Why Are We So Violent?

I’m not a fan of Marco Rubio. I think his stand on the economy, immigration, defense and relations with Cuba are simplistic and often just wrong. However, he has at least one thing right.

“What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them, whether it was with a gun or a knife or a bomb,” Rubio asked a crowd of about 250 people. “What has happened to us as a society that we now devalue life to such a level? What has happened in our society that people have become so violent? That’s the fundamental question we need to confront.”

Source: Marco Rubio tells N.H. voters gun laws are no solution | Boston Herald

Take the guns away from violent people and you still have violent people, people who will deliberately ram their cars into your car over a real or imagined slight and then run you down when you get out to check the damage, or people who will beat you with a ball bat over a text message. 

Rather than debate over tightening background checks or how many bullets a gun can hold doesn’t it make more sense to spend that effort in finding out why we are so violent and solutions for that?

Personally, I think we will find the reason for that being our spending so much time in a car, on a cell phone, watching TV or at a computer that we stop seeing others as individual human beings and start seeing them more as a source of irritation. We don’t spend enough time face to face with other humans so they tend to lose their humanity. Add to that the poverty and hopelessness we see in some sectors of society and how can we expect us to be anything but violent?

So what is the solution? I don’t know for sure but I would suggest looking at getting out of our cars, out of our houses and socialize, face to face, with our neighbors. Find out their likes and dislikes, see them as humans and in our conversations find ways to bring opportunities to neighborhoods stricken with poverty.

Take away a violent person’s gun and you still have a violent person. Talk to a violent person and you may find a way to lessen their rage.

Blocked for humor.

So I’m on twitter and I read this:

I see the typo and I can’t help myself, I respond with:

I get curious about who this guy is so I look up his profile and see he’s the state chairman of the Georgia Teen Republicans AND that he has blocked me.

The Most Secure Way to Communicate? An iPod Touch | WIRED

This isn’t a bad idea, actually. Most of the day I’m covered by WiFi which should allow me to use Facetime or Skype to talk to anyone I need to talk to. Email and text is also possible. For the paranoid and just careful this could be the answer.

You don’t actually need fancy, dedicated hardware to communicate securely.

Source: The Most Secure Way to Communicate? An iPod Touch | WIRED

Obama Says ‘I Could Win’ 3rd Term as President

No, he isn’t attempting to run for a third term, he was just trying to make a point to African leaders, but I believe him.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” Mr. Obama said, departing from his prepared text in a speech at the African Union. “I think if I ran, I could win.”

Source: Obama Says ‘I Could Win’ 3rd Term as President – The New York Times

And looking around at the current batch of declared candidates among both the Democrats and Republicans I could probably support his third term.

Rick Perry vs. Bernie Sanders: Both are Wrong

Rick Perry makes the statement I expected and he’s wrong. I have no problem with legal gun owners with carry permits taking their guns into a movie theater. However, I don’t care how many people had guns to fire back in LaFayette this past week, those two women and the gunman would still be dead. Maybe fewer people would have been wounded, maybe more, but those dead would still be dead.

What disappoints me is Senator Sanders new stance on gun control.

Senator Sanders might once have agreed with Perry that taking guns away is not the solution. Coming from a rural state where hunting is common and gun rights have popular support, Sanders has opposed some of Democrats’ gun control measures. But on Sunday he told NBC’s Meet the Press that he supported a nationwide ban on guns other than those used for hunting.

Source: Rick Perry vs. Bernie Sanders: More guns in movie theaters? – CSMonitor.com

I could understand Bernie changing his position to supporting expanded background checks but his change to ban all guns except for those used for hunting is just bizarre. I thought he had more integrity than to move away from his long held core principles just to pick up support from a demographic of voters.

In Good Faith

Apparently some Georgia state senators have come to the conclusion that personal liberties and rights preserved by the constitution don’t really matter is law enforcement is working “in good faith.” SB-94 reportedly will make way for law enforcement to obtain secret search warrants, secretly retain seized property remove presumption of innocence by allowing search warrants to be obtained with probable cause that a crime is about to be committed, allow for anyone, whether certified as a law enforcement officer or not, to apply for issue of search warrants even if they have no duty of enforcing the law, and allow law enforcement to engage in illegal surveillance as long as they are doing so in good faith.

At a time when our jails are busting at the seams, when the U.S. has imprisoned a greater percentage of its population than any other civilized country in the world, including China, when various law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions are under scrutiny for abuse of power the state of Georgia wants to make it more difficult to hold law enforcement accountable? I’m seriously not believing this.

