5 Steps to Reduce Your Cable Bill in 15 Minutes

Out of all of my bills, I think I hate my cable bill the most.

It became especially terrible when it climbed to over $150 after I acquired a second cable box, faster Internet to handle more devices, and the all-important sports package that includes NFL RedZone (Once you experience one weekend with RedZone, you won’t be able to go back). There has to be a way to make it cheaper, I thought… Turns out, there was.

Providers are desperate to keep their customers. This desperation creates leverage, and you’re going to use this leverage to save yourself a few hundred bucks a year.

Here how:

Step 1: Know what you want

How much are you looking to save here? I’d say anywhere up to 30% is possible, but obviously keep your goals realistic — the likelihood of getting your monthly bill cut in half is slim.

Personally, I had pretty what I thought were lofty hopes. I wanted to retain all of the services I already had, cut my bill by 15-20%, and add HBO.

Step 2: Check out your provider’s (and its competitors’) current offers

Let’s say you started a cable package last year and pay $120 a month and now your provider offers new customers the same package (or an even better one) for $90. This is the kind of thing you’re going to want to bring up on your call. If you’re in an area where there’s a lot of competition, it certainly doesn’t hurt to look at their deals either.

Note: I see a lot of providers offer 3-6-12 months of free HBO to new customers, so you Boardwalk/GoT fans can probably plead for free HBO each year and easily get it.

Step 3: Get yourself directly to the retention department

Talking to a regular customer service agent will likely result in a waste of time since he/she might not have the authority to modify your cable package. When you do call, choose the “cancel service” option on your keypad. This will take you right to someone who specializes in dealing with disgruntled customers who want their cable bill reduced — AKA you.

Step 4: What to say

Depending on your goals, you can go a lot of directions here. You can sound angry or unsatfied, but I wasn’t and had no issue getting my point across. Something as simple as “My service with you has been alright, but it’s just too much for my budget. If we can’t decrease it, I may have to look elsewhere” should work just fine. The representative will proceed to pull up your account. This is the time to drop some hints of what you’re seeking (discount, free HBO, etc.). For me, I explained how I wanted to keep all of my pre-existing services and cut my bill to under $140 (was formerly $160).

Once you hear “let’s see what we can do for you today…” you’re in.

Step 5: The Deal

Again, this part depends on what you want out of the call. The first offer I received included dropping my bill to $135, a free upgrade to my Internet speed and free HBO ($15/month value). I was pretty pumped by the proposal and quickly accepted it, scoring about a $40 (23%) discount on my cable bill when factoring in the HBO throw-in.

With my new plan, I’ll save about $480 (12 x $40) over the next year. Not bad for a relatively painless, 15-minute call.

If you really want to push and threaten to drop service completely, I’d imagine you’d be able to earn yourself an even heftier discount. That’s your call.

Takeaway: Honestly, I thought this process was going to require much more effort, time, and hostility than it actually did — so much so that I wish I’d called months earlier. The next time you have an hour, do some quick research and phone yourself into your provider’s retention center. I think you’ll be pleased with the results!

Rounding Up the Great Reporting From Boston

It was a long week. As I suspect many others have, I did my best to step away from the Internet for a couple days after law enforcement captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday night. It was a week of horrific tragedy, nervous nights, and flipping through broadcast networks whenever Twitter suggested to do so.

But over the weekend, some tremendous journalism can be found on the two brothers who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon, the week-long probe, and the heroes who helped keep Boston safe — and those pieces certainly should not go unnoticed.

Below are 11 interesting articles/columns/videos on Boston that were published over the weekend.

Inside the Boston bombing probe (Washington Post)

Two brothers, Two Paths to Infamy (Boston Globe)

Law Enforcement Weighed Decision to Release Suspects’ Images (New York Times)

[Must watch video] Five Days in April (Boston Globe)

New Details about the Wild Shootout on Friday Night (Boston Globe)

Guns along the river: A late night in Watertown (Esquire)

From Role Model to Monster (Sports Illustrated)

Massachusetts Police release thermal imaging photos of Tsarnaev In Boat (Deadspin)

Sunday morning in Watertown (Esquire)

Profiles in profiling (New York Mag)

For a good laugh: The Problem With Late-Night Stands in a Locked-Down Boston (Esquire)

An Open Letter to John Ziegler

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Dear Mr. Ziegler,

We all want the truth, John. We really do. I want the truth. You want the truth. The Paternos want the truth. My fellow students want the truth. Your followers want the truth. Your haters want the truth. Everyone wants the truth.

