I think anyone who owns a gun ought to be required to do a six week military boot camp, adapted to their physical abilities, but mentally and physically challenging in every way. Anyone who drops out, gets kicked out for anger issues, being a racist asshole, whatever... sorry, no gun license and three years before you can try again.
In addition gun owners would be required to do six weeks of national service every other year, not necessarily related to military or police types of duty, but working closely with a diverse sampling of the entire U.S. population -- white, black, young, old, immigrant, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, wealthy, poor, urban, rural, LBGT, etc. These gun owners would also be on call for military service at all times.
Licensing requirements for a very limited variety of hunting rifles and shotguns would not be so strict, but still require training and exams, rather like a driver's license.
Possessing a gun without a license would result in a mandatory one year prison sentence.
I was raised to "Question Authority," even to push back and disrupt it whenever it became abusive, or to flee if the fight became hopeless.
That's probably why most of my ancestors came to the United States and why they often ran into the wilderness just as soon as their feet touched the ground. Most of them didn't leave any official records of their arrival. Entire crews abandoned ship in San Francisco, for example, and many of those ships are still there buried beneath the city.
The most interesting thing to me is how religion played a part in it. Claims of human authority could be canceled out of any moral equation by direct appeal to God.
The authorities are telling me one thing, God is telling me another. I think I'll go with God here...
Mostly that worked pretty well as this God is the "love your neighbor, don't kill him or steal his stuff," sort of God, with all those rules superseded by the "you're not somebody else's stuff, you belong to God" sort of God.
Wives and children are not the property of their husbands, workers are not the property of their bosses, and slavery is evil.
One of my ancestors escaped authoritarian Europe as a mail order bride. Unfortunately she ended up in Salt Lake City as one of multiple wives. The Mormons were convinced that polygamy was okay with God, but she was not. So she ran away with a U.S. government surveyor and established a wilderness homestead.
Certainly it may have been God telling her to do that, a conflict with her own religious beliefs, but more immediately she didn't like sharing a husband with other women in a patriarchal authoritarian society. Running off with the dashing young explorer must have seemed a wonderfully romantic and exciting thing to do. It's unknown if their first kid was the offspring of temporary Mormon husband or her forever husband, and it doesn't matter.
One of the hallmarks of authoritarianism is some rather twisted beliefs about punishment. Authoritarians train their children to accept punishment, and they use punishment as a tool to enforce conformity to their authoritarian social structures. Some children rebel and escape these structures, but many grow up to become authoritarians themselves.
My own childhood was more of an anarchy than anything else. Neither punishment nor reward were used as tools of behavior modification. I don't respond to either. Every day was full of random shit and random reward, true hunter gatherer style.
Some days you get the sweet berries and salmon, some days the bears chase you away. I probably would have benefited from a little more family social structure, two of my siblings ran off when they were sixteen because there was just too much chaos in the household, but I do know that an authoritarian household would have likely destroyed me or set me loose on the world as a fifteen year old street kid. (My own runaway siblings got good jobs and found neat, very quiet places to live. How boring!)
Part of any family culture is genetic and the family culture adapts to the genetics.But I also think there are some authoritarian family cultures that are malignant and abusive and passed on from generation to generation.
...I think before I went into outer space I'd want a body adapted to space travel.
I'd be tolerant of vacuum, temperature and radiation extremes, and photosynthetic too so I could soak up calories from sunshine. In short, I'd be tough enough to run around naked on the surface of Mars.
If the human race or our intellectual progeny survive (doubtful) they'll probably look at our visions of human space colonies and chemical rockets the same way we look at Jules Verne's moon travel by giant gun.
If there's any future for intelligent life from Earth it belongs to our machines; machines that will quite a bit more intelligent than we are.
Humans, if we are lucky, will be living as hunter-gathers with built-in internet connections and medical kits. Telepathic communication will be a reality and people will live as long as they want to. Then they will delete themselves or upload edited versions of themselves as artificial intelligences. As artificial intelligences, smaller than grains of sand, they will occupy any sort of body they can create, and they'll be able to travel anywhere they please within the boundaries of known physics.
The universe is probably full of such entities already. It's a giant celebration that never ends, a place some primitives would label "heaven."
Occasionally someone who is still human will want to travel in space, and they will, but only as the ward of their intellectual children. Want to bounce around on the moon in a human body wrapped up in a spacesuit, just like Neil Armstrong? Sure, we can arrange that. But seriously, spearing a salmon for dinner in some Northwestern American stream, or taking your dogs for a walk on a beach, that's a lot of fun too.
People who have money and cancers that are not really treatable get inappropriate medical care and die in very ugly and expensive ways, while people who have cancers that are treatable but have no money die because their cancers are not caught early or they can't afford appropriate treatment.
We desperately need a national health care system that is blind to wealth and gives appropriate and effective medical care to anyone who suffers the misfortune of needing it.
Profile InformationName: Hunter
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
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About hunterI'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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