Trying to Make Sense of the World

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By Tim O’Brien

The confusion continues.

What’s going on with the humanity in the world today?  Dystopia morphs into the new day-to-day reality.  It’s as if the amateurs and the crazies have seized power and are out of control.  Cruelty and crudity have somehow become acceptable.  For far too many, hate is a way of life.

What are the most viable means of fighting all this, and fighting it hard?  Will the forces of true love, of art, of dreams, of magic and poetry ever triumph true once more?

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The Truth is the Truth and Lies are Lies

Why is it that some people no longer seem to care about reality?  If you live, primarily, in a false word, it’s bound to come back to bite you.  If you live in a false world and have a lot of power, things could come back to bite a great many people.

It seems like some people get used to living in a false world bit by bit.  It’s like getting used to hot water in a bath.

Extremist Nation

 

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The United States of America is currently being run by an extreme right-wing clique.  An equally extreme left-wing regime never would be allowed.  Yet somehow, through sheer luck and/ or cheating and dirty play, the fringe has risen to power.

It’s opposite, an extreme democratic/ liberal/ progressive takeover, has never happened and probably never will.  For one thing, progressives are more likely to try to help people “on the other side.”  A scorched earth policy is usually not for the best, in the long run.

Extremism, by its nature, includes an absolute refusal to compromise or to meet in the center.  There are no shades of grey in between the black and the white.  There’s no room for nuances and paying attention to details.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremism

Collateral Damage in the U.S. Gun Wars

Somewhere, someone from the NRA is saying that student shootings are “acceptable collateral damage.”  They would never say  this in public.  Yet it’s obvious that some of them believe it.  Actually of course, they are not acceptable. 

This ties in with the idea of what is and is not  “acceptable collateral damage” in war.  How many civilians being  “lost without cause” can we accept?  On the home front, how many of our children and brothers and sisters must be lost before things finally and decisively change?

The NRA seems used to the idea that it is above the law and/or the laws must be rearranged to cater to it and assist it  in every possible way.  It’s as if the gun is their God and that they are gun worshippers.  Maybe the second amendment needs to be reexamined and applied in a more sensible way.  Who uses assault rifles when they go animal hunting?

Some people use guns responsibly for hunting and for target practice.  I admit that firearms may have some proper part to play in the fabric of the world.  When you use guns for self-protection though, you need to be careful.  If someone’s robbing you at gunpoint and you pull out your gun, you may shoot them first or they might shoot you.  Reality is not a western movie or a police versus gangsters movie.

I’m not quite sure what to think, but the idea of arming teachers to protect students in a school shooting seems like a very bad idea.  Yet something must be done.

Since I wrote this, high school students and their supporters have risen up into great waves of protests and of speaking out.  Let’s hope that this time, real and lasting change comes about.  Is common sense too much to ask?

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From the movie “Gun Crazy” 1950

From the Bureau of Sadistic Statistics:

First, The Big Picture

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/mapped-the-countries-with-the-most-guns/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

Second, the United States of America:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/oct/02/america-mass-shootings-gun-violence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
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Second, March 24, 2018, the other shoe drops, part one:

https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/march-for-our-lives-for-gun-control-will-be-on-march-24.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2018/mar/24/march-for-our-lives-protest-gun-violence-washington

 

The Bad News Round-Up, Number One

For the past year, this has been my profile picture on facebook.  I put it up on inauguration day 2017 in protest of yet another sham election/ shameful election.  I’ll change it today.

This is a classic “found image.”  I’ve ran across it in various places.  If anyone knows its history, I’d be interested.   I found it in an old college newspaper, circa 1960’s.  He’ll make his debut here as the mascot of figurehead for the forum on bad news.

I predicted that this would be a banner year for bad news, and so it is.  Some of it (such as the record high temperatures)  cannot really be blamed on 45 (aka DT).  Yet much of it is directly tied to his presidency, both its successes and too its bumbling failures.

I wonder whether or not forces who despise the American government, tried to put in a  mole in order to help destroy that government?  If anyone looks past politics and is totally honest, I think they’ll judge this man as the worst, or nearly the worst president in American history.  We’ll see what the body count is and how many lives are damaged and destroyed by the foolish actions of 45 and his enablers and cohorts.  One Year Down/ One Year to Go?  We’ll see.

There’s a serious delay factor.  This means that a lot of the things that 45 is taking credit for were the results of hard work by previous administrations.  Likewise, many of the things that they’re doing now will not cause disasters until years after they have left office.

In ways, this post is a  means of preliminary research for a larger project.  There’s been plenty of bad news in the last year, that’s for sure.  There’s been some good news too.  We need to take this as seriously as we can.  Be aware and connect with each other.  Resist!

At some point this year, I’ll sort through all the recent bad news and try to sort out what is directly tied to the current administration and what would have happened anyway. It’ll be a challenge to sort it out.

Round One:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-poy-trump/trumps-first-year-in-office-marked-by-controversy-protests-idUSKBN1E01UW

The Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-first-year-was-even-worse-than-feared/2017/12/25/b0991572-e753-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html?utm_term=.8c05bcffc41f

Men Everywhere: Behave Yourselves!

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In late 2017, there’s been a wave of women calling out men for harassing them or attacking them.  This started in early October.  One can only hope that this is a permanent thing.  I don’t want it to ever end.

Men have to take full responsibility for their own actions.  There’s no excuse to touch a woman without her consent.  Things far worse than a mere touch can make you lose your job or even end up in prison.

That’s as it should be.  A lot of guys think they have carte blanche to do whatever they like to whoever they like with full authority and no consequences.

This year, a lot of powerful and famous men have had to face to consequences.  There’s one obvious example of someone who’s behaved like that and brags about getting away clean.  Yet someday, he may have to pay the piper as well.

It’s like the fallacy that racism is a black problem, not a white problem.  A lot of people think that bad behavior by men is a woman’s problem not a man’s problem.  Yet it’s a problem for both sexes.  It’s a human problem.

We need to have all men, or as many men as possible man up.  Not to man up in some macho, sexist or aggressive way but to try to become a real man.  That means to treat all women that you encounter with the same respect you’d have for your mother, sister, sweetheart or wife.

This means that not only do the men at the top need to be held accountable.  So do the men at the bottom, the men in the middle and everywhere in between.  Rich or poor or middle class, we need to be aware of what’s alright or acceptable and what’s just plain wrong. This is also true not only in the West or in the United States.  All male human beings, all over the world need to treat women fairly.

The feminists have been saying this for years and they’re absolutely right.

https://www.wesaidenough.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_(hashtag)

http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/

The 2017 list so far:

https://www.biography.com/news/men-accused-of-sexual-misconduct-harvey-weinstein-2017

 

 

Enough is Enough!

Next month, this space will have a post about the remarkable series of recent events.  These have involved powerful men, abusing their power.

Sexual harassment is always wrong.  Men have gotten away with it for far too long.  We need to fight against this for all women, on all levels of society.

Sexual harassment is sometimes man on man but usually, it’s men against women.  Enough is enough.

https://www.npr.org/2017/11/30/567430106/for-years-anita-hill-was-a-canary-in-the-coal-mine-for-women-speaking-out

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/22/sexual-harassment-doesnt-just-happen-to-actors-or-journalists-talk-to-a-waitress-or-a-cleaner