A Solution for a Bleeding Nation

Gun control. A phrase that raises the hackles of nearly every American. I’ve seen this debate spring up in the most unlikely places and it always ends the same way. Both parties walk away angry and relationships are damaged. One side argues that gun control is the only way to stop gun related homicide. The other side argues that criminals won’t obey the laws that exist why would they obey a new one. The debate rages on.

 

I wanted to address this with my thoughts on gun control. I will start by addressing some of the more common arguments from both sides.

 

  1. Outlawing guns will reduce the number of gun related homicide.

    -Yes that is true, just like eating all the blue M&Ms will reduce the chances of you getting a blue M&M if you pulled one out randomly. That doesn’t mean it will reduce the total number of homicides. People that are angry enough to shoot someone are often also angry enough to stab or strangle.

  2. Outlawing guns is directly against our 2nd amendment rights.

    -Actually, not necessarily, that depends entirely on what “the right to form a militia” means. It would still be possible to form a militia if the militia were able to purchase weapons rather than the individuals.

  3. Countries like England have less gun related homicides than we do.

    -umm, Have you seen the population of England (63,181,775 as of march 27th, 2011) vs. the U.S. (316, 345,000 as of July 29th, 2013)? Less people means less homicides. Not to mention the fact that England has had laws against the carrying of weapons for most everyone but the gentry for centuries. It’s kind of an ingrained thing in their society.

  4. Criminals don’t obey current laws why would they give up their guns.

    -This only addresses premeditated murder. Not the passionate “I just walked in to find my wife with the mailman, grabbed my gun from the side-table and shot them both” type. If guns were not readily available these sorts of incidents would most likely be less common.

  5. Don’t you care! Don’t you want your family to be safe

    -Absolutely, don’t assume that because someone is against gun controls laws that they want a dystopian anarchy. Most people who are against gun control are typically either worried about having their guns taken away, something they see as their only means of defense against intruders or are worried about the government having too much power and threatening the well being of the home.

  6. Guns are tools, they don’t kill people. People kill people.

    -Yes, that is true. A gun will not on it’s own (in most situations) fire itself. However, the firearm is the direct result of thousands of years of technological development focused specifically on killing efficiency. The gun replaced the bow and crossbow because it was much more efficient at killing people. If a person were to run into a mall with a knife and started stabbing people it is very likely he would be taken down with a lot less casualties than if he was using a gun simply because a gun is more efficient than a knife.

 

Overall I am rather frustrated with the debate. People are so lazy when it comes to thinking that they tend to just camp on an extreme that sort of follows how they feel and don’t really think about the issues present. That being said, I want to present what I think about guns.

 

First of all I want to make it very clear that I see ownership of guns on the same level as ownership of a car, or lawnmower. It’s a tool. A tool that is a privilege and if those privileges are abuse then maybe we should rethink how the privileges are handled. A drunk will get his license taken away if he drives while intoxicated. As a nation it seems we have abused the privilege of owning guns maybe we should think about what that means.

 

On the other hand I am not sure that the complete banning of firearms is a good idea. Primarily because I can’t think of a good way to efficiently manage that task in this country without a whole lot of law enforcement officers getting killed. There are so many people that are violently opposed to the idea of their firearms being taken away that such a decree would very likely cause riots and rebellion and even possibly an all out civil war. How exactly would the loss of life cause by that action be justified if the whole reason for the law/s in the first place is to stop the loss of life. This puts us in a dilemma. How do we put a stop to the seeming rise of school shootings, workplace violence, and other random acts of murder that use firearms?

 

Let me propose a solution. It’s a solution that will take a massive amount of effort from each person and will likely take decades to come to fruition. However, I believe it is the most effective means of curbing the rampant violence in our nation.

 

Teach our kids that the best way to deal with stress is not to take out a gun and shoot the person stressing you out.

 

Yea, that’s pretty much it. I know that this will meet with a lot of opposition because people can’t except that the answer is something that simple. I can hear all the “but you can’t change the world like that” “people have always been violent” etc… etc…

 

But, how will we know until we have tried? Let’s try to change this nation by teaching those who will be in charge that sometimes life sucks. Sometimes people are mean, harsh, rude and downright assholes; and that really the best way to deal with it is to ignore the issue and go on with your life rather than bringing a gun to work or school to “teach that bastard a lesson.” Sometimes life just takes a dump in your lap and the best thing to do is clean it up as best you can and push forward. Not to plant a bomb to “show how awesome you are and what you can accomplish” or “get back at the bank that repossessed your home.”

 

If we start with our children and with how we treat each other and we examine ourselves to see how our actions could effect others, than maybe, just maybe, we can make a change. Start small and work up.

 

So go out there today and hold a door open for someone, say thank you and mean it. Try to be courtious and thoughtful in everything you do. Teach your children by example how to treat your fellow man. Teach them that when someone cuts you off in traffic, it’s annoying, but not worth fighting over. Teach them that bullies are really just sad, scarred individuals and to not take what they say to seriously. In all things knowledge is power and power is control. The more knowledge our children have about how their actions can effect others and about their own self awareness and assurance the more they are able to deal with the stresses of life.  

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What is Truth?

“And the lonely voice of youth cries, ‘what is truth?'”

Truth is the most important thing an individual can strive after in their lifetime. This statement may not seem apparent at first. Many of you will be thinking, “no what about…..” Let me clarify first and you will see that, for the most part, all of those things that you can think of are results of striving after truth.

