Fighting Words

I’m a mess. I am sad and horrified and scared and ANGRY. I watch the posts flooding social media and my hands clench. I hear the politicians mouthing platitudes and my teeth grind.

I watch the NRA pour money into political pockets and I want to scream, “Enough! When are our children going to be more important than your agenda?”

I want to fight. But I don’t have a fighter’s physique or mindset. Nowhere in me is the desire to hurt anyone. All I have are my words.


My fighting words.

Here they are.

Violence in schools has to stop. We have a responsibility to our society to make it stop.

Saying that a person should be required to have an appropriate level of training, maturity and mental stability before they are allowed to own a gun is not a strike against the second amendment. It is a reasonable precaution against tragedy.

The solution will not be a single mandate or one-size-fits-all action. It must be a nuanced, carefully thought out collection of positive actions.

Screaming “my side is right and your side is stupid,” helps no one, fixes nothing and makes you sound like an idiot. Stop it.

We have to have a license to drive, to pilot an airplane, both potentially hazardous endeavors that people do every day quite safely. We must be a certain age to drink, to drive, to vote. Why is owning and operating a gun (the purpose of which is to kill, whether the target is game or assailants) any different? And do not trot out the target shooting excuse. Yes, some folks use their guns exclusively for that, but it isn’t the original purpose of owning a weapon. Target practice is the responsible gun owner’s way of ensuring that they can hit what they are shooting at, rather than spraying bullets and praying“.

The sole purpose of AR capability is to kill more targets, faster. No homeowner or hunter “needs” an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. The purpose of civilian gun ownership is to defend a person’s home or put food on the table. The responsible civilian gun owner doesn’t need an AR anything for that.

There are those who would like to see the second amendment repealed. This is true. Stop trying to deny it.

There are those who would like a return to the wild west where guns were ubiquitous. This is also true. Stop trying to deny it.

Americans are guaranteed the right to bear arms by the U.S. Constitution. Deal with it.

Americans are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rampant, uncontrolled gun usage is a threat to that right. Deal with it.

Thoughts and prayers have been offered by politicians after every mass shooting to no avail. The divine is tired of us having the tools to affect change and doing nothing but sit with our hands folded, thinking or praying about it.  The solution may start with thinking and praying but it cannot, for the sake of all that is holy, end there.

In the end, we gain nothing be entrenching our positions, plugging our ears and yelling imprecations at the other side.


America is great because her people govern together. We haven’t done a great job of that lately. We need to start, and we need to demand that our governing bodies put the needs of their people before the needs of their wallets.



Our kids – the same ones who have been called immature, lazy, apathetic, clueless and worse – are standing up. They are leading, and we adults should be ashamed if we aren’t standing on the front lines with them, demanding change. We have the vote, most of them don’t. We need to lead from the front until they can catch up.

Book Review: Outsystem by MD Cooper


In 4123, the greatest colony ship ever built is leaving the Sol System, and Major Tanis Richards has secured a berth.

Demoted by the military and hung out to dry, the media calls her the Butcher of Toro. However, despite her soiled record, Tanis still one of the best military counterinsurgency officers in the Terran Space Force.

The backers of the colony mission need her to stop the terrorists trying to destroy the GSS Intrepid, while in the final phases of construction at the Mars Outer Shipyards.

Getting the job done will be her ticket out of the Sol system, but Tanis discovers she is up against more than mercenaries and assassins. Major corporations and governments have a vested interest in ensuring the Intrepid never leaves Sol, ultimately pitting Tanis against factions inside her own military.

With few friends left, Tanis will need to fight for her life to get outsystem.


M.D. Cooper’s Outsystem is a fast paced, high tension power ride with vivid, multi-dimensional characters and an intriguing plot line. I was hooked from page one and fully invested by the end of the first chapter.

Full disclosure – I haven’t read sci-fi in a long time. Recently, most of my reads have been fantasy and/or young adult. But Outsystem made me rethink my trajectory. A lot of the reason for that had to do with Cooper’s protagonist, Tanis Richards.

Female characters in sci-fi stories, especially those with a heavy military angle like Outsystem, tend to be either frail princesses waiting to be saved, or hard-assed – erm, boiled veterans with little or no emotional side. Tanis is different. She is smart, savvy and more than capable of defending herself against the enemy, but Cooper also manages to provide her with a heart. Rather than shoving her into the mold of the male warrior as is so common, Tanis is presented to us as a fully-fledged, multi-faceted character with the same wants and needs of any normal human being.  She has been through rough times, and she carries that baggage, but she doesn’t come across as fragile or weak. Tanis is a hero anyone, male or female, can relate to and appreciate.

For this reason, plus a strong plot and an outstanding supporting cast of characters, Outsystem gets 4.5 of 5 stars. If you enjoy military sci-fi, this is a must-read.

Author Bio:

M.D. CooperMichael Cooper has been writing since he finished Return of the King and had to have more. Lately, he has turned toward science fiction and is working on a series of books which surround a colony ship leaving the Sol system for 82 Eridani.

When he’s not writing novels or software he can be found spending time with his wife and daughter or in his wood shop building furniture.

You can find out more about Michael and his books here:

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