Alas, you already knew that. You injected yourself into this mess early on and waged a year-long media crusade that featured animated YouTube videos, dozens of radio appearances, and even interviews with Jerry Sandusky himself. Consequently, this campaign to exonerate Joe Paterno built you a solid following along the way — a following that essentially propelled you to appearances on primetime TV as of late.

But this week, the wheels fell off. The Paternos, the family of the man who you have strived so hard to defend over the past year, rapidly (and intelligently) distanced themselves from you during the last 72 hours, beginning on Sunday night. Next came the Today Show interview and the shouting match with Piers Morgan on Monday, which, in all honesty, I wasn’t overly irked by.

But then you crossed the line yesterday when you released the statement that essentially blackmailed Victim 2 into speaking with you (which I hope he didn’t respond to). Sixteen months into this scandal and you’re threatening victims into talking — how civil of you. If victim shaming is the price of the truth, I honestly don’t know if I want the truth anymore. Do you understand how deranged that is?

But no, John, you did not stop there. That wasn’t enough — you had to resort to the unthinkable. Around 7 p.m. last night, you inexplicably published Victim 2’s name multiple times in your attempt to exonerate the man whose family virtually disowned you. Let me reiterate that: You published the identity of a sexual abuse victim in an attempt to defend Joe Paterno. I’m sure that’s what he would’ve wanted.

And wait, it gets EVEN better. Around 8:30 p.m., you denied (and potentially lied about) intentions of naming the victim and blamed it on “cyber attacks.” Additionally, about an hour later, you tweeted that the problems were fixed. Yet, I refreshed the page and there the name was, staring at me in the face for a second straight hour. Then finally — it’s now 11:00 p.m. — you apologize for “a stupid mistake out of utter exhaustion” and state that the “hacking prevented us from fixing.”

Well, John, even if I were to believe this was unintentional, “exhaustion” is not a justifiable excuse. Period. Perhaps if you cared as much about the respect and sensitivity of the victims as much as you did about the fight for Paterno, this wouldn’t have happened. Your post even had the chance to be enlightening. But the harm done in publishing Victim 2’s name far outweighs any revelations contained in your piece.

During your failed backpedal, one tweet states that the hacking “prevented” you from fixing the post — that’s past tense. It’s now three hours after that tweet… I just refreshed the page… The name is still staring me in the face, John. So, if the alleged “hacking” concluded hours ago, why is the name still up? (The names were finally removed around 3 a.m. EST Wednesday morning, eight hours after the initial post went live.)

It’s crystal clear, John: You wanted this to happen, or at the very least, you didn’t care if it did. You (intentionally or not) went through with your sick, sadistic threat even though experts such as Jim Clemente strongly advised you not to do so. You’ve succeeded. You’ve now made it that much harder for past, present, and future sexual abuse victims to come forward and seek help. Mission accomplished. I hope you’re happy.

Everything you have achieved up to this point, any residual positives from your work, has now quickly evaporated due to your recent insane, conniving, and downright reckless methods.

While many people are still divided on whether Penn State should “move on” or not, everyone in this community is unified in trying to make something good out of this mess — to help this community and the victims heal. Your actions blatantly disregarded these efforts and served as an insult to those who are working to make this university a worldwide role model in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention.

I truly believe this all started a year ago with positive goals in mind, but somewhere over the last month, those goals have drastically changed for the worse. You are no longer informative and an effective seeker of “truth”. You are vicious, irresponsible, and an embarrassment to anyone associated with this school and the man you claim to fight for.

Let me make it very clear once more: You are hurting Penn State. You are hurting victims of sexual abuse. You are inflicting much more harm than good on the situation as a whole.

We want you to get the fuck out of here, John. You have officially overstayed your welcome.

And that’s the damn truth.

Running Timeline of Manti Te’o Story

When a huge stories break, the formal responses, downcast columns, and shocking developments don’t seem to cease, and they certainly didn’t on Wednesday night.

As I’m sure you know by now, Deadspin’s article on Manti Te’o’s fake (???) girlfriend has gone mega viral. Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick even called a press conference on Wednesday night — just four hours after the Deadspin article had been published — to address the matter (full transcript).

But after that presser, the news didn’t stop. Details surrounding Te’o’s now nightmarish tale just kept on coming, sometimes by the minute. Unsurprisingly, the story’s progressions took us even further into the realm on confusion…

WEDNESDAY

8:55 p.m. – Nev Schulman, the star of the MTV show “Catfish”, says he’s been in contact with “the woman involved.”

