About Tim

I have worked as a lawyer and business consultant since 1985, but I started writing when I was 16-years-old. My first effort was a never-produced play called, “When Times Were Rotten.” (I appropriated the title from a television show that flopped in the ‘70s.) I graduated from Michigan State University with a political science degree, then went onto receive a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law, which is now part of Michigan State University. My writing has appeared on LegalZoom.com, eHow.com, eHowMoney.com, eHowStyle.com, and Examiner.com. My first book, Agents of Good & Evil, will be published in September 2013.

PTSD service dogs are a political hot potato

December 11, 2013

American poet Ogden Nash once said, “A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.” Mr. Nash’s sentiment typifies how the Department of Veterans Affairs has handled pairing PTSD afflicted veterans with service dogs — going back and forth through the same door without realizing they are not getting anywhere.

In all fairness to Veterans Affairs, the service dog’s role in society is experiencing a seismic shift. Today service dogs are used not just for the vision or hearing impaired, but for many other physical and mental disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Recognizing the importance of service dogs, the American Kennel Club is awarding the 2013 AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in the Service Dog category to a handsome Golden Retriever named Tuesday. He is partnered with Capt. Luis Montalván, author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.” Capt. Montalván is an Army veteran, having served honorably for 17 years. He spent several combat tours in Iraq and was highly decorated, including two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.

The ACE honorees will be given their awards this weekend at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.

Hoping to clarify the rules about where service dog teams can go, the United States Department of Justice issued regulations concerning PTSD service dogs. Service dog teams can go anywhere the general public may go, referred to as places of “public accommodation.”

It is somewhat befuddling that the Justice Department acknowledges the service dog’s important role to assist those afflicted with PTSD, but Veterans Affairs, part of the federal government, does not recognize the usefulness of these same service dogs for veterans.

Senator Al Franken was inspired by Capt. Montalván and Tuesday’s story so he introduced the Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which directed the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program to pair service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.

Unfortunately, Veterans Affairs issued final regulations in April 2012, eliminating the widespread use of service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD. Later that same year, the VA suspended the program saying it wanted to do its own study to determine if veterans without associated physical disabilities should have service dogs at taxpayers’ expense.

New York Sen. Charles E Schumer in September requested a status update from the VA about when the pilot program study would continue. Perhaps prompted by Sen. Schumer’s inquiry, Forbes recently reported Veterans Affairs will be re-starting the study, hopefully with the first team pairings taking place in May 2014.

In the great debate between God and Job, Zophar is told to, “…ask the animals, and they will teach you.” (Job 12:7) The American Kennel Club presenting the ACE for different categories of canine excellence demonstrates what dogs have taught humankind — a therapy dog can teach a child to trust, a law enforcement dog teaches an officer to not always trust, a search and rescue dog can teach that superhuman seeing and hearing are invaluable, and a companion dog teaches their human about love and snuggles.

Service dogs teach us about unconditional love, commitment and devotion, notwithstanding the VA’s canine skepticism. Thousands of service dogs work throughout the nation daily, toiling tirelessly to make their human partner’s day a little easier, put a smile on her face, helping him forget some atrocious experience. How much more can one of God’s creatures love another than that?

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Photograph Credit: Luis Carlos Montalván

PTSD redefines tough

November 15, 2013

Post-traumatic stress disorder causes and symptoms have been around since the beginning of time, but it was not formally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association until 1980. According to estimates, several hundred thousand Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are expected to develop PTSDsymptoms.

Along with the definition of PTSD comes the redefinition of what it means to be tough, especially for those in the military. Recently former Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, author of the bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him,” talked about how he learned what it meant to be tough.

“Sometimes what resonates most in a person’s mind is like a parental mantra. For me it was when my father would tell me I had to be tough. Whether it was regarding sports, the Army or relationships, that is what I remember my father telling me, those four words, had to be tough.”

Capt. Montalván’s physical and mental health traumas, after two tours of duty in Iraq, challenged the meaning of tough instilled by his father and reinforced by life. After Capt. Montalván returned from his second tour of duty, his father could not recognize his own son. Instead he saw a broken man.

