Monthly Archives: January 2013

Legislating Insanity

Legislating Insanity

The heated debate over gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook event has left me nothing short of bewildered.  See, I am not a “gun person”.  I am not an “anti-gun” person.  I have fired guns, I respect guns, and I understand the reasons for guns.  I don’t own any, because I don’t see a need to.  I don’t hunt, I don’t target shoot, and my personal protection is entrusted to a combined 300 lbs. of dog.

I don’t know much about different types of guns.  I don’t clearly understand the definitions of “assault weapons”, or which ammunition is the most destructive.  In conversation with friends and acquaintances, this lack of knowledge seems to define me as naïve, ignorant, moronic, or a card carrying Democrat.  I’m none of those things, I just have never had an interest in guns.

I do have concern over massacres happening in our schools and malls and movie theaters and workplaces.  Like everyone, I hope there is a way to prevent, or at least minimize, these horrendous acts.  I realize that nothing is foolproof, and that evil and/or unstable people will always pose a risk to others.

One thing I’ve learned about this gun issue is that each side is passionate about it.  I am having a difficult time sorting out facts from hype.  I suppose the good news about being the ignorant one on the issue is that I am forced to fact check for myself.  So far, my verification efforts have given me only a few solid pieces of data:

  • No one is trying to outlaw firearms entirely;
  • Most gun enthusiasts are responsible, educated, and cautious people;
  • Hitler never outlawed guns, contrary to the many emails I receive warning me about history repeating itself;
  • “No guns” does not equal “no violence”; and
  • Mentally unstable people don’t have a tattoo on their forehead identifying themselves as such, making it impossible to keep weapons out of their hands.

So, my attempt at understanding the issues has left me with more questions than answers.

Until I thought about Pitbulls.  Then it all made sense.

What I lack in firearm knowledge, I make up for in canine knowledge.  Therefore, when certain governing bodies began passing bans on pitbull ownership, I had an opinion.  I had quite a passionate opinion. My opinion was that people who supported the ban were naïve, ignorant, moronic, or a card carrying PETA member.

The similarities between the issues are pretty intriguing once you stop to think about it.

Innocent people, including small children, were being mauled or killed at a sickeningly increasing rate by dogs identified as pitbulls.  Like everyone, I was horrified at each story of a dog attack; but never, not once, did I blame the dogs.  I blamed the owners for every single circumstance.  Responsible owners kept their dogs safely contained.  Responsible owners trained their dogs.  Responsible owners socialized their dogs, and would never tolerate an animal showing aggression toward a human.  Responsible owners never left small children unattended with a dog.

Forget that there is no solid definition of a “pitbull”, it seemed that any dog with a short muzzle was suddenly a confirmed man-eater.  People whom I knew to be intelligent could not recognize the fact that owners of the dogs were the issue, not the dogs themselves.  I tried to wrap my head around reasonable people thinking they were safer by abolishing a breed of dog.  When I asked people what would happen when reprehensible humans transitioned from “pitbull” owners to Brazilian Mastiff owners or Akita owners, they responded with false and disjointed facts about the superior bite force of a “pitbull”.  People who didn’t even know what qualified as a “pitbull” were authoritatively stating that these monsters had the same PSI bite force as a lion.  I was incredulous….and livid that fear mongering and stupidity were actually resulting in breed bans being passed in community after community.

At the time, I was the proud owner of a beautiful American Staffordshire Terrier, a noble breed that has played a major role in creating the mixed dogs called “Pitbulls”.  Her official name was Lady Harlequin Snortalot, because she was elegant in appearance, intelligent in behavior, intimidating as a protector, and a big bouncy goofball of a dog.  We called her Harley.  She was a sweet companion, and totally devoted to our 2 year old granddaughter.  Yet, people were immediately terrified of her when they would see us walking.  Her tail would wag as a child approached, only to have a frantic adult practically dislocate the child’s shoulder pulling them away.

To me, it was so very plain to see that the breed wasn’t at fault, and that by banning the breed nothing would be accomplished.  Bad people would begin gravitating to another “badass” dog, mistreat them, misuse them, breed them, and so on and so forth.  Instead, why not strictly enforce existing laws about pets running loose?  Why not make the owners financially and criminally liable for damage done by their dog?  Why not  come down hard on animal abuse, which is absolutely in existence before any animal becomes vicious?

In other words, why not use common sense instead of knee jerk mob mentality?

So, I don’t know much about guns, but if I replace “guns” with “pitbulls”, I have a much clearer picture of the situation.

