Guns, Guns, The Musical Fruit

Guns, guns, the musical fruit
The more you buy, the more you shoot
The more you shoot, the better you feel
So eat more guns at every meal


Illustration by Hong Ool
Used via Creative Commons license

I’m a self-described “not a poet”. The lines above came to mind as I read a blog entry by my online acquaintance and photographer extraordinaire Richard R. Barron. He has incendiary things to say, which I encourage you to read before you continue with this entry. I agree with some, and strongly disagree with others.

I will quote several passages from his entry and respond to them below.

“I think it’s a mistake to divorce guns and gun violence from their inherent sexuality.”

– photo caption

I think it’s a mistake to divorce many of the U.S.’s problems from the country’s repressed sexuality. Nearly half our country thinks it’s a sin to masturbate, leaving us with an incredible number of half-cocked (pun intended) young men wandering around with plenty of access to guns.

“As mass shootings in the United States accumulate, the media and social media pile on with the shallow, temporary solutions… They all miss the point.”

– Richard R. Barron

Most of them are parroting phrases they’ve heard from politicians and activists. Most of the “solutions” aren’t solutions at all — only distractions from the primary issue, which is the sheer abundance of killing machines in our country. (I don’t own any, but my neighbor owns enough for a few dozen people and almost none of them are locked up.)

“In many respects, America is a terrible place. It is so shallow and so self-absorbed and so arrogant. How can you elect a turd like Donald Trump without being a nation of morons?”

– Richard R. Barron

Despite the oft-ignored fact that we actually voted for Hillary Clinton — by a few million votes — there should have NEVER been enough votes ANYWHERE to give Trump an Electoral College edge. This is a disgrace. If you voted for the tantrum-throwing dotard — or sat it out or voted third-party — you are to blame.

“Nothing matters more to Americans than money. Nothing. Not children, not the environment, not art, not science. Money.”

– Richard R. Barron

Note he didn’t say ALL Americans. Americans as a group. And he’s right. If we as a nation valued anything more than money, we wouldn’t spend most of our federal budget on enriching military contractors while actual soldiers and veterans starve, go without medical care, and/or kill themselves. We would be asking: “What can we do to improve education?” instead of “Look at how much we spend on education.” We would be actively combating climate change instead of whining about how doing so might “cripple the economy”.

“Most of the pornography used by Americans is vulgar, demeaning and and violent toward women.”

– Richard R. Barron

I don’t like “vulgar” because of its classist roots — it was invented by upper class people to refer to us regular people. Also, I don’t think porn is related to the subject — except as an example of how the U.S. isn’t as awesome as most people think. Much of life in general is demeaning and violent toward women.

“My wife is an NRA member… but their rhetoric brings her shame.”

– Richard R. Barron

The NRA’s “rhetoric” is exactly what they believe, and what you pay for if you’re a member. It is a one-point group that exists for no other reason than “shall not be infringed”. If you believe your right to own a gun is more important than the personal safety of others, then the NRA is for you. If you don’t believe that, then get out.

Forty years ago (and before), the NRA was about gun safety, marksmanship, hunting, and conservation, but they changed in the late 1970s. (They sat quietly in the 1960s as Ronald Reagan enacted gun control laws in California — because scary black men were carrying guns.) Since the late 1970s switchover, the NRA has opposed every gun control measure. The new executive vice president came with this clarion call: “No compromise. No gun legislation.” They asked for machine guns regulations to be rolled back. Wayne LaPierre joined the crew in 1978 and took over in 1991. A few years later, lifelong NRA member George H.W. Bush resigned his membership — and every other reasonable person should have too.

All of this has been well-known for decades. There is no excuse.

“To hear some gun nuts talk about guns ‘saving lives’ misses an entire category of reality: you can’t save lives by taking them.”

– Richard R. Barron

Indeed. It is a killing machine, pure and simple. You can’t use a gun to repair a light fixture or cook a meal (both of which I’ve used a knife for). You can’t use a gun to create, build, design, or edify anything. It can only destroy.

“The love of food. Fat bodies equal empty souls. You wouldn’t eat yourself into a diabetic coma 21 times a week if you had a purpose or a soul.”

