Only a Gun

1970s Toy Gun(Politically-Correct, Non-Threatening 1970 Steer Longhorn Six Shooter Capgun)

       I am a gun.  I was born a gun.  You know—a piece, a nine, a pocket rocket, a ghost load, a banger, a strap, a chopper, a pocket warmer, a lead slinger, a Saturday night special, a rod, a biscuit, a boomer, a hole puncher, a daisy pusher, a smoke wagon.  I am the Persuader.  I am an Insurance Policy.  I am a Problem Solver.  I am the great Equalizer.

     In the beginning, I was nothing more than a blank slate of steel, no different than my counterparts who would grow up and be forged into door latches, kitchen tools, or perhaps airplane parts.   We all came from the same family, but as we evolved, heat and pressure molded us differently, guided by the hands and minds that formed us.  Much like you.    You too were born a blank slate, and then through the process of the hands and minds that shaped you, combined with time, environment, people, and experiences (applied heat) you too became who you are.

I have been around for centuries and I’m as controversial as God is.  Some people say I have the same power in the fact that I too can be a taker of life.  I can protect a life too, a guardian angel if you will.   Controversy and emotion revolves around me, just as surely as the bullets that revolve inside my cylinder.   Laws are made because of me.  Laws are broken because of me.   Laws are obeyed because of me.

  I am a gun.  I have a reputation.  These days I am analyzed, debated, misunderstood, and maligned by those in politics and media.  I am misrepresented in today’s careless culture of movies, music, and gaming.  You have seen me so much of me in entertainment that you think nothing is wrong here and are desensitized to death and human suffering as you irresponsibly consume me when I am the cool lyrics in a hip song, or the destroyer of “bad people” or even “good guys” such as cops and civilians in movies or virtually real video games.

No, you and most of the media and entertainers only snap to attention when mass numbers of real people die.  You demand that I be changed, but you refuse to look in the mirror.  You easily turn a blind eye and conveniently step off your soap box, when it’s just one or two, here or there, maybe even in your home town, or perhaps the nameless, faceless kid killed every day by gangs in inner cities.    The news is always so depressing you say, so you just turn it off, and indiscriminately hand your kids the XBOX controller while you go in another room to catch up on Facebook since your interaction time is limited or you make dinner and attend other chores.

Yet when you eat dinner as a family this evening in front of the big screen, you’ll fume with fury when you hear about the tragedy du jour, thinking someone needs to do something about all this but later when the kids are in bed, the same station that brought you the tragic news will bring you shows like Body of Evidence.  It’s the show “that kills” the promo sound bite promises to deliver.  You’ll apathetically watch, already having forgotten about the bad news out there in the world.

I am a gun.  In your hands I can put food on your table or a trophy on your wall.  I can rob a bank or stop a robbery in process.  I can threaten to harm you and then I can follow through when held by the mind of evil.  I can protect you and stop the evil when held by the mind of protection and justice.  I can create carnage and I can end it.   I am the line in the sand that many have boldly proclaimed I will not be a victim here. 

In the hands of the untrained, irresponsible, and unstable I have had devastating consequences.  In the hands of the responsibly trained and mentally balanced, I have served, protected, and saved untold, unseen, and unreported millions.

I am a gun.  I come in all shapes and sizes and what comes out of me has only the potential to harm or destroy catastrophically.  Much like the shape of you and the words you so freely say.

I am a gun.  My sight is set only on what your eyes and mind choose for me to see.  I am at the command of your finger and your mind.   And when I expel my contents of deadly force, I hit only what you tell me to.  I choose nothing.  I am above the law, solely because I am a servant to you, regardless of whatever laws are in place, amended or repealed in the future.

Some will always see me as a source of evil, a deliverer of destruction and death.  Perhaps that has been their tragic experience of which I had no choosing.  Others will see me as a source of security, protection, and yes, recreation.  This too, I do not choose.

      I am a tool.  Like a hammer, a knife, or a six-thousand pound vehicle, I can be used or misused.  I am probably the inanimate object that is surrounded by more controversy than any other inanimate object.

