In the corner of a small Huntington Beach coffee house I sit with my friend, talking about male orgasm and female reproductive organs as “The House Of The Rising Sun” plays in the background. Thick, heavy, white ceramic mug filled with steaming hot black coffee sits peacefully on the rugged wooden table as we chat and catch up on what has happened in the past few days. Jay is possibly one of the best guitarist I know. A rare breed of musicians today who plays rock and blues for a living. At 42, he is supporting an entire family with his music and music only. It takes balls to build your life around a passion of making music, something many people today don’t understand. Many people have no idea what it really means to be a working musician. Even the music industry “experts” seem to have no real grasp on the day-to-day lives of the “musical middle-class”. In the age of DJs and emotionless electronic music, mastering an instrument and performing for a living is a slowly dying art. Continue reading
The decision of becoming a music photographer has been one of the greatest things I have done in a very long time. Every single day, I am constantly reminded of the power music has to connect humans across boundaries of culture, race, age, and geographical distance. I am surrounded by amazingly talented individuals who live and breathe rhythm. All the sleepless nights I have spent in bars, concert venues, recording studios and rehearsal spaces have become a collection of stories from the amazing lives of those I proudly call my friends.
In the streets on New York and Los Angeles, I walked alongside creative souls and shared moments I will cherish for a lifetime. I spent weeks in California desert, participated in spontaneous jam sessions and experienced how random strangers can come together and make something so beautiful.
I am a proud lifetime member of the NRA, not because it gives me discounts on car rentals, ArmCare coverage and that America’s First Freedom is a top notch magazine. I joined the NRA because I wanted to be part of an organized effort to neutralize the nonsense ideas of the anti-gun lobby in America.
I am also a proud CCW Permit holder and POST Certified since 2009.
The first .40 S&W Winchester bullet I shot is now a pair of stud earrings I wear everyday. There was a time I could not imagine life without a Glock 26 in it. I kept my first target practice as a daily reminder of what I am capable of. I truly believe that learning to shoot means learning discipline, respect and the right way to do things. Most importantly, learning to handle firearms means learning to master fear.
Memorial Day is clouded by a sacrificial language. It’s a national ritual where we honor those who perform the greatest sacrifice to protect our “freedoms.” But make no mistake, today’s soldiers are the modern form of willing sacrificial victims.
I once made that statement and someone became really upset. He said, “But our soldiers wouldn’t see themselves as victims!”
And that’s exactly the point. It turns out that the greatest victim is not just a willing victim, but a victim who is convinced that he or she isn’t a victim at all.
The truth is that we can no longer see soldiers as anything but victims of the human propensity for violence. We see the pictures of caskets brought home revealing our war-torn culture of death. We are now fully aware of post-traumatic stress disorder, of the difficulties soldiers have finding employment, not to mention the life-long physical injuries that affect generations.
We need to stop celebrating Memorial Day.
Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.
January 19th has been declared Gun Appreciation Day.
The hope is that on this day, millions of gun appreciating Americans will take to the streets in support of the right to bear arms. But while we’re appreciating guns, let’s remember that the senseless deaths in places like Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook were caused by weapons that have no guaranteed place in a free and decent society. Personal ownership of semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should be banned.