Thursday, April 25, 2013


I am the NRA's favorite man. I am the man they will excitedly point their fingers at, jump up and down, get red in the face, and piss their collective pants. And they will smile, because their favorite man has made their case for them.

Here's my 10 point plan that makes me the NRA's favorite man:

1. I want the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution repealed because it is worthless and causes more trouble than good. Short of repealing the Second Amendment, I want it amended. My proposed amended text is in a previous post, here.

2. I want the U.S. government to collect all of the military-style semi- or fully automatic weapons presently owned by non-military persons. The government can buy them back from the present owners, but it will be compulsory. The Australian government has done this twice, and the results very clearly reduced gun violence and death.

3. All military-style weapons, like the infamous AR-15, will be illegal to own unless you have specific permission from the government because of your need as a military, police or security officer. And possession of such a weapon will be strictly regulated and controlled.

3. I want a federal system of gun registration for all privately owned guns - any and all kinds. Yes, a registry of who owns what weapons. Part of an owner's responsibility is to immediately report the theft of any weapon, and there will be a stiff penalty for not doing so.

4. Gun ownership will be allowed only after a prospective owner passes a background check, a written test, goes through training for safe use and storage of the weapon, and passes a shooting test. Think driving license.

5. Gun owners will be required to have insurance that covers accidental injury and death by their gun to themselves and others.

6. Gun owners will be held legally responsible for shooting accidents that occur with the owner's weapon.

7. Ammunition magazines for all non-military weapons will be limited to a 10 bullet capacity.

8. Gun manufacturers will be required to design safety features for all guns sold in the United States that will minimize or prevent accidents. (There is no reason why a 3-year old should be able to fire a gun he or she picks up.)

9. All of the above, where applicable, applies to handguns.

10. People will be allowed to own guns (yes, they will have a "right" to own guns) in compliance with 1 through 9, above.

This 10-point plan is not meant to prevent people from owning guns. I have no problems with guns used for hunting or target shooting. If people feel that they need a gun for self protection, fine; follow the 10-point plan.

My 10-point plan is very rational and reasonable. The present situation of guns in America is neither rational nor reasonable.

My 10-point plan is exactly what the NRA uses to get people all riled up about the government taking away our rights. This is why I am the NRA's favorite man.

To the NRA I say: "Bullshit! I'm calling you out, suckers! My goal is to protect human lives; your goal is to deal out death under the guise of freedom. I'll win this one."


Monday, April 08, 2013


For many, probably most Jewish families alive today, there are branches in the family tree that end suddenly in the late 1930's - early 1940's. My family is no exception. Here are two images from the family tree my Uncle Louie did many years ago (it is not up to date).

The red arrow points to the Tevyansky family; all 5 were killed by the Nazis in about 1942. Chaike Fishman, the mother of this family of 5, was my grandfather Isadore's sister. 

I'm in this snapshot of the family tree. I never had a chance to meet these relatives; they were murdered before I was born. Find my name in the second image. I know almost everyone in the column that has my name, and I knew everyone in the column to the left, my parent's generation - everyone except my father's cousins: Zloty, Sorreh and Masheh Tevyansky. 

Also notice that above my father's name, Morris Fishman, are the names of 6 siblings who all died in about 1942 (ABT1942). These were also my father's cousins: Raisel, Yossel, Yentl, Schloime, Osher and Herschel Pollack. 

They were all victims of the Holocaust. 

We Jews remember these victims today because we should never forget them. 

Everyone should take time today - and every day - to remember all victims of genocide. We should remember them as a way of honoring their lives, and their deaths. We should remember them because this evil was carried out by human beings, and we are all human beings. This dark side of our biology has to be controlled and eventually eradicated if we have any hope of peace and justice for the humans on this tiny planet. 

Thanks for reading this.

Saturday, April 06, 2013


"What's on your mind?" 

