To Youth (and All Others) who are Protesting – Do Not Stop

Another tragic mass shooting.  So much grief.

All that keeps running through my head are the faces of the children and caring adults who died in Parkland. I do not understand how anyone can see this and not waver from their hard-line position of hands-off, free-for-all, damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead, jumping-off-the-cliff lemming approach to every kind of firearm for everyone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a gun owner. I’ve lived in several rural settings. Police are too far away to arrive in time to help if something threatening occurs, not to mention things like poisonous snakes, raccoons attacking my dog, and skunks under the porch. But I do not own AR-15’s and AK-47’s.

Social change comes slowly. Most every effort makes a difference. It doesn’t happen fast enough to suit us. But anything really good is seldom got in a hurry. I’m not advocating  patience. We’ve been patient for a long time. I’m saying, do not quit simply because it’s hard, or that it takes a long time, or that you face fierce opposition. Do not stop. Keep going.


This does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Moderation in all things. Even guns.

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.” — John Wesley


Interested in how social media promotes negative discourse and inflames already horrific circumstances? Read this:

Interested in how many Americans own guns, how many they own? Several other fascinating facts about guns in America are in this article:



He could have been a half-way decent human being—

without the excess money, alcohol, sex addiction, partying,

gambling disguised as business deals.


We could have done better without judges on the take,

payoffs, greedy, crooked politicians brokering power

by encouraging misogyny, racism, bigotry, blaming,



What is it in our culture, religions, philosophies

that make these marketing ploys so enticing?

These sound bites that encourage victim-hood,

that enable this believe-what-I-say-not-what-I-do



We still believe logic, reason, engagement, compromise

will soften what our leaders have become.

We ignore the hard truth that we voted

for the very ones who demonstrate

nihilistic, narcissistic, naked contempt . . . .


He could have done better without his excessive need for

supplicating, boot-licking, brown-nosing, groveling



We could have been less complicit in joining ranks

with these shammers, power brokers, people

who glitter with no substance,

greedy voices who control us by encouraging

self-righteous, judgmental, self-serving fear.


We could have done better had we paid attention,

had we refused to accept bullying rhetoric,

erratic behavior, overtures to our basest natures.


We could have done better if we had not

bought into take-no-prisoners,


impossible solutions.


© 2017   T J Barnum

First published in “Better Than Starbucks.”


Why I Need Guns

The other day I read another essay on gun control. Too many mad men with grudges. The author had good arguments for limiting gun access for certain populations, for outlawing guns like the AR-15, a popular weapon that has been used in countless school killings and other mass murders in this country. Then he asked a question that I’d never seriously addressed—why do we, personally, need so many guns?

I decided to give this considerable thought.

I tried. I really tried to get to the root of my love for the smell of gun oil and metal, the sleek, cool feel of my 12-gauge shotgun, the satisfying kick of my .357 magnum … the power rush when I slowly squeeze . . .

Okay, so there is a fetish component. I admit it.

I decided to go deep, really examine my insides. Why do I find guns so attractive?

Here it is—the top 18 reasons why I need guns. (I tried for 10. Didn’t work.)

18. Because our large collection of knives would be lonely without guns.

17. It’s the only way I’ve managed to help my neighbor keep his hostile German shepherds in check.

16. I’ve got to leave my grandchildren something when I die.

15. Squirrels in the bird feeders.

14. Stop signs just don’t look right without bullet holes.

13. More satisfying than fireworks.

12. I’ve got to collect something, and I don’t like Hummels.

11. It’s a friendly family competition.

10. Neighbors with guns make me nervous.

9. Neighbors without guns may need defending.

8. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without an ATN X-Sight II HD Day/Night Vision Rifle-scope under the tree.

7. Spiders.

6. Guns are necessary components of the Spaghetti Western costume I wear on Halloween.

5. When the electricity goes out, tracer bullets light the way to the bathroom.

4. I don’t have enough room for cannons.

3. More effective at Whack-a-Mole than that silly little hammer.

2. My Daddy always told me that when it came to men, a woman needs an equalizer.

1. Men like my Daddy.

Copyright © 2017  All rights reserved

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907 – 1988) Some of his best quotes

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.”

I do not think anyone can define behavior that tends toward extinction as being ‘moral’ without stretching the word ‘moral’ all out of shape.”

At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that ‘news’ is not something that happens to other people.”

Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self-serving men.”

Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”

You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

The lessons of history teach us – if the lessons of history teach us anything – that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.”

Love your country, but never trust its government.”

…secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy…censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, ‘This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,’ the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.”

Conversations with Cosmic Consciousness

I need some assistance.

How can I help you?”Cosmic consciousness

Who am I? Who am I supposed to be?


Oh! Come on! I cry at the drop of a hat. I’m neither strong, nor athletic. I am easily defeated.

You ask. I give you data. Your point is . . . ?”

Fine. What do you mean by “undefeated”?

Watch Cool Hand Luke.”

He won, with nothing.

