HELP WANTED

Americans with a brain and a back bone and that will not blindly follow some political party or ideology over a cliff! This is not about Obama Care! This is not about Democrat versus Republican! This is not sudden or just began! This has been going on for too long! This is about the wrong people being in office and disregarding their responsibilities! This is about people who cannot be mature, responsible, or smart enough to produce results.

Our elected representatives love the blame game, but what does this represent? They have come to understand that by pointing a finger at something that gets people emotional, they can get elected, not to mention stay in office forever. IN THE BLAME GAME, WE CAN CREAT DISTRACTION SO NO ONE NOTICES OUR LACK OF ACTION.

Let’s focus on what is important! Gay rights: or is this personal preference? At any rate, this will ensure we stay strong as a nation, won’t it? Abortion: People get upset over this one. And I believe they should! However, as government goes isn’t there something about the separation of Church and State? Yup, and then there is gun control: Now that is contentious!

Of these great debates, most resolutions are somewhere in the middle. If there are going to be gains they will take place on middle ground. If you happen to be a “BLAMER,” you will not be able to see that. You will be shooting so far to the right or left that hitting the barn isn’t even a consideration!

I think I am beginning to see how all these folks in Washington got elected. Too many Americans love the blame game! It might be a good time to ask this question? Is there any gain that comes from blame? Is the absence of “GAIN”, the reason our national debt continues to grow? Our economy struggles and may not be able to compete globally in the coming years? The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer?  Is this perhaps why so many issues remain unresolved by our government as well as society?

Is it time for people to look for gain, rather than blame?

Or is it time to start thinking about blaming someone as to why we are becoming a third-world country?

Gun control / Who will do what it will take?

Gun Control and responsibility

Bullets

What a contentious debate! But is it an issue that has most people looking in the wrong place at a very bad time? Is it possible that this extremely important, highly emotional controversy is shifting people in this country away from some of the things that we really need to be looking at and addressing? Could it be another division between citizens, while demigods steer things their own way? Is it a spire that draws our focus and memories away from our origins, our history, and our foundation as a nation? Is it yet again one more thing that grabs the moral fabric of this nation and tosses it over our heads?

Do I believe in gun control? NO! Do I believe in gun regulations? YES!

But no matter what side of this issue you or I am on, no matter if it is no more guns or guns galore. It is only one small cog in the changes that need to take place to put us where we should be.

And the biggest question of all is… who is willing to do what it will take?

I am going to try to avoid any statement such as, “a gun never killed anyone on its own” because that just gets those old debate drums beating. Instead, I am going to proceed with my pointed opinions!

If you don’t feel that the bottom line over this debate, this controversy, is not about addressing and preventing violence. Then I suspect that you are a moron or a criminal. To begin to curtail violence several things must change and we should not allow ourselves to be appeased or boondoggled by the politicians who are grandstanding on the “gun debate.” I don’t want to overly generalize so let me add this, “I do feel some politicians just cannot figure this issue out, and they do need to focus on the gun debate.” There, I am no longer stereotyping.

Unless we really change how we view things and how we do things, I don’t see much of anything improving. Likely just getting worse.

To reduce the amount of violence taking place within this country, we need legal reform in several areas. We need to invest in the correct types of programs and infrastructure. Most importantly we need to re-formalize how we in this country think and behave.

The penal system needs to be changed drastically. The current mental health laws need to be revised and amended. However, unless we proceed to make social and educational reforms, the legal changes will produce more expenses than results or solutions.

Unless it is an act of nature, violence will never take place other than through violent people! Our constitutional rights are rights that were intended and reserved for those individuals in this country who are in good standings with the society of our nation! Example: convicted murderers have lost their freedom to travel. Nevertheless, the murderer lost his or her right/s only after it was too late for some victim! Are we really “ok” with, a victim must fall prey before a particular “right” is removed from a brutal person?

Laws need to change if we hope to reduce acts of violence in the future, and I am not making reference to talking about the number of bullets you can have in a gun’s clip. I am rather talking about when a person commits a crime and is found guilty of that crime in any category that is indicative or a precursor to violence. That should be when they surrendered their rights to own or be in the possession of a weapon! That “right” should no longer be “their right” because they surrender their right through an act of their own. And remember someone in society was already put at risk by them. All their other rights remain intact but the privilege to own a weapon (gun or other weapons) should be surrendered the same as a driver’s license following a conviction for DWI. This should be after the very first offence. Not the whim that everyone should have a second chance.

