One can’t live surrounded by guns without becoming affected (infected) by them. My views on guns and gun control have changed since moving back to the USA and to Oregon in particular. I still believe a full gun ban would be the best course of action – I simply realize now, it’s not possible. We have a full fledged gun-disease.
Instead, I’ve come to believe that baby steps are a more realistic approach.
1) Ban the sale of all new firearms in the USA. No new guns, no exceptions. We already have more than we have people.
2) Massive perpetual buyback programs offering above market rates for existing guns.
3) Create a controlled system of ammunition sales.
Yes, gun manufacturers would suffer but 1) I don’t care about Colt, Winchester, et al and 2) We banned DDT when we realized it was deadly, we should do the same with guns. Let the gun manufacturers focus on new products – it’s what other industries do when markets shift or disappear.
Mental health is an issue, though I feel like the gun proponents use it as a deflector issue to preserve existing gun laws. Here is a common sense solution – marijuana prohibition is ending – let’s make it official nationwide. Slap a federal tax on marijuana sales and use the revenue for 1) administration of sales 2) a massive increase in community mental health outreach and free resources.
We’ve banned ivory because it’s sale directly threatens elephants – we should take these modest steps towards healing our gun-disease because it directly threatens us and our children.
At this point – I’m not a huge fan of my books. The exceptions being Douchebags, Fags, and Hags which is pretty damn funny. Liminal Travel offers some pretty good insights into the spiritual realm. I wouldn’t bother reading any of the others – since the characters (even when they are me – or perhaps especially when they are me) aren’t very likable and don’t offer much in the way of useful information or deep thought. I hope that somewhere down the road a bit, I manage to pull a really good book together.
I am a neo-luddite. I make no bones about it. I have come to believe that technology – in particular information technology is a bad thing. And – for the most part – I think we would be better off without much of the rest of what we call technology as well. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a green anarchist touting some future primitive ideal – I am a fan of our vaccines, of fire, of the printing press, and many other things – there is such a thing as positive technology. I, however, am of the opinion that most technology has turned out to be a negative for the majority of the human species (not to mention for every other species on Spaceship Earth).
Unfortunately, most technology has been used for one of three purposes I see as negative. 1) Greed and wealth accumulation – i.e. unchecked capitalism and exploitation 2) Command and control of population increasingly including the shaping of opinion, idea, and day-to-day activities 3) Maintaining the status-quo – i.e. keeping power and wealth where it lays, preventing societal change, keeping the technological society alive and well.
Barring an event of grand enough proportion to shut down the electricity on a massive scale and thus allow a ‘reset’ of human society, I fear that we may have reached a technological point of no return. Even as I write this – the forces in control of our thoughts and minds are rallying to protect and expand the power of the technological control state. Facebook (among others) is deploying wifi broadcasting drones to extend the mind control of the web to even the most remote reaches of the planet. Elon Musk is in the process of creating batteries which enable the technological state to power itself indefinitely from off grid – thus providing protection from the near certainty of future attacks against electricity and fossil fuel infrastructure and resources. We are very near, the technological point of no return.
John wore a yellow hat and that made him stand out. He’d read about the idea in Lady’s Man Magazine and when he looked in the mirror, the effect was spectacular. So bedazzled was he with the heightened sense of being someone special that he failed to notice Taylor was wearing red socks when he sat next to him at the coffee shop. Taylor had seen the idea on a popular website which had also suggested that he shorten his pants legs so the socks would be more obvious. Taylor felt funny but was sure that he was getting more smiles and nods from young women on the street than he had pre-red socks/flood pants. Taylor was young and handsome. Most women smiled or nodded at him regardless of his red socks. He didn’t know that today. He was far too focused on the results of his red socks. Brenda smiled and nodded at him every day at the coffee shop, but today she decided that it was a mistake. She’d seen an infographic on Facebook which said that men who wore bright colors tended to be self-absorbed and misogynistic. Brenda posted a status update “Ugghhh…cute coffee shop crush proves himself to be a pig.”
John saw his yellow hat reflected in Brenda’s phone as he stood in line for a coffee and was slightly taken aback to realize he looked like the cowboy from Curious George. Then he noticed the words ‘coffee shop crush’. He set the yellow hat down on Taylor’s table and walked out of the shop. Over the next weeks he put together a blog, a website, and an iPhone app called Coffee Shop Crush. From the beginning it was a huge success. Within two months John was swimming in money and being interviewed on tech websites. He had beautiful women begging him for sex. Then someone posted a picture from that coffee shop before he’d taken off the yellow hat. It quickly went viral. It was a matter of minutes before someone had connected the hat with the ‘lame’ ‘pick-up artist’ magazine article John had originally read. In his next interview the first question was whether he read the Lady’s Man Magazine. All it took was his positive answer.
Coffee Shop Crush was destroyed by negative publicity about its misogynistic founder. Snarky graphics and jokes played through the feeds of Brenda and everyone else. A dozen opportunistic young women who had been on dates with John (and twice as many who had never met him) wrote expose’ about how creeped out he made them feel. John jumped from a bridge. He was dead. The internet quickly forgot about him.
Taylor wore a yellow hat and that made him stand out. He’d heard about the idea on a popular website and someone had left the hat on his table a few months before. When he looked in the mirror, the effect was spectacular…..
After approximately 17 years of observation, both academic and casual – I have reached the conclusion that the internet is killing us. It is a gradual death – much like being poisoned one drop at a time over the course of years – but death it is. Like a heroin junkie, an alcoholic, or a hard-core smoker – even knowing it is killing me, I find myself unwilling to give it up.
It is useful for making money. It is a way to connect with distant friends (and even those close by). It is an extension of the ego, my ego – and everyone else’s.
Baby steps. I am getting our internet at home cut off later this month. I will retain my iPhone and service and have internet at our business – but this is at least one step. I don’t want to be part of the internet of things. I don’t want to be further sucked into the time-suck we call social media. I want to use it for work and necessity – while abandoning it for hobbies and social interaction.
We will see. I’m sure you already see that I am still here. Getting poisoned one drop at a time.