By: joealaska , 6:30 AM GMT on December 16, 2012

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After several weeks I received a settlement for my TRIP DELAY when I was stuck in Anchorage for 3 days on my return leg. I was lucky to buy some trip insurance this time. At first it seemed like I was getting the runaround. After some time, they sent me a note saying I needed to provide proof the incident happened. OR did not happen for three days. Almost immediately after that request I got another note saying my claim was approved.
I guess they did not talk amongst themselves.

I got the check today.

Our weather has been interesting the last week. High winds, snow, high temps (53 degrees!), more snow, and wind and rain equaling MELTAGE of all snow. Last night we got a bit of new snow, a heavy dusting. Today it almost all melted. Tonight the dusting is back with a vengeance. This could be the BIG ONE Lizbeth. Late today we have had several snow showers move through. Bright sun, beautiful on the still remaining snow. Half an hour later a black cloud approaches from The Bering Sea bringing heavy snow. Lasts a half hour, then a hole in the clouds with more sun. Then it all repeats. Several inches right now since the afternoon.

Regular visits from two foxes, evening and morning. Mainly Juan Ear. He is very friendly. Dutchie and he get along well. The snow gives away what fox action has taken place. Since I have written this SOME fox has approached the porch and found the food I left FOR MY CATS under an inch of snow.

I have said it before, over and over, but my book is under LAST edit and I send it in. Want to see what happens. Maybe 6 hours of work away.

I was surprised to get an email last week from a company in the Midwest. They sell an Alaskan product and want pictures to help market it. I guess they stumbled on my photos and like them. I am submitting many of them with watermark protection so they can shop. Sounds good up front, but who knows?

Finally, but not least, I have to bring up the recent shootings in Connecticut. It disgusts me. I am surprised he did not consider finding an animal shelter and shooting all of the baby kittens. What a brave man / punk. Then bravely facing the music by putting a bullet in his head . Hey, I am a single guy with no kids and no chance of that happening. But it has saddened me just like all of you.

Is this all becoming a bit too common? Maybe not to this degree. Thank God.

I am a bit surprised the authorities are spending all this time and effort collecting evidence. Like in the Arizona shooting of Ms Gifford. They got their guy. Throw some lime on him and put him an unmarked dumpster, with all due respect.

People ask WHY? Is it not obvious?. Is NUT CASE one or two words?

You regulars know how I feel about guns. I do not want to open up this can of worms. It will always be an argument. All I know is guns made this attack a bit easier to make this attack more intense.

Too bad those kids were not PACKING when he came through that door.

Unbelievable stories of those kids escaping right by the idiot, and the teacher giving up her life for her kids. Even more incredible, hearing how those last sets of parents heard there were no more kids to return to them.

Given the same circumstances, none of us know how we would react.

I would prefer to react without a weapon.

But HEY, that is just me. Even the POPE is commenting. (Glad he is not tweeting. Coming across as an old guy with a smart phone and a lot of time. But I digress.)

OK, next time we return to the lighter stuff.

HANFYH made a significant comment on the last blog, you should check it out. On the same day we had our shooting, there was another similar attack in China, I believe. Another NUT / IDIOT attacked a bunch of people. With a knife. Many wounded people, bad enough. But no fatalities.


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21. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:24 AM GMT on December 20, 2012
joealaska has created a new entry.
20. bearpaints
12:59 PM GMT on December 19, 2012
Very well said Arbie I'm wih you.
Member Since: January 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 267
19. Arbie
11:07 AM GMT on December 19, 2012
I find myself needing to speak up for all the Autistic people of the world, having raised one such child and seen what he has gone through, still goes through.

Autism (or anything on the spectrum, such as Asperger), is not a mental illness. Because of their neurological differences, autistic people mature more slowly. So their emotional self-control and judgment is usually not age appropriate. But that is a whole different thing from being mentally ill. Mentally ill is being able to willfully hurt people.

Special needs kids (and adults) in general, have a lot more frustrations in life, so it is natural for them to be more emotionally charged and stressed than the rest of us. Think of yourself on a day when everything goes wrong. Special needs people go through that every day. Again, the showing of this frustration is a far cry from being mentally ill.

