Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Orlando, Guns And Friends

Photo: candlelight vigil held on the dock in Cherry Grove in remembrance of the Orlando shooting victims

After the Orlando shootings one of my friends, a man who is also a toy train hobbyist, began posting a series of comments on Facebook defending gun ownership including the right to purchase assault style weapons. He is a Libertarian. Libertarians tend to be tolerant on social issues but conservative on economic issues. I knew of his Libertarian views including his gun rights advocacy, but our friendship continued as we focused largely on our toy train hobby. But his recent Facebook posts on gun rights immediately after Orlando were insensitive at best, and they were the last straw for me. I don't want people with those views in my life. I oppose virtually all private gun ownership. The Second Amendment is an anachronism and should be repealed. I unfriended this person on Facebook and I wrote him to tell him why I could no longer continue being close friends with him:

In the face of so much death and suffering I do not have the luxury of agreeing to disagree about guns. Each of us must determine whom we want in our lives. Shared values are a major factor for me in making that determination. Libertarianism, Randian or otherwise, Republican "light," is an ethically bankrupt, debunked fringe ideology of which unfettered gun rights is just one unacceptable tenet. I regret that I cannot in good conscience acquiesce to your personal libertarian values. I am very disappointed that our ideological differences make it impossible for us to continue as good friends. But I cannot and will not paper over such important deeply held views.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Sick Society

We once again mourn our innocent murdered dead. Our president has had to go before the cameras 15 times during his two terms in office to address the nation in the wake of mass gun violence. We have a major political party candidate who has demonized an entire ethnic groups, Mexicans, and the Muslim religion. Republicans block the nomination of a moderate Supreme Court nominee because he is not a right wing fanatic as was the justice Scalia. Republican controlled legislatures are passing laws taking away women's rights to control their own bodies and laws allowing anti-gay discrimination based on religious beliefs. Republicans block sensible gun control legislation even in the face of serial mass murders. Christian religious fanatics publicly demonize queer people. Billionaires control our political system and own our politicians. Our national infrastructure is crumbling, wealth inequality has progressed to obscene levels, and the populace appears to be more and more dumbed down as education falters. The list of symptoms of our sick society goes on and on. If we are to have any hope of escaping the decline and fall of our country, each of us must stand up for justice and forcibly oppose by name those who are corrupting our homeland: racists; homophobic people; xenophobes; Christian evangelicals; Republicans; political conservatives; Catholic popes, bishops and their church; and gun rights fanatics. These are among the worst offenders who are guilty of un-American behavior that is destroying our country. The rest of the world is watching and wondering. What will be our fate?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cherry Grove's Antique Fire Gong: A Steam Locomotive Driver Tire?

This photo taken by my good friend Carole shows her husband Pete and me standing with what is believed to be a gong that was sounded as a fire alarm years ago in Cherry Grove. It was unearthed recently by homeowners working in their garden. I believe that the gong is actually a steel tire that was fitted to locomotive driving wheels back in the age of steam.