9:34 p.m. – Former Stanford Defensive Tackle Matthew Masifilo provides an interesting note:

9:54 p.m. – Reagan Mauia, a fullback for the Arizona Cardinals, claims he met Lennay Kekua, Te’o’s supposedly deceased girlfriend. “She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model,” he said. Mauia says he’s under the impression that Kekua’s mother is presently controlling her Twitter account, but when given the notion that Kekua might not be real, Mauia replied, “No, she is real.”

9:56 p.m. – South Bend Tribune pulls the October 12th article that reads “the two (Manti and Lennay) exchanged glances, handshakes and phone numbers.” Thanks to Google, the entire article can still be found here.

Tribune’s statement:

At The Tribune, we are as stunned by these revelations as everyone else.  Indeed, this season we reported the story of this fake girlfriend and her death as details were given to us by Te’o, members of his family and his coaches at Notre Dame.  We’re still trying to put together stories that will be posted later tonight and printed in Thursday’s paper that will answer some, but not all, of the questions about today’s astonishing story.

10:04 p.m. – Column: SI’s Michael Rosenberg questions who was duped: Manti? the media? or both?

10:30 p.m. – A Notre Dame football player speaks on anonymity. “He lied, but the media blew it up.” When asked if the Manti was a good actor, the player responded, “very good.”

10:48 p.m. – @LennayKay, the Twitter account of Manti’s dead (?), fake (?) girlfriend (?) speaks.

11:01 p.m.Teoing is born.

11:33 p.m. – Justin Megahan (@JustinRMegahan) does some Twitter research and discovers that over a month ago, two people had suspicions, and perhaps even knowledge, about who was running the @LennayKay account. SB Nation aggregated all of Justin’s tweets here.

THURSDAY

12:45 a.m. – @JayRahz, a person who was evidently suspicious of the hoax long ago as pointed out by Megahan, begins to tell his story through Twitter.

1:00 a.m. – The other person seemingly aware of the possible hoax from December was @ceeweezy51, who claims she knew Lennay Kekua was a fake from the start.

1:11 a.m. – The Big Lead finds a video in which Te’o tells an interviewer he received a letter from Kekua before Notre Dame’s game vs. Stanford, 31 days after her supposed death.

3:59 a.m. – Tyler Moorehead, a Notre Dame student, gives an inside perspective on the Te’o story:

On Manti’s ND teammates:

The debate among teammates wasn’t whether or not Manti actually knew this girl — it was clear that they had been in contact; no, players just didn’t think that it was fair to call Lennay Kekua Manti’s girlfriend, period (it is well-known on campus that he has had relations with other girls during his time at Notre Dame). They recognized what was going on for what it was — a terrible publicity stunt used to fuel Manti Te’o’s Heisman campaign.

On Manti’s possible intentions:

While I believe Manti Te’o to have an incredibly good heart and to have gotten duped, I will also be quick to point out that he oversold all of this drama in the first place. It was heinous of him to play up a relationship as the love of his life for a girl he had never actually met — I think most people can agree that is ridiculous. And I think Notre Dame had to have some knowledge of the the whole case being significantly embellished but was on board because of the positive press and hype it brought to the university. Could it have been a massive oversight and university officials just took Manti at his word that it was his girlfriend? Absolutely, but I like to think my school’s athletic department is a little smarter than that — it has shown itself to be quite media savvy in the past. I think that Te’o, his family, and Notre Dame all knew what was going on in terms of hyperbole (but not the entire non-existence) and decided to go with it, never expecting the truth to come out.

10:10 a.m. – Yahoo!’s Pat Forde reports that ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap has secured an interview with Manti Te’o

10:22 a.m. – Deadspin Editor-in-Chief Tommy Craggs talks to Poynter about the Te’o piece. Craggs said Deadspin received an anonymous email on Friday, and by Tuesday they had a full draft prepared. Craggs said the entire story was written in Goggle Docs, with he and fellow Deadpin editor Tom Scocca checking in to edit and review the information periodically.

11:16 a.m. – Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune claims the ESPN interview was “scrapped.” The interview never happens.

11:35 a.m. – Jezebel’s Katie Baker writes “Notre Dame Says Manti Te’o Is a Victim. That’s Rich, Considering Their History of Ignoring Actual Victims.”

