Breaking Bad – The End Of Something Amazing

breaking-bad-all-characters

Yesterday was the beginning of the end, for one of the greatest shows I have come across, ever. Breaking Bad, the story of an under dog grade school teacher cancer patient turned drug king pin, is amazing in so many ways.

Looking at where Walt is now, it seems hard to believe that Walt was once, a school teacher. Was once a harmless law abiding citizen, going about life in the way that were “supposed” to, and a bit like the rest of us, often getting walked on and failing in the process. Then comes the curve ball that everyone would dread, the cancer diagnosis.

Though Walt (as acknowledged earlier in the series) found himself “sleep walking” though life up to that point, the cancer “awoke” him. The thought of potential financial ruin for his family, caused him to rethink all of his previous notions. What was right and wrong before, is suddenly gray. And so you see his change begin subtly, with the notions of old being replaced by the necessity of the present. Right off the bat, the harm of the drugs is overruled by the necessity of the finances they bring. In itself, a big turning point.

And as the series progresses, though it all STARTED in the name of making sure the family is left with enough should Walt not beat the cancer, you can see greed gradually creep into the picture. It starts back in the days of the RV. Instead of just going with the 600 or so thousand bucks worth of “supply”, he says, lets use all the precursor. Lets cook it ALL.

Right from the start, you see the gradual transformation begin. Right off the bat, you have 2 deaths at the hands of Walt, in the name of covering there tracks.

Moving forward, you see how the humble action of cooking just enough to get his family though, turns into a desire to be at the top of the food chain. Walter White is a family man, but Heisenberg is in the empire business.

Walt becomes more and more ruthless in his quest for his and Jesse‘s protection. And his loyalty and bond to Jesse grows ever stronger. But at the same time, though Walt can seem to shut off the feelings of remorse and regret from the death and destruction in there wake, Jesse can not. So we see Jesse’s remorse become an ever more burdensome liability.

In “Blood Money”, the first thing we are confronted with, is a deeply troubled Jesse trying to get rid of the money in any way that he possibly can. And we also see how Walt and Hank have there very first confrontation of the series, right away.

Right off the bat, this sets us up for a potentially interesting future ahead for all 3 characters. Walt now knows that Hank is onto him, however flimsy his suspicions may be in a court room. And now Jesse is as down as he ever was.

Though many fans think Jesse is afraid of Walt (mostly stemming from them not wanting to see him die LOL), I sense that he is in a place mentally where death threats mean little, if anything at all. And though there still is a slight bond to Walt, I sense it would not be hard to break it. Should Mikes body turn up, or he finds out the truth about Brock or Jane, he might be more then happy to talk to Hank and the DEA.

And so, that is where we sit as of the present in the series.

I like the series for a number of reasons. When you look at the character of Walter White, he could arguably, be any one of us. Many of us can relate to his situation. Being booted and kicked at almost every turn in life. Which is why I sense many people (me included LOL) are rooting for his success.  Though he has morphed into one of the most evil characters in TV history,  he has finally succeeded in life.
Though we would never admit it, we all want to be Heisenberg.

And then there is the portrayal of the OTHER side of the drug war.

Most of us, living in suburbia or otherwise outside the world of narcotics, only see the drug war on the news, read about it in the paper or online, or otherwise are confronted with it at length. Breaking Bad is like a window into the nasty, messy world that normally is only viewed by addicts.
The whole series, in its close resemblance to reality, is a great tutorial into how the war on drugs is nothing but an EPIC fail. Strip away the drama, and you see the essence of the problems facing many areas of the US and Mexico today. Prohibition does not destroy demand, it only destroys supply. And where there is money to be made, you better believe that someone somewhere is going to find a way to get a piece of that action. And you also better believe, that they will stop at NOTHING to protect there business (sound familiar?).

And so you see, for all the funding and resources going into the DEA and other agencies of the War on drugs, whats the result:

1.) People are not any more protected from obtaining drugs. Not only are they just as accessible (if not more), they are more potent and potentially more dangerous (who is regulating there production?)

2.) Children are not protected from  the drugs. Do drug dealers ask for ID?

3.) The “War” can not EVER be won, so long as there is a demand. The DEA will always just be a game of cat and mouse. An expensive resource consuming game of whack-a-mole.

Turning the page a little, you can see Walt as a good example of how many corporations are now behaving. Lets forget Walt is a person, call him Heisenberg Incorporated.

Heisenberg Incorporated has only 2 goals in its existence, the pursuit of profit (the bottom line), and protecting that bottom line. When it comes to the prosperity of the company,  nothing is ever off limits. Nothing or no one is sacred, if it can be used for (or gets in the way of), the bottom line.

