Orlando tragedy, gun control, and radical Islam

Jun 16, 2016 by

The radical Islam terrorist attack in Orlando has once again brought the topics of gun control and radical Islam to the national debate. Adding fuel to the furor is the fact that the site of the terrorism was a gay nightclub. This adds homophobia to the debate along with Islamophobia and the second amendment. Sadly, the last 8 years under President Obama has done little to bring clarity to any of these issues. In fact, the various positions on these topics have grown further apart, rather than heading towards some form of consensus.

What is lamentably apparent, especially on social media like Twitter, is the knee jerk jump to conclusions along with the immediate use of the tragedy to promote a particular political agenda or other world viewpoint. In too many cases it is all to apparent that there is little real anguish or grief for the horrendous loss of life. In fact often the first comments posted are immediate references to the NRA, gun control, homophobia, and how fill-in-the-blank needs to be done now to end the senseless slaughter. If my pessimism and dim view of the human condition are troubling, believe me when I say they trouble me as well. I have lived to see the citizens of our country become increasingly divided over far too many issues.

The sad truth is, there are no simple one step answers to gun violence, radical Islamic terrorism, homophobia, or Islamophobia. That should be readily apparent to anyone in light of the fact that none of these issues are simple in nature or origin. I am not going to go into detail on what I think should or can be done to address any of these issues. I am neither an expert on any of them nor do I have the time to address such complicated issues in a simple post.

What I will say is that jumping on tragedies like this and using them to call for the death of the NRA, taking away the rights of lawful citizens to own firearms, blaming Christians for homophobia, calling for all Muslims to be deported or banned from coming into the country, etc., etc., etc., are not legitimate or even rational answers to any of these issues. What needs to occur is rational, honest, civil debate and national discourse. Peoples individual rights and viewpoints need to be acknowledged during the course of this discourse. The rule of law as well as the Constitution of this great country need to be upheld. There can be no room for self-righteous anger, hatred, and intolerance.

Nothing will be resolved in 140 characters on Twitter or in a Facebook post. Communities, churches, local, state, and national government should focus on these problems and try to discern practical answers that can address these issues while still respecting the Constitution, existing laws, and the rights and freedoms of every citizen. It can and has to be done.

 

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Getting Old

Apr 13, 2016 by

I have always been fascinated by time. Time is one of the few things that have been equally allocated to all people. Everyone has 24 hours in a day to use as they can or desire. Money or power won’t add one minute to the day. The important thing about time is that you not waste it. No one knows the time that is allotted to them. Of course, the perceived value of time differs depending on where you are in your timeline. The young have a different awareness of time and its finite number than do the elderly.

When I was young, time was not on my mind. The future seemed endless. Death seemed something that was not applicable to me. I felt no pressing need to spend my time wisely. Now, at age 67 time has a new urgency to it. I am all to aware that my allotted portion on this earth is running out. The value of my time has become very important to me. Everything I contemplate has to take time into account now. The inevitability of death has become very clear.

I do not fear death, but I do fear wasting what time I have left to me. I have given up many things that were once deemed of value in my life as I now weigh whether what time I have left would be better spend on something else. Is this a good thing to do? I’m not sure. I just know that I value some things now that as a younger me I would not have valued so much. People always say things like if I had know I would have lived this long I would have done things differently. Is that really true? Is that a consequence of not valuing time as much when we were young?  So many questions.

It has been said that old people are really young people trapped in an old body. There is some truth to that I think. I know that mentally I never really thought of myself as old until I reached about 60. Now, when I look in the mirror, the person that is looking back is not the person I think I am. It is a stranger, an unwelcome one. The wrinkled skin, thinned hair, pudgy face belong to my Grandparents, not me. I look at photos of me in my youth and I think, where did he go? Why isn’t that what I see in the mirror in the morning?

But getting old is part of life and the most you can do is fight it is by doing all the things you can to stay young physically and mentally. But eventually, time wins out. You suddenly realize that you are the old man you never thought you would be. But it’s really not that bad a thing now is it? I mean, the alternative is even less desirable. Well, that is enough mental wandering for one day. I hope you all have a Blessed day. And don’t forget to spend your time wisely. It is your most valuable commodity.

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The State of the Union

Mar 28, 2016 by

state-of-the-union-historyNo, I am not the President of the United States. Nevertheless I feel compelled to present my own State of the Union, as I have never been accused of being introverted. The government has its take on the state of our country while the citizens of this great nation have their own. Seldom are the two in agreement on anything. The government seems to see things through rose colored glasses, which is what frequently happens when you are basically critiquing yourself. The citizens however, are critiquing those whom they voted as representatives for their interests. Things tend to be seen much more clearly from the perspective of the citizen as the state of the union is in reality about the state of us, the citizens.

Let me start with the 500 pound gorilla in the house, the economy. The President will present all sorts of statistics that demonstrate how well the economy is doing under his wonderful leadership. Has there ever been a President who painted himself as anything other than a genius when it comes to the economy? I am not an economist, I can’t easily counter with facts the claims made about the economy when statistics, presented as facts, are as tenuous as the wind. But I do know what I see, hear, and experience. What I see is 11 stores shuttered in the local mall I shop at. I see other upscale stores replaced with moon golf and Red Dragon martial arts venues. What I hear is the lady who rents from a friend of mine being unable to find steady work as a painter and having to move because she cannot pay the rent. What I experience is the young lady who is my Bible study class telling me she is desperate to find a job, any job, and yet is unable to do so. What I experience is the unbelievable cost to feed a family, pay the utilities, and pay my taxes. These events tell me that the economy is not in the state that the President says it is in, statistics be damned.

As bad as the economy may be, the moral state of our union is much more troubling. The rancor, divisiveness, intolerance, and apathy that is the hallmark of society today is far removed from what it was when I was a child. You can see this in the elections that are currently taking place across our country. Again, while politics has never been played out in a completely civil manner, the degree to which civility in politics has taken a nosedive is stunning. This decline in civility can be seen in every other aspect of our society. Racial tensions have never been higher, even with a black President. Religious intolerance, where religious protection laws are portrayed as anti-LGBT and businesses are being destroyed simply because the owners were exercising their religious beliefs, is rampant. LGBT rights are not greater than religious rights, both need to be respected.

Our national security is threatened at a level unseen since WWII. A weak, naive foreign policy, based on misguided beliefs and ideas, has emboldened our enemies while at the same time left our allies isolated, ignored, and betrayed. Our president just finished visits to Cuba and Argentina, neither of which has ever been an ally of ours, while completely ignoring the only democracy and ally we have in the Middle East, Israel. China is building artificial islands in the South China Sea and militarizing them, while Russia has committed aggressions against South Georgia, Ukraine, and the Crimea. We have unlocked billions in frozen assets to Iran, the worlds largest sponsor of state terrorism, while at the same time doing little to deter them from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran still threatens us and has even taken our sailors prisoner, continuing to mock us at every turn. North Korea daily threatens us with nuclear annihilation while our response is to weaken our military capabilities to almost historic lows.

Suffice it to say that I and the President do not see eye to eye on the state of the union. I know that there are many, many more citizens of this great country that feel as I do. Unfortunately I do not have much optimism that things will change for the better any time soon. Actually, I am as pessimistic about the future of our country as I have ever been in my life. The Democrats offer us Hillary or Bernie. Hillary was a disaster as Secretary of State and her reckless disregard for law, procedure, and national security in the establishing of a private email server should have every voter cringing at the thought of her becoming president. Bernie is a Socialist who is anathema to everything our Founding Fathers stood for and promoted. His grandiose plans of free everything will cripple the already overburdened taxpayer with more taxes. It will also generate an even bigger government than the already far over-sized one we have currently. The Republicans are as big a disaster as the Democrats, almost. The only reason Donald Trump is doing as well as he is with voters is due to the great level of anger and frustration that the voters feel by their betrayal by establishment politicians. He would be a disaster as a president, on a scale with either Hillary or Bernie. Ted Cruz, being a Constitutional Conservative, closely reflects my political view. But I fear even he would be just more of the same. The two parties have merged into one party, where there is no middle, only the extremes on either side.

