Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rant - Senseless Murder

I had a review I intended to write tonight. It was even about a game. But then I got home from work yesterday and all the news would show us was scenes from the mass murder in a Connecticut elementary school, and then I started talking about it with some friends and my wife, and it got me riled up.

The first thing that got me cranky was that the first topic that pops up is gun control. And it's not just those sissy Democrats, either - one side starts saying how guns should be properly controlled to stop this kind of thing, and the other side starts saying how if all those teachers had guns, they could have stopped the bad guy, and neither is doing much more than turning a horrible, senseless tragedy into an excuse to jabber about gun laws.

Gun control is the wrong discussion. The dude in Connecticut had Rice-A-Roni where you and I have brains, and if he had to walk those halls with an Airsoft gun and a copy of REO Speedwagon's greatest hits, he was going to kill some kids. And the opposite argument - arm the teachers - is simply insane. Who the crap wants guns in schools? What kind of lunatic would think that was a good idea? Besides, the guys who would be willing to carry a firearm into a classroom of inquisitive six-year-olds is the very last guy I want having one.

But that's not to say there are no discussions we should be having. Let's start with our general feeling about mental health in these here United States. You know what the most common theme you see among homeless people would be? If you guessed, 'bad hygiene,' you would probably be right, but the second theme would be 'bat-crap crazy.' We don't have any patience for loons in this country. We throw you a couple Xanax or prescribe some Prozac and hope you go away. We don't treat our mentally ill very well, especially if they don't have the right health insurance. And given their propensity to lose jobs, they mostly don't. (Cue an argument in favor of socialized medicine, which I am not going to champion right now, but I sure think we're overdue for it anyway.)

Or how about the overly Puritan approach we bring to - well, to everything? Look at the shows your kids can watch with the televisions you put in their bedrooms. Breaking Bad. Revenge. Vampire Diaries. CSI. The Walking Freaking Dead. Those shows have two things in common - one, they are never shy about showing you a dead body with blood oozing out the wounds, and two, you never, ever see a naked ass. The halftime show at the Superbowl could feature heads exploding, but if you get a half-second glimpse of Janet Jackson's star-spangled nipple, fines get levied and people get fired. We would rather our kids see a grown man get his legs chopped off in a car crusher than watch a girl change her bra.

Consider also the decline in social interaction that has come about as a result of our increased dependence on electronic communication. Our children are actually proud of the number of friends they have on Facebook, and less impressed by the number of friends they have in actual, real life. When your best friends are little more than digital impressions, when you don't have to make small talk or be concerned with bringing a hostess gift to a dinner party, basic fundamentals of human interaction break down. This disconnect between perceived reality and actual reality has a psychic toll, one that this country is paying in lives.

Let's also discuss the state of a nation that is terrified of its own shadow. I already hit on this in my Batman review earlier this week, but it's worth repeating. We allow ourselves to be groped and fondled just to get on a plane. Our grandparents - the ones who crossed the Atlantic in seabound troop transports to free the world from the tyranny of fascist tyrants - would be ashamed of us. We abandon personal responsibility and freedom in favor of letting someone else tell us we're safe, and then we're surprised when some pathetic asshole shoots up a school.

While we're on the topic, what about personal responsibility? Does anyone else remember a time when abortion was reserved for special cases, and if you got your incautious ass knocked up, you had yourself a baby? Look at the number of completely ludicrous lawsuits filed every year by people who would rather make someone else pay for their mistake than own up to being a gum-flapping retard. We've gotten so soft, so dependent, and so willing to take a handout that the government has started doling out financial aid to mortgage brokers who destroy their companies through their own greed and general incompetence. In a country where it's so easy to say someone else owes you a living, how hard is it to blame your anger on a bunch of schoolkids, or your parents, or that teacher than gave you a D?

