Colorado Shooting and the Ongoing Gun Control Debates

The Colorado theater shooting spree last night will no doubt get us all buzzing again about the relative merits of changing the laws about guns.    I’m not holding my breath on solutions because in my view and as usual neither side has any interest in the facts and the solutions, they simply want to have “their way”.    This is unfortunate because 1. We do have major gun problems in the USA  and 2.  They can’t be be solved by strict gun control legislation because most of the problems are from law breakers not law abiders and Americans historically will not tolerate the kinds of gun control we see in many other countries.    More about US History.

The media’s usual approach will be to showcase the two hard core lobby types – the NRA carping about guns not killing people and the gun controllers carping about how we’ve got a shooting gallery out there.

What’s the solution here?

I’d suggest that, as with many problems, we need less rules but more transparency.     The right to bear arms is pretty clear in the constitution and even without powerful lobbies many people will fight hard to maintain that right.    That’s fine, but they should also be willing to increase the level of transparency in the systems to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

The Gun show loophole problems and the severe lack of better gun purchase restrictions and tracking could be solved in *days* with cheap technologies.       Gun advocates need to stop resisting the types of rules that allow law enforcement to track the bad guys and to monitor purchases and distribution of guns.   The argument that these tools will eventually be used to deprive the good guys of their guns is weak, as evidenced by about 250 years of strong gun rights in the USA.

Gun control advocates need to back off and stop working to ban guns.   This won’t happen – ever – in the USA, and as with a lot of such efforts their work is counterproductive, giving the overzealous NRA lots of meaty anti gun material to “shoot down” in the national debates.

Meanwhile, all of us, and especially gun enthusiasts,  have an obligation to stop worrying so much about their rights that have been  well-protected for centuries, and start thinking a LOT MORE about how to reduce over 12,000 gun homicides per year in the USA*

* 2007 stats from Wikipedia:  31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007.  About 17,300 were suicides, about  12,600 homicides.  

More recent data from the Government Bureau of … wait for it …. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms :

Cool vs Effective – Rant of the Day

Hey, I’m into cool stuff as much as the next person.  Some would say I’m into cool stuff even more than the *average Joe* since I spend a lot of time writing about technology and ideas, attending tech conferences, and that sort of cool stuff.

BUT I want to put in a word for the much greater value of pragmatic down in the dirt ditch digging get ‘er done stuff.    Far, far, FAR too often people confuse “cool” with “effective”, “productive”, or “meaningful”.   

Sure there is some cross over, as with the amazing helpfulness of the internet in getting information.   The internet in general is both cool AND effective.   Smart Phones too, though in my opinion many people mistake cool applications as helpful in life when they are simply helping them waste time doing meaningless things.   Nothing WRONG with doing meaningless things but it’s important not to confuse that with real productivity, which is the main reason we can … afford to buy the cool stuff.

What happened to all my old clever ranting blog stuff?

I sure miss blogging here at JoeDuck, where I used to rant, rave, or just observe the world.  That’s what makes blogging so much fun but I’ve let other things get in the way of that too much lately.

What could I be doing that’s more important than personal blogging? We are remodelling a large old house for my son that we bought together and that’s taking a lot of time, plus I have other real estate projects that I can’t seem to keep in good order.   A large colony of bees took over a vacant house I had and getting them boxed up has  been an interesting adventure – not even sure my bee guy is still paying attention after 3 weeks though the bees seem to be slowly making their way into his box.

The big new online project is RETIRE USA, an excellent site about retirement with a super retirement blog .  That project took a long time to launch but I think we are doing something few others have done, which is create a large group of dedicated retirement bloggers who have expertise in many retirement related areas.   We recently qualified to be considered for a very substantial grant from Chase / Livingsocial and if we get that I think the site could take off quickly.   We are seeing some good traffic growth now as we slowly rise in the ranks for retirement related searches, and I’m hoping my “white hat” SEO skills are up to the task of making that work.

Speaking of SEO, I’ll be reporting LIVE in August from SES San Francisco, one of the world’s top Search Engine Marketing conferences.   Most of that coverage will be over at Technology Report where we used to cover SES but have not for several years.  It’ll be fun to get back into the Search Engine Optimization scene and see what folks are talking about now.   Social media has shaken things up a bit, and in my view Google has become much more conservative ranking websites, assuming (correctly) that almost all new websites are spam and therefore looking for “big signals” to allow new sites to rank well for valuable terms.   This adds yet another burden to new websites, especially those that seek valuable niche markets.   I think it helps old established sites such as our US History site which has been enjoying substantial traffic for some time.   That site was established many years ago and remains one of the top resources for US history information.    There’s a US History blog there although I have not been updating it regularly enough, working instead on other blogs like Travel and History  and a bit on my QuickAid Airport Directory site and blog.   Another project that needs attention is the website which has an old Airport Codes database.   That one’s acting up a bit and not showing Google ads for some reason – perhaps a fluke or perhaps it is too similar to QuickAid Airport Directory.

Another old site I want to restore to former glory (well, just restore to some level of coherence) is Highways.TV.   The concept there was really neat – assemble highway camera and road report information all over the world into one “easy to navigate” site.    I think that function has in some ways been replaced by mobile applications, Google Traffic, etc, but there’s got to be some room for a site that helps users navigate the many rats nests of state travel sites, few of which are well integrated into other information sources or easy to navigate.   State highway departments have enormous access to information and resources and put some of this information online but the bureaucracy prevents the levels of cooperation needed to do the obvious and link all these together so travelers don’t have to switch sites and navigation when they cross state lines.

Some would say I should stop trying to manage my huge online menagerie of growing, dying, and partly developed sites, but for those folks I have this to say:

“I cannot BELIEVE you actually read this post to the end – I owe you a cup of coffee and much shorter blog posts in the future”