Tag Archives: violence

Guns Are Just Plain Bad For Business

24 Feb

 

Here’s another bit of anecdotal evidence concerning the gun control debate in the USA. Should we really have more guns or fewer guns? Which would make us safer? Well, if you want to ask the real experts just consider what happened when Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar & Grill” opened in mid-December in Woodbridge, Va., outside Washington, D.C..

It seems that even though Virginia’s gun laws permit firearms in dining establishments Mr. Keith’s bar and grill has instituted a no-guns policy, which has caused some would-be customers to say that they won’t patronize the restaurant, and the restaurant’s Facebook page has drawn thousands of comments on the decision. One post announced, “If I have to be a defenseless victim to go there, NO WAY!” And another post added, “No guns allowed? Why does he [Toby Keith] hate America so much?

To be fair, other posts supported the decision to make Mr. Keith’s restaurant a “gun free” zone. And in fact although Virginia’s laws allow the carrying of weapons out in the open as well as concealed firearm permits, Carrying a concealed weapon and consuming alcohol in the state of Virginia is a Class 2 misdemeanor. So go figure. Bringing your gun into a bar pretty much means that you’re asking for trouble.

But more importantly, if you continue reading about why Mr. Keith decided not to allow guns in his restaurant, even though the good citizens of Virginia are allowed by law to bring them there, you will find that his spokespeople cited “insurance regulations” as the main reason for their decision…

And that’s really all you need to know, because insurance companies are in the business of making money (and you thought it was insurance) and as such they really, really, really hate having to pay out on any insurance claims…ever… And since statistics and mathematics and actuary tables figure quite prominently into how insurance companies decide on the probability of the company having to pay out on a claim to one of their insured, they know that nothing says trouble like a person carrying a gun.

Statistics tell us beyond any doubt that if a person carries a gun he or she is much more likely to shoot someone or get shot than a person who doesn’t carry a gun. And that means someone is going to get hurt, and that means someone is going to get sued, and that means that an insurance company is going to have to pay money to someone somewhere and that is bad! Forget about the fact that people are going to die or get hurt. If it means that an insurance company has to pay out on a claim, then 2nd amendment rights be damned! No guns!

Because guns ARE dangerous. And more guns DOES equal more violence…not less. It’s in the numbers and the statistics and any insurance company knows that. Virginia is 17th in the U.S.when it comes to gun violence and Mr. Keith’s restaurant is located outside Washington D.C. which is #1 in gun violence! So what would you expect at a bar where everyone might decide to bring a gun and then have a few drinks? Détente?…because everyone is armed? Then you’re no insurance company. They do their research and that is why Toby Keith’s place will be gun free.

Besides, if you do some research of your own about the “wild west” of days gone by, and check on the strategies of some of the most famous lawmen of that time, like Wyatt Earp, you’ll discover that when they were hired by distraught boom-town officials who wanted to stem the violence that was plaguing their citizens and townsfolk, The very first law enacted was always, “No Guns within town limits!” Wyatt Earp and his contemporaries didn’t hand out guns to make towns safer. They took away the guns! They made their towns “gun free zones”.

And it worked great. That’s why the west isn’t wild anymore. It’s such a simple concept that the very idea that we are even having a debate in this country over whether we should have more guns or fewer guns is proof positive that we have all gone stark raving mad! Oh, and by the way, did you notice while reading this article that our nation’s capital is the most dangerous place in our nation?! Imagine what other countries must think? We have all of the nuclear weapons! Who among us in the USA would advocate for giving all of the other countries some of our nukes so that the world would then be a safer place in which to live?

I guess maybe the other countries would…but would that make all of us safer?

The lesson of Toby Keith’s bar and grill is: If only we loved each other like we love our money…any insurance company could tell you how that would work out…

What’s America All About, Charlie Brown?

12 Jan

 

In December of 2012, after a sociopath used a rifle made by Bushmaster, one of the Freedom Group’s (or Remington Outdoor Company’s) subsidiaries, to murder students and others at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Freedom Group’s owner, Cerberus Capital Management, announced that in response to public outrage, it planned to sell the company.

However, one year later, The manufacturer, and still owner, of the assault-style rifles, said that sales of its products rose as much as 36 percent in the year since the incident. In fact, the company projects more than a 50 percent increase in profits from gun sales since 2012.The company also reported a strong demand since December 2012 across its product line, particularly for rifles, handguns and ammunition.

So, in the year since this most horrific killing of young school children by a gun wielding madman, what has changed the most in the way American’s go about their daily lives?

We buy more guns!

Can you think of any other changes that we’ve made over the last year here in the United States to help prevent or ensure that such a tragedy such as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary never happens again?

