My opinion on the 2nd Amendment

The United States’ 2nd Amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  With all of the horrible shootings over the past two decades, with many occurring in schools, a debate about the meaning of this Amendment has become heated.  We hear politicians, celebrities, parents, and even children now talking about gun control.  The extreme side of this argument is that no US citizen needs a firearm for any reason whatsoever.  The middle of the road argument is that there is no need for any citizen to need an assault weapon such as the publicized AR-15.  The more lenient side is that there should be more detailed background screenings, especially into mental health.

I’ve heard arguments that the AR-15 is not a military weapon and therefore the arguments for confiscating these rifles is unfounded.  I own an AR-15 myself.  It is a blast to shoot.  I bought it for two simple reasons.  1) I wanted one for recreational purposes.  2) I wanted one for defense purposes.  I passed the background search and was approved to purchase one several years ago.  I’ve actually only shot it two times due to limited outside access for a place to really enjoy it at longer ranges.  Shooting a firearm just isn’t that fun to me at a gun range, especially with a rifle.  Another reason for ownership is that in many states an AR-15 style weapon is permitted to hunt with while in season.  The high capacity 30 round magazines have also been criticized by the left.  I understand their concerns.  However in the unfortunate event of a zombie apocalypse I want as many rounds as possible ready to go. LOL  But seriously these rifles aren’t that much different than other hunting rifles other than they are semi automatic.  I do see the need to ban bump stocks which turn these into more of an automatic machine gun.  However even a modified AR-15 with a bump stock should not be confused with an automatic AR-15 which is only available to law enforcement and the military.  A normal AR-15 can fire about 4 rounds per second whereas a modified version with a bump stock can fire about 8 rounds per second.  An automatic AR-15 can fire as many as around 15 rounds per second so clearly you can see the difference.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of legislation a state or even our federal government passes, high capacity assault rifles don’t kill people, automatic or semi automatic.  No firearm kills a person any more than a car kills someone with a drunk driver behind the wheel.  Another evil or mentally ill individual kills another person.  We’ve seen rental moving trucks full of nitrogen based fertilizer used to kill 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995.  We saw airplanes fly into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in 2001 which resulted in 2977 deaths by terrorists.  We saw 130 citizens killed in Paris in 2015 by terrorists using knives, assault rifles, and bombs.  Last year a terrorist drove a van through Barcelona, Spain killing 13 innocent civilians and wounding about 80 more.  And yes, we have seen horrible acts by students upon other students as recently as last month in Florida where 17 innocent students were killed by Nikolas Cruz with an AR-15 style weapon.

But what do I see as a common theme in regards to all of the heinous acts against innocent citizens?  Well I actually see one of two in every incident.  They are either performed by terrorists from religious hate or they are acted out by seriously mentally deranged people.  So what do I think should be done?  Personally I think the FBI and the states’ versions of the FBI need to be working in unison to identify these perpetrators before they attack.  I believe law enforcement already does a good job in the United States with identifying and stopping most terrorists, but what about the mentally ill?  They must devise a strategy that identifies the potential perpetrators and have them mentally evaluated before the crime occurs.  In many instances the shooter has already been in contact with law enforcement or someone has alerted law enforcement to the concern of a potential shooting in the future.  I do believe in these cases if a battery of tests identifies a person as an endangerment to others or themselves, measures must be taken to keep them away from all firearms as well as any other potential method they could use.  But we must remember that guns don’t kill people.  People kill people and with whatever tools or methods they can best achieve the worst outcome with.