For adults, the categories should be any conviction of any acts of violence or conviction of any illegal threats of violence. It should also include crimes that affect the nature of an individual (at risk) such as drugs or alcohol convictions. Mental health issues may be the most difficult area to address but cannot remain intact the way they currently are if we truly intend to curtail violence. Suicide attempts account for nearly two-thirds of all deaths by a gun. Suicide is an act of violence and there may be no greater propensity on this planet for violence, than from a human who does not care!

Most importantly, changes in the laws that apply to juveniles over the age of twelve to fourteen need to occur! The blanket of innocence that currently protects youth’s from their “decision making” is flawed and has long been at the expense of “innocent” victims. We all know in many situations that allowing a teenager’s anger to flourish nurtures the legacy that their violence will become history! It is absurd that acts of violence by teenagers can be legally obscured under youthful offender status or any other laws.

If these kinds of changes don’t take place, what would a background check be checking? The name of a person perhaps? Where you live? That you are a “known” felon, who already has lost his right to have a weapon after an innocent victim, endured their atrocity? You and I both know that felons are the guys that walk into gun shops every day, right. But if they do, would you want them getting a gun?

So now I reiterate, “Who is willing to do what it will take? And this sets me up for posing what I believe are the bigger issues. Will politicians do the work of going beyond their grandstanding? Will they do the right thing instead of fronting for some hidden interest or masquerading on their own behalf? Will gun owners and gun rights activist concede to background checks? Yes, there are some peripheral issues or concerns that go along with background checks being conducted. Although if these checks were done properly after the correct changes (changes along the lines that I have stated above) take place, they would help to keep weapons out of dangerous hands.

Let me grandstand for a moment by saying this: I don’t trust my government, and in this day and age I don’t trust some of my neighbors. I will own a gun! I am old enough to remember the Kent State shootings by the Army National Guard firsthand, and I will not give up “my right” to defend myself and family! And I will not leave my wife at home without an equalizer!

What are citizens willing to do? Are taxpayers willing to spend more money on taxes for changes and enforcement? Or is it cheaper to allow government regulations to kick in? Even if those regulations are at the expense of giving up more of our rights? Yes, losing more rights! Remember September 11th? There now exists an area in the United States where we no longer have our constitutional right of, ‘the freedom of movement. This large area includes a set distance from any US border.

Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US borders.

The government has assumed extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This “Constitution-Free Zone” includes most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

(Are You Living In A Constitution Free Zone? See the interactive map >>)

Once again I ask you, who is willing to do what it will take?

You might start to think that I am beginning to bang on my own drum but there is a beat here, and it is not mine. Rather it is our current social trend, political status quo, intentions without actions and FEAR! Like it or not, this is the beat of the drum.

We all are aware of the political status quo, but are we doing anything about it other than to supplicate and allow the establishment to remain intact. Debates are an important part of this country’s process but when these debates are in the spotlight of the media and sensationalized by the TV networks do, we simply stand appeased? Do we allow ourselves to believe that these are the most important issues, and since it is all so loud and bold that something is (really) being done about it?

As citizens, have our intention become just to want everything to be, ‘as it should be? But don’t tax me!

Has it become this country’s social trend to want more, more, and more? Has the pursuit of happiness run amok? Have people in this country become more afraid (FEAR) of losing their material gains, so drugged by the pleasures of abundance, that they are no longer worried about giving up their right? Liberty? Freedom?

Has fear taught us not to get involved, mind your own business? To be inside before it gets dark, to live in a gated community? Have we become terrorized and willing to lock ourselves in, giving up the right and liberty of freedom that so many have died to preserve for us? HAVE WE BECOME A NATION OF CONTENTED COWARDS? And if something else scary comes along… LOCK ME IN SOME MORE PLEASE!

Once again, I ask you, who is willing to do what it will take?

If we are going to reduce violence, we need to be able to see through the blur of the sensationalism and extremism that has taken place for so long. Was the constitution of the United States drafted in the spirit of proliferating murders, rapists, robbers, liars, cheats?  We need people to remember what the constitution of this country intended, and what it has taken to keep those rights somewhat intact.

Constitutional rights were originally drafted with the intention of protecting citizens from tyranny, from tyrants! Tyrants are by definition bullies, aggressors, criminals!  Our constitution granted citizens who are responsible and in good standings, the specific right to defend themselves from aggressors!

REMOVE THE BLUR! This is so clear to see! The second amendment should not be touched! It should never have been fondled. It should remain intact for all RESPONSIBLE citizens who reserve that right.

Once again, I ask you, who is willing to do what it will take?

Will we continue with the status quo? Or will we become brave enough to become intolerant?

Maybe I am the one who is confused? But why did people occupy Wall Street when it is the government that imposes the tax structure?

Will we retain courage enough to continue to live in freedom rather than lock ourselves down and to lock ourselves in, be in before dark, lock the gate?

