Ticked off about Food Stamps

This morning I was commuting to work, when the news said something that damn near gave me an aneurism.  Apparently the federal government has just granted $600,000 to the state of Utah so we can give out more food stamps.  Then they quoted some lady from some BS organization like Utahns Against Starvation  (arch-nemesis of Utahns For Famine) or something, and how she was saying how super-dooper this was, because there are so many Utahns that are eligible for food stamps, but don’t know it, and how now they can educate them, so that even more people can get government assistance, so that way nobody will go to bed hungry…  These are people that make a decent living, but they still qualify for handouts.

WTF?  

I’ve seen some of the poorest people in America.  I was a Mormon missionary in what was considered one of the most impoverished areas of the entire country.  I spent a bunch of time in innercity Birmingham and Montgomery, and then saw the rural poor in places like Corinth, Mississippi and areas like that. 

And even there, there weren’t exactly people starving.  Even people on every form of government handout imaginable had TVs, phones, and air-conditioning.  Even in the nastiest projects in Birmingham, (which if you’ve seen Black Hawk Down, you know approximately what the Brickyard looked like) there wasn’t exactly a famine.  And if somebody was starving, it was because they were whacked out of their heads on crack, meth, and huffing paint. 

Starvation?  How many people actually die of starvation in America?  And then if you take things like child abuse and people lost in the woods out of the equation, how big is the number?  What, four? 

Not only that, but the poorest people on food stamps I ever saw still managed to buy name brand things like Pepsi and Doritos.  Wheras I grew up dirt ass poor on a dairy farm, but we worked for a living, so didn’t get crap from the government except for an occasional kick in the groin, and I grew up eating generic Chippos and drinking Shasta.  We did eat lots of steak, but that usually involved me killing it myself. 

Oh, but the report got better.  Because there are apparently thousands of people in Utah who are making lots of money, and have jobs, but they still qualify.  And now they were going to have a big ad campaign to inform these poor folks that they too can get free crap from the government, in fact, all of the details would be posted on the internet and these poor suffering people could get the details on their home computers.

I’m sorry, if you can afford internet access, you shouldn’t be starving.

Now if I go to Honduras, I’m willing to bet that their poor people aren’t going to find out about their handouts on their friggin’ home computers.   But Correia, you’re so insensitive, those poor Utahns only have Dial-Up!  Oh the Humanity!

Explain to me why exactly the government takes a whole bunch of my money, to give to people who the only reason they need assistance is because they’re too damn stupid to balance their checkbook, and they’ve run up tons of credit card debt?  Our system is broken, and it is only getting stupider. 

Once upon a time I got into an argument with a bleeding heart co-worker.  There was a picture of this woman in the paper, with a big old sob story about how hard her life was, and how she had five kids from four different men, but thankfully she was able to get help from the state to get by.   The ironic part and source of our argument was the brand new, 40+ inch, TV sitting behind the “poor” lady in her apartment.   My liberal co-worker thought that was just dandy.  Since I was putting myself through college by working for $7.15 an hour for 60 hours a week while taking 16 credits, rented a single room in a house that used to be a closet, and owned a TV that could fit into a shoe box, I didn’t find that giant TV amusing at all….

When I got home from my mission, I got really sick.  In fact, if I didn’t get an operation, I was probably going to die.  I lost 50 pounds over 3 months.  I couldn’t afford the relatively simple surgery.  I kept on working, scrimping up everything I could, and finally gave up, realizing that no matter how tough I was, there was no way I was going to be able to do it myself before I would finally just croak.  Swallowing my pride, I decided that I was going to try to take advantage of that same broken system I had always mocked. 

I went to the Bureaucracy of Health, Wellness, and Mosquito Abatement, filled out 2,000 pages of paperwork, and applied for help so I could get the operation.  I was turned down… See, apparently, since I had kept working lots of overtime in order to try to save up enough to do it myself, I had made $14 too much in the prior month to qualify.  No, I’m not making that number up.  My last paycheck was literally $14 over the limit.

Nope.  Didn’t matter that I had worked and saved, and was able to pay for most of it myself, and didn’t want them to pay for the whole thing.  Rules are rules, they told me, work less, and come back and apply again next month.  I told them that I would be dead in a month, but thanks… 

Finally I got my operation.  Through the generosity and charity of some people that will remain unnamed, but who I’m eternally thankful for. 

Years later, after working my butt off, and putting myself through college, and finally getting a decent paying professional job, we had our second child.  We were a single income family, as my wife is a stay at home mom, and in reality I wasn’t paid very well at all, but by working hard, being smart with our money, and avoiding debt like the plague, we were doing better than we ever had before.  So it was really fascinating after we took the baby home when we were informed that we now qualified for all sorts of free government handouts and stamps and stuff. 

