Monday, July 15, 2013

Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns

Author: Glenn Beck
Pages: 162
Rating: PG-13 (he talks about a lot of the gun massacres that have happened in the last several years, and also describes in detail some of the violent video games out on the market)

When our founding fathers secured the Constitutional “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” they also added the admonition that this right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

It is the only time this phrase appears in the Bill of Rights. So why aren’t more people listening?

History has proven that guns are essential to self-defense and liberty—but tragedy is a powerful force and has led many to believe that guns are the enemy, that the Second Amendment is outdated, and that more restrictions or outright bans on firearms will somehow solve everything.

They are wrong.

In CONTROL, Glenn Beck presents a passionate, fact-based case for guns that reveals why gun control isn’t really about controlling guns at all; it’s about controlling us. In doing so, he takes on and debunks the common myths and outright lies that are often used to vilify guns and demean their owners:

The Second Amendment is ABOUT MUSKETS . . . GUN CONTROL WORKS in other countries . . . 40 percent of all guns are sold without BACKGROUND CHECKS . . . More GUNS MEAN more MURDER . . . Mass shootings are becoming more common . . . These awful MASSACRES ARE UNIQUE TO AMERICA . . . No CIVILIAN needs a “weapon of war” like the AR-15 . . . ARMED GUARDS in schools do nothing, just look at Columbine . . . Stop FEARMONGERING, no one is talking about TAKING YOUR GUNS AWAY.
Backed by hundreds of sources, this handbook gives everyone who cares about the Second Amendment the indisputable facts they need to reclaim the debate, defeat the fear, and take back their natural rights.

My Thoughts: AWESOME BOOK! Back when I was a teenager, I don't think I really had an opinion one way or the other about guns. But as an adult, I am completely pro-gun. Regardless of how you may view Glenn Beck, this book is full of full-out FACTS. Basically, he takes quotations from various political and media public figures, quotes that many people just take for granted to be true, because it was said on the news, and then shows you how those claims are completely false and how half the time these people really don't know what they are talking about. He quotes numerous official studies (not paid for or backed by the NRA, as many liberals claim) and he also presents plenty of anecdotal evidence that taking away guns is actually not going to solve anything. It's extremely informational. One of my favorite quotes is towards the end of the book when Beck says this:

"If a boy stabs a cat to death with a steak knife, society doesn't debate the knife, it debates how the boy got that way. We look at his life, his upbringing, his schooling, his friends, his medications, and what he does in his spare time. But if that same boy uses a gun to kill that cat, everything changes. All of a sudden it's not about the boy, it's about the weapon. What kind of gun was it? How many rounds did it hold? how did he get it? Why didn't it have a trigger guard? While there are certainly legitimate questions to be asked in the wake of a violent act, gun crimes seem to divert attention from where it should really be: on the person committing the act."

Awesome. The first 2/3 of the book deals with debunking all the claims made in support of more gun control. My favorite was the quote from Piers Morgan, a famous anti-gun person, who said "In the last 30 years there have been 62 mass shootings. Not a single one has ever been thwarted by a civilian despite America being a heavily armed country." Well, DUH. If it had been stopped then it wouldn't be a mass shooting! Then Beck lists several accounts of killings that COULD have become large-scale if they had not been stopped by...someone with a gun.

Beck calls guns "the great equalizer." Basically the idea is that if you're an older person or a female, and some young, strong male (the normal profile of criminals) comes at you trying to hurt you or kill you, whether or not he has a gun, you're pretty much toast. However, if said senior citizen or young female has a gun, the chances of survival are WAY better. I love this quote from the book. "Consider for a second that you felt threatened for some reason and then ask yourself this: would you feel safer with a sign on your front window saying 'This house is a gun-free zone' or with an armed guard on call whenever you were home? If you wouldn't put this sign on your home, why would anyone think it's okay to put them in places where young children gather nearly every day?" Right you are, Mr. Beck.

The last 1/3 of the book focuses on the real reasons why Beck thinks we are having so many issues with violent crime lately. And it all starts with society and our acceptance of violence. He lists several studies that found that children who were exposed to violent television and/or video games were more likely to show aggressive behaviors later on in life. I have always been against violent video games, and now I'm even MORE against them. Beck describes the storylines of several of the more popular games out there right now, and I promise you, you will be SHOCKED! Oh and by the way, the rating M for Mature basically means that it's probably a really horrible game but the manufacturers got it past the raters by selecting specific less violent clips to show to the people in charge of giving ratings. He basically makes the argument that when we let kids spend hours playing games in which they are rewarded for being violent and for basically committing heinous acts, it starts to affect the way their brain perceives the world around them. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is already pro-gun and wants a bit more ammo to use during "discussions" with your anti-gun peers, or to anyone who hasn't really formed an opinion about them yet and wants to get some really good, fact-based information. (By the way, everything in the book is backed up with sources at the end. That you could go check out on your own if you're that interested.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Survivor's Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

Author: Ben Sherwood
Pages: 337
Rating: PG - some of the things that happen to people in this book are a bit frightening, but there is no language, and nothing too horribly graphic.

Which is the safest seat on an airplane? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? Why does religious observance add years to your life? How can birthdays be hazardous to your health?

Each second of the day, someone in America faces a crisis, whether it's a car accident, violent crime, serious illness, or financial trouble. Given the inevitability of adversity, we all wonder: Who beats the odds and who surrenders? Why do some people bound back and others give up? How can I become the kind of person who survives and thrives?

The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author's adventures inside the U.S. military's elite survival schools and the government's airplane crash evacuation course.

With THE SURVIVORS CLUB, you can also discover your own Survivor IQ through a powerful Internet-based test called the Survivor Profiler. Developed exclusively for this book, the test analyzes your personality and generates a customized report on your top survivor strengths.

There is no escaping life's inevitable struggles. But THE SURVIVORS CLUB can give you an edge when adversity strikes.

My Thoughts: This book was actually referred to me by my husband, who is not reader. He read it so fast, that I figured it must be worth the read. It was fascinating, let me tell you.

I have always been one of those people who is pretty much terrified at the thought of what life might possibly throw at me. I know we all usually have to face something majorly difficult in our lifetime, and I can give myself anxiety attacks wondering what that trial is going to be for me.

However, this book taught me that the more prepared you are, the better you'll fare (leading me to want to have more discussions with my husband about what we will do in various disastrous situations), and that people are almost always stronger than they think they are. The most fascinating chapter to me was the one on resiliance, where it explains that the majority of people who have some kind of traumatic experience do NOT experience severe PTSD and they actually recover quite well. Also, most people who have been through a difficult trial are grateful for the experience, and feel like they came out on the other end a better person than they were before.

My husband's favorite chapter was the one about plane crashes specifically. That one was also really interesting. I learned that it's very important to pay attention to the safety briefings, and also be aware of the exits and how you might be able to get out if there was a crash. Contrary to popular belief, most airplane crashes are NOT 100% fatal, and most people actually end up surviving. Also interesting is the fact that it doesn't much matter where you sit on the plane, as long as you are ready to jump into action in the face of an emergency. Plane crashes have been analyzed and found that people who died were sitting right next to people who lived. Those who died simply froze out of panic and therefore made no effort whatsoever to escape.

I would highly, highly recommend this one. It is so super interesting, and it gave me more confidence in myself. Also, you can take the Survivor Profiler test online and find out what your strengths are, and they might surprise you! I didn't think my results were accurate, but the test is pretty well put together, and it's really hard to get the wrong result. So maybe I'll surprise even myself in the event of a disaster!