Capt. Montalván’s papá, as he was referred to by his son, warned his son not to become “another broken soldier.” His papá did not want his tough son to hang around with other disabled veterans, who would “trap” his son into the vicious circle of living “on the dole” and taking “maximum advantage” of benefits, instead of overcoming the disability.

Hurt by his papá’s sentiments, Capt. Montalván still knew his papá was expressing his fears out of love for him. The love of a Latino from another generation who could not understand his son’s demons, and one who had not yet expanded his idea of what it meant to be tough. Capt. Montalván and his father did not speak to each other for a long time after that.

Many months later Capt. Montalván received an email from his father which started with, “I went to a recommended psychiatrist to try to understand what’s happening between us…” and concluded with “…if you want to help me understand, I’ll be here for you anytime.”

Those words started an emotional process resulting in a Latino papá and son hugging each other and crying together when Capt. Montalván arrived at his parents’ house for an unannounced Christmas Eve visit two weeks later.

Capt. Montalván’s papá had learned a new aspect has been added to what being tough means, and that is PTSD.

Hoping to bring awareness to the new tough, a grassroots movement to educate the public about combat-related PTSD has sprung up. Retired Lt. Col. Linda Fletcher, who served in the Army Nurse Corps for 22 years, started a journey of understanding PTSD with her father as well. Lt. Col. Fletcher’s father was a Silver Star winner in World War II. It was not until after her father’s death that Lt. Col. Fletcher realized her father had suffered from PTSD.

After understanding her father’s condition, Lt. Col. Fletcher started a seven-year intensive self-directed study of PTSD. In the early part of this year she taught her first class at Northwestern Michigan College about the subject.

At the end of the first course her students said they wanted to continue meeting and learning about PTSD. Today there is a new non-profit group in Traverse City, Mich. called A Matter of Honor (AMOH). AMOH’s goal is to make Americans more aware of PTSD’s basic facts. AMOH believes that better informed Americans will unite, demanding changes that result in improved care for veterans.

At the Veterans Day kickoff event for AMOH, Capt. Montalván was the guest speaker, along with his handsome and irreplaceable service dog, Tuesday.

Sometimes the grandest epiphany comes from the simplest statement. Lt. Col. Fletcher summed up the love and empathy necessary to make PTSD sufferers whole again when referring to service dogs, like Capt. Montalván’s Tuesday, “…unconditional love makes a lot of things right.”

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Photograph Credit: Alan Newton

Michigan veterans are victims of ignored history

November 6, 2013

The first soldiers to defend the nation, those of the Continental Army, were also the first veterans to be shorted. When the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783, its members were issued wartime promissory notes in recognition of their service, but many veterans thought the notes were worthless and sold them at a great discount to the speculative investors of the day.

President George Washington warned against this practice, fearing if veterans were cheated by financial speculators, future generations would be hesitant to join the military. “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war…shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated…,” wrote President Washington.

“We learn from history that we do not learn from history,” is the famous quotation from German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Repeating bad history sums up how America’s veterans are sometimes treated.

The disrespectful treatment of Michigan veterans has recently been documented by U.S. Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. The OIG report, found the VA Detroit staff failed to accurately process 52 percent of the disability claims audited, and 60 percent of temporary disability claims audited were also completed incorrectly. A general lack of management oversight caused delays in processing many disability claims.

During his visits to Michigan, former Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, author of the bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him,” has brought attention to the ongoing plight of many ignored Michigan veterans. Capt. Montalván has foregrounded Michigan’s shame — that in 2011, Michigan’s veterans received the lowest benefit payout by state, even though Michigan has the eleventh largest veterans population in the nation.

According to U.S. Veterans Affairs data, in 2011 Michigan veterans received $3,952 per veteran, less than any other state or possession. Michigan veterans fared a bit better in 2012, according to the VA, receiving an average of $4,069 per veteran, an increase of $117 per veteran. This increase is attributable, in part at least, to a decrease in Michigan’s veteran population.

Michigan veterans are now ranked 49th out of 52 states and possessions in terms of total benefit amount received. States whose veterans received less than Michigan’s in 2012 were Indiana at $4012 per veteran and New Jersey at $3696 per veteran.