– Richard R. Barron

1. I’m always surprised when fellow atheists use the word “soul”. Show me evidence for souls existing. 2. Also: Nope. My purpose in life is self-determined and unrelated to whether I’m fat.

“The naive idolization of powerful figures like firefighters and soldiers. Here’s a fact you might not like: some soldiers aren’t heroes; they’re bloodthirsty douchebags who can’t wait to kill brown foreigners or political enemies… America… we’re gonna free the shit out of you.”

– Richard R. Barron

I never fell for the “soldiers fight for our freedoms” nonsense. No they don’t. Most of them signed up as teenagers when their brains weren’t fully formed, after a lifetime of indoctrination that soldiering is honorable or glorious. Your opinion does not matter more because you are or were in the military.

(I advocate for better treatment of our veterans as well as for the men and women we put in harm’s way. I am very fond of the idea that only leaders who call for war should fight in wars.)

“Hollywood. One example: our society spent $9 billion to watch nine movies with the word ‘Wars’ in the title of all of them. The deaths in these movies were mostly bloodless and faceless, and were viewed mostly by children. Video games. Their violence doesn’t desensitize us to death. It sanitizes and whitewashes death. When was the last time you saw a soldier in Afghanistan respawn five seconds after he was killed?”

– Richard R. Barron

I don’t know Richard well enough to know whether he’s blaming real-world violence on violence in movies or video games. It sounds like it, because otherwise what’s the point of these lines? It’s a mistake.

The world is far less violent today than it ever was. Once-common atrocities like genocide and infanticide are now nearly universally condemned. Once-strange concepts like individual human rights are now the order of the day. In the early days of movies, the violence depicted on screen was far outweighed by violence in real life. Today, the opposite is true.

Violence in modern movies almost always falls into three categories: historical (“Dunkirk”), sci-fi/fantasy (“Star Wars”, “Justice League”, etc.), or localized (films that depict local, individual incidents of violence, such as a specific occurrence of rape, murder, or bullying). Two are loosely based in reality, and depictions have grown grittier and bloodier over time. In most of us, the scenes provoke visceral reactions: revulsion and moral outrage. The other category (sci-fi/fantasy) is as Richard said: “bloodless and faceless”, such as when a star cruiser explodes — you KNOW hundreds of human beings died, but don’t actually see the human effects. I think this is a reflection of the movie-makers wanting the PG-13 rating to increase audience potential and has little real-world effect.

If movies and video games are more violent than they once were, we know it’s not causing an increase in violence, because violence in the real world has decreased over time.

“If guns make people safer, why can’t civilians carry them in the White House? The Capital? Public schools? City Hall?”

– Richard R. Barron

Because guns don’t make people safer. It is the absolute reduction in weapons that makes these buildings among the safest in the world. They become intrinsically less safe with every gun that shows up. The powers that be know this. The rest of us are taking way too long to figure it out.

Every “civilian” with a gun is an unbadged, untrained, unacknowledged arbiter of justice. Each can only enforce the laws in their own minds. It’s anarchy. It’s you-or-me. It’s kill or be killed. Leave your gun at home. (Take it to the range, or hunt if you think you need to, but…) I don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Shelly sitting around me in a restaurant to be armed. It does NOT make me safer. I am NOT safer in the supermarket because you brought your pistol in your purse. You are just as likely to shoot me accidentally as you are to shoot a criminal.

“I was armed the last time you saw me (when it was legal to do so.) Was I violent? Did I empty my 9mm into that rude waitress? That bully in junior high? The dickhead kid who cut me off in traffic?”

– Richard R. Barron

I hope not. But you marginally increased the statistical chances of those things happening. It is indisputable that if you left your gun at home you could NOT use it for violence, and that you specifically allowed those choices when you brought it with you.

“Also, there is no rhetoric as ridiculous as the argument that guns are a ‘god-given right’. Show me the Bible verse.”

– Richard R. Barron

No rights are god-given. There are no gods. I don’t care whether it’s in your holy book or not, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Church Of The Golden Trumpian. Your god is a sham. And your gun makes our world more dangerous.

“As much as everyone loves to hate mass shooters, every one of them was once an innocent child who deserved a chance to be happy. Every one of them a baby, a toddler, a four-year-old. Consider how much more could be accomplished by loving them when they are four instead of hating them when they are 19.”