Will we remain caring and courageous enough to invest in solutions, invest in our country, and share more of our “gains”? Be rich in some other ways than just materially?

We need to realize that those who have died persevering our freedom. Those who have died defending our country primarily met the aggressors over sea. They fought and died on foreign land, and some still do today! Nevertheless, times have changed! Be it terrorist or tyrants they walk the streets of this country, the war continues and the battle front is in our homeland!

To strip away our own rights as American citizens. To give up our liberties as a defense against aggression is about as useful as thinking that, ‘if I take my clothes off maybe the rapist will not rape me. Stop and think?

We need to think about social, legal and educational reforms. We need to consider changes that strike down the rights of those who are NOT RESPONSIBLE before they strike down innocent victims. We need to teach in our schools and to our children that as citizens we have rights and we have responsibilities.

If we truly care we need to make changes. If we actually want to continue to live the way we have been allowed to live, which is freedom from aggression to the greatest extent. That which others sacrificed their lives to provide for us be it a police officer or a soldier.  Then we as citizen must change and make changes.

Responsible citizens limit the number of children they choose to raise. The US constitution never intended to allow irresponsible citizen to become the oppression of responsible citizens. Why do we have gangs? Why are there places in this country that are unsafe and people unprotected? Not because of a gun but because our social programs and our laws are inept and insufficient. To many people are not being responsible. Sadly we have children born to children, children abandoned by parents (wounded). The wounded young who were abandoned as children have grown up to be abandoned by society as adults.

Is the more affluent of our society being any more responsible than others? Largely the answer is “No” they are not! They are hoarding their millions and their billions (don’t tax me). They are hiding behind security guards, locked gates and off shore banks. This will not suffice for long if Americans remain on their present path.

To me this is about who is willing to do what it will take and a little bit about gun control.

Same-sex Marriage

Oh yee hypocrites, or is that, “oh yo”? Oh well, I say Yeah!

LOL, in a country that has a divorce rate over 60%, that tells me that at least a few of these gay marriage opposition jokers are true blue hypocrites. You know that wedding vow thing that they could not handle. If people of the same sex find love and they commit to it then I would say that they are one up over any divorced church goer who happens to be opposed to them. And if they do end up getting divorced I guess they are like so many others.

And tell me this? How does anyone know for sure that they are having sex? Maybe in some cases it is about spirit? Is someone spying on them? Is someone spying on us? If they are spying on me, I hope they enjoy what they see. Maybe we should all strive to get our brains above our belt lines but what is the fun in that?

Now if we are talking about some of the catholics extremist that are opposed to same sex marriage than the hypocrite thing just gets bigger. Need I say more? Either you have never had sex (hypocrite). Or you say you haven’t… But we have been hearing about what you really have been up to all these years. So please don’t go there.

Bottom line, religious extremists trying to force their beliefs on others yet again. Nothing new, has been going on forever. I find it funny that religious folks around here founded a country not that long ago because they wanted “religious freedom”. You know, so as to get away from the way those folks in Europe were thinking… But “by god” everyone in this country should think the way we do now!

I can better relate to the rednecks that stand opposed to gay marriage based on some twisted idea that someone needs to defend manhood. At least that is straight up. However, guys I hate to get anyone paranoid but you have some hypocrites in your ranks too. That’s right, you have been “checked out” before and it wasn’t your wife.

I take comfort that the Supreme Court is continuing to uphold “individual” rights. You know as in every citizen’s right versus “my religion says”.  As in separation of church and state. Maybe I am just confused but I am pretty damn sure that when any of us leave this world we will not be taking our sex organs with us. So maybe in some cases sex does not deserve all the attention it gets?

Please help endorse the New York State Public Assistance Integrity Act

This proposed legislation would prohibit welfare recipients from using cash assistance to purchase items such as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets and to gamble. I have long been aware that some people were purchasing these types of items but always thought that they were doing it underhandedly rather than legally!

I am not sure which disgusts me more? The fact that this has been allowed to take place to begin with. Or the fact that last year the legislation that was proposed to end it was permitted to die a legislative death. As a person who has worked hard my entire life and has served my country, let me say this: This is the biggest bunch of “expletive, expletive bull expletive” I have ever heard!

Need I say more? Not to other hard working, tax paying individuals because I already know how you feel. But please publicly express your own outrage! Don’t allow this issue to remain quiet. Demand that your local representatives pass a resolution. Why should they be quiet about this? Call out the politicians that are refusing to address this morally incorrect, financially “expletive” fleecing of tax payers money.