Hoping to make Continental Army veterans whole, in 1790 Representative James Madison proposed that Congress pay veterans the full face value of the promissory notes. Madison’s idea was opposed by Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary, siding with the speculators who bought the notes from America’s first warriors for pennies on the dollar.

On February 22, 1790 the House of Representatives voted 36-to-13 against Madison’s proposal.

Sadly, this would not be the first time in American history when those who served in the United States military would be undervalued, underappreciated and under-compensated.

Michigan veterans are victims of ignored history — Detroit Examiner

Photograph Credit: www.azdemvet.com

Flint female veterans waiting to come home

October 25, 2013

Carrie Miller’s life work and passion started with a click.

One night when, as a new student at the University of Michigan-Flint, Carrie was browsing the university website and saw an icon. The icon said, “Do you have a business idea?”

Completing the online form for the University of Michigan – Flint student business incubator was swift for the Flint native, since she did not have answers to most of the questions. She did have an answer to the most important one — the business idea itself.

“I went into big detail on the idea. Why I wanted to start a business helping women and children. The family orientation of it, the commitment, and the compassion. About a week later I was called in to discuss it. The meeting was supposed to be a half hour interview but it turned out to be an hour and a half.”

It was actually her male military veteran business coach, fellow student Danny Bledsoe, who introduced the idea of serving female veterans. He told Carrie there was a great need and the market segment was not being served.

Whether Mr. Bledsoe was acting on inherent business acumen or a hunch, he was right. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, there are an estimated 13,100 homeless female veterans in the United States, living on the streets, in shelters and in cars. In Genesee County, including Flint, and the surrounding counties, there are at least 150 homeless female veterans, many with children.

Carrie loved the idea and founded Our Home Transitional, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that assists female veterans. The organization’s goal, according to its website, is to provide “transitional housing to single homeless female veterans in need of support.”

Many female veterans are reluctant to ask for assistance, according to Carrie. “These women are afraid to ask for help. It might be their pride, or if they have kids they might be worried they will be taken away.”

So Ms. Miller’s current focus is buying a Flint house to be that transitional home for female veterans. To buy this house she needs $50,000. Carrie does not think it should be difficult to raise $50,000 to find a home for 20 to 30 female veterans in Flint, where the need has been demonstrated. Unfortunately it has been very difficult and as of today her organization has only raised $165 in donations.

Our Home Transitional recently got a high-profile boost during Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván’s Sept. 24th appearance at the University of Michigan – Flint. Capt. Montalván, and his service dog Tuesday, were in Flint bringing attention to veteran’s issues. Capt. Montalván is the author of the bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.”

Capt. Montalván said it is heartwarming that organizations like Our Home Transitional exist, but shameful that so little money has been raised to buy local female veterans’ their home.

Carrie Miller could not agree more. Anyone wishing to help Carrie give Flint-area female veterans a home can do so here.

Flint female veterans waiting to come home — Flint Examiner

Photograph Credit: Carrie Miller

 

Michigan veterans shortchanged

September 27, 2013 

While introducing a war hero at a recent speaking event, University of Michigan – Flint Chancellor Ruth Person ruminated on how things have changed since she was young. Growing up in the Vietnam era, she remembered those who served in the armed forces being treated very poorly when returning home.

Americans today distinguish between a soldier’s willingness to serve his or her nation in an overseas conflict and the validity of that conflict. Those who serve in foreign lands risk their lives every day. The Fort Hood and Navy Yard shootings show life-threatening risks exist on American soil too.

The luckiest of America’s troops return home. Michigan has the honor of being home to the eleventh largest population ofveterans in the country. It also has the shame of ranking dead last in the total benefits paid to those veterans.

In a February 2013 interview with Michigan Radio, Jason Allen, the senior deputy director for veteran affairs for Michigan’s Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA), said that many of Michigan’s veterans do not take advantage of benefit programs due to veterans being unaware of available support and the lack of integration of veteran assistance into many areas of society.

The DMVA previously issued a March 2011 report regarding veteran demographic trends in Michigan. This report showed Michigan’s veteran population shrinking. The topic “Michigan Veterans and Growing Pains” revealed over half of Michigan’s veterans were between 50 and 70 years-of-age.