Supposedly, there were “good intentions” when the Habersham County sheriff deputies busted in a house and threw a flash-bang that injured an 18-month old. There were “good intentions”, supposedly, of sheriff deputies descending upon a house in Laurens County on the basis of the word of a known thief that there was “meth” in that house…and killing a good man who had no drugs in the house, or anywhere else

The answer to “bad results” is not to enable more people to be able to engage in acts to cause more bad results to happen, and then to give immunity to the results of their actions, all on the basis of “well, we acted in good faith.”

Source: The Political Vine, » Blog Archive » The Road to Hell (in Georgia) – Part 1

Don’t take my lack of support for GA SB-94 as a lack of support of good law enforcement. I fully support the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are out there to protect and serve a community. I want to protect these fine men and women wearing blue by eliminating the little tin-star tyrants that tarnish the reputation of the good officers out there. SB-94 will make reigning in bad police just that much harder. It can’t be allowed to pass in the form it has taken.

NAACP wants removal of Confederate generals from Stone Mountain; Taliban Removes Buddhas from Bamiyan Valley

The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP officially called for the elimination of all symbols of the Confederacy from Stone Mountain.

Source: NAACP wants removal of Confederate generals from Stone Mountain | www.wsbtv.com

Mullah Wakil insisted that the edict was an internal matter for Afghanistan and had been “excessively exagerrated in the outside world and the media”. He said the Taliban had no intention to disrespect any other religion. “We do admit the relics were the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, but the part that contradicts our Islamic beliefs we would not like to have them any more.”

Source: After 1,700 years, Buddhas fall to Taliban dynamite – Telegraph


Stumbling Blocks

I get frustrated from watching the news fairly often these days. Most of my frustration comes from people taking event A and using it to promote their policy agenda on issues Y and Z when event A only tangentially approaches issue Y, slightly grazes issue Z but smacks right into the heart of issue B.

My frustration is my own problem, though. As much as I look at the issue being unrelated to the actual problem the issues are still issues for these people and I have to be careful that my annoyance and frustration with the way agendas get pushed don’t cause me to be a stumbling block to resolution of those issues.

For example, Dylann Roof walks into a Bible Study in Charleston’s historic Emmanuel AME Church and kills nine people with his gun. This sets off a huge protest about the Confederate battle emblem flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol. A Confederate battle flag did not cause Roof to become a racist or put murder in his heart. Pulling down the Confederate flag will not reduce racism in America one bit and, on the surface, that bothers me. Energy is being expelled and political capital is being spent in a way that will not solve the problem of our young people becoming racists with hate in their hearts.

However, that flag needs to come down for many other very good reasons so I need to be careful in venting my frustrations that I don’t become a stumbling block. The Apostle Paul talked about this:

1 Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.[a]4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. 5 There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But for us,

There is one God, the Father,
    by whom all things were created,
    and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    through whom all things were created,
    and through whom we live.

However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer[b] for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers[c] by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

Source: 1 Corinthians 8 – Food Sacrificed to Idols – New Living Translation – Bible Gateway

Voicing my frustration over misplaced cause and effect could become a stumbling block for some who might take me as saying that the Confederate flag is acceptable to display. It isn’t. People say it is heritage, not hate but even if you want to call it heritage it is a heritage of hate and racism.

I’m saying that as a son of the South, born and raised in Tennessee and living the last thirteen years in Georgia.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my heritage, just not the part that includes the Confederate States of America. While the Southern States may have been well within their rights to secede from the Union their reasons for doing so was to perpetuate slavery and that was wrong.

So while I can see the historical context that the Confederate flag is being flown, while I understand the organizations like the Sons of Confederate Soldiers simply want to remember their ancestors I won’t be a stumbling block by arguing for the historical context by which the flag on the South Carolina Capitol grounds is being flown.

We need to heal much, much more than we need to stand on technicalities.

It’s Time

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” the governor said, speaking to reporters at the Capitol in Columbia.

Source: Haley of South Carolina Calls for Removal of Confederate Battle Flag – The New York Times

Finally a politician who actually has a legitimate voice in the debate has stepped forward to push for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the lawn of South Carolina’s capitol. Out of every politician who has spoken out or side stepped speaking out on this matter she is the only one who has the legitimate power to do something about it. Until the people of South Carolina agree to the removal of the flag it’s going to stay there and she is leading them to that end.