Bullshit

President Obama is starting to talk about his gun control measures:

The Biden task force has “presented me now with a list of sensible, common-sense steps that can be taken to make sure that the kinds of violence we saw in Newtown doesn’t happen again,” he told reporters. “I’ll present the details later in the week.”

He added, “My starting point is not to worry about the politics. My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works, what should we be doing to make sure that our children are safe and that we’re reducing the incidence of gun violence. I think we can do that in a sensible way that comports with the Second Amendment.”

I hate the phrase “common sense”. Any time anyone drags that phrase out, what they mean is “something that I like, that I agree with”. As humans, we are born knowing nothing. We must learn everything. Consequently, we all can not and will not know the same things. Nor will we have the same experiences in life that will color our perceptions. If “common sense” is defined as “equating to the knowledge and experience which most people already have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have”… well, the emphasis is on the latter part, because it’s what people believe you should have.

We’re back to the same old thing of “agrees with me”. That if you don’t know the same things I do, if you don’t hold the same view that I do, then you lack common sense and you are a moron, to be looked down upon and shunned.

How sad that we behave in such a manner. But one people trot out the “common sense” line, this is what the mean, and often it’s meant precisely to demean “the others”.

Not worry about politics? Ha! This is precisely about politics. If you wanted to do things that actually worked, then you would. But you won’t, and you aren’t. You need to show some proof and data that your proposals actually do lead towards reduction in violence — because all the ones the gun control groups tend to trot out endlessly have a demonstrable record of failure.

And a sensible way that comports with 2A? Well, hopefully you remember what 2A actually means — it’s about tyranny, not hunting.

But will Congress adopt proposals like renewing the assault weapons ban? “I don’t know,” Obama acknowledged. Lawmakers opposed to such steps must “examine their own conscience.” In some cases, Congress won’t act but he will, the president said.

Gee… way to make it seem like anyone that doesn’t agree with your proposals must be some sort of unfeeling, heartless bastards.

He added that “responsible gun owners—people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship—they don’t have anything to worry about.”

Bullshit. First, this shows you don’t know what 2A is really about. Second, there are those of us that use AR’s for protection, for hunting, and for sportsmanship. So yeah… we’ve got a LOT to worry about.

True, we haven’t seen precisely what the proposals are. But the track record so far, the words, the actions, the efforts of folks so far, it reeks. Sure, I do think it’s be wonderful to be pleasantly surprised if they actually proposed measure towards reduction of crime. I’d love it! But I doubt that would happen.

I mean, for a start… if you want to stop the senseless killing of innocent children… why not start with banning abortion?

I wept

I wept (literally) on my drive to work yesterday.

I was listening to Bing Crosby & David Bowie’s beautiful duet “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy ”

Like you, the large events of the past week have been going through my head… a lot.

And it’s been very heart-breaking to me, tho perhaps not for the obvious reason.

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

Care enough for his fellow man, to give all the love that he can.

If what I’m seeing right now is all the love that we can give, then we’re doomed.

Maybe it’s the recent spate of rudeness. Maybe it’s all the anger, the fear, the vitriol, the venom, the hate, the intolerance. Maybe it’s all the hypocrisy and double-standards. That no one wants to listen, they just want to be right, they just want their way.

There’s some lip service given to love, to compassion, to understanding… but you know… talk is cheap. I’m not seeing the actions reflecting it.

And I wept at the thought.

And I’m looking at what might lie ahead. Because the way the war drums are being beaten, in the media, in Washington… it’s only going to drive the wedge deeper, it’s only going to divide us further.

Everyone thinks recent events are extra sad because it’s Christmastime. But yet, I don’t see anyone acting in a Christmastime way. Selfishness, ugliness, taking and not giving. That giving can even be giving an ear, giving consideration to someone else’s point of view. Alas, it’s all back to “me me me”, gotta be right, gotta get my way.

It just breaks my heart. Truly.

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He’ll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

 

on rudeness

I need to vent. I normally don’t post other things on Sundays, but I had to get this off my chest.

Today Youngest had his first piano recital. He did just fine, and I’m more proud of him for learning to deal with nervousness and performing under pressure than for the music itself (tho that’s still cool). The music school once again demonstrated they are a fine group of folks that run a good ship and care about their students. My beef isn’t with them.

It’s with the audience.

Or more specifically… the parents.

I was floored at the number of parents that left as soon as their child finished playing. By the time the recital was over, I looked back and saw the room was almost empty. That was sad and terrible. The students performing at the end of the recital deserved just as much respect and audience for their hard work and performance as did YOUR child at the start of the recital.

