TMI – Todays Society Is Awash In Information, But Are We Better Off?

Living in modern society today, we often do not think about the astounding amount of information we consume on a daily basis. With desktops/laptops, smart phones, tablets and the like, we are interconnected to a steady stream of texts, tweets, updates, emails and everything else that the Internet to offer. Just the volume of information generated (transmitted and received) by each of us, is huge. In comparison to just a few years back (let alone the birth of the world wide web), some smart phone users today consume more data in the span of a month, then some households with a desktop computer and a broadband Internet connection just a few years ago.

And the average “wired” digital footprint, I would guess  has likely doubled, if not tripled, with the introduction of Netflix, youtube, torrents and other bandwidth-intensive services. The amount of information that is available to us, is absolutely staggering.
Take a person I know, who told me that they had collected  just under a terabyte of anime, in a little over a year (this is not counting other stuff). To me, that was a bit of a holy shit moment (I don’t think I transmit or receive that amount of information IN TOTAL (texts, calls, all web activities) in a year). And there are plenty of iphone users that I know, that have unlimited caps because they regularly blew over their 1gig monthly cap.

The Internet is bursting at the seams , with helpful, useful and otherwise educational data that can keep anyone with any interests and/or hobbies amused. But there is also a glut of useless information, not to mention misinformation.

Unfortunately, when I (and anyone really) look around and see how most people are using the Internet today, its usually not to further their intelligence and knowledge. Most of the time, its to check facebook, twitter, instagram, watch 6 second stupid videos. And those that do any looking, are usually  searching out useless information like pop culture news or sports stats.

Sure, there is nothing wrong with useless information, in moderation. Everyone has hobbies and interests that keep their lives interesting. I do not fault people for that.
But it is when this information, is the sole information that one seeks out, that one finds a problem. Having vast knowledge of pop culture or any other such subject is fine, but not if its at the expense of knowing what is happening in reality, in the real world.

One example of this, I happened to see on a coffee outing with a friend a couple days ago. Like many, he owns an iphone, and uses it to watch countless youtube videos (at times this can be mildly annoying). Especially a couple days ago,  where I sat though an hour and a half (or so) of various conspiracy theory videos, trying to bite my tongue and not say what I REALLY wanted to (I settled for picking apart the ones I could, and doing the best I could with the ones I couldn’t, since no one has any proof).

It ended the way it usually does in those situations.

The person trying to “sell” me the idea, ended up still thinking he knows more about whats happening then me, and that either I am an idiot, or I don’t want to “hear the truth”. And I kept my same stance, that these conspiracy peddlers know how to manipulate people, and I can see though it. Also, what they say is not “truth”, because you need evidence for that (credible evidence, not what they put on their sites/in their videos). There there are the problems presented by the massive scale of most conspiracies (keeping often thousands, tens of thousands, if not more people, quiet). Then there is arguably the most important problem, what can YOU do about it?
Being informed of a perceived “problem” is not much use, if there is nothing one can do about it. Not to mention that it takes attention away from the REAL problems of reality, like climate change. Which brings me to the next part of the story.

Upon talking about the Nuclear accident in Japan, the guy told me he had not heard about it. To give some credit, I keep myself well connected to news and the goings on in the world, so it is without saying, that this would be on my radar. But even the most passive consumer of news that I know, at least knew OF the accident (though by now, their awareness has faded away with the news coverage of it).

It bothered me, to be frank. It was proof, of not just the danger of MISinformation floating around online, but the danger of getting to sucked into the glut of useless information available today.

Most proponents of technology, look at the vast amount of information available at our fingertips virtually anywhere on the planet, as a good thing.

But is it really?

The Facebook “Like” Button – Is It Innapropriate To “Like” Bad News?

Anyone who has been on facebook, has likely used the facebook “Like” button at some point or another. Whether to show that you agree with the information presented, are amused by it, or just to make your presence shown, this little button has developed many uses, depending on the information that it is attached to. And the same goes for the “favorite” button on twitter, and any other similar option that may be available on other popular social media platforms (I am only familiar with facebook and twitter).

But one has to wonder, is it ever not appropriate to use such a button on a post?

I ask the question, after coming across a co-workers status update, where he described his ordeal of having recently lost a beloved pet of many years. Under the status update, many of his friends were leaving nice messages and condolences, nothing wrong with that. But a great many also “liked” the status update itself.

