Thursday, February 26, 2015

"I'm Batman." (Revolution)

Recently I engaged in another pointless Internet discussion. Someone brought up, in essence, that if there's a home invasion, and you're home, you are to abdicate and let the invader take whatever they want. Because why escalate the situation with fighting for "stuff" or trying to protect your "stuff" with a firearm or other weapon?

I contained myself, miraculously enough.

Why, for Pete's sake, should we, the homeowner/renter/dweller, bow to the criminal element in our midst?

Why should we just put our hands up and let them take it, because after all, it's insured, and it's just *stuff*.

Why should some desperate, illogical, buffoon, druggie, initiate, or career criminal just get a free pass in order to achieve some perverse presentation of civility?

Because death is final. You don't come back from that (at least not yet, zombie industry). You don't spend months before your trial and then years in a cage if you're dead.

But it's still just "stuff." You can buy another TV. You can buy more gold rings. You can buy new silver spoons. So what if you can't buy your grandmother's silver spoon collection that was started in the Great Depression. So what if you can't buy another gold ring that was made in 1845. It's just "stuff."

Some "stuff" will be priceless to you. Priceless "stuff" does have a price, in these instances. A human life, if one was to defend their "stuff."

Our passion and emotions are tied to things we've earned. And the more time spent to acquiring "stuff" holds a deep meaning to us.

Why should someone who has slightly more power than us be able to just waltz out with your "stuff?" They don't desire it. They don't need it. They don't want it. They want the economic value of it.

And if someone is willing to melt your hopes, dreams, memories down to pure cash, does their life really trump the value of your "stuff?"

Why should we bow to the momentary power shift to the criminal element, who does not care about your "stuff" as it were their own? Why should an invader into our home, our life, our pursuit of happiness, be given carte blanche to avoid escalation of violence?

It's all just "stuff" after all, right?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"You said you were lactose intolerant." (The Santa Clause)

Why is it that people are so obsessed with shouting their opinion they don't bother reading the actual meaning of the words on a page?

NPR did an experiment on April Fool's, if I recall correctly. It was perfect.

Today I saw this headline:
Defensive Gun Use of the Day: 14-Year-Old Son of Murdered Father Shoots and Kills Home Invader Edition
Reading the post gives the reader basic details, and a link to the original story. After that, that's when it gets interesting. The comment section.

Surely the burglar will be charged with felony murder. That’s federal law isn’t it?
What Ralph said.
I would add that most states, even liberal bastions CA and MA have felony murder states where if anyone dies during the commission of a felony, the perp can be charged with murder. In some cases first degree murder.
This applies even if the death is a result of police shooting an accomplice. Theory being that had they not committed the felony, the death would not have occurred.

One more sledge hammer to use in getting a plea deal.
Here's the point.

Burglar gets shot and killed by a kid protecting his ailing grandparents. A second person is arrested in connection, but it's a red herring in the story. The kid's father was killed at his workplace 6 years ago by what could be described as a drive-by shooting.

The commenters quoted above have made the Olympic leap that the burglar killed the boy's father.

Anti-gun people want qualifications for people to own guns? Well I want a higher intelligence standard of people who post online.

And if you've made it this far- here's NPR's awesome joke.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Stay gold, Ponyboy." The Outsiders

As per usual, commentary on the MPHS shