Friday, January 15, 2016

Another Great ICE CHEST Review!

Thanks to Rosi Hollenbeck of Manhattan Book Review for this fantastic review of ICE CHEST:

"J. D. Rhoades has written a whip-smart and really funny crime novel. Where characters could easily fall into stereotypes, Rhoades finds ways to make them fresh. The dialogue is snappy and entirely believable. There are twists and turns galore and enough heroes to populate a war movie. If you only read one crime novel this year, make it this one. You will be entirely entertained."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

You Don't Gotta Have Faith

I know it’s an article of faith on the right that President Obama’s Jan. 5 announcement of various executive actions to help reduce gun violence is a tyrannical and blatantly unconstitutional overreach of power. It’s an article of faith that it’s an attempt to deny law-abiding citizens the weapons they need to keep them safe.
But faith, as defined by Paul the Apostle in the Book of Hebrews (Revised Standard Version), is “the conviction of things not seen.” And if you look at what the president actually said and plans to do … well, there’s not a lot to be seen, tyranny-wise.
First, he wants to apply the already existing system requiring a seller to run a background check on people purchasing firearms to anyone “in the business of selling guns,” including at gun shows or over the Internet.
This is an interpretation of existing law that has been supported by such screaming liberals as George Dubbya Bush, Honorable John McCain, and — oh, yes — 90 percent of Americans. At one time, it was also supported by the NRA.
But since the GOP (Grumpy Obstructive Party) has abandoned every principle or belief it ever had other than “if’n Obummer is fer it, we’s agin it,” even the massacre of schoolchildren couldn’t persuade the Republican-controlled Congress to let that pass. As right-wing icon Joe the Not-Plumber put it, “Your dead kids don’t trump my rights.” Catchy slogan, that. Maybe the NRA should put it on their flag.
Second, President Obama wants to make the existing background check system stronger and faster by hiring new examiners and modernizing the computer systems of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). He also wants to strengthen the enforcement of existing gun laws by adding more ATF agents.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has vowed to fight funding for these measures, which puts the GOP in the strange position of opposing effective enforcement of the existing law (see “if’n Obummer’s fer it,” above).
Third, the president wants to take steps to keep the mentally ill from acquiring firearms, a measure widely and vigorously opposed by such paragons of sanity as James Yeager, the fellow from Tennessee who declared on YouTube back in 2013 that he was going to get his gun, fill his backpack with food, and “start killing people” over the last set of proposed executive orders before anyone had read them yet.
Or the people currently barricaded with their guns inside a federal building, promising to “kill or be killed” if anyone tries to dislodge them because “God told them to.” Or Ted Nugent.
Mr. Obama’s speech did not address confiscating those people’s weapons. He does, however, want to fund expanded access to mental health care, “ensure that federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system, and remove barriers that prevent states from reporting relevant information.”
Now here, I’ll allow, we have a provision that will require some scrutiny and a light touch. While I have no problem keeping firearms out of the hands of someone who’s expressed an immediate desire to do themselves or someone else in, no one wants to see people stigmatized and excluded from firearms ownership because, for example, they were once treated for depression or an eating disorder.
As for people who frequently go on the Internet and post long, incoherent screeds in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS with LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!, they should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, Mr. Obama wants more research into “smart gun” technology that allows the gun to be fired only by its actual owner, so that, for example, some kid doesn’t accidentally shoot himself or someone else, or someone who steals the gun can’t use it. “If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin,” he says, “we should make sure they can't pull a trigger on a gun.”
OK, Mr. President, that may be a bad example. I still struggle to get the aspirin bottle open, whereas most kids I’ve seen can do it with ease. But we take your meaning.
It’s one thing to have faith in the unseen and the unknowable. That’s spirituality. But to have faith in something contradicted by what’s right before your eyes, such as the assertion that “that speech was President Obama exercising tyrannical power to take away all our guns” — that, my friends, is pure wingnuttery.