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The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Tragedy and the Question of Timing December 17, 2012

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 4:23 PM
Tags: , ,

We all know what happened last Friday, so I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say that it hit me – as it hit most people – very hard. I have grown up in a world where tragedies like this have become increasingly common. I do not plan on having children, but I would like the children of my friends and younger family members to grow up in a better world than this. To do so, we need a change.

I posted an admittedly vague and angry call for change on my Facebook page and was almost immediately chastised for my temerity. Political posturing – if that was what my desire for a safer world was – has no place after a tragedy. I was placing a soapbox upon the bodies of the dead, and that was beyond wrong – it was sickening. I should go sit in a corner and think about what I had done.

If a plague leveled a city, we would immediately search for a cure. If a plane crashed killing everyone on board, we would try to figure out what went wrong and fix it. It is only with incidents involving guns – or so it seems to me – that we are told it’s too soon to talk about gun control. But you know what? It’s not.

It is far, far too late.

Whenever people I know call for gun control, people jump to the conclusion that we want to take all guns away. Proponents of regulations are told that ‘only criminals will have guns’ and ‘we have rights’ and ‘it’s people, not the guns’.

We are not taking your toys away.

Although I would love to live in a nation where guns did not exist, I understand that is an impossible dream. However, there is no need – NONE – for civilians to get their hands on assault rifles, guns that shoot rounds faster than I can blink, or bullets that tear their victims apart. That is not self-defense. The only thing those are for is mass slaughter.

This article, I think, is a very good discussion on the topic. I hope that someday soon we can follow other countries and create meaningful regulations to cut down on the amount of lives lost. It is a tragedy in itself that we seem to need dead children to even hope for change, but that’s how it is.

I would really love to stop seeing shootings on the news.

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A letter to those who do not support gay marriage: July 28, 2012

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Chik-fil-A controversy. I’ve been embroiled in more than my fair share of battles on Facebook over it, believe me. In the end, the excuses make me angrier than the intolerance. If you are going to strike out against a group of people, own up to it. Here’s my message to those who ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’.

Too often, I see people say they don’t support gay marriage but have no problem with gay people. “It’s not discrimination,” they argue. “I just believe marriage is sacred”, etc.
Fine. In your religion it’s sacred. However, marriage is also a legal institution with real world applications, and denying a couple marriage is going to have real world consequences.
It can lead to legal, financial, property, and custody tangles. It can lead to partners of decades not being able to hold their loved one’s hand when they’re hurt because they’re not registered as ‘family’. It can lead to one partner dying because they can’t be treated under their partner’s health insurance because they’re not married.
It can also lead to that awkward catch in the throat when you say “partner” instead of “husband/wife” because no one will let you earn that title. The pang when someone asks “Are you married?” and you have to say “No.” The belief that your relationship is less real, less valid, because you don’t have the right to wear a band of gold on your finger and sign a piece of paper because of what’s written in your chromosomes.
Let’s get this straight. These ‘harmless comments’ you make about homosexuality being wrong or gross or sickening or wicked…. they can see it. Friends, family, coworkers…. you don’t know who your words can hurt.

LGBT people all over have killed themselves because they feel completely alone in a culture you help create. Others are attacked, abused, or even killed by family or strangers because of who they love. Your hands may not have been on that bat, and your finger may not have been on that trigger, but you contributed all the same. It’s not far to go from ‘wrong’ and ‘wicked’ to ‘must be punished’. And then some people have the gall to say it’s the victim’s fault.

People keep justifying stuff to me with religion. We’ll see when He comes back, they say. They say it’s in the Bible, a ticket to heaven or hell, a sin, some stain on your soul that won’t come out.
I’m an atheist, ok? I don’t see god or sins or souls or heaven or hell. What I see is people hurting people when they don’t have to, and in my wacky godless morality, that’s wrong.

Your beliefs are your beliefs. Justify them as you will. I accept that you consider them valid and you do not anticipate their change. Just don’t tell me that you’re not hurting anyone. You’re hurting a lot of people. Your opinion sways politicians, and your vote may even come into play. When it does, you are affecting people’s lives, and you are not doing it for the better.

These views feed into a culture where gays are seen as sub-human and less valuable. It promotes an atmosphere where things like this can happen: http://loobypls.tumblr.com/post/27815060532/today-my-hometown-was-struck-by-a-disgusting

and people don’t care. It shows that we consider a group of people less than, not as good, below, not important. It shows that we find our own comfort and the knowledge that our religious convictions are being upheld more important than the dignity, livelihood, happiness, and in some cases well-being of our fellow human beings, who may not share those convictions. It shows that you in some way, whether you acknowledge it consciously or not, think you are better. Better. Armed with a book and a god who may or may not exist, you are ready to step on the rights and happiness of other human beings. So do so, and I hope you sleep well at night. But I will be there to speak out and say it’s not ok.

 

The Colorado Tragedy and Weapons July 22, 2012

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 3:43 PM
Tags: , , ,

Another shooting tragedy has hit the nation. As always, this will reignite a bitter debate on gun control that will soon peter out again. One side advocates for personal freedoms, the other public safety. Neither is prepared to compromise, so nothing will ever change.

I have never liked guns. No matter what else they may be, they have always struck me as implements of death. They make killing easy – a sport. When a man can end a dozen lives in a few minutes, maybe it’s time to look at what we’ve created and ask whether it’s necessary.