Well, as many people are reminding me, thanks to facebook, it is my 23rd (X3) birthday. And I want to thank facebook for helping all of my fb friends remember this historic day. 

So what does a birthday mean, anyway? 

Well, I'm still wearing the same suit I was wearing when I was born; although next time I think I'll request permanent press. 

I have a lot on my mind, except for hair, which seems to have abandoned ship (and it must think that my ears and nose are lifeboats). 

It has become more difficult to spring out of bed at 6 AM.

I now have at least 5 doctors with whom I spend wonderful times talking about various biological systems that are getting close to warranty (and, yes, maybe the extended warranties would have been a good investment). 

But - on the other hand - 

I still live with my best friend and love going on 48 years.

We know two amazing middle-age men who also happen to be our loving sons.

We have two beautiful young women whom we call daughters.

Grandkids - what happened? Tall Boy is in San Diego right now checking out one of the universities that accepted his application for this fall. One of the 14-year-olds has been asleep in our guest room since we picked him up at a dance last night. He and the other 14-year old dude will be high school students in the fall (and how did they get to be my height already?). And then there is a certain 12-year old going on 17 young woman who continually boggles my mind with her wit, smarts and looks. 

What happened to all of our babies??? 

I'm still retiring every year, which means that I'm still in the game and getting to exercise what's left of my brain. 

My repaired shoulder is at the point where I'll be back in the kayak very soon. And I'm hoping the other shoulder makes it.

The Zap 3-wheel, 6 battery UEV is still on the road.

I have so many wonderful friends and relatives, whose names I actually still remember!

And so, on this very rainy April 6th, as I sip my coffee and tap on the computer keyboard, I can say that I very much enjoy this day of birth celebration. 

And finally, I want to thank my mom and dad, Florence and Morrie, without whom none of this would have happened. 

Getting old is a grey area. 
Man of the Fish

Thursday, April 04, 2013


I attended a rally today in Salem, Oregon, on the front steps of the state Capitol. My guess is that there were 150 or more people there to support gun control legislation, and maybe another dozen or so demonstrating against gun control. The Oregon Senate will hold hearings, starting tomorrow, on proposed new legislation of guns. The proposed laws would:

  • Ban guns in primary and secondary schools, eliminating a law that allows people with concealed-handgun licenses to carry weapons in schools. Local school boards would be able to opt out and continue the existing policy.
  • Prohibit openly carrying a weapon in public buildings, including the state Capitol. Gun owners with concealed-handgun licenses could continue to carry firearms if they're hidden from view.
  • Require background checks on gun sales and transfers, except between family members. Oregon already requires background checks on private sales at gun shows.
  • Require a shooting test to obtain a concealed-handgun license.
In my opinion, these proposals are common sense and a beginning, not an end. Other proposed legislation that would have banned assault-type weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips were too contentious and has been dropped. 

Several Oregon legislators spoke at the rally (above). These Senators and Representatives are firm supporters of gun control, and have been on the front line of the often acrimonial public discourse about this issue. They have received nasty and often threatening emails for their efforts. 

My sense is that the majority of Oregonians, including gun owners, will support these proposed regulations of firearms. I think people are tired of the killings, and not just the widely publicized mass shootings like Newtown and Aurora. Most of us see gun control as a set of common sense rules that will not take away people's right to own a gun, but address serious public health issues - death and injury by gun. 

The opponents of gun control who were at the rally are afraid that government will take away their guns and then do bad things to us. The above placard likens Oregon Senator Ginny Burdick, one of our most outspoken and persistent elected officials, as well as national leaders,  to Adolf Hitler. Really? And I did mention to this particular man that tyrants love armed militias - that work for them. 

It was good to see many more supporters of gun control today than opponents. I firmly believe that reasonable people can come to agreement about the basic issues here, and get behind common-sense rules about guns and gun ownership. What is truly needed in this country is a cultural shift away from fear of government towards protecting the public. This is possibly; it will take a lot of hard work and time.