MonthJune 2016

Legacy

Tonight, I am driving with my wife to The Blennerhassett Hotel in West Virginia. There, we slumber and wake early tomorrow to continue to Cincinnati, OH. I wish the trip was under better circumstances, but it’s to attend the funeral of my grandmother. She may be gone but the legacy she left will be remembered far past my life.

“It would break my heart if it was developed for any other purpose. This way, it is a comfort to know that whatever happens to me, this beautiful property will remain.” — Marie Holscher

Marie Holscher, on the farm. Courtesy of Xavier: from http://xtra.xavier.edu/xavier-magazine/forever-farm/

Marie Holscher, on the farm. Courtesy of Xavier

It will remain untouched. It’s a beautiful property with towering trees and a lake where I fished growing up when we’d pile in the car for a visit. In addition to being beautiful, the farm is used as a farm.

In 2007, my father worked with her to get the property and house protected for the future. The Clermont Sun wrote about the easement. Monroe Township resident donates agricultural easement

Not just 42 acres of woodlands and farm fields (the farm produces profitable corn and soybean crops), the Holscher farm is also home to the Aaron Fagin House, built in 1832, that is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. The Fagin House has had only four owners in its 175-year history.

She wanted the house and land to remain after she passed. And it will. It will not turn into a strip mall or housing development.

“My husband (who died in 1957) and I bought the farm and moved here in 1950,” Holscher said. “It has been in our family ever since that time and is a much cherished home. It is important to me to preserve this house and its surrounding acres just as it is right now. Hopefully, the easement will accomplish that.”

I haven’t been to the farm in years. But I am looking forward to walking through the expansive lawn to the lake and towering pine trees. Even thought she has passed, her legacy will outlast my father and myself. It will remain a pristine part of the world. Nor a parking lot. Nor a mall. It will remain farmland and a legacy.

Playing with your idols

A lot of people laugh at the idea of eSports. Playing a video game professionally is a scoff-worthy idea but is it so different from other sports?

Someone spent thousands of hours practicing and playing a game and now they’re extremely good at it. My brother and I poured far too many hours to count into NBA Jam when we were growing up. We kept records of our point/steals/block totals in games.

We could try to blow out the computer-controlled team or hold them scoreless, if we could. We had a blast playing and that was with a Super Nintendo in our living room in the country.

Today, it’s possible to play games with people from all over the world and I’ve made friends in London and Australia. I have friends all over the United States and Canada. I never would have found these people if it weren’t for video games.

Video games are fun. I play to unwind. I play to blow off steam. I play to escape from the real world and emerge myself in someone’s else’s reality. The game maker’s reality.

There’s something about eSports that levels the playing field unlike other professional sports. The ability to play with or again your idols.

Reading my Destiny Twitter list, I saw this tweet:

So I had to check out the video. (Embedded below.)

It’s so much fun to see kids freaking out and having so much fun playing a game against someone they admire. Ms 5000 Watts is a Destiny gamer who streams her videos and she posted a video of the match against the Pint Sized Guardians.

One of the many reasons I love Destiny is because of the inclusive, caring community. The big names are good-natured folks who love the game and love their fans.

Amid all the bad news and uncertainty floating around online and in the world, it’s good to know my refuge is still a place where things like this are happening.

Jason’s Journeys

Jason is a curious wanderer and good human. I enjoyed this podcast as he talks about his travels around the country.

“I’m too curious to let things be as they are. So I have to probe, I have to explore, I have to ask why of everything that comes my way in order to determine that it’s what I should be doing, or where I should be going, or somebody I should be involved with.”

Listen to Episode 53 – Enjoying the Journey and the Destination with Jason Rehmus

Why I Need an AR-15

I came across this well-written, reasoned piece explaining why someone would own an AR-15. The part that really hit me was this:

The AR-15 is less a model of rifle than it is an open-source, modular weapons platform that can be customized for a whole range of applications, from small pest control to taking out 500-pound feral hogs to urban combat. Everything about an individual AR-15 can be changed with aftermarket parts — the caliber of ammunition, recoil, range, weight, length, hold and grip, and on and on.

It’s less a gun and more a framework for a gun. That made a lot of sense to me. It’s a firearm that can be configured and used in a number of different ways.

So cops and civilians “need” an AR-15 because that one gun can be adapted to an infinite variety of sporting, hunting, and use-of-force scenarios by an amateur with a few simple tools. An AR-15 owner doesn’t have to buy and maintain a separate gun for each application, nor does she need a professional gunsmith to make modifications and customizations. In this respect, the AR-15 is basically a giant lego kit for grownups.

I still don’t agree with it. But I can see the reasoning behind owning them. Why I need an AR-15 is worth a read. Even if you don’t agree with the position. It explains why the weapon is so popular.

Barely a day

Barely a day goes by without a mass shooting.

It’s terrifying. It’s exhausting. It’s a problem native to the United States. It’s a mentally unhealthy population that knows no way to express their feelings other than violence.

It’s a country where you can buy an AR-15 in 7 minutes. With that kind of speed, any impulse to murder can be acted on and carried out without any time to cool off and have your cooler head appeal to your better self.

Guns are accessible. That’s a fact that won’t quickly change. Most guns used in mass shootings are purchased legally. It’s so easy to buy them legally, why go through the extra trouble of illegal sales?

But why are so many people purchasing them and acting on their emotions in mass violence? What makes someone wake up and decide to shoot up a school, night club, movie theater or church?

I wish more of these shooters were captured alive so we could ask them.