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Old Enough for Guns

“they’re old enough to die for our country and vote, they should be able to buy any gun.”

I totally get the sentiment behind it, I really do…

but this recent FB post made me think. Why is it that, in our country, an 18-year-old is automatically considered mature or stable enough to be in the armed services, or even vote responsibly, anyway? Fair questions, I believe. I mean who came up with that milestone? In most places in the US it’s illegal for kids under 21 to buy or consume liquor, right? I’m pretty sure in Germany you can’t even get a full driver’s license until 18. At any rate, it seems that age, maturity, and responsibility go hand in hand in most cases regarding anything important that requires critical thinking and a quick rational, response.

My understanding is that it takes 24 years for the average human brain to become fully developed and reach maturity. That’s one reason car insurance premiums drop at age 25. Therefore, I’m not totally sure why we permit 18-year-olds in the armed services. Maybe it’s because they’re young, strong, impulsive, easily persuaded, energetic, likely to be single, inexperienced, malleable, drawn to adventure, and otherwise somewhat disposable compared to older “productive” adults. I mean “We the people” seem to have drafted an awful lot of them against their will during the Vietnam period. Maybe it’s just our tradition. We seem to have a deep, rich history of old men sending young men (and now young women) into battle.

But were they all stable? Heck, I don’t know. I would assume most were. Many were very proud and willing to die for their country. But I’m not sure that mental or emotional stability were even important criteria for making the cut back then.

My assumption, however, would be that a well-trained, yet emotionally unstable, immature, or psychologically compromised military person could do a lot more damage than say an emotionally unstable or clinically depressed, immature or psychologically compromised 18-year old social outcast, bullied student, or military wannabe – when it comes to premeditating the murder of a large group of people by firearm.

I don’t know, maybe instead of just killing 17 students, could the assailant have, with the right weapon and professional training, wiped out 20 or 30 or 50 innocent students and teachers? 150 was, I understand, the admitted goal of the kid recently in Florida. In fact, what we seem to be learning now is that he wasn’t deterred by death, injury, or fear of incarceration. He didn’t do it for the money. He said he just wanted to be recognized as the kid who killed the most kids in a school shooting. Imagine if he could have legally purchased a fully automatic weapon! Boom, dream come true! …I know, right?  …except he couldn’t legally purchase a fully automatic weapon and apparently didn’t have the wherewithal to illegally seek one out. Lazy kids these days, right? So yes, it appears that limiting access quite likely prevented this particular situation from being much, much worse than it was.

All this to say, I’m not totally convinced that military service should necessarily be an automatic pass, or reasoning, for anyone under 21 to privately purchase or own an automatic or semi-automatic firearm as a civilian.

I know, I know, “it’s not the gun that kills people”, but golly they sure seem to be awfully handy gadgets of choice if that’s the intended outcome.

Oddly, neither the white teenager in Fla, the white kids at Columbine, the white kid at Sandyhook, the white guy at Virginia Tech, or even the older white guy recently in Las Vegas, (among many other mostly white guys)  chose to murder as many people as possible by simply throwing a really big bag of really sharp knives or recklessly driving their legally/illegally purchased/rented motor vehicle, and/or igniting some creative concoction of fertilizer and kerosene. No, all the recent successful multiple homicides  seem to use, well, …guns. And not dopey guns. They buy guns that look cool, you know, like in the movies – but cheap. Like the semi-automatic 995TS Carbine. The gun manufactured to skirt the “assault weapons ban” in the 1990s – and one of the guns of choice in the 1999 Columbine massacre in Littleton Colorado. Of course the AR-15 style has been real popular over the past 20 years or so.  Today the bump stock is the modern day equivalent of making a legal gun act more like an illegal gun. (Oh, just don’t call it an assault rifle or military weapon, cause dammit, it’s not.) Even the Sandyhook shooter guy, who used his mom’s semi-automatic Bushmaster XM-15 to kill 28 children, didn’t think he needed to go fully auto. Hell, where’s the sport in that, right? But it’s OK, these are not “assault rifles” …wink, wink. Or like my Apple/MAC friends often say …”idk, they just work”.

Interesting list of US school shootings dating back to 1764, Note that not all resulted in fatalities.

I can agree with activists that it’s not only fully automatic assault rifles that create such carnage. In fact, often times, it’s not fully automatic any thing‘s. We’ve heard repeatedly that “AR does not stand for assault rifle” (usually followed by some whiny, derogatory expletive). OK, fair enough. I get that. I know, it’s practically a glorified BB gun, right? No wonder the Florida kid could only kill 17 students before disappearing into a crowd. Apparently, something as lame as an AR-15 and multiple high-capacity clips was all he could legally buy. Maybe he ran out of money from his paper route, I don’t know. But that’s OK cause AR doesn’t actually stand for “assault rifle” …ya moron libtard dumb ass (or something to that effect). Besides, don’t we realize there’s some poor kid in Alaska that has to shoot multiple mischievous goats from 300 yards with his trusty AR-15?

But it doesn’t seem that these particular gun enthusiasts, responsible for the recent killings (because no one suggests they were “crazy liberals” who went off script with guns), were all that deterred by the prospect of dying or personal injury either. No, historically most are white males (who knows why), who seem to either take their own lives or provoke suicide by authority following their tantrums. Conservative, Liberal? Hell, I don’t know.  They do seem to adequately know how to effectively acquire and operate semi-automatic guns, and some also kill close family or friends before and/or after their episode. So, I’m not convinced that the only way to stop someone with a gun is by someone else with a gun. Or at least not until it’s way too freaking late.

OK, maybe if the Phys Ed and Band Director were secretly packing their concealed carries, would they have had the presence of mind and more nerve/ skill to run toward the shooter than say the trained police deputy who took cover outside as the massacre unfolded in Florida? I doubt it. Hell, the cop resigned his job the next day following the incident. Maybe we should require all cops to get teaching certificates? Nah, that’s just weird.

And speaking of arming teachers, how much do we pay these armed, trained, educators who are supposedly going to line up to both teach and protect our kids with their lives? (Bueller, Bueller, Anyone? Bang!) I look back on my public-school experience and cannot recall a single teacher who I believe could have handled any weapon responsibly and effectively enough, especially in a situation like this. Oh, I could maybe imagine one or two who would have gladly played a wannabe cop by having access to a real gun especially with a little bump in pay. But seriously, not one. Nope, not in a million years, snowflake – not without a little red cap on the tip of their barrels. Oh, who are we kidding? Even the white middle-class communities in my area rarely or easily pass simple operating levies needed to keep classes afloat. Heck, most folks around here don’t get really outraged until someone suggests cutting the football program.

I do think it’s highly more plausible that a teacher could over-react and shoot a disruptive student reaching for a cell phone (as if that’s never happened with trained professionals in the US). Or worse, be over-powered by some strong, impulsive, emotionally unstable, immature or psychologically compromised student in the classroom – placing everyone in immediate compromise.  Heck, who’s to say a teacher cooped up with a room full of rowdy ninth-graders all day might not go off the deep end themselves if given the access?

The main reasons we shouldn’t arm teachers are probably the same reasons we don’t routinely arm mall cops with anything more deadly than a radio. Like prison cells, I think the effective goal is to keep all firearms out of the populated area to begin with – if security and saving life are indeed what’s important.

Of course, we could assume that some, if not many, of these particular gun enthusiasts may suffer from mental defect, depression, anxiety disorders, or took too many recreational drugs, too many psychoactive drugs (or not enough psychoactive drugs). But some of these killings also seemed well planned over days, weeks, months, maybe even years. These gun enthusiasts were obviously not totally “out of it” to the point of not being able to think and plan. IDK, maybe all these multiple homicides were committed out of some immature, impulsive rage or inherited family temper/anger condition (combined with too many or not enough drugs). But what does seem certain, however, is that in every instance these particular massacres involved, well, …a gun – most often a legally purchased semi-automatic gun (and sometimes with a legally purchased bump-stock as in the Las Vegas massacre.)

Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with teaching our kids how to safely shoot or hunt, at any age, if you’re the responsible adult both supervising and securing the only keys to the gun locker and ammunition. But, just maybe, the kids shouldn’t have independent unsupervised access, or be able to purchase or possess an automatic or semi-automatic weapon until they are 21. That way, at least, a mature parent could take the legal responsibility and punishment if their “trained” kid has a mental or emotional break, seeks out the guns they’ve become intimately familiar with, and slaughters a bunch of innocent people. And I bet if, like automobiles, licensed gun owners had to carry mandatory high-risk liability insurance, the premiums and deductibles would be rated by age. Premiums could also be calculated by the capability of the gun (just like a high-performance sports car.) And, like auto insurance, would be substantially higher at 18 or 21 but drop significantly at 25. You know, just like a licensed driver owning a real car with either a manual or fully automatic transmission. (Because lots of people are killed by cars too, right?) That way when some citizen exercises their right to “go off their rocker”, for any reason, and shoots up their workplace before killing themselves, for example, the property owners and victims could at least get significant damages awarded quickly – maybe even by the close of next business day! (Imagine the creative Geico commercials for that coverage.)