But no.

You came for your child, and didn’t care about anyone else. Oh sure, I wouldn’t have been there either if my child wasn’t performing, but my child wasn’t the only child performing. You could see on every child’s face, some more than others, how nervous they were. But you didn’t care. You didn’t think how the sight of you getting up and walking out as they started performing would impact the child. You didn’t think that sitting there and texting or Facebooking would matter… when instead showing these nervous children a smiling and supportive face could mean all the world to them. You didn’t think that as you stood in the lobby area, how loud your voices were and how much it disturbed, interrupted, and distracted the performing child.

No… you didn’t care. Your rudeness never occurred to you.

I came so close to jumping out of my seat and storming into the lobby area and scolding these inconsiderate individuals for their behavior. But I didn’t. First, if I did, they wouldn’t accept it; they’d just get defensive and consider me the rude asshole (can’t see past the log in their own eye). Second, if I got up, I knew the child performing would have no idea why I was getting up — I’d just be another adult getting up and leaving. I was not going to do that to any child.

After the recital was over, I expressed my disappointment to one of the school’s owners, and she agreed that it was rude (and said she’s going to change recital policy to say if you come, you stay, else don’t bother signing up at all… and I hope she does, and I hope she enforces it). She told me she asked some of them why they were leaving and they gave excuses like “it’s Christmas… we’re busy”. Busy? You’re too busy for a 2 hour recital? You’re too busy to give something of yourself to others? You’re too busy to be polite and considerate of others? And don’t even give me this “it’s Christmas” line, because the level of selfishness you displayed shows me you know fuck-all about what Christmas is about.

But, there’s always a teachable moment.

Before we left, I took my family aside and spoke with the Kiddos. We talked about what happened, and they agreed it was rude and they felt terrible for the kids performing. Even Youngest commented how he felt a little awkward that as he walked in to start, he saw all these people getting up and leaving. Kiddos also said how wonderful it was for them to have stayed. They saw many great performances, had many smiles and joyful moments, and just saw some really talented people perform. So they got to see something few did — and that was a precious thing. Others could have seen it too, but they chose not to. Maybe they had a legit reason, but they still didn’t have to be rude about it. So at least my Kiddos got to learn and grow in some unexpectedly welcome ways.

But the best part was Youngest… who can’t wait for the Spring recital and perform again. 🙂   Hopefully the parents will be better behaved by then.

 

The unwritten rules of Halloween

Putting on my Old Man hat for a moment….

Taking two-thirds of Kiddos around for Trick-or-Treating last night and gee… have manners totally died?

Granted, it wasn’t across the board, but I did see lots of people just barging around, not waiting their turn, not saying “thank you”, being greedy rude little fucks.

And that was just the adults.

*sigh*

I know Halloween etiquette isn’t written down anywhere, but it seems to be understood that porch light on means “someone’s here, candy available, come knock”. Porch light off means “no candy, don’t knock, keep moving”.  That you wait your turn, letting the group already at the door finish up and allowing them to exit (since many doorways are narrow) before you go in for your turn. That you don’t ask for the candy, or for another piece; you get what you are given and you say “thank you” (even if it’s a pencil, a box of raisins, or a penny). That you don’t half-ass it: that you make some sort of effort with the costume, with the evening, and not just wandering around trolling for free candy.

But all these unwritten rules of Halloween seem like they might be dying and being lost.

Or… I’m just getting old, and more crotchety than I was yesterday. 🙂

Oh… and don’t trample on my lawn and through my garden! Use the walkway!

Y U So Hateful?

I’m doing my morning perusal of websites and headlines.

All I see is hate and anger.

You pick the topic. It doesn’t matter. Obama, Romney, homosexuals (Boy Scouts of America, Chick-Fil-A, Muppets, Sally Ride), Aurora, guns….

There’s so much hate, so much anger, so much ugly, so much venom and vitriol (and so much displayed ignorance)… and most of the people engaged in it don’t even realize how ugly they’re being. Or if they do, they certainly seem to be quite happy to be that way. Furthermore, they miss the irony of how they’re talking about how hateful “the others” are, all while missing how hateful they’re being about “the others”.

*sigh*

You scream about how intolerant “the other group/guy” is, but you’re not tolerating them.

You rant about hate, but there’s no love manifested in your actions.

You point out their hypocrisy, but you’re oblivious to your own.

And how many people will read this thinking how this applies to everyone but themselves.

*sigh*

I’m not angry. I’m sad.