That young man who did that horrible thing in CT had Asperger PLUS mental illness. Mental illness afflicts people from all walks of life. Imagine if someone with pneumonia committed some horrible crime and everybody started thinking people with pneumonia had a tendency towards violence. That makes as much sense as saying people with Asperger are mentally ill because this one young man was. Taking violence on other people is not a normal symptom of Asperger.

Yes, I'm a little offended people are putting my child in with this creep because they happen to have the same health condition! It is prejudice and ignorance, plain and simple.

OK, off my soap box. Joe, commence. :)
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1134
18. iaotter
12:47 AM GMT on December 19, 2012
I liked HanFyh's comments and explanation about Australia and how they managed to restore some sanity to the 'right to bear arms' controversy. I fear that will never happen here. NRA and gun companies plus our 'wild west' attitudes make it almost impossible to pass any laws against any type of weapon. Iowa folks are no exception. Farmers say they need guns to defend against varmits,hunters need them to hunt, and everybody else thinks they need them to protect themselves against criminals. i feel a lot less safe since Iowa passed its concealed carry law.

On a different note, we might get a white Christmas across the midwest. Snow supposed to be coning in tomorrow afternoon and night and perhaps a little more on thursday. UP to 5". Also fairly high winds... although not by Joe's standards. Only 30mph or less. Still, might make for a snow day. Nothing to do but stay home and make Christmas candy and clean before all the Christmas company comes.
At the moment it is 3 degrees colder than Dutch Harbor. 34 there and 31 here. This is the kind of weather Dog likes. The Husky half of her will play outside in the snow for as long as I let her. Even with long johns and my 'good to -40' coat she can outlast me in the coldest weather.
Member Since: March 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 272
17. CarolAnn53
11:34 AM GMT on December 18, 2012
Casa I echo your sadness. I also have not been this sad since 9/11. My daughter is a 1st grade teacher in California. I think that has a lot to do with my sadness. I know what she would do were she faced with a similar situation as Sandy Hook. She would do everything including give her life for her children. I spoke with her last night and that was exactly what she said.

UK thank you for your post. I also know some young people with Aspergers, and many other mentally related conditions. My own younger daughter is now a mentally challenged young adult (26), and like your nephew can get very angry or distraught very quickly. She doesn't understand sarcasm, she take's most everything literally. It can be very challenging, yet I wouldn't have traded the gift of raising her for anything else in this world.

There are no quick answers to preventing tragedies like this. Do we need gun control? Probably not, the gun didn't fire itself, though I personally don't understand why anyone needs something that can fire 100 rounds (my opinion only). I like the idea of a fingerprint opened safe, didn't know they existed, as I own no weapon. Do we need more mental care, absolutely. Do we need help and support for parents, teachers and others struggling with a mentally challenged or ill child? Absolutely.

I read this morning that the high point of mass killings in the US was in 1929. Some would say we have those same conditions upon us in the US now.

Just some thoughts. I hope all of you stay well.
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16. DHaupt
9:09 AM GMT on December 18, 2012
I've been rereading today's gusher of discussion. Like cholla, I thought casaford's comments from a responsible gun owner were interesting and totally rational. I too have been a gun nut to some degree in earlier years. I've been deer hunting, only hunting, not finding -- trudging up sandy washes in the canyon country of NE New Mexico in the sub-freezing pre-dawn, picking up deer "sign" so fresh that it stuck to my fingers. Just remembering hearing the last yipping of a family of coyotes high above me on the canyon rim sends a thrill up my back to this day. There is indeed something primal in such experiences that takes me back to my ancestors some 25,000 years ago; it is literally in my DNA.

I'm not so proud of those jack rabbit massacres that my friends and I carried out in high school. Monahans, Texas was a pretty boring place and jack rabbit, bunny busting was a ready diversion. Besides, my good friend John's granddad owned several hundred sections of prime goat pasture north of Pecos and gave us 5 cents an ear bounty. The damned rabbits ate more grass than those sad cows did.

