What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. US Postal Service. I know they’re everyone’s favorite whipping boy. I’ve taken them to task a time or two myself, but I like to think it’s not a knee jerk reaction. When a bunch of people are talking about having a craptastic delivery experience, there’s probably at least some truth to the notion. Really, it could all be avoided if the package I ordered last Monday with an estimated delivery date of last Saturday had any sign of ever leaving its point of origin in Oklahoma. Sure, I know first class mail isn’t an overnight service, but it doesn’t seem excessive to expect the post office to, at a minimum, avoid losing track of a package that has a tracking number printed on it. At the very least, they might want to actually respond to a customer request for information from time to time. As a historic institution, I want to like the USPS, but there’s generally a reason I’m willing to pay a few dollars more to ship items through a more reliable provider.

2. McDonald’s. I’ve noticed two things about the local McDonald’s here in scenic Elkton. 1) They’ve never gotten my drive thru order 100% correct; and 2) When I go inside to complain and get the order corrected, the place looks like a damned sty. I’m not a regular, but sometimes you just want a Big Mac and super-salty fries. All I’m saying is that having had the experience of spending more years working at a McDonald’s franchise than I want to admit, the kind of service and level of cleanliness I see here definitely wouldn’t have passed muster back in the day. Im not saying I liked cleaning stainless or sweeping the lobby and more than these guys do, but I do think the standards 19-odd years ago were definitely better. Then again, that seems to be endemic, so maybe it’s just society in general that’s pissing me off and McDonald’s is just a symptom.

3. Harvey Weinstein. So Harvey has decided that he is going to make a movie taking on the NRA because he “doesn’t think we need guns in this country.” I guess violence is bad, except when it’s being used as a plot point to generate billions in revenue from such peaceful films as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, Grindhouse, Rambo, and Django Unchained. I’m not sure Harvey commands the moral high ground on this one. Pot, meet kettle.

Be counted… Be a patriot…

I’m the son of a cop. That means I was raised in a house where a gun was a daily fact of life. It was as much a part of my old man’s job description as his badge and did far more than that metal shield ever did to make sure he got to come home at the end of his shift. Growing up, I’d have thought something was wrong if they had been locked in fancy safes, or hidden on high shelves, if the triggers were locked, or the ammunition was stored on the other side of the house. I was taught proper safety, use, and maintenance of a firearm long before one was ever put into my hand. At my father’s knee I learned that a gun was a tool, nothing more, nothing less.

In my 34 years, I’ve shot paper targets and bottles, clay pigeons and real ones, groundhogs, squirrels, and an assortment of other (tasty) animals. In that time, I’ve never, not once, nra_logodrawn another human being into my sights. Every responsible gun owner knows that you never point a weapon at anything you’re not fully prepared to annihilate. People who do are criminals, but it’s going to be the responsible firearms owners who are called to account for the deranged actions of a handfull in this nation of 300+ million.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution tells me that I have the right (read that again… the Right) to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t say I have the right to keep a single barrel shotgun for duck season and a bolt action rifle for deer season. It doesn’t say I have only the right to hang a relic over the mantle for some ambiance. I have the right to keep and bear arms. I’ve read the Constitution and Bill of Rights just to make sure and still my president and my vice president and the governors of my beloved home state of Maryland and his counterpart in New York tell me that it’s a right that can be taken away by an act of Congress or the signing of a single name on an Executive Order. I dare say it’s not going to be that simple. A free people aren’t likely to be so easily disarmed.

For the first time in a decade, a few minutes ago I renewed by membership in the National Rifle Association. I know they’re not everyone’s favorite organization, even among gun owners. But friends, I urge you, if you value your Second Amendment freedoms, join the NRA, join Ducks Unlimited, join your local sportsmen’s club, visit your local shooting range to meet like minded individuals, and for God’s sake get involved and let your elected leaders (such as they are) know that you know your rights and demand that they be preserved. Whatever you do, don’t simply lay down. Don’t roll over. Don’t let your guard falter for even one moment, because that’s all it’s going to take before honest, responsible, law abiding gun owners will wake up wondering what happened and where their country has gone… and on that day all is lost.

Stand up. Be counted. Be a patriot.

You’re doing it wrong…

I’ve been reading a lot of articles over the last few months about people protesting the high price of this product or that product, general “corporate greed,” and any number of other economic issues. I’m a little surprised that no one has come forward to propose the simple solution yet. If you’re somebody who thinks the oil companies make too much money go ahead and scrape up the coin to buy a few shares of Exxon or BP. Convince 5 or 10 million of your closes friends to buy ten shares each and suddenly you’re a loud voice in the next shareholder meeting instead of just being a bunch of rabble standing on the sidewalk.

You know in your heart we’re not “getting off oil” until we absolutely have to, so why not take advantage of the increasing prices to put some coin in your pocket along with those nasty corporate big wigs. The minute you take on an ownership stake in one of these companies, I suspect your attitude towards profits and “social justice” will change… Unless you think capitalism itself is the problem and the oil companies are just your whipping boy of choice this year. Just remember that the free market has been at work in every culture since two cave men agreed to trade six deer hides for one shiny flat rock. It flourished in the black markets of the Soviet Union and moved China from agrarian backwater to workshop of the world in two or three generations. It was here before us and it will be here long after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

Look, it’s a simple concept. There are only about 4 million dues paying members of the National Rifle Association. If the anti-gun people signed up 4,000,001 people and had them vote at the next annual meeting to change the corporate charter. Poof. Just like that the NRA becomes the nation’s leading advocate for gun control. People go about this protesting business all wrong. Tag board signs and marching in the street looks like amateur hour and the mob makes Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public vaguely nervous. If you want to see real changes, put on a suit and tie and find a way into the boardroom. That’s where change happens in the grown up world.