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Guns vs Reality

October 16, 2014

We need to watch the kids while they are at your uncle’s place..

You mean because my aunt Lois has all those knick knacks?

No. I mean, yeah, but I was thinking about the guns that your uncle has in the house.

We were headed with all 13 kids to visit my uncle. He lives in a house overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene in Norther Idaho. He and my aunt were retired. Uncle Tandy spent his time fixing go-carts for the Shiners, taking trips in his 34′ motor home and fishing on the lake. He was a former soldier, heavy equipment operator, police chief and highway patrolman. Not only did he have his own guns, he had inherited my grandparents’ guns. Both my grandfather who taught me to shoot, and my grandmother owned guns.

Uncle Tandy kept a loaded handgun in his nightstand and a loaded shotgun behind the front door. Pity the robber who attempted to rob him.

My aunt had the house full of trinkets. But, we had toddlers and pre-teens. Prime ages for sneaking into closets or rummaging under beds. Our visit was more than a little stressful. However, our kids didn’t get into anything, and my uncle told us to come back anytime. . .when they were older.

Was there a danger?

Probably.

Was it as dangerous as we thought?

Probably not.

How do I know? Because of the many trips we made to my lovely wife’s family in Idaho.

There’s a line out of the classic 1962 movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Jimmy Stewart’s character who has lived his life incorrectly being lauded as a hero for shooting the outlaw Liberty Valance, tells a group of newspapermen,

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

We convince ourselves that certain things are true and yet never bother to check them against reality. For example, in 335 BC the philosopher Aristotle wrote a set of laws on physics. One of the laws was that heavier objects fall faster. It make sense. . .sort of. And it was accepted as fact for well over a thousand years. Until the Italian scientist Galileo (1564 – 1642) did a series of experiments proving that all objects fall at the same rate. Galileo’s experiment supposedly dropped stones off the leaning tower of Pisa.

Incredibly simple experiment. So, why did it take nearly two thousand years? Because people either believed Aristotle, or more often, scientists were simply afraid to doubt 2000 years of orthodoxy.

What does this have to do with IT and computers? We have the same prejudices and preconceived ideas as other professions. For example, despite “common knowledge” Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft never said “640 K of memory should be enough for anyone.” (The computer you are reading this on probably has several thousands of times more memory than 640K.) Thomas J Watson the founder of IBM never said “the world has need of at most 5 computers.”

Some IT professionals swear by Macs. Other’s wouldn’t use anything except a Windows machine. Still others insist that Linux is the only operating system that anyone should need. Is one operating system better than another? Of course. If you want to run a program that runs exclusively on a single platform, the question is easy. Is one operating system better in every situation? Of course not.

As a consultant, or as a manager evaluating a new product, or as a person, check your biases. It’s possible that you are looking at the world through a cracked glass. My best friend told me that he’s often heard that black people are not good programmers. He’s a black programmer. My wife has heard that women don’t do well in IT. My wife was a computer trainer and consultant.

Sometimes we talk ourselves out of a solution because we are sure of something that isn’t so.

My lovely wife also has family in Idaho. Her sister and brother-in-law live on a dairy farm in South East Idaho. We love to visit there and have been there often with all 13 kids.

Did you think we should make be extra careful at your sister’s house in Idaho?

No. Why?

Well, the guns.

What do you mean?

If you remember they keep their guns in the gun cabinet in the family room.

So?

The gun cabinet doesn’t lock. . .and it’s missing the glass. And they keep some of the guns on the antlers of a deer on the wall.

Yeah, not all that secure.

And our kids didn’t get into anything at their house either.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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