On Columbus Day and gun control

Popping in to update this blog, which I haven’t done in a long time.

I’ve prepped blog posts, but never seem to hit publish.

This entry – written on Columbus Day 2019 – shares two of my ideas for controversial issues facing the U.S. I’ve written to my federal legislators, but alas, I’m always blown off.

Idea one: Repurpose Columbus Day into a Discovery Day

There shouldn’t be any question Christopher Columbus committed atrocities during his trips to the new world. Many states and communities now consider the federal holiday to be Indigenous Peoples Day. I understand the reasoning behind the change, but still believe we’re missing an opportunity. Our nation does not have a holiday that celebrates exploration. And yet, that is the enterprise of mankind.

Exploration is the essence of the human spirit.

Frank Borman, NASA Apollo Astronaut

Our species – regardless of gender or race – has always sought to discover what is over that hill, at the bottom of the ocean, on other worlds and in the tiniest of places. A federal holiday marking those achievements could inspire others to continue exploration and be a gateway to history and STEM ideas. After all, without exploration, we stagnate.

Idea two: A possible way to help curb gun violence

Each time after a mass shooting, people take intractable sides. One side believe less regulation is the answer, the other believes more regulation is the needed. Creative solutions are often overlooked because of emotion. The argument often boils down to how much government involvement we want in our lives. Meanwhile, people continue to die. This is not pragmatic nor helping the problem.

Gun buy back programs are often blocked by lobbying groups because they are government run. What about a free-market approach?

It is in the interests of the health insurance industry to reduce gun violence in communities. Perhaps it’s time for hospitals, drug-makers and health insurance companies to step up. I foresee a coalition in the medical industry that could fund a voluntary gun buy back program. Companies could offer drug, healthcare and insurance products and discounts for guns. People might be more inclined to hand-over an AR-15 if they could get free insulin for grandmom. The government – perhaps through local law enforcement – would have a limited role to play to make sure safety is maintained and fraud is avoided, but in the end it’s a voluntary program from non-government actors. The second amendment argument would have very little relevance to private sector actions.