Compassion – Another View


 

I watched this TED talk and laughed and cried. I want us all to live in a world where enemies become friends and where compassion is more important than being right. I want there to be no marginalized people. I like the idea of kinship. I hope you all enjoy this talk and take the spirit of the talk to heart. Be blessed. Hugs, Barbara

 

bjwordpressdivider

Gun Control Facts


After the many fatal shootings that have happened recently, I began looking for more information on Guns in America — looking for real facts, not just supposition.

I found a website, justfacts.com, which contained an entire webpage on Gun Control.  I’ve excerpted some of the information, and several of the provided graphs, below, for your information.  There is a great deal more information on the actual page, https://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp, for those who are as interested as I am in separating gun fact from gun fiction.

 

I’ll be interested to see what you think of this, and if it falls in line with your beliefs — pro or con — regarding gun control

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

guncontrol_ad

 

This research is based upon the most recent available data in 2010. Facts from earlier years are cited based upon availability and relevance, not to slant results by singling out specific years that are different from others. Likewise, data associated with the effects of gun control laws in various geographical areas represent random, demographically diverse places in which such data is available.

 

Many aspects of the gun control issue are best measured and sometimes can only be measured through surveys,[1]but the accuracy of such surveys depends upon respondents providing truthful answers to questions that are sometimes controversial and potentially incriminating.[2] Thus, Just Facts uses such data critically, citing the best-designed surveys we find, detailing their inner workings in our footnotes, and using the most cautious plausible interpretations of the results.

 

Particularly, when statistics are involved, the determination of what constitutes a credible fact (and what does not) can contain elements of personal subjectivity. It is our mission to minimize subjective information and to provide highly factual content. Therefore, we are taking the additional step of providing readers with four examples to illustrate the type of material that was excluded because it did not meet Just Facts’ Standards of Credibility.

 

General Facts

 

* Firearms are generally classified into three broad types: (1) handguns, (2) rifles, and (3) shotguns.[3] Rifles and shotguns are both considered “long guns.”

 

* A semi-automatic firearm fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, ejects the shell of the fired bullet, and automatically loads another bullet for the next pull of the trigger. A fully automatic firearm (sometimes called a “machine gun”) fires multiple bullets with the single pull of the trigger.[4]

 

Ownership

 

* As of 2009, the United States has a population of 307 million people.[5]

 

* Based on production data from firearm manufacturers,[6] there are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million are handguns.[7]

 

* Based upon surveys, the following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010:

 

 Households With a Gun  Adults Owning a Gun  Adults Owning a Handgun
Percentage  40-45%  30-34%  17-19%
Number  47-53 million  70-80 million  40-45 million

[8]

 

* A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership:

 

Category  Percentage Owning

a Firearm

Households  42%
Individuals  30%
Male  47%
Female  13%
White  33%
Nonwhite  18%
Republican  41%
Independent  27%
Democrat  23%

[9]

 

* In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

 

Protection Against Crime  67%
Target Shooting  66%
Hunting  58%

[10]

 

Crime and Self-Defense

 

* Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008. Of these, about 10,886 or 67% were committed with firearms.[11]

 

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone “almost certainly would have been killed” if they “had not used a gun for protection.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”[12]

 

* Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16]

 

* Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18]

 

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun “for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”[19]

 

* A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.[20]

 

* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21]

 

  • 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”
  • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”
  • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”[22]

 

Click here to see why the following commonly cited statistic does not meet Just Facts’ Standards of Credibility: “In homes with guns, the homicide of a household member is almost 3 times more likely to occur than in homes without guns.”

 

└ Vulnerability to Violent Crime

 

* At the 2013 homicide rate, roughly one in every 285 Americans will be murdered in the course of their lives.[23]

 

* A U.S. Justice Department study based on crime data from 1974-1985 found:

 

  • 42% of Americans will be the victim of a completed violent crime (assault, robbery, rape) in the course of their lives.
  • 83% of Americans will be the victim of an attempted or completed violent crime.
  • 52% of Americans will be the victim of an attempted or completed violent crime more than once.[24]

 

* A 1997 survey of more than 18,000 prison inmates found that among those serving time for a violent crime, “30% of State offenders and 35% of Federal offenders carried a firearm when committing the crime.”[25]

 

 

accidents_fatal accidents_nonfatal chicago chicago_handguns dc england florida michigan texas

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

Child Prodigy — then and now


Sometimes, talent touches a life young, and fades.  Sometimes, talent touches a life young, and never lets go.