The shooter was armed with multiple weapons, including an assault rifle capable of holding up to 100 rounds. He could fire 50-60 rounds per minute. Over the past 60 days, he purchased four guns and 6000 rounds of ammunition.

I’m aware people want guns for hunting and self-defense. But this level of weaponry is not applicable for either. No one machine guns deer into oblivion. These weapons are made for one thing and one thing only: to kill large amounts of people very quickly. There should be no reason for the general public to have them.

I have seen people say that if the moviegoers had been armed, one of them would have killed the shooter. Neer in a situation like this has that actually happened. The shooting didn’t last that long. Unless someone had their gun in their lap, loaded and with the safety off, they would have been hard pressed to react in time. That’s ignoring the freezing effect shock often has. More guns do not prevent gun deaths.

I don’t know what to suggest that hasn’t already been suggested and dismissed. We could monitor weapon and ammunition purchases to make sure no one is stockpiling arms, but people would probably resent that. We could stop making mass-slaughter weapons available to the public, but killers would get their hands on other deadly things. (And we can’t trample the God-given constitutional right to have an AK-47 in the basement, right?) Those steps might help if they were taken. At the end of the day, though, we will have disasters like this as long as we have people. It’s not the fault of video games or poor parenting or a curse from God. Some people are just terrible. All we can do is try to keep them from hurting others.

(You might find this article amusing… or depressing. http://www.theonion.com/articles/nra-sets-1000-killed-in-school-shooting-as-amount,28352/ )

 

PIPA, SOPA… When Acronyms Attack January 18, 2012

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 6:53 PM
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I’ll Admit It – This Scares Me. A Lot. August 25, 2011

Filed under: In the News,Politics,Religion — katblogger @ 6:39 PM
Tags: ,

Check these fun people out:

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

This is absolutely freaking horrifying. Not only are they a group that:

– supports measures in Uganda that can kill homosexuals for certain offenses

– intend to dominate and erase all other religions

– think all non-Christians are influenced by demons

– and even more…

But not only this, they’re showing support for Rick Perry. A presidential candidate. Running for President. Of here.

Am I the only one getting nervous?

Maybe I’ve read too many dystopia novels, but I know how people build up to lines and then just jump across them. This is the reasoning I can easily imagine:

1. Non-Christians are under the influence of demons.

2. Non-Christians are demons.

3. Non-Christians should be killed for the greater good.

Maybe I’m overreacting. I hope I am. But if this group gains power, I fear for the future. The future that they and I have very different hopes for.

 

 

 

 

 

Am I the Only One Who Grasps the Irony? June 1, 2011

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 4:10 PM

by Tony, Paterson, NJ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jefferson_Memorial_(1).jpg

A few days back, I ran across this article and video, and was left speechless. Here’s a link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/30/jefferson-memorial-dancing-arrests_n_868719.html

To summarize, a while back some people celebrated Thomas Jefferson’s birthday by silently dancing at his memorial. Police asked them to leave, but they refused and were arrested. To protest this, a small group returned and danced again. Five were arrested on charges of demonstrating without a permit.

I’m sure that’s legal, if not super in line with the traditional ‘American way’ of freedom of expression. What bothered me most was the police behavior in the video. Several times you see them grab people and push or even throw them to the floor, then lay on top of them, struggling to keep them still or get them cuffed. (I’m not sure exactly what they were doing, the video was a bit unclear.) Police also told one protester to “shut up”. Freedom of speech?

Best of all, the police start shepherding everyone with a camera out of the memorial. An officer takes one man’s camera in the background, then grabs either his neck or shoulder and pushes him around a corner. The person taking the video is told that if he continues to record, he’ll be arrested. On what grounds?

Maybe all of this is legal. But it shouldn’t be. Since when do police attack and arrest people for a peaceful protest that harms no one? Since when are we not allowed to see the actions of our own law enforcement, the people who are supposed to keep us safe?

Ominously, as the evicted tourists mill around the outside of the memorial, one of the dancers can be heard shouting “This is a police state”. No, we’re not that bad. Yet. But if behavior like this is tolerated, we can easily set our feet on that path.

It’s just rather ironic, that our rights are limited on the very memorial of someone who fought for freedom.

 

Dying Was Not on My To-Do List for Today! May 25, 2011

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 5:14 PM
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And yet it was becoming a legitimate concern. Wedged between a trash can and another student, my back against the cracked plaster wall, I tried to block out the noise of a hundred panicked high schoolers. It wasn’t easy.

Thanks to a combination of various weather patterns and anomalies, the Midwest is being ripped apart by storms this week. Today, I was in the path of several of these storms. Which led to the situation mentioned above.

Luckily, I survived, just as I survived last night’s close call. (Although I only kept my sanity over that long evening by liberal listening to the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack.) But I easily could not have. And some people didn’t. We see them on the news – just another number in a total that keeps growing as the days go by. We only see the numbers, forgetting that those numbers symbolize people: mothers, fathers, students, children, doctors, librarians… and when the next storm comes, any of us could just as easily have our entire lives crushed into a tally mark. Kind of sobering, isn’t it?

I don’t mean to be a downer. But I just think that  next time you see a list of deaths on the television – dehumanized by a nice, sanitary pair or trio of digits – you consider what they really mean. And then the numbers aren’t so friendly anymore.