– Richard R. Barron

This was my favorite passage in the entire blog entry. Right now, there’s a child somewhere who will be a mass shooter in 15 or 20 or 40 years. Right now. He’s riding the bike on your street, or playing at the playground you zip past on the way home, or sitting in your living room watching “Ninjago”.

“As a classic liberal, the narrative you might expect from me is the ‘no one needs an assault rifle’ tome, but that doesn’t address the real problems: emptiness, neediness, shallowness, unoriginality, ignorance, ugliness …and bigotry, which you can’t have without self-loathing. No bigot loves life. There are no happy bigots.”

– Richard R. Barron

(I think he meant “trope”, not “tome”.)

As a progressive liberal, you CAN expect from me that “no one needs an assault rifle”. Or a 17-round mag for your semi-auto handgun. Fuck, almost no one today needs a hunting rifle or shotgun for that matter. The preponderance of guns increases the likelihood of getting shot by guns. It might not address the “real problems” Richard listed, but it DOES address the very real problem that almost everyone can easily get a firearm in our country.

“But hunting is a family tradition.” Fuck you. Whipping children used to be a family tradition, but now we know it causes irreversible psychological harm and helps nothing. Stalking fellow mammals (or other critters) with an aim to end their lives so you can put antlers on your wall is absurd. If you’re starving and can’t find a soup kitchen, by all means trap or hunt for your next meal, but recognize that 99.999% of the world manages to eat without hunting.

If YOU snap tomorrow and decide to go on a killing spree, I don’t want your options to include weapons suited for war. I want your options to be very limited to, say, kitchen implements or garden tools. Come at me with a rake, and I will defend myself with a shovel. See how that’s better than a 19-year-old walking into Academy or Bass Pro and walking out with an AR-15?

Those other problems are very real, yes, and should be addressed. We can work on more than one problem at a time. Gun ubiquity is a real problem. Let’s work on it.

“I hate to say this about my home, but we are a nation of fundamentalist idiots who believe in violence; violent entertainment, violent sexuality, violent hearts and minds.”

– Richard R. Barron

Fortunately, the first part isn’t true. “Fundamentalists” comprise a smaller percentage of our nation than the GOP would have us think. But yes, any person who believes the Bible must also believe in violence — the book is based on it, filled with it, and culminates in the ultimate violence: the genocide of most of the human race (anyone who disagrees) and the destruction of much of the universe.

While I’d like to see less violence all around, I don’t think most people are basically violent today. We beat our children less than we used to. We own fewer slaves than we used to. We abuse our spouses less than we once did. We send smaller proportions of our population to war than we did a century ago. Most people today — even those who enjoy violence depicted in movies or games — aren’t engaging in actual violence in their day-to-day lives.

“The next time you thumb-type ‘we should lock him up and throw away the key’ needs to be the last time.”

– Richard R. Barron

I’d like to never see that phrase again. We need to (1) stop advocating penalties for unconvicted defendants, and (2) reform our justice system to match the advanced nations of Europe — if not improve upon them. We also need to dismantle the school-to-prison pipelines that keep our prison system crammed full of potential free citizens, and stop arresting people for ingesting things that make them feel better.

“We truly do believe absurdities and commit atrocities.”

– Richard R. Barron, paraphrasing Voltaire

Again, it is a matter of fact that we commit fewer atrocities than we used to — both as a species and as a nation. But we can improve further. As for the absurdities, fortunately, I think we’re believing fewer of those too. Again, we have a lot of room for improvement.

In my ideal fantasy world, cities like mine would have more libraries than churches, more beds in the homeless shelter than in the county jail, larger parking lots at the city parks than at the city’s hospital, more solar-powered houses than SUVs, more hands-on community projects than private intoxication parties, and so on.

In The End

His blog entry was all over the place; I got the impression it was written as a stream-of-consciousness spurt rather than a carefully crafted argument. Good! Get it all out. Write it down. Tell us what you really think.

Come at me (or Richard) with your words, your thoughts, your informed reasoning. Leave your guns at home — this isn’t a contest of bullet holes, but rather of information and rationality.

