KTKC 2013 Day 30

Unless you have been living under a rock, or you got here on a Google search for hot Japanese squid porn, because I just incorporated that phrase, you know that this month I have been Kilted to Kick Cancer. Again, I want to give huge thanks to all of you who have made donations to the cause. Here’s a picture of me playing a Native American flute.

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As I said in some previous post that I’m not going to link back to right now, in years prior, I have succumbed to the temptation to find an excuse not to wear the kilt during this magical time. Not so this year! Although I have worn leggings under my kilt for parasite protection in the field on two occasions, I have not worn a pair of pants. Unless you count this picture where I show how much weight you too can lose by simply wearing a kilt:

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But, I didn’t so much wear them as crawled into them and peek out the top. And in all fairness, I was wearing my kilt under the jeans when the photo was taken. But, my point is that I have been wearing a kilt. All. Month. Long. Ask the other participants if they have completely abstained from pants this month. I severely doubt it. Last I looked, I’m pretty sure I was in seventh place. I wonder if any of the six guys ahead of me has worn a kilt at the absolute exclusion of pants since the month of August. This is why you should be sending your money through my account. Well, that and this hunter safety orange head tube that I arranged on Teen Bot like a balaclava:

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As of this writing, we have nine hours until the close of KTKC. In previous years, it has really come down to the last minute on who took the most for the cause. I know that budgets have been tight this year. I also know that a lot of people get paid on Monday. So help a brother out! To entice you, here’s a pic of me doing my best Captain Morgan impression:

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Your guess is as good as mine as to whether I’d had more to drink than the photographer. I think we can agree that there have been some pretty good pictures this year. Truth be told, I’m looking forward to getting back into my pants. Tomorrow, I plan on wearing a pair of Wranglers. On Sunday, I’ll wear an Armani suit. But, until I shed my clothing to crawl into bed and go to sleep tonight, I will be wearing my 5.11 TDK. Please keep that in mind this afternoon and this evening. I will be kilted for the remainder of the month, as I have been for the entire month thus far. When you think of this, think of male cancers. It’s not to late to contribute. Please consider throwing some bucks at the cause for me. Thanks again.

KTKC 2013 Day 27, Recap from Yesterday

As you all know by now, the least sane of us have been kilted this month to raise awareness about male specific cancers, and to seek sponsorship in the endeavor to benefit related charities. Please feel free to throw some bucks at my Prostate Cancer Foundation page.

Sometime last week, we ran out of paycheck at the end of the bills. This happens more often in September than any other time of the year. Especially when we just upgraded phones. And, accidentally lost $500 to an embarrassing clerical error. Oops. On Wednesday, we ran out of coffee. Yesterday, I decided to use Coca Cola as my caffeine delivery system, but my body wasn’t having any of that nonsense.

For a while, my uncle was brewing green coffee, as he had read that it was the new, popular ‘superfood’ that would cure all that ails you. He got tired of drinking green coffee and gave me half a bag of green Brazilian santos that he no longer had any use for. Last summer was entirely too hot to roast coffee, as is produces entirely too much smoke to roast indoors, and consequently I still have quite a bit of this hanging around. So, yesterday, I dug out the roaster that I made out of a popcorn popper and a grill thermometer, and threw a pound of green santos in it on the grill’s side burner.

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Once the beans achieved the proper color, aroma, and sound, they went into the colander to remove the chaff.

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Update – sorry. I got twitchy on my publish button, apparently.

While the coffee beans were cooling, Jennifer and I put together a couple of smoked tri tip roast quiches with home grown parsnips, onions, and basil, topped with white cheddar. We baked one for dinner and threw the other in the freezer for next time. Over dinner we watched classic Doctor Who with Teen Bot. After Teen Bot went to bed, we pickled up jalapeño hybrids* and pear tomatoes from our garden with some garlic chunks. Although I’m a little disappointed at the anemic production of our garden over the last few years, yesterday reminds me that we really are producing quite a bit of our own stuff. As we sat and relaxed before bed, I commented that I wish my shoulder wasn’t bothering me so much because I’d like to get that couch cushion stitched shut finally.

Again, please do consider sponsoring me in this year’s KTKC drive. You can donate here. We only have three more days to go!

*Having planted our peppers too close together this year, they apparently cross-pollinated. Our best guess is that our jalapeños crossed with our habaneros, or possibly some kind of demon. They are bright red and wicked hot.

KTKC Day 24 – Goofing, Good Company, and Bad Jokes

There were two clouds high in the sky, just floating there and watching a more boisterous cloud lower in the sky. They watched it float this way and that, dart around, roll, and change shape.
Finally the one cloud said to the other, “He sure is nimbus, isn’t he?”
The other cloud groaned at the terrible pun and said, “Dude, are you cirrus?”

Yeah. I made that one up. Thank you. I’ll be here all week. So anyway, we made it out to the farm again on Saturday. Here is a game camera pic of the three of us with Mz. VRWC, who dropped in on us from out of town:

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And, Jennifer managed to catch me goofing off in front of her camera. If you can imagine that.

Kilt Vogue

Dance, dance, fashion, baby. Work it, move that thing, crazy. But, not all the kilted pics are of me goofing off.