Going back to the show, its been a blast, for all 5 seasons. To all the actors, I commend you. Though normally one would have  favorites, the entire cast did an amazing job though out the series. Its unfortunate that its almost over.

Muslims Aren’t Cornering The Terrorism Market

Muslims Aren’t Cornering The Terrorism market

When Rolling Stone ran a sexy photo of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev on its cover, it sparked backlash and boycotts. Countless magazine vendors, including 7-Eleven shops, refused to sell a product that seemed to make terrorism look hot.

This publicity wave may ultimately boost Rolling Stone‘s bottom line. Any news is good news when it comes to marketing, right? And it’s also obscuring a more important question than whether it’s OK to run flattering photos of terrorists: What exactly constitutes terrorism?

Too often, the term terrorism is preferred when the perpetrators are Muslim.

When the Newtown and Aurora shootings turned out to be the work of local, disturbed, young men who didn’t happen to be Muslims, they weren’t deemed terrorists. But the local, disturbed, young men almost certainly responsible for Boston’s carnage were Muslim. That qualified them as you-know-whats.

The Tsarnaev brothers instantly became an example of the links between terrorism and Islam. The ensuing media blitz of the cruel attack that killed three and injured more than 260 people stoked that stereotype.

Meanwhile, what about that deadly explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant? It occurred just two days after the April 15 Boston Marathon attack, and got far less news coverage. The primary suspects for the blast that killed 15, injured 200, damaged or destroyed 360 homes, and flattened a public school are corporate negligence and under-regulation.

It’s a complicated story, but West Fertilizer, which belongs to Texan magnate Donald Adair, stored vast amounts of dangerous chemicals at a plant in the heart of a small community. It broke the law by failing to disclose this hazard. When the government did notice the company’s lack of a “security plan” and other signs of negligence, it imposed minor fines. Clearly, Adair required more than a few slaps on the wrist to stop endangering workers and residents in West Texas.

And what about that factory fire in Bangladesh? The owner of Rana Plaza, the building where 1,129 garment workers perished, is in jail.

But what about the people who ran the sweatshops that were torched? What about the US companies that sell the clothing manufactured there with exploited and cheap labor? What about the customers who snap up bargains when they go shopping — just about everyone in America? Who is responsible?

We could try looking in the mirror. Or take a trip to Bentonville.

Most of the companies selling the clothes that were made in the factories that burned down have promised to do something. The US government and European Union are taking some steps. But details, follow-up, and inspection remain someone else’s department.

And whether you’re talking about the disasters that befell those garment workers in a Dhaka suburb or the people of West, Texas, one thing’s for sure: The mainstream media definitely didn’t label any of the capitalists responsible as terrorists.

A week or so ago, I was talking to someone I know about the seemingly glaring hypocrisy of going after Rolling Stone for showing the Boston bomber, yet giving most other major news organizations a free pass for “glamorizing” such things as school shootings.

I now realize, that Rolling Stone was trying to communicate that the 2 brothers in question, were to the outside onlooker, just everyday american kids. I have not read the article in Rolling Stone in its entirety yet, but as far as I can see, its just saying, this surprised people close to the brothers as much as it did the rest of us. No one seen it coming.

If I focus on the Boston bombers first, this turn of events, is not really unusual. Anytime these type of situations happen, even those closest often do not see it coming. But every time, I always wonder, if its a genuine case of surprise . . . . . . . . . . . or a case of, seeing what one wants to see?

We all in our minds, whether we know it or not, develop internal images about people (even those closest to us!), how they must live, ect. I know I do, because I often times find myself surprised, to learn other aspects about people that you would never have guessed (my smarter best friend, has used hard (and I would label, dangerous) drugs?! My good looking old friend, has problems with talking to girls?!). These are just  2 recent personal examples, but I would bet it has happened to us all at one time or another.

But back to my previous train of thought . . . .

Rolling Stone threw a nice photo of the Boston Bomber on the cover, NOT to glorify or in any way condone the act, but more so, to send the message that this was a seemingly “normal” person (I hate the word, but it fits best here). This could be your classmate, neighbor, it could be YOU.

But, like the public does best lately in the age of social media and 30 second attention spans, they react before knowing all the facts. Rather then reading and getting the WHOLE story, they pick an angle and run with it until they find something else to be “offended” by (Memes and Misinformation).

I realized recently, that such events as Sandy Hook, Columbine, Newtown ect, are really terrorist acts. We may call them “shootings”, but really, what is the difference between Newtown and Boston? If terrorism is based on the number of people killed, then im pretty sure every school (and other mass) shooting in recent and past history, fits the definition.

Now if we consider these terrorist acts, and judge the media by there saturation coverage of such acts, then are they not more responsible for “glamorizing” terrorism then Rolling Stone is?

I can name several past gun “terrorists”, just off the top of my head.