The same report documented Michigan veterans made up 7.1 percent of Michigan’s general population, but 7.5 percent of Michigan’s homeless population were veterans. This is a disgraceful statistic.

It is hard to look at these facts, together with the other information contained in the DMVA report, and not come to the conclusion that Michigan veterans are in crisis.

Bringing attention to this crisis is a mission for former Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, author of the bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.” Capt. Montalván is the war hero whom Chancellor Person was introducing in Flint.

With his furry spirit Tuesday always by his side, Capt. Montalván suggested Michigan should form some type of emergency state committee to address the issue of Michigan veterans not getting the benefits they so highly deserve.

Many of Michigan’s veterans agree with Capt. Montalván’s idea. These veterans are frustrated when trying to get the benefits to which they are entitled, there is too much paperwork, too little understanding and eventually they just give up.

After reviewing the March 2011 report, this question is begged — has the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs tacitly given up as well on some veterans?

Capt. Montalván was expecting Flint Congressman Dan Kildee to attend his appearance, but according to the Congressman’s office, was unable to due to the impending possibility of a government shutdown. In his absence, Capt. Montalván issued a challenge to Congressman Kildee, “What are you doing to help veterans in the 5th Congressional District?”

Capt. Montalván poses a very good question. We will all have to wait and see if Congressman Kildee and the state of Michigan have an equally good answer.

Michigan veterans shortchanged — Detroit Examiner

Photograph Credit: feedourvets.com

 

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing did the right thing about petroleum coke piles

August 15, 2013 

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Tuesday ordered the tarping and removal of petroleum coke piles which have been stored along the Detroit River for several months. Mayor Bing took this action when Detroit Bulk Storage did not meet a recent deadline to remove the materials.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Karla Henderson, group executive for Mayor Bing, said Detroit Bulk Storage did not obtain the required certificate of compliance to have open bulk storage along the river and was issued four violations of city regulations last Wednesday. Mayor Bing’s order is the first decisive action by a government official regarding this ongoing problem.

The petroleum coke piles, which have been causing air and water contamination concerns for local residents, are owned by Koch Carbon. The property on which the pet coke is stored is owned by controversial billionaire and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun and leased to Norfolk Southern railroad, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Policymic.com reports that neither the U.S. or Canada actual uses pet coke for fuel, but instead exports it for use in the environmentally-laxed Chinese economy. During the export process, it has to be stored, and that is why it’s in Detroit.

Eric Keller, Campaign Organizer for Clean Water Action, said of Mayor Bing’s order, “We applaud Mayor Bing, local citizens and others who are making sure this pet coke is removed from the banks of the Detroit River.”

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, brought the pet coke issue to Mayor Bing’s attention in a June 10th letter, saying “Petroleum coke is dangerous to Detroit residents, and they should be top priority. The open storage of pet coke would prevent important improvements the city has made on its riverfront. Detroit is not a dumping ground and pet coke would only further that image.”

In an interview with Examiner.com on Thursday Rep. Tlaib reiterated the need to focus on green jobs along the Detroit River. “I went to where the pet coke was stored and there were only three or four workers, not wearing any type of protective equipment,” Rep. Tlaib said. She also explained that cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland have enjoyed economic booms by improving their waterfronts, emphasizing that Detroit, like these other cities, must have a “healthy relationship with our waterways.”

Clean Water Action’s Eric Keller also pointed out the water pollution also results from coal-fired power plants, not just environmentally dangerous petroleum coke mounds on the banks of the Detroit River. “Discharge from DTE Energy’s River Rouge and Monroe plants, which are located just downriver from the pet coke piles, continue to pollute our waterways and we need to remain vigilant in making sure polluters clean up their act to protect public health and the environment.”

Mayor Bing’s order also comes less than a month after a report entitled, “Closing the Floodgates: How the Coal Industry Is Poisoning Our Water and How We Can Stop It,” was published by an environmental coalition including Clean Water Action, The Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Integrity Project in late July.

According to this report, the DTE River Rouge plant discharges more than 654 million gallons per day of wastewater into the Detroit River.