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31 thoughts on “Guns, Guns, The Musical Fruit

  1. Well written and I agree with you. One thing I would add is that the NRA is not about its members anymore. It now is totally a lobbying organization for gun manufacturers. The bulk of its money comes from the manufacturers of guns. They sponsor a NRA TV with shows designed to get people to buy more guns. It really is stupid the shows on it, but it is all about getting more gun sales. John Oliver did a great piece on it on his show If you don’t get HBO try to see if YouTube has it. So the NRA can not have any reasonable controls on guns, but instead must push fear and the need to have more and more guns everywhere, because that is what they are for. To increase gun sales. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    1. True enough in a sense. But they get *some* of their clout from their members. People who refuse to end their membership for one reason or another. Some of them, I assume, are fully on-board with the NRA’s stances. Others, like the person mentioned in my entry, apparently *don’t* agree with the mission of the NRA. Those people need to quit, I think. I certainly would quit any organization that (1) helped me in no way, and (2) disagreed with me at every turn.

      But yes, I should have added it. Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Part of why it took me a while to respond was the s.o.c. writing. I’m unaccustomed to it, though I recall having an assignment to write that way in high school English class.

      Like

  2. Anderson, you make some excellent points (as did Richard). Now I almost want to do a similar line-by-line response on my own blog. Unfortunately, I’ve got plenty of household chores to attend to. And now that spring is in full force, I’ve got a bunch of weeds to pull. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You said a LOT in this post … and it was all good. Unfortunately, those of us who would like to put people before guns are in the minority. Hopefully one day that will change.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It should be noted that it’s neither fair nor true that civilian gun owners or those who carry are “untrained.” I’ve had some training, and would love to get more. The best training puts safety and the law first.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Richard. To your point of civilian training, it simply doesn’t mean that the person will act in a calm, cool, collected , safe manner when confronted with a bad situation and their adrenalin flowing heavily. Most people simply have not the training nor the background to properly judge and handle these situations and when they do get involved they make matters much worse. I posted the story on my blog about the woman who was concealed carrying her firearm in her purse outside a home depot when she seen seen store personnel chasing a shoplifter. She decided to help by pulling her weapon and shooting several cars and nearly taking out a couple of nearby police officers. She was really pissed when arrested making the statement that she sure wouldn’t try to help some people ever again. This sort of civilian assistance happens far more than most people think. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Scottie. Two points. 1: When faced with a life-or-death situation, even 30-year veteran police can lock up, piss their pants, miss the target and hit something else, kill someone by mistake, or even let loose a rage they never knew they had. Read: Ferguson. 2: It’s never moral or legal to defend property with deadly force, and one tenant of good training is to understand that.

        Trust me when I say that Abby and I are the kind of people who you WANT carrying. We hope with all our hearts that we never once have to use our sidearms. We also hope that in defense of ourselves or other human lives, we can rise to that occasion with wisdom and restraint, and that is another critical tenant of training.

        Also, though I am not an NRA member, my wife is, and remains so for the time being with the hope that they will find a better path. It may be necessary soon for that to change.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. “When faced with a life-or-death situation, even 30-year veteran police can lock up, piss their pants, miss the target and hit something else, kill someone by mistake, or even let loose a rage they never knew they had.”

          And this is exactly why I don’t think civilians should be running around with guns. I read recently that a study of NYC police officers showed they hit their targets 20% of the time (maybe 22? maybe 18? — it was LOW) when firing while on duty. In the country, those 80% that miss can probably be expected to land in ponds, trees, empty fields, etc. In the city or suburbs, those 80% are embedding in people’s houses, businesses, cars — or even in bystanders.

          “Abby and I are the kind of people who you WANT carrying.”

          Based on what I know of you from online interaction, you seem calmer, smarter, and more careful than most LEOs I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a form or test that will show this. So my Coors Light guzzling, tobacco-chewing neighbor gets to carry the same as you do, and in the same places.

          I hope, for your sake and his, that if you’re ever in a situation where one or both of you feel it’s necessary to draw your weapon, that both of you will instantly ID the other as a “good guy” with a gun.

          But no, I don’t want anyone carrying. (Yes, I’d eventually like to see our police do away with their weapons as well, but civilians are going to have to lay them down first.)