– Eric Harris

– Dylan Klebold

Adam Lanza

I can relay to you, in a fair bit of detail, there crimes. And even to a degree, there pasts. Just off the top of my head.
I will admit for full disclosure, I have researched all 3 of the above in a bit of detail for a past piece, but we all have a detail or 2 about these people tucked away somewhere.

But one thing I can not do off the top of my head, is name one victim of any of there crimes. And I don’t think it would be bold to say that only people who lived in Littleton or Newtown at the time, would  be able to name at least one victim of the respective shootings.  Some of you might even ask yourselves, where is Littleton? Its a Denver suburb, home to Columbine High School.

This alone, illustrates the damage caused by the saturating media coverage of these events. The victims are not the ones remembered years down the road, the assailants are. The fact that most of us even KNOW any of the above names off the top of our head, speaks volumes.
It is no wonder that Eric and Dylan have been referenced as “role models” in hundreds of published (and unpublished) later attempts at violence (including Virginia Tech). And I have no doubt that it will be no different for Lanza, in coming years.

So I again, find it interesting that the public are so angry about the Rolling Stone cover, yet are not angry at the activities of almost every other news organization, which have been doing the same thing, only on a MUCH bigger scale. Though the face did sell magazines, there was also a reason for the image placement. A message.

What was the reason for over-covering, any chosen school gun violence situation? To make a point? To inform to the best of there abilities? No, to keep you tuned in.

Ratings mean big money.

Moving on, the “Corporate Terrorism” reference of the article is interesting.  It is not the first time I have heard the term coined, as Micheal Moore referenced it in his book “Downsize This!”.

Micheal’s use of the term, was to showcase the effects of companies “downsizing” in communities all over the US. The intro of the book had a photo of the bombed Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, and a photo of a long abandoned auto factory in Detroit. Both looked pretty much in the same condition. And his question was “Whats the difference?”.

Though that question is not exactly clear cut on first glance, it is when you look at it with a little more depth.

When the places that have the vast majority of the jobs within these community’s close there doors, the local negative affects (aka fatalities) are not as immediate as a bomb blast, but they eventually play out. Suicides, domestic violence and addiction  are just 3 of the consequences of “downsizing”. It is in understanding this, that you will gain clarity into his question that is “What is the difference?”.

The argument of the above article on the other hand, is more with the immediate destruction caused by corporate  entities. A good example used, is the explosion in West, Texas. The affects due to the negligence in this incident, were immediate.

Both uses of the term “Corporate Terrorism” I would argue, are good and accurate.

But it is interesting, how our use of the term “terrorism”, is so seemingly restrictive. The article portrays it as a possible issue of racial and religious background of the perpetrators. Which is entirely possible, and probable.

Is it possible, that we just have not thought of expanding our use of the term?

And if we did expand our usage of the term to include such incidents as School shootings and disasters of corporate negligence, would the way we treat such events change?

President Obama Says Trayvon Martin ‘Could Have Been Me’

A surprise press release from President Obama regarding the recent Trayvon Martin trial’s verdict, as well as a commentary on the problems of the African American community in general. And its not all just about the the negative, he also talks about potential ideas and solutions, to help ease the country’s racial tension.

A very thought provoking speech. I highly recommend viewing it in its entirety.

Parents And Abortion

Since I am on a roll when it comes to Women’s rights today, its time that I tackle a something I just came across recently.

When it comes to the subject of abortion, pretty much everyone has an opinion. Its one of those subjects that tends to be polarizing, as it appeals both on an emotional and a religious level.

I am pro-abortion in the early trimester stages. The “all life is sacred” argument does not fly with me, for the simple reason, that every male that has ever masturbated (or had safe sex), is guilty of abortion. And don’t even get me started on being pro life, yet being a advocate of such policies as “Stand Your Ground” or the death penalty. Not to mention the eating of meat and other animals.

ALL LIFE IS SACRED! Either follow your own rules or shut the fuck up.

In any case, something that I have come across in the past and present, are parents who view the issue based (seemingly) on just the fact that they are parents. They write about the joy of having children, and for that reason alone, abortion is terrible. And by extension, people that have abortions are terrible people.

Frankly, I do not think I will ever be a parent. My whole dating situation aside, I do not see it as wise bringing another life into this already overpopulated and ever more unpredictable planet, both at our AND mother natures hand. Despite this, I have respect for parents for choosing to embrace there parenthood (be it by conscious choice or a sudden unplanned pregnancy).

But while I respect you for embracing your children, at the same time, get off your high horse. Not everyone may be as advantaged as you in life. Not everyone may be able to give there child the same opportunities as you are able to. And not everyone may be ready, or able, to deal with the task of rearing a child in there state of life.

For me, it boils down to this.

