go up, and the murder rate has dropped after hi-cap magazines were once again readily available - co-exist?  They cannot; one of them has to be false, and we have data on our side here.

We're not going to change the minds of people like Diane Feinstein, Her first thought when she gets up in the morning is "how can we limit the freedoms of the people?" and her last thought before going to bed is "how can we consolidate more power into the hands of the government?"  We can, however, sway the people who aren't vested in the debate but are only spoon fed half the story by the media. We do that with education.

Before my wife met me, she had very limited exposure to firearms. Her family doesn't hunt, and after returning from Vietnam her father had seen all he wanted to see regarding guns, so she wasn't raised around them like I was.  She could not have told you the difference between an AR-15 and an M-16. When the media shows B roll footage of fully auto M-16s or M4s being fired, but deceptively talks about the AR-15, it is actively helping distort the dialog, and it's effective at doing so. My wife often says that before she met me she thought that gun control was a GOOD thing based only on what the media says about it. Now, even though she has no interest in owning or shooting a gun herself, she's an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment and she was converted not by confrontation, but by my fact-backed positions about gun ownership.

So while we may all agree that the gun-grabbers are insane with their lust for power and control, and that they care not a whit for public safety, before labeling EVERYONE who is anti-gun as a whacko let's try to win over the people who are victims of the media. Keep the facts handy and present them as often as you can. Get people THINKING about this issue rather than REACTING to it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PLEASE shut your hypocrisy pie-holes.

Hollywood celebritards are at it again, releasing a PSA asking for Americans to 'ask for a plan' from the government in response to the Newtown shooting. I know that a bunch of these folks don't really buy the shit they're saying, they just do what their agents tell them. "It would boost your profile if you do this PSA" or "You'd look a more compassionate to audiences if you do it," and so on. Since I don't even recognize about half of these idjits, I would say they NEED some profile boosting, but this ain't the way to do it.  If you haven't seen this PSA, take a minute and 23 seconds to watch it:

The ones I did recognize on first watch were Jeremy Renner, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, Julianne Moore and Chris Rock - all of whom I know from movies that have in some capacity glamorized gunplay (whether justified or not) so I would beg them, please, for the good of all, so I can in good conscience keep watching your movies, PLEASE shut your hypocrisy pie-holes. When any of you turn down $20 million to be in a movie that uses guns and excessive violence because of your principled stand against gun violence after Newtown, then maybe I'll give two squirts about your opinion. Until then, please just entertain me like the dancing monkeys that you have chosen to be.

I wish there was a video that highlighted the depth of their hypocrisy.  Oh, wait, there is: this video (which came up when I searched for the one above) says it better than I can. Watch it. I'll wait.

Ok, they found clips that I never even knew existed. You know what, here's my offer to these stars: Give it back. Give back EVERY PENNY you made from these movies or TV shows to the families of the tragedies you are so dithered about.  If ALL OF YOU do that, I will give up my guns. But unless you're ready to give up all of YOUR blood money, please pardon me if I ask you to kiss my pucker when you make a hollow but sincere sounding 83 second video designed at assuaging YOUR liberal guilt. You see, unlike you, I've never publicly encouraged anyone to commit wanton acts of violence or been paid to commit pretend murders on screen, or crowed about how great it was to 'kill all the white people in the movie." That my friends, is on you. Work it out with your therapists.

Mean while, in the real world, more than 2100 murders per year (about 23% of all gun-murders in the US) are committed by illegal immigrants who SHOULD NOT BE HERE in the first place (murders by 'rifle', which I assume to include the horrifying 'assault rifle' accounted for 2.5% of murders in 2011, by comparison). How about a plan to fix THAT, you Hollywood hypocrites? We've only been asking for that for a decade now (or more) and it falls on deaf ears.

I'll have more on this in a future post, including flaws in the lawmakers decision process (assuming their goals are to reduce violence).  For now, suffice it to say that securing the borders would do a great many things for the nation, potentially cutting murders by 23% being one of them. Let's get the RNC and the NRA to work that into their narratives and see what happens. Contact the NRA, the NAGR, your representatives and senators today and tell them to seal the borders if they want to have an immediate, significant, meaningful reduction in gun violence.