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Why We Should Think for Ourselves

Why We Should Think for Ourselves.

Since the inception of this blog, I have asserted that independent thinking and action is one of the most important facets of our humanity, and one of the defining functions of personality. This is because I understand a very old (and yet very true) adage that states that “….the best ideas are common property.” Stated another way, the best principles/maxims/rules of living are understood by a great number of people, and not by a select few (those in today’s society who consider themselves the “elite,” or the so-called “intelligentsia”). Of course, in today’s America, the exact opposite is the prevailing vision, and teaching in modern schools and universities reflects this to a great extent.

It is thus refreshing to see a real-life experience–a direct antithesis to the prevailing vision–documented that proves (yet again) the truth of this ancient maxim.

The best ideas truly are common property–common property of strong-minded individuals who understand the power of independent thinking and action.

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Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg is a man who never sleeps, apparently.

His zeal for public health and safety is unabated, despite a resounding “No,” from the courts in response to his ridiculous legislation banning large cups and bottles of soda. Now, the “capeless crusader” has turned once again to the item which health crusaders attack most often and most viciously: cigarettes and other forms of smoking tobacco.

The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else's Health
The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else’s Health

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t endorse smoking, nor do I smoke. But neither do I endorse the government-funded war on smoking. My reason for this is simple: smoking is not healthy, it’s true. But neither is eating too much. And the zealots are already turning toward overeating as their next crusade, starting with a seemingly innocuous requirement that restaurants post calorie content of each menu item. Today, require caloric content to be posted. Tomorrow, completely ban the food items that are the unhealthiest.

All that aside, I think the Mayor’s actions speak for themselves. And they say . . .

And they say . . .

Well, what do you think?

Can’t Sleep? Post…

Yes, it’s true. Time Change Sunday caught me prepared for a change…don’t everybody fall over dead at once, now. Instead of feeling dead to the world, tired, and ready for a good night’s sleep, I’m wide awake and suffering a mild case of insomnia. 😛

So, not wanting this time to be a complete waste I hop on the ‘net and find…..

A refreshing dose of sanity.

South Dakota is now my favorite state. Well, almost. NC is still my favorite.

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Go on…you know you want to…

Oh, and by the way, South Dakota Legislature? I came up with the idea.

Now, about those royalties….

That's right. I'm gonna ". . . make you an offer [you] can't refuse."
That’s right. I’m gonna “. . . make you an offer [you] can’t refuse.”

Planning for Success in Difficult Times

Government intervention, the President and current administration tell us–daily–is the way that we will achieve our goals for the future.

There are many reasons to take exception to this statement. Some of the more obvious (at least to me): First of all, what happened in the years before the modern government existed? How did people even survive, let alone thrive, in the absence of the vast resources available from the current government programs? Second, why so many people telling us, to the point of shouting down any dissenters, that this is THE ONLY WAY to do business in today’s world? Third, toward whose goals are we pressing, again? Fourth, what makes you (the progressives) so sure that “everybody” wants what you do?

Just a Thought: Independent men built this country...not bureaucrats.
Just a Thought: Independent men built this country…not bureaucrats.

One of the email newsletters to which I subscribe is titled “The Morning Jolt” and features bold headlines and news that will “set your blood to simmer[ing],” as the author wrote in February 13, 2013’s edition. This daily imprint features Jim Geraghty’s thoughts on a number of subjects, and he is usually dead-on in his analysis of current events. He is committed to combating the pervasive influence of the lovers of the “progressive agenda” (read “retrogressive suppression of independence”) for America.

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Jim Geraghty is a conservative political pundit and a contributing editor to The National Review

(photo credit)

One of the subjects he addresses head-on in the 2/13 edition of Morning Jolt is the rising cost of employing full-time workers here in the US. Written by Charles Hugh Smith, this article is worth reading because it addresses several factors (one of which is the return on investment consideration for employers [woefully under-discussed in the current climate]) influencing the economic stagnation which is so prevalent, and because it does so in such a well-written format that there is no need for this author to reinvent the wheel. 😉

Geraghty quotes extensively from the article cited above, and then offers a few words of his own on this subject:

“In short, the unemployed, the departed-the-workforce, the just-entered-the-workforce and soon-to-enter-the-workforce cannot be sufficiently productive to justify the expense of hiring them. And we know this pretty much has to be true, because corporations are sitting on roughly $1.7 trillion in cash right now [according to a recent article from one of the blogs of the New York Times, apparently. I (Dave here) was not able to follow this link to research it.]. It’s not that they don’t have the money to hire people. They just don’t think that hiring people would generate more money than having it just sit there in their accounts, which is a phenomenally depressing conclusion.”