Imagine what it takes to succeed with few resources, with entrenched trauma and PTSD, with little real preparation for adulthood, neither role models nor mentors, and significant obstacles.”

You are talking about most of the world’s population.

I am talking about you. There is more. You have grit, tenacity, curiosity, hope and optimism in the face of adversity.”

I disagree with your assessment.

I should know.”

What’s the point?

I have certain educational goals in mind, which you will reach, sooner or later. Beyond that, your strength of spirit and determination surprises and delights Me.”

You can be surprised?

Of course. I have a much broader perspective. However, I cannot be 100% certain how any specific part of this experiment will go. I set the parameters. But there is always a quality of spirit – my Spirit in you – that provides multiple unknown variables to the equation. The math is beyond your current comprehension.”

So . . . what? You set up this demonic obstacle course and watch what happens? Do you place bets on the side?

Seriously, there would be little point in betting against Myself. Besides, I am invested in the outcome. I am not idle. I do not ‘watch.’ I participate. The more accurate description of what you are experiencing is exploration.”

Says you! Dial the sensitivity back a bit, won’t you?

You want to be less aware? Go back to sleep. You want to check out? Certainly these are some of your options. If you don’t want to be so sensitive, fix it.”

I don’t believe I can. So much of it seems to be hard-wired.

Nonsense. You are Consciousness, as yet unaware of your full ability and potential. You can increase your current level of functioning. If what you want seems to be beyond the parameters of the game, then you have not focused enough on the outcome you desire.

You have always had my blessing to change the parameters. If you haven’t clued into the fact that you have been doing so your entire life, then start paying more attention.”

I’m not that powerful.

You can tell yourself that as long as you want, along with all the rest of your negative self-talk. It only delays our progress and causes more pain. You are the Gift we give to each Other.”

– – –

Conversation II

Data please.

Certainly. What’s on your mind?”

I feel so damn fragile today. I don’t like it.

So quit claiming it.”

Okay, so let me see if I understand this: If I feel exhausted, and tearful, and like I’m running on empty, I’m supposed to suppress what I am feeling and tell myself otherwise?

No, of course not. You are to recognize that your specific helpful or unhelpful behaviors, your general health, your interactions with others, as well as your background conversations with yourself, have led to your current emotional and physical states. So you are to go about the process of examining your self-talk and take corrective measures. Also check the obvious: sleep, adequate physical and mental nutrition, and so on. You may just need a nap.”

So what You’re saying is, I am causing all of this.

Well, in a word, yes. However, I do not expect you to comprehend non-local awareness just yet. I encourage you to eat this particular elephant one bite at a time.”

I work on myself – a lot. Doesn’t seem to help.

Let’s do a fact check here. Those internal dialogues played over and over in your imagination, your self-flagellation, constantly forcing yourself to stay awake, not giving yourself credit for all that you do, becoming distracted instead of staying in the NOW, the way you . . . .”

Okay! Okay. I get the point. But it’s not that easy to turn off all that stuff, especially if I feel hurt.

Easier with practice. Ask yourself, how often do you make concerted efforts to address any of the areas I mentioned?

Huh . . . I don’t really know. Haphazardly most of the time. Sometimes more often.

And that would be correct. You can make a more concerted effort, should you so choose. It’s entirely up to you of course.”

Hey! Working on it here! I was hoping to get more help from You!

And you shall have it. All you need do is ask. It helps to be specific.”

Can’t I just make a general request for help?

Certainly. And you will get help, generally speaking.”

Okay, I know specificity seems to help. But I don’t know why. And I don’t always know what specifically to ask for.

We have wandered into the subject of non-local awareness again. ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ ‘Only believe, and it shall be done unto you.’ ‘Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” How often do you need to hear the same message? You know, I really have been sending it out on multiple platforms.”

There is a lot of bad information out here.

You think so? And so shall it be. You do not see what is. You see what you are. I hold in front of you a mirror. Listen to my words carefully. Would you prefer to have something better? Do you want to have something better? Or do you persist in seeing something better, regardless of what’s currently in front of you?”

Shades of meaning on the one hand, and Pollyanna naviete on the other.

No. Specific words. Specific meanings. Otherwise one word would do. Words have power. You are what you believe yourself to be. I am what you believe Me to be. Angels are real when you make them real. Help comes to you when you believe it comes to you. Doors open when you persist in seeing them open. The world improves as you SEE it improve, not before! I will continue to give all of you this same message.

You do not see what is. You see what you are. You can change what you are. Indeed, you have done so, mostly unconsciously, all your life.

And while we’re on the subject, see and sense and feel a better, healthier world. Quit dwelling on the negative. I’m not asking you to ignore what’s out there. I’m asking you, instead, to see a better world, instead of envisioning the worst of what you don’t want. There is no such thing as nothing. Something will fill the void of anything you tear down, mentally and physically. So, build instead. And as you build, make sure it’s something the world needs.”

Copyright © 2017  All rights reserved.