Sunday, December 6, 2015


Photo credit: The Sacramento Bee
Another week, another mass shooting. San Bernadino merits an Oval Office Address. And yet even the President of the United States can't talk about a shooting in the U.S. without acknowledging that there is a connection between domestic violence and military intervention in a foreign country.

In dealing with ISIS, the President suggests that Americans are "wondering if we are confronting a cancer which as no immediate cure." Doubt has a way of creeping in when today's high-tech military is presented as the solution for problems caused by yesterday's high-tech military, which was supposed to solve the problems created by previous military intervention. If the desire is to stop ISIS, the one action which hasn't been tried in the lifetime of anyone born since 2001 should be given a chance: non-intervention. ISIS is just the latest example of the type of groups who fill the void when you displace the peaceful population of a country.

No one at the Departments of State and Homeland Security will be fired. No agencies will be shut down. Instead, the budgets of anti-terrorism departments will grow. The centralization of power which has failed to prevent terrible acts--whether they are labeled as mass shootings or terrorism--will take more power from future victims and put it in the hands of fewer unaccountable people. We will be told that the tasks of stopping mass-shootings and overcoming ISIS will be complicated and difficult.  

And yet, the situations which led to the mass shooting in San Bernadino and the "war" with ISIS in Syria are quite similar. The connection is based on a very simple-but-true concept: law-abiding citizens have a vested interest in surrounding themselves with other law-abiding citizens.

And the remedies are far easier and cheaper than anything which has been tried to date. When law-abiding citizens are given the power to defend themselves, and when sovereign countries are allowed to function free of outside forces, the effect is similar to that which grass can have on weeds in a healthy lawn--the desired grass is given an environment in which it can grow until there is no room for the weeds. It is not by violence or great power that the grass overwhelms the weeds--it is a simple matter of the grass growing and increasing in population until there is room for nothing else.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Photo credit:
Last week I came across this piece of paper. I had drawn my ideal home--this is when I was in high school--and I had a nook for a piano, and a library, and a dance area and music. And it was funny, because I was realizing that was what I've created here--and I'm very, very happy.
-Callie Kimball, Small Space, Big Style (Season 1, Episode 8)
HGTV is a network whose shows focus almost exclusively on lost souls who believe they will find happiness in granite countertops, vaulted ceilings, stainless appliances, hardwood floors, open concepts, brushed bar pull hardware, custom cabinets, gas stoves with red knobs, man caves, theater rooms, gigantic yards, dramatic entrances--basically, anything that looks shiny.

The show which forces the "almost exclusively" into that entirely accurate description of HGTV? A seemingly little-known show called Small Space, Big Style (SSBS). On its face, viewings by visitors of the 408 have missed the saving graces of SSBS in absolutely breathtaking ways--focusing instead on how "HGTV just forces the gay issue," "you don't really need a dishwasher," and "they'll just want a bigger space in a few months anyway," the ambient feedback has illustrated that sometimes even the best of things need to be spelled out. Like this.