Screw that. 

We turned it down.  And more than anything, I was offended that it was even a possibility.  We weren’t poor.  We had an apartment, we paid our bills, nobody was starving, and for the first time in my life, actually had health insurance.  There is something inherently broken in a system that seeks out people that are doing okay, and gives them other people’s money. 

Yep, that news report put me in a great mood. 

This isn’t meant as an insult to anybody reading this who is taking advantage of a government program.  1% of government programs actually make sense, so I’ll assume you’re part of that one.  Seriously, when somebody is giving out free stuff, I can’t blame the people who take the free stuff.  I blame the idiots who give it out, especially since it isn’t really free, especially for the other sucker they managed to extort it from. 

Now, I’m quitting my cushy corporate job, and going to work full time at FBMG, my start up company.  This means that I’m giving up my fat benefits and having to buy health insurance for my family out of pocket.  At the same time, I’ve got Hillary Clinton telling America that she’s going to give out free healthcare like some sort of demented Santa Clause from Hell.  You would think that of anybody, I would be all excited for “free” healthcare, I’m gonna have to buy it myself, and that’s expensive right?

Oh, hell no.  I would rather make passionate love to a sack full of rabid porcupines that have socialized medicine.  Look how broken and wrong our current system is, and just imagine for a moment, giving the people that seek out folks with plenty of money and jobs to give food-stamps, total control over all the health needs of the entire country. 

Nothing is ever free.  Pass me that bag of porcupines…

Review of Frostbitten

Over the weekend I got to catch a couple of monster movies.  The one that stood out was Frostbitten, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454457/, a dandy little vampire flick from Sweden.   Yes, Sweden, which means that A.  It is subtitled, B. Everything looks vaguely like it came from Ikea. 

The movie revolves around a doctor with a stash of red pills that turn the user into vampires.  And apparently it is totally cool amongst Scandinavian teenagers to take random unknown drugs to see what happens.  (must be from the socialized medicine).   They pills get passed around at a party, and hilarity ensues.   

Monster movie fans should catch this one.  There are some good performances as various people turn into vampires, talking dogs, and assault and battery with garden gnomes.  Which leads to my favorite lines of the whole flick, “Quit hitting me with gnomes!” 

It drags in places, and nothing really resolves, but I’ll recommend anything where somebody eats a poodle, bonus points if it is still on the owner’s leash. 

Video Games

Holy moly, no posts for a couple of days.  I’ve been a bit distracted, what with all of the explosions and killing.   Halo 3 is really fun.  I have to say that I’m really impressed.

Visually, it is so impressive that sometimes you find yourself stopping, just to admire the scenery.   Then something usually comes up and clubs your brains out, but that is beside the point.

Next I’m eagerly awaiting Mass Effect.  It is from the same people that made the best role playing video games ever, Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur’s Gate.  Figure that when that one comes out, just write me off for a couple of weeks.  I’ll be in my basement, growing a beard, squinting at the TV, and living off of Ho-Hos until I win it or die from lack of vitamin D. 

The dumbest thing I've ever done with a gun

So last night, I finish teaching a CCW class, and get home around 9:30 at night.  My wife, who must really love me, surprised me with Halo 3.  Now I love video games.  I enjoyed Halo 1 & 2 immensely, and since I’m a sucker for hype, I was really excited for the final chapter.  This was a great surprise.

One problem, the batteries were dead in my X-Box controller, and I couldn’t seem to find any double As anywhere in the house.  (D, N, 123, A, but none of those darn AA) So I decided to run down to the local store.  Now keep in mind, if I’m outside of my house, I’m always armed.  Since I had already gotten comfy, and had put on a t-shirt and a pair of sweats, my usual methods of carrying wouldn’t work.

Normally I carry on the belt, or on a bellyband that fits under loose clothing.  I was too lazy to change, and figured it would only take a minute.  Now some people would go out unarmed, but I’m a man of principle.  Snort… Nah, seriously, I’m just one of the most unlucky people I’ve ever met, and that means that the very first time I go out unarmed, I’m going to blunder into the finale of Heat. 

So I borrowed one of my wife’s concealed carry rigs.  She sometimes uses a fanny pack with a Makarov in it.  The fanny pack is a fashion no-no, but Master Chief is waiting for me to save the earth from the evil forces of the Covenant, so there was no time for pants.  I lengthened out the straps, (a lot), strapped on the pack, and ran out the door. 

I made it to the store, walked inside, in a hurry, thoughts of Halo dancing in my little brain, asked a sales person to point me toward the batteries, and then…

CLANK

I look down, and see a Bulgarian Makarov sitting there on the white linoleum floor of my local grocery store. 

