All posts by djlococo

The NRA response is a good starting point


On December 21st the National Rifle Association (NRA) held a press conference in response to the recent massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. The statement by the head of the NRA clearly reflected the interest of their stakeholders but it serves as a valuable starting point for an important discussion we need to have in this country. The major point of the NRA statement is a call for more guns as a deterrent to future gun violence. While some may be dismissive of the NRA’s position, it merits serious consideration.


Wayne LaPierr, of the NRA, acknowledged the massacre as a tragedy and went on to assert, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He went on to say, “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.” The two significant points here are the NRA’s acknowledgement that we need greater law enforcement protection if we are going to end gun violence and acknowledgement of gun violence as a national crisis.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), on average, more than 31 people die of firearm homicides each and every day. In addition to Sandy Hook the most recent firearm massacres have taken place in a shopping mall, a place of worship, and a movie theater. If we are going to truly protect ourselves the NRA’s proposal should be extended to any place where people gather


The massacres in public spaces only account for a fraction of the daily firearm homicides. Part of the discussion we need to have is to determine the acceptable number of firearm homicides we are willing to tolerate each day. We may need to post law enforcement officers on every block in areas of high gun concentrations.


An important feature of the NRA proposal is Congressional funding. Specific funding of the cost of protecting ourselves from gun violence would allow us as a nation to more clearly recognize the cost of firearm violence. Accounting for direct and indirect costs such as: law enforcement, courts, correctional systems, emergency medical services, etc. would make it much easier for us to prioritize the role of firearms in our culture.


As part of the NRA statement, LaPierr noted the lack of an “active national database of the mentally ill.” While this is a controversial statement, it is another good starting point for needed discussion. Documenting the intersection between firearms and dangerous people is critical to limiting gun violence. A comprehensive database that identifies every gun, every gun owner and every person associated with either would allow law enforcement officials, mental health professionals and the criminal justice system to immediately identify a potential bad guy with a gun and dispatch a good guy with a gun to stop them.


The suggestions presented by the NRA have far reaching budgetary and civil rights implications. Until we begin to openly talk about how much we are willing to give up in order for everyone who wants a gun to have a gun, we cannot begin to acknowledge the real cost of gun violence in America.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2009 Firearm homicides 11,493 or more than 31 per day



Transcript of NRA statement:

Accountability is good

This morning my wife asked me about my progress on the research I am doing for my Doctoral dissertation. I need to complete some significant work by the end of the month and Helen knows I struggle with writing papers from research summaries. I found her questioning annoying and need to make sure I understand these feelings.


As I was responding to her I had two thoughts: 1) I don’t think Helen has the right to be questioning me, 2) on the other hand, even though Helen is not an exemplar of motivation I am the one who needs to get the work done to accomplish the goal I have set for myself. If Helen can help me by holding me accountable to my goals I should embrace the opportunity rather than push away the support. That would be a great habit to break.


I realize I could get very depressed if I look back at all of the times people have offered their support an help (including holding me accountable to my own goals) and I have not taken them up on their offer.

Doing done paradox

Thought while walking: I don’t want to do things I want to be done. I really want to do things I don’t want to be done.


This is a paradox for me to explore to understand why I just want to be done with the things I am currently doing and what the things are that I would become so engaged in that I would not want them to be done.

Snuggling with my honey

Spring is often a time of discontent for me. I find myself restless and reflective. Actually I am not so much reflective at this time of year as avoidant of reflection.


Helen and I have not been as close as either of us would like to be lately. In part because we have been encased in our own worlds and in part because we just haven’t been putting the effort into our relationship that we could. I find the distance and my own restlessness are not a good combination. Most recently we have both been sick: making the physical closeness that feeds us both not practical.


I woke up this morning feeling cold and lonely. The coldness a result of the recent removal of the winter blanket from our bed. The loneliness a result of the distance that has grown between us. As I lay there it occurred to me that if I was cold Helen was likely to be colder. I cuddled up to her to warm her up.


As I lay snuggled up to Helen I realized; despite my restlessness, despite the current gap between us, despite “what’s going around,” she is my sunshine, my soul mate and the woman who knows me more than anyone else.


I also realized part of my own restlessness is a result of inaction on my own part. Perhaps the best path out of my spring restlessness is to bring my honey in closer rather than passively watching the distance between us grow.

Is “Not Obama” good enough?

I voted for Barak Obama but I have to say I’m not particularly impressed by what he’s done while in office.


As I listen to the press coverage for the Republican nomination race I find myself thinking the major argument of the candidates appears to be: I’m not the current President. I don’t get a whole lot of substance beyond that singular message.


Barack Obama came to the White House by selling a simple dream “Yes we can.” Clearly we need more than a dream to run a country. I just don’t think we’re likely to get any better leadership by getting behind the slogan “I’m not him.”

Not really looking for a moral exemplar

I am taking a course on the moral dimensions of leadership. One of the assignments for the course is to find a historical figure that represents an example of moral leadership. As I was meditating this morning it occurred to me I don’t want to find a historical figure to hold up as an example of all that is right in the world.


Part of my reasoning is the fact I am uncomfortable with the idea of putting individuals on a pedestal. It feels too much like idolatry and I find that repulsive. Another thing I find problematic is the fact historical figures tend to have their persona’s streamlined to fit nicely into a convenient category with little regard for the many dimensions of the human experience. Invariably a historian will come along and reveal a side of the individual that casts a cloud over the credibility of the work they are most famous for.


I think I’ll just stick with the wealth of knowledge and experience we have accumulated from historical figures and not dig too deep into their personal lives.


Go local, go to Bob

I was pretty sure we were going to have to replace either our washer or dryer until I called Bob at Bob’s Maytag Central Service Co. When I looked at the listings, I chose Bob’s because it was close to the house and I figured I’d save some money on the trip charges to have a repair person out to look at our washer and/or dryer. When I called Bob’s I got an old fashioned answering machine with a homespun message letting me know no one was available but they would get back to me as soon as they could. It turns out Bob’s is a Mom & Pop operation.


When Bob called back I learned he is a semi-retired guy who cautioned me he doesn’t have all of the latest parts for the newer machines. Instead of just getting my address and telling me how much it would cost to look at my machine, Bob walked me through some things I could check before having someone out to the house. It turned out Bob’s suggestions identified the problem and I can get it working without spending any money at all.


I’m not going to lose Bob’s number. I figure a guy who first checks to see that I’ve done everything I can do to fix the problem myself has got my best interest in mind. I also realized that Bob is working on the assumption that I would fix the problem myself if I could. Wow: a business man who assumes his customers are intelligent and wants to make sure the customer’s needs are taken care of – even if he doesn’t make money on the transaction. This could revolutionize the field of marketing and customer service!


Next time you have a problem with a washer or dryer give Bob a call. I know I will.


Bob’s Maytag Central Service Co

1400 N 118th St,, Milwaukee,, WI, 53226,

Phone: (414) 771-7084