The masses with there armchair views on reality, can do the “moral”, “ethical”, “godly” (whatever adjective you want to use) thing and outlaw abortion, and feel good about yourselves.

As a result, someone in the slums of some big city brings a child into the world. They are disadvantaged due to addiction, or some other hindrance, so child services steps in and the child ends up in the foster care system or in a group home. Though these places are supposed to be for the “benefit” of the children, I know enough about them to know that they are a fucking train wreck most of the time.

Some children (such as a close friend) come out the other end at 18 seemingly alright. But the majority come out as criminals. Bad people, as labeled by the majority of Americans (those in favor of “Stand Your Ground” laws anyhow).

So you saved a life by eliminating abortion. But at the same time, you doomed the life, by almost ensuring it a lifetime of hardship and problems. So what did you gain?

You did the feel good reactionary thing of abolishing abortion. But now, these sacred lives, are often now skum, because of poor life experiences, that now lead them into your living room, and at the end of your gun.

Sure, some may say I made a false assumption above, by assuming all people that exit the foster system come out criminals. I will clarify that.

I am not trying to say that ALL entrants into the system come out that way. But it happens. Everyone is born into a different enviroment. But being born into a bad situation, often results in bad choices being made as one grows older.

Abortion, you can take whatever stance you want on it. But in the long term, you have to ask yourself, is this REALLY what is best?

It may feel good to ensure that all children are born. But are you considering the reality of future children, or just going by emotional or religious reasoning’s?

Memes And Misinformation – When Did Sharing Become More Important Then Integrity?

Social media  is a great tool for spreading all kinds of information far and wide, free of charge. Everything you could possibly imagine or want to find and share with others, can be done so with the click of a mouse, the tap of a screen, or the press of a button.

However, these social networking platforms have increasingly become a tool for spreading MISinformation of all kinds. From small, locally targeted stuff that affects a single organization, community, region. To national and internationally targeted ones, which quickly get attention all over the world in a very short period of time.

One example of this, came out of the recent flooding in Calgary.

It was being spread on social media, that price gouging by business’s was occurring during the flooding. Some examples, were some small convenience store and  Home Depot  “overcharging” for a case of 24 water bottles (around $49.00), and the Calgary Co-op overcharging ($59.99) for a fruit tray.

I don’t know about the C-Store incident, but it turns out the Home Depot incident was true, though a mistake (mistakes happen with technology. The only reason this was so overblown WAS the flooding in the city). As for the Calgary co-op incident:

Calgary Coop

When it comes to a meme (well, in this case, a video) that garnered both international attention AND backlash, the most recent one I can think of, is the video out of  Hawthorne California, of a police officer “murdering” a dog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDBZr4ie2AE&has_verified=1&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWDBZr4ie2AE%26oref%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.youtube.com%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DWDBZr4ie2AE%26has_verified%3D1&has_verified=1

WARNING: Content in the video is NOT for all audiences

When this video hit the net, it went viral quickly, and picked up views from all over the US and the world. And it got people everywhere angry at the seeming “injustice” of shooting an innocent dog. Most people just vented back and fourth on social media, but others went as far as contacting the Hawthrone PD directly, at times even going as far as leaving death threats (oh the brilliance of it!).

Cyber-warrior group Anonymous even picked up on it, releasing contact numbers for one of the officers involved, and warning the HPD that they were now in there sights.

Then, around a week or so later, the Hawthorne PD released ANOTHER cell phone video of the incident.  This video shows in more detail, the interactions leading up to, and the shooting, itself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/08/second-video-dog-shooting_n_3536658.html

I will admit, before writing this piece, I had watched neither video, and had no inkling to watch either.

One of the things I have learned over the years as a citizen of the world wide web, is that the most popular, is usually the most stupid. And most of the time, when I ignore this and view some “great” viral video recommended by someone, I usually end up remembering WHY I came up with that personal rule.

In any case, having viewed both video’s, I have once again confirmed this (imagine that LOL). Though I did not even need the 2ed video to confirm what I had already deduced WITHOUT watching even the first. But both video’s showed me a couple things:

1.) The guy was being an asshole to the cops and asking for exactly what he got.

2.) The officer was right to pull the trigger. It does not matter if the dog was protecting its owner, IT WAS A THREAT.

3.) Why was the back window of the car opened so wide? It would seem that would be an obvious problem.

My conclusion before watching either video, was that it was a public over-reaction based on a tiny piece of single-angled  information, which is only a part of a bigger picture. And imagine that, I was right.

These types of incidences don’t always gain the national and international attention that the above described ones do, but small localized ones are getting more and more common. And peoples reputations and career’s are often being tarnished and lost because of it.

Though blame does go to the people that perpetrate such smear campaigns, I also point a big finger at those who PERPETUATE them.  Why is sharing the information more important then actually checking if its correct?