Guns are not the danger.  People are the danger.  Once again, it’s time for common sense.

Lady Harlequin Snortalot



I have said many times that I’m most exceptional at being average.   I’m not artistic, brilliant, beautiful, athletic, comedic or creative.  I’d always wanted to be one of those people who were born to do something, who literally glowed with some God given talent.  Alas, it was not to be.


Over time, I realized that I wanted my legacy to be as a devoted wife, mother, and friend.  Divorce threw me off track for the devoted wife award, but I’m doing better with this marriage.  Never give up!  My children all went through points in their life when they loathed me, so I’ve never been overly confident that I was going to be a maternal legend either.  As for friends, well, I’m not what would be described as “social”, so it’s a relationship I have with only a small handful of people.  To top it off, I get busy and tend to not stay in touch with them for stretches of time.  To sum it up, I’m…..average on good days, and slightly below the rest of the time.


So it’s especially sweet when I get a reminder that despite my lack of super powers, I have raised three exceptional children.  I had one of those reminders this week, and it makes me swell up with pride that I had something to do with making these people who they are.


My oldest daughter has had a rough year, and that’s an understatement.  With 4 children in a single paycheck home, for years she’s had to pinch pennies and do without things that most consider necessities.  In July, her husband was in a devastating auto accident.  That left her with 4 children, huge medical bills (the other motorist was significantly under-insured), a wheelchair bound husband, a totaled car, and no paychecks.  Friends and family have tried to assist when possible, but there’s just no way to make it easy.


Last week, they were able to get a replacement vehicle with the insurance funds.  Thank heavens, that was one less thing to worry about.  I would have breathed a sigh of relief over having 2 cars again, but she didn’t.  After 6 months of being a one-car family, she realized they could do without a second vehicle.  Rather than sell it (because there’s still no paycheck, her husband is likely out of work for at least a few more months), she cleaned it up and gave it to someone in the family that didn’t have a vehicle.  This woman, who doesn’t have 2 nickels to rub together, gave away a perfectly functional, valuable vehicle. She did it happily, and without any expectation of anything in return.


It was a reminder to me that all 3 of my children are “that type”: generous, sometimes to a fault, thoughtful, and genuinely kind.  They do their good deeds quietly, anonymously when possible, without fanfare or notice.  They’re also sarcastic, in-your-face tough love givers, and occasionally knuckleheads.  The sarcastic knucklehead parts most definitely come from me.


I have witnessed my youngest daughter give someone else her last dollar, literally.  She has skipped meals to feed other people’s children.  She’s given away furniture, jewelry, clothes….pretty much anything she has, if someone else needs it, she jumps at the chance to provide it.  Children are drawn to her like she’s a female Santa Claus; she just connects with them and they love her.  She has spent the majority of her New Year’s Eves with a houseful of kids so that her friends can go out and celebrate.


My son, who works his second full time job (concurrently) as a server in a restaurant, has worked many shifts with no money to show for it.  However, on the nights that have been good to him, but not to someone else, he regularly slips some money to the person who had the cheap tables that night.  He pays for cabs for bar customers that have had one too many.  He picks up shifts for others when they have sick children at home, even if that means he’ll be working 15 days straight without a day off.  He is never too busy to help anyone who needs a ride home, help moving, or taking care of his Mom’s dogs when she’s away.  With all that, he still remembers to bring his wife flowers or surprise her with a night out whenever he can.


I’ve finally found the one thing that has made me exceptional:  I gave birth to three of the most incredible people I know.  Not such a shabby legacy after all.

My clan

Balsamic Reduction Glazed Cod Loins

Balsamic Reduction Glazed Cod Loins

I revised this recipe a bit from one I found on Pinterest.  It meets criteria:  1) sugar levels are fine for my husband; 2) calorie count is great for me; and 3) it’s fresh and good!  I served it with fresh sweet potato fries (baked in the oven) and cherry tomatoes.

4 Cod Loins
2 TBSP. Balsamic Reduction
4 TBSP Fresh Basil Sliced
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Salt & Pepper cod loins and bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Brush on balsamic glaze and return to oven for 10 minutes or so or until fish flakes.  (This will depend heavily on how thick the loins are; if you’re using fillets instead, watch closely so the fish doesn’t overcook.)

Balsamic Glazed Cod

Balsamic Glazed Cod

Remove from oven, baste with more balsamic reduction.  Sprinkle with fresh basil.