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Alright, that one is actually from last week. And, maybe I was goofing off for most of this weeks pics.

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And just for funz, here’s an almost nightmarish game camera pic of Jennifer apparently getting ready for her impending machete massacre.

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There are reasons I want her at my back for the zombie apocalypse. So, we’re now well into the final week of KTKC 2013, and the donation totals are honestly looking pretty sad right now. Before I go any further, I want to send out a *huge* thanks to the few of you who have made donations to date. To the rest of you, come on, don’t make me call you bitches! You can’t let me finish this deal in seventh place! The KTKC crew is cumulatively not doing as well as we had hoped, but my recorded total is under $300 right now. Please don’t let it end like this. Hit the link and give to the cause as you can. I know that I originally set the donation goal unrealistically high, and I didn’t really expect to drag in totals like that, but I absolutely expected to top last year’s total of $2,263, at the very least. But, we’re not done yet. As long as you get your donations in by Monday, we can still do this. Again, here’s the link. Let’s kick cancer together!

Erin’s Big Day

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Many of you have probably by now learned Erin’s long-standing secret. If not, I would rather you read it in her words than to give it away here. I’ve known about Erin’s situation for a bit now. We had started to chat online and had gotten to be friends. One day, she said that she had something that she wanted to talk to me about that she was nervous about. When she did her big reveal, I remember asking what else she had for me. But that was it. I was a little surprised that she’d gotten so worked up about telling me. I told her that I didn’t think that her differences were such a big deal. Really, I felt bad for her that she thought I might reject her for it.

I don’t think of myself as politically correct in the least nor particularly tolerant, but I just didn’t see Erin’s big secret as… …well… …all that big a secret. And, it isn’t. There have been several occasions that I thought she was going to blow her secret and regret it after the fact. I remember one evening in IRC in particular when she kept dropping hints in the room. I just knew she was going to do it. I felt like I was running both sides, hitting up Erin in a back channel to say, “don’t do anything you’ll regret tomorrow!” and hitting the main room to announce something along the lines of, “Erin is my friend and I’m standing with her.” So, although I do feel for Erin’s inevitable and obvious discomfort for her current situation, I’m actually a little relieved that it’s all out in the open now. I hope and I do believe that this will prove to be positive for Erin. And, as I said before, I’ll stand with my friend Erin. She’s still the little sis that we have known.

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Zimmmerman Trial, What if?

What if George Zimmerman was a black man and Treyvon Martin was a white boy? What if when confronted, the teen had rushed at the armed adult menacingly? Let’s go back to 2009, to the trial of Roderick Scott, a 42-year-old black man who was legally carrying a handgun for self defense. Scott observed some teenage boys in his neighborhood who appeared to be breaking into cars parked on the street. He profiled them as criminals and confronted them, waiting on police response. Chris Cervini, a 17-year-old white teen rushed at him and screamed threateningly. Fearing for his life, Scott shot and killed Cervini. Scott was found not guilty of manslaughter of the boy on the grounds of self defense.

*Edited to add – I don’t know if the embedded video worked or not. Link is here.

This case was eerily similar to the Zimmerman case, and yet it didn’t blow up the national news. There were no riots. The President didn’t make a statement about it. The United States Attorney General didn’t get involved. The DOJ didn’t stage protests. There was no public outcry. People didn’t make threats to run out and kill black people as a response. Personally, I had not even heard of the case until recently, and I suspect I’m far from alone there. So, what if Zimmerman had been a black man and Martin had been a white teen? It would have never been a major issue, even taking place in New York where they have no Stand Your Ground law, unlike Florida.

The Zimmerman case was only racially charged by the reaction of others. The shooting itself had nothing to do with race. But, the crooked, sensationalist media inventing the laughable new term “White Hispanic“, NBC editing the 911 tape to make Zimmerman sound like a racist, even The Post Turtle himself claiming that had he a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin; it was all a calculated attempt to turn this into a racially dividing case. The media and high officials in government decided Zimmerman’s guilt long before his trial. It’s disgusting. What’s even more disgusting is all the soft-skulled lambs that have jumped on the bandwagon of the race baiters. Zimmerman will never lead a normal life now. I comfortably predict that this was merely his first self-defense shooting, only because there will nearly certainly be revenge attempts on his life in the future. When he is eventually murdered, the blood will be on the hands of the race baiters.

Camera Nerdiness

Since Jennifer and I are relatively new to hunting, we’ve gotten a lot of help from DanielS at Among the Leaves, who has been hunting for pretty much his entire life. He drove up to our property on several occasions to advise and help us reclaim the lost art that both of our families enjoyed only a couple generations ago. Daniel even loaned us one of his game cameras that he wasn’t using, a Moultrie I40. It has been in pretty constant use on the family farm in a location where the deer like to hang out.

The last time I changed out the card, the display was blank. I figured the batteries were depleted and took the camera home with me. When we checked the card, it was pretty clear that it had stopped taking pictures a few weeks earlier. Toward the end of the run of pics, there were blank files interspersed with the pictures, as if it tried to take pictures but the files didn’t save to the card properly. It seemed pretty obvious that it was batteries. I put six fresh batteries into the camera and found that the display screen was still not displaying. I could hear the camera click as if it was functioning though. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was not capturing images at all. The photo folder in the SD card was empty.