The damage done to our country may be irreversible. This great experiment of a Republic that the Founding Fathers made for us may have run its course. And as history has shown, the downfall of most nations comes from within. The only solace I take is my faith in God. He is in control and his Will will be done. That is sufficient for me. I just wish it hadn’t happened in my lifetime.

 

 

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A New Direction

Feb 12, 2016 by

A great many things have changed in my life in the last few years, and especially in the last six months or so. In what I can only assume is the result of the Holy Spirit working within me, my focus in life has moved from earthly things to spiritual things. Most of the posts in this blog have been either of a political nature or a personal nature. My old interests and activities included playing computer games, electronics hobbyist, model rocketry, reading science fiction, guns, photography and a host of other worldly things.

Now I find that my interests and time are invested more in Bible study, Theology, church service, and volunteer work. I still have an avid interest in guns and photography, along with tech., but the other worldly interests have dried up.

In short, from now on most of the posts in The Mind of Tefft will be focused on my new interests. As the narrator for the Outer Limits says: “Please stand by.”

God Bless

future

 

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Pet Peeve/Rant

Jul 4, 2015 by

American-flag-Independence-dayToday is Independence Day in the United States. It is the day we celebrate our independence from the tyrannical British government on July 4th 1776. It is the day that marks the beginning of the greatest nation that every was and still is.

So why do we in fact celebrate the 4th of July instead of Independence Day? Do a Google search for Independence Day and the majority of returns are for the Independence Day of India, not the United States. We are not celebrating a particular day on the Gregorian calendar, we are celebrating one of the most monumental events in world history.

So when did the celebration of Independence Day turn into a celebration of a particular date on a calendar? This may seem trivial to some of you, but to me it is anything but trivial. We don’t celebrate December 25th, we celebrate Christmas. Look at this list of holidays and events celebrated in the U.S. and tell me which ones go by the name of the date on which they are celebrated.

Holidays in the U.S. in 2015

I am afraid too many people are associating Independence Day with fireworks, cookouts, and parties, and marginalize the fact that it is the day our Independence was established. I know there are a lot of staged events commemorating our independence, but I am curious as to why this is the only holiday (other than Cinco de Mayo ) that is labeled as it is. Anyone out there have an idea as to why it has become labeled this way? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Happy Independence Day everyone. In between fireworks and cookouts, take some time to read the Declaration of Independence. I hear the Constitution makes good summer reading too.

 

God Bess America.

Google’s salute to Independence Day

Google

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New Smartphone on the way back

Feb 10, 2015 by

I received my new Meizu MX4 excitedly a few days ago. It is a beautiful phone. I took it to Cricket Wireless and got it activated on their monthly prepaid plan. Everything was working great until I found out that mobile data was not working. I checked and no APN was setup. No problem, I went to the Cricket Wireless website and found the information I needed to create an APN. Now the mobile data is working.

I really love the phone. It is very thin and stylish, the camera is fantastic, and the battery life is even more fantastic. I am not exactly thrilled with the FlyMe 4 software but I can live with that and I heard a lollipop upgrade was coming soon. I took the phone to an ODU basketball game and took some photos and short videos. They both looked amazing.

Then the unthinkable happened. Last night the phone started doing stuff all by itself. Opening apps, typing, vibrating and turning off and on. Then it became unresponsive to touches. This morning I confirmed that it is truly broke. Sent an email to Geekbuying.com asking for an RMA to return the phone for another one. No response from them yet. I really do like this phone and would just like to get one that actually works for more than a couple of days.

So I am back to my old Nexus 4 and I can say that after having the Meziu MX4 for only two days it spoiled me. My Nexus 4 now feels like a dinosaur. I just hope I won’t have to jump through too many loops to get a replacement. It did come all the way from Hong Kong. Patience will be a virtue for the next week or so. Oh well.

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