A thought.

Before I go into anything else, I’d like to apologize. Not for my opinion, for my hypocrisy. I posted something on my newsfeed about leaving Facebook behind for a few days until everyone calmed down. I then posted a couple of different things as somewhat passive-aggressive commentary on different aspects of the the unfortunate events in Connecticut. I had fully intended on avoiding social media for a few days. I honestly do not like most peoples political opinions to begin with, and find these opinions considerably less tolerable in the aftermath of any impactful event, positive or negative. I can’t shut them up, and I wouldn’t dream to, to be perfectly honest. But for myself, I had intended to keep quiet.

 

I have failed. After seeing the “dialogue” (if indeed that is the proper term), I can’t just NOT say anything. So, for the hypocrisy, I am sorry. It tastes awful on my palate.

 

When I was on my way to work yesterday I heard over the radio preliminary reports of the shooting. Details emerged along the way and, with the aid of several incredibly sad stories I had to deal with independently at work, I spent most of the day teribly depressed and occasionally bordering on tears as I thought of my almost two year old son going to school in the next few years. What could have caused someone to behave like this? What was going on in their brain that they thought this was an appropriate response to…..anything?

 

I go to break and check my newsfeed from my phone and already, less than 6 hours after the event took place I am already beginning to see calls for increased gun control on one side, and secondhand reports that someone on Fox News is labeling this tragedy as a ‘…result of taking God out of school/this nation moving away from God…’. 

 

whut?

 

I have spent the entire day feeling like my blood was boiling. First it was the audacity that some people have so little regard for the loss of life at the hands of irrationality or the families of the fallen, second at the brazen politicking. Now, just to clarify, it is not the diversity of opinion that upsets me. I have a great many friends that fall literally all across the political spectrum. I am rather proud of this fact. I have never believed that politics should be any reason to refuse friendship. What spikes my blood pressure is the  immediate rush some people have made to push their own agenda. 

 

There is a very distinct and identifiable difference between political position and agenda promotion. Agenda promotions care nothing for problem resolution, they only care for the adoption of their own policies. When there is a much more clear correlation between mental illness and mass shootings/domestic terrorism than there has been in the past, and the first thing some people at one end of the spectrum screams is more gun control, you’re really conveying to me that you just dont like guns and will take every opportunity to get rid of them, even at the cost of solving the actual problem. When someone at the other end of the political spectrum witnesses the same event and their response is that such tragedies happen when you turn away from God, you’re really telling me that you reject cultural pluralism and want a Christian dominant nation.

Honestly? The horrible events that occur all around the world on a daily a basis and the only response you can muster is some shameless agenda promotion? You question whats wrong with America, YOU’RE whats wrong with it. You don’t want any solution, you only want YOUR solution, fuck everyone else. Fuck liberty, fuck intellectual  and philosophical diversity, fuck everything that I don’t agree with. Simplistic? Reductionist? probably.

 

Lets discuss this then. There are a few very basic premises that need to be recognized. I don’t mean agreed with, because you don’t have to like it. These are simple realities. Regardless of the degree of civilization we think we have, this world is wild. Humans are feral beings in strappy sandals and neckties.We comfort ourselves in the false pretext of a ‘social contract’, rock ourselves to sleep at night under the preconceived notion that we are somehow protected by the artifice of government and existence of a legal structure. Now, understand that law enforcement and the legal system does not prevent a single goddamned thing. It responds after the fact. Every. Single. Time. At best we have learned some of the tendencies of the people that desire to break these laws and we try to implement activities that would discourage them. Things like making the police visibly present as a deterrent, or installing an alarm system. We cuddle ourselves with a binky made from hollow reassurances that “people wont break the law because they dont want to go to jail” or “criminals that go to jail just made bad decisions in their life and just need to be punished and deserve it”. 

 

Jenga… Bitch. This is all self-delusion. Its selfish ignorance. We can’t face the reality that we are simply bare faced neanderthals with shitty coping skills. No amount of legislation has ever, or will ever stop someone from doing something that they particularly want to do. You want to stop mass shootings? Dont take away guns, they’ll just do it with knives. Take away knives, they’ll do it with rocks. “But Ben, at least with knives or rocks it will be more difficult to accomplish and be less fatal over all”. I refuse to settle for “less fatal”, “more difficult to accomplish”. Why can we not recognize that there is a problem, even if with only rocks, when a person decides that the only way resolve their issue is to maim and murder as many people as possible? THIS is the problem. Not guns. Not lack of God. 

 

How about, instead, we focus on opening up our arms, learning who our neighbors are, reaching out to friends and family and strangers and letting them know that its ok if they have a problem. Its ok to seek to out help and that they’ll have the support of their loved ones while they get help. Instead of removing guns, lets focus on learning resolution skills and coping skills. With a little thought and effort it is entirely possible to make guns  obsolete without ever increasing restrictions. That, of course, is entirely dependent on people becoming more rational, more caring, more compassionate and more interested in resolution and compromise than they are in domination and “winning” the argument retrospectively.


2 responses to “A thought.

  • chris

    I happen to be one of those friends Ben speaks of in this post. Although we do tend to agree on a lot of political stuff, there is plenty we do disagree on.

    Having that disclaimer you are entirely correct, but your solution is reductionist, and simplistic. The same reasons people jump to those conclusions, and get involved in the agenda promotions are the same reasons that the yes men, and agreement and wind-tunnel stances exist. Same reason you (Ben) and I often argue and rail against the idea of punditry. The rationality we both want, and expect, and quite frankly any self-aware human being should possess is of limited quality, hence the existence of the punditry we hate and the idea of agenda promotion.

    It is brutal and disgusting, but that rationality that we want and should be simple to achieve will never be found because of the agenda promotion that exists.

    Blame whatever you want, video games, the internet, bad parenting, reactionary policies, god, the lack of god…..pick your crusade i am sure someone will agree with you. But that is the problem, at least as i see it, i may like that they agree with me, but more can be accomplished if they don’t, as long as that rationality exists, and acceptance of other ideas.

    problem is nobody seeks out that opposing viewpoint anymore (yes i realize that is an overstatement, and that many people do actually seek to understand others and other stances/viewpoints/even agendas) quite simply because there is no need to be rational and empathetic anymore, there is always a group of people you can find that will agree with you no matter how ridiculous i consider your ideas. And frankly those people will sit back and agenda promote rather than attempt to understand or even constructively listen to any opposition to their wants.

    Everything i just typed reads as circular, and that is part of what i am trying to point out. There tends to be a very circular argument underneath this idea of agenda promotion and lack of rationality. In a simple world, an empathetic world reaching out and de-stigmatizing some of these issues would be easy and the rational thing to do. Sadly we don’t live in that world, at least not yet….maybe someday, and sadly we can only control what we do. I am not saying don’t try, do try, and try constantly. I try.

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