With my apologies to Edwin Starr…

Violence! huh-yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…

EXCEPT an increase in American’s purchase of weapons

Say it again y’all

 

Now You Shoot Me! Now You Don’t!

21 Sep

Well ,it’s happened again. Another mass shooting in the United States. The Huffington Post has reported that this was the 17th mass shooting in the United States this year. Of course that lit up the internet with gun advocates claiming that a mass shooting only counts when people are killed, not wounded and definitely not when just multiple shots are fired by multiple people and only a few are injured, so your 17 mass shootings may just be my 7 mass shootings.

I know that in my town of Toms River, NJ we had 2 mass shootings in the late 1990s when 4 and then 5 people were murdered by gunmen who happened to be retired police officers. Since then I have searched for these incidents whenever mass shootings lists appear in the newspaper or on the internet and they never show up…so I guess they didn’t happen or perhaps in deference to the retired police officers previous years of exemplary service they just aren’t mentioned.

That seems to be how many Americans view these tragedies. Let’s just forget about it and move on. There’s no sense in trying to prevent these tragedies because they each involve America’s God given and most basic of rights…the right to bear arms. And since America is the greatest country there ever was and probably ever will be the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is more sacred and sacrosanct to a supposed “Christian” nation than the 6th Commandment of the 10 Commandments of God.

If there had been an amendment guaranteeing citizens the right to health care, the madman who committed the Washington Navy Yard murders, may have received the proper care when, during his ER visit 2 weeks before, he complained to police that people were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel room and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep.

Who knows? But for whatever reasons many Americans believe that the right to carry, own and use firearms is a right that transcends all others and is more important than a persons right to decent food, proper housing, adequate healthcare or employment at a fair and liveable wage.

Perhaps our founding fathers knew that those things would just be too expensive for independent, free thinking capitalists and entrepreneurs to have the wherewithal to want to pay for or provide to others who may be less fortunate or less “equal” than the founders of the new great nation.

And now, in the short time it has taken for me to right this, another 13 people have been shot in an incident in Chicago. Is that now 18 mass shooting this year…or not? Meanwhile in Iowa people who are legally blind or…wait for it… completely blind… will now be allowed to carry, display, and use if necessary, guns in public places. After all, people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all of life’s experiences…so why shouldn’t they be allowed to participate…or create if they so choose…some death experiences?

So, While one legislative body is granting the right for people who cannot see to shoot at whatever they choose, another legislative body is doing its best to deny access to fair and affordable healthcare to those who might someday get shot!

Is this what it means to be human in the United States of America in the year of our lord, 2013? Are we  truly a nation built on the rights of mankind? And does man have but one right? Kill or be killed? And but one law? The law of the jungle?

In whatever grand design this nation was created over 230 years ago We are now most famously known as a nation of guns: exporters and importers of violence the world over, while we self righteously deny healthcare, living wages and food to our own citizens… and all the while we stand before the heavens and Earth and say that we are the greatest!

And I suppose we must be… for what man or god would be foolish enough to oppose us and say otherwise?

And I guess we all have the 2nd Amendment to thank for that.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

10 Apr

Yesterday I wrote a satirical piece about guns and gun regulation. Some people who read it didn’t get it. No, I wasn’t suggesting that stabbing 14 people was or ever could be a good thing…and I wasn’t trying to suggest that we really outlaw people…that would be like suggesting the eating of babies to solve world hunger…My point was that guns are dangerous because people use them to hurt each other and just because guns are inanimate objects that need people to operate them doesn’t mean that people should have free and easy access to them.

But now it’s time to get serious because yesterday, in my neighborhood, a 4 year old boy shot his 6 year old next door neighbor with a 22 caliber rifle. Scout’s honor, I kid you not. And Is my neighborhood next door to Fort Apache? No. Do I live in the middle of the Middle East? Nope. It’s just a quiet residential neighborhood 2 blocks from a grammar school in the suburban New Jersey town of Toms River.

Here in Central New Jersey we mostly expect to die from old age or traffic accidents or as you might have recently  read,  the slow and deadly ingestion of toxic waste and chemicals, but certainly not from random shootings… Today that little 6 year old boy died.

So  I ask you, is there anywhere in this country where anyone should ever expect to die from gunshot wounds? If you are a gun enthusiast and opposed to any and all gun regulation and laws then your answer is probably and sadly…yes. And your solution is also probably that only more guns for more people to defend themselves with, is the answer to gun violence.

You would probably also say that the reduction of guns or the strengthening of gun laws will be of no help because people are the ones who kill and not the guns…and many of you will go even so far as to say that the guns don’t make it any easier for people to do harm. Harmful people will do harm anyway, whether they have a gun or a knife or a rock or hammer etc…or whether they are 40, 14 or…even 4! And of course there is your favorite phrase…”If we outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns.”

To which I must finally say, Will you never learn anything?