Truth seems to come in two forms. At least by modern definition it does. One is the changing fluid truth often called subjective. These truths often change based on the situation. For example, “don’t lie”. Well, what about situations like during the holocaust were lying actually saved countless innocent lives by hiding to location of many of those persecuted during that time? Suddenly that truth becomes….sticky.

The other is the unassailable truth. The one that doesn’t change. The one that you can stand on in any situation. If I poke myself hard enough in the eye it will hurt. This doesn’t change. If I am able to poke myself than presumably I am alive and thus I can feel my eye. Even if I am under the influence of some sort of pain deadening drug, when that wears off I will feel it if I poke hard enough to damage something.If I am suffering from leprosy and it is effecting my eyes such that poking myself there no matter how hard won’t hurt, well, it’s unlikely that I am still alive and am thus unable to poke myself. This is the type of truth that I am going to be referring to from this point out.

As we grow and mature one of our tasks as human beings is to find our identity, our place in society and existence in general. This journey is a searching for those unassailable truth. Truths that answer questions like; “why am I here?”, “why are we here?”, What should I do with myself.” In fact these truths that we find define every action we will take from that point on. The problem that often occurs is that people, after reaching a certain point and creating their identity, will stop.

Instead of constantly testing those truth to make sure they are, in fact, unassailable, they stagnate. Instead of constantly searching for more truths in this multifaceted existence we call life. They close their eyes. Rather than growing as a person they rot.

If these truths, those regarding our nature as humans, the origin of the universe and life, our purpose (if any), remain untested how can we know we are doing what is…right?

Hackers

This is something that I do not understand. Hacking in game. What is the point. Yea, you win, congrats. But what did you prove? Oooo you can download a program, congrats. I did too, it’s why I am playing this game. Were is the challenge, the reward, the satisfaction of standing over the smoldering corpse of you (online) enemy?

This is something that has mystified me for a long time. I spend a lot of time (way too much time) playing online competitive games. Games like Mechwarrior: Online, Planetside  2 and until recently APB reloaded. And I can attest to the proliferation of hackers in at lest two of those games (so far I haven’t seen many in MW:O). I just don’t understand.

To me, those games are about matching skill vs. skill. Who is better. I don’t understand how people can enjoy a game when all they are doing is running a program and falling asleep. Hacking removes the skill vs. skill aspect. It becomes their skill vs your program. What is the point? Are hackers so insecure in themselves that they cannot accept that they might possibly be worse than other players? Is it this that drives then to this pathetic escape from a true match of skills.

This mindset is very much like the person who says “I can beat that MMA fighter in a fight” and walks up the the person and shoots them. OF COURSE YOU CAN BEAT THEM WITH A GUN! What the hell? What does that prove? Nothing beyond your own pettiness  grow up people.

Teaching Children About Bullying

I’ve come to believe that the difference between those people who can find success in this world and those that walk into movie theaters, or schoolyards or malls and shoot people are the tools that they have to deal with the stresses of life. A normal, “well-adjusted” person (if there is such a thing) can normally weather most stresses. Be it financial, relational or other. However, there are some people who seem to be at a loss when it comes to dealing with stress. They bottle up their emotions and bury them until the bubbling mound becomes so large it explodes.Why is it that some people can cope and others can’t? I believe it is because they were never given the proper tools to do so by their parents (or guardians).

People, all people including children, have free will. They make their own choices and there is very little that we can do about that. The best that us parents can do is to give our children the best knowledge and tools to make the decisions that would be best for them, their children, and society as a whole. It’s a small thing to be sure, choices are still made, some bad and some good. Sometimes in complete disregard of what is best. But we cannot disregard our duty to our children. We do them a disservice to try to keep them happy all the time. Life is not happy. It can be a miserable, bleak existence. The only happiness that we find here is what we make for ourselves. We need to teach our children how to deal with the deluge of suffering that is life and how to look at the good things that we do have.

My oldest daughter was being bullied at school. There was this girl who, for whatever reason, decided that she didn’t like my daughter. The bullying was cruel and merciless. She came home in tears more than once. We talked about it with her, trying to help her with this. There is not a more helpless feeling than seeing your child suffer and being unable to stop it. I was able to finally drive home an idea that stuck with her. Bullies only bully because they feel bad about themselves and they think it makes them feel better to make others feel worse. My daughter then decided that she was going to try to make the bully feel better so she would stop bullying. I have rarely ever felt more proud.

This instance also brought to light the difference between my daughter and me at that age. I am not a naturally compassionate person. I came to that realization on my own sometime around 5th grade. Instead of thinking, “how can I help them?” I slapped the bullies down. I laughed at them and their sad attempts to feel better. I bring this up to illustrate how different people deal with truths differently. I personally do not think I handled that well. My daughter, on the other hand, stunned me with her caring nature.

I write this to the parents of the children who are bullied and to those who witness. Teach your children. Teach the bullied how to cope, so that they do not snap later. Teach those in the crowd how to reach out a compassionate hand and help the bullied. Teach them to realize that bullies are crying out for help with their actions. Maybe if we can show them early on we may be able to stem the tide of blood that is sweeping our nation. Maybe if we start with the children with a focus on their future and how they treat each other we can stop the massacres, the shootings, the bombings. Maybe I am being delusional. But tell me a better cause worth fighting for? Even if we fail what would we lose?