I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 03, 2015 - 2:19 p.m.
I did not even get dressed yesterday. That is not a good thing. I’m having problems. I am way too good at coving them up and seeming OK. So now I’ll continue to seem OK. Sorry that was as much as I could get myself to say.
So what did I do exciting yesterday, I went to my HBO watch list to watch something new and found Blade Runner. I have tried watching it a few times but could never get through it. So I tried again. I couldn’t get through it. On all previous attempts I stopped watching after the testing of Rachel. For the two people that have no idea what I’m talking about the basic plot is that in the future there are artificial people, replicants that look just like humans. There were built to be slaves off earth and revolted. Now any found on earth are killed, oh sorry, “retired.” Harrison Ford hunts replicants. He has to give them this long test measuring reaction times and pupil dilation to see if they are human or replicants. OK now back to my kvetching. The first subject tested was this guy that was acting like no real person. The problem is that just bad acting and writing or is he a replicant? He’s a replicant. Then they test Rachel. She is introduced to Harrison Ford as the replicant builder’s assistant. She talks like a 1960s version of an android. I was going to compare her to Vicky in that horrible show Small Wonder but it’s more like one of the androids in the classic Star Trek, I Mudd. Watching it the first time I assumed she was a replicant and that it was obvious to everyone that she was. But then she almost fools the expert replicant detector, Harrison Ford. I could never make it past that scene before. This time I lasted longer and was at the end driven away by boredom. They deliver the dialogue so slowly. All the people act like robots too. The plot is silly. I don’t care about any of the characters. To me it’s all style no substance. The world depicted is almost the same as the one on Max Headroom. Yes I realize that Max Headroom was copying Blade Runner but I never watched Max Headroom for the design. I watched it for the brilliant dialogue and plots, just what’s missing in Blade Runner.
I wrote some of this on Facebook and knew it would make Scott unhappy. We want to be sympatico with our friends, especially those we have a history of being sympatico with, those that “get it.” I know he’s not the only one that would feel this way but he’s the one I knew would say something. He’s already upset that I don’t like X-Files. OK I will get this out of the way now, I also don’t like Empire Strikes Back and I’m not crazy about Firefly Sorry I march to the beat of a different nerd drummer. Hey it took me till the second season but I love Game of Thrones. I am capable of being converted. Of course it’s still not at the level of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the classic Doctor Who
Think of this as a totally new blog. There’s too much involved in actually posting it separately. There’s a better reason tor keeping them together, I’m thinking about both of them at the same time.
In the last week there have been two tragic incidents of gun violence, one at Planned Parenthood in Colorado and the one yesterday in San Bernadino. I’m trying to be very careful with my language because that’s what I want to talk about. I am not going to talk about what we should do, most of My Gentle Readers and I are with Cheryl Wheeler, “If it were up to me I’d take away the guns.” As I so often do I want to take issue with what the people I agree with are saying.
For a long time the press and public commonly used the FBI definition of mass murder, “murdering three or more persons during an event with no "cooling-off period" between the murders.” Now the talk has switched to “Mass Shooting” which involves three or more people being shot in an incident. Of course there are far more of those so it makes for better headlines when decrying the problem. But it isn’t what we mean and it isn’t what people are afraid of. The reason people get so visceral about these events is that they fear it could happen to them or their families. It doesn’t mean two gangs shooting it out. It doesn’t mean a shootout with the police. That’s why we don’t have headlines every day about mass shootings even though the numbers now being touted say there are mass shootings almost every day. Having two in one week was still shocking, not the norm though everyone wants to say now that it is. Then why are we having the conversation now not last week? Because it didn’t happen last week. We use the numbers from the “mass shootings” definition then use the emotional impact of events like San Bernadino which is something different. What bothers me is that we know it’s different. We have to convince ourselves they are the same.
When people start saying things like that they don’t convince anyone, they just fire up the base and what we need to do is convince people. Too many have the fantasy that if they had a gun this wouldn’t happen to them. Of course there are hundreds of millions of guns out there and it never stops these guys.
The facts are that only about 100 people a year are killed by guns in mass murders. Deer kill more people than that, mainly in car accidents. Hell cows kill 22 people a year and we aren’t terrified of cows. Mass killings are a distraction and making them seem more common than they are is not going to help. The thing is 11,000 people a year are killed one at a time by guns and that’s not including suicides. This is the danger with guns. And most of those are handguns, not assault rifles. We need to let hunters and target shooters know that we aren’t after their guns. Those aren’t the ones killing large numbers of people. And yes we should ban assault weapons because there is no valid need for them, all they do is kill people. But it’s stopping the hand guns that is the problem. Every day there is a mass shooting death worse than San Bernadino, it’s just that the 30 people were killed one at a time in different places by different people. They are just as dead. Their deaths are just as tragic. There is no reason to play with language to make mass murders seem more common than they are.
Perhaps what is needed is to treat every gun death as newsworthy and every day list all of them and highlight a few. Or perhaps that will just make people numb. What we really need to do is try lots of things, find out which work and do more of them. It isn’t about making a lot of noise, though making a lot of noise is part of the process. It isn’t about righteous indignation.
I have no way to end this as I don’t know what to do and I ended up talking about guns when I started to write about language. This stuff is hard.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Follow on Feedly