1:06 p.m.Pat Forde drops a report saying Notre Dame waited for Manti Te’o to come out and tell his story this past Monday, but evidently, Te’o backed out of that announcement. Notre Dame: “In hindsight, we shouldn’t have given them that time.”

Forde also says, according to sources, Manti notified Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick on December 26th that he has never met his supposed girlfriend.

Could this hoax have caused Te’o’s dreadful performance in the NCAA Championship vs. Alabama? Forde’s source:

Te’o lacked his usual spirited demeanor in the days leading up to the championship game. He played very poorly, missing a high number of tackles.

2:30 p.m. – Cosmo joins the fun.

3:07 p.m.The Big Lead reports that ESPN was aware of the hoax the day prior to the National Championship game — 10 days before Deadspin’s article was published on January 16th. Later, ESPN says the “story is wrong,” and that they received word of the possible hoax on January 10th — three days after the National Championship was televised on its airwaves.

4:36 p.m. – In probably the most riveting update of the day, SI’s Pete Thamel, who’s been receiving heavy criticism for being duped by Te’o and not fact checking his story, released the entire transcript of his interview with Manti Te’o, which was conducted on September 23rd. Manti claims he spoke with Lenny Kekua “every day” on the phone.

Highlights from the interview between Thamel and Te’o:

Manti Te’o is sure what his girlfriend’s major is…

SI: What did she study?

TE’O: She graduated in 2011 or 2010. 2011.

SI: What was her major?

TE’O: Her major was in English and something. I’ll double check.

SI: I can call Stanford and check. They have to have some record or note that she passed.

A very detailed account of how Te’o communicated with Kekua…

SI: Coach Kelly said he was more worried about you this week than last week?

TE’O: It was harder than it was the previous week. I was rolling. The feeling of it settling in that, she’s not physically here no more. You just can’t call her. I talked to my girlfriend every single day. I slept on the phone with her every single day. When she was going though chemo, she would have all these pains and the doctors were saying they were trying to give her medicine to make her sleep. She still couldn’t sleep. She would say, “Just call my boyfriend and have him on the phone with me, and I can sleep.” I slept on the phone with her every single night.

SI: You would literally sleep with your phone on with her on it?

TE’O: With her on it.

SI: When you woke up?

TE’O: She’s be on it.

SI: What would the phone say?

TE’O: Like eight hours. Lucky she had AT&T so it was all free or my family would kill me.

SI: When did you start talking to her all night?

TE’O: When she got in her accident?

SI: So starting in April?

TE’O: Yeah and you know, she was in a coma. I would try, and you know.

SI: Hit by a drunk driver. What were her injuries?

TE’O: I don’t know. She had a lot of different injuries.

SI: How long was she hospitalized?

TE’O: She was in that hospital for about two months.

SI: Wow, did she get out?

TE’O: She didn’t get out. She went from there. Remember she got in the accident and she was in a coma. We lost her, actually, twice. She flatlined twice. They revived her twice. It was just a trippy situation. It was a day I was flying home from South Bend to go home for summer break. It was May. Mid-May. That was the day where they said, “Bro, we’re going to pull it. We’re going to pull the plug.” I remember having this feeling like everything is going to be OK. They were telling me, “Say your goodbyes.” From April 28 to around mid-May, I was always talking to my girlfriend who was on a machine.

SI: She couldn’t communicate?

TE’O: No. She could only breathe. One of the miraculous things was when I talked to her and she would hear my voice her breathing would pick up. Like quickly, and then she would start crying. But her breathing would quicken, and she would start crying. So her brother was in the room with the nurse. They were monitoring her. She said, “Who is she on the phone with?” Her boyfriend. She was like, “That’s amazing. She doesn’t do that with anybody else.” So that happened. And then she flatlined and we were losing her.

The day I went home, that was the day they were going to pull it. They were saying their goodbyes and all that. I said, “Babe, I’m never going to say goodbye to you. If you really want to go, she really missed her dad, so I said, “If you want to go, be with dad, go. Just know that I love you very, very much.” I had this very positive feeling that everything was going to be OK. I landed in Hawaii. By the time I said my goodbyes. Not my goodbyes, my I love you, I’ll see you later, that kind of thing, I jumped on the airplane to go to Hawaii. They were scheduled to pull the plug while I was in the air.

