This is a story about an international couple raising and home educating three young boys on a small island in Japan, half living in buses, engaged in organic, self-sufficient farming in the middle of a mountain forest while dealing with climate, cultural, and personal challenges. These pages are about pretty much anything and everything all guided by our family motto, Taking Chances, Making Changes, Being Happy. Thank you very much for joining us on our ongoing crazy adventure.

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National Rifle Association

Go to the website of the National Rifle Association, and this is what you will read at the bottom of their home page:

The National Rifle Association is America's longest-standing civil rights organization. Together with our more than five million members, we're proud defenders of history's patriots and diligent protectors of the Second Amendment.

Let’s analyze those statements.

Civil rights organization – This turns out to be a bit of a misnomer. The meaning of civil rights in its simplest form is, “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.” The NRA would be more accurate if they stated they were the longest-standing gun ownership rights organization.

Diligent protectors of the Second Amendment – Well, same as the NRA, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is antiquated, a section of a document written many years ago by men who were under a completely different set of circumstances. The Second Amendment is in dire need of being rewritten or deleted in its entirety.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Second Amendment, these are the words verbatim:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Justice Ginsberg so eloquently stated the following, while speaking in an interview on public radio station WNYC, when she called the Second Amendment "outdated," saying:

When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function ... If the Court had properly interpreted the Second Amendment, the Court would have said that amendment was very important when the nation was new; it gave a qualified right to keep and bear arms, but it was for one purpose only—and that was the purpose of having militiamen who were able to fight to preserve the nation.

The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is the people's right to possess armaments (arms) for their own defense, as described in the philosophical and political writings of Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, Machiavelli, the English Whigs and others.

Inclusion of this right in a written constitution is uncommon. In 1875, 17 percent of constitutions included a right to bear arms, yet, since the early twentieth century, "the proportion has been less than 10 percent and falling". In their historical survey and comparative analysis of constitutions dating back to 1789, Tom Ginsburg and colleagues "identified only 15 constitutions (in nine countries) that had ever included an explicit right to bear arms. Almost all of these constitutions have been in Latin America, and most were from the 19th century".

Generally, where modern constitutions refer to arms at all, the purpose is "to allow the government to regulate their use or to compel military service, not to provide a right to bear them". Constitutions which historically guaranteed a right to bear arms are those of Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua and the United States of America. Nearly all of Latin American examples were modeled on that of the United States. At present, out of the world’s nearly 200 constitutions, three still include a right to bear arms: Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States; of these three, only the United States does not include explicit restrictive conditions.
The Real NRA

With their basic mission statement lacking in validity (a nice sales pitch though), let's find out what the NRA really represents.

Picture - Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA.

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is an American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun rights. Founded in 1871, the group has informed its members about firearm-related bills since 1934, and it has directly lobbied for and against legislation since 1975.

Favorite Wayne LaPierre quote: "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

Hey, how about this as an option: "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to not give him a gun in the first place."
  • The National Rifle Association has been criticized by newspaper editorial boards, gun control and gun rights advocacy groups, political commentators, and politicians. Democrats and liberals frequently criticize the organization, as do Republicans and conservatives. The NRA's oldest organized critics include the gun control advocacy groups the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), and the Violence Policy Center (VPC). Twenty-first century groups include Everytown for Gun Safety (formerly Mayors Against Illegal Guns), Moms Demand Action, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.
  • In 1995, Wayne LaPierre wrote a fundraising letter describing federal agents as "jack-booted government thugs" who wear "Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms". Former president George H. W. Bush was so outraged by the letter that he resigned his NRA life membership.
  • In 2000, LaPierre said President Bill Clinton tolerated a certain amount of violence and killing to strengthen the case for gun control and to score points for his party. Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called it "really sick rhetoric, and it should be repudiated by anyone who hears it". In 2004, citing Democratic candidate John Kerry's history of authoring and supporting gun control legislation, LaPierre actively campaigned against the senator in the 2004 presidential elections.
  • In December 2008, The New York Times editorial board criticized the NRA's position, which it called false and misleading, on Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
  • In December 2012, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette board said the NRA spoke for gun makers, not gun owners.
  • In February 2013, USA Today editors criticized the NRA for flip-flopping on universal background checks for gun purchases.
  • In March 2014, the Washington Post criticized the NRA's interference in government research on gun violence, and both Post and Los Angeles Times editors criticized its opposition of Vivek Murthy for U.S. Surgeon General.
  • In 2011, the VPC's executive director, Josh Sugarmann, said: "Today's NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry. While the NRA portrays itself as protecting the 'freedom' of individual gun owners, it's actually working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to manufacture and sell virtually any weapon or accessory."
  • The NRA and some of its leaders were criticized in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called an online video created by the NRA and released after the Sandy Hook shooting "reprehensible" and said that it demeaned the organization. A senior lobbyist for the organization later characterized the video as "ill-advised".
Self Defense

The main argument of the NRA is Americans need to keep guns for self defense. Their argument continues to be invalid.

Picture - Visitors at a gun show in Houston.

Studies place the instances of guns used in personal defense at about 65,000 times per year. Between 1987 and 1990, McDowall et al. found that guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,615 times annually (258,460 times total over the whole period). This equated to two times out of 1,000 criminal incidents (0.2%) that occurred in this period, including criminal incidents where no guns were involved at all. For violent crimes, assault, robbery, and rape, guns were used 0.83% of the time in self-defense. Of the times that guns were used in self-defense, 71% of the crimes were committed by strangers, with the rest of the incidents evenly divided between offenders that were acquaintances or persons well known to the victim. In 28% of incidents where a gun was used for self-defense, victims fired the gun at the offender. In 20% of the self-defense incidents, the guns were used by police officers. During this same period, 1987 to 1990, there were 46,319 gun homicides, and the National Crime Victimization Survey estimated that 2,628,532 nonfatal crimes involving guns occurred.

The Congressional Research Service in 2009 estimated there were 310 million firearms in the U.S., not including weapons owned by the military. Of these, 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. In that same year, the Census bureau stated the population of people in the U.S. at 306 million.

Gun violence results in thousands of deaths and injuries in the United States annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, there were 73,505 nonfatal firearm injuries (23.23 per 100,000 U.S. citizens); 11,208 homicides (3.5 per 100,000); 21,175 suicides; 505 deaths due to accidental/negligent discharge of a firearm; and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with "undetermined intent", included in a total of 33,636 deaths due to "Injury by firearms", or 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Now What?

As a society, where do we go from here?

Picture - Federally supported gun violence intervention program.

Groups like the NRA, who promote gun ownership, and the people themselves who own guns, are taking humanity in the wrong direction. The ONLY PURPOSE FOR GUNS IS TO INJURE OR KILL, nothing more.

And leave it up to people to lower themselves to their darkest levels when they get depressed or stressed out. How many times did you listen to the news about some overworked postal employee (sorry guys), who one day snapped and ended up in a crowded restaurant with his semi-automatic rifle, and blew away a handful of people. Then the next day on the news they interview the neighbors who insist the shooter was "such a nice man" who always said hi. Even the thought of background checks or waiting periods is irrelevant. Any person is capable of any action at any time.

Think what a society would be like with no guns. No need to think very long. Simply take a look at a place like Japan where gun ownership is 100 percent illegal. Think how wonderful it is to walk along the streets, with a wallet full of cash, and not have any fear of being shot....even in a metropolitan city like Tokyo. The countryside is even safer, and filled with friendly, giving people. American society is filled with angry, frustrated, freaked out people, and the last thing you should be putting in their hands is the capability of brutally murdering a room full of innocent people.
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