I suppose, it might be another form of giving ones condolences to the person (yet another usage of that little button, brought on by the information its attached to).  But to me, liking such a status seems, at the  very least, a lazy way of showing support (is typing a short message really that strenuous?). And at worst, it could be interpreted as flat out inappropriate.

I understand that one may not have the right words to say, or for that matter, words just may not come to them (it happens. We all find ourselves in situations where you want to help, but are not sure how to go about it). But for me personally, if this happens to me, I would rather leave condolences unsaid, then to use a “like” or “favorite” button, to show it.

Of course, this is just my opinion on the subject, my view of the topic. But I will hand the pen to you now.

Do you agree, or disagree, with the usage of in-bedded positive feedback buttons to show your sympathy to a person who is going though hard times? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Selfishness – The Biggest Problem With Humanity Today?

WSJ

In my travels in the world of twitter, I came across this tweet from the Wall Street Journal, asking a simple question of their followers (and presumably, readers). A look down the list of peoples reply tweets, shows most people answering the question honestly, using both options listed.

But when I read this, it struck me that there is a 3ed option that seems to have been missed by all of the above, and an option that seems quite important.

Basically, your being asked if you base your college choices around your passion, or your monetary goals. Which both are centered around the individual. Option #3, is a path  that benefits the species (humanity) as a whole.

Though its hardly surprising that most people would not realize this, it seems important that they do. The reason that people in modern society’s can for the most part, pick and choose their careers based on their personal passions and characteristics, is because all the variables of personal survival were largely removed by the advent of agriculture. When you do not have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, how your going to heat your house etc, then you can concentrate your energy in other areas. Which has been great for science, the arts (of all kinds), and any number of other subjects.

But in todays world, it is becoming more and more apparent, that the world that we have thrived in right from past generations to today, is changing. Whether you see it as a natural event, or a mankind driven event, is irrelevent to the fact that, the change is happening. Though climate change is the first to come to mind (and arguably one of the most dangerous), it is certainly not the only factor.
The various resources that blanket and make our modern world possible, are drying up. These are resources that most now are heavily reliant on for survival, and also resources that have no known replacements. Oil is the one that comes to mind first, in this case.
A large part of the conundrum lies with figureheads from decades past putting all their eggs in the basket of petroleum. Even though literally every other aspect of life was changing, the combustion engine was not to be one of those things. The same could be said for almost anything associated with the fossil fuel industry. Why would you want to change, at the expense of your profits?

And so, you have the world we live in today.

The greed of the petrol industry has largely squashed research into sources of post-petroleum energy, leaving us nearly at the bottom of the tank, 25,000 miles from the nearest station. The affects of the combustion of all those fossil fuels, becomes more and more evident with each passing week, assuming you choose to see it for what it is. And on top of that, we keep on chugging along with our rampant resource consumption, even though those are also drying up.

Some people see the iceberg, but choose to deny it, or to look away. Some see it, and think “Fuck it. Whats done is done” (me, I admit).

But the vast majority, are blissfully unaware. Their parents, and the society around them, has taught them that self preservation and fulfillment trumps all else, and so they go about their daily lives as such. Since the resources keep flowing into the cities, its easy to see why someone can become so immersed in the life. A holographic life, if I use a term once used by a respected online friend of mine. Though mother nature gives those city folk a kick in the ass and makes the changes come to life every so often, for the most part, the delusion is unbroken. I see it in the media, online, even in my own family (dwellers in Manitoba‘s capital).

Which is a scary thought. When one considers that the only thing that may break the delusion, is the whole system gradually unraveling before all our eyes. Which is a day late and a dollar short, or put in simpler terms, to late.

Though the problems that face us all (whether you agree or acknowledge them or not does not change there status  as facts) are seemingly gargantuan, all problem resolution begins with small steps. The first being with the collective attitude of humanity. Though personal growth and fulfillment was possible in past years and decades, it is no longer so.

Its time to become less of a city full of individuals, and more of a community. The first step is looking out for one another. Then you can work on ways of being self sufficient, and on building networks of communities to purchase/trade/barter for items that can not be procured in your area.

Selfishness is not good for anyone. And collectively crashing and burning, is certainly not going to do anyone any good. So why not start now?

The change is on the way, whether you like it or not.