So what rights does the 2nd Amendment protect for me?  I believe it says that I have the right to own firearms that are non-military grade.  I could even agree that it supports the right for me to own a bazooka or hand grenades if that is what it takes to secure a free State.  In today’s world with drones and missile systems with near pin-point accuracy, let’s face it, we would never be able to hold off our military in the case of a dictatorship.  Only if part of that military were to defect and join the said militia would citizens stand a chance.  I think the importance here is more about our ability to protect us from a crime outbreak in our community.  I’m thinking back to when the riots occurred in Los Angeles in 1992 as a result of the Rodney King beatings in which at least 63 citizens were killed and over 2,000 were injured.  My Springfield XD would help in that situation of defending my property but I would much rather have my AR-15 loaded with 30 rounds to protect my wife and children.  Are the odds of that happening pretty low?  Yeah probably so unless you live in the downtown area of a large city with a high crime rate like Los Angeles, New York City, or Chicago.  With the things we are seeing in our nation lately I think anything is possible.  Therefore I will fight for my right to bear arms and vote for those who will fight along side me as well.  If you agree with me and are not already a member of the NRA, I highly recommend you join immediately.  You even get a free monthly magazine with your membership.  #NRA #2ndAmendment #beararms

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Why I run…

For the past four years or so I’ve been running between 400-500 miles per year.  Last year was exactly 474 due to a couple of illnesses that got me behind early in the year.  In 2016 I set a goal of 500 miles and achieved it on Dec 31st.  I’ll never forget that afternoon.  It was New Years Eve and I only had 2 more miles to make it to 500 for the year.  It was a sunny day in the mid-50s outside.  I had decided to take off the afternoon from work and enjoy the nice weather and knock out those last two miles.  As I was running that first mile I began reflecting on the year, all of the highs and lows.  I recalled the cold bundled up runs back in January and February as well as the boiling hot summer runs in July and August.  I remembered running my first and only to date official 10k in the OKC Memorial Marathon relay with some coworkers in May.  It had been a good year and an injury/illness free year which is always helpful to get those miles done every month.

I began running in my late 30s when I had my cholesterol checked for the first time and it came back around 220.  I also learned that I had fairly high triglycerides as well.  Heart disease has run in my family on both sides.  My mother’s mom had bypass surgery when I was a teenager and my father had a stint put in an artery when he was only 58 years old.  These test results caused me to begin changing my diet with less fatty foods and more cardio exercise.  I had been lifting weights 2-3 times a week since I was 30 years old but not so much with cardio.  I’ve always been a slim build and enjoyed running so that was a natural choice.  I’m not a treadmill kind of guy so outside is always my first choice for a run.  I began running around 1 or 1.5 miles and pretty much stayed there until I was 39.  That’s when the dark days hit.  My former wife told me I needed to fight for my marriage and for the next 17 months that’s exactly what I did.  More on that in another future blog.  I began running for an additional reason…stress relief.

Running is an excellent way to relieve stress.  It releases endorphins which trigger the feel good stuff in our brains.  It helps us feel better about things when we are really getting down.  I’m not a doctor nor a counselor so I don’t claim to know all of the scientific reasons for it.  I just know it works and that I’ve also read it in Runners World magazine.  My wife is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and she confirms this too and who is going to disagree with their wife?!?  Now that I am in my late 40s I’ve found that my knees don’t like the pounding on the pavement so much.  Maybe it’s because I’m fairly close to 200lbs and pavement doesn’t give when you are a heel striker like me.  Maybe it’s just age.  Probably a combination of both.  My doctor says to take an Ibuprofen BEFORE you run which I have found to help.  It keeps the swelling down which is really the only problem I have.

So how has running helped my cholesterol and triglycerides you might ask?  After several years of eating better and running more consistently the numbers weren’t really coming down that much.  I was still having cholesterol of around 215-225 and triglycerides of around 250-300.  Ideal cholesterol should be sub 200 and triglycerides sub 150.  Triglycerides are those fat lipids that float around in your blood stream and can also clog up things.  Once again I’m no doctor but I do know they go hand in hand with cholesterol.  My doctor recommended I go have one of those $50 heart scans just to see if there was anything to be concerned about, so I did.  My results came back ok but I did have a score of 40 in one of my coronary arteries, which just so happens to be called the “widow maker” artery.  My doctor convinced me to throw in the towel and begin taking a statin drug to lower my cholesterol and triglycerides.