That’s pretty simple, and it’s pretty clear, too. Excessive and punitive regulation has driven the cost of adding new workers so high that it has exacerbated the underemployment of the younger and (usually) less-experienced members of the workforce. Why do I say that it has made this problem worse, rather than “excessive regulations have caused underemployment of the young?” Because this underemployment is caused by the understandable predisposition of employers to hire more experienced workers, rather than younger workers who require more investment (time to train, money to pay minimum wages, benefits, etc.) and less return for said outlay.

In other words, the employer is made slightly worse off by being forced to be more choosy in who he hires; or, alternatively, by being forced to buy machinery to automate what a minimum-wage worker would otherwise do. The potential minimum-wage worker, however, is made much worse off: not only is he robbed of the opportunity to work for minimum wage, he is also (often) denied the opportunity to work and gain experience that would qualify him for more appealing, better-paying jobs.

As one of the young and underemployed, I know whereof I speak. A six-month job hunt–during which I have aggressively sought employment by repeated phone calls, in-person submissions of my resume, and face-to-face introductions–has resulted in only one interview.

Am I complaining? No, I’m simply pointing out that I understand (from personal experience) how tough it is to find a job in today’s depressed economy.

While punitive (from an employers’ perspective) regulation is certainly a key factor, to say that it is the sole variable in this complicated problem would be to commit an unforgivable oversimplification.

I cannot in the scope of this article address every economic factor that contributes to the high unemployment rate among young workers; however, I believe there are two surpluses, surpluses that go largely unaddressed in the current discussion on the unemployment rate, that play a critical role in this phenomenon.

The first surplus is the result of education. More and more, we see students entering liberal arts colleges pursuing majors such as Twelfth-Century Poetry, Ancient Literature Interpretation, and Underwater Basket-Weaving. (Ok, I made the last one up, but you get the idea.) Even students in fields that, a few years ago, featured robust demand are seeing a dramatic drop in employment opportunities. This decrease has affected not only “soft” majors such as the ones above, but “not-so-soft” majors like liberal arts, communication arts, art, and others. Geraghty wrote a very insightful paragraph in his February 13 “Morning Jolt” column:

“Folks, the art world and publishing world are fiercely competitive even in the very best of times, so you’re going to need a backup career just in case things don’t work out. This also applies to those who aspire to fame and fortune in journalism, professional athletics, the music industry, most of the entertainment industry, and most of the jobs that the world covets. You’ve got to be really talented, and really hard-working. And yes, lucky. I realize I’m very, very, very, very lucky to have a job that I (usually) enjoy and that allows me to make a living. Of course, I suspect those outside those fields overestimate the role of luck. My buddy Cam — now on the Sportsman Channel! — will periodically hear from someone, ‘Boy, you’re really lucky to find a job where you get to host a radio show!’ and he has to bite his tongue and refrain from mentioning all the years he worked as reporter and assistant news director, driving all over the state of Oklahoma on any assignment he could get, long hours, lousy pay, and so on.”

He also makes a very pithy, observant statement: “Nobody just hands you a plum job in journalism.” Truth! It may shock some college students to realize that nobody “just hands you” any plum job. Most of the plum jobs in the world go to those who have busted their behinds for it.

Is that fair?

Before you answer that, stop and think about how you would feel if you spent ten years of your life working at any job you could find in your chosen profession, striving for that “dream job,” only to see it handed to some fresh-faced newbie fresh off the education assembly line because they “deserved it.” How would that make you feel?

Yeah, you’re right…there are two sides to every coin.

The second surplus is the result of a lack of practical education. Increasingly, college graduates are sorely lacking in portable skills that can only be obtained by personal contact and interaction with people. Why is there such a deficit of ordinary, everyday interpersonal skills? Again, the answer is too long and complex for a post of this length, but some contributing factors are the increasing obsession with screen media, the widespread revolt against traditional values, and the epidemic, not of illiteracy, but of a-literacy.