I beg anyone to enlighten me on how I may not be understanding the entire picture here? If you need assistance I am willing to see that you receive some comforts. I am willing to buy you a blanket but not beer, cigarettes, lotto tickets and a paid trip to the casino! I can understand how this arrangement is good for recycling government money. When I say government money, what I mean is tax dollars after the politicians get their hands on it. They get their hands on our hard earned money. They then give it to welfare recipients who “responsibly” purchase lottery tickets, booze, tobacco, and head out to the tracks or whatever! Wow, That is what I call symbiosis!

I urge all honest hard working taxpayers to speak out. Please help bring an end to this tax abuse as well as to address the political mindset that is allowing it to remain intact. Or for that matter, to have ever allowed it to occur in the first place.

Being a big mouth

Alligator-Head__248679-320x480About being a big mouth.

I will be the first to declare, argue, dispute or point out that words without actions are worthless! Yup, yes, you know it. Worthless! Be it that the recipient is a close acquaintance, a spouse or a select few we are all guilty of uttering words that we toss out there at times while not being concerned who is really listening. However, those same words presented and shared in a format, setting or place where it might matter are important, very important! Ideas and viewpoints exchanged, deliberated or reiterated can produce public sentiments, raise awareness and they can steer or sway political aims. Ideas and concerns expressed by the average citizen provide the continuum of constitutional rights and it honors those who have died to preserve those rights.

A person who speaks up and out, who expresses their thoughts in a public forum is not just a big mouth, they are an activist and anything they say appropriately is important regardless of who may or may not agree with them. They are braver than the people who sit back and discreetly call them a big mouth. It takes courage to chance that other people might get upset with you after hearing how you feel. It can be intimidating to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper with the risk of typos and grammar that may not be perfectly correct. It takes time and energy to submit something in writing or to attend a meeting…

HOWEVER…

Do we as citizens want all thoughts and ideas of public concern and social direction to come from politicians? Is it safe to sit back and hope that the busy journalist has time to cover all the angles? Is it possible that issues can somehow work themselves out and have an outcome that is acceptable to you?

I encourage you to be a big mouth too!

Over the past thirty years I have not only been a big mouth I have been an activist in a broad range of issues.  It often goes like this… It is a nice day and everything seems to be going nicely and then BAM! Something happens and it affects you! It emotionalizes you! It is important to you! A proposal lands in the news. An employer is running amok. An issue has arisen and you don’t know just how to address it but you would like to.

From my experiences I can offer you this.

If one day you look at yourself and you see someone who “did” instead of someone who “was going to”. You will feel proud that you “had” and you will know it did matter.

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Cannon balls! Another shot fired! Be a big mouth, it matters!

Rails to Trails,

Around here these days it seems there are a couple of different groups heading in different directions on the same railroad track. Think about that for a second! What does that mean? Well if it happened to be two different actual trains than I think it would be easy enough to understand each scenario. One very specific outcome if they are traveling away from each other. If traveling towards each other, total catastrophe.
The question that enters my mind is this. With two groups or at least two opposing objectives wanting to travel the same travel corridor, could a reverse scenario occur? If railroad advocates and alternative use advocates are traveling (striving) to move completely apart or away from each other, could catastrophe be the result?
Personally I believe it is becoming just that, a catastrophe! This issue, the debate along with the prospects, proposals, ideas and re-evaluations have now been taking place for over thirty five years!
I have heard some very good points brought up on each side of this issue. I make no claims that I understanding many of the complexities involved with this issue. But I am concerned that the debate might become so entrenched, on the right and on the left that viable options do not get considered and the corridor wastes away from old age and lack of upkeep. Oh, and let’s not consider the amount of tax dollars already spent.
Unlike real trains these groups or stanch ideals traveling apart could become catastrophic and at a minimum have already been very detrimental. Why detrimental? Because at odds and in opposition they are stalemating progress of what can be good viable economic ventures for the local communities, the Adirondack region and the State of New York.
Is all or nothing the right approach? I have heard some say remove the rails so snowmobilers can have better use in the winter time. I have heard the proposal for rail freight and rail passenger service to be restored along the entire corridor. I have heard the continuing push for scenic rail service. I believe it is time to nail something down! I will be posting my thoughts on my Blog at WWW.communitycrossfire.wordpress.com since I don’t believe most newspapers can allow sufficient space in their letters to the Editors sections to cover these types of issues. I am sure Rail yuppies are not going to like some of what I have to say but the other camps may not either. I applaud and encourage ideas and activism on any side of the fence. These days I am pretty sure public activism it’s about the only way to make most government types get anything done. But remember if the public is too evenly divided the politicians will sit safely on the fence.

*Below you will find the continuation of the above letter that was submitted to local news Editors.

