Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

Of course, you can visit my website for more info about me, or feel free to email me anytime.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Another Day, Another Shooting

So the big story in the news this week is the Las Vegas shooting, in which a lone gunman heavily armed opened fire from an upper story room in the Mandalay Bay onto a crowd down below who were attending a country music concert. He killed 58 people, at least, with hundreds more injured. Yes, it was the worst shooting in U.S. history, beating out the Orlando one in June 2016 where 49 people died. And of course this has ignited all sorts of debates on social media and elsewhere over gun control and other things such as mental health care. I don't normally write about such pertinent issues on my personal blog, but you'll have to excuse this one aberration. Of course the online debates on this issue will probably die down shortly, as they always do, and life will go.

And nothing will change.

It's become such a regular occurrence in our society, that it's almost taken for granted when it happens. The response is not so much shock and horror anymore but rather a casual sort of "Oh no, not again." It reminds me of the falling potted plant in Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. If you have no clue what I'm referring to, go read a book. Go on. I'll wait.

I hate to have a cynical viewpoint, but I really think nothing will change in our society, and we will just have to accept that we live in a country where you might just get randomly mowed down by a crazy gunman (domestic terrorist is the term many use). I mean let's face it, ever since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago, in which 20 or so died, what has changed? Nothing, really. And if we're okay with elementary school children being casually murdered, what hope is there for the rest of us? Apparently it's okay for ordinary citizens to be armed to the teeth with automatic weapons that serve no purpose other than to kill lots of people, and quickly.

The problem lies in the ineffectiveness of our government. Congress is supposed to answer to the people, but really they answer to the NRA. And anytime anyone proposed any meaningful gun control legislation, it quickly gets mowed down under the guise of being an attack on the 2nd Amendment. And gun nuts proclaim, "They're trying to take our guns!". So, we can't have gun safety tests prior to gun ownership (like you take a driver's test before being given a license to drive). And God forbid if we deny mentally ill people the 'right' to own weapons. ISIL sympathizers? Well, you're on the no-fly list, but you can buy all the guns you want here. These and other things should be common sense, but they're not.

Our country has more guns than any other in the world. It's not even close. We lead both in numbers of guns (estimated to be 280-300 million) and guns per capita (nearly one for every man, woman, and child in America. The next closest? India, with less than 50 million guns and a population 3-4 times larger than ours. But hey, we need our guns. We need to be able to kill lots of people on a whim. It's our God-given right after all.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-gun. Not really. If people own rifles or handguns for hunting, sport, or the perceived need for protection, good for them. But mentally ill? Terrorist group sympathizers? People who are heavily medicated for one reason or another? Come on now, let's have some common sense. But I guess that's too much too ask. So, we'll just sit back, let nothing change, and wait for the next mass shooting. Hey, maybe it will set a new record for number of deaths. Meanwhile, folks argue that laws and legislation don't work, because criminals aren't going to follow the law. But weren't most of these mass shooters otherwise basically law-abiding citizens before they went on their rampages? Did many of them even have prior criminal records? And didn't they obtain their guns through legal means? Who's to say what they would have got their hands on or not if it wasn't so easy - and legal - to get these high powered killing machines.

Maybe we need to try SOMETHING to make a change. And actually commit to it, instead of just waving it away by saying it won't work. It's better than doing nothing, which is what we have been doing. And it's definitely not working.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Is Here

Well here we are in the fall of 2017 already. It's October 2, Monday, and it's hard to believe so much of the years has gone by already. When was the last time I wrote, back in May? Before the summer? Yikes.

Well we had a good family summer trip to England. Mostly we visited family in Bristol, which is quite a nice little college town along a waterway. We spent the last three days of our trip in London, in order to be touristy, but honestly I think I would have enjoyed just staying in Bristol the whole time. Not to mention, three nights of hotels in London was more expensive than six nights in Bristol. And although they were both Travelodges, the Bristol one was nicer and roomier. Plus I made the mistake of not really planning anything in London. We were just going to play by ear and see where the mood takes us. Which would have been great, except we had a 3 year old toddler along. Not a good idea to not plan anything when those are your parameters. Still, we visited the Museum of London (which I highly recommend) and saw some of the original walls of London dating back to Roman times. And I got to see Book of Mormon on our last night, so that was pretty cool. But all vacations must end, and we came back to California to melt in the 100+ degree temperatures.

Thank God it's fall now. So it's only in the mid-80s...

But our fall semester is off and running. We had a slow start concert-wise, but this week there's three student recitals, a wind ensemble concert, a jazz combos recital, and a violin studio recital. Holy crap - 6 concerts in one week! Well, story of our lives here at Sac State. News flash - we're going to try something new and experimental in the spring: Saturday student recitals. Eek! I must be crazy. You'd think after 18 years, I'd give up trying to be innovative and just focus on keeping the ship afloat. Silly me.

I went bowling yesterday on a man-date. Anyone that knows me...oh wait, who really knows me? Well what I was going to say is, it's extremely, extremely rare for me to fraternize with what could be considered 'friends'. We introverts don't do that much. Or maybe it's just me. In any case, three games plus a plethora of beer and some suspiciously good (for a bowling alley) cheese fries, and I actually did much better than I had in a long time. I bowled a 171, 163 and 212. Best three game set I've had since I used to bowl in junior leagues in high school. You know, 25 years ago. A quarter of a century.

When did I get so old??

Well anyway, it's almost time to go pick Connor up from his grandparents house, and bring him back to Sac State so he can help me setup for tonight's violin studio recital. Then it's back home to the normal clockwork pattern of a 6:30pm bath, 7pm bedtime, and then time to watch some quality programming on TV. Incidentally, I recently finished watching the series Parks & Recreation. This month's selection: A Handmaid's Tale. Really deep, dystopian drama-type stuff there. More later...if I get around to writing again...