Sunday, August 26, 2012


     I was an atheist for most of my life. I am fairly literate in science and I over-all respect science, including such concepts as the Big Bang and evolution.
      A major turning point for me was when I no longer framed the question of a deity or deities between a nice clear cut cage match of Judeo-Christian beliefs in one corner and Darwinism in the other. Taking The Bible and Christianity and any number of religious people out of the question altogether, might various religions include, at their best, imperfect attempts to grasp something valid?
     There are any number of experiments designed to illustrate how nature manifests order, complexity, and, conceivably, life, at random. One I have come across online is to take a tumbler. Place matching nuts and bolts inside the tumbler and let the machine spin, tossing them around. After a certain period of time, depending on such variables as how many matching sets of nuts and bolts were placed in the tumbler, some of them will have begun to thread together. Random nature can assemble things.
     What I find interesting about this experiment though is to ask how much of it we should consider? The intent is clearly that no one had to manually assemble the nuts and bolts. Other facets of it that I notice include that the tumbler was designed and manufactured and procured, as were the conveniently matching nuts and bolts. A power source was produced and accessed for the machine, and of course someone placed the nuts and bolts into that tumbler and threw the switch. By analogy, conditions were deliberately set into motion by which nature can build things at random.
     I think of a part of the unauthorized collection of essays by Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything. Toward the end of that book, he asks why there are any laws of thermodynamics in the first place, resulting in a universe to describe. He then asks if God made it all. And if so, "then who made Him?"
      I feel that it is valid to ask, instead of the universe we ponder and are a part and product of, why, instead, hadn't there been a universe of absolute disorder after the Big Bang? Or why, really, hadn't there simply been no Big Bang at all, and no universe, ordered or otherwise, and none of us or life or earth or anything else?
      I continue to agree with my former tribe, the atheists, that nature and evolution unfold at random. The only essential difference now is that I no longer happen to believe that they unfold purely at random.~Mike.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I want to start this off by saying that I do not, myself, own a firearm, but technically I do as I was bequeathed an antique non-functioning pistol a few years ago. I am not a "gun nut" or a member of The NRA. In many respects I would be considered liberal, but not in any card carrying sense, even as I am in no way to be considered a neo-con.

I caught Michael Moore talking with Piers Morgan on CNN about gun violence in reaction to the Aurora, Colorado nightmare. To watch that show you might think the U.S., which boasts the highest incarceration rate of any country, was also the worst nation on earth for gun violence. How you frame the question makes a difference. According to Wikipedia, the highest rates of gun deaths by nation are South Africa, Columbia, and El Salvador, with the U.S. coming in at number 12 just under Mexico. If you want to say that we are number one as Moore clearly does, you have to say that we are the number one "developed" nation for gun violence, those other countries not counting apparently because they are embryonic and/or fetal. According to the National Institute of Justice website, as I suspected might be the case, most U.S. gun related deaths are perpetrated by gangs in the inner cities.  While Moore mentioned pointedly that most guns in this country are owned by white people in the suburbs, you can hardly expect him to speak out against gangs. Obviously what happened in Aurora was not gang related, but more importantly, for Moore, or for that matter, Piers Morgan, to mention this fact would be politically "incorrect."

Should there be restrictions on people under psychiatric care being able to purchase weapons, and specifically assault rifles? As mentioned on the show, should some sort of alert go out when a person like Holmes is clearly stock piling ammunition online? Absolutely. Such a remedy would be fairly easy to implement and effective, and it would bypass any need for violation of patient confidentiality in a case like Holmes.

One thing I've wondered about Aurora is whether this nightmare might have any connection to so-called antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. You know, the meds they love to dole out to a large segment of the population that are associated with suicide (How anti-depressing is that?), and for which we see legal ads on a regular basis now in their connection to birth defects. In the Virginia Tech Massacre, shooter, Cho Seung Hui, was on antidepressants. There was also a connection to antidepressants in the infamous Columbine shooting.

None of these factors fit into Moore's far left agenda, however, so no mention of them was made. 

When white people are injured, traumatized, and killed, it makes headlines. In the inner city, well, that's just life, I guess. How many inner city gun deaths, injuries, and trauma involve kids who are not criminals but who had the audacity to go to school? How many Columbines, Virginia Techs, and Aurora Theater horrors unfold in this nation's inner cities every week, and involve innocent children caught in the crossfire, with nary a peep from the corporate media? Who cares about these innocent victims of gun violence? Not CNN or Piers Anthony, or, apparently, that liberal champion of truth and justice, Micheal Moore.

My Own Childhood Experience with Guns

Excerpted from my autobiography, Waking From the American Dream: 10 Mile, autographed copies of which are available in the Albuquerque area through me for 10 dollars. Also available at Hastings on Lomas and San Pedro and at the Montgomery and Wyoming location.

     There is the matter of the two breaking points in 1975 when I was ten, after my father’s death.
     There was a recent incident here in New Mexico, a kid who shot and killed several family members. He claimed he had lived with intense physical and psychological abuse for years. I don't condone it. It's tragic.
     I know what it is to be dehumanized and abused and neglected by family members, and how this in turn can effect the quality of one’s sentence in the public school system. I think that's tragic, too, even though, unlike a shooting spree, it tends to go unnoticed. You didn't hear about that sort of thing so much in 1975, but I held the bolt action 22-caliber rifle on Brod at the Dansville house. He stood outside the back door and saw me there with the gun, cocked and loaded. I aimed it at his gut. Considering the size of my rounded gelatinous target and the low caliber of the rifle, I doubt very much that it would have killed him.
     It was as though I was in a trance. I hesitated, but thought very seriously about pulling the trigger. He smiled at me and stood there and told me that I would not shoot him. Jane's yellow Oldsmobile turned off the paved road to make its way up the long winding rutted dirt driveway. I lowered the rifle and we dropped it.
     If I had shot him I would have pulled the trigger on an insane monster that went a long way toward destroying my childhood and who caused me permanent damage. As he reacted to the lump of lead that tumbled into his guts, when he doubled over, fell, screamed, I believe that I would have seen the damage done to my older brother, such as he was, by my hand. I would have been terrified, and tortured with guilt. Jane would have shown up shortly afterward and he would have been rushed to the hospital and would more than likely have recovered.
     Unlike a clinical psychopath, I sincerely believe that my schizophrenic brother was capable of remorse, coupled with all the less redeeming traits. I suspect that he would have been able to see how and why I had been driven to such a thing and that he would honestly have forgiven me for it.
     Later I once overheard him complaining to Jane that he didn't want to end up in an alley with a butcher knife in his throat, which, I can only assume, had to do with me. Leave it to her to dismiss his complaint, probably coupled with an admonishment for picking on me so much. "Rough housing," as she often called it. That’s one of the life and death impasses I reached after my father’s abrupt death when I was ten.