We’ve had some nasty storms lately, and I guess it was damaged in one of them. A little internet research showed that the screen is a pretty common problem with this model, which Moultrie will fix for about $40. Failure to capture images is a separate problem. Crap. Since I can get a brand new Moultrie camera delivered to my door for well under $100, this one is probably not worth fixing. Daniel was quite understanding.

Jennifer and I had recently discussed that we would like to add more cameras, but I guess we now need to work our way back up to a pair of them. In shopping the interwebtron for trail cameras, I kept seeing people referring to ‘homebrews’. My dad has spent much time on the back porch, homebrewing beer, but I didn’t have any idea what that had to do with hunting. A quick Google search dumped me into quite the rabbit hole. I have an insatiable desire to buy some $20 camera on ebay and hack it into a game camera.

Most game animal activity occurs in the dark. I have gotten a few daylight pics of deer, but nothing like the after dark activity! It seems like most of the homebrew camera guys rig theirs with factory or add on flash units, and just light up the deer when they least expect it. I can see how this would be effective, but it won’t work in my application. Since there are trespassers on the property from time to time, if they had a flash go off at them, I’m likely to have a camera stolen. Scaring the living crap out of some unsuspecting deer notwithstanding, my cameras have to be discreet because of two-legged critters. The commercial cameras take color photos during the day and infrared pictures at night with the aid of an IR LED array. I wondered how they did that.

Many trail cameras are put together in such a way that there is an articulated light filter over the sensor inside the camera. When the light sensor detects that it is bright out, the filter covers the sensor with a hot mirror that blocks out all but the visible light spectrum. When it’s dark out, the filter switches over to an infrared filter and lights up its array. What a marvel that they can use such an impressive instrument in a device that they can sell for so cheap! Well, as it turns out, all digital cameras have a sensor capable of recording light outside of our range of sight.

You see, the light spectrum that is detectable to our eyes runs from around 400 to 700 nanometers. Below 400 nm we get into Ultraviolet range before it give way to X-rays, and above 700 nm is infrared range. The sensor in your typical digital camera can detect light waves from around 200 to 1,000, but it has a hot mirror filter to block out the light waves at the top and bottom of the range.

In fact, the trick thing to do among some of the photography geeks is to have a camera shop rip out the hot mirror from your old DSLR and replace it with an IR filter when you upgrade your camera so you have a dedicated IR camera. In fact, there are some folks out there that have done similar hacks at home to cheaper cameras.

Of course, I wondered whether the sensor needed a filter at all. What would be the harm in letting it record visible light simultaneously with infrared and ultraviolet? A little more digging revealed that this is called “full spectrum” and is also practiced among photographers. It appears that when you go full-spectrum with a digital camera colors can get funky. I can live with this. If I built an unfiltered trail cam that ran an IR array at night, I’d get my day pics and my night pics, and not have an obvious flash that will scare the crap out of animals and direct meth heads to smash or steal my camera. This is a good thing even if some of the pics are a little trippy. I’ll just pretend the deer have been dropping acid.

This all brings up another good point. There are things that IR and UV are useful beyond what I’ve mentioned yet. And regardless of utility, it would just be fun to have a full-spectrum camera to tote around. I sourced some very affordable IR and UV LEDs and have conspired with my brother to make a light accessory. I believe that I’m going to build myself a full-spectrum game camera and also a full-spectrum point-and-shoot from one of the cameras we have laying around the Evyl Robot Empyre. If this is as much fun as I suspect, I’ll have updates for you later!

A Response to a Reader

I received several comments on my Open Letter to Stephen King, and one of them was submitted by Jeremy, who seems to believe that I posited an imperfect analogy.

Very poor analogy. Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon. No assault weapons. He also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.
(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

Admittedly, had my post been an analogy at all, it would not have been a good one. I never intended to compare the gun control debacle of our time to the storyline of Mr. King’s fictional world. But, to address the concerns as Jeremy wrote them as quoted above, let’s just see exactly what he’s stepped into…

Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon.

Are you seriously starting out with an ‘Only Ones’ argument here? So, Roland is an equivalent to a cop, with special, magical training? You may note that in the course of the story, he recruits laypeople (the same young boy that you mention, a heroin addict from Brooklyn, and a paraplegic woman with dissociative identity disorder) and subsequently trains them with the same skills, to make them as gunslingers in their own rights. Similarly, in real life, not only is police-style gun training available to any law-abiding, adult, free citizen in our wonderful nation, but the classes themselves have a substantial crossover in students between law enforcement, military personnel, and the private sector. I stood side by side in a pistol class with two young men who were in the Air Force who were in class that day simply because they didn’t feel that the handgun training they had received from the United States Air Force was sufficient enough for them to be proficient and competent in a combat situation. Indeed, much gun training that is widely available to the public is superior to the training that many law enforcement officers ever receive.

No assault weapons.