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Anderson you wouldn’t believe the stupid mistakes I have seen on the training range and even when doing drills with nonlethal modified weapons designed for training. I have seen people forget and turn around faceing everyone with their weapon out and pointed into the rest of us during shooting. I seen one guy forget the drill and instead of moving together simply thought the fire was done and walked out in front of the rest of us to check his target. Thankfully our training and our safety officers kept anyone from getting shot. I also want to share something most people don’t think of. I have seen officers go to the bathroom, remove their weapons belt, and hang it on the door hook. And forget it there. Either someone sees them after and asks them where it is , or can’t get them on the radio and do a call and search for them to see if they are OK. Imagine a teacher in the same situation, who walks in to the bathroom after they are done and leave, and finds the gun belt or weapon? Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Hello Richard. I do not know you or Abby so I wont make any assertions or judgements to your abilities or character. However I would like to share with you my own background, that I shared with someone else today on the subject of carrying guns.

          I was in two branches of the military, I was then trained as a civilian by the Green Mountain sheriff’s department to be a reserve deputy / private detective , and worked as armed security at a nuclear Plant. I carried a gun for a living for a long part of my working life.

          I am not the man I was. I am not as steady, as in shape, as sharpe of eye as I was in my 20’s and 30’s. I wouldn’t even trust my own abilities with a gun in a shit situation as it has been a while since I trained on a course or with others. I do understand what you are saying, and for those who keep up with their training, understand when to use force and what justifiable force is, and feel they are capable enough OK. For those people if they have a reason to justify concealed carry I can see permitting it.
          However I feel that there are far too many people carrying guns that have no real reason to do so in civilian society. They are a danger to themselves and to others. Ron and I have gotten up and left a local restaurant when some jokers came in proudly displaying their weapons. They think they were defending their rights. What about the rights of a lot of the people who came out with friends and loved ones who were now feeling very unsafe and their meal was spoiled. I see the pictures of people taking long guns including AR-15’s to Macdonald’s among other places. I carried a weapon for years, I do not carry now because I am not as well trained nor in well enough shape, yet I can see those people are not well trained or in shape to handle a situation either. There is a time and place for guns. local stores are not it. This is not a lawless nation yet. But it could get that way if everyone started to tote their piece.
          lastly I think reasonable people can agree that hand guns, hunting rifles , and shotguns are not in the same category as assault weapons. While the first three categories of guns has some use in civilian society, an assault weapon does not. It is a take off of a military weapon designed to kill and main humans. The bullet speed destroys more tissue than the entry and passage wound. It tears surrounding tissue and blood vessels apart. It shatter organs rather than pass cleanly through them. There simply is no reason for a civilian to have one or to be taking it anywhere. We have reasonable restrictions on all rights in this country, and banning assault weapons is a reasonable restriction on the second amendment.
          Be well. Hugs

          Liked by 2 people

    2. I will concede that I overgeneralized on that point.

      Would it sit better if I’d made it more clear I was talking about training SPECIFICALLY as a law-enforcement officer? (I thought that was implied by the “unbadged” remark, but perhaps not.) My aforementioned neighbor with two or three dozen firearms is a former U.S. Army soldier, so I assume he’s been trained in the *operation* of firearms, at least at a basic level. I do not think, however, that he has received any training when it comes to active shooter situations, disarming a suspect, taking someone into custody, etc. — all the things I want someone trained in when a gun-type situation arises near me.

      You seem like the type of person who takes seriously whatever you do, and that’s something to be admired. I won’t make assumptions about the level of training you’ve received — and I apologize if it looked like that’s what I was doing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. >>…assume he’s been trained in the *operation* of firearms…<< There's the rub, really. Any idiot can run an AR-15 or a Beretta, just like any idiot can drive an airplane (I learned to fly with a couple of guys who could barely fly their way out of a web paper sack.) In the end it's not the safety on the receiver of the rifle but the safety between your ears that matters.