Self Defence VS. Murder – Where Is The Line

gun

Here I am, once again taking on a topic that is huge in the US, gun politics.

The above, is a perfect example of why many people argue that carrying (and owning) a gun is a necessity. In a world full of bad people, one needs to be able to defend themselves. And there is nothing wrong with that, if they feel its a necessity. But there is one question I have.

That question is, where is the line between self defense and murder? At what point does one cross from being a victim to being a criminal?

I have been in many online discussions with fire arms owners I would describe as CrAzY (people who I would be afraid to even deliver mail to there house, for fear that they would shoot me!). These are people whom I often suspected to be so full of fear, that they are either borderline ( or totally) delusional.
Part of the reason for this assumption, was there inability to picture life WITHOUT a gun. Many seemed unable to even comprehend the possibility, that some places in the world would not REQUIRE a concealed weapon at all times. They ask me what I will do if someone invades my home with a gun, I tell them its hardly a worry because for the most part, such stuff does not happen where I live.

Sometimes I tell my story, the story of when a knife was pulled on me.

One night (around 12 or 1am) on the way home from work, I picked up some chicken from 7/11 and decided to sit on a bench in front of a building and rest (and snack lol). I heard a group of kids walking up the street, didn’t initially pay a whole lot of attention. Then I heard ” . . . what about this bitch”, and thought “oh fuck”.

One of them came up to me, a knife showing out of  his sleeve, and paced in front of me, just asking if I had anything for him. Though I was completely freaked out, I said nothing, hoping with all my might that my blackberry would not receive an email or text, therefore making its presence known.

I don’t know how long I stalled the guy, but as luck would have it, a car was headed towards us on the otherwise deserted street. When it got near, I got up and waved my arms, getting the drivers attention and causing him to pull over. This drove my attacker back a ways.

After a few moments, the car just drove away, causing my attacker to find a pair and head my way again. So I yelled as loud as i could.

HEY! HE HAS A KNIFE!

And so the guy finally gave up and backed off, while I got out the BB and dialed the police. I had initially used the emergency (911) button, but hung up and dialed the regular police line, thinking that this incident was not an incident important enough to warrant calling 911  (the full scale of what happened had not yet sunk in).

It wasn’t until 2 squad cars arrived at my location, that realization of what happened sank in. I know people with far better fighting and conflict skills then I, who have gotten stabbed in such situations before. But I had somehow talked my way out of it.

I tell this story to some who use the self defense argument, as a situation that proves a gun is not always necessary. Sometimes they mock me, laugh at the story (because apparently the idea of shooting another human being is funny).

Another situation (just happened last night) where a potentially bad situation was resolved without a gun being involved, is THIS ONE out of Tulsa Oklahoma. Though I don’t think the burglar was armed, it still applies here, because in many states, just breaking and entering is grounds enough to shoot.

One thing that has become apparent about many of the gun owners I have talked to that I would call “delusional”, is there strict methodologies of separating people into black and white groups. You are either good, or you are bad, there is no middle ground. Your either a threat, or your not.

And when I said “Black and White” groups, though I was trying to convey a strict contrast, I suspect that it may translate in a literal sense as well.

In any case, this post is about self defense. And in the gun control debate, it seems that there are at least 2 definitions.

My personal definition of self defense, is using the minimalist amount of force necessary to neutralize a hostile situation. This does not necessarily mean the attacker has to die, you (and others present in the location) just need to be able to get to safety (keep in mind, self defense is only warranted in Canada for protection of a person, NOT property).

Lets use the meme above as an example, as its a quite common argument, the home invasion. The attacker is wielding a knife, and the defense is a gun. But do you REALLY need a gun to neutralize that threat? Use your imagination as to household items that could in an emergency, double as weapons.

Imagine the knife wielding robber bursts into your room, and gets whacked in the head by a lamp that you threw at him. In an ideal situation, he will be thrown off enough to drop the knife, but most likley he will be disoriented, giving you time to get the fuck out and call the police (or if you have the balls, hogtie his ass like the Tulsa man did).

Now, bring a gun into the picture.

Sure, assuming you can get it out on time, and do not fumble and drop it as your waking yourself up, it is indeed, a good way to easily neutralize the situation. Shooting an arm or leg, will have the desired affect of throwing the guy off, most likley causing him to drop whatever weapon he has, and giving you a chance to leave or otherwise neutralize the situation.

But many that I spoke to, do not own a weapon, just to injure a a would be burglar entering there home. Which is where the second definition of self defense comes in. Which is, deadly force is always allowable and/or warranted in the name of self defense.

By this definition, self defense does not just mean protection of self, but also protection of ones property. And some states even have “Stand Your Ground” laws in place, warranting this.