According to Susan Jacoby’s book The Age of American Unreason, published in 2008, only 57 percent of the American public has ever read a non-fiction book. Making a logical assumption that some people’s only non-fictional exposure is from required reading for school, the number of people who read non-fiction books from personal desire is quite possibly substantially smaller. This is relevant to the discussion at hand, precisely because readers are better equipped than non-readers to follow, evaluate, and process a complex train of thought in a logical fashion.

In education, as in many other areas of life, many Americans have forsaken personal responsibility for the convenience of “pre-packaged” curriculum. Some seem to think that if it’s not taught in school, or required reading for one of their classes, it’s just not worth the time it would take  read about it.

It’s heartbreaking to see education of all types going to ruin here in the States. It’s particularly sad when one considers the historical successes of the “self-made man,” the man who educated himself–outside the scope of the marbled halls and manicured lawns of the university–at great expense of time and effort, and built a business, a trade, a living, and (for more than a few) a fortune. The current scoffing at those who have made their living in this way reflects the near-idolatrous regard many hold for the “almighty college degree.” Current disdain notwithstanding, self-education–as with many other forms of self-reliance–is a phenomenon that is disproportionately represented in the United States. Freedom to keep the proceeds of one’s efforts truly is the greatest encouragement to innovation and initiative.

In short, government intervention of all sorts into employment contracts is fraught with examples of stagnation following efforts taken for the (expressed) purpose of producing greater economic growth. In every case, more government intervention and regulation resulted in LESS growth, not MORE as the politicians predicted. The brighter tomorrow our elected officials pay lip-service to will only come about by a return to the truly American principles of independence, self-education, individual choice and liberty, personal responsibility, and self-governance.

 

Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee: Which Are You?

This interesting anecdote should make you stop and think before you proclaim that you are a victim of your circumstances. Circumstances are things that are beyond our control, there is no doubt….but our reaction to them is firmly planted in the realm of things we can contain and control.

(NOTE: Not an original article. Copied from Huntington, Long Island, NY. Minimally edited for clarity and grammar. Enjoy!)

Words of Wisdom from Grandma
Words of Wisdom from Grandma

Grandmother: “Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee — Which Are You?”

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the third she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the girl replied.

Grandma brought the young lady closer and asked her to feel the carrots. The girl did and noted that they had become soft. Grandma then asked her granddaughter to take an egg and break it.After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, Grandma asked the girl to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor, then asked, “What’s the point,grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

—AUTHOR UNKNOWN

(NOTE: This article shows how an ordinary person can use ordinary objects to impart extraordinary wisdom and common sense that will serve us well in life.

While I don’t agree with every iota of philosophy expressed in this story [think, last two paragraphs], I really like the principle the three objects’ transformations illustrate. More on my interpretation in a future post.)

Please, Mr. Government, May I Mind My Own Business?

Everywhere we turn, the government is there, helping to make the world a better place.

We’re better off now that government does so much to help us, the folks in Washington tell us. There’s no reason for all the furor, they have our best interests in mind…and they know better than us, anyway. Don’t we trust them?

In a word, no; and in two words, certainly not.

Government overreach, rebooted for your viewing enjoyment (for the progressives), or apoplectic rants (for everyone else).

Another attack on freedom...no sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there....
Another attack on freedom…no sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there….

(photo credit)

The article is here.

You have got to be kidding me.

Yes, I know that’s colloquial. No, I do not care.

This is ridiculous. These bureaucrats are trifling. This is as lame as a horse with five broken legs.

Yes, I know that doesn’t exist. No, I do not care.

At what point do we stand and say, “Give me liberty, or give me death”? Sounds a bit extreme, probably, and I can hear the detractors now:

That’s a ridiculous overreaction of a bitter partisan believer in massive conspiracy theories.

Not hardly.

Food is an integral and vital part of every person’s life. Without sustenance of some sort, you will die. If you eat the wrong type of food long enough, it will affect your health. Changing their diet has helped many people lose weight, gain confidence, build muscle mass and overall endurance, and feel better and more emotionally stable…..all without any other form of medicine!

Well, you might ask, what if “food-only medicine” people are wrong? If they are wrong, there’s nothing to lose. But, I ask you, what if they are right? If they are right, there’s much at stake!

What if, you query, you are wrong about the government overreaching its bounds here? If I’m wrong, there’s nothing about which to worry. But, again, what if I’m right? If I am, there’s much at stake here!

Including, it seems, one’s freedom to grow radishes, beets, turnips, kale, collards, carrots, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, and corn in the front yard in place of junipers, Japanese maples, clover, boxwood hedges, and other ornamental plants that really don’t have any practical use.

