Weekend Introspection

–Sometimes I can be arrogant, and disdainful of other people… but I think at least some of the time, this stems from the frustration I feel at being unable to do anything significant to affect the bad behavior of others.

For instance, today while reading a blog entry on Own Your Shit, (don’t you just love that name?)  I realized after I posted it, how my comments could possibly be construed as arrogant.   I sound as if I feel superior, morally and intellectually, to those careless and self-involved enough to enjoy our beautiful world and yet pollute it with their garbage and ruin it for others.  In a way, I guess I do feel superior…but whether or not you agree with my assessment of their behavior or my own, I believe part of the reason I feel so resentful of them is my inability to reach enough of them to make a difference, and the very real likelihood that it wouldn’t make a difference even if I could.  You can’t argue with self-involved.  You can’t argue with stupid.

Image courtesy of http://littermob.blogspot.com/ .   Check out this site; their efforts on behalf of Mother Earth are commendable.

Image courtesy of “littermob“. Check out this site; their efforts on behalf of Mother Earth are commendable.

— The second “revelation” for the weekend is that maybe I need a change in my perspective when it comes to my smoking.  I should apply the same no bullshit philosophy I have on so many other things and with so many other people to myself.  Basically, you can’t have everything you want.  I should stop being selfish, because even though I enjoy smoking, it would be better for my health (and wallet) if I didn’t, and I owe it to my daughter to be healthy and provide a better example for her.

Oooor, I could just be rationalizing another excuse to quit smoking and thus reduce the anxiety I feel over it.

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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.  

 

Tunnel Vision: More on the Predictable Pathology of “Bad Guys”

Bad guys are pretty predictable.  Especially Hollywood bad guys.  I’ve noticed a few banalities commonalities amount these TV and movie baddies, and I wonder how often real-life bad guys fall afoul of their own predictable character flaws.

....his face just pisses me off...

….his face just pisses me off…

Aside from the usual single-minded arrogance which allows them to wreak havoc with other people’s family, money, and lives with little or no assault to their delicate psyches, they always seem genuinely surprised and outraged when one of their friends, family members, or partners becomes casualties of the crimes they are committing.

badmenjack3

You can’t blame him; he’s bat-shit crazy!

If you and your friends are doing something sneaky, underhanded, or downright malicious to someone else, chances are someone in the group will have no qualms about stabbing you in the back, figuratively or literally, if the opportunity arises or it will increase their payday. Similar but not exactly the same is the the naive sort of tunnel vision that bad guys seem to have in regards to their partners in crime.  Maybe in a way it’s a form of arrogance that allows them to overlook the fact that they are all bad guys.  After all, you’re all no better than rabid dogs anyway.

WTF, dude?  That was MY bloody rabbit?

WTF, dude? That was MY bloody rabbit head!

And yet… the bad guys are always charmingly shocked when one of their own turns on them.  I feel like saying to the TV villains, while petting the screen affectionately, Awww, isn’t that cute?  They’re all hurt and surprised.  That’s just so adorable… and stupid.

And I just throw my hands in the air and– (just kidding).   I just kinda smirk in a self-satisfied manner and think, serves you right, muthafucka!

Anyway, this concept is actually one of many common TV tropes.  So…maybe the bad guys need to bone up on their prime time dramas before their next heist or… whatever.

Arrogance: The Predictable Pathology of Badguys

*spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen 3000 Miles to Graceland or Live Free and Die Hard (thanks Smaktakula!)

The scene is this; having just pulled off a heist (with questionable success), five men dressed as the King (Elvis, not King Charles) narrowly escape in a helicopter. One is grievously wounded in the process. Despite Murphy’s (Kevin Costner) frantic and heroic efforts at resuscitation, “Franklin” dies on the floor. The camera pans to the faces of the others and all around there are looks of solemn reflection and sadness… it’s all very touching.

3000 Miles to Graceland

And the same thing goes through my mind EVERY TIME a movie bad guy gets his knickers all in a twist when one of his buddies gets greased. I just watched three of the four guys riding in that copter (not including the “getaway driver” pilot) slaughter security guards and cops wholesale, as well as a few innocent casino patrons, and (unless my eyes deceived me) a midget dressed as Elvis, with absolutely no compunction whatsoever (Not Kurt Russell‘s character, though, cuz Kurt’s the man.)  But one of their buddies gets what’s usually coming to them and they go nuclear.

Another example that comes immediately to mind is Timothy Olyphant‘s character in Live Free or Die Hard, when his accomplice and girlfriend, a “smoking hot little ninja chick,” gets her ass handed to her by Bruce Willis. Olyphant is furious, and he claims, with just the right amount of righteous indignation (and common improper use of grammar) that Willis has no idea what he is capable of. (Is it still considered gauche to end a sentence with a preposition?) Never mind that Olyphant and his crew (including Ninja Chick) have arbitrarily murdered anyone in their way, not to mention all the “incidental” deaths and collateral damage resulting from their “Fire Sale.”

Do these guys think they’re the only ones with people they care about? Or do they just not care? That’s more than likely the case…if they thought about it all.  In a way, the fact that it may never even cross their minds, that indifference, that indifference and arrogance, has the worst implications of all.  As if the “bad guys” consider their victims subhuman, or beneath their consideration at all.  And you might say, “Well duh…they’re BAD GUYS.”  I don’t think I need to expound upon, or drive home the parallels to our real life “bad guys.”

I give you enough credit to draw your own conclusions…and I’m tired of sitting at McDonald’s and using their WiFi.  😀  More later.  MWAH!