Mayor Bing is clearly taking this issue seriously, and his office told the Detroit Free Press, “…we will come and padlock the facility” if the petroleum coke piles are not removed by the deadline. Karla Henderson also said, “We will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure residents’ health and safety,” adding that the city could remove the pet coke itself and bill the company for the expense.

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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing did the right thing about petroleum coke piles — Detroit Examiner

Photograph Credit: gcmoniter.org

Detroit is already broke, does it have to be dirty too?

Three hundred and twelve years ago Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac landed in Detroit. When Cadillac arrived, the Detroit River was pristine, teaming with fish. The French came to Detroit to build up military defenses, prosper and make money. Cadillac himself eventually made a fortune monopolizing the fur-trading in the area. But now Detroit is broke and the water is dirty.

Fixing Detroit’s financial problems has been difficult in part since few people agree on exactly what caused the financial crisis to descend upon Detroit. The cause of pollution in the Detroit River on the other hand is pretty clear.

At a joint press conference held this morning by The Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Food & Water Watch and the Clean Energy Now Coalition at the DTE Energy’s River Rouge, Michigan power plant, a recently released national report was introduced. This report identifies the River Rouge plant as being one of the most culpable in releasing coal ash contaminated wastewater into the Detroit River.

The report, “Closing the Floodgates: How the Coal Industry Is Poisoning Our Water and How We Can Stop It,” was published by an environmental coalition including Clean Water Action, The Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Integrity Project.

The report spotlights why potent national coal plant water pollution standards are necessary. Compiled by reviewing almost 400 coal plant water permits throughout the United States, the report highlights eight plants which are the most irresponsible when it comes to polluted wastewater release.

Two of those power plants are in Michigan, the DTE River Rouge power plant and DTE Monroe Plant. According to the report, the DTE River Rouge plant discharges, “…more than 654 million gallons per day of wastewater into the [Detroit] river.” This is the river where local residents fish and from where water is drawn for drinking water purification.

Current guidelines do not cover many of the worst pollutants released into the Detroit River, and the existing guidelines have not been modernized in over three decades.

For someone standing close to the same spot where Cadillac landed, it is a strange juxtaposition. Hearing the DTE plant noisily operating in the background, knowing the water being spewed into the Detroit River is contaminated, and just yards away people fishing off the breakwall and in boats.

Some anglers there say the hot water being released by the DTE plant makes the area a prime fishing spot. The problem is the fish being caught may be contaminated with toxins, such as arsenic, boron and mercury.

Ignoring the risks, one fisherman nearby said it best, “Times are bad. We have to fish to live.”

Detroit is already broke, does it have to be dirty too? — Detroit Examiner

Photograph Credit: Timothy Mucciante

Workplace stress may be a workplace danger

Dr. Luke Elliott, a family physician in Michigan, recently wrote in The Beaumont Blog (Beaumont Health System) that workplace stress comes about as a type of flight-or-fight reaction to tense situations at work. He also provided some advice about coping with workplace stress, including eating better, exercising and getting enough sleep.

Although the entire article was insightful and well-written, Dr. Elliott’s conclusion was my favorite part. He points out that a “calling” and a “vocation” meant the same thing at one time, but those times have changed. Dr. Elliott writes that a “…“calling” is what is done for the love of God and mankind. A “vocation” is what is actually done…”

If one even glances at the news, it is almost impossible not to see a story about violence, specifically workplace violence. The marrying of “calling” and “vocation” is not just for medical professionals, it is for everyone. Passion for any vocation makes it a calling. Think about what Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Dr. Elliot concludes his article with this inspiring thought, “It is in this inner strength that we replenish our bodies and avoid the short and long-term consequences of prolonged emotional stress…”

Pearl Buck put this same sentiment another way, “To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”

 

 

 

 

 

Test politicians’ honesty with sequestration

February 27, 2013

Pinocchio’s nose was his lie detector, pants on fire is always an incendiary polygraph and now Americans have the perfect opportunity to tell which politicians are lying — the upcoming sequestration.