        I know you don't know us incredibly well except through our web presence, so I would ask patience in understanding that there is a very profound difference between us, Abby and me and the millions of safe concealed carriers in our nation, and the type of guy who sat in the back of our concealed carry class muttering things like, "I'm only gonna need one shot." THAT'S the guy you need to worry about being armed.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Richard I think the real point is do so many people really need a concealed carry permit? Do all the people who want to carry a gun around need to do so? Why? Is it work related? Are they afraid or feel safe only when they are carrying? The point is there are far more carrying than should be. There are people who you mention in your class that think they are Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, or in the case of the current president Charles Bronson. They shouldn’t be toting a firearm around. They don’t need it. The fact is our country has a lot more gun violence / death than other countries. The only thing we have more of than those countries are guns in civilian hands. Again it is not taking away right, it is a reasonable restriction. I can not take my cats into restaurants and that is not denying me a right to happiness. It is a reasonable food safety restriction. Not to mention people with allergies. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “THAT’S the guy you need to worry about being armed.”

          I do worry about that guy. My larger worry is that the state doesn’t have a good way of telling the difference between you and him. Perhaps someday, psychological examinations will be required before someone can purchase a gun, carry a gun, etc. If so, I hope it will find some way to differentiate between you and him.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed all the comments. I think we’re getting somewhere when we can all talk this through without name-calling or blocking each other. Anderson, Richard, Scottie, Nan… You’re all to be commended.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree Wil. There is a need for dialog on this subject. Different people from different areas may have different life experiences. The person who has always lived in the suburbs is not the same as a person out on a huge farm or ranch. We can come to reasonable accommodations for those with firearms needs and even for the ones who simply want to target shoot, while at the same time protecting the rest of the society from unnecessary gun violence. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Different people from different areas may have different life experiences. The person who has always lived in the suburbs is not the same as a person out on a huge farm or ranch.”

        And I would be fine with legislation that understood the difference. One huge problem is that laws like to blanket everyone, everywhere, with the same restrictions. As long as people are going to be allowed to own guns without training, registration, insurance, etc., and as long as people are going to be allowed to *carry* those guns off their property, I heavily advocate for stricter laws in more heavily populated areas.

        From the pictures I’ve seen on Richard’s blog, he lives out in the country. From the Google Earth satellite view, there are spots near him with MILES of open country in every direction. That’s a huge difference from where I live — I can see two dozen homes from my window, as well as the back of a heavily-visited shopping center.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly my point Anderson. In order to be able to talk about what we as a society need for gun control, we have to understand where people come from on their views. Otherwise we end up talking around each other. Life experiences also come into play. I grew up pretty much in cow country. However I remember a boy in school telling me how he came from a city. On seeing cows as they drove they were totally stunned. Remember a kid. His parents stopped and he got out, they took pictures. What an event. I was like wierd. I milked cows and ran through cow manure from the time I could walk. That someone one wouldn’t know what they were was something I did not understand then. I see that same thing with other subjects today. So I think we need to see the difference between city / country / suburban living to then address the issue, which is restricting such over all access to not needed firearms and to control where those guns are in use. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have to slightly disagree with your statement, Anderson: One huge problem is that laws like to blanket everyone, everywhere, with the same restrictions.

          This isn’t totally accurate — at least when it comes to states and gun laws. Undoubtedly, federal gun laws blanket everyone but currently, states can set many of their own regulations … and they do. I wrote a post on this sometime back and gave some examples of the differences. If you haven’t looked into it, you might be amazed at what some states allow!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Perhaps I should have been more specific. 🙂

            “…laws like to blanket everyone, everywhere within the jurisdiction, with the same restrictions.”

            Obviously, any law passed will only apply to the jurisdiction in which it’s passed. My point is that a *federal* law ought to be able to paint a difference between large and small properties, properties in town and properties out of town, empty areas versus populated areas. If Richard wants to carry his gun in the lightly populated area of Byng, Oklahoma, surrounded by nothing but empty pastures, he ought to have a *little* more leeway there than in the neighborhood where I live — where the bullet has to go through an awful lot of houses and businesses before getting to an empty field. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    2. “I think we’re getting somewhere when we can all talk this through without name-calling or blocking each other.”

      Yes. It helps that we’re all on *mostly* the same side of most things. We’re picking nits here, for the most part. As long as we remember that — in the big picture — we’re in agreement, we can pick all the nits we want and still be friends. 🙂

      (It’s much harder to have this conversation with people who disagree with you about EVERYTHING.)

      Liked by 2 people

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