I do not like the idea of self protection with a firearm to begin with, because of the number of things that could go wrong. One could miss the targeted “threat” and hit who knows what (or who). One could fumble and potentially drop the gun, thereby turning the tables on themselves. And of course there is the risk of panicking and shooting someone innocent.
About a week before the now infamous Sandy Hook massacre, someone in (I think) Rochester MN accidentally shoot there grand daughter. There had been a rash of break ins around the area, and her “silhouette” though the glass door “panicked” him.

If there is a danger that your (or anyone else’s) life may be in immediate danger, then yes, deadly force is not unreasonable. But when someone comes at you with a knife, and you blow them away with a gun, who was REALLY in more danger?

Time for me to show my “bleeding heart” liberal side.

One of the risks I see in labeling people as either good or bad, is when one views those on the side that they consider “bad”, they no longer have to view them as people. Rather then a person, they just become a threat to be neutralized.

I bring this up, because the vast majority of the time, I suspect that these crimes are out of desperation (drugs and money are my 2 biggest guesses). With the completely fucked state of the American (and most other economies in the world), it is no wonder that some may resort to such lengths, just for ends meat. It is never warranted, don’t get me wrong.

Plus, I am inclined to think the best of people. Maybe that’s just a product of being brought up in such an nonvolatile area. But people can often times make VERY bad judgements whilst in the clutches of addiction, or just may find themselves in a hole dug by there bad choices.

Though the only rock bottom that some will reach is the grave, there is a good chance that many can be helped, and can better themselves. I have met with many people over the years who have transitioned from all sorts of backgrounds, and became good citizens. And with most, the bottom came whilst in a jail cell, a few cases, after being caught robbing a home.

But if someone shoots the person dead, then they are done. No second chances.

Every situation is different, I get that. Sometimes the only way to neutralize the threat, is to use deadly force. But I encourage all to use good judgement in making that decision.

Property and materialistic items are replaceable. Some people can change. But most importantly, one must decide, who is the bigger asshole?

The man standing in the doorway yielding the knife menacingly? Or the man who blows his brains out with the gun?

How Chicago is “Proof” That Gun Control Does Not Work

This is something I ran across somewhere. And by rights, its true. Chicago does have VERY strict gun laws, but still has a gun huge crime rate. Hence the dubbing “Chiraq” by some locals.

End of story? I would have thought so to.

I encourage all to watch the episode of Vice that visits Chicago. You will learn there, that though the city of Chicago has strict controls on weapons sold within it, THE LAWS DO NOT APPLY IN ITS SUBURBS. Nor does any law cover guns purchased in southern states (or anywhere else) and distributed in cities as far North as Toronto.

The message here is, what you see on the surface, is not always the WHOLE picture.

Society’s Best – Or Worst?

addiction04_large

addictions

Growing up in the world today, we are faced with an interesting array of cultural messages. Though our locations and cultures do differ,  I can see some similarities that transcend them all. At some point in life, most of us will be faced with messages and popular cultural attitudes on consumerism, alcohol / drugs and food.

Lets start with the elephant of the list, consumerism.

Most children these days are faced with consumerism before they are even “aware”. Children watching cartoons, are often bombarded with commercials for the newest toys and fast food franchises with kids meals. And this is just the beginning.

Then school comes along, and industry once again steps in to supply the clothing, shoes and everything else required to school a kid these days. As one transitions into the higher grade levels (middle and high school), “fitting in” starts to become important. Especially in high school.

Students create peer pressure for all to fit some sort of prefabricated mold, at times with negative consequences if they don’t (bullying). And so industry is there to sell them the threads they need to appease.
And the people that dare to be different from the ordinary? Industry has them covered to. If there is a dollar to be made, someone will be in the business.

During high school is also when most people tend to be first exposed to alcohol. Societal culture itself tends to send very positive messages about alcohol consumption, and so this often filters into the high school experience of many. Some try it (or overindulge in it) at parties, most hear the stories and joys of it from friends and fellow students.
Anti drug and alcohol education courses teach the terrible and often negative side affects of it, and the law makes consumption of it illegal for those under aged, which only adds to the drugs appeal.

Move on up to college or university, and alcohol (mainly binge drinking) tends to be a HUGE part of the culture. The stuff practically flows like water in some cases.

Drugs often make there first appearance in high school as well. Though Marijuana is the first illegal drug for most, there are other options. I do not have much of a problem with marijuana though, even with young grade 9 students. In an ideal situation, no drugs would indeed be best. But ide much rather them using marijuana then drinking alcohol. But its usually just the illegal drugs (with the exception of alcohol) that begin to make an appearance in high school.

Drugs of the legal variety, might appear even before.