Why must you fetishists obsess over the object employed in an act of violence? In point of fact, “assault weapon” is a vacuous and dishonest term that was invented by politicians to scare people into advocating gun bans. Whenever you have a new term pop up in a contentious subject, it is best to follow the agenda (or in some cases, money) trail before accepting it offhand. Before “assault weapon”, politicians made up other terms to the same end such as “gangster gun” and “Saturday night special”. Sadly, even the tired term “assault weapon” seems to have quite a fluid definition depending on which politician you listen to. Discussions such as this would be far more honest and productive if we could cut out the scary rhetoric and discuss factually. If we are talking strictly of Evil Black Rifles, you need to understand that these are the most popular rifles in the nation today, and that there are millions of them in private possession that have never been, nor ever will be used in the commission of a crime, violent or otherwise. The word “assault” is a verb, which means:

1 a : a violent physical or verbal attack
b : a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces
c : a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary)
2 a : a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension of such harm or contact — compare battery 1b
b : rape 2

And, the word “weapon” is defined as:

1 : something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2 : a means of contending against another

Therefore, if we ditch the agenda-driven, political definitions and stick to strict, English-language definitions, an “assault weapon” is not at all an Evil Black Rifle so much as it is any object that one utilizes to mount a physical attack against another. The black rifles with collapsible stocks, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and bayonet lugs, with their thirty-round (standard capacity) magazines, peacefully sitting in the safes of millions of Americans are not at all “assault weapons” and it is simply bigoted, prejudiced fear-mongering to assert that they are. For an actual analogy, if your girlfriend gets mad at you for eating too many tacos and attempts to stab you with her spork, that very morphoditic eating utensil is the assault weapon, and much more so than her AR15 which she left at her house, which has never hurt anyone. Indeed, during the fictional course of The Dark Tower series, Roland assaults infinitely more people with his revolvers than the overwhelming majority of all so-called “assault weapons” (as per the current, politically expedient “definition”) ever have or ever will, by a margin of some to nothing. This is primarily why the gun rights advocates find the
“high-velocity-assault-clip-shoulder-thing-that-goes-up” rhetoric so insultingly stupid. What I have found is that there are two types of people who argue for more gun control: Those who are motivated out of ill-intent (i.e. politicians who incite fear to tow the line to ultimately disarm the populace for greater power) and those who are motivated out of ignorance (the masses who simply repeat the talking points that have been fed to them by their betters, because they have been told that they are “common-sense”). And, this tends to be an inclusive continuum, in which some individuals fall into both definitions.

He [Roland] also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.

I admit that it’s been a while since I last read these books, but I seem to recall that Jake’s first death occurred when Roland’s nemesis deliberately pushed him into traffic. After that, Jake and Roland met and continued on the adventure together until Jake’s demise, of which you speak. Roland did not actively “murder” him so much as allow him to fall when he could have made the choice to save him instead. Although cowardly and deplorable, this is not “murder” in the strictest sense any more than ignoring a drunk and brawling domestic couple makes you a wife-beater, or not stopping a shoplifter makes you a thief. If you are going to define “murder” to include the failure to save a life when you are afforded the opportunity to do so, or to put someone in a hazardous situation that ultimately plays out to their demise, that’s painting with an awfully wide brush. The argument then can easily be made that the very act of gathering children in a place with no defenses, and no means of escape, where a madman can force his way in and slaughter with impunity against no effective resistance is murder. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really prepared to call someone a murderer for dropping their kids off at school, or for being employed by the school, or even being a politician writing policies concerning schools, even if I vehemently disagree with them. As atrocious as I find gun control to be, I’m not even prepared to call gun control advocates “murderers” although they have not always afforded me the same regard. I do agree with you in that Roland’s irrational obsession caused him to make the choice to not save the child. And yet, suspension of disbelief in The Gunslinger’s world includes rampant reincarnation. As opposed to our world, where when one dies, they are ostensibly gone for good, in the world of The Dark Tower, death is easy to play off with “There are other worlds than these.” That is to say that death, being less permanent in the fictional world, and therefore, murder or even manslaughter by negligence as framed in the book series is simply not as much of a natural offense as it is in real life.

(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

I will assume that was supposed to be “dared” and not “dated”. But, I’m glad to be of entertainment to you. I hope that brings you back for more, and I shall exploit the bandwidth you provide in an unrepentant and blatanty capitalistic manner. I don’t know whether you actually read Mr. King’s essay, in part or in full, but he shows that he is antagonistic towards politically-charged inanimate objects with scary nicknames and aesthetic features, as well as the NRA, which is the oldest, most effective civil rights organization in our country. It is not so much that Mr. King “dares to speak his mind” as it is the fact that he speaks down to all of the little people. He tells us that he owns three handguns “with a clear conscience” as though it’s acceptable to say, “I’m friends with lots of ni**ers.” In an attempt at taking on a leadership role over the rest of us, he shows how he courageously asked his publisher to pull Rage after collecting a mere nineteen years worth of royalties, because it was linked to some violent crimes. All of this, and he has the audacity to ask readers to pay for privilege of enduring this sermon. I don’t ask for a penny from you, Jeremy. And yet, I will freely admit to profit being a motivating factor.