I've saved the best one for last. And by best, I mean most obvious (at least to me). Can you tell me the name of a mass shooter in the last fifteen years? I'm going to guess that you can. Now, can you tell me the name of one single victim? Just one. Any one. If a nutjob sprang to mind automatically, and the victims were statistics, you can thank Nightline. Or 20/20. Or your local NBC affiliate. The news will chase down the killer's identity, flash his picture every three minutes, tell you about his Twitter feed and the problems he had at the DMV last July, but good luck getting the same attention for the teacher who sacrificed herself to save a roomful of fourth-graders. The victims and heroes in those scenarios are forgotten and ignored, while the killer winds up with a Wikipedia entry and effective immortality. When that dicknosed little loser has a choice between offing himself in his mom's basement or becoming a household name, which do you think he'll choose? And Diane Sawyer will be sure to give him a hand with that, too.

I don't get overly political here, because frankly, it's a site about stuff nerds like. I'm no Lou Dobbs, and I don't pay enough attention to always know what I'm talking about. Feel free to ignore every opinion I just spouted off, but do me a favor and shut up about gun control already. We've got a hundred problems more pressing.


Bjorn said...

Hear, hear.
And compliments for this very well written post/rant!

Anonymous said...

I disagree about gun control, I'm pretty sure banning guns and instant excecution for anyone caught owning one without authorization would wipe out gun crime in a few years... we're just too soft to do it.

Matt Drake said...

Possibly we are too soft for that because it is completely insane.

Anonymous said...

Yet allowing a whole nation widespread access to guns isn't?

Steerpike said...

I think every country in the world should have its own nuclear arsenal.

Hey, just because there are a few rogue states, that should not impinge everyone else's right to bear arms.

Steerpike said...

Broadly I agree with the sentiments of the post. Certainly there are many contributory factors to these kinds of saddening events - lack of mental health provision, America's schizophrenic approach to sex and violence, a sensationalist media - but I do not believe that the issue of gun control can be so easily discounted.

There will always be the disenfranchised, the hormonal teenager, the bitter adult; there will always be crazies.
Given easy access to guns, crazies become mass murderers.

Sure, if there were no legal guns they would find other ways. But the death toll would likely be much, much, lower. (As evidenced by the statistics from other nations).

It is interesting that it only took one nutter to try and blow up a plane with a shoe and the rest of the travelling public now need to remove their footwear at airports. But after countless school slaughters anyone who even mentions banning fire arms becomes an 'enemy of freedom'. It seems to be that the gun lobby is far more powerful than the shoemakers.

Scott said...

Totally agree with Steerpike. Surprised with Matt's view on the US gun laws actually.

On the same day as the killings, a crazie stabbed about 22 children with a knife at a school in China. The difference was all the children survived.

Also, about 15 years ago in Australia a nutter went loose and killed 35 people in a cafe with a semi-auto. Our then Prime Minister banned all ownership of semi-autos and we haven't had a fatality since.

Unknown said...

And hear we go...

I agree with Matt whole hardheartedly on the medias willful pact with these animals. The media gets ratings based on the blood of the victims promising fame for body counts. One network actually used the phrase "if the death toll stands this will rank as..." They are keeping score and selling tickets to the match.

Mental healthcare... Sorry but we have FAR MORE of this than at any time in our history. The availability and quality of mental health care is not the problem. The people out on the streets talking to themselves are NOT the ones shooting up schools. The rampage shooters have by and large been identified as nut cases already. They have grown up generally well of and cared for. The have been told how special and wonderful they are. They have been told none of it is there fault. What bunk. Sorry but with the increase in our focus on these whack jobs self esteem and 50+ years of mental healthcare focused on it we have only had the opposite results. Lack of care is not the cause of this, if anything our approach to raising kids has made it worse. That brings me to my next point.

My 10 year old daughter is angry because I would not let her see The Hunger Games... I do not give a rat's ass that her friends have stupid parents. I do not believe a child should be watching a movie glorifying the gladiatorial deaths of little children and think our society is only a little behind the one in the movie. I play PS3 with my kids but am NOT playing games like GTA or CoD with them. I am looking forward to playing Skylanders Giants after Christmas though. Parents need to think about what they expose their children to and take some fricking responsibility. Stop worrying about their liking you and be a damn parent.

