Saturday, December 15, 2012

Devastating, heartless tragedy creates another national gun debate. But since the dialogue is out there- and there is no question guns kill people- I'm wondering how many crimes prevented and lives are saved because of responsible gun ownership? Because of the sensational and editorialized nature of the media in response to heinous crimes, the public is conditioned to fear and expect the worst. The seemingly growing epidemic of domestic terrorism as well as the effect of the pharmaceutical industry as a one step cold medicine to the complexities of the human condition, are just a few societal elements that are commonly ignored in favor of banning all guns outright, breeding a culture of mistrust and alienation from our neighbor, while crescendoing into a sponsor driven series of exposes on the criminal's background and upbringing. "Divorced parents", " mental instability", " normal, suburban environment". By all these investigative, profiling tokens, nobody should be able to walk down the damn street. The truth is nobody can predict or conclusively prevent all myriads of extreme violent tragedy with our current tools. 

It's undeniable that any life lost over recklessness and or "preventable" circumstances elicits a serious societal evaluation. To those that are ready to completely eradicate a constitutional amendment- it's a shame that no matter what we do, and how far people are willing to go to protect, there will always be truly sick people willing to hurt and kill others. As powerful as we feel we are, there is still no absolute cure to remedy potential murderers and criminals. There are also no amounts of laws and policies we can apply to a general population of law abiding citizens, to truly obstruct an individual's ability and will to manifest the inconceivable. Both the media and human existence has proved that. But while we believe in applying stricter laws, bans, and outright removals of founding amendments for the arguable "common good", in effect, average citizens are hazed and duped into giving up their individual freedoms to big government. The irony of allowing government led agendas and bureaucracies to police our physical welfare undermines a truly free society. " Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It was and is the power of the individual, not the government, that has historically defined and continually defines the quality of racial, gender, and sexual equality experienced in our country. And this is the same government that invests more in it's military industrial complex and multi national corporate business interests over public education, public programs, failing infrastructure, joblessness, and health care. This is who we trust to truly protect us from ourselves? The status quo somehow sounds better. 

In our society, the human condition itself is reduced to the same recognizable, oversimplified concepts that people can argue about so why would we not expect the media to feed us the same hot button issues by stirring the pot to sell papers? It is not the government or the media's active responsibility to provide meaningful, clear, and effective investigation or mediation to resolve festering social issues at even a local level. Therefore, how can we expect to make sound judgements based on an overstimulation of filtered information on a national scale? It is also not either parties responsibility to impart the public with a bigger, transparent picture of the future impacted by our immediate decisions. As far as I'm concerned, the only publicly engaging national dialogue on gun control thrives on internet forum boards and manifests itself with a critical mass of concentrated efforts to resolve extreme circumstances with extreme action. If this is the extent of America's problem solving abilities in 2012  it's no wonder we are seen as ailing global leaders magnified by our controversially polarized politics. And it is also no wonder that our liberties hang in the wind with each devastatingly ill-fated, unexplainable and tragic circumstance.  

UPDATE: It is important to encourage dialogue and my friend Bryan recently commented on this post. I'd also like to share it as I'm sure there are other people who disagree with me. 

Bryan said...
I whole-heartedly disagree with your precious view of an anachronistic amendment. The NRA has spent decades manipulating us into believing that we need to protect ourselves from unknown evils. It's bullshit. Although difficult to quantify, I'd be willing to bet that far more lives are lost to irresponsible gun ownership than lives saved by responsible gun ownership. Both the UK and Australia instituted strict gun control after mass shootings and neither country has suffered another as bad as those that prompted the laws. Have you read Jill Lepore's history of gun rights article that came out after Trayvon Martin was shot ( She breaks it down.

Hey Bryan,

My question of why we never hear from the media about responsible gun ownership was not saying that was a singular watershed piece of information about gun control; but as to the media's role in our national dialogue of gun culture. I do believe there should be more restriction on gun control- like why are there exotic civilian assault rifles on the market? Is that necessary with our current gun crazy society? But the gun control debate also goes beyond the polarized disagreement of whether we should have guns or not have guns, it essentially boils down to the right of owning guns to protect yourself. Obviously, in these tragic acts of violence they do not serve to protect but to execute innocent lives. Today, it is easier to find a gun on the street than it is to find a job. 

Again, I am not in support of most ideas that choose to solve extreme events with extreme action. That we should ban all guns to solve the immediate threat of violence. I don't believe in the NRA's threats to protect myself from unknown evils as you know I do not own a gun. But as much as the NRA spends their money and lobbyists to push an agenda, so does the government and media to their own capacities to fuel public hysteria and paranoia. This is clearly not an isolated agenda. And as long as governments, lobbyists, and people with power do not function with a transparent agenda, it is easy to say that if you question any their motives- you are automatically deduced to "anarchronistic" yourself.  And while I realize that it would go beyond the immediate discussion to reference the fact that being anarchronistic is not an entirely bad thing as this nation was built on the very concept. But I also realize why the conversation and threat of looming violence transcends into the question of constitutional amendments and rights. 

Whether you think it is an "anarchronistic"  amendment, it's still an amendment, which in my own reasons I feel the need to consider and respect. This is probably why the country is so split. If owning guns was not an amendment, and just simply spear headed as an agenda for the NRA to make more money- the answer would be much easier. Get rid of them. But how do you approach the reality of disarming citizens with the current statistics of 300 million guns? Planning the necessary logistics that go into disarming a nation of gun enthusiasts who feel it is their very right to own guns? That by taking away the "right to bear arms", that it won't somehow encourage more volatile situations of bloodshed inciting a new breed of domestic terrorist? Also, how can we rule with absolutism that by taking away guns, that it won't somehow encourage violent people to detonate bombs instead? How do you avoid unwittingly fueling a landscape of not just gun violence but general violence that could potentially become worse with illegal guns? Whatever side of the aisle you sit on and in between, you will be seen as an asshole by someone else because the truth is there is not an absolute answer that answers our questions absolutely.  