  I am a gun.  You can fear me, fire me, be entertained by me, lock me up, collect me, loath me, sell me, regulate me, buy me, or love me.

 Yet I carry no power of my own volition; I only mirror the mind of the man (or woman) whose grip engulfs me.  Left alone without human touch I am powerless.   Much like you.  What grips you?  What drives you?  Is it fear?  Is it freedom?  Is it madness? Is it faith?   In your hands, what drives me is what drives you. 

            I am only a gun.  Yet I am so much more because I am an extension of YOU.  I may be your tool of choice or the object of your hatred or source of grief. When discussed, I hit the target with 100% accuracy that serves as the nerve center of your deepest held beliefs.   My reputation always was and always will be less about me and more about you.   How I am portrayed, legislated, consumed, handled, and used is determined only by you.

For I am only a gun. 

Illumination (Weekly Photo Challenge)

These are a few photos taken from our recent  Christmas Vacation to Disney World last month.  We visited all four theme parks:  Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.   I rented a “luxury lens” for my DSLR camera and took over 1200 pictures.

Sadly, my good camera was stolen on the LAST night of our trip.  I was devastated.    However, I am finding more joy day by day in what formerly would’ve been called the “crappy” pictures.  These are the pictures I took with my little old point and shoot when I was having a moment of lazy and just wanted to whip out the P&S from my pocket, or the battery had already died on the good camera.  Am I ever thankful now for THESE photos!

Each time I look at these pictures, I am filled with more and more joy.  They were not the BEST photos I took, but they are the photos of the BEST VACATION we ever had.

And Christmas at Disney?   Well every night the entire theme is Illumination–from the Spectro Magic Parade, to the ever-changing illuminated Castle, to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios.  It’s all amazing!

My ILLUMINATION moment on this vacation was thisIt’s about the NOW, this MOMENT, this memory, even more than the pictures.   Enjoy what I salvaged regarding illuminations:


The Magic Kingdom’s Castle


EPCOT at dusk


The Monorail arriving inside The Contemporary Resort


My son painted as a Tiger at Tomorrowland Speedway – Magic Kingdom

Illuminations 121612 HS

I loved these light shades above me at Hollywood Studios

(I think it was inside The Great Movie Ride)


I love this one of both my boys at EPCOT’s Mexico – San Angel Inn

If you have never experienced a Disney Christmas, make sure you put this on your bucket list!  Everything is just so beautiful, and the ILLUMINATION of all the theme parks with their holiday decorations is what makes it so spectacular.  It is like no place else on earth!

I also posted a video link I took of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios here:  (Keep in mind this video does not do it justice — they even pipe in “snow”, to enhance the Christmas feeling.  Best of all, the temperature never dipped below high 60s at night while we were there!)

And if you’ve ever lost pictures from a treasured event, or something of significant sentimental value, I feel your pain.  I wrote about this loss at my other blog here:

Thanks for checking out my pictures and blog!


But Why Is The Rum Gone?

Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.  Captain Jack Sparrow


So my family and I took a trip to Washington DC this past weekend.  We fought off hypothermia as we walked around Constitution Avenue and the blocks surrounding the Smithsonian museums and galleries while Congress and the House and the President (who popped back in from yet another exotic vacation– this time it was Hawaii)  debated what is the best way to jump off the fiscal cliff.

As I’m fairly aware of my surroundings at all times, I knew when I heard the chik,chik,chik,chik  of chopper blades between the Senate and the White House, and knowing I was standing in the middle of a no fly zone, I quickly deduced it was most likely Marine One.    Especially since there were news media vans from every major city in America parked mere yards away.

Marine Force OnePresident Obama Disembarks Marine One (Photo: Denver Post)

This minute stands out firmly in my brain when I saw the helicopter because I saw it as a historic opportunity to teach my son about the “majesty” of the Office of President.  At the very least, there was historical relevance of “WOW!  You are standing here on nearly the last day of 2012, and the President of the United States is circling right above us!”  I grabbed my video camera and hit record as an agent in dark clothing several dozen yards away kept his polite assault rifle on standby, just in case I was a nut job and my video camera was a weapon.  I decided to make tiny movements and speak slowly.