Breaking News – Sometimes Waiting Is Best

Ever since being in high school, I have been very focused on the world around me. When most people look at the news around the world in kind of a secondary sort of way (their lives and therefore local news (if they seek any news at all) comes first, and the rest of the world news comes 2ed), I am reversed. I like to stay informed on news and information from around the world (mainly US news, for obvious reasons. They are the superpower), on top of local, provincial and even national news.
In fact, this has more then once caused me to be bitten in  the ass by such local, provincial and national  events as elections, as I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them. To me, they seem unimpotant (with the exception of national elections), in comparison to whats going on in other areas of the planet.

Don’t get me wrong, I vote, and have voted in every single election that was held since I reached voting age at 18. And I make as informed a decision as I can. But local and regional issues, just aren’t as important. Healthcare has its problems here, but its still better then even Obamacare. Oh, I know that Obamacare IS a  step in the right direction, but its still not all inclusive , and still enriches the broken system around it.
Our state of healthcare (and any number of other local and regional systems) is still better then many of our friends south of the boarder, even if people here think otherwise. I would rather have a heart attack or break a leg here in Brandon MB, and anywhere else in Canada, then anywhere in the US.

But I have gone a bit off topic to my original subject. If you have a problem with my Obamacare stance, take it up in the comment section.

In any case, twitter has become an important tool in my quest for news. I still use  TV, newsletters and facebook (amongst other web sources), but twitter is great because its a steady stream of information (in fact sometimes the stream is a torrent, depending on if its a fast news day). I just follow as many news organizations as I can find  (from all over the world), and let the information come.  Info from sources of all colors, stripes, and backgrounds, I like to sort though it all, and to even comment on some VIA a reply if I have an opinion. I love it.

And one of the great things about twitter, is when breaking news occurs, it can be transmitted in almost real time. And unlike conventional journalism, anyone with a smart phone and a  social media account on, or near the scene can add to the flow of information. Which on one hand, is great.

BUT this also comes with its limitations, because not all information coming out of a situation that is in its infancy, is CORRECT information. People in the situation are paniced, fearful, and otherwise disturbed. They may not even realize that their information is wrong, or flawed, which is why its up to the media to sort out the trash, from the good stuff.  A task that takes time.

Unfortunately, today with everyone scanning social media and wanting steady information, no news organization wants to be the last to report something. So as such, many will grab on anything that they can get their digital hands on and facebook, tweet and otherwise spread it far and wide. And the people repost, retweet and otherwise spread it even further and wider. Which is a great way to inform the public, without much cost or effort. So long as the information is GOOD information.

The problem is, there have been more then a few cases in which a big, seemingly “credible” news organization, has run with a tidbit, only to have to retract it later. But meanwhile, the info is already out their, and with attention spans the way they are today, the false info might not reach everyone.

This is why, when it comes to breaking news situations, I will no longer retweet or otherwise spread “up to the minute” information. Though having access to information from an event early in the game is great, its still better to wait a bit for a clearer image to appear, later on.

Lots of information is great. But not if its inaccurate.

Also see Memes and Misinformation

Amazing Rant On The State Of America

Here we have a TV news anchor, who is clearly fed up with the actions and impotence continually displayed by his nations government. Judging by the workers in the background turning around, you can see that this clearly does not happen every day. But that is why I like this video.

We need more Americans to just, flip out. Until that starts happening, the politicians will not think twice about walking over the majority, in their quest to kiss the ass of the minority. All at the expense of the the people, the nation, and in the broader picture, the biosphere.

Esquire Makes Terrible 9/11 Mistake

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/esquire-911-mistake-photo-richard-drew_n_3907866.html

Yesterday esquire made an unfortunate mistake, a mix up in photo placement.

Pic1

Whoops.

But (presumably anyway), accidents happen. And they apologized VIA a tweet not long after the mistake was found out and corrected.

Pic 2

For me, it is a good enough explanation.

But, being the politically correct, oh so easily offended world we live in, naturally, people had to freak out.

Because of the day, people found not only the (now corrected) mistake itself seemingly unforgivable, but also seen the apology as quote “insensitive”. In fact, if you watch the video in the linked news story, even the 2 commentators see it as the esquire magazine people reacting to an over reaction. Though the apology is a bit horse, its extraordinarily terrible because of the day.

Time for me to inject me piece.

When I see this, though I can see how it can be seen as insensitive to the 9/11 victims and there family’s, and New Yorkers in general, I admit that I got a bit of a laugh out of it. And I am not ashamed to admit it.