Later, in college, graduate school and finally in my career at Livermore Lab, I became good friends with some of the finest private gunmakers in the world. These fellows were mostly master machinists, instrument makers and physicists. One fellow had an incredible machine shop behind his house in which he could create a precision match rifle entirely from bar-stock. These fellows were into numerical modeling, mechanical testing and metrology, the same knowledge and skills they brought to their profession of designing and testing nuclear and conventional weapons. They were fascinating people to know -- we were all of the "pocket protector" ilk.

I really think that a workable approach to gun control and use is not that difficult as soon the "gun nut" crowd and bigGUN will back off on a few unreasonable demands.

First, forget about that 2nd amendment hooey while they've still got the chance. Just accept that guns, like other dangerous items, including automobiles, poisons and radio-isotopes are going to be regulated.

There will definitely need to be new bureaucracies, federal and state, to manage gun controls just like we have DMVs. Fees will have to be charged to pay for this, just like automobile registration fees and taxes. It will employ lots of people.

Everybody will have to apply, be thoroughly vetted and all back doors around the system closed with heavy penalties for disobedience and cheating.

Every gun owner will be required to prove that they have total control of their firearms at all times. They must prove that they have gun safes, not just a few cable locks, in which the guns are kept. Penalties for sloppiness or allowing un-authorized access should be severe -- confiscation of firearms and/or licenses for a significant period of time -- in other words, you break your pledge and we break you.

I also think that there should be different tiers of ownership: a sort of duffer class where most of us would fit; intermediate level of "collector" ( among pipe smokers, if you own three or more pipes you are considered a collector); finally, an advanced level for serious "gun nut" level collectors -- the sort who aspire to own "1-in-a-million" Winchesters and lots of them.

At every higher level of license, the vetting, requirements, restrictions etc. need to increase. The expense ought to increase as well. But, and I know from personal knowledge, that if you can afford museum grade, collectible firearms, you can well afford to pay more for the privilege of ownership -- and that is the operative word "PRIVILEGE".

When I was in high school, I knew a wealthy West Texas oilman who clearly fell into that last class of collector. Buddy, owned nearly every model rifle that Weatherby ever produced; in fact, he had custom made Weatherby's. He also made trips to gun shops in places like Reno where you were expected to wear a tie (string would do) to buy rare collectible "marked" Remingtons and others where even every screw had been inspected and stamped by the maker. It was impressive stuff to a pimply-faced high school junior.

Buddy, my dad and I, got really interested in amateur rocketry in the heady days right after Sputnik. Fortunately our zeal never quite carried us to the full test stage. As proof, I am still here. Al Queda did not discover potassium perchlorate and sugar. Actually, neither did we, but the small batch we tested, about a tablespoon, convinced us that we needed more study before we advanced to a ten pound batch. One of Buddy's neighbors had concerns as well. All that reloading gear that he kept was concern enough.

Well, enough of my reminiscences for one day. But, we do live in interesting times: something that the Chinese always considered a curse. As a nation of 350 million souls, we simply must come to grips with some of these long overdue heritage issues and move on. A constitution written 228 years ago when the population of the country was only 3.5 million cannot always serve us well. Those people who think that like scripture it must be eternal are living a pipe dream and simply being silly. If they can't be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century, they will pass away unlamented but for the damage they do before their leaving. And, as casaford pointed out, there is Alaska. I think that Joe lives in one of the nicest places. There is a lot of alcohol fueled wickedness, but surprisingly little serious, felonious crime. Drunks just can't shoot straight.
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15. cholla
8:09 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
Well written! My thoughts exactly!
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14. DHaupt
7:08 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
I don't know what I clicked on, but WU just sent another of my posts off to the great blog at the end of the universe. So, here goes again:

Rotty, I totally agree with you. I spent several weeks this past summer reading the entire Gibbon's Decline and Fall. Though the parallels were not exact, there were sufficient dark hints to make one cautious and even pessimistic about the durability of this Bastion of Democracy.

What you really get out of Gibbon is that no nation, regardless of how great it may have been at some point in its history, can survive generations of bad and stupid government, regardless of the form of that government. Every climate change denying, anti-science yahoo that gets elected to congress is just another crack in our foundation. Every tea-partier blathering on about American Exceptionalism, basically a theory that our s#!t never stank, is living proof of Santayana's warning.

