You Have the Right to Shut the F*ck Up

I think this is the last I’ll say on this topic (and that includes responses to any irate gun owners.)

Do I think rights are important?  Yes.

Do I think they are guaranteed or owed?  No

Do rights really exist?  One would think a right is something that can’t be taken away or given.  Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, bearing arms… all can be taken away.  They are not guaranteed.

Unfortunately, there is little in this world that can not be taken away.  Most of the “rights” we have are “rights” that were given to us, either by law or religion.

We are born into this world naked.  We don’t come from our mothers equipped with a full set of rights.

According to Wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, rights are defined as follows:

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.

To me, the key word in this passage is entitlement.  I see a fair amount of abuse directed at Americans online, especially by non-Americans.  We’re “bullies,” we’re ignorant, we’re arrogant.

While I do largely agree with that assessment, it still rankles me to see an entire nation discriminated against based on the actions of a few, namely the government.

But, America does have a problem, and I think it comes largely from a sense of entitlement.  I honestly think our problem with violence in this country largely stems from that feeling of entitlement.  And we got that sense of entitlement from our own government and judicial system.  Our country was founded on some “fundamental rights”enacted by Congress.  Fast forward a couple hundred years to the land of frivolous lawsuits, some of which are actually won.

Between laws set forth and court rulings (judgments) on criminal cases and civil suits, our country has set a dangerous precedence.  They have given a lot of people in this country the mentality of a three year old, that being, “I deserve to be happy, I deserve to get my way, and if I don’t, I’m going to have a temper tantrum sue.”

I am sick to fucking death of seeing all the people who have been proselytizing about their “right to bear arms” in the wake of Newtown.  Between the gun rights advocates and the gun control advocates, it seems there can be no middle ground either.  You would think some of the gun control laws being proposed or already in place are common sense.  But lately it feels like people are immune to common sense, or even facts and statistics.

You’re pissed about your “right to bear arms?”  Well, guess what.  Those 20 dead little kids should have had a right to go to school without fear of gruesome death!  I’ve  got news for you; most of the rights you have were given to you by the government, and thus, can be taken away by the government.

Some people would argue our “rights” are what separate us from less civilized people and places.  I agree that rights are important, but what I am trying to get across is that people are letting their perceived rights make them arrogant and ambivalent to the plights of others.  Believe it or not, I actually support the right to bear arms.  That said, I do not think that right should be without restrictions.  My problem is with the people placing their “right to bear” over the safety of our children, with lame arguments that “guns don’t kill people,” and opposition to even statistical data that supports the fact that easy access to weapons means the weapons get used more often in crimes of violence (case in point, the statistics on victims of lethal domestic violence and gun ownership.)**Someone the other day argued with me that by this logic, since his whole family owned guns, I was insinuating that one of them must be an abuser.  Such ignorant misinterpretation of the facts is a symptom of the arrogance I mentioned.  This person simply did not want to acknowledge any factual data that ran counter to his own desire to “keep his guns.”**  What this basically boils down to is, in the case of domestic violence, if a gun is around to be used, there is a higher chance it will be used.  I realize most gun owners are not abusers, but I’m going to extrapolate to violent crime in general and say if a person has easy access to a gun (whether it’s their own or a family member’s or friend’s), they are more likely to use said gun.

Maybe it seems like I’m picking on the “gun people.”  It’s only because the news and social media sites have been flooded with knee-jerk speeches about gun rights and gun control since the Newtown tragedy.  But the basic idea applies to everyone.

Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think if you take the idea of entitlement one step further, you are on your way to understanding the cause of a lot of violence too.

“I want something, you can’t keep me from having it, I have a right to have it, I’m going to take it. “

It seems to be pretty obvious that all the media coverage on mass killings like this seem to encourage other unstable people to air their grievances in a similar manner.  People who are dissatisfied, feel “wronged,” are unhappy with their lot in life, now feel entitled  to be noticed, to force their pain on others.

Anyway, though I digressed (at length) and maybe vented a bit, everyone is entitled to their opinion…and that’s about the only “right” you have that can’t be taken away.

*** Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinions (the above is my opinion,) and you are welcome to share yours as long as it’s respectful.  Just please don’t expect a response from me regarding “gun rights,” because I think I’ve said all I have to say.  

 

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Gun Control, Gun Rights, and Women (updated)

Pursuant to the massacre at Newtown and President Obama’s subsequent attempt to institute a stricter gun policy, there has been a tight focus on gun rights and an immense push to make our schools safer for our children.  Needless to say, the result is that the divide between gun rights advocates and gun control advocates is widening.

I have always leaned towards agreeing with the right to own a gun and protect oneself and one’s family.  That said, I believe the words gun control have gotten a bad rap.  Somewhere along the way, the idea of moderation, of common sense, got lost to both sides and the words gun control became synonymous with  “complete firearm ban.”

I do believe control is the issue.  I think people who own firearms need to better secure them against theft and illicit use (even by members of their own families.)  I think gun owners should be held to the strictest responsibility for their firearms.  I do not feel there should be a total ban on firearms.

The aim of this article though is to give some food for thought to both sides by introducing a slightly different perspective on the gun rights issue.  This is merely information…information backed by statistics and scientific inquiry.

