Archive for July, 2012

I know that this is nothing new. For some reason, tho, it caught my attention as I was driving home last nite. Maybe it’s the recent uproar over Chik-fil-A. For whatever reason, I seem to be in an opinionated mood recently. This is different for me because I don’t normally even acknowledge political issues, etc. Well, anyway, seeing this sign last nite sparked another opinion.

This isn’t about freedom of speech. This isn’t about your rights. This is about what you should or shouldn’t do. As a person, go right ahead. Share your opinion. Post it online. Talk about it in public. Carry a sign. Wear a t-shirt. Do whatever makes you happy. That’s your right. That’s your freedom.

As a business, tho, I think you have a responsibility to be impartial. Don’t use your business as a way to blast your political opinion at everyone that drives by. I think you’re abusing your power as a business owner. Also, for your own financial benefit, don’t alienate customers that might disagree with you. That’s just not smart business. Money in your pocket is money in your pocket, whether it comes from someone who agrees or disagrees with your personal beliefs.

Whether you’re the president of a fast food restaurant (e.g., Chik-fil-A), the CEO of a fortune 500 company, or the owner of a small business, you have the right to share your beliefs. This is America, the land of the free. Free speech is one of the rights that we hold most precious. Heck, it’s what allows me to sit here and type this up without fear of imprisonment. My point, tho, is that I don’t think you should use your company as your soapbox. I don’t think it’s a smart thing to do.

Here’s another perspective: As an employee of a company, I have to feign a certain amount of loyalty whether I want to or not. Since I already have to be loyal to your brand, don’t place me under the banner of your political opinion. I might just disagree and not appreciate people assuming I believe what you’ve displayed on your little sign.

Somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness I dreamed (or imagined) that I was part of a political debate, and the topic was, of course, gun control.  My suggestion was that we pause for a second. Let’s step back for a second and just talk about people.  I’d then roll the following clip:

Now I’d ask the crowd, “How many of you know people that need a sign?” I’d expect more than a few hands would be raised.

Next, I’d talk about road rage. (I’m sure that if I was doing a real debate, I’d have some statistics handy, but a quick search online doesn’t yield much.  We’ll have to do a little pretending.)  Now, I’d ask the crowd, “How many of you have been subjected to road rage or have had road rage?” I expect that more than a few hands would be raised.

Let’s talk about Facebook. Virtually everyone is on Facebook these days. How many of you know someone who overshares? How many of you know someone that updates their status every time their mood swings? How many of you look at your Facebook newsfeed and sometimes just shake your head?

Now let’s circle back to gun control.  How many of you would give a gun to someone who needs “a sign”? Imagine if more road rage instances involved guns. Imagine if those moody, irresponsible people you follow on Facebook all owned guns.

Once you step back from gun control and take time to think about the people that you’re fighting for to own guns, I think it changes the perspective a bit.

For the victims in Colorado. (Characters © DC Comics. Creative content © Yale Stewart.)

My sincerest sympathies go out to those that have been impacted by the tragedy in Aurora, CO during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.  Although all mass shootings are tragic, I suppose I can relate to this one a little more than others since, as a Batman fan, I was at a midnight showing myself last night/early this morning.

When I woke up late this morning, I was shocked to hear about what had happened.  Of course, people will use this as an opportunity to discuss gun control and related topics.  Here’s one of the first reactions I read on Facebook this morning. (The names have been changed to protect the dumb.)

Hank – “this is so sad. Why didnt anyone in the movie theater take him down and take defense. I know there was smoke bombs but he needed to go down and not wait on the police. This makes me not wanna go see this now.”

  • Steve – “DVDS are all ways better u can press pause and go pee if u have too”
  • Hank – “as i stated on a friends status on this, we are going to be more defenseless in a already defenseless world. Obama will run with this one.”
  • David – “Hopefully the nra will run with this too”
  • Gary – “People suck…bigtime”\
  • Paulina – “Bcause movie theatres don’t allow lawful concealed carrying citizens to carry their guns into the theatre only criminals disregard the no guns signs posted at the ticket window. Thats the theatres fault and should have to pay out to the victims.”