As to our overall history: We had a brilliant beginning but failed to live up to it almost from the very outset. As the original intellectuals such as Jefferson, Madison and Franklin died off, they were replaced by less capable political sorts who simply lacked the grand vision of our founders. We have stumbled through over two centuries now of poor to lackadaisical government saved, by the skin of our teeth, by a few outstanding presidents who had the vision and the ruthlessness to save us from ourselves. Specifically, I mean Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. But for the tragedy of Vietnam, a perfect example of American hubris, Lyndon Johnson would have made my very short list.

So, on so many fronts we are facing as great a crisis as we have ever faced. The fabric of the nation is once again coming apart over the issue of state's right vs. federal rights. We have not heard so much state's rights claptrap since just before the Civil War. Small but very noisy secessionist movements have sprung up where they always do. And, we have a different kind of president, which I think we need. The question is: does he, or any other possible president really have the right stuff this time? Are we salvageable? Is it worth it? Has our luck finally run out?

The other thing I got from Gibbon is that when disaster strikes a nation, it need not come in the form of a wide-spread calamity that immediately affects the whole populace. Instead, it often comes as a seemingly minor accident involving a succession of power. A particularly bad emperor wins out and when he falls, the rottenness that he caused makes his fall radiate outward until, like a sinking ship: parts of it head straight for the bottom; other parts float off and sink in isolation.

Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1166
13. Arbie
5:45 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
I'm surprised more people don't make the connection between violent crime in this country and lack of adequate mental health care. I don't think the guns would get misused nearly as much if people were properly taken care of. And no I'm not a fanatical NRA member.

How quick people are to move far away from the support of their families for a job doesn't help. A lot of people think someone isn't dedicated if they aren't willing to move a thousand miles from home. Others know better. But I think too many people have left themselves and their families too isolated. It isn't good for our society or for individuals.

Not that people haven't always had their problems. It is part of the human condition.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1134
12. casaford
4:55 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
How sad. I have one in kindergarden and one in second grade. This has been tougher on me than 9/11 was.

I am a gun owner. I don't own any assault rifles/weapons. I really can't understand why we need military style weapons available to the public. My first weapon was a Remington 870 twelve guage shot gun. Given to me for my twelfth birthday. Growing up in a very small farming community in Ohio that wasn't uncommon and still isn't. I like the fact that small segments of our society still live a subsistance lifestyle. Alaska has quite a few of these communities. Folks in those communities are generally very close knit and don't participate in the consumer lifestyle of the remainder of the nation. A gun to them is every bit as important as a tractor to a farmer.

I have read that we have 90 million guns in the US. We have a government that recently thought it wise to infuse assault weapons into Mexico's drug cartel problem. WE HAVE GUN ISSUES ON ALL LEVELS.

My guns are only available to me and my wife. A heavy duty gun safe houses all but one of my guns. A hand gun (semi-automatic) is kept in a finger print reading mini safe that will release it in three seconds. I want drug crazed criminals to know that entering my home may result in your loss of life. I will protect my family from the criminal/drug addicted/mentally ill segments of our society that have open access to those 90 million weapons.

If the government were able to guarntee 100% removal of all guns from our society I would consider supporting that. I know it would come with the same set of problems that Engalnd and Austrailia now have. Petty theft is more common there than here. Crimminals know that home and property defense is not lethal in those countrys and exploit it. I could live with that problem easier than these mass shootings.

Many other issues are in play with this problem. The major one is our way of treating and managing care of the mentally ill. Another is how we manage our drug addiction problems. It is true that a majority of thefts are by drug addicts stealing to feed their addiction. People wouldn't feel a need for protection if that problem were minimised.

I can't even begin to immagine the depths of sorrow that the families of these children will some how have to manage. It's ironic to say but I wish I or some other sane, law abidding citizen were in close enough proximity to put that shooter down with a gun.
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11. osdianna
4:42 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
Hooray for Dave!!!! Great post as usual. Good points, too, from Bearpaints, out in the "wilds" of Az.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 646
10. Rotty3
3:26 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
Dave, re: post #9: You're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. We're a consumer driven society where most people care more to talk to a device instead of the person sitting across from them (often texting to the person sitting right next to them).