Kintergarden Revisited: The ABC’s of My Political Education

Recently, Jeff Rutherford–a follower of my blog and manager of Necessary and Proper Government–asked me from whence I’d gained my political and economic knowledge. After a moment’s thought, I realized it was a question I’ve never answered. So, how did I come to the place where I am now, politically and economically?

I could say “On my own,” but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

I was born into a conservative home; furthermore, both my parents were devout  Christians. From my earliest recollection and before, I was in church each time the doors were open. Even though TV had been around for decades by the time the early ’90s rolled around, I spent the first ten years of my life with almost no time in front of a television screen. There wasn’t one in the house, so what little exposure I had was at friends’ houses, and then it was usually a movie that my friend’s mother had cleared with my mother.

I mentioned in my post, Cliffs, Fences, and Ambulances that the poem was a great jumping-off point for this explanatory post of where I am today. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to use the above link and read the poem in its entirety. It probably won’t take you more than five minutes.

Are you back? Great! Let’s continue.

The crux of the matter in the above-referenced poem is the question of whether we should build a fence round the top of the cliff (pre-crisis intervention), or place an ambulance down below to clean up the mess (post-crisis intervention). From the moment I was born, my parents agreed to set up certain boundaries in my life that would prevent me from going in a direction that would inhibit their desire to see me grow in the knowledge of the truth. They did their best to protect me from the “one-off” mistakes; you know, the ones where you make a mistake once, and they kill you. In other areas, they allowed me to make mistakes, waited for me to pick myself up and dust myself off, and then used that real-life experience to illustrate a principle that carried over into countless other areas of life. By allowing me to suffer the consequences of small mistakes in a controlled environment, they were educating me on the principles of reaping what you sow, without allowing me to invest so much that I’d destroy myself in the downfall.

Contrary to popular philosophical and psychological counsel, my parents understood that leaving someone free to choose does not mean allowing them to have their own way from birth.

At the young age of four, in the church I had attended since birth, God used a very special Book to change my life. On a Sunday evening in October of 1993, I realized that being in church with my Christian parents wasn’t enough. I needed a personal relationship with Christ. I met Him that night, and I’ve never been the same since.

As I continued to grow and mature, my parents used their influence to guide me into the way of analyzing every philosophy against the framework of real life. Contrary to the common method of “If it sounds good, it is good,” my parents invited me to critically examine and weigh the evidence from both sides of the issue.

When I was about sixteen years old, my dad brought home another book that changed my life. Somehow, somewhere, he’d heard of the writings of one Thomas Sowell, a prominent conservative black economist. After reading a few of his columns online, my dad had purchased his book White Liberals and Black Rednecks.

As I read the book, it struck me how much Dr. Sowell’s message backed up what my dad had told me for years. Although my understanding was imperfect at the time, and I was mainly rejoicing in the fact that someone was willing to attack the liberals so forcefully in print, I was also absorbing and storing information and principles that would stick with me for years to come.

As I grew still older and entered the workplace, I began to see the message behind the message in Dr. Sowell’s books. By this time, my dad owned three or four, and I’d purchased four or five with some of the money I was earning from my first real job. I’d also bought several books by Dr. Sowell’s contemporary, Dr. Walter Williams.

By the time I was twenty years of age, I’d spent three years in the workforce, and nearly as long digesting the books by these two preeminent economists. Though I never would have been able to phrase it so at the time, I was amazed at the difference between their words and the words of my fellow workers of African-American heritage. In the back of my mind, tension was growing. Who was right? The fellows I worked with spouted words that sounded so good…they made people feel good about themselves, they removed a lot of the responsibility for bad choices from the individual and placed it on the collective shoulders of society, etc., etc. Where had I heard this before?

The answer came to me, not in a single, blinding epiphany, but over the course of years of reading news articles and editorials, observing current events, spending hours contemplating the inconsistencies between people’s words and reality, and prayerfully searching the Scriptures.

Gradually, it began to dawn on me that the philosophy espoused by my coworkers–appeal to the emotions notwithstanding–was the faulty one that left countless nuances of reality unexplained. It’s difficult to put into words the hundreds of events and factors that came into play as I wrestled with this complicated issue.

