Endless Cycle

I remember the first time I was able to step back and view human behavior objectively to realize just how foolish we are as a species. It was in 3rd grade. We were outside during recess, playing four square. As is typical with kids, we were getting more and more wild with our hits and having more and more fun. Then something happened. I can’t remember what exactly. Someone twisted an ankle, or got hit hard in the face, or something that sent someone off crying to the teacher. We got a brief safety lecture from said teacher and there we were, standing next to our four square outline feeling sad, scared, and chastised. We all agreed to be more careful and then gingerly went back to bouncing the ball from square to square.

However, as our safe game with all the joy sucked out of it continued, I flashed back to this scenario having happened dozens of the times in the past, and the knowledge that our new, calmer approach would not last. Within minutes history was proved right, we went right back to trying to hit the ball hard into the corner for an unplayable score, regardless of what had just happened. It was our nature, and all the somber hand-wringing and promises wasn’t going to change that. We wanted to have crazy fun while playing, even though someone might get hurt. I think we had this attitude because we believed we would never get hurt. It would always be the other guy.

Which brings me to 2016. Another mass shooting. I’ve been reluctant to add my .02 because everyone else already has… over and over and over… each time it happens. What more can possibly be said? And what’s the point of saying anything at all? We’re in the same stupid cycle I saw when we were kids.

it starts with another round of hand-wringing and calls to be more careful, pass laws, do something! This is followed by pushback with the same old arguments like, guns don’t kill people, and good guys with guys being our only salvation, and only criminals having guns when they’re banned, all arguments that have been thouroughly proved to have been built on fallacies, and I’m always amazed when anyone trots them out.

Yes, of course, a gun, on its own, does not kill people. A person, with the intent to kill, will always find a way to kill, whether it’s a gun, a bomb, a car, or a plane. However, as intelligent, rational, human beings, we actually have the ability to hinder their ability to do this, and have often done so in the past. After 9/11 we made planes harder for terrorists to access with new security rules. After the Okaloma bombing we restricted the sale of some fertilizers because their ingredients make powerful exposives. We don’t allow average citizens access to tanks, RPGs, or nuclear weapons. Just because guns are mentioned in the 2nd amendment doesn’t give them some magical power thereby preventing them from being misused just like fertilizer. The guns mentioned in the 2nd amendment were single load flintlocks. Had the gunman in Orlando carried that into that club there would have maybe been one person dead. Claiming the 2nd ammendment covers semi-automatic and automatic weaponry is just idiotic. No one keeps an assault rifle for protection or hunting. It was made for assaulting people. The only other reason someone might have one is to take to a gun range and get a testosterone surge while firing it. If that’s your thing, that’s fine, but then go join the military or the reserve and put that testosterone to good use. THAT is what the 2nd ammendment wants you to do when it brings up that “well-regulated militia” part.

There was a new argument this go round. Usually it’s just the “We need our guns to protect us from the tyranny of our own government.” That always makes me laugh. Like rifles and handguns, or even assault rifles are going to stop today’s US military. We go to war against well-trained, well-armed militaries, and we think a bunch of people with no real weapons training are going to defeat our military?

Anyway, the new argument was that other countries are afraid to invade us because we’re so well armed. They trotted out a quote by Admiral Yamamoto, which upon doing a little research turns out to be completely unsubstantiated. The truth is, a recent terrorist training video actually encourages would-be jihadists to go to gun shows in America and stock up because of the ease of getting weaponry. Rather than an unsubstantiated quote, you can go here and see this video for yourself. Instead of discouraging attacks with our plentiful weapons, we’re actually encouraging it. There goes that argument.

There are many factors that go into a mass shooting, and to deny that guns are one of those factors is just plain stupid. To deny they are the only factor is equally as stupid. Maybe with time we can learn to unravel the complex issues of mental health, religious extremism, and intolerance, but until we do, why not start with one issue we have some control over — regulating access to weapons that do high volumes of damage and were designed for use on a battlefield. How about we start there, while working on the more compelx issues?

But the truth is, this entire blog is pointless. Nobody cares. We’re stupid children who want to play the way we want to play, not caring if someone else gets hurt, as long as it’s someone else.

As I learned in 3rd grade, humans are selfish, short-sighted, and sadly, we have painfully short memories. So, until next time… because we all know there will be next time. The altar of the 2nd ammendment doesn’t have quite enough blood soaked into it yet.

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Out of the Nest

It’s time. Time to push my chick out of the nest. For more than a year I have been putting words together to tell a story, and now it’s time to see what other people think about it.

One of the things I love about writing is that I get to hear the story first. There is no one else on the planet who knows this story but me. How cool is that? Then again, maybe it’s a story nobody wants to know. That is what I’m about to find out. It’s time to share. It’s time to see if anybody else thinks this is a good story.

I’m relieved to have a large part of the work done. In fact, until I start getting feedback, there is nothing more for me to do. But, behind the relief is terror. What if nobody likes it? What if I’ve done all this work for nothing? What if the characters I have loved so much, die a quick death right along with all the much loved screenplay characters I’ve created over the years. What if I have to face the fact that I will never have a writing career?

What if, what if, what if? Why are my thoughts never filled with things like – What if they love it? What if it’s a best seller? What if I have a contract to write the rest of the series? No, my brain never goes there.

Now that the major writing is done, one thing I’m looking forward to is rebuilding a bit of a social life. In the past few months, as I worked hard to finish up the book, I have let myself become reclusive on the weekends. This writing/social balance thing is one I’m still fine tuning. There have been times I have gotten out of balance the other way. I’m beginning to learn to recognize the emotional cues telling me I am out of balance, I’m just not always so good at finding it again.

I’m also looking forward to long afternoons, reading in my hammock.

But today, after a long day of editing and finally printing, and no hammock time whatsoever, there are 4 printed copies of my book on the floor behind me. It’s a weird feeling, both good and bad at the same time. It’s time to see if my chick flies, or tumbles out of the tree.

Oh boy…

 

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