Political commentator Rachel Maddow pointed out recently on MSNBC that Americans are far less interested in sequestration than the infamous debt ceiling battle of 2011. Citing a Pew Research study, Maddow said that 50 percent of the American public were aware of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, while only 27 percent of Americans are aware of the sequester crisis.

Americans care less about sequestration because they don’t understand how “sequester” relates to money. “Debt ceiling” makes sense, no need to run to the dictionary or a really smart friend to ask what it means.

Besides the potentially confusing terminology, Americans have less interest in sequestration because they know many of the politicians involved are not being fully forthcoming about the relevant facts (read: they are lying).

Scare tactics are an inherent element of deception, and Americans may becoming immune to the misrepresentative rhetoric of both parties. The Democrats claiming that air travel will grind to a halt, laying off of meat inspectors will result in potentially tainted meat in the marketplace and first responders will not be available to assist local communities. The Republicans have their own scare tactics — telling Americans that Democrats are trying to frighten them, and by claiming that the effects of the sequestration are being overblown by the Obama Administration and liberal media.

So America, here is your chance to find out which politicians are more honest than others — let sequestration happen. But before it does, insist that all politicians sign a pledge, promising to resign if their statements about the sequestration’s consequences are wrong. (Pledges seem to work, at least among House Republicans. Just ask Grover Norquist.)

The sequestration takes place over ten years time. If the projected devastating effects occur, President Obama can take the high road, maybe make an “I told you so speech,” and the Republicans in Congress will have to vote to change the sequester provisions with their tails between their legs.

On the other hand, if the Republicans are right that the budget cuts will have minimal noticeable impact, the elongated nose or blazing trousers of the Obama administration will then be obvious.

Former house speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Sequestration falls into the same category. Once it happens, America will know the true effects of the indiscriminate budget cuts and Congress can act at that time. If crossing fingers, wishing and hoping were good enough for Obamacare, it is good enough for sequestration.

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Second amendment outgunned by federal firepower

February 12, 2013

With President Obama’s fourth State of the Union address now part of history, the topic of gun violence was President Obama’s denouement. He received a standing ovation and calls of approval from many of those in the House chamber when he repeated “They deserve a vote,” preceded by the name of a town where gun violence had claimed lives. The president’s message clearly hit home, the Second Amendment is important, but so are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.

The Second Amendment was not a new idea for America’s Constitutional drafters, since England had codified the right in the 1689 English Bill of Rights. It seems that King James II, a Catholic, disarmed all protestants in England. The English Bill of Rights reinstated the rights of protestants to bear arms, so that both Catholics and Protestants could protect themselves against an encroaching government.

As with their English ancestors, the colonists also wanted protection against the government. The colonies, later to be states, did not want to be easy pickings for the federalgovernment, and the right to bear arms was the only way to guarantee that independence.

But things have changed. In 1776, citizens could have the same weapons as those possessed by the federal government, so states had the realistic ability to protect themselves. The same is not true today. With current federal gun laws, there is no match of firepower between American gun owners and government law enforcement and military resources.

The NRA needs to recognize the bullet-riddle on the wall. The pro-gun lobby lost the Second Amendment battle in 1934, when the National Firearms Act was passed. The NFA, for the first time, regulated the type of guns that Americans could possess, and outlawed automatic weapons, silencers, and sawed-off shotguns, among other types of weapons.

As the NRA hasn’t yet woken up and smelled the gun powder, the pro-gun control activists are also off hugging the wrong tree. The gun control folks want assault weapons banned. This was tried in 1994, and according to FactCheck.org, the results were mixed. It was not clear that the ban had any discernible net effect on the crime rate. Even Vice President Joe Biden has acknowledged that most gun-related deaths have nothing to do with assault weapons.

No person or organization has a monopoly on the solution of Americans killing each other. Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call”, after the Sandy Hook massacre, said “[T]he fact is we have to begin to operate healthy within our families, within our communities, within our states, within our government.” The country must stop arguing over the best way to kill or not kill each other, and look at the big picture — why do some Americans want so badly to kill others?

The violence problem in America is bigger than guns. Ultimately, if a person is intent on killing others, any available lethal weapon may be used. It is the seemingly too-prevalent desire to kill each other that must be controlled, not the way the killing is done.

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