Archive | January 2013

Limited edition, without the edition….

Lately, with all the talk of politics and such, I’ve really been analyzing my perspective on life. I’ve been bombarded by facts and opinions that run the gamut from cold logical response to purely emotional response. Trying to sift through the facts and feelings is exhausting in and of itself, but it also reminds me of a limitation I have, one that drives me absolutely insane.

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Not sure what the graphic has to do with anything, but it sure does look cool!

Throughout life, we all gather perspectives. We gather and store them like we do facts. When a situation or discussion arises, we search for that perspective and let it drive our participation in that event. A common problem with this is that people tend to isolate these perspectives and set them in stone. This causes them to be rigid, closed minded, and short sighted, regardless of how factual or “right” they may be.

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This ground sure feels weird, doesn’t feel like rock….

A pet peeve of mine is the short sighted part. This is when people are unable to expand their perspective beyond the issue at hand, preventing them from seeing “the big picture”. The illusion there, is that there is nobody alive or dead who has EVER seen the big picture. With so many variables involved, it’s virtually impossible. That being said, it does prevent people from seeing a bigger picture, or more involved perspective.

With so many angles and views to consider, forming an opinion on just about any issue, regardless of complexity, takes a while. Adding the resulting perspective to one’s current repertoire should force them to then re-evaluate all others that could possibly relate to it. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen.

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Just like that movie scanners!

Here’s where my limitation comes in. Loaded with so many perspectives on various issues, and so many angles to view and approach life, I want to be able to develop a perspective that encompasses and accounts for all others. A master perspective, if you will. I’ve been able to do very complex ones, but none that encompass all. This drives me fucking nuts.

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I never knew this was a popular analogy, I thought I was just really clever….

The easiest way for me to explain this is to relate this to computers. (I know, I’m a fucking geek, deal with it). Computers have 3 major components when related this way. Processor, which is the ability to think through and solve problems (processing information). Hard drive, your stored knowledge. RAM, how much information you can have readily available to be worked on at any given point. For those of you who aren’t technical, think of it like this. You’re a lawyer. You work on paper files. You keep those files in a filing cabinet. The cabinet is your hard drive. You are the processor. The top of your desk is your RAM. The more desk space you have, the more files can be open at once. That being said, I don’t have enough RAM to handle a Master Perspective. While I can keep a number of them in the forefront at any given time, I can’t get anywhere near what I’d need to meet my goal. Just the thought of what I’d need for me to be able to do so boggles my mind.

Still, having a perspective like that would make life and decision making much easier, since all values, morals, priorities, etc., can be taken into account, which would make the choice at hand much simpler.

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This is my latest scan.

I’m not sure how, or if, other people can do this, since my views are altered slightly every day, and it’s an insane stream of information to keep up with. In the end, I just feel limited. It’s as if everyone else knows something that I don’t, and I must be a moron for not being able to figure it out after more than 3 decades of life.

A parting shot

I’m pretty much done for awhile with discussion and debating people about politics, gun control, and the like. It’s pointless to try and debate with people who don’t even consider my side of discussions and just write me off due to my views or their assumptions about my party affiliations. To be clear, though most of my views fall under what’s considered Libertarian, I wouldn’t consider myself one. I don’t subscribe to any one party’s views. I have my own opinions, and I do exercise my right to change my mind when information is presented to me which proves my current information incorrect. I listen. I fact check. I’m not a blind follower. I “THINK”, which many these days don’t do.

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I’m out!!!!!

So with that, I’ll leave you all with the following excerpt from an article I recently read. Read it and really think about it. I found it enlightening and thought provoking, and I hope you do too. Don’t write people off because their opinions differ from yours. Listen to them, check the information, and form your own opinion….and please, please, PLEASE base that opinion on logic on fact, and not bullshit, fear, and propaganda.

At the Student Senate speaking event, the volunteers asked the students a thought-provoking question: Who owns you? Everyone understands that we own the property we’ve worked to acquire, such as our cars, homes, and personal belongings. But who owns YOU?

Do we own ourselves? Or are we the property of those in government? If each individual owns themselves, then we should be free to decide what substances to ingest, regardless of how beneficial or harmful they might be. But if we are the property of government, then they can tell us what we can or cannot consume.

Another question was then posed to the students: What is the system called where some human beings are allowed to own and control other human beings? Without hesitation, they answered “slavery”. If America is truly a free country, free adults must be able make their own choices for their own lives. Legislators in government are just people themselves; they have no legitimate grounds to dictate what is best for other people. Nor do they even know what’s best, as this report should demonstrate.