Gun Control. Wow some posters here are all messed up.

1. An outright ban will not happen and to think one is possible, with a death penalty, is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.

2. The US, while having a higher rate of gun deaths has an amazingly lower rate of VIOLENT CRIME than many other nations.

So my chances of being shot and killed are higher in America than in places like the UK and Canada but my chances of being a victim at all are lower here... Could it be that the knife or club wielding thug fears the dumpy middle aged man or petite female more if they may have a gun than if they have a golf club or wadded up bunch of keys?

Go figure. Australia was also already seeing it gun crime drop BEFORE their ban. Unlike what the poster said there still are killings, there just hasn't been a mass killing which in and of itself is a statistical blip with a higher emotional impact. Most of your deaths were also suicides.

3. Crazy finds a way. The largest school massacre in US history was done with explosives. 9/11 involved box cutter and Oklahoma city used fertilizer and diesel fuel.

4. I and millions of others have used firearms to protect ourselves from criminals and I would certainly appreciate it if you would stop trying to kill my family and I by disarming us. Yes, I said I. 20 years ago I was almost a victim of a carjacking, kidnapping and likely murder while delivering pizza in Florida. The lawfully carried handgun and absolutely certain willingness to use it brought me home alive that night. Sadly nobody hears about the stories of people defending themselves because the media does not report them nationally and they are lucky to get coverage beyond page four in a local paper (or at all in places like NY).

Steerpike said...

Hi Kenneth

not sure if you are aware but the Daily Mail is notorious for making up statistics and scare stories for the delight of middle england.

Seriously, you'd need to check those figures with a reputable source

Anonymous said...

While I agree that personal responsibility is important, I'm troubled by Matt implying that abortion should be reserved for 'special cases'.

Kudos to the poster above linking to a Daily Mail article - you really know where to find credible evidence!

Also, as to the stuff about 'this isn't about guns' - well, that's moronic. Stop it.

Steerpike said...

More Americans die from guns in 6 months than from 25 yrs of terrorism & Iraq, Afghan wars combined

See how gun control reduced deaths from guns in South Africa. Data's in Africa Check's updated report

Per head of population, the gun homicide murder rate in the US in 2009 was about 100x that of the UK

I'm ducking out of this argument,now.

Anonymous said...

An outright ban not possible? look at other countries.. fucking retard, not sure if people don't get humour, but instant execution is obviously a simplification, in the case that you are in a country which has banned guns and you are proven to own and use to harm should be removed, is it REALLY that hard a law to understand? p.s You may die in a fist fight, you are more likely in a knife fight, but someone WILL die in a gun fight. Say we invested iron man suits on the future, should they be legalised for everyone too? Guns are only legal because of historical backing...why legalise a device who's sole purpose is to kill? As for protection, you're more likely to die resisting than just giving them tour wallet, its the truth...many many people get mugged compared to those that actually get hurt.

Anonymous said...

rubbish typing on smart phone....the above was meant to say own with intention to harm, however in somewhere like the UK to be caught with firearms is a really really bad thing.

Matt Drake said...

OK, first, yes, I disagree with the idea of abortion as birth control. You're enough of an adult to make the baby, be enough of an adult to be responsible for what you did. Adopt it out if you have to, but don't just kill it because it's inconvenient. That would be the erosion of personal responsibility I mentioned. I'm not the least bit religious, so this is not some Bible-thumping throwback argument. I just disagree with killing an unborn baby because you're too slow in the head to use a rubber.

Two, if you seriously think there's even a remote chance of this country enacting a 100% gun ban punishable by death, then you have some serious disconnect with reality. It's not even a good idea to try. Seriously, do you hear about mass killings in Canada? No. And they have plenty of firearms. Whatever, this is not an argument worth having, because I'm arguing with a potato-head.

Finally, I am not suggesting gun control is not worth discussing. It is. Like, always. But this particular tragedy is not a gun control issue. It's a social justice issue, a responsibility issue, a national identity issue, a sensationalist media issue. But short of that insane kill-everyone-who-owns-a-gun police state my anonymous friend mentioned, no amount of gun control would have stopped this particular tragedy. The crazy asshole would have found guns, and he would have used them.