See, this is my wife’s rig.  I don’t normally use a fanny pack since on a big, normally fully-dressed man that looks kind of like a young Tony Soprano, it just screams I HAVE A GUN, SHOOT ME FIRST.  In seven years of carrying a gun every day, I had never dropped one. 

See, my wife unzips the fanny pack when she gets done using it.  She leaves it open inside the safe, and she is in the habit of doing a chamber check, and zipping it shut when she leaves the house.  I didn’t even think that the pack might be unzipped.  And while in a hurry, it looked closed, since she zips it across the top, and shoves her hand in through the side.  The side was open, and that evil little gun just waited until it had witnesses before jumping out, while screaming “Hey World!  Look at me!” with a Bulgarian accent.

So back to our adventure.  I scoop up the gun, and shove it back into the pack.  The clerk looks at me, having seen the gun, and says “What was that?”

Being really clever, I answer, “I dropped my gun.” 

His response?  “Oh, that kind of thing happens.  I’ve got a .380 on right now…  Batteries are over here.”

God bless Utah.

I felt like such an idiot.  What a horrible, ignorant, newbie mistake.  The fact that I had just gotten done teaching 25 strangers how to legally carry a gun was painfully ironic. 

Moral of the story?  Never assume.  Know your gear, especially when you borrow your wife’s stuff.   No matter how cool Halo 3 is in HD with surround sound, you still need to pay attention to real life.  And most importantly, be friendly to your local grocery store staff.

 

Teaching CCW for free for students, teachers, & military

I’ve got a class scheduled tonight at the Cabelas in Lehi, Utah.  I haven’t talked much about CCW related stuff on this blog yet. 

One thing that I would like to get out there is that I teach a lot of folks for free.  I will teach the class for free to anyone who is a student, faculty, or staff at any Utah school.  I don’t care if you’re the janitor.  Bring some ID that proves you work in a school, or attend a Utah college, and your class is free. 

Also, anyone that is currently in the military, whether active duty, reserve, or guard, the class is free for you too.

Here is my reasoning.  For the military, that is just personal.  You guys work your butts off to protect the rest of us.  You’re usually underpaid, overworked, underappreciated, and have the pleasure of deploying for really long stretches of time to very sucky places filled with angry scumbags that want to blow you up.  This is one way FBMG can say thanks.  Besides, with all of the actual experience our military has now, that is exactly who I want carrying concealed weapons in public. 

As for students and school staff, anyone reading this from outside of Utah needs to realize that we’re actually allowed to have guns in school here.  Damn right. 

It was a battle to get CCW recognized in school, and even once it was recognized as legal, the University of Utah sued the state, saying that their “academic freedom” gave them the right to ban guns.  So we went to war.  Finally, the UofU got their collective asses handed to them, and they had to back off.  I was involved in that fight, and was one of the CCW instructors that got to testify in the senate against the U.  I don’t want to give the impression that I did much, I was just one of a great many.  And Utah has some awesome pro-gun activists. 

The timing for this was interesting, because the last hearing was the day after the Trolley Square shootings, one of the worst mass murders in this state’s history.  I was the instructor that volunteered to talk about mass public shootings.  I told the senators that if we banned guns on campus, then it was a matter of time before another mass killing occurred. 

The ban bill passed the committee.  (we already knew it would, that’s politics) But we built up such a huge swell of public outcry that the legislature shot the thing down.  The people won.  The academics lost. 

Sometime passed, all the predictions of students doing stupid stuff with guns turned out to be just as false as usual.  Then came Virginia Tech…  That very same morning the anti-gun imbeciles at the U were grousing around about how they needed to reexamine their ban on guns, and how they needed to bring the ban back. 

Well screw that.  Not in my state.  We immediately announced we would be teaching students for free.  Not only that, we immediately spent a big chunk of our own money advertising in campus newspapers that we were offering free firearms instruction. 

So I teach students and teachers for free for two reasons.  First, I want more guns in school.  In most states, schools are a giant hunting preserve for psychos.   Second, I want to get more people with “skin in the game”.  The more people I can get carrying in school, the harder it will be for the panic-stricken, ivory-tower, hand-wringing, bed-wetting, anti-gun academics to ban them again. 

Plus it makes me feel like I’m giving my finger to authority, which makes me feel kind of cool. 

Since I started doing this, I’ve taught a ton of people.  I don’t have any actual stats, but I’m going to guess that I’m probably one of the busiest instructors in the state.  I’ve taught a shocking number of students at this point, and it brings me a tiny bit of joy to know that I must be pissing off some Liberal Arts and Classical Basket-Weaving Professor somewhere. 

I teach at FBMG and Cabelas.  If anyone reading this is in one of the above groups, or knows anyone in one of the above groups, send them my way, and I’ll get them taken care of.