Its been 12 years. Though just under 3000 people died that day in 2001, the ensuing wars thereafter killed many more, on both sides. Though the nation was already on a bad course, on a slippery slope, adding 2 more wars on a credit card, while simultaneously letting domestic infrastructure go to shit, certainly didn’t help. Though the popular motto of 9/11 up to this point is “Never forget”. Though no one gives any thought before saying (or typing) those words, I think this is a good time to start doing so.

After 9/11, the fear felt by us all, ended up turning into a blank slate, and a blank check, of which the US  government quickly put to good use. The Patriot act, amoung other amendments between September 2001 and now, gradually withered down the civil liberties Americans once had. They were willfully traded away, out of (then) a genuine fear.

And not long after that, the war machine whipped into action, fighting a seemingly ceaseless and un-winnable war  in the boarders of 2 sovereign nations. Of the 2 wars, at least one was started on very shaky ground (“Weapons of Mass Destruction“!). To this day, we continue to fight both wars. Seemingly throwing money and lives away, without anything to show for it.

I get it, people lost friends and relatives, on that day. The world was collectively moved, that day. We all have our 9/11 stories, how we reacted when we heard the news.

But though there is nothing wrong with honoring those that were lost that day, keeping their memories alive for the family and friends, we must let the wound heel.

The reaction to the unfortunate Esquire error, is but a microcosm of a bigger problem. The US seemingly as a whole, keeps the September 11th wound as open today, as it was 12 years ago. Though the family’s, friends and relatives of the deceased have a reason for doing this, we the public, uninvested in the tragedy (outside of just due to being citizens of the nation, and the world), do not.

We collectively and thoughtlessly, keep the wound open. And as long as we keep doing that, it continues being a tenant of persuasion and fear, an excuse for whatever the government may want to do, or spend. Not to mention, the people of Manhattan, New York, and the surrounding suburbs have done a great job in moving on in the years following.

Its time the rest of the nation, and the world, followed their lead.

Dr. Phil Posts Sexual Assault Tweet, Outraging Twitter Audience

Dr. Phil Posts Sexual Assault Tweet, Outraging Twitter Audience

As shown in some of my past entries, I have developed quite an annoyance, when it comes to thoughtless negative reaction to viral tidbits of information making the rounds on social media sites. I wrote about it HERE and have touched on it on many other past posts.

Just in, another such incident has happened. This time not a viral meme or a youtube video, but a tweet, sent from Dr Phil to his followers. I can only assume, to get the audience talking about a future (or planned) show.

Dr Phil

As you can see, its nothing but a simple yes or no question.

But, people being the reactionary idiots they are, have automatically jumped on the feminism bandwagon, throwing false accusations where no such intent exists. Even though:

1.) Switch out “girl” and “her” with “guy” and “him”, and chances are, this would not be on my radar

2.) If Maury or Jerry Springer had asked  this question to their respective audience, chances are I would not know either

Though the question is not exactly easy to answer, at the same time, its not demeaning. Alcohol makes all people at times, do stupid things that they may later regret. It is not a slap in the face of women everywhere, its an acknowledgement to a tricky question.

So, for the love of all things you consider holy, USE YOUR HEAD before you overreact to NOTHING.

Were supposed to be the most intelligent organisms on this big ole planet. But we sure have a funny way of showing it.

Trigger Happy – My Views On The US Gun Control Debate

Image

As you may have guessed, yes, I’m taking on THAT topic. The gun control topic. I thought I would open this entry on a light, yet thought-provoking note.

The first thing I will put right up front, is I am NOT an American. I am a Canadian. If you’re in the mindset that an outsider won’t understand enough about the situation to draw any conclusions, feel free to move on now.

This debate and the “notorious”  gun violence incidents (Columbine, Virginia Tech etc) have been going on for many years. Though for me, the earliest I can personally remember it coming up, was with Columbine. I was 11 at the time, and I still remember the bits and pieces of the media coverage from the day. And oddly enough, I even remember questioning the “why”, as provided by the media at the time (later in the year, and in later years), even way back then, at that age. But not as much as when I hit high school.

But moving on, the past is littered with wasted chances for gun reform. Columbine was the first wake up call in my memory. Virginia Tech is another, the worst such incident so far in terms of the number of dead (though I hate ending sentences with “so far”, I must acknowledge reality). But the worst (in my opinion), and most recent, was Sandy Hook Elementary.

victoms

Though Sandy Hook is not #1 in terms of the number of dead (thankfully, when you consider the situation), I consider it the worst, just because of the age of the victims, and the effect it had on the world at large. 27 murdered in cold blood (including Nancy Lanza, Adam Lanza’s mother).