Libertarians believe that every individual owns themselves. We own our bodies, our minds, and the results of our productive labor. But we also own the consequences of our choices. This is the basic principle of liberty.

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Now go rent “V for Vendetta” and get a look at our future.

 

Winds of change

I’ve been steering clear of posting anything about the recent events on my blog, until now. I’ve been sticking to debates on Facebook and in person. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can stay away any longer. Here’s a few random tidbits I’ve been trudging through.

I’m pro 2nd amendment, and living in NY where most people are on the other side of the fence makes this a bit difficult. Most of the time I speak to people about the recent events at Sandy Hook, I get a Piers Morgan type of response, saying that I’m insensitive or some sort of monster because I happen to believe that the only thing that will stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.

Let’s stop and think about that statement for a minute. I recently had someone tell me that there was a study done showing that an armed citizen is more likely to kill the wrong person or hurt more people rather than saving anyone, if the were allowed to carry firearms in public. Sure, if the person carrying is untrained in using it, and only knows what he saw on TV, then it’s entirely possible he could shoot the wrong person or miss. On the other hand, with proper instruction, which I believe we ALL should have (I learned about guns and shooting in the Boy Scouts, and have the merit badges to prove it), it’s actually been proven that carry laws have saved lives. I can go on and on citing sources, but to be honest, I really don’t want to enable anyone’s apathy further by doing all of the research for them. Look it up and be proactive, don’t just be lazy and close the page and write it off.

Anyways, let’s say you don’t believe in gun ownership for self defense or home defense. Now, let’s say someone breaks into your house to rob/kill/rape you, or a combination of the three. Who is the first person you call? SOMEONE WITH GUNS! If you had a neighbor who has guns, and he saw what was happening, came by, and ended the situation before any harm could befall you or your family, would you thank him OR would you demand that he turn in his firearms and/or sue him? Believe it or not, I do know people who would choose the latter.

Another person recently told me that because they live in a “nice” neighborhood and pay high taxes for it, they don’t have to fear such invasions or violence. This is a surprisingly popular misconception, and I’m not sure where people get it. I grew up in a “nice” neighborhood, which was about a mile from gangland. We were pretty much on the border, and I have news for you folks, you’re NOT safe. I know people don’t want to believe that, but it’s true. Shitty things happen to people everywhere. When I was a kid, I’d been jumped, robbed, and beaten on more than one occasion. My car was broken into and ransacked on FUCKING CHRISTMAS one year. On another occasion, I was out by the street getting into my car when a car pulled onto the street like a maniac. They slammed on the brakes, dumped someone out the door, and sped off. The beaten guy who was dumped got up and limped away, refusing help.

My point there is that living in a nice neighborhood doesn’t make you safe, it makes you deluded from reality. It provides an illusion. The woman who was in the news recently in Atlanta would have most likely been raped and/or killed along with her kids if she thought the same way. Instead, she was armed, had some training, and protected her family from the invader who sought to do them harm.

Now consider this. When shit happened in NYC, what did they do in Penn Station? Did they make it a gun free zone? No, they filled it with armed police AND armed military. When people hijacked planes, did they make planes gun free zones? No, they filled more planes with armed air marshalls, armed pilots, and trained them in self defense and combat. Now someone goes and attacks the most precious things we’ll ever have in life, our children, and instead of protecting them we’re making them better targets?! How is this logical? A friend of mine, and fellow blogger, posted an interesting article about the media’s role in this type of thinking which is well worth a read. I’m not gonna reiterate any of those points here, since it’d be completely half assed in comparison, so go read that now….I’ll wait.

I think a big part of the problem here is that people either don’t understand our culture, or don’t understand the world. Other countries, believe it or not, have tons of violent crime. We’re not even in the top ten. Look it up, don’t just go by the spun Piers Morgan version, who only focuses on how many gun homicides per capita there are in UK vs America, without stating that the vast majority of such killings are either police shooting criminals, or criminals shooting criminals. Many others are people defending themselves. What he also won’t tell you, is that the violent crime rate in the UK is TRIPLE that of the US per capita. This means that if you went to London, you are three times more likely to be the victim of  a violent crime than you would be if you were in NYC. I wonder why Piers, when confronted with this statement, quickly changes the subject. After all, guns are used in crimes that don’t end up in homicide. Being raped at gunpoint, or robbed at gunpoint, would be considered a violent crime. 