First, I don’t think anyone can honestly say what they would do in a situation like this. I believe there is how you hope you’d act and maybe even how you have trained yourself to act; however, until you’re actually in this situation, I don’t think you can sensibly be shocked that no one played the hero.

I think that people are pretty vulnerable when they are watching a movie. I know I am. You’re in darkness, designed to focus you at the one light source, the movie screen. The massive sound system drowns out most other noises, especially in an action movie. You’re paying attention, trying to get your $12-$15’s worth, and your mind is engaged as you try to follow the plot.  Not only can you not see or hear clearly when this psychopath starts shooting, but you don’t know that it’s not a publicity stunt, or even a harmless practical joke, until you start to notice people actually getting hurt. By the time you realize what’s going on, your first reaction is probably to duck and cover.

Second, what the fuck does this have to do with Obama? And how does some psychopath shooting people at random contribute to making us more defenseless?  Unless you’re wearing a bulletproof vest, you’re pretty defenseless to begin with. Even that gun in your pocket or purse isn’t going to stop a bullet from piercing your cotton t-shirt or underwire bra.

Third, how is this the theater’s fault? If Paulina bothered to read the news on this incident, she’d find out that the shooter entered with the other patrons and then went to the emergency door where he had strategically left them.  It’s not like he slipped through with the weapons. As much as I appreciate that theaters are planning to increase security, I’m not even sure how that would help this situation.

As for all of you that think that if more people had concealed weapons permits it would have saved lives, I beg to differ. Not only do I think that a gun battle would have simply caught more people in the cross-fire, but this lunatic was wearing a bullet-proof vest and other armor. Unless you got off a lucky shot that hit him in the head, then you most likely would not have stopped him.

I’m not a gun control nut. I honestly don’t get involved in those debates.  Personally, though, I don’t think guns solve anything. There are, unfortunately, many lunatics in this world, and they have the same right to own a gun that you do. The difference is that they have a plan to use theirs; whereas, you’re hoping that yours will help you when the time comes.  Unless you’re actively planning to shoot someone, I think you’re deceiving yourself with a false sense of security.

And if anyone knows of an incident where a gun-carrying civilian has taken out a shooter like this psycho, please share. As far as I can remember, I don’t recall any of these situations being resolved by heroic, gun-toting civilians.  Personally, I would feel less comfortable sitting in a theater knowing that others around me had a concealed weapon. Because, if my sister decides to be rude and check her phone during the movie, I don’t want her to get shot because she pissed off a fellow movie-goer.

from The Dark Knight Returns, © DC Comics

As is the case in many societies, Amish adolescents may engage in rebellious behavior, resisting or defying parental norms. In many cultures, enforcement may be relaxed, and misbehavior tolerated or overlooked to a degree. A view of rumspringa has emerged in popular culture that this divergence from custom is an accepted part of adolescence or a rite of passage for Amish youth. Among the Amish who use this term, however, rumspringa simply refers to adolescence. – Wikipedia

I suppose that what comes to mind when I think of rumspringa is the pop culture view of being unleashed into the world for a time and experiencing secular society.  This weekend, I’ve been reviewing some old journals of mine as part of a personal project. They’re from my early twenties, and, as I read, I wonder how my life might have been different if I had taken a personal rumspringa.

Of course, most of my trouble (for lack of a better word) came not just from my “society” but from my own decisions in trying to be devoted. I think part of my problem is that I lacked a bad influence. I didn’t have a yin to my yang. I primarily hung out with people that had the same beliefs as me and then tried to be the best I could, which took me in a more extreme direction. I also had the extra pressure of being a leader at church, so I felt compelled to set a good example.

Even if I had taken a break from church, I’m not sure that my personal beliefs at the time would have allowed me much freedom from unnecessary guilt. Perhaps if I had gone away to college and experienced a new beginning things may have been different. Instead, I stayed in town with no great aspirations for college. Well, I take that back. I did want to go to seminary at some point, which would have taken me away but it wouldn’t have really put me in a different culture.

I suppose, based upon my personal experience, I would encourage kids that are graduating from high school to leave town to go to college if at all possible. It’d be a great way to find out who they are apart from the influences of their more impressionable years.