 

on Aurora

A number of people have asked me for my thoughts on the events at the Aurora, CO movie theater. They figured, given my lot in life, that I’d have something say… and some rightly guessed that my silence was intentional.

But since it keeps coming up.

What are my thoughts on the shooting?

I don’t have any…. well, rather, I’m trying to not say much because, IMHO, it feeds the beast.

Everyone is going to use this as political ammunition to fuel “I’m right, you’re wrong”. You can already see it. There are those calling for more gun control, then there are those “on our side” that are using this as a way to advocate for more carry and more armed citizens. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that, it’s demonstration that everyone is using this as a way to promote their agenda and twist this to their end.

It’s not a political event.

It’s a tragedy. Or as one friend of mine put it: it’s not a tragedy, it’s an atrocity.

But… the “news media” (and I use that term loosely) is fueling the problem and quenching the masses thirst for drama. Of course, everyone has brought up Columbine… and well, isn’t this precisely what Klebold and Harris wanted? They are more famous than they could ever have imagined. And the more we feed this beast by the constant coverage, by the blood dancing, by the politicizing, by all the drama… the bigger and uglier the beast will become.

My brain hurts

TLG posts about yet another SERPA ban.

And reading all the comments defending the SERPA make my brain hurt. Because all the problems are due to poor training and lack of practice, and all we need is more training and more practice and we’ll never have any problems. Or at least, I’ve never had any problems and my data set of 1 (or maybe a few more people, like my friends) never had any problems. And so my point is proven.

*sigh*

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the engineer in me that says things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

The SERPA is not as simple as possible.

It’s design intentionally plays into what your trigger finger is otherwise trained to do — thus now your trigger finger must learn to do two things, not one, thus things are more complicated. But really, your finger is doing the same thing in both instances, and that’s why people shoot themselves with this holster. So if you want to keep from injuring yourself, you now must learn two things instead of one. By definition that’s not simpler.

More dohickies and parts means more things that can break and more things that can go wrong. I know you have ninja-like skills and will never end up on the ground, and you take meticulous care of your gear such that a pebble or grit will never ever enter the release mechanism and cause it to jam. I know it will never happen to you. But it’s happened…. just not to you. Simpler holsters don’t have this problem.

The design of such holsters fails from an engineering perspective. It is unnecessarily complex. Let’s ignore the fact more people have shot themselves in use of this holster. Let’s ignore why non-LEO’s even need retention holsters in the first place. Let’s ignore these don’t conceal very well. Let’s skip the fact that even after tons of training and practice we can still revert to lizard brain when the pressure is on, especially if things don’t go as smoothly as we always fantasized it would. Let’s ignore that someone might have a critical need to use their tools before they had the 10,000 repetitions to ingrain the new skill. Let’s just look at it from a pure engineering perspective and ask why? What problem is this solving, and is this really the best way to solve that problem? is there really nothing better? can we be willing to admit failure, if it means we can improve? and if the solution isn’t here today, then why aren’t we working on something better?

But in the end, my brain just hurts reading endless comment from the defenders. Their reasons don’t hold up. It comes off as nothing more than emotional appeals to defend their personal choices. Which to an extent makes sense… it’s how we humans work. But what are you interested in? Defending your ego, or defending your life?

Dear world….

Please stop with this “zombie” thing.

It’s long played out.

It’s tired. Tho I guess congratulations to Hornady for making a lot of money by being in the right place at the right time with the right product.

We don’t have zombies eating people’s faces off… we have fucked up people eating people(‘s faces) off.

and now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go tie an onion to my belt.

I don’t understand racism

I don’t understand racism, I never understood it. I can’t understand the fact you could hate somebody from half a mile away and never even speak to them and hate them. That’s fucking so dumb. There are black assholes, white assholes, Japanese assholes, whatever assholes… there’s always plenty of assholes. But until you speak to people, you never know which they are, a good guy or an asshole. Give ’em that chance. That’s the only thing I’m prejudiced against, that’s assholes.

– Lemmy

I love Motörhead. I love Lemmy. You can hear him saying the above at about 4:40 into this interview:

That’s how I feel about it. It doesn’t matter much what your skin color is, what your gender is, what your sexual orientation is, what your religious preference is, what your beer choice is, what your ethic background is, whatever. For the most part it doesn’t matter. All that matters — to me — is if you’re a good person or if you’re an asshole. The sort of person you are transcends all those other mundane attributes, and is really all that matters.