Additionally, it is not so much being “easily influenced away” as it is standing up for one’s principles. To give you an analogy that actually is an analogy, if you found out that your favorite restaurant, Neighborhood Trough Buffet had a corporate policy that they did not like dogs, and actually supported animal shelters that euthanize, specifically because they wanted to kill dogs, you might just take umbrage to that. If it just so happens that you adopted your much-beloved dog, Skippers from the local no-kill shelter, it might take on personal meaning to you that Neighborhood Trough sought to destroy dogs that are so much like yours, and that violates your personal values. Skippers didn’t do anything to anyone, and he’s a great companion and he is protective of your family. You now have a choice to make. You could say, “Eff it, Neighborhood Trough is da bomb and I’m going to eat there anyway. Sure, they may support dog euthanasia, which is sad and wrong, but it’s not like I can change that on my own,” which would be well within your rights, even if it would make me question your personal convictions. Then again, you could say, “As much as I have enjoyed eating at Neighborhood Trough in the past, I am a man of my principles and I simply cannot patronize an establishment that supports activities that I find to be so reprehensible.” However, in your comment, you play it as though it is a point of weakness when in fact it is not. Just as in my analogy there are plenty of other restaurants in town that you can patronize that don’t support the wrong animal shelters, in my world there are plenty of talented authors that support my rights and freedoms. As an example, Larry Correia is a New York Times Best Seller and has written probably the most comprehensive and exhaustive argument on either side of the gun debate, that he doesn’t even charge anything to read, unlike King. In fact, he was recently invited to speak on the subject with Huckabee:

So yes, I’m remorseful that my hard earned dollars have played any part in the royalty pot of someone who holds my rights in such low regard. Indeed, Stephen King can go pound sand with his opinions unless he has been grossly misrepresented by others. The excerpts that I’ve been able to read certainly seem to be a condescending dissent to my rights as a free citizen, and it is not worth the ninety-nine cents to me to read the whole thing myself to test his defense. I hope I’ve been able to clear up a few things for you.

Neil Heslin Testimony Transcribed in Full and Commentary

I’m sure that by now you’ve all seen this:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

…which was transcribed here thusly:

Heslin: I don’t know how many people have young children or children. But just try putting yourself in the place that I’m in or these other parents that are here. Having a child that you lost. It’s not a good feeling; not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question: Why anybody in this room needs to have an, one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips…..Not one person can answer that question.”

Crowd/Alleged Hecklers: “Second Amendment shall not be infringed”

Public official: “Please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking. Or we’ll clear the room. Mr. Heslin, please continue.”

And, I’m nearly equally sure that you’re familiar with the longer version of the footage, as seen here:

When I first watched this, of course I disagreed with Mr. Heslin’s assessment, even if I felt horribly empathetic for him. My first thought was that this man was deeply distraught and it was unfair of the Senate to ask him to come and speak in that state. His words stuck with me, and some of them just really rubbed me wrong, and I had to come back and address this. In searching on the internet, I could not find a transcription of the full, sixteen-minute video. So, I have transcribed it myself below. I wanted to add my own commentary, but rather than interrupt, I’ve provided reference numbers in the text that will coordinate with my comments below. I have also added helpful links in the text where I felt they were appropriate. Mr. Heslin has a heavy accent, and was a little disjointed in his speech. I’ve attempted to make this an unabridged, verbatim transcription. I thought about dropping his ‘um’s and ‘uh’s, but decided to leave them in, not to make fun of Mr. Heslin, but to be as thorough and literal as possible. Although his grammar is quite poor, I have quoted it verbatim, and will not ridicule him for it. I did redact the shooter’s name, as I will not promote the faming, which is a major part of the problem.

Neil Heslin: “Good morning. My name is Neil Heslin. Jesse Louis was my son. He was six years old. He was a victim at Sandy Hook. I’m here today to just hopefully get the word out that changes have to be made.(1) Uh. I’ll tell you a little bit about Jesse. He was a boy who loved life. Um. Lived it to the fullest.(2) Uh. His mother and I are both separated; he spent equal amount of time with both of us. And um, he was my son, he was my buddy, he was my best friend.(3) And, I never thought I’d be here speaking like this; asking for changes, on my son’s behalf.(4) And, I never thought I’d be laying a crest… The happiest day of my life was the day he was born. He’s my only son and my only family. And, the worst day of my life was the day when I had… when this happened, and I buried him.(5) And, I was raised in a household with guns and weapons. In fact, I started skeet shooting when I was eight years old. I was educated on the safety of guns. I was… my father was an avid hunter. I was hunting ever since I was eight or ten or twelve years old with him. I’m not a gun owner now.(6) And uh… I… I think a lot of changes need to be made as for the safety and handling of guns, regulations of the guns(7): handguns, long arms, um… whatever you want to classify as an assault weapon(8), uh… Something like happened in Newtown…”

*fire alarm sounds*

*crowd murmurs*

Heslin: “Something like happened in Newtown can…”

Intercom: “May I have your attention please?”

Public official: “Just a moment. Just a moment please sir.”

intercom: “May I have your attention please. There has been a fire reported in the building. Please proceed to the nearest exit and leave the building.”

*crowd stands up and video breaks*

Heslin: “Back now that we all survived the fire(9).”

Public official: “Thank you. Now we are ready to ah, ready to continue now. Thank you, Mr. Heslin.”