This had a chilling effect on not just elementary school parents everywhere, but, pretty much everyone with even a shred of conscience.

Being that I have forged friendships with many people all over North America via social media in the last few years, I got to see this play out from 2 angles. There was the Media/News/ Twitter angle. But there was also, what I call, the personal angle, which played out on Facebook. Friends, family, Pages, celebrities, pretty much folk from all walks of life, united.

And then, there was the mother. A mother of a child the same age as those killed in the massacre. Though she resides in another state, the incident struck VERY close to home for her and upset her deeply. I remember this because I was at a loss for words as per what to say to comfort her.

Which, for me, is unheard of, since I’ve always got an opinion or witty remark once I get to know a person well enough (some of the things I say, i don’t even know where they come from lol). Probably because there is really,  no right thing to say to someone in mourning.

The worst aspect of Sandy Hook for us all to grasp is its seemingly random nature.

Before, when it came to most of these mass shootings in educational institutions all over, there was SOME kind of connection to the location, even if the motive may not have been so clear cut.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html

And like the situation we have seen in every other case of this happening, people are picking one “scapegoat” and attributing it, AND ONLY IT, to the “Why” aspect of the incident. And of course, there is the gun control debate that has erupted (rightfully!), but at the same time, is being plagued by misinformation and unrelenting attitudes on both sides.

The NRA and many on the right, are, for the most part, taking the stance that “Guns do not kill people, People kill people”. And using diversion tactics to take the heat off of guns, such as pointing the finger at a mental health system in shambles, or violent media of all sorts. And those on the other side of the debate, are often either making a VERY unfair proposal (TOTAL gun ban) or are putting too much emphasis on guns.

I had formed opinions on this over the past few years but voiced them a lot more after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Partially out of disgust for the way the pro-gun people were acting, even a day after the tragedy. Under a memorial photo of Viki Soto which was circulating on Facebook at the time, some pro-gun folks were pushing their arguments quite arrogantly in the comment section. This made me VERY angry, so I told them EXACTLY what I thought of them, nothing held back (my own little contribution on behalf of Viki and her family in their time of crises, as little as it is).
And I got more vocal, after realizing that there is not much further you can go, after killing 20 children. One of those situations that you realize, one does not even want to THINK of where the “what next” could lead.

For me, in the past, in terms of gun control, I admit, that most of my conclusions and opinions have been based on, these incidents. Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. And I’m guessing that many people, on both sides of the debate and of all political stripes, are guilty of this.

The problem with forming an opinion ONLY based around those incidents, I’ve realized only recently, is that though they get large amounts of coverage and airtime (columbine and thereafter), they are still relatively rare. Compared to the everyday gun violence and death that is playing out on the streets and in the city’s all over the US, on a daily basis. But that often goes UN-noticed nationally and internationally, because I’m guessing it’s perceived as, shall we say, a “minority” problem.

Thousands of people getting shot and killed every year in poor urban areas, due mostly to gang violence. But these are not noticed, because most of the victims are poor minorities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

Yep, I went there.

When it comes to the whole gun control debate, this is where basing your laws and opinions on relatively rare occurrences becomes problematic.

Nothing ever gets done, because one side says, this is terrible, you guys are assholes if you STILL stick to your guns (forgive me lol), after seeing this (im guilty of this, I admit). And the other says, many things. You can’t base new laws solely on emotion (true). There is a whole host of things that contribute to the problem besides guns (also true, though an all to common diversion tactic).

Either way, both sides end up getting in a pissing match in the political houses and on social media sites, and in the end, nothing gets done. Neither side budges even an inch, and as a result, thousands (millions?) more die.

One of the arguments AGAINST gun control I hear used quite a bit is that banning guns (or certain types of guns, such as assault rifles) won’t stop gun crime completely. This is true, but a stupid argument.
It would be GREAT if any law enacted would immediately cease the activity, such as laws against speeding or fraud. But the goal is REDUCTION.

People, if they want them bad enough, will be able to obtain guns somewhere. Some of these folks will go on to use these weapons in the commission of crimes such as armed robbery or murder. Some will commit mass shootings. This can’t be helped. The goal is to make it as difficult as possible, to obtain firearms (and ammunition).