I see the same trajectory as the ol' Roman Republic (and even more, leading into the Roman Empire's fall, minus the emperor at this point, but what is not yet, can still happen).

As the old saying goes, those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat it. Time to teach the "non essential" subjects again in school?
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618
9. DHaupt
8:20 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Just a final thought: have you noticed how the whole gun question in our society has now become commercial. There is this bigGUN industry out there now, just like bigPHARMA, with lobbyists, trade shows, gun stores on every corner, livery, and on and on and on and.... Just like everything else in our society.

I am bewildered by, I am sickened by the deluge of advertising emails that have choked my email inbox for the past six weeks. I have to laugh at the ads for this new coffee gizmo that allows you to refill those expensive little one-shot gizzies --- you know, the ones that they convinced you that you absolutely needed last Christmas.

They've turned us into a nation of salivating, Pavlovian, idiot mongrels. We are going down folks, WE ARE GOING DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1166
8. DHaupt
7:57 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Here is a really fascinating and frightening true story that appeared on Huffington Post entitled I am Adam Lanza's Mother. It lays out the full horror of what it can be to deal with a dangerous, mentally ill child.

Concerning this "tradition" of guns in America: if one goes back only a few centuries further, we were all running around bashing one-another over the head with blunt object and hacking one-another to bits with dull swords. Somehow, that has never been offered as an excuse for continuing such behavior. It's called: GROW UP, YOU HUMANS!

King George III, in his famous interview with Eric Sevareid titled "The Last King in America" said, with many examples of why, he thought the rebellious colonies would eventually come to rue this precious, written constitution of which we were so proud. He was frighteningly accurate in his criticism. Things like "your laws will proliferate without bounds", "your courts will be choked with hords of quibbling solicitors". He had many more objections which I can't recall precisely anymore, but you get the drift. With regard to the gun clause in the Second Amendment, I think we have achieved another of George's objections.

The amendment made perfect sense to Americans at that time. The most salient reference is to "a well regulated militia". Nowadays, we sort of skip over that part or interpret it as meaning the inalienable right of a bunch of potbellied old fools to dress up and fantasize being soldiers in last years cornfield or a nearby woods. At the time the Constitution was written, the United States had no standing army: neither did most of the states. Whenever troops were needed, a conscription army was assembled composed of ordinary citizens (BYOM(usket)) and led by civilian leaders (BYOM(edals)), some of whom may have actually had some formal military training.

That some foreign power, England foremost, might attempt to take over the infant nation was certainly considered a possibility. In fact, it was soon realized that the nation needed a standing army -- and a floating navy. The War of 1812 followed soon after the ratification of the Constitution and that is when we truly gained our independence. Within a few more decades, we proceeded to annihilate the American Indians, kicked Spain and Mexico in the teeth, made ugly snarls at the British in Canada and fully joined the club of quarreling, pugnacious nations,

Finally, up until the mid-20th Century, a significant percentage of Americans depended on hunting to supply or at least supplement their larder. My father recalled how a hapless squirrel or rabbit was often the only thing that supplied even the aroma of meat in his mother's various stews during the depths of the Depression. Thanks be to God that wee creatures tend to breed in inverse proportion to their size.

In our present state, it is certainly true that many people still desire to hunt game; it can hardly be argued that they actually need to. But, that's OK. Even in Stalinist Russia, people who had a true need to hunt were allowed to own firearms. Most modern nations have appreciated that a populace somewhat familiar with firearms provides a more fertile seedbed for cannon fodder for the next war. All the while realizing that those potbellied, weekend warrior types present no threat to the security of the state -- so let them have their fun so long as they harm no one. If they really and truly are intent on overthrowing the state themselves, then they are traitors and ought to be treated as such.

So, in our modern society it is reasonable that citizens be permitted to own and use firearms in a safe manner for purposes that do not threaten other citizens. Safety and responsibility are paramount. Taking the ownership of a single, single-shot rifle as the baseline, every notch up from that increases the dangers.