Anonymous said...

So if we announce a gun ban do we get the ones already 'in the wild' out of circulation? Door to door searches? Maybe with metal detectors or x-ray machines? Restricting new sales won't get them off the street. And subjecting law abiding citizens to search and seizure won't work either. People calling for a ban never think of the logistics involved.

Unknown said...

For those complaining about my sources... suck it.

Violent crime in the UK

UK Population,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=668845393480168f

US Crime rate (Math already done for you)

To make it short, residents of the UK are almost 4X more likely to be a victim of violent crime than residents of the USA.

Anonymous said...

okay I just said execution is a simplification but nevermind. I'll just leave it as this, if we owning a gun was treated with the sane scorn as paedophilia then it really won't be as widespread, will it prevent ALL cases of homicide? will it stop all crazies going nut crazy? fuck no? but it will make it much more difficult to obtain and by that degree, I guarantee it will reduce deaths? as for argument about higher rate of muggings on UK? it is still a relative low % per your choice? 10% chance of being hurt, but surviving and recovering or 5% chance of being made six feet under? stats are made up but illustrate situation.

Anonymous said...

p.s regarding takes time and a cultural change, maybe 10 years to realistically enact. drink driving used to be widely accepted but is now generally frowned upon. and smoking used to be seen as super cool and now seen as a bad habit. it didn't happen overnight.

Dan said...

I certainly agree with our weird concern over nudity while extremely violent imagery is perfectly fine. I've had this argument before and actually had one person say he was ok with his kids seeing violence since it's in the Bible, but nudity was bad since God didn't approve of it.

How do you argue with someone that has such a fucked up opinion like that? I'd rather my kids feel comfortable with sex and nudity and not be afraid to ask me about it. And I would not subject them to violence in entertainment until I was sure they could handle it, even then, nothing R rated until they were 17.

I also agree that Hunger Games is an extremely disturbing movie and book and am shocked so many parents are prefectly fine with the subject matter.

Steerpike said...

Ken- your statistics conveniently ignore mortality rates.
I can't be bothered to argue.

It's the same ole same ole every time a school shooting happens in the US. History repeats itself and will carry on repeating itself while the gun lobby sticks its fingers in its collective ears and sings 'la la I'm not listening'

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this blog sure did go off the deep end. I wish you'd stick to boardgames and movies, but it's too late for that I guess.

Unknown said...

I'll take lower chance of being attacked and having the right, which I exercise with regularity, to carry the means to effectively defend myself and my family. Sheep, serfs and little children leave the responsibility for their well being to others. Responsible adults do not.

Matt Drake said...

Don't worry, anonymous person, I won't do this again soon. Or rather, if I have any sense, ever again.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth, seriously? Surely it's more sheep like to follow the status quo, to choose to live in a state of fear and paranoia that the only way you feel you can protect your family is being armed, that you cannot aspire to a greater america where we can live in a gun free environment, where you don't worry on a day to day basis that some slight crime could end up with a bullet in your head. As for responsibility your sentiment is absurd, how little you realise that so many more people protect your liberties and overall well being than you yourself with a gun, good deeds, daily kindness and care will go further to protect you than some stupid weapon, you have no idea how youth centres and the inspiration their workers provide are the bastions ACTUALLY protecting you. But NO you say, so go on then, buy a tank, and a fighter jet, and an army and nuclear weapons if you got cash, and cause every other fucker is so scared and paranoid, why not arm the whole fucking world each and every one of us, and see where that gets us !! Yes THEN we'll all be so very protected and all so very terribly safe. Those are the thoughts and sentiments of NOT responsible men, but little men, with little petty fearful thoughts, who have to feel safe with guns because they don't feel like they have any power otherwise to protect their families, a gun's only purpose is for the army and police, to basically kill when NEEDED - very few people are truly prepared for killing in this day and age.. but you mr responsible wants to arm everyone, but really, who do you think will win? The civil average blue collared working man or the criminally minded?! Fucking obvious right? In which case you say, let's TEACH every man to wield a weapon, let's level it out?! But you see, I don't want to live in a world where everyone totes a gun and knows how to use it, I don't want to walk around bristling armed to teeth and everyone else the same, it's cool in board games and don't get me wrong I fucking love to kill and wreak havok when I PLAY, but for me and I think for most others, it is a silly fantasy if you wish for it be true, and I know this is satire, but it's basically what you're saying! Good day.

