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.