I know, I know, “it’s not the gun that kills people”, but golly they sure seem to be awfully handy gadgets of choice if that’s the intended outcome.  Of course, that’s like saying “it’s not the abortion that kills millions of unborn babies…”. Why on earth make that illegal? Simple logic, right? But that’s probably a whole other post.

That’s like saying “it’s not the abortion that kills millions of unborn babies…”

Many are quick to obnoxiously, publicly, and loudly defend everyone’s 2nd amendment rights, the NRA, and youngster’s rights to guns without question. I get that. They’re passionate, it’s really important to them, they feel threatened, and they have every right to speak up and protest. What I don’t understand is that they are also some of the most obnoxiously cynical and vocal individuals about how our young adult generations, especially millennial and post-millennial/GenZ (those born in early 2000s), are immature, unmotivated, lazy, irresponsible, and even stupid – at least compared to when they were kids. So why the hell let these kids purchase guns while they are under 21 years old?

A reasonable age and competency requirement for fully & semi-automatic weapons, and high-capacity clips are not threats to any mature, American adult’s constitutional 2nd amendment rights in this country.  It’s just a common sense, starting point.

One thing is impossible to dispute. Aside from all the many other complex details that our post-modern, western culture can and should consider to help control this problem, none of these deadly shootings could have ever happened without a gun – often legally purchased by young, immature, and sometimes mentally compromised individuals. In each case, one could argue that they could have just as easily ILLEGALLY acquired a more powerful, fully automatic weapon.  But they didn’t. Instead, they choose to use what was legally available to them.  Had these weapons NOT been easily and legally available to 18-year-olds, it’s reasonable to assume they just might have chosen to use knives, smaller capacity firearms, or maybe reconsidered attempting their killing plan altogether.  And first-responders such as the deputy in Florida, may have had a better chance to neutralize the problem faster with minimal loss of innocent life.


Climbing the rock charts

Wow, I discovered that I’m ranked #2 in the Huron, Ohio Rock scene according to  (Actually it drifts between #2 and #14). Even though I have no album, sell no music online, and have not performed in about 25 years, It’s fun to know I a still somehow fit in the music business 😉  Stop by and check out a few of my experimental tracks.

Reverbnation – GLYonek The Bunkhouse

And check out the Facebook and Instagram page for my basement recording studio The Bunkhouse and become a fan.  (Maybe someday I’ll open up a merchandise site and sell t-shirts. LOL)

Facebook – Bunkhouse Audio

Instagram – Bunkhouse Audio

Is The Medium The Message? -part1

In 2007 I attend a conference in San Diego and became totally fascinated with one of the sessions on media and technology. Given today’s sociological and cultural climate, I began to think how some of these thoughts and ideas might explain recent events and behaviors.  At the time, I thought I was going to maybe learn about the newest and greatest projector and TV technologies.  Instead, I participated in a remarkable dialog on how we perceive information, how communications has changed over course of history, and how introducing new technologies often produce unanticipated results that reach far beyond the impact of the literal content.

I recall the presenter’s name was Shane Hipps, who wrote a fascinating book called The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture. Before becoming a pastor, Hipps was an executive for Porsche in the area of marketing and advertising. And although the discussion was directed primarily at church leaders, the ideas were a profound basis for how events and human behaviors can unexpectedly change each time a new technology or medium is introduced.  Much of the foundation principles and illustrations were taken from the writings of Marshall McLuhan, particularly from his 1964 book titled Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

I remember there where several topics that were particularly eye-opening and that literally changed the way I view and assess my surroundings ever since.  Over the course of the next several posts, I’ll try to briefly explore each one and consider if they have any relevance whatsoever to today’s current events.  If you have an interest or background in communications, particularly electronic media, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. These will include:

  • Definition of Media (the plural of medium) – may not be what you think.
  • Oral and written cultures.
  • How a medium progresses/expands, saturates and implodes.
  • What happens when a new communication technology is introduced.
  • How we perceive and experience printed information vs. video information vs. other forms of technology.
  • The introduction of the printing press technology to the world.
  • Oral/tribal, Literate/private and the evolution of the “global village”


Well That’s That

“Well That’s That” is a slightly satirical look at ourselves and what’s next. It’s about living and what we’re going to make of it. Ultimately, it’s about in who and what you personally place your hope and trust. The song is not in any way a political statement for or against one candidate or another, one party or another, or one issue or another. Not even close. Regardless of if and how we may have voted, regardless of who lives in the white house, we each have an individual  opportunity to make a difference every day. Long after we cast a vote, we put on our shoes each day and walk out into an uncertain life deciding how and if we will love better, build better relationships, care more for our spouses and our families, our neighbors, others in need, and those different than ourselves. We choose if we live in fear of things we don’t understand, or simply can’t control – each day we decide if our words will lift others up or tear others down. Now we get to pick up and move on just as we did yesterday, or a year ago, or 10 years ago, and deal with all the things being human throws our way. It’s a brand new day.