 

Tallan Latz was first discovered 7 years ago at the age of 8 years old.

 

 

Today at 15, he’s still going strong:

 

 

 

I can’t wait to see what he’s doing in 8 more years, at the tender age of 22!

Religion: The View from the Coming Generation


I found this video on viralthread.com, and found it fascinating to see what was, to me, a different view of religion being expressed by children.

These children are Indian and Pakistani, but I wonder how different the views of American, British or European children would really be.

I’m sharing this post with you because we need to listen to the children, because, right now, they are pure and uncorrupted; and because we need to realize how the division between us brings about hatred and, often, wars.

 

I really would love to hear your comments on this one.  I think the opinions of these children is worth a good, honest discussion between us, the people who care about peace in the world.

Namaste,

Barbara

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

What Artists Need


Creative people, or we could say artists, have some needs to be able to fully access their creativity.

They need to love and to be loved. We, as creative people, need intimate relationships, emotional and intellectual friendships. Creative people need wide-ranging relationships. They also need human warmth, the occasional handshake. They need people who respect their work and who respect and care about them.

 

They need love, intimacy, and friendship more than they need gallery shows or tenure. The flow of love through our human lives is what we need and what we must attain.

 

Relating needs to be more than a nice idea. Creative people need to relate well to others. Van Gogh loved the idea of complement as an essential life accomplishment. He looked at human relationships and color relationships to be essential. He loved to use blue and yellow in his paintings and he felt that men and women need to and can support one another in life. The inability to accomplish this is one of the thousands of reasons for depression.

 

Creative people can be great composers, painters, writers, a great intellectual or a great soul. We need to climb down off of our high horses, tear our enemies lists to shreds. We need to stop criticizing and blaming others for our own failures. We are special but not completely unique.

 

Therapists suggest that artists consciously make a point of caring for others. Give without taking.

Feel, rather than steel yourself to the actions and comments of others. Count to ten and perhaps count more than once.

 

Manage your ego. Someone else’s success is not a personal affront to you. Moderate selfishness. Share credit when it is earned. We have hungers and desires but so does every living human being. Reduce your sense of injury. Let the old hurts which continue to haunt you go. Open up and let them drift away. They are heavy baggage.

Buddha told a story about an angry man. He had been injured emotionally by someone. He held that anger like a charcoal briquette just out of the fire. He held on to it day after day and in the end, he was the only one injured. He had a terribly bad burn and the other person was just fine and went on with their life as always. The angry man was scarred for life.

 

We live in a harsh world and it needs every bit of beauty we can add to it. It also needs our kindness, gentleness, compassion and love. These can change the world. Not completely, but it can and will make a difference. It can start with all of us.

 

 Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

                               Black Mountain, NC

DSC_0593

Remembering What America Could Be — A Guest Rant


Hello, Everyone.  It is I, The IdealisticRebel’s Sister, and I have taken over the keyboard today to share a few thoughts.

Okay, rants.

 

For those of you who are not aware, I turned fifty several months ago, so when I say I remember a different America, I mean that I grew up in a different America.

 

In the America I grew up in, anger resulted in shouting, fist-fights and, occasionally law suits.  It did not end up in bullet-ridden bodies on the street corner, in the living room or the movie theatre.

 

I grew up in an America where we played outside till the lights came on, and no one worried we were going to be grabbed and shoved into a van and sold into slavery.  Strange cars in the neighborhood were first waved at, then greeted by a crowd of teenagers watching closely if they seemed suspicious.  Because those teenagers might be picking on you, but you were somebody’s little sister or little brother or younger cousin, and nobody got to mess with you but them!