My own experience has been that people who are fascinated and derive some sense of empowerment, feelings of adequacy and fulfillment through ownership of weapons of enhanced destruction, are just sufficiently twisted in their minds that I don't trust them. AND, if I don't trust them; they shouldn't have such toys!

I think the US has plenty of sensible models of how to deal with firearms. They need to be efficiently and effectively regulated. We have insisted on that with automobiles, an equally dangerous toy, for a century. Arguably more responsible nations such as Britain and Australia along with virtually all of Europe have dealt with this issue very well. Somalia, not so much. And, we are embarrassingly right down there with Somalia.

I'm proud of myself. I managed to get all that said through a haze of muscle relaxant and hydrocodone.
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7. NumberWise
4:02 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
UK, thank you for your long and thoughtful comment. I've read it a few times. I haven't known much about autism or Aspergers, so your facts and personal experience have helped me to learn and have prompted me to do some research.
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6. bearpaints
3:53 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Joe, love the pictures of the ships. With the lights on it really reminds me of Christmas. Also it really showed the size of the ships, their huge. It sounds like word is getting out about the chow light. This blog is covering alot good one. Our temps in AZ is very low with alot of rain. It was raining here for two days. Mud every where. I can hndle one day of rain, but not more then that. That is how must AZers feel. I haven't been on here because of my old computer couldn't handle the web pages. Hubby finally decided to get me a tablet. So if I do more then normal of misspelled words it just might be typing on this.

My give on gun control. WEllll I really feel like most average people don't need to have such big automatic weapons. Coming from a family that carries where ever they go it's hard to not know a ood reason. We carry when we go out on the quad f4 wheeling mainly to protect ourselfs in the back country against others who carry who means harm to us. Also against rattlesnakes of course. My husbands family also loves to hunt. Not just for the kill but for the food. There is still alot of people who depend on what they bring home to put food on the table.

Thank you UK for explaining about that. I do enjoy watching a show on TV that deals wtih a child with Aspergers. I think we are too quick to judge people before
we know what is going on with them. We need to rethink before we judge. I know me more then most needs to do this.
Member Since: January 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 267
5. osdianna
5:15 PM GMT on December 16, 2012
Thanks for the post on aspergers, UK. It explains a lot about the way this kid may have been reacting to something that happened to him. And thanks also to Arbie for pointing out we are all different; there are differences even in the disease, it's complicated. So it all boils down to an almost impossible task of constant watchfulness, and hopefully more intelligence than this mother had. I fail to see why she felt so threatened by SOMEONE (society?) that she felt she needed so much firepower, but then maybe she too was a victim of the disease...it's all too much for me to wrap my head around.

My take on guns: it is an impossible task to outlaw guns in this country. Because it is in the constitution, and based on the "wild west" history of this country, there is a large portion of people who feel it is their "God-given right" to bear arms. (As if God would EVER condone the right to bear arms and kill people.) Fine. Limit each household to one single-shot rifle. That's what the founding fathers had. NO ONE needs an automatic pistol or rifle, except the police, and sorry...I don't believe we need to protect ourselves from this becoming a police state. Bad argument to use with me.

Every time a criminal is caught with any other type gun, or such a weapon is confiscated by the authorities, crush the damn thing right then...take it off the street. It may take years to get 'er done, but we can do it. Too many innocent lives have been taken, and too much is at stake.

Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 646
4. Arbie
1:43 PM GMT on December 16, 2012
I found HANFYH TONY's post encouraging. I don't think many Americans know Australia's story with gun control. I know I did not. It is heartening to hear a real-life example of a country that decided to make the change and succeeded.

Not to start anything! :)

Geez, I hope people don't start becoming prejudiced towards Autistic people because of this. One of my sons has Asperger Disorder, and he is a very gentle person. I doubt I could get him to even touch a gun. Inborn characteristics cause Autism to manifest very differently in different people. That said, it is not wise to arm anyone who has intellectual or mental issues, regardless of the source of the issues, I would think. Perhaps the shooter's mother was not blessed with much common sense. After all, that is why we need laws, right?