Shortly after taking the statin drug I began to have a hip ache when I sat down for an hour or more.  Having a desk job that wasn’t very pleasant so I told my doc and we changed pharmacies which seemed to resolve the issue but it did take several months to finally rid of it completely.  It may have also just taken time for my body to adjust to the med.  I don’t like the idea of needing medications for the rest of my life so I was determined to reduce the amount required.  I won’t bore you with the two year long testing I did and results but here is what I’ve learned works for me.  With running the 400-500 miles per year, I am able to only take the lowest dose of 10mg four times a week.  Since I run three days a week I simply take it on the days I do not run.  This has resulted in my cholesterol lowering around to 155 and my triglycerides to around 140.  Both VERY acceptable and considered low on the charts.  I have zero hip pain and feel good most of the time I run.

I will admit that from my late 30s to my late 40s much has changed in my running ability.  I seemed to peak around 45 years old with my best times when I was training for the 10k in the marathon relay.  The past couple of years I have slowed down a bit.  I’ve never claimed to be fast but I did run that relay 10k at a 9:06 minute per mile pace.  A good pace for me now in a 5k is around 8:45 per mile and I add about 15 seconds per mile for each mile over 3 miles.  Thus my goal for a 5 mile run is around a 9:15 pace but that’s when the conditions are optimal.  No wind, temps in the 50s-60s, low elevation changes, lower humidity, and well rested.  I don’t plan to stop running anytime soon as I still find it theraputic and I know it is helping keep what I can’t see inside in better shape.  I read a really good article last year in Runners World magazine that distance runner’s hearts are typically 50% larger and their arteries are up to twice as large in diameter.  This allows for greater blood flow even if there is blockage from calcification.  I am all about greater blood flow with my family’s history so I will keep running!

 

Why this blog???

So why am I creating this new blog?  I’m one of those folks that can get fairly passionate about certain subjects like politics, the 2nd Amendment, and my faith in God.  I also am really interested in maintaining a balanced spiritual, emotional, and physical healthy life.  When I get on a subject on Facebook it can make my wife cringe at times when I share my point of view.  Yes I am direct and sometimes very black & white, but I do have the ability most of the time to do so with a wise filter when posting.  The more I have thought about it, it’s led me to decide to begin a personal blog.  My plan for right now is to only post once a week on a particular subject that I know a fair amount about as well as an occasional extra post when something pops up in the news media that I just can’t stay quiet on.  I will be very candid and transparent about my own life because that is just who I am.  I look forward to sharing about my decade plus long battle with controlling my cholesterol & triglycerides and what I’ve learned during the process.  I will share my nearly two decades of weight lifting and my past decade of running for heart health as well as other benefits.  I’ll probably share some insights learned from my divorce eight years ago, my insights from serving in leadership positions in churches, and working for two multi-billion dollar companies.  I also really enjoy shooting firearms and have a borderline addiction to sports cars, currently owning a 50th Anniversary 2003 Corvette Z06.  If you are a middle-aged man in your 40s and 50s and like these subjects, then this just may be a good place for you to hang out.  I don’t claim to be an expert on anything yet am fairly educated on several subjects simply from good ‘ole experience and OJT.  I do have a bachelors degree from the University of Oklahoma in Law Enforcement Administration but never worked in that field.  However I did serve as a badged volunteer in the Oklahoma Dept of Corrections for about seven years in my mid-late 20s, working in prison ministry.  I’ll do my best to share beneficial life experiences that just may help some of you in a small way.  I also will be occasionally sharing my faith in Jesus Christ and how He has been the one true Person I have always been able to rely upon.  I’m not sure where this new journey will take me or how long it will last but I’m going to give it a whirl and see where it goes.  I hope you find it educational at times as well as entertaining now and then as I do tend to make a fool of myself on an occasion.  Thanks for joining and please do comment when you feel led.