“Look son!  It’s the President’s official helicopter hovering above you!”   And as I simultaneously hit the record button to record a slice of history for all posterity, my seven year old sorely exclaimed, “I don’t care about the President flying above, I’m just too FREEZING to death!  Can we just GO ?!?!?”  I turned the camera off.   That was it.   I had to laugh.  My son’s first opportunity to witness something historical and he blows it.

See a few weeks ago, though I confess it now feels more like years, I was much of a political junkie.  Addicted, I would even say.  A year of nail biting to the nub while digesting all the political fodder, I was totally wrapped up in every moment of the pending election and the crisis that would ensue if my guy didn’t win.

He didn’t.   I cried.  And then the next day came.  Right on schedule.

So I had to laugh when I realized my son is not yet a political junkie or gasp…..even a patriot!  We still have time to teach love of country.  Right now, hate of weather was the only crisis he was concerned with.

We have all been dealing with crisis for quite a whileI don’t know about you but I’m rather crisis weary!

      Being that in my life every day I deal with everything from my van’s transmission blowing up, to root canals gone awry that demand a redrill soon, to dryers clunking out, to cracked iPhone screens, to nightly homework-help marathons, to figuring out how to pay for college, and manage mothering and part time work on all the days that don’t involve family vacation day OR dreams of my fodder (which dabbling in writing/photography basically amounts to).

        Basically the other 354 days of the year, I, like most Americans sit down with our calendar and our Quicken and try to figure out how to rob Peter, Paul, and Mary to pay the remaining bills when there is too much month at the end of the money after the first stack of bills, disasters, and Uncle Sam are paid.   I try to balance dreams with reality with 1% of time devoted to dreams and well….you do the math.

Dangerous DropI found the Fiscal Cliff in Washington DC – This is the accompanying warning sign.

I am already keenly familiar with fiscal cliffs and their ensuing aftermath.  They basically go down like this:

The poop hits the fan.

And then the sun rises.

     Yep, that’s about it.  You just add another zero on the right side of the ledger and you keep moving on.  Simple as pie.   One or both of you starts taking on more work.  Second jobs are added.   Part time switches to full-time.  Full time takes on overtime.  It’s all good….right?  

In a New World Order based on fairness and equality, we have not even begun to pay our fair share, as there is always someone who works harder than we do, and according to the media, nearly everyone has way less which gives me a never-ending guilt complex. We have a long ways to go until we’re all equal, and we all have a fair equal shot at everything in life. 

        Before our trip to DC, we had just wrapped up first part of our vacation at Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida.     It was great.  Off went the TV.   On came the fun!  Our biggest crisis was “Puh-leeze Dad!  Did you have to cut the cheese again?!?!”

       We laughed.  We gallivanted between theme parks and traipsed around museums.  We nearly amused ourselves to death!  We became ignorant of the world around us for the first time in a long time.  We decided to postpone our personal fiscal cliff until 2013!  

We lived!

And now vacation is over.  School is back in session and all are back to work.  My daughter leaves for college soon and has informed me of where she will live this summer, which is NOT home.   Reality beckons after almost two weeks spent far from it.

After spending some considerable time at Disney’s “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” I realized that a Pirate’s Life is based on two priorities:  Redistribution of Treasure.  Rum.   That’s it.   Oh, and perhaps a dalliance with a pretty lassie from time to time.  Or wench, as the case may be.     Not that much difference from politics today.

Perhaps if our current lot of people’s representatives would don beaded dreadlocks and black eyeliner and speak to us with a tad more charm, we’d all be happy to acquiesce with all their demands.

With trillions in debt and more trillions coming, my intuition tells me we’ve already gone off the cliff, no matter what pretty words they use.   

As for us?  We’ll keep on keeping on in 2013 the best we know how.    And at the risk of being uninformed of that which I cannot control, I’ll be tuning out more consistently I’ve decided.  For at this point, I’m going politically AWOL, unless our politicians utter the true crisis words of Captain Jack Sparrow:

But why is the rum gone?

    Until then–as you were, mate!  Savvy?

Why is the Rum Gone Captain Jack Sparrow –Pirates of the Caribbean