Well, they didn’t pry it out of my cold, dead hands. But my only remaining firearm has just left the premises.

Having grown up and lived in the South I’ve owned shotguns, .22 rifles, and an assortment of handguns. But over the years, my collection had dwindled to one old revolver that I kept in the bottom of my T-shirt drawer, a place where it would be handy if danger arose. My ability to actually use the pistol in an emergency was doubtful, however, since my wife, Shonnie, had only agreed to keep it in the house if it was unloaded.six-gun

What, you might ask, motivated me to hand over the gun to local law enforcement authorities? I got rid of it in response to a well-timed question about my possession of it by Shonnie after we saw Michael Moore’s movie Bowling for Columbine. The question: “What are you afraid of, Bruce?” (more…)

Here’s a commentary about violence in our nation that I wrote for the Asheville Citizen-Times late in 1999 that seems unfortunately appropriate for these times.

I take issue with your December 7 editorial “Latest school shooting should redouble efforts for solutions” in which you state that what has been missing is a solution to the violence being exhibited by our youth ever more frequently.more_love

I believe we have the solution readily available. And it’s not school uniforms, metal detectors, or armed guards at our schools. It’s not even increased training and vigilance by school and law enforcement officials as proposed in the previously mentioned editorial. It’s not teaching values and principles in our schools. It’s not posting the Ten Commandments on school walls. And it’s not stronger gun control laws, though making guns less accessible certainly couldn’t hurt anything.

What must happen for our children to become less violent and more loving is for us, each of us, to become less violent and more loving. It’s as easy as that. (more…)

Last evening Shonnie, Gracelyn and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner and listening to This Land is Your Land: Songs of Freedom. Buffy Sainte-Marie and her rendition of “The Universal Soldier,” Bob Dylan and Joan Baez crooning “With God on Our Side,” Cisco Houston singing “This Land is Your Land,” and more. And I got to thinking about this presidential election.Trump-Hillary-Bernie

Now it’s quite clear to anyone paying attention that it’s way past due for a woman to be elected President of the United States. However, this is a highly perilous time for this nation with numerous issues that cry out for action—income inequality, lack of a living wage for many including members of the middle class, two-tiered justice system, institutional racism, militarization of police departments, world-wide militarism (800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad), and more, plus our lip service toward reining in climate change. (more…)

My great-grandmother, Mae McCarthy (better known as Ma), who enjoyed dipping snuff and preferred another layer of body powder to regular bathing, had a Victorian attitude when it came to disciplining children. On a warm afternoon in June when I was four, I watched with dismay as Ma instructed Mom in how to choose a good switch from the limbs of a flowering bush in the backyard. “You want to get a stout branch that won’t break when you swat him on his legs and little heinie,” Ma said. “Always remember the old saying, ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child.'”spanking

I wasn’t spanked frequently, but when physical punishment occurred, it was usually because Mom had grown so frustrated and angry with my recalcitrance or noncompliance that she merely did to me what had been done to her when she was a child. I don’t recall that Dad ever resorted to spanking me. Mom’s belief was that spankings would teach me to toe the line, obey her directives, and teach me right from wrong. In retrospect, what I think Mom unconsciously desired was not discipline, but domination and control, so that, to make her life easier, I’d do exactly what she wanted when she wanted me to do it. (more…)

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