 

I grew up in an America where my Mom worked full-time, raising three kids.  I came home to an empty house after school, and called my Mom the SECOND I got through the door, or I got what-for when she had to call me.  I heated up the dinner Mom had pre-made for the two of us, after my siblings went to college, and Mom and I ate together and shared our days and our plans for the week or the weekend.  Weekends, my siblings (sometimes) came home and we all ate together and yelled together and played together and ignored each other.  There was no father in our house (ours was the first household in school to have that ugly seven-letter word:  D-I-V-O-R-C-E).  My father, in fact, moved to Canada and, if I was lucky, I saw him twice a year.  My siblings often saw him less.

And none of us ended up on drugs, or got in bar fights, or beat our partners, or bought a gun and shot some stranger who reminded us of our parents.  We actually ended up as reasonably well-adjusted adults.  Perfect?  Not even close!  Dysfunctional together?  You bet!  But, push comes to shove, loving and caring and compassionate people who, each in our own way, do our best for those around us and the world.

 

There is no one who needs to tell me what it’s like to come from a broken home; to come home to an empty house day after day; to not have friends to play with because my family was different (I did mention:  the FIRST divorce, didn’t I?)  I was there.  I lived it, I felt it.

 

I was (very minorly) bullied in school, picked on by the ‘cool kids’, made to eat my lunch alone (because the ‘cool kids’ would ostracize anyone who sat with me), but I learned to cope, and to be happy in my own company and it never occurred to me — nor to anyone else I knew — to walk into my school and blow all my classmates away.

 

When did we become a country whose knee-jerk response is to shoot first and not ask questions, ever?

 

I’m not saying that we need to back to the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s.  Go back to the time when blacks sat in the back of the bus?  When it was legal to hit a woman?  No, thank you.

 

But there has to be something between that and THIS.  Something between “you’re different, so I’m going to force you to stay away from me” and “you’re different so I’m going to blow your head off.”

 

I don’t know what the answer is.  When I was a child, I might have said religion.  But now, in a world where religion is an excuse to blow up synagogues and mosques and churches; where churches teach that anyone who believes differently will go to hell; where church groups picket the funerals of people who, in life, did or were something these narrow-minded people feel is ‘evil’?   I can’t believe THAT kind of religion — any kind of extremist religion, and it seems that, increasingly, that’s the predominant mentality of religious groups these days — is the answer.

 

I don’t know what the answer is.  When I was a child, I might have said the law.  But the lawmakers are trying to overturn basic human rights, and fighting granting rights to anyone different from them.  So I don’t know that the law is the answer (although, it’s getting better:  Thank you, SCOTUS; Thank you, POTUS).

 

I don’t know what the answer is.  Now that I’m an adult, though, I think the answer is more simple than I imagined as a child:  I think the answer might — just might — be US.  Each one of us, putting aside our differences to look for the commonalities; checking our prejudices at the door and actually LISTENING to the other side, without anger or vitriol; without judgement or censure; with open minds and open hearts and a genuine desire to make the world and each other better.

 

I don’t know what the answer is.

 

Do you?

 

 

 

 

The Depths of Me


Women are repeatedly accused of taking things personally. I cannot see any other honest way of taking them.

—Marya Mannes, American Writer

 

“Come to the cliff,

he said.

They said, we are afraid.

Come to the cliff, he said

They came.

He pushed them,

And they flew.

—old French poem

 

I am sitting at my desk in front of my bedroom windows. Everywhere I look is mountains, river and trees. The night creatures are singing to me their oft-repeated song. The sun is gloriously sliding down behind the mountains and twilight descends. I see no stars or moon yet, but they are there. I hear traffic far off in the distance, the collision of two worlds. In this present moment, I could not ask for more.

 

 

a last romp                            Two of my grandchildren having

                             the last romp in the waves for the day.

                             Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

 

 

Hidden Treasure

 

I came to plant some seeds

I came to plant a tree

I came with a treasure buried deep

in the depths of me.

 

I came like land to land

I came like sea to sea

the mysteries of earth

and the secrets of dreams

deep in the depths of me.

 

Who shall witness time’s flowers

pluck fruit

from the fruit-giving tree

and who be crowned with

the diadem found, deep

in the depths of me.

—David Sparenberg

     Mountain twilight. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2010

DSC_0581