Matt Drake said...

Holy crap, dude. You are really worked up about this gun thing. Allow me to introduce a little reality to your afternoon (or is it night in Britain right now?)

When Americans discuss gun control, we are talking about whether normal people should be allowed to own bazookas. This country was built on gun violence, and only the most fringe elements would propose a full ban on all guns. We can discuss banning full-auto assault rifles, but you are never, ever going to get America to sign off on losing our hunting rifles, our nightstand handguns, or our skeet-shooting shotguns. Try to eliminate firearms altogether, and you'll have armed rebellion.

I am not a gun owner, though I am ex-military and I can sure as hell use one. I am all in favor of a ban on fully automatic weapons, and I think gun ownership should be limited to people who prove they can use them safely. But your rabid defense of a totally unarmed nation is going to fall on deaf ears, especially when you can't flap your gums without being a psychotically insulting douchebag.

Anonymous said...

Wow...someone struck a nerve...

Anonymous said...

Blame Kenneth, he called me "irresponsible". :-)

Anonymous said...

p.s If the only nit-pick you make about the argument is a hand guns and e.g hunting rifles then I've successfully made my point. Do you think I could fucked to alter the argument as gun but not guns used for x, y, z when my response is to guy who says it irresponsible to NOT carry a gun for the specific purpose of killing to protect? Then I'd have to go, yes but a staple gun is fine. And so is a glue gun. I also hope you get satire, and irony but maybe not.

Matt Drake said...

Any chance you could make your point again, but this time in English? I have no idea what you said, beyond a satirical reference to staple guns.

Anonymous said...

apologies, typing on phone pad with small comment box is not ideal. stripped down, the point I simply make is that widespread gun does not make you more safe, also just because I dont believe in carrying firearms does not make me a sheep, a serf nor an irresponsible adult. I said before it will take 10 years to enact at least, the quibble about this gun or that gun is irrelevant as long as the idea is given space to grow....

Scott said...

A hundred problems more pressing? Mental health in the US?

Can you imagine the psychological toll on children seeing their friends and teachers being ripped to shreds right before their eyes?

Can you imagine the subsequent psychological impact on the whole school, the whole neighborhood?

Enforcing stricter gun controls would actually aid in reducing mental health issues (which by the way is a huge, complex problem worldwide, and with no easy or quick solution - unlike changing law as successfully evidenced by other countries)

adventure_joe said...

Does anyone ever change their mind about issues after reading these intense and often rude dialogues?
Matt's post was a rueful reflection on the kind of society that allows/produces shootings in schools. The post pretty clearly said that of all the questions one can ask after such an incident the question of gun control is predictable, but not that useful or even really the most relevant. There are 10 times more replies to this post than any other post in this blog that I remember. But almost all of them seem to have missed that point entirely. Pretty much every person on the planet has a high value for protecting the ones that they love. But different people will do that in very different ways. Angrily, sarcastically, or even respectfully, declaring that your way is best is not going to convince anyone to reconsider their position, least of all in the comments section of a blog on nerd life. Think about what would change your mind on this kind of issue. Some clever comment on the internet probably wouldn't do it for you.
Finally, if there is any possible way to politely ask such a thing, can you please take your arguments somewhere else. If you are commenting on what the post was about that's one thing. I'd be eager to read that. But this stopped being about Matt's ideas a long time ago.

Matt Drake said...