ON TO OTHER THINGS--The Alaskan Pioneer blog Joe mentioned a few days ago had a very good post on photography. He gave some specifics.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1134
3. Rotty3
1:24 PM GMT on December 16, 2012
Same day, almost same time, at a local "development research" school (K-12 school attached to a university here in town) had been on lockdown. A suicidal kid brought a gun to school. Gun was discovered, kid and everyone safe, but it could have been a similar incident.

Apparently another shooting at a Birmingham, AL hospital. Haven't seen much else about it. Gunman also dead, several injuries, but no fatalities from what I read.

UK: thank you for your recount of how Aspergers can manifest. Most people probably wouldn't ever know the finer details, unless like yourself, they are dealing w/ someone who has it. Same
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618
2. insideuk
1:07 PM GMT on December 16, 2012
The book is just 6 hours work away... You are such a bloody tease Joealaska. He's too busy chewin' the ears off foxes.

Conversationally speaking.

I was watching your President, live on my TV, as he addressed the nation in the hours following the events in Connecticut.

I was watching as he struggled to contain his sadness.

It was the most strikingly touching HUMAN reaction from a man who now has to look for some answers. A HERCULIAN task given the mighty opposition he faces.

What can he do?

Bullet proof windows? Armed guards on every entrance? Armed teachers in every classroom? Uniforms made from Kevlar? Metal barricades that jump out from every desktop?

Home schooling for all?

Will that make kids feel safer as they recount the alphabet? Will that settle parents nerves? Will that make the pro-gun lobbyists happy?

Assuming the HOME is well armed.

This “NUT CASE” was taught to shoot REALLY WELL by his doubtless well meaning, but now deceased, Mom. He used her weapons in her workplace. He'd had an argument with her work colleagues the day before, or so the story goes.

The killer is said to have had Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism.

I know, 'mild' is an oddly incongruous word given this backdrop.

However this is a condition of which I have some knowledge and experience, since my nephew was diagnosed with the same at the age of 9. He is now 16.

And yet my family don't wear Kevlar clothing daily.

I have given my thoughts on gun control before, merrily my experience of guns fits on a postage stamp with room for my autobiography underneath. The Australian viewpoint given by HANFYH TONY in his previous comment is very interesting. Not least because over there they seemingly managed to take a giant step back from the edge of the abyss over which America now dangles by a thread. President Obama could do worse than read up on what happened in Australia.

So now I'm going to focus on another angle. On THE NUT. It seems as sensible to put him AS centre stage as the whole gun control argument.

You know.

Since guns don't kill people. People do.

It is thought that many people have Aspergers but it goes wildly undiagnosed, largely because its characteristic features are similar to the personality traits of many people. Especially males. Perhaps 30% of the male population has this condition to some degree. Maybe 10% of females.

Females find it easier to COVER the typical Aspergers traits because we are better at mimicking the behaviour of others to 'fit in' with our peers. So it follows that many more may have the disorder without knowing it.

It's most notable effect to watch out for?

Really smart people.

Think of Dustin Hoffman's Rainman character, being able to recount the phone directory – that was Aspergers at a high level. At varying degrees these are people who have a noticeable talent in one area – the computer genius, the maths genius, the science genius. They are often the nerd nobody speaks to.

They get fixated on their own little area of expertise. Sometimes useful, sometimes not. My nephew could tell you more about British football players than you could ever wish to hear, then he'll start on foreign teams...

He's also good at mathematics. It's like his brain works at warp speed. You don't want to play educational games involving numbers with him or you end up feeling entirely pistol whipped. No pun intended.

They also don't notice the social niceties that other people learn by osmosis as they grow up. That goes much further than just not knowing the value of eye contact, smiles or the art of conversation for conversations sake. If you DON'T HAVE Aspergers then you never got TAUGHT how to read someone's mood by watching their facial expressions and demeanour alter – you just NOTICED it. You saw them explode with rage and you remembered the signs, so you were ready next time it happened. For someone with Aspergers that person went from happy to furious WITHOUT ANY WARNING.

The world is a much scarier place when that happens umpteen times a daily. Even your own parents are utterly terrifying when they just had a bad day at the office and brought it home. Imagine how much more terrifying they are when they start fighting each other.