The Spirit of Poverty

Sending meaningful financial and human resources to faraway places like a small Batwa village in Burundi, Africa not only makes us feel good – it also changes us.  I’ve twice now visited this, one of the poorest places in the world.  Over the past three years I’ve come to better understand myself, my views on poverty, love and grace, how I listen to others, and how I can better impact my local community.  In addition to meeting some immediate physical needs, these outreach efforts can bring dignity, peace, hope and spiritual healing to those we partner with. After three years serving our friends in Burundi, I’ve learned that despite severe material poverty, there exists a deeper “spirit of poverty”.  The 140 families in the village of Bugenuzi, (our friends with whom we’ve committed to partner and journey with) share something very profound with you and me.  They long for healed relationships. They long to know God. They long for healthier marriages, dignity and trust from others, a future and purpose for their children, peace, security, to trust and be trusted, to be understood and respected – to love and be loved.  They cry and hurt over the exact same things we do here in the west. And in that way we all share in the same spirit of poverty. In fact it has little to do with material wealth or lack thereof. Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness.  Sharing the Good News and being Jesus to others is a universal calling whether we do it locally, regionally, or globally.

Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness. 


Note: The Chapel partners closely with an amazing organization called Harvest Initiatives who are committed to providing holistic care to people and training to indigenous leaders in Burundi, Africa. As of August 2016, the Chapel has sent three teams to assist with building houses, help train pastors and distribute food to children and adults. But it’s Harvest Initiatives that nurture vision and strategy, maintain staff, and provide daily developmental support in Bugenuzi. In 2012 and 2013 our village experienced an average of 72 deaths per year (6/month) of children under five due to lack of nutrition and basic medical attention. burundi-3  As a result of our partnership with Harvest Initiatives, there was only one child death in 2015 and none so far in 2016.  The long term strategy is to nurture and develop a self-sustaining community where outside aid and resources are no longer necessary. Generosity changes everything!

So how do you define poverty?

In a recent meeting I was challenged to think about how I view poverty.  So I thought I’d throw it out to you to weigh in on.  What is poverty?  What do you think of when you think of someone in poverty?  What do you think are the characteristics of individuals or communities experiencing poverty?

Heading Back to Africa

Today I’m very excited (and a little overwhelmed) to find myself making preparations to return again to Burundi, Africa in late August.

Initially, I wasn’t planning on going back this year, but the opportunity arose and some recent developments cleared the way for me to consider joining this 2016 team.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to participate in a team mission to a Ba-twa village of Bugenyuzi.  (Google Burundi Africa and the Ba-twa)  here to view the video we produced in 2013 and learn more about this amazing villageIt was kind of an exploratory mission to help build shelters, teach scripture, serve children, and was our church’s first introduction to the people and to learn how we might better serve them over a longer term.

Since then my church, The Chapel, has partnered with an organization in Burundi called Harvest Initiatives.  Together we coordinate various support and efforts exclusively for this village.  Developments including advances in food security for young children, ongoing construction of shelters by the villagers, education and health/ hygiene training have all flourished within the context of love and sharing of the Gospel.

Similar to our first visit, one of my responsibilities is to film and bring back updates and stories. In addition to helping with construction of shelters, my desire is to return with more than just images of poverty.  My goal is to capture life stories of joy, struggles, growth, hopes and dreams as spoken by the actual voices as we look into the faces and eyes of our friends on the other side of the world. My heart is to help you get to know these souls as more than just some distant people in great need.

Most importantly I like to ask you to please be praying for our team of 8.  For our safety, discernment, and most of all that we reflect God in all that we say and do. And that we bring the love and hope of Christ to these wonderful friends.

And, if you feel led to financially assist me and our team, you can do so by returning the bottom portion of  This pdf form  with a check for any amount made out to The Chapel(I know the due date says June 20, but anytime within the next 2-3 weeks would still be very helpful.)  Mail to: The Chapel 4444 Galloway Road, Sandusky, Ohio 44870.

Please join me on this journey and check back for updates and monitor our progress in August.



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