First of all, I should tackle one of the bigger misconceptions from the right, which is that gun control means no guns (“They gonna take my guns away!”). This is not true. Though I am opposed to gun ownership, I understand that they do have a purpose. For some, it’s hunting. Some, it’s protection (protecting themselves from other people with guns. Ironic, but a necessary evil).

But then comes the subcategory, assault riffles (be it burst fire or semi-automatic). Many will disagree with me on this. But I am not so lenient when it comes to these weapons of war. A perfect description of these guns because frankly, I don’t see why any civilian should NEED one, other than for a collection (in which case, it does not need to be operational). In terms of personal protection, it seems ridiculously excessive.
That is, ridiculous if your definition of personal protection/standing your ground (depending on your state) does NOT involve killing the assailant. Though there may be cases in which a person may have no choice but to use deadly force, it seems to me that the VAST majority of times, an injury will work just as well.

One thing I will note is that in Canada, deadly force can only be applied if your LIFE is in danger, NOT to protect property. Something I can agree with. Every situation is different, but if someone is in your home lightly armed, chances are you don’t need to kill them. A bullet to the arm or the leg should be enough to scare and throw most people off momentarily, hopefully causing them to drop any weapons and giving you time to take control of the situation.

In order to injure someone, you do not need an assault weapon. In fact, you do not even need an assault weapon to apply deadly force (though you may need more training as per your aiming. Though to OWN a firearm, you should have had the training, to begin with).

This means that assault weapons really have no purpose in the whole “legitimate” gun ownership area. Other than for collectors. In which case I fall back to, the disabled weapon argument (does it REALLY matter if a show gun can’t be fired? Even if it’s stolen, it’s not going to add to the problem, as it’s useless!).

As far as I can see, the only folks that are seeing the benefit of assault weapons of any kind outside of the military or collectors, are gangs and mass murderers. And if an item has seemingly no other purpose than to enrich and enable criminals, then why is still available?

But when it comes to the gun situation, assault weapons are not the only problem. Handguns are the weapons used in the vast majority of gun crimes in the US.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/29/us/handguns-and-federal-legislation

Which illustrates another necessity of gun control, which is the flow of weapons and ammunition. While some states do have tougher gun laws than others (Connecticut being one of them), their work is often undermined by the lax laws in others (mainly in the south). These states oftentimes require no identification or background checks and have little or no restrictions in terms of the number of weapons one can purchase. And these weapons often make their way North, to cause trouble in other jurisdictions.

This could be easily remedied at the federal level by first, limiting the number of weapons that can be purchased by a person at any one time, and possibly in a time period (such as a year). And background checks along with a mandatory “cooling off” period (to weed out the folk acting out of rash emotion). And the same rules should apply to the purchase of ammunition.

While this will not put a complete stop to the flow of guns onto the street, nor will it completely end gun violence all over America, it should at least put a dent in it.

Even though the notorious cases of gun violence that often make the news are rare, one still can not talk about this issue without covering them.

Though some of the mass shooters obtained their weapons from friends, relatives or family members (such as Adam Lanza, who used his mother’s arsenal in his rampage), others obtained some if not all there’s legally (such as Eric Harris). In fact, he mentions the Brady Bill (how it set up a roadblock) in his journal:

Fuck you Brady! all I want is a couple of guns, and thanks to your fucking bill I will probably not get any! come on, I’ll have a clean record and I only want for personal protection. Its not like I’m some person who would go on a shooting spree … fuckers.

That alone should speak volumes. As in this case, even though the regulations did not STOP him and Dylan from getting the guns, it made it more slightly more difficult. Which is the best goal you can hope for when it comes to situations like Columbine (they are only as dangerous as their arsenal).

When it comes to these explosive incidents, there almost always seems to be more going on, then initially meets the eye. I first realized it back in high school, largely by comparing my situation with that of Eric and Dylan. Years later, I now know that the information I was using at the time (the information from the media), was not entirely correct. Firstly, that Marilyn Manson, the artist that took the most shit because of the incident, was not even acknowledged by the boys (the journals are full of Rammstein and KMFDM references, but no Manson).

Something else I learned?