So right when I landed, I was expecting to get a voicemail saying she’s gone. So I landed and I had a voicemail from her brother saying, “Brother, call me back right now.” So you can imagine what’s going through my head. I was like, “What am I going to do? How am I going to take this?'”And so I called him back, the doctor came in and he saw something and he wants to try some treatment on her to see if it works. From there she slowly started to get better. Slowly. Eventually she came out of her coma and she started having memory problems and she couldn’t remember because of the accident. That’s how much damage she had to her frontal lobe. She had memory problems. I was actually the first person that she talked to. She was breathing, breathing. When I talked to her, I would say, “Babe, do you know who this is?” I knew she knew who it was because her breathing would pick up. I was like, “Relax, chill. Breathe slowly. Breathe slowly.” And then, that was when she first started to speak was that conversation. I was like, “Babe, I love you. I love you.” Very slightly she said, “I love you.”

SI: Was that right when you got back?

TE’O: Then she started to make progress.

SI: This is unbelievable.

TE’O: As she started to make progress. She had her good days. And then the next day she’d say, “Babe my back is sore. I can’t feel it. Something is wrong. I don’t know what’s wrong. My chest is burning.” And stuff like that. They said that they took her in and ran some blood tests and that’s when they found leukemia. From that hospital she was treated for cancer and then she went to St. Jude’s. She was in St. Jude’s and then she went to another hospital.

7:30 p.m. – Yep, it gets weirder… Us Weekly reports Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who is allegedly behind the hoax, recently auditioned for the NBC show, The Voice. 

According to Us Weekly:

Tuiasosopo told producers he and his cousins started a Christian band together and were on their way to perform at a youth conference in Nevada when they got into a “massive” car accident. He claimed a truck crashed into their vehicle, sending them flip-flopping all over the freeway. He also said doctors thought one of them might have been brain-dead, but miraculously, everyone was fine.

7:45 p.m. - A minor league baseball team announces “Manti Te’o Girlfriend Bobblehead Day.”

8:35 p.m. – Micah Grimes of ABC Action News in Tampa tweets out a shot of Manti Te’o riding a golf cart around the IMG training facility.

8:47 p.m.Awful Announcing recalls that Manti Te’o uttered this quote to Chris Fowler at the Heisman Trophy Ceremony on December 8th — two days after Manti discovered his girlfriend was fake.

Manti Te’o: I think I’ll never forget the time when I found out that, you know, my girlfriend passed away…

FRIDAY

12:12 p.m. – Joe Schad says the man who had deceived Manti Te’o has confessed and that Manti was not aware of the hoax.

This thing is far from over, very far. I’ll do my best to update this timeline as this story continues to unfold. Feel free to leave any relevant links or columns in the comments.

The NRA Doesn’t Speak For Me

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It’s been a month since Sandy Hook. That went pretty fast, huh? Considering the irate, and at times, irrational internet debates on gun control, you might not have been able to tell one day from the other. I don’t blame you. As I seemingly tried to digest as much information as I could on both sides of the gun control argument, the days flew by for me, too.

But the morning when the National Rifle Association delivered an incredibly asinine and tone deaf statement beyond comprehensible standards stands out to me most. There are 80 million gun owners in the United States, and interestingly enough, only 4 million (5%) are associated with the aforementioned organization. Yet, somehow after that morning, it seemed as if all gun owners were thrown under one defensive, uncompromising umbrella — a national assumption by association, if you will.

Look, I’m a gun owner. I’ve hunted deer all over Pennsylvania. I’ve shot handguns and rifles all my life. I’ve even handled an AR-15, the assault weapon Adam Lanza used in the Newtown tragedy. What I haven’t done, though, is adopt the recent ridiculous views and stances of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

And by no means am I alone.

Many gun owners, including myself, are actually much more progressive in making this country safer than the uncooperative perception the NRA has painted. Contrary to what you may believe, tens of millions of gun owners are more than willing to limit the amount and availability of firearms in this country.

A few weeks ago, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre blamed just about everything except the guns themselves for the Newtown massacre: video games, gun free school zones, movies, you name it. And while an argument can certainly be made that these are contributing factors to the larger problem, the central issue remains. Guns.

Assault weapons (and 30-round magazines)

As I’ve said before, I’ve been shooting for a while. I used to come from grade school and tear up soda cans in the backyard with my BB gun. Since I’ve been in college, though, I haven’t been around firearms nearly as much, if at all. That all changed over winter break, when my father asked if I wanted to attend a gun show with him in Reading, PA. I said sure, curious to see what the gun market was like, post-Newtown.