I doubt there is anything worse than what happened at Sandy Hook in December, but this information shifts the focus of gun victimization.  To women.

Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.(source)

This is women, killed by men who legally own their firearms.  In short, it suggests a link between the availability of household firearms and female victimization rates.  

Of course, the first argument against this concept is that a man who would beat on his wife should not be allowed to own weapons, and there are laws that prohibit the purchase of a firearm by a person subject to a domestic violence restraining order.  But that is true only of known abusers.  What about the women who have not reported their abuse?

Approximately 20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection
orders. (source)

As I said before, I’m not really trying to push a partisan view of the gun issue, I’m merely hoping to give both gun control advocates and gun rights advocates more information…

And perhaps help them to see we should all be working together towards a solution to end gun violence, rather than fighting against one another.  Maybe if we try to view the problem collectively- and objectively- we can come up with a solution that protects everyone’s rights and safety.

image: HR Giger

image: HR Giger

After yet another mass shooting, by a homegrown (that’s American) Islamic terrorist,  using mostly “legally” purchased firearms…in a club with armed “good guys” (security guards)…

Analysis by the Violence Policy Center has found that at least 29 mass shootings since 2007 were carried out BY perpetrators with concealed carry permits. That’s more than three times the number of concealed permit holders who prevented mass shootings through their swift action. (source)

I am tired of banging my head against a wall arguing with people who let their emotions mold the “facts” to suit them.  To be very clear, it doesn’t matter how you “feel” about it, or how much you support 2nd Amendment rights; it is a documented fact that increased gun ownership in a developed county leads to increased gun deaths in that country.  Not only is it documented, it is common fucking sense

The number of firearms injuries remains high in the United States, compared with most of the rest of the world. Firearm suicide rates are strongly impacted by the rate of gun ownership. (Kaplan and Geling, 1998) There is a positive correlation between firearm fatality rates and number of guns in developed nations.  (Bangalore and Messerli, 2013) (source)

One thing remains certain, despite laws for or against gun control, a lack of care and concern regarding one’s fellow human beings, whether in war or through domestic violence, will continue to promote firearms injuries. (source)

People to Obama: Do Something NOW…But not THAT!

My intention is that this will be a short post, where I make an important point concisely, as it really should be self-evident.  But…we all know how I seem to be be practically incapable of not pontificating or at the very least, indulging in tangent streams of thought as they occur to me.   See?  There I go again…

But the main thrust of this post is this; I find it amusing, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, that people are clamoring for the President to “do something” about the violence in our schools (and in the country in general,) some doubtlessly even going so far as to blame him for it, but the minute he makes a proposal, everyone is bitching about infringement of their rights.  I’m not saying I am either for or against President Obama’s proposal.  What annoys me in the reaction of an ungrateful country who shout a call to action, usually with no practical (or accurate) idea of what it takes to actually achieve success.

Rep. Paul Gosar’s statement on Obama’s proposal was the following:

I will actively fight any attempt by this Administration to undermine our Constitution and infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. With the attack on personal gun-ownership, the Second Amendment, and our God-given rights, the Obama-Biden Administration has been relentless in their pursuit of taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. (source)

Some of these “free thinkers” even go so far as to compare Obama to Hitler.

hitler-300x216

liberals-gun-control-hitler-liberals-political-poster-1272169673

Let me explain something to you…people of questionable intellect.  Hitler’s tyranny was born out of a society in disarray.  At first, Hitler offered an ideal that the people wanted to believe.  An article from the Scientific American Mind describes tyranny as the result of a group processes, not one individual person’s pathology.  And yes, our society is in disarray, but that is due as much to the idea of entitlement that has been sewn into the fabric of our society.  Now, everyone thinks they’re owed something, and that they have the right to make waves to get whatever that something is.  A lot of greed,  useless righteous indignation, and not enough consequences for poor behavior is what is ruining our society… not ONE man.

Groups… are ultimately about collective self-realization. They use social power to make an existence in the image of their shared beliefs and values. But when groups cannot produce such a
working order, their members become more willing to accept other social structures—even if these new systems violate their existing way of life.

In specific reference to Nazi Germany:

Moreover, when the collapse of a system wreaks such havoc that a regular and predictable social life becomes impossible,
the promise of a rigid and hierarchical order becomes more alluring. Thus, the chaotic failure of the democratic Weimar led to the rise of Nazism.

See? I have already written more than I intended, but forgive me, because it is all to support my point.

AT first glance maybe it seems like I am actually inferring that I agree with the conservative view of the President’s plan.  Actually, what I am saying is that:

a) It takes more than one man to create a tyranny and

b) the very people that are criticizing the President’s every move are still looking to him to give them an answer, a solution, and berate him if it is not the answer they were hoping for.

Basically, I liken this to the smaller scale example of the society/ laws that restrict parental rights and decision-making (corporal punishment, health care and vaccinations, etc) but then blame the parent when the kid gets loosed on society as a disrespectful, anti-social mess.

You can’t have it both ways!  You can’t expect someone to perform miracles with their hands tied behind their backs (or in bureaucratic red tape.)

Just sayin’.