Thanks, Joe. I'm glad someone actually read the post before they decided to tell me I was wrong about guns ( especially since the post didn't actually include any opinions on guns). I would welcome feedback about the post itself, the entire point of which was to NOT talk about banning guns, because everyone is already doing that, and missing countless larger issues.

For the record, I don't have any problem with people thinking I am wrong. I'm even fine with people being insulting, because it's the Internet and that's how people talk on the Internet, especially me. I would consider it a huge favor, though, if we talked about what I actually said, instead of whatever happened here.

Me: There are lots of things to talk about right now besides gun control.
Response: Gun control!

Anonymous said...

I'm honestly still not completely sure where I stand on the issue. I'm always struck by how obtuse and hand-wavey the anti-gun control arguments usually are, and how myopically focused the gun control advocates are.

My own personal take after the past few massacre events has been: what has changed? It seems like the scale of these events has increased a bit. They've happened more quickly and caused higher body counts. I'm not informed on the statistics for crazies in this country, but my hunch is we haven't seen a crazy boom in the last ten years, so the people wielding the weapons haven't changed that much or grown more numerous.

What seems to have increased is the access level to assault weapons. What also seems to have increased is the media worship of these events.

So I'm leaning toward making those full-auto or semi-auto assault weapons totally illegal. I don't care about the hobbyists or the idiots who think they need an AK for self-defense (they know they don't). What also needs to change is the media culture around these killings, and I totally share your opinion in that area.

Anyway, I thought this was a kickass blog entry, and I hope some of the morons cluttering up the comment box don't deter you from posting one of these occasionally. People need to talk about this stuff.

Matt Drake said...

Scott, I missed your comment. As my good friend Sam Jackson liked to say, allow me to retort.

Canada's gun laws are not dissimilar to our own. And yet, in 200 years, there has been exactly one school shooting that claimed more than two lives. Obviously, something more than gun control leads to a society where school shootings are becoming more prevalent. I think limiting the discussion to gun control is short-sighted to the point of irresponsibility, and I believe we need to quit beating that particular horse and look for other causes. Because the availability of firearms is quite obviously not the only factor.

=+=SuperflyTNT=+= said...

You're right, Matt. The issue here is only tangentially about guns.

The fact is that 400,000 people die every year because of smoking related disease, 4,000 people died last year by drowning in pools, and 100 kids died drowning in 5-gallon buckets last year.

If someone immediately talks about banning guns and (oddly) executing people who have them, well, that's an agenda at work, not looking for a solution. After all, last time I checked, it's really easy to get fertilizer and REALLY easy to get diesel fuel.

The fact is that 99.999% of gun owners aren't fucking nuts. They lock their shit up, do the right thing, and are responsible.

The other .001% are fucking nuts who want to hurt people. And there's no stopping that. One can wreak as much carnage by jacking a school bus loaded with kids and driving it off a cliff. Or any number of things. We're a weak and fragile species and are easily hurt and killed. And with the internet, it's not hard to create poison bombs, pipe bombs, home-made claymores, or napalm.

It's mental health that we need to focus on, to begin. All of the nutters who go on spree killings are certifiable. There's no "sane, rational" serial or spree killers. And sadly, in every single case, there were warning signs beforehand.

I'd love to see guns more tightly regulated, 30-day waiting periods, and psych evaluations to ensure people are sane enough to actually be entrusted with a gun. But, that's not going to happen.

And when you look at places like Japan that have almost zero gun ownership and almost zero gun deaths, there is only 6 times the murder rate in the US compared to Japan. So, the gun rate is exponentially higher, but the murder rate is only 6 times higher. So, guns aren't the problem. Society is the problem.

It is acceptable to kill people in the US. Our media reinforces this, as Matt mentioned. Why is it that we're afraid of our kids seeing a boobie, but not afraid of a 15 year old seeing truly horrific violence?

It's because we're fucked up, badly, by the culture, by and large. We worship fame and glory above all else, and the culture is such that we deride innovators and inventors who profit from their hard work and ogle over and idolize pieces of shit like Snooki and the Jersey shore cast. We have shows that embrace the exploitation of our kids like those inane beauty pageant shows...Toddlers and Tiaras.

Our entire culture has become repugnant, at its core. Fix that, fix the fact that people with mental illness are shuffled along like so much refuse, not helped but rather mocked and ignored. Marginalized. It's sick.

For a nation comprised mostly of supposedly charitable Christians, we sure would rather build tanks and bombs rather than schools and hospitals.

We get what we deserve.


Anonymous said...

I turned on my PC this morning and the first article title I saw was "School Shooting: Who's to Blame?"

I did a face palm. Do we really not know which fucktard we should be blaming for this?

And also, no, no you can't have my guns. Period. There is no discussion.


Anonymous said...

You couldn't be more wrong about gun control. Look at every country with a ban on guns. Count their gun murders. End of discussion.

I'm sure you like your gun toys and I'm sure you enjoy killing Bambi. I'm sure that's a heap of good ol' boy fun but you're gonna lose your guns because the adults know when it's time to take your toys away.

Matt Drake said...

I would write a pithy and wounding reply, but like many other people who chimed in, you have completely missed the point. I think I will just ignore you until you can get the foam wiped off your mouth.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Bambi was delicious.


PS Thumper was tasty as well.

Crank Crank Revolution said...

Far be it for me to enter into this political fray, but I highly recommend this article:

It's a reasonably level-headed, rational reaction to the events on Friday. Bottom line: no matter what, there is little that we can do.

I, personally, would add that while tragedies like this are horrific and should be stopped, statistically they are very, very rare. It seems much, much worse due to the media. (Which is not necessarily a bad thing.) It's difficult to form effective public policy over something that is not only impossible to predict but is extraordinarily unlikely to happen.

Emotions rarely make good public policy.

Anonymous said...

We can do nothing about gun violence like what happened in Newtown? Really? Ok.

Thank god you're not in office.

Also, the best idea that guy had in that ridiculous and offensive article you linked was for 6 year olds to swarm the shooter with their bodies in order to stop him from killing them. Very rational and level-headed yes.

Canuck said...

Hey Matt, I enjoyed most of your rant and I know you didn't want to speak about gun control but in your comments you mentioned Canada gun laws and I just want to state that gun laws in Canada are not that similar to gun laws in the USA. I know different states have different law and maybe some states have ones more like Canada but definitely not all. In Canada it is all but impossible to get a carry permit for a weapon outside of hunting. However by no means is there a complete ban, it is just quite restricted (much more so than many states). The idea of "carrying" is also almost culturally unheard of outside of extremely rural areas in Canada whereas I've had friends going to the bar armed in Texas. It's such a cultural shock for me to hear that people are carrying guns. It's something that was always flickering through my mind while visiting Florida. Anyways, I do agree with you generally that more thought should be put into the care of the mentally unstable and proper treatment for depression.

What did surprise me in your post was your mention of responsibility and abortion. I understand completely that abortion should not ever be used as birth control however restricting abortions has much more widespread consequences. It does not lead to teenagers being smarter about condoms or make them raise their children. It actually leads to dangerous illegal abortions taking place which often result in injury or death to the mother. Also, considering parts of your country consider abstinence only to be sufficient sex education (and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no matter what you tell teenagers to do, some of them are going to be having sex) perhaps entirely blaming them for getting pregnant is not quite right. This is of course skirting the larger issue that whatever happens, the woman who is pregnant is in charge of her body and therefore has the right to alter her body whatever way she wants (including terminating an unwanted pregnancy). So by restricting abortions you are not teaching people responsibility so much as removing agency from a person over their own self. I morally think adoption is the best of all, however I also don't think myself or my government should impose my morals on someone else. I'm sure you didn't mean to get into all of this with that comment seeing as you were writing about the decay of personal responsibility in general, however you must know that it's an extremely sensitive topic. Examples of the degradation of responsibility can be found in all sorts of flashy law suits where people sue coffee companies for having hot coffee burn them.

Anyways, that's my two cents, I do enjoy the game (and other things) reviews.