Although I was now at the point where my parents had set me free to draw my own conclusions, I had by no means completely discounted their opinions. Other adults at church who shared my father’s views on many issues solidified the growing regard in which I held those same views. And for nearly a year, my father printed off hundreds of articles by conservatives from across the nation, brought them home, and just left them lying where I’d be sure to see them.

I mentioned earlier the fact that for ten years of my life, we had no television in the house. Thus, I was from an early age completely engaged with books. I learned to read at the age of five, and developed early a love for reading that has never departed. Nearly twenty years later, I’d still rather read a book than watch a film, and even radio is preferable to television in my eyes. Because of this love for reading, I devoured every printout my dad brought home, and the constant exposure to factual, logical analysis of the current events and policies in Washington took root in my mind.

All of these things have contributed to my current position. I stand behind statements I’ve previously made: reading is the single most important element in teaching a child to think critically, logically, and linearly. A good reader is a good thinker. Reading properly promotes memory, because it forces the reader to remember and track arguments and trains of thought across pages of printed matter, and to gather up the loose ends and tie them all together at the close. True, a well-written book or article will aid the reader in this process; but, without memory, reading is a pointless and frustrating endeavor.

So, the answer is that my knowledge of politics and economics is largely from self-education. I know more about politics now than I did three years ago, and it is my desire to continue to learn more about politics and economics for the rest of my life. Although I don’t feel led to pursue a career in either field presently, I know that everything I learn will have value in enabling me to make sense of the world at large. It will also make me a better-informed and more productive participant in the political process, which I firmly believe was what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

I realize this explanation isn’t complete, but it’s a start. As you’ve read it, I hope some of your questions have been answered. Perhaps some have not. Perhaps other inquiries have come to mind. If so, please share them with me. What else would you like to know about the way my education shaped my thinking?

Cliffs, Fences, and Ambulances

In a country that is metaphorical, yet more real than you’d like to think, is a valley. At one end stands a precipitous cliff. A small town nestles near its foot, and its residents often walk along the top of said cliff. The question is: which is the wiser choice? Should they fence the cliff? Or put an ambulance in the valley?

I found this old gem of a poem in a book of poems entitled Best Loved Poems of the American People. Although at first glance it may seem like just a humorous poem about a fictional valley and the cliff above it, I think of it as a metaphor from which we can glean very real and practical truths.

Incidentally (shout out to Jeff Rutherford of Necessary and Proper Government), this is a great jumping-off point to an explanation of how I got where I am, politically speaking. 🙂

So enjoy, if you will, the poem entitled A Fence or an Ambulance, by Joseph Malins. (Written in 1895.)

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‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,

Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;

But over its terrible edge there had slipped

A duke and full many a peasant.

So the people said something would have to be done,

But their projects did not at all tally;

Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff,”

Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,

For it spread through the neighboring city;

A fence may be useful or not, it is true,

But each heart became brimful of pity

For those who had slipped over that dangerous cliff;

And the dwellers in highway and alley

Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,

But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is all right, if you’re careful,” they said,

“And, if folks even slip and are dropping,

It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much,

As the shock down beloww when they’re stopping.”

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,

Quick forth would these rescuers sally

To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,

With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: “It’s a marvel to me

That people give far more attention

To repairing results that to stopping the cause,

When they’d much better aim at prevention.

Let us stop at its source all this mischief,” cried he,

“Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;

If the cliff we will fence we might also dispense

With the ambulance down in the valley.”

“Oh, he’s a fanatic,” the others rejoined,

“Dispense with the ambulance? Never!

He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could;

No! No! We’ll support them forever.

Aren’t we picking up folks  just as fast as they fall?

And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?

Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,

While the ambulance works in the valley?”

But a sensible few, who are practical too,

Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;

They believe that prevention is better than cure,

And their party will soon be the stronger.

Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,

And while other philanthropists dally,

They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence

On the cliff than hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,

For the voice of true wisdom is calling,

“To rescue the fallen is good, but ‘tis best

To prevent other people from falling.”

Better close up the source of temptation and crime

Than deliver from dungeon or galley;

Better put a strong fence round the top of the cliff

Than an ambulance down in the valley.

Although this is not part of my ongoing series on meditation, it is indeed something to think about.

A Real Problem, A Real Solution

Shootings are a real problem in America. I’ve never denied it, and I don’t want to risk alienating readers–current and potential–by acting as though there isn’t a problem.

However, when it comes to solutions, men and women who are out of touch with reality are everywhere to be seen.

