the spirit of the law #bumpstock

bumpThe horrific shooting in Las Vegas has shaken all rational people to the core.  To imagine the atrocity experienced by the concert goers under attack is the stuff of nightmares.  I recall the scene from Full Metal Jacket as the insane machine gunner murders innocent civilians while flying in a helicopter.

It has been reported that the gunman held an arsenal of weapons in his hotel room.  The primary firearms used seem to have been long arms and assault rifles.

Assault rifles in and of themselves are not typically more dangerous than their peer civilian models.  One can purchase a rifle in .223 with a wooden stock that is not visually menacing but it is equally lethal.  However, those who purchase the military replicas sometimes do so for the plethora of customization marketed to those weapon owners.

The machismo factor in firing an AR-15 may be different to some folks compared to shooting a single shot bolt action .223.  The rounds are equally lethal and the AR is designed to shoot a hell of a lot more of them at once.

The marketplace caters to those who want to look like military but usually aren’t.  Red dot laser scopes, high capacity magazines, tripods and bumpstocks can double the price of the initial gun purchase.

So what is a bumpstock you may ask and why should they be illegal immediately?  It is a device the uses the recoil of a rifle to automatically load the next round into the firing chamber while never removing the finger from the trigger.  In a typical semi automatic rifle setup, a round is only fired upon each pull of the trigger.  While using a bumpstock, the finger may stay depressed and firing continues until you run out of ammo, effectively turning the device into a machine gun (which by and large are illegal).

Trigger pulls on a semi auto may reach 2-3 per second, but audio analysis in Las Vegas show firing rates of 10 rounds per second which tripled the kill rate.

The laws are pretty clear that with the exception of a few rare instances, machine guns are illegal in the United States.  Any attempt to physically alter the firearm to make it automatic is also an offense.  How is it that bump stocks are legal?

Congress must act to remove this threat with minimal debate.  Gun control is a divisive issue in America and I understand both sides talking points.  However, the existence of a device that snubs its nose at the spirit of an existing law should be outlawed itself.

I eagerly await the NRA response.


teaching #mindfulness as a parent

if I had to summarize my parenting goals in one word it would be instilling “mindfulness” in my children.

mindfulness is a state of mind.  it is a process and attitude.  it is caring and feeling.  it is planning and executing.  it is cleaning and organizing.  it is maintaining a sense of awareness and thinking about your surroundings, obligations, and actions.

be mindful and straighten the room.  close the drawers, make the bed, pick up the dirty clothes.

be mindful when talking to friends.  don’t gossip. be kind. be inclusive.  be empathetic.  be supportive.  be a listener.  be reliable

be mindful with distractions.  phones are not evil, but overuse is.  minimize video games.  have a purpose while online.  don’t get sucked into rabbit holes and youtube traps.

be mindful with aspirations.  write down goals.  make a plan. get mentoring and tutoring.  ask for help.  give help.

be mindful with school. plan ahead. don’t procrastinate. turn free time into work time when needed. don’t take the easy way out. join clubs. try something new.

be mindful with possessions.  take care of your clothes.  be gentle with your electronics.  don’t thrown things. don’t lose things.

be mindful in your routine.  pack your bag the night before. put your papers away. lay out your clothes. give your self time.  don’t expect everything to go perfectly to make your bus on time.

the list will continue to grow in time.  but in all cases, simply slowing down and applying some level of mindfulness and thought to their lives will help my children become better people.

my @tompetty moment

I was skiing in Colorado with my family and we took a day trip to Beaver Creek.  I wasn’t expecting huge crowds but the parking lots were all packed.  Every lot we tried to access was already full and closed for the day.

Eventually we were directed to a lot pretty far away from the base called Rodeo Lot.  You could tell by the fencing and chutes, that there were actual rodeos held here in warmer weather.

We unpacked the car and put on our boots for the walk to the bus stop close by.

For me, getting to the base area is the most stressful part of the skiing experience.  My kids still need help with their boots but at least they are old enough to carry their own gear (assuming they don’t forget anything or drop anything along the way.)  The bus can be very hot as you sweat under the layers of clothing.  You may feel cramped if the bus is full and the smell, well…….

A few moments into the 10 minute bus ride to the base, Free Falling by Tom Petty came on the radio.  It started slowly as one or two people started quietly singing the lyrics along and grew louder and louder until the whole bus had joined in.

It was such a magical start to the day and I will never forget it.

I’ve been to a couple of Petty concerts and had such a great time.  His music will live on forever just as my memory of that bus ride at Beaver Creek, CO.

how do you carry on? #lasvegas

While watching the news coverage from Las Vegas today I thought about our confrontation with pain and despair.   In my binary mind I think we really have two choices.

Give in and go down a road of misery and contempt.


Pull those close to you inward and be kind to any and all people you interact with.

When you feel overwhelmed in a world that seems to be sinking fast, recall the words of Mohandas Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Fight evil with kindness.

Fight apathy with empathy.

Fight inaction with advocacy.

Don’t give in.  Be the change.




@joerogan laughter is infectious

@joerogan is my favorite podcast.  Joe is incredibly well read, smart, and entertaining.  His guests come from a wide swath of backgrounds and Joe is able to build rapport with all of them.  His guests may include MMA fighters, scientists, or comedians.  Joe is always true to himself and never changes who he is based upon whom he is talking to.

My favorite part of the show is when Joe finds something funny and belts our the most infectious laugh.  I find myself laughing at his laughter.  I might be walking my dog while listening and passers by give me odd looks as I belly laugh along with the show.

In those moments, I can actually feel chemical changes in my body.  I feel happier and lighter.  I appreciate it Joe, and thanks for the lift.

take the job and then figure it out.

I’ve heard it said more than once that if you get offered a job but aren’t sure you are qualified, just take it and figure it out as fast as you can.

I have recently followed this advice by taking on a part time technology contract position in which I have little experience to speak of.  However, the people I work with have been encouraging as they have helped educate me in technologies I had literally never used before.

The more often I work, the more I learn and feel slightly more competent every day.  I watch training videos in my free time and am in the process of installing some VMWare tools to learn even faster.

I must admit that the first few days were wrought with anxiety as I thought people would see through my confident exterior.  My face was tired from the constant clenching of my jaw and my fingernails were chewed down to the skin.  Thankfully each day has gotten easier and I will eventually be competent in my role.

I wouldn’t say I am in the “fake it till you make it” camp, but sometimes sitting back, being quiet, and searching for information prior to asking for it can be a decent strategy for a new job.


@ThisIsSethsBlog for inspiration

I just found Seth Godin’s work online

Aside from the content, the thing that amazes me the most about Seth’s writing is that he commits to publishing every day.  I don’t yet know if he writes every day or manages to bang out 5 in one day and save them for the rest of the week.  However, the dedication to daily publishing is quite inspiring.

When I started my blog it was a spin off of some professional writing I was doing on LinkedIn.  @blogsofstuff was focused on personal finance, life hacking, and anything of interest to me at that time.  As the name implies, it was full of “stuff”.

Sometimes I would go weeks without writing.  I always felt that my posts had to be really unique and mind blowing to be worth while.  I am learning that consistency may be the better approach.  There is no need to create a masterpiece 3 page blog every time I write.  Sometimes a few paragraphs on a more regular basis will yield better traffic and interest.  At the very least, it will force me to sit down and produce.

As all of the experts say, “done is better than perfect.”