(I say “for the most part” because sometimes those things matter. Like the SNL sketch of Tim Meadows trying out for the Bill Clinton role. Because sometimes there are just realities.) 🙂

As I wrote before:

I guess I’m only a person of half-color… maybe even less, because mixing white and yellow just winds up some odd shade of pale. I’ve felt the sting of racism and discrimination because I’m Korean, I’ve felt it because I’m white, I’ve felt it because I’m a half-breed, I’ve felt it because I have long hair, I’ve felt it for numerous other reasons because someone judged me based upon shallow perceptions. I know it exists and have dealt with being the victim of racism and discrimination throughout my life.

I do understand where racism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination comes from. It’s a very human thing to do, and we all do it. We all discriminate. We all attempt to take our experiences and classify them and draw conclusions from those experiences. And often it’s based upon very limited experience, very limited perception. It’s how humans function. The question is, what do you do with it? Because you can laugh at stereotypes, you can find ways to bring positive things out of them, or you can focus on being negative and hateful.

It saddens me deeply to see so much negativity, especially as of late. So much hate. So much anger and destruction. So much division. And some of the worst offenders are those that think they don’t do it, that they’re better, they’re above it  (see my prior article). I have more respect for someone that’s racist and admits their racism, than someone that’s racist but denies it yet actively participates in it. That whole “log in your own eye” thing.

I’ll leave you with another song from another favorite band of mine, Tesla. The song is called “Caught In a Dream”:

If you can imagine this, the whole world sharing one big kiss
These are thoughts all through my brain, that I daydream everyday
That I’m alive and well, and right now, I’m alive, I’m feeling…well
It’s my life to live my way, so I’ll keep daydreaming away
And who knows, maybe someday, it will all come true
And I will get my way, and we will live as one

I’m caught up in a dream, I’m gonna wish for it all
No one’s gonna tell me how, no way, this is my dream now
I’m caught up in what seems simply impossible
I ain’t gonna change a thing, no way, it’s my dream

And what cannot will be done, for every living thing under the sun
Forget color, forget race, and just be one big happy face
Among this sea of people, live among God’s creatures, sharing love
That was sent down from above, here to share with one another
Father, brother, sister, mother, everybody sharing love, sharing love

I’m caught up in a dream, I’m gonna wish for it all
No one’s gonna tell me how, no way, this is my dream now
I’m caught up in what seems simply impossible
I ain’t gonna change a thing, no way, it’s my dream, this is my dream

What if…I close my eyes and everything will be alright
Here in my fantasy, living in harmony
Make my dream come alive

I’m caught up in a dream, I’m gonna wish for it all
No one’s gonna tell me how, no way, this is my dream now
I’m caught up in what seems simply impossible
I ain’t gonna change a thing, no way, it’s my dream
I’m caught up in a dream, I’m gonna wish for it all
No one’s gonna tell me how, no way, this is my dream now
I’m caught up in what seems simply impossible
I ain’t gonna change a thing, no way, it’s my dream

Now, if you can imagine this, the whole world sharing one big kiss
Take away the pain and hurt, make like heaven here on earth
Without reason to die, and giving everlasting life to all

Informational malnutrition, and the death of Truth

The George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin situation in Florida.

I’ve written numerous articles voicing my thoughts on the situation, but I’ve published none of them because nothing quite captured how I felt. But writing them, talking about the situation with some close friends, and watching everything unfold over the past some days, and I’ve begun to congeal my response to the situation.

My Understanding

My understanding of the situation at the time of this writing is there are few indisputable facts. Zimmerman was head of a neighborhood watch. Zimmerman has a CHL and had his gun on him. Zimmerman was patrolling the neighborhood and saw what he believed to be a suspicious person, Martin, behaving in a manner he considered suspicious. Zimmerman called 911 to report the situation, then began to follow Martin. Martin called his girlfriend. Both parties communicated with their respective callers. Eventually the two people came face to face, something happened, Martin is dead.

And as far as I know, that’s about all the true concrete information we have.

Sure there’s lots more information, but it’s all disputed. Lots of “he said she said”, lots of things that have nothing directly to do with the case but muddies the water (Geraldo), and lots of uncertainty. But, lots of new information comes out every day.

Bottom line to me: we just don’t have enough information.

My (perceived) bias

It’s possible that some will perceive me to defend Zimmerman. I have a CHL. I believe “stand your ground” laws are reasonable (I also believe many of those presently talking about such topics have demonstrated they don’t know what they are talking about). I believe it is OK to use deadly force if you are truly in fear of your life and it’s the last resort answer towards the preservation of your life or the life of someone you love.

But I’m not defending Zimmerman.

I can’t defend his actions.

I don’t have enough information to defend him nor persecute him.