First realization: the amount of assault weaponry available to the average citizen is absolutely terrifying. Seriously. I knew semi-automatic rifles were available to the public, but I never rationalized how many existed or how easy it was to obtain one (or several). For a small gun show, there must have been over 250 assault weapons for sale. Anyone without a criminal background could’ve easily purchased any (or… GASP… all) of the weapons pictured below.

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According to the Mother Jones, there have been 62 mass shootings over the last three decades and 25 of the shooters used assault weapons during their shooting sprees. There are roughly four million assault weapons in the United States today. Four million guns with Adam Lanza (Newtown) and James Holmes (Aurora) killing capability. Yet, even after the massacre of 27 people, some dare to categorize weapons such as the AR-15 “weak.”

On Sunday, National Rifle Association President David Keene said this on the subject of assault weapons, further distancing his “anti-crime” organization from millions of American gun owners: “We’re not willing to compromise on people’s rights when there is no evidence that doing so is going to accomplish the purpose.” At least Keene is in touch with the people within his organization, I suppose.

Per a YouGov survey of about 1,850 gun owners in December 2011 (pre-Aurora, pre-Newtown), only 7% of NRA members who own guns support an assault weapons ban. However, gun owners who are not affiliated with the NRA are much more supportive of an assault weapons ban (36%). That survey is from over a year ago — with the recents events and steady alienation from the NRA, I can assure you that gap has widened.

Now, interestingly enough, 49 (75%) of these mass murders obtained their weapons legally. Which leads me to…

Background checks

For $8.00, anyone could’ve walked into the gun show, and with some cash and a brief background check that simply looks for past criminal behavior, exited with as many guns as they wanted. Sometimes it only takes five minutes. Scary thought. But hey, considering unscreened sales are quite frequent, at least those deals required some sort of background check.

To my surprise, while federally licensed arms dealers must conduct background checks on purchasers to impede criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, “private sellers” are not required to administer such tests. The “Gun Show Loophole,” which leaves private sellers exempt from conducting any background check, allows for 6 million guns — 40% of annual firearm sales — to exchange hands each year sans any kind of check.

Yes, there are certain limitations in some states, but even those attempts to curb the issue are partial and insufficient. In Pennsylvania, for example, just handgun purchases at gun shows require background checks, not rifles or even assault weapons. A whopping 33 states have zero restrictions on gun show sales — meaning, in two thirds of the country, pretty much anyone can walk into a gun show and buy the weapon pictured below, a shotgun suited for only Rambo or Django.

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The executive director of Gun Owners Of America, Gary Pratt, has recently called the cries for universal background checks a “waste of time.” Even more troubling, the NRA is actually trying to lessen the screening programs in states like Virginia and Colorado.

In reality, a vast majority of U.S. citizens realize a conversation on universal background checks isn’t a waste of time at all. As a matter of fact, almost 90% of gun owners — NRA or not — back the idea, according to a recent Pew survey.

But let’s just say you are a convicted felon… Of course, you have the option to legally obtain a weapon through a private seller without a background check as in the tragic case of John Shick. But what’s more shocking is that past felons, even those convicted of first degree murder, can petition to receive a weapons permit… and judges are granting them.

Gun Culture

This is a real children’s shirt I found at the gun show. Presented without further comment.

Listen, like a majority of gun owners nationwide, I’m not up for a gun ban. I hope to teach my sons and daughters to shoot just like my father taught me. But something must be done. I’m not even against the 2nd Amendment — I, too, like my guns — I just believe in the reasonable regulation of it. Too many lives already have been lost.

…And sadly, many more lives will be lost. Even if assault weapons were banned and a background check system was installed tomorrow, the killings and mass murders would likely continue at a steady pace for decades due to the millions of guns that would be grandfathered in. Truth is, many years are going to pass before guns are properly regulated in this country. The NRA and its numerous lobbyists will fight against any possibility of any pro-gun control bills from entering Washington anytime soon.

That doesn’t mean I’m ready to lay down, allow the NRA to alienate me, or give up on the possibility of a safer country, though. For Christ’s sake, it’s easier for me to buy an assault weapon than it is for my girlfriend to get birth control. How is that remotely justifiable?

I’ll end with a quote from John Sides of the Washington Post: “This is not a world with gun owners on one side and those who do not own guns on the other… Gun owners do not speak with one voice about gun control, and, for many gun owners, Wayne LaPierre does not appear to speak for them.”