Heslin: “Now that we all survived the fire here(9)… Um… Getting back to where I left off: I was raised with firearms and hunting and skeet shooting.(10) I’m not in favor of banning guns or weapons.(11) I’m in favor of… would like to see a lot stricter regulations, being on a Federal regulaton and a state level.(12) Um. There’s a lot of facts… a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened: mental health, um, being a big part, uh; going back to the basics, better parenting, uh… When I was raised, I was raised to respect my parents and my elders, not to kill my mother when she was sleeping.(13)

Uh. It’s… it’s just shocking what happened in Newtown.(14) And uh… I look at these weapons that were presented by the state police here: the uh assault, so-called assault weapons, meaning military-style and military looking(15) – you can categorize it or classify them however you want(16). I still, still can’t see why any civilian, anybody in this room in fact, needs weapons of that sort(17). You’re not going to use them for hunting(18); even for home protection(19). Semi-automatic and automatic weapon is one of the most inaccurate weapons out there. The sole purpose of semi-auto… those AR15s or the AK47s is put a lot of lead out in a battlefield quickly, and that’s what they do.(20) And, that’s what they did at Sandy Hook Elementary school on the fourteenth. That wasn’t just a killing, that was a massacre. Those children and those victims were shot apart. And, my son was one of them.(21) And uh. This picture I brought with me today was taken six years ago; it was my son when he was six months old, and myself. That was my mother’s Christmas gift that year. My mother passed away five years ago, ironically, on the same day that Jesse perished. Um. I just hope some good can come out of this in changes for mental health, the ban of assault weapons, or there’s a… I just can’t fathom why any of us need that in our society or in our home. Why do we need thirty-round magazines or cartridges?(22) There’s no one in this room here that has the capability, mentally or physically, to take on twenty people, or fifteen people, where you would need thirty rounds of ammunition.(23) There’s no reason for it. And, I hope everbody in this room can realize that and see that. There’s a lot of people here that are in favor of guns, and not changes. But, if they open their eyes and their minds, and supported changes and it would give them more rights, if it was on a Federal regulated program. It would give them more rights to take hunting weapons in and out of different states.(24) I think both sides really need to work together to pass regulations that work for everybody. And, I’m never going to have my son back.(25) I accepted what happened that day when it happened. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t change it. He wouldn’t want me to sit around crying or feeling bad. I’m not trying to do something to help him – and to help the other victims(26). That school was a beautiful place. It was like Maybury, going to that school in the morning. I never saw anybody that wasn’t happy there.(27) And, I dropped, we dropped him off that morning at 9:04 (I saw the clock), I walked him into that cla… into the, to the school. He gave me a hug and a kiss. He said, he said… And, I gave him a hug and a kiss back. And, he said, “goodbye.” He said, “I love you.” And, he said, “I love Mom too.” We were supposed to go back and make gingerbread houses that day; we never made it. Twenty minutes after that, my son was dead. And, there’s no reason for it.(28) There’s no reason that *redacted*‘s mother should have had those weapons in that home, locked up or not locked up(29) with a child(30) that apparently had mental issues. Um. I think a lot of it goes back to mental issues. Years ago, when we had Bellevue and Fairfield Hills, people were committed.(31) You never heard of crimes like this.(32) And, I think that’s a big thing that they have to focus on along with gun control. And, a place to start is banning these weapons. There’s no reason for these. There’s no place on the street for them.(33) Another argument that.. uh.. people have is, “Well, the criminals will have these weapons.” You’re never going to take weapons away from criminals, or drug dealers, or people on the streets that have them. You have to make very strict penalties for that, and not a slap on the wrist, not probation. You’ve got to make mandatory, harsh jail terms for those people.(34) If they’re convicted of committing a crime with a weapon, whether it be a robbery, a hold-up, an assault, there’s got to be strict penalties. You’re not going to take, banning the firearms, you’re not going to get them away from the criminals.(35) But, we don’t need these weapons on the street or in our homes. We don’t.(36) And, I ask everybody to think about it, and everybody in this room, whether you’re in favor of guns, or in favor of banning them, to try to work together to come up with reasonable changes that work. And, I think one place to start is with the regulations on background checks – thorough background checks for everyone who purchases a weapon. Resales have to have thorough background checks.(37) I think a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault-type weapons needs to be in place; more strict guidelines on people who own them, such as the state has and the Federal government has with machine guns.(38) Um.

I just can’t believe what happened at Newtown. I dropped, we dropped Jesse off at 9:04 and an hour and a half later I was back at that school and it was like a military installation – SWAT team members, families in hysteric – uh, hysterical, state police from all over the state, FBI, uh. It was unbelievable. Students there looking to be reunited with their parents; parents looking for their children; I was looking for my son, I was looking for his classroom. They were never to be found.(39) What some of the surviving students’ parents told me: my son, Jesse yelled, “Run! Run now!” He was in Miss Soto’s class; ten of the students survived; my son wasn’t one of them. I hope those words helped those children survive.(40) And, I just… I just hope that some change can come out of it and that’s positive and good. Newtown’s a broken community. I see the people up there; they’re heartbroken with their heavy hearts. I had the opportunity to go into Chalk Hill School where these children are, and it wasn’t a good feeling; it was a very sad feeling. And, it’s something that should have never happened.(41)

And, getting back to these high-capacity weapons: We’re not living in the wild west. We’re not, we’re not a third-world nation. We have the strongest military in the world. We don’t need to defend our homes with weapons like that.(42) I just hope that everybody in this room, as I said before, can support change. Ban hi… Ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips and magazines. And, that’s a step in the right direction. And, support Federal changes and regulations.

