Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry
kingpin248

Dispatches from the Deep: #6 (June 28, 2008)

Midshipman operations are complete, and we're proceeding on a northward course toward the Armpit of New England and hopefully a restful and relaxed holiday weekend. Today was a day of drills. It was a set much like most others these days - plenty of errors, things commented on and room for improvement. Today's events didn't involve me too heavily, but I did have a slip that had to be intervened on. I also provided good backup to the rest of the box a couple of times (which, in most propulsion plant casualties, is the Reactor Operator's primary job). And tonight, we took exams. Tests are one of the more frustrating aspects of what I do. It's not just because there are so many, and when they're taken is dictated by ship's schedule. It's that some obscure shit can be pulled out and tested on, and you'll have no idea that it even existed - to say nothing of where to find it. That said, I'm glad these tests are behind me and we don't have to worry about them in port.

Lots of good stuff in the news to talk about. The Supreme Court rocked my socks by deciding in District of Columbia v. Heller (full decision) that the effective ban on firearms in the nation's (murder) capital is totally wack. Further, the Second Amendment does, in fact, convey an individual right to keep and bear arms. This is a great victory for all Americans. Both research and common sense dictate that when ordinary people can pack heat to defend themselves, there's less crime - to say nothing of being able to repel a threat from the government itself. And Britain's experience in the eleven years since Dunblane is clear evidence that internal disarmament is a bad plan. Personally, I have no real interest in guns, and no intent to learn to fire one beyond what the Navy requires of me. But anyone who wants to put in that time and effort should be able to do so without undue interference from any level of government.

I consider myself an agnostic, and have never really had a problem with the various uses of religion in the Navy. When we have a ceremony that asks for heads to be bowed in prayer, I comply, even though I'm not praying to anyone in particular. This being said, it appears that some do have a gripe. A recent Naval Academy graduate has teamed up with the ACLU to threaten the USNA with a lawsuit unless the traditional lunchtime prayer is discontinued. As of right now, the Academy response is "piss off," but that might change if sufficient pressure is applied. My colleague FrontStoop struck the nail well last night: "If you have a problem with something like this, you really don't need to be in the military." I'm in total agreement.

My plan to attend college after leaving the Seagoing Military Force is likely to get a huge boost soon, thanks to Virginia Senator Jim Webb. His "Webb GI Bill" appears to have a clear path to becoming law - and for people banking on the post-service education benefit, it's "stop at BIG BUCKS." Bigger tuition payments. A housing stipend for full-time students. As much as I rail against excessive Federal spending, this is one example of a judicious use of the Treasury. It's a potentially powerful carrot to dangle in front of potential recruits. It's a sign that there's a commitment to us beyond chewing us up and spitting us out - a welcome change, from my perspective. And it directly impacts me by possibly opening up some schools I hadn't previously considered, and completely removing cost as a factor for some others. The light at the end of this tunnel seems about to get brighter...
Tags: insanity, politics, undersea life
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