People reading my formed words (with a special shout-out to "Abbe"),
Well, it's been a couple of weeks since the VA Tech massacre and I've heard plenty of blame to go around. I've heard NRA-types and pacifists shrieking at each other. I've heard psychologists (aka "crazy hippies") preaching the importance of inclusion. And I've seen meat-eaters and vegans engaged in ultimate fighting while Metallica blares from the speakers. Admittedly, this one confuses me.
Surprisingly, I have come to (essentially) agree with the NRA when they say, "Guns don't kill people, insane NRA members kill people." As Michael Moore pointed out in his brilliant documentary "Bowling For Columbine," Canada has far more guns per capita than we do but far, far fewer murders per capita. A more civilized, empathetic culture? Yep. Guns are illegal in Japan and there are virtually zero murders. But is it really so hard for a determined Japanese citizen to get a gun? Doubt it. Canada (many guns) and Japan (few guns) both have a tiny fraction of the murders we endure in the U.S. because, well, they CHOOSE not to kill each other when they get grouchy. It is American society, not guns, that causes this nightmare. I am not particularly knowledgeable on WHY we are such a violent people but I think it has something to do with the "We're number one, greatest country on earth" bullshit we stuff into our kids' heads at an early age. The same age as Kim Jong Il convinces the North Korean kids that he is God. I would welcome any thoughts from readers.
Many people have argued that we need to make campuses safer. That certainly is worth exploring. But how much safer is debatable. Nobody supports the idea of huge walls around campuses and iris scans at every door. Society as a whole agrees that risk, safety, and freedom must be balanced. Some would say (and conservatives supporting Bush have suggested it) that greater safety is what's most important. Worried about phone taps? Why, if you have nothing to hide? Opposed to subway searches? Don't pack a bomb! Of course both sides have valid arguments. For instance, few liberals argue against the legality of suitcase searches at airports. It's an invasion of privacy, sure, but acceptable to (almost) all. When Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Those who would sacrifice freedom for temporary security deserve neither," he probably didn't consider the emegence of Al Qaeda but he very well may have envisioned the actions of our current administration. Gray areas, my friends. By the way, is that the way you spell "gray?" "Grey?" Who cares.
But those who ALWAYS argue on the side of safety are ALWAYS fools. "If it makes us safer, do it!" is just nonsense. I ask these mouth-breathers why we then simply don't reduce the national speed limit to 22 miles per hour and save tens of thousands of lives. They then seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere and the discussion abruptly ends. Compromise, compromise. Safety and freedom. So most people (probably most at VA Tech) would prefer that college campuses remain open and accessible and everyone (just like interstate drivers) will TAKE THEIR CHANCES! It's part of a free society, an acceptable risk if you will.
Changing gears. Many people have been blaming rappers for promoting violence and disrespect for authority. Guys like Bill ("Peabody Award") O'Reilly routinely blame rap artists like 50 Cent and Ludacris for fomenting violence. Yet they never blame (white) folks like Martin Scorcese, Brian DePalma, and Vin Diesel. "What the HELL are you talking about?!" you may roar, Jumbo Snickers bar in hand. Well Scorcese and DePalma routinely direct vicious movies and Vin Diesel (often) portrays violent characters. But most of us (correctly) absolve them of any blame for society's ills because they are just portraying characters. It's art, good or bad. And yet when a guy like Ludacris leads a crime-free life and only portrays a vicious character to sell CD's, racists like O'Reilly are quick to assign blame. Inconsistent, faulty logic (from the bloated phone pervert).
But blaming any rappers, directors, actors or producers of violent video games is ludicrous (tee hee!) in itself. In Asian cultures (remember, no gun violence) their citizens absorb far more violence and pornography than we do and (voila!) there's no corresponding criminal impact on the streets to speak of. It's so easy to lay blame and lump others together in groups, but where's the supporting evidence? I encounter countless Americans who support this (illegal) Iraq war because of what "they" did to us on 9/11. When I ask who "they" are, conservatives (consistently) answer "the Muslims." And yet nobody blamed "Christians" for what Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh did. Scream all you will about Janet Reno but SHE did not ignite the Branch Davidian house. Crazy Christians did. We never seem to lump ourselves together in a "negative group" if part of our group does wrong.
Being too lazy to edit, I look back at this stream-of-consciousness blog entry and realize I was all over the map. But on another map, several hundred Iraqi citizens died on the same day as 32 students at VA Tech. And I did not hear the President say one word about this tragic loss of life beyond our borders. Clearly it's because "those people" don't count as much as "our people." Because they're not part of "our group." Inexcusable.