And, I don’t know how many people have young children, or children, but just try putting yourself in the place of I’m in or these other parents that are here and having a child that you’ve lost – it’s not a good feeling.(43) It’s not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. It’s a real sad thing.

You know, I wish… I ask if anybody in this room can give me one reason, or challenge this question: Why? Anybody in this room needs to have an assault… one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips? And, not one person can answer that question, or give me an an…(44)

*”heckling” starts*

From the crowd: “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed.”

Heslin: “Alright.”

From the bench: “Please, please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking.”

Heslin: “Okay.”

From the bench: “Or, I will clear the room. Mr. Heslin, please continue.”

Heslin: “Anybody, anyway, we’re all entitled to our own opinion,(45) and I respect their opinions and their thoughts. But, I wish they’d respect mine and give it a little bit of thought, and realize that it could have been their child that was in that school that day.(46) And, I don’t think of any of the massacres or shootings in this country – I believe they all happen with an assault weapon, or assault-style weapon, high-capacity clips(47): Aurora(48), Columbine(49), um, Sandy Hook… And, they were, I believe they were all purchased legally, too(50). Uh. Not to say that it.. you know, massa.. uh.. assaults like that couldn’t have happened in another way but you need to cut down on the guns – those type of guns. There’s no reason for it. And, they cause destruction and they cause massacre.(51) And, that’s what they were made to do.(52) And, uh. You know, I just ask that they could place a ban on them.(53) That’s all I have to say at this time.

Public official: “Thank you Mr. Heslin and thank you for having the fortitude to come and be here today in the wake of the terrible loss of your beautiful son Jesse. Thank you so much.”

Heslin: “Thank you very much.”

*Applause from the crowd*

(1) – I understand him introducing himself and telling how his word is applicable, but he didn’t take more than three sentences to jump from that straight to gun control. I find this troubling already.

(2) – Sounds like a neat kid. The whole situation is truly heart-breaking.

(3) – “Son,” obviously, “buddy” I can truly relate to, but “best friend”? I’ve heard people refer to their grown offspring as “best friend,” but never a six-year-old. I can’t find anything explicitly wrong with this, but it does strike me as odd.

(4) – We all know that his son will not benefit from any “changes”, and this is simply an emotional appeal for a knee-jerk reaction.

(5) – I pray to God that I never find out how horrible that has to feel. No one should ever have to bury their children.

(6) – Totally irrelevant. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with skeet shooting or hunting. I don’t think that you should be forced to own guns if you don’t want to.

(7) – I hope no legislation is passed based on your beliefs that would lead to the restriction of my rights. This is not callous, it has nothing to do with the loss of life as perpetrated by bad people.

(8) – What I “want to classify” as an “assault weapon” is already illegal, although I feel it should not be.

(9) – I find it weird that he felt that it was so important to tell this joke that he reiterated it. I understand that someone who is going through tragedy can act oddly, so I don’t think this necessarily implies anything. I just find it odd.

(10) – Again, irrelevant.

(11) – Except…

(12) – The fed makes it a PITA for us to buy and own guns already. And, you want that to be more strict? How about we punish the criminals instead of the good guys?

(13) – I don’t think anyone is raised to shoot his or her mother while she sleeps. Ultimately, we are creatures of free choice, and unfortunately, some people turn out bad despite a parent’s best efforts or genuinely good parenting.

(14) – It is shocking, and I don’t think anyone is disputing that. We should not be shocked when these events happen as we have created the formula in which these things happen. If we keep sensationalizing mass murderers and keep banning weapons in schools, killers will come forth and murder in places where they meet no resistance for the contrariety.

(15) – Are the aesthetics of the guns used of any relevance in the least? At the risk of sounding heartless, your son would not be any less dead had he been killed with anything else.

(16) – See point #8.

(17) – It’s got nothing to do with need. We have a natural right to defend ourselves that is guaranteed by the constitution.

(18) – Irrelevant but demonstrably false.

(19) – Wrong again.

(20) – This is one of the more ignorant statements I’ve heard on the subject of guns and reveales an impressive lack of experience on the subject.

(21) – Reiterating the tragedy is not valid to the point of the argument. It is an emotional appeal that doesn’t add intelligence to the discussion.

(22) – Confusing misuse of terminology aside… So, you don’t want to ban all guns, only the most popular and in the most common use? Gotcha. Do you realize that’s like saying, “I don’t wan to ban all Japanese cars, just the Hondas and Toyotas.”

(23) – Maybe not in that room. But, you get out here to free country, and you might be amazed at what a well-trained individual can do.

(24) – So, more strict gun controls would give us more gun rights? That’s some twisted logic right there.

(25) – Horrible but true. My heart goes out to you.

(26) – Isn’t that a contradiction of you asking for changes on your son’s behalf? (point #4)

(27) – Totally irrelevant emotional appeals again.