I do realize that inaction is not an option either. The worst thing about any bureaucracy is when gridlock prevents any form of progression or resolution; which is commonplace in America. 
But my point was also to say that the media's encouraged dialogue on gun control is often only that of gun control exclusively. No other thorough analysis and accountability of other contributing factors are ever discussed with as much confidence and upheld with immediate importance.The fact that as a nation we must guard our children and our citizens from harm's way- that it takes a community to raise a child is as important as ever. But while we can target any one singular cause, I feel there is a conversation at the heart which wonders is if our society is in fact doing all it can do to prevent these extreme tragic outcomes? That our society does all it can to take care of it's citizens both adults and children in a grassroots capacity to identify and treat individual welfare with an interest for the greater good of a society? That our society exercises the same compassion when dealing with perceived threats abroad by minimizing the toll of innocent lives- even those of other children? That all is being done to address and rework a system of normalized gun violence in inner cities? That all is being done to mediate domestic, spousal abuse and crime? That all is being done to hold law enforcement accountable for excessive force with a deadly weapon having killed countless innocents in the process? I would say no, society isn't doing everything it can to invest in the greater common good of our society and in our world. So my opinion is very much that I am in favor of stricter gun laws; but I do not agree on a complete gun ban because I think the banning of any right should be the last resort of any free thinking society. 

Cotton candy like you've never seen it! This guy is super talented- shit is art! Hard to believe the price for his cotton candy is roughly 48 cents.

A penguin falling down in the wild. The sound the rest of the group makes is like a Pixar character chorus.

Legalized gambling is intimidating to me; it's like being on wall street or in casino. The concept of millions of dollars fluidly going in and out of one venue gives my wallet claustrophobia. I've never been to a horse race, but last weekend I got to go to one. I have an uncle who's a member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and so we went to the Sha Tin racecourse last Sunday. In general, the amount of gambling and food eating in Hong Kong is unparalleled.  The abundance of Jockey betting clubs around the city confirms what a huge staple horse races are to the culture. Since it was an international racing day, featuring horses and riders from around the world, the track on Sunday was on fire. The Queen of England even sent a horse. There were about nine races scheduled for the day, with one race generating about $40 million dollars worth of bets.  I was also surprised to realize jockeys are these really tiny dudes. We saw the winning jockeys get weighed on the television after each race, and on average they were 120 pounds. Some of the horses that race are being pushed so hard they are not able to race for a week or even a month afterwards. It kind of makes me wonder what it would be like if you put a tiny guy strapped to Usain Bolt to see if they could get him to run any faster. Weird thought. On a more positive note, I love the way the horses manes are braided and plaited for an event.  


Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Corporate America Has Taught Me

While it's fairly easy to judge what working in a corporation might be like based on cliche, slapstick, movie plots, in real life, it can be worse. I guess because if it's really your life- it's automatically worse. The bugged out characters, conservative wardrobes, stiff upper lips, rampant fluorescent lighting, and ubiquitous black, gas lift, office chairs. Shit is depressing for a creative mind. Corporate designer should be considered an oxymoron, unless you work at Nike or a product driven company.

I never imagined myself in a million years to be a corporate employee in any way shape or form. Having dropped out of college, and moving 3,000 miles away from home to explore my interests instead, I realize that I did everything the exact opposite of a path bound for conventional success. The view from the inside of a corporate cubicle and traveling to six+ countries a year, was completely unpredictable. But that's life- completely unpredictable.

I used to detest the idea of business when I was younger, but maybe it's because I could never understand it. I realize now that what I really detest is the politics of greed. One of the problems with corporations is undoubtedly the undermining of the human element. That somehow human beings and natural resources can be casted into a conclusive system which only yields infinite profit growth.

Worker oppressive structures are enabled by management types who typically take credit for dispensable, lower paid, worker output. In life, the disparity between those that are underpaid and overpaid is an age old tale of poverty and misfortune. While the 21st century version of the story is polarized to those who thrive in bureaucratic settings and those who fly under the radar. Although not all of us are driven entirely by money, the fact is, your salary and wages not only appraises your value to the company, but it also compartmentalizes your trajectory for growth within a worker oppressive system.

Natural resources are considered to be infinite by the same like minded people who believe in classifying people by their affluence and welfare. As a society, our understanding of cost and value are determined by inflated costs of living and a sanctioned culture of debt.  The world has become so intertwined, and globalized, multi national corporations make corporate America look like Honey Boo Boo. Poverty and growing class disparity are no longer limited to historically economically disadvantaged countries and communities. The impact of perceived "global prosperity" has come at an untold price.

My question is if globalization is the apex of economic development - what lies ahead? Galaxization? Time travel colonization? Parallel-Universe profit winning Utopia? Although the future can not be oversimplified into extremes, maybe it will come as the reality that progress is finite. The trouble is, the world might be dead by then.

While older civilizations have addressed moral and spiritual improvement as part of human progress, the nature of modern progression clearly favors material and technological improvements. Whether this is due to the buildup of feuding tribes of humans living in a post industrial society, there is no question that those who progress are able to establish economic superiority which in turn fuels political absolutism, patriotism, nationalism, and ultimately, racial superiority. I believe progress in itself is a trap because we are basically engaging in an endless competition with nature and ourselves to constantly redefine our superiority.

One thing's for sure. Life's too short to live society's beaten path of success. Life is and will always be what you make it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

This has been circulating the internet for a while. But I've noticed a recent resurgence in popularity. So if you haven't seen this Nic Cage freaking out youtube it's about time you did.