This issue has been going on for so long that some of my thoughts and suggestions may have already been hashed around a few times. However before I put forth my suggestions, I would like to share my viewpoints on the Scenic Rail use that has transpired for the past decade between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. I am sure Rail yuppies are not going to like what I have to say but I have paid rather close attention to this ongoing issue that affects me as an area resident, not to mention as a tax payer.

Since the Lake Placid train station is less than a mile from my home and is located on a route that I commute on frequently, my eyes have observed their operations for a while now. I understand that any business or new venture requires some time to establish themselves.

At first, I thought ok they are getting started and you have got to start somewhere. I thought that in time they would advance and the old heavily painted equipment would be replaced with something more appealing than some nasty old diesel engine and beat down passenger cars. Grant you the passenger cars are partly green in color and that helps. I am not an individual who in too many ways meets the definition of one who is environmentally over sensitive. But I do need to admit that the sight of that multi-ton diesel engine has always rubbed me wrong. And I do not find the passenger cars much more appealing.

It could just be me; maybe I am stuck on the images and replicas that I have seen that depict the height of Adirondack Rail history at a time when the rails reached all parts of the region and they were powered by steam engines with characteristic coach cars. I grant you that for a time rail freight service along with some passenger service had its place before it died and its diesel fumes were no longer prevalent. Regardless, to me that none nostalgic, diesel burning humongous hunk of metal simply does not fit in with this region’s mostly clean surroundings and resources.

Over my lifetime of living here in Lake Placid I have been annoyed on occasions by a neighbor’s dog barking or a loud party taking place. On holidays or during events the blissful solitude of the valley changes tone to a prominent of fireworks or to music reverberating above the normal tranquility. But never in a million years did I think that I would have to be subjected to the traumatizing horn blaring that I assume the train must produce before it crosses a roadway. All freaking summer long! It fills the valley! I cannot imagine that anyone in the greater Lake Placid area is beyond reach of its repugnant bellows. And there is nothing about that sound that in any way fits in with the serene and mostly quiet setting of this area.

Are there any intentions to introduce Scenic Rail excursions on a more environmentally sound and less industrial orientation or depiction? Do we really need to spend a vast amount of money on railroad tracks, road crossings and bridges that need to handle 100 tons of weight to carry one ton of passengers? Maybe something solar powered and the size of trolley cars? There are numerous choices and options in the types of vehicles or equipment that could ferry passengers along this corridor.

Ok, let me think about this from a business point of view because the rest is just tax dollars. I endeavor for ten years and I have enough ridership to cover the cost of fuel and a couple of other things. I need to project like any reasonable business plan or person should. My infrastructure is aging and after ten years of marketing and operations my ridership remains rather flat. I do create some economic stimulus but with the reasonable projection of the future cost of maintaining a full scale train operation, what is my economic stimulus to tax dollar ratio?

I have to admit that for the decade I was in business I never had to think about tax dollars in my business plan. But there really is a basic rule of thumb that usually applies in roughly all cases of business startups. If you didn’t thrive in at least one of your first five, you won’t survive! Please keep in mind I am referring only to the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake operation and I have never had a look at their books, only figures that I have seen batted around in write ups.

Let’s admit one thing if nothing else, trains are still traveling thousands of miles of tracks all across the United State every day. Most are slightly newer than that thing that is dragging a few passengers back and forth between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake a couple of months out of the year. Where is the nostalgia in this? After having a ten year shot at providing appropriate and economical scenic rail service on this section of the corridor I strongly feel they have failed and it is time for some other attempt.

Here again maybe this is just me but it seems that it would make the most sense to focus on a conversation of the current corridor starting on what I would consider to be the disconnected end. Literally the end of the line… The end that will never continue on past Lake Placid. The end that is central to a region famous for recreation. The end disconnected from the other end by extensive and expensive needed repairs.

Let’s begin in segments, but let’s BEGIN rather than sit and spin! I am all for Scenic Rail excursions or some form of mechanized service for those who prefer that method of interaction with this beautiful corridor. I would love to see a compatible and shared use that connects Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake together at one end and provides a means that could suit most everyone’s needs or desires. A section of the corridor that is traveled by trolley, snowmobile, bicycle, on foot, on horseback, on skis, on and on… I feel certain that this could be achieved if no one party is overly greedy or domineering.

Let me think? More interests severed, more funding available, more economic stimulus garnered? Or is that just me again?
At the other end… The Corridor is capable of connecting to other tracks, to larger populations. It is the section that has the potential to entice people to utilize it as a means in many ways to come to the Tri-Lakes end. Is that kind of a “natural” or is that just me yet again?