It is little wonder a child with Aspergers can seem withdrawn from all that surrounds them.

Oh, there is other stuff too.

As babies and toddlers they don't do much in the way of sleeping – unless being held the whole time. Parents and carers sleep on a rota. They need routine and familiar stuff surrounding them like you would not believe. CHANGE is absolutely terrifying. They frequently struggle with loud noises. Anything from disco music at a family party to hand drying machines in public toilets. The reaction is extreme TERROR. As the adult taking responsibility for the young child it adds acres of stress to the most mundane everyday experiences.

Once they are diagnosed life becomes easier. There is no treatment. Life gets easier because the family start to understand these odd little ways in which the child has experienced his life. WE adjusted. We also teach him the bleedin' obvious stuff he had missed. Coping methods. He is vulnerable because he is naive and easily mislead.

He finds sarcasm difficult to recognise and I am his aunt. You gotta feel for the kid...

I have spent a great deal of time with him, far more than most aunts.

I love him.

He is brilliant and unique.


His sense of complete outrage when his football team are playing badly is extreme. His fury is palpable. He is locked into the moment and nothing else in the room exists. Nothing else in the WORLD exists.

I can see how that deep seated MINDLESS reaction goes from there to a gun massacre in a nanosecond.

All you'd have to do is put a loaded weapon in his hand.

My nephew is only MILDLY afflicted by his condition. He can and will function in this world. He will always need loving guidance and protection to some some degree. He will make mistakes regardless.

We all do.

What I cannot understand is why a mother who has raised a son diagnosed with Aspergers, would choose to teach him how to shoot really well. Did she assume it would help PROTECT HIM?

Responsibility starts at home. She messed up bad and paid for it.

There will always be people with mental impairment and psychiatric disorders. Even those with treatable conditions will have relapses, missed medication, muddled dosing. And yes, they will always have access to alternative weapons.

As we all do.

In a moment of mind altering madness we are all capable of hurting others. Our only option is to seek to minimise the damage that can be inflicted.

There is an ever more urgent need to find common ground between those who want to retain 'freedoms' – be it a freedom to carry a weapon to prevent harm or a freedom to learn our ABC's without harm.

Michael Moore suggested the idea of repricing. $5000 per bullet? No more innocent bystanders?

It's not such a mad idea. Most especially for assault weapons that fire rapid multiple rounds. It would doubtless cut the death toll to some extent.

Any ideas should be worthy of consideration at this juncture. Criminals will always do their own thing – the more pressing need is to cut back on the 'one off' mentally ill, alcohol fuelled, drug crazed, recently very pissed off, out of control NUT CASES.

Here's my idea (given without flippancy so please don't shoot me):

If MEN want to carry guns, then let them. Let them own as many as they like. Let them conceal them about their person. Let them dangle one off each end of their handlebar moustache in a proud display if they wish.

But they can have just one bullet, which will cost $5000, as per Mr Moore.

I go further.

If they want to have a second bullet they have to ask a WOMAN for it, and justify their reasoning. If she agrees it's a good time for him to go roaming armed to the teeth then okay. Do it.

Outside of law enforcement officers, only women will be licensed to hold more than one bullet.

It's an idea that is not without it's problems, not least for the woman looking at an angry man with his one expensive bullet loaded in his most favourite weapon – I fully recognise that. Women have always been at greater risk from the crazies. We can dodge one bullet much easier than two hundred.

It's just an idea.

You don't hear of women going on shooting rampages very often do you?

Lovely photo of the Kulluk lit up for the holiday Pud.

It deserves to be watermarked and sold to become part of a calendar for people who like a more traditional Christmas image for the month of December...


Just me then.
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1624
1. dotmom
11:33 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
HANFYH's comment was interesting. We might look into what they did. It might help solve our issue. Anything would be better than where we are going. You only have a gun to shoot some thing or some body. If you like target practice - why not let the ranges rent the guns to individuals. It is a complicated issue. I prefer no guns in my household as a start.

Nice photos JoeA.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1447

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After moving back to the lower 48, I have bought an RV and have been living on the road.

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