Based upon what little information I do have, I do think Zimmerman failed the “beer and tv maxim“. I think his choice of tactics was unwise, because, at least as far as I can see, he pursued something he didn’t have to. Was he in fear of his life? Was there a loved one in danger? Yes, legally you can use force to defend property (well, here in Texas; I don’t know Florida law but roll with me here), but that doesn’t mean you always should. I wrote about this very topic just a few weeks ago. If I see someone in my neighborhood doing suspicious things, I might look a little harder to determine if it’s really a problem or nothing to worry about, but I don’t want to put myself in danger nor invite trouble into my world. I may have my gun on me, because I know shit happens and can unfold in an instant, but if my family or myself wasn’t in imminent danger, I’d call the police and let them deal with it. Beer and TV maxim.

But then, that’s me. I don’t know what Zimmerman considered important. I read some interviews with neighbors saying how the neighborhood had been the target of a lot of crime, a lot of burglaries, in recent months. I figure that will give someone a different perspective. Perhaps Zimmerman thought pursuing Martin was worth dying over. Or perhaps, Zimmerman wasn’t thinking at all.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what was going through Zimmerman’s head, and I’m not going to pretend nor assume to know.

I also don’t know what was going on in Martin’s head. And unfortunately, we’ll never know. Thus, lacking information, I can’t defend nor persecute him either.

But the bottom line is: I don’t know.

Where’s the Truth?

I admit I don’t know.

Alas, I don’t see that going on in the popular media, nor around the world. I see the news reports. I see postings on Facebook and Twitter. I see all sorts of things that make me wonder… how do these people know? They’re all speaking with such confidence. They know that Zimmerman is a murderer. They know he was motivated purely out of racial hatred. They know he needs to be brought to justice. They know that Martin is totally innocent. That Martin was doing nothing wrong. That Martin never did anything wrong in his life, just an innocent black kid whose life was snuffed out too quickly by this white (latino) man. They know what’s going on, and they are all capable of passing perfect judgment… and Zimmerman should be drawn and quartered for what he did.

How do these people know?

Must be some news network that I haven’t heard of or am not tuning in to. Or maybe the facts are floating around the Twitterverse now and I just missed the tweet.

Is no one interested in finding Truth?

I do know they want to make Zimmerman “pay” for things, regardless of facts, regardless of Truth. When you have the New Black Panther Party offering $10,000 for Zimmerman. When you have Spike Lee retweeting Zimmerman’s address (which apparently was incorrect, and the innocent elderly couple that lives there are in fear of their lives due to the death threats they’ve been receiving). Gee… I thought lynching was frowned upon? But that’s what is happening to Zimmerman. Look at how people are talking about him. Look at how the media portrays the situation, be it their choice of photos or creative editing of the 911 calls. And because of this severe anger, people are afraid to speak, even as more facts come to light.

Is this right?

Is this Truth?

Is this Justice?

I guess I’m only a person of half-color… maybe even less, because mixing white and yellow just winds up some odd shade of pale. I’ve felt the sting of racism and discrimination because I’m Korean, I’ve felt it because I’m white, I’ve felt it because I’m a half-breed, I’ve felt it because I have long hair, I’ve felt it for numerous other reasons because someone judged me based upon shallow perceptions. I know it exists and have dealt with being the victim of racism and discrimination throughout my life.

And that’s where it comes from: shallow perceptions. People unwilling to get the whole truth. They get the tidbit that they want, then that’s good enough for them. They pass judgement, they execute, and they are satisfied to leave it at that. George Carlin lamented about the “sound bite” and how it dominates modern news media… and how it’s “just a bite. No chewing, no digestion, no nourishment. Malnutrition.”

That’s the greater tragedy I see happening in this Martin/Zimmerman case, and countless other stories reported every day (regardless of the race issue). There’s only a morsel of information, but people pick from that what they want, especially if it lends support to their cause and their righteousness. Calling for justice in this and every criminal case is warranted, but by saying “bringing this man to justice” you have already convicted him based upon what scant solid facts and evidence there is out there. Is that just?

If we want justice, if we want Truth, then we must seek it. That means we must gather information before we reach a conclusion. That we must question, but not seek to harvest only data that supports our desired conclusion. We must not and must not tolerate twisting and misrepresentation of fact, since that only leads away from Truth. Truth may be ugly. Truth may offend our sensibilities. Truth may totally up-end everything we know and hold to, it may shake us to our core. We may be wrong about what we thought was Truth, and we must be willing to give up what we clung to if we realize it is false. But it is Truth, and hopefully what we’re seeking. Anything less doesn’t do anyone, nor society in general, any justice.