(28) – It was a senseless tragedy, to be sure, but…

(29) – Don’t conflate the act with the tools. It was not wrong of her to have these inanimate objects, and neither you nor any one else has yet given a reasonable argument to the contrary.

(30) – Not a “child”, but a “man”. We’re talking about a twenty year old. By the time I was twenty, I was a married, home owning father. The crime was his alone. The sin was his alone. At the age of twenty, one is no longer the responsibility of one’s parents.

(31) – I’m not sure I can get behind the involuntary denial of freedom of people based on the label of insanity, lacking any evidence more tangible than the word of a professional. As often as people get misdiagnosed by physicians and psychologists, it just seems like an awful big crack for people to slip through.

(32) – You also forget that in the days of the big asylums, students would lean their guns in the corner of the classroom because they were going hunting after class.

(33) – They are in millions of privately owned safes in this country. Millions of these guns have never killed and never will kill anyone. And yet, you want to punish millions of innocent people for the crime of one. I can’t really say I blame you for wanting someone, anyone even, to pay for your son’s death. But, you are taking out your frustration and anger on people who don’t deserve the blame.

(34) – This is the first point that I actually agree with. If we don’t lock up the criminals, they’ll be out committing crimes. They will get guns and they will commit crimes with them. Keep them in jail, or shoot them dead.

(35) – And yet, you want to take the most effective form of defense from the very people who would be victimized by these criminals.

(36) – You don’t. Don’t force your values on the rest of us.

(37) – The states that don’t use the NICS system have to call the FBI for a background check. The current background checks are an inconvenience to the law-abiding that we begrudgingly accept in the hopes that it will make it a little harder for criminals to get guns. Ratcheting up on that only punishes the law abiding.

(38) – The restrictions on machine guns are completely unreasonable and were a knee-jerk response to other high-profile violent crimes. We would be better served to rescind those restrictions than to add standard-capacity magazines and the most popular rifles and pistols.

(39) – Completely irrelevant.

(40) – Your son was a brave little boy, and he should be greatly mourned. You should be proud of the time that he had.

(41) – The Newtown shooting should have never happened, true. But, we live in a fallen world with bad people. Of course the community is torn up about it. There’s no other way they can be.

(42) – All it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing. If you disarm us, this is our eventual future. WARNING – extremely graphic pictures at the link

(43) – Teaching your children responsible gun handling goes far further toward their safety than attempting to insulate them from guns. I can’t imagine the pain you must be in, but it is still no excuse to deny good people of their rights.

(44) – And, that was no rhetorical question.

(45) – But, you seem to think you are entitled to your own facts as well.

(46) – I have considered this, and it is an excellent reason to not send our children to a gun-free zone for so many hours every day. There are plenty of alternatives for most of us already.

(47) – Demonstrably false; the Oklahoma city bombing and 911 come right to mind.

(48) – The Aurora shooter demonstrated a proficiency in building effective bombs. His body count could have been so much higher if he didn’t have guns.

(49) – The Columbine shooters used no such guns, and that shooting took place during the 1994 AWB, demonstrating the point that those intent on evil will use whatever tools they can get their hands on.

(50) – Aurora is the anomalous exception that provides your argument any modicum of credence. The Columbine shooters bought their guns illegally, through straw purchases and illegal private sales. The Sandy Hook shooter murdered his mother and stole her car and guns, which I’m fairly certain was not legal. All of the provided examples are people intent on evil, carrying out evil where they know guns aren’t allowed.

(51) – They do not cause destruction and massacre. Those intent on evil cause destruction and massacre. The gun itself causes nothing at all, and there are millions in circulation that have never spilled innocent blood.

(52) – I’m getting so tired of the “intended purpose” fallacy. Forget the fact that more children die from drowning than from gunfire because guns were “designed” to kill. Do you know what was originally designed to kill? Hammers and clubs. And according to the FBI, they’re still taking more lives than rifles.

(53) – No.

I still think it was wrong of them to ask him to come and testify in the first place. Then again, the whole pony show is a disgusting farce and I really hope the whole thing blows up in their faces. If you’ve read this all the way to this point, please do leave me a comment to let me know. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t though. This did turn out pretty long.

Domes as Homes II

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably read my musings about building a geodesic dome as a house. If you read the comments section, you know that there’s been some discussion going on. Inventive told me that he grew up living in a dome house that his dad built. I asked for pics and description, and he posted a blog entry of his own with current pictures of his parents’ home. It looks pretty good, especially after the remodel. My favorite is the last picture, where you can see the new furniture on the new floor, with freshly painted triangle panels in the wall behind, with the script “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart” painted on the wall. Words to live by! Please do go check out his pics and commentary.

I think this cockamamie scheme of ours might actually be doable! I showed my scribbles of brainstormed floor plans to my parents on Saturday and they seemed pretty excited about it. We discussed location, and we’re pretty sure where we’re going to build it – for now anyway. There’s still plenty of time to change our minds. With the kit that we’re looking at and the floor plan we’re thinking towards, we’ll have lots of space for house guests. That will be a first for us, and we’re pretty excited about the prospect! Of course, I’ll publish more when I have more to report.