For starters, the men and women the President has tapped to provide answers to the knotty problem of how to solve this dilemma are firmly rooted in the prevailing vision of government as savior, solution, and supreme. They refuse to admit that the federal government could be the problem.

Also, the “solutions” these people loudly acclaim and proclaim are not solutions. They are non-solutions.

Stricter gun-control laws. Universal background checks. Tighter restrictions on handgun and ammo sales. More numerous gun-free zones.

None of these measures, enacted in cities across the country, has reduced gun-related crimes in those jurisdictions. In fact, almost universally, crime has gone up in the wake of these measures.

In keeping with my recent decision to speak my mind, to add my voice to the debate surrounding current issues, I have come to the table today with an alternative solution to this very real problem. A very real, workable solution. A very simple solution.

Let’s bring guns back into schools.

We’ve seen conclusively over the past several years that the only thing removing guns from schools does is ensure that criminals like Adam Lanza are capable of maximum damage when the shooting begins.

So, how would guns in schools prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook?

Well, they wouldn’t. Before we go any further in this discussion, we need to establish once and for all that guns do not kill people. People kill people, and they use many things to do it: guns, knives, hammers, baseball bats, letter openers, tire irons, and a host of other objects that have other purposes, but become lethal weapons in the wrong hands.

Another truth you won’t hear from those lusting after absolute power is that criminals don’t always use guns to kill large amounts of people.

Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer, gasoline, and box trucks. The terrorists who created the major disaster of 9-11-2001 used airplanes.

Yet no one is screaming for fertilizer to be banned. No one is suggesting that gasoline be eliminated because it can be used as a weapon. No one is decrying the widespread distribution of airplanes throughout our nation.

Furthermore, in the great debate surrounding guns and their availability to criminals, what many people fail to admit is that often, “…the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”

Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA, had it right.

So, let’s put guns back in the hands of those who are closest to the children: the teachers.

Teachers already have to pass a pretty stringent string of tests before they can begin their career in a classroom. They have to have a degree in education from a qualified institution. They have to pass a criminal background check and drug screening. In many states, a person convicted of a felony cannot receive a teacher’s license.

When looking at the above requirements for a teacher, something should be pretty clear.

The people who qualify to teach also qualify to acquire a concealed carry permit.

My thoughts on the concealed carry issue will be forthcoming in a subsequent post, but for now, let’s go with the above line of reasoning.

Licensed teachers qualify to be licensed concealed carriers. Let them carry their firearms to school. But don’t stop there: let’s start a program that offers training in counter-terrorism tactics, similar to that which police and SWAT team forces receive. There’s no reason to expect these people to be as highly-trained as those in the military special forces. Then again, there’s no reason to expect them to go to work unarmed every day, bound hand and foot by government regulations that leaves them as defenseless as sheep before a butcher.

We’ve seen the result of that sort of legislation. It’s time for some [healthy] change.

If a person contemplating a shooting of the type that happened in Newtown knows that he is likely to be met with a hail of well-placed bullets from armed teachers instructed in the proper use of deadly force, it’s almost a guarantee he’ll call off the operation. If he further knows that these same teachers have been instructed in unarmed combat techniques that enable a person to use his or her own hands as a lethal weapon, the probability of his abandoning the scheme increases exponentially.

I would not be so naive to expect schools across the nation to universally adopt this type of policy overnight. However, as more and more schools implement a plan similar to the one outlined above, criminals will adapt. It is possible that school shootings will continue, but only in those places where the retrogressive system remains in force. Before long, however, people will catch on to the simple truth:

If we put guns back into the hands of trained personnel in school zones, criminals will stop targeting these zones. The ease of access and guarantee of a successful massacre will be significantly reduced.

Do I think this will work? Yes, I do, but not simply because I came up with the solution. The truth is, criminals prefer unarmed victims. That’s why all of the mass shootings we’ve experienced over the last year have occurred in places where federal regulations stipulate that no one–not even a concealed carry permit holder–is to have a gun.

Criminals are dangerous. Not all criminals, however, are stupid. Taking guns from the hands of those who obey the laws is a non-solution, because we all know that criminals are considered criminals because they do not obey the laws of the land. Continue to take guns away from law-abiding citizens in certain jurisdictions and situations, and you may be certain that gun-related crime rates will not go down in those places.

As we’ve seen already, the rates will only go in one direction: up.