This is all coming to a head now that NY is passing an “assault weapon” ban. This not only affects sales of firearms, but OWNED firearms as well. This means that if you own a firearm that is considered an “assault rifle”, you will be considered in possession of contraband. This law also means that these weapons must be turned in, lest they be confiscated causing you to face criminal charges. It also bans magazines with an ammo capacity of 11 or more rounds. No grandfathering. If you own one, you gotta give it up. The word of the day, kids, is unconstitutional.

This ban is ridiculous and useless on many levels. First of all, believe it or not, the VAST majority or gun related violence, including all mass shootings, are committed with handguns, not rifles. Assault rifles represent less than 5% of gun related crime in the US, and most of those are rifles purchased illegally. Legally obtained rifles like this count for less than 1%. Second, an argument is always made by gun control advocates that “if a ban meant that even one child could be spared, then it’s worth it”. Well, food for thought. According to the FBI, guns are used in self defense and/or to prevent violent crime 2.5 million times a year in the US. So if we ban certain types of guns and confiscate them and, just for argument’s sake, ten people are unable to protect themselves with said firearms and it results in the death of a child, isn’t that child’s life worth it as well? Don’t think that can happen? Check out people during the L.A. riots who had “assault rifles” and sat on their roofs protecting themselves and their property from looters.

Seriously, I could go on and on with statistics and examples, but the fact of the matter is that gun control laws do NOT lower crime rates. Look at more rural areas where most people have firearms and the availability of such weapons is high. Not a lot of school shootings there. Look at Aurora, where the movie theater shooting happened. The theater targeted was one of 7 theaters near the shooter’s home, and was the only theater that was labeled a gun free zone and didn’t allow concealed or open carry. Look at Maryland around the year 2000, who proudly stated that they had the strictest gun laws in the US. According to the FBI, they were #1 in robberies, and #4 in violent crime and murder.

“Gun control has not worked in Washington D.C. The only people who have guns
are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder
rates. It’s quicker to pull your Smith & Wesson than to dial 911 if you’re being
robbed.” – Lt. Lowell Duckett, Special Assistant to DC Police Chief; President, Black Police Caucus, The
Washington Post, March 22, 1996

If you’re still reading all this, please do me a favor. Consider, for a moment, that my information is incorrect. Pretend I’m lying in order to sway you to my opinion. Go out there and fact check. Do your own research. Form your own informed opinion on the subject, because to me, that’s the most important message I could convey to someone. You don’t have to agree with me, you don’t have to even like me, but if you choose a side or form an opinion, don’t just blindly follow. Be your own person, and don’t buy the bullshit of others. Open your eyes to the reality of the world around you and change your perspective. Entertain possible and even impossible alternative views on the world and its issues. You’ll be better off.

Thankfully, I’ll never grow up!

I was trolling through my PS3 last night, looking for a movie or TV show to watch. After getting frustrated over a copy of a movie not having the proper embedded subtitles, making me really wish I understood French, I descended on Netflix with fervor. Nothing was really striking my fancy until I came across a movie/show called Video Game High School. I read the description, and figured it’d be good to entertain my for the half hour that the wife would be working out. To my surprise, I found my self really enjoying it, and watched all 2 hours of it with a smile on my face.

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Worn with pride.

The movie itself it relatively straightforward. It’s similar to the movie Sky High. In a world that revolves around video games, a poor kid with some gaming skills gets accepted into the VGHS, the high school for elite gamers. There he fights to conquer the bully and get the girl. The flick isn’t groundbreaking by any stretch, it’s all pretty much standard fare. The cool shit about it is that it’s (obviously) drenched in gaming references and homage. It’s sort of like the teen shows of the late 90’s/early 00’s as far as style and dialogue goes, but somehow works for 30 somethings like me. There were quite a few laughs, numerous “dude, that’s awesome”s, and in the end I was totally happy I chose to watch it.

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Fuck Hogwarts, I wanna go here!

Once I got to work today, I looked up this movie, only to find out that it’s actually a web series whose first season was put together end to end, creating a full length movie out of it. They started via a kickstarter fund, which makes it even more awesome, since they could pretty much do what they wanted to without a studio interfering. It looks like they’re working on a season 2 as well. I look forward to watching more of this, as it was absolutely worth my time.

I walked away from this flick feeling pretty content. It reminded me of being a teenager, since I was a VG geek back then and would have LOVED this movie if it’d been released in the 90’s. All in all, good times, and I’d definitely recommend it for gamers and even those who just know a bit about the culture, but aren’t really gamers (read: my wife liked it too).

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She gives good geek.

Oh, and the 2 main girls in it are pretty cute also…don’t worry, they’re in their 20’s….I checked….