That the part of bullying is not so well understood as I (we?) had previously thought it was. While the general consensus NOW  seems to be that it was not as big a factor as previously thought, it’s hard to know for sure. Partly I’m guessing because it would be hard for people that were in the situation (perpetrators or not) to admit what was happening in the time previous, knowing what the end result was. And partly, because though most of the theory’s now available to do make a lot of sense, they are still,  missing something.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2004/04/the_depressive_and_the_psychopath.html

The conclusion here makes much sense for Eric. But at the same time, I can’t help thinking, one does not develop a hatred for people (hence the opening journal line), overnight. I have personally never heard of someone who was BORN with a hatred of people. I have, however, seen time and time again, people develop such a hatred due to the environment that they are in. What about the environment that would act as the trigger(s), eventually leading up to the REACTION that was the massacre, This is a question on my mind.

One theory is even that the Luvox (fluvoxamine) that Eric was taking could have had a part in his thought process leading up to the massacre. A side effect vaguely noted in the Wikipedia article.
This possibility would fit right into the previous conclusions, possibly even eliminating the question above (depending on how much the drug-impaired his judgement).
But there is really no way to ever know what was REALLY going through the minds of Eric and Dylan, nor any other mass shooters. But that does not mean that there are no actions that can be taken, in the name of prevention.

Above, I went a bit in-depth into Columbine, because it is the incident I am most familiar with, AND it was the one that I had discovered so much misinformation floating around about it. I encourage all to look around for yourself, come to your own conclusions, do not blindly accept my writings at face value.

One of the big things I believe that the public has to quit doing in terms of these explosive incidents is looking at only what is on the surface and forming a conclusion with that alone. For example, pegging the blame ONLY on lax gun control, violent movies/video games, certain artists, mental health issues. When what you have to do is, do a little digging.
Something I find quite hard to believe is that violent video games/movies/songs can ALONE, without any other environmental stimulation, cause someone to go berserk.

The way it seems that most people see these events, is as actions. For me, it seems to be a REACTION to a more complex situation.

The question then comes to, what lead up to the explosive “Reaction”?

This, in my opinion, can be applied to most of these incidents, but you just need to get your hands a little dirty by doing a little digging. For example, could the motive have been some form of abuse (including bullying)? Or was it due to a mental disorder of some sort?

I believe the only way to even have a chance at preventing many of these things from happening again, is understanding these past cases. Looking at them from many angles, and not just from one.

HOWEVER, even if we get better at spotting the signs of people that are potentially capable of committing similar crimes, there will be those that will slip through the cracks. Like every law on the books in the nation, the goal is reduction, not 100% satisfaction.

Which is where gun control comes in. For those that do slip through the cracks, make it as difficult as possible to get the weapons. Sure, this won’t do any good if the weapons are readily available to the person in their home (or elsewhere they have access to).
But a small percentage (of a very small percentage of total shootings in the US) is not a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There is A LOT of guns floating around the US and there is not a whole lot that can be done about those, even if we restrict the number of new ones added to the problem. Criminals with them currently, will continue to use them. “Legitimate” weapons will be stolen from homes and people that do not properly store them.

Throwing restrictions up will not prevent the above from happening. That excuse for inaction is just stupid, so, throw it away NOW. Think of it this way. If a city has a major problem with heroin, which is causing all kinds of deaths, permanent injury’s and other destruction, is the answer to the problem to keep flooding the city with more heroin?

I understand that guns have legitimate purposes. Some people hunt with them, some like to go to the gun range, some feel the need to have one for protection, and some just like to collect them. And though gun control may add a few new hoops to jump through in order to obtain weapons for even the above purposes, you must think, is it really all THAT bad?

Do you REALLY need to have your new gun, RIGHT after you purchase it? (same for ammunition)

Do you REALLY need to be able to buy guns in bulk amounts?

If you like to collect weapons mostly just for show, why do they have to be operational? A disabled gun looks exactly the same as an operational one.
The difference? A stolen disabled gun can not be used to harm anyone. It’s useless in the hands of criminals of ANY kind, mass murderers or common criminals.

And, the biggest one, why do you REALLY need an assault rifle of any kind? What civilian situation could ever POSSIBLY call for such a weapon, that any other less powerful gun could not also be sufficient?

In terms of gun control, there are no easy answers. Neither side (well, the most vocal of each side anyway), will get exactly what they want out of the deal. There will have to be compromised.

And if despite being faced with mounting evidence, one side continues to refuse to budge, a decision has to be made. Does the right to INSTANT, unrestricted access to weapons (and assault weapons), trump the right of the majority to live a reasonably safe life?

Gun control alone will not stop all the gun violence that is happening, be it on the streets or in the schools. But that is not a valid reason to entirely dismiss it.

Mental-illness-gun-control