When it comes to parents that take medication for any reason themselves, the children are usually exposed to this growing up. It doesn’t matter if its an over the counter pain killer or a prescription anti-depressant, a pill is a pill. And often children will take medications at different times for different reasons. Sometimes as minor as a pain killer or cough suppressant, sometimes as major as regular ADHD drug treatment.
And then there are the advertisements. The commercials for all sorts of prescription and non-prescription drugs, running 24/7.

It all paints a picture of “medications” being safe, since there use is so ubiquitous .

And then there is the food culture of the west. The abundance of food we have at our disposal is staggering, and the messages society sends is often that eating more, is better. There is even a cable channel dedicated solely to food and everything related to it, from its preparation to its consumption. There are shows about the foods preparation, shows featuring eating contests, and everything in between.

The best time you can see this culture in action, is with the holiday behaviors of those in the west. Whether its Thanksgiving or Christmas, its all about food. Be it a Turkey, Chicken, Roast or some other part of a dead caucus, we celebrate with indulgence. We have all heard people joke about gaining 20 pounds over the holidays, and about there “food coma” brought on by holiday over eating.

And so, knowing this, I can list a few of society’s messages for us.

Mass consumption is good, so buy as much as you can

– Alcohol is a fun substance, so drink up

Medications are safe and widely  used, so don’t think twice about turning to one to relieve your every bodily issue

– There is nothing wrong with overindulging in food

So judging by all these messages coming at us, we would think that the best precipitants of this culture, would be regarded to highly. After all, they are the best of the best, they are seemingly taking the messages of society right to heart. Lets review what we call the best participants of each group.

The Best Consumers = Hoarders

The Best Drinkers = Alcoholics

The Best Drug Takers = Druggies

The Best Eaters = Obese

One would think that the best of the best, would invoke a positive response from the majority. But instead of positive, we all as a society, tend to look DOWN on the above behaviors. Whether or not it is warranted is irrelevant, because of the message.

What is wrong with this picture?

Irony Watch

If you are a fan of such shows as Intervention and Hoarders (of which im not, I fucking HATE both. Personal reasons), I want you to watch for something. Not in the show itself, but more, in the advertisements that air during its airtime.

For intervention, I want you to watch for advertisements for alcohol, medications (prescription OR non), or any other such substance. And while your at it,  keep an eye out for anyone trying to make a buck off of the addicted.

When it comes to Hoarders, make a note of all commercials that are trying to sell you something, anything.

The 2ed Amendment

2nd-amendment1

Of all the 27 constitutional amendments, #2 is the one that we hear about the most often. Not surprising, because it is the core argument of the American gun control debate. Because we all know, American’s love there guns as much as we Canadians love our hockey.

Lets take a look at the actual amendment itself.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

This indeed, gives American’s the right to “bear arms”. But what about the part about the “well regulated militia? Seems completely dated, to the times were in today.  It seems that way, because it is.

Back when America was a young and emerging nation, one can see why such an amendment would be needed. In the event of a hostile or tyrannical government takeover, the nations militias would serve as a fail safe. Another barrier for a possible dictator to overcome. And seeing as America is still around today, some 200 or so years later, it seems the amendment worked.

Fast forward to today, 2013. The entire landscape and culture has changed radically from day 1. And like everything else, the weapons have changed with the times. Arms then could have meant a musket, now it could mean an AR 15 assault riffle.

When it comes to the argument of gun control, one of the BIGGEST thoughtless arguments is that, the law says I can own them.  If  I want 1 gun or a million, im allowed. If I want a handgun, or an assault riffle, the law of the land seemingly allows this. Those people are right (no matter what one may think about the OTHER factors at play, that they don’t consider).

Another argument that is quite popular on the right these days (and one ive heard from someone closer to home, in real life), is the need for weapons to protect us from a “tyrannical” government (otherwise known as, the correct interpretation of the amendment). Though in this day and age, there is almost certainly an ulterior motive for such a “patriotic” stance (which has NOTHING to do with the color of the president, we ALL know that), they are indeed correct in there argument.

But lets consider this argument a little bit.

The main premise of the argument here, is that one day, they may be needed as keepers of America the great. Force may eventually be necessary to take out the government, and so the guns are there not only for THERE protection, but also for the protection of all American citizens.

Again, this may have flown in the early days of America. But military technology has advanced A LOT since then. And all the guns on the continent won’t protect you from a tank or a drone.

And say, by some narrow sliver of chance, the gun toutin patriots DO manage to kick the ass of the military industrial complex and take over the nation. The common man is still not safe, because he who has the most guns, has the most power. And seeing who has the most guns these days, the thought of them in control is FUCKING scary, even from the prospective of the North side of the Canadian boarder.

Having looked at the amendment, and at its true purpose, it seems that its not just outdated, its also causing more harm then good. Though you as a civilian may think you have a “duty” to play the part of protector of the nation, your fooling yourself if you think your “arsenal” will even make the government bat an eyelash. Im not saying that this is necessarily a GOOD thing, im just stating the facts.

Because of the seemingly open-ended nature of the amendment in today’s society, the country is practically bathing in guns, and in turn, gun violence. And not just the well known  mass shootings that most base there opinions on (I was previously guilty of this, I admit), but also the  thousands of deaths and injuries that are under reported. Take the plight of Chicago, a place where the epidemic of gun crime is so prevalent, that some locals have taken to calling there home “Chiraq”.

Looking at the evidence, it would seem that its high time to change this amendment, and bring it into the modern age with the rest of the country. Its not the first time that the constitution has had to be “updated” in the past, and it won’t be the last.

There is a happy medium that can be found between “No guns” and “Chiraq”. Like a real disease, the longer that the majority dithers in finding a solution to the problem, the worse that the epidemic will become.

Terrorism VS Gun Violence – Have You Considered The Numbers?

We all by now, likley know about the recent news out about the NSA. They have their eye on you. Well, maybe not YOU per-say (me? defiantly lol). My last 2 entry’s were on this subject, as is this one, only im going in a new direction.

Why

I found this meme whilst surfing facebook, which I shared. If you read my 2 previous entry’s here on the subject, you will know why. But it also gave me another thought process.

As the meme illustrates, back in October 2001 (just after the attacks of September 11th), no one batted an eyelash when the Bush administration signed the Patriot Act. An act that almost eliminated the possibility of “private” communication between 2 parties. All in the name of fighting terrorism. With the attacks of the 11th still fresh in peoples minds, the trade off didn’t seem unreasonable.

Now I am going to switch directions.

Many instances of mass gun violence have occurred all over the US in the last while. Despite being rare in the grand scheme of things (the numbers of dead are tiny compared to the TOTAL amount of gun deaths that are unspoken), they have been happening more and more often. The most recent of these instances being Sandy Hook Elementary. At 27 dead, it was not the deadliest  of them all by numbers. But it struck a chord with many people, just because of the age of the majority of the victims (20 were children).

This, like all the other acts of violence in the past, provoked a call for gun control legislation. This time though, the age of the victims drove the issue to a feverish pitch, right up to the president.

One of the common responses to this was, you can not legislate with emotions. Basically, its a bad idea to enact a law banning an item (in this case, assault riffles and other such weapons in the catagory) just because of emotions. Basically, just because your pissed and upset that this guy did this, it is not a good reason to outlaw the gun.

But in October 20o1, people everywhere didn’t hesitate to drop there right to privacy, in the name of fighting terrorism. This HUGE change came in a time that was very much emotionally charged and uncertain. And this change affected all Americans.

Back in December 2012/January 2013, the call for gun control was feverish, warranted, with the events of Sandy Hook on the minds of all (me included). But again, the common thread of the debate from the opposition, is that NOW is not the time.

Both terrorism and gun violence affect the public, often random targets. The only difference is that the death counts are very different for the 2.

For terrorism, the most recent incident was the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed 3 and injured 264. Next in line is September 11th, with 2,977 fatalities in total, followed by the Oklahoma City bombing back in 1995 (165 dead).

For famous instances of mass gun violence, we have Virginia Tech with 32 dead, followed by Sandy Hook’s 27.

At first glance, the numbers seem to say a lot. Terrorism would seem to be the bigger threat, in terms of the number of victims. But is this the whole picture?

Lets play with the numbers a little.

Terrorism

Using http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001454.html as a reference, starting with Oklahoma City, I find that  3149 have perished by terrorism in the US since 1995.

OKC Bombing = 168

9/11 = 2977

Little Rock = 1

Boston Marathon = 3

Now lets look at gun violence.

Keep in mind, im not counting attacks OUTSIDE of the continental US (embassies etc).

Gun violence

Though this chart is a bit out of our timeline (it begins back in 1980 and ends in 2006), it still tells us A LOT.

Data

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap/resourcebook/Final%20Resource%20Book%20Updated%202009%20Section%201.pdf

If we start in 1995, the start of my timeline, we see that in that year ALONE, almost 40,000 people died due to gun violence.

Like any other post alike this that I write, I encourage all to it look up for yourselves, never take what you read on a blog at face value.

But consider that just a little over 3000 deaths attributed to terrorism have occurred, and the reaction was to pretty much eliminate what privacy the majority of Americans did have.

Now Gun violence in 1995 ALONE caused almost 40,00 deaths. Gun control would affect only a small percentage of all americans. But the ramifications of NOT having it, is affecting ALL americans.

Eliminating a constitutional right for just over 3000 deaths, is fine. But inconveniencing a small percentage of people, because of 40,000 + deaths, is far to much.

Who is over reacting?