If you own a gun then you have only three possible outcomes. Either you will be an outlaw and use your weapon to rob, kill or harm others or you will wait… wait… wait…and wait some more for that imagined glorious moment in your lives when you get the drop on the outlaw and kill or harm or scare the crap out of him yourself.

The third possible outcome is that someone who you love or care about will accidently or on purpose shoot someone else who you love or care about (possibly yourself)… or they will shoot a whole bunch of others for no apparent reason other than they have lost their minds and all sense of human decency.

That’s it. 3 possible outcomes and if you don’t think that all of them are bad then really where do you see this ending? Seriously. Don’t preach to me your second amendment rights. Offer some solutions please. And please offer some solutions that don’t make you sound like a moron.

But There is however a fourth outcome and that is that your gun is never used to rob or kill anyone at all… Because here in the 21st century you really don’t need guns…not for hunting for food, not for defending your country from foreign invaders, not for fending off  savages or slaves, or wild animals who roam your domesticated suburbs and cities…and if you don’t need it for those things you certainly don’t need it for practice…unless of course you want that gun to be ready to someday kill another human being…which again is a serious reason for you to think twice about yourself and about your views on humanity.

Guns and weapons of mutual destruction only serve to keep us primitive. Only by regulating our use and need and desire for them can we ever hope to someday become completely civilized.

And if you can’t understand that, then please, please, please… don’t ever have children… Because in the long run…that probably will help us all more than you may ever know.

The Last Refuge

7 Apr

VIOLENCE: exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse: injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation: intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force : vehement feeling or expression or an instance of such action or feeling : a clashing or jarring quality :

Once again it has taken a  public viewing of violence in action to move the individuals most responsible for that violence to take action to end it, even though it had been occurring for quite some time and known about by quite a few individuals, and that’s not even including the adult perpetrator and his adult victims, who obviously were all too aware about it too.

In case you are unaware of the specific incident of which I speak, I am referring to the recent firing of the Rutgers Men’s Basketball coach. Certainly there are and have been greater and more violent episodes in our society than this one… but perhaps it is our all too common belief that violence, when called by a sweeter name makes its stench more rosy… that allows for its constant acceptance by all of us in all of its various and insidious forms.

 

Our use of Violence in our society is almost as inexplicable as it is pervasive. It accomplishes nothing, leaves anger in its wake and only satisfies the one who uses it. And that satisfaction is almost always short lived and regrettable. And violence is also something that seems to require the immediate notice of many to even be seen or acknowledged as something that actually exists.

When experienced by the few the violent act almost always takes refuge in the deeper recesses of the brain… a shared secret among those who agree to be separate yet somehow equal, perpetrators.

Why we still resort to it is a question that by now we should have an answer and a solution to. It is a sad testament to our culture and humanity that we have not yet found one.

I have lived long enough and have worked with enough troubled and battered children to have realized that violence is not and can never be a motivational tool for any kind of positive learning experience, personal athletic improvement or moral achievement. Violence isn’t even a last resort. It’s a surrender. It’s a statement that says “I have no idea what to do!” And it truly is “the last refuge of the incompetent”.

 Rather than scorned or shunned by those who have felt its wrath it seems to be handed down from generation to generation like an inherited gene. And yet I have never met anyone who has ever sworn by its instructive value as in: “If I hadn’t been for that coach/parent/mentor’s abuse  in my youth I never would have developed the talents that I have today”

Whenever I see someone who is performing a task or involved in an instructive activity, resort or devolve into violence to make a point or a show or to add punctuation, I know that they have no idea what they are doing and that it’s time to walk away, get out of the way or move on to someone else.

There’s just no two ways about it… and until violence in all of its aberrant forms  is always and unequivocally equated with incompetence we will forever live in a world that will at best be one of two steps forward and one step back…and perhaps even more sadly the other way around.

 

 

When will we ever learn?

19 Dec

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
      -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When will we ever learn that this is the only lesson that matters and that everything else in this world will fall into place once we finally get this lesson into our heads.

Violence and hate are not only the wrong answers they are not answers at all. They are reactions and instincts from our distant past and primitive brains. To declare ourselves to be truly enlightened, emotionally evolved and intelligent people we must learn to answer all questions with love and light, compassion and kindness. That is why we bring children into this world: To live and learn and do better than we did…and that is what we must teach them first and foremost and above all other things.

  “Think you can. Work hard. Get smart. Be kind. And have fun!”                                           – Sandy Hook Elementary school motto

Isn’t that what we all want?

Violence and hate will never secure that for us or our children or our families or our communities or our countries or our cultures or our religions, not in any place, nor at any date nor in any time.

Teach it now. Teach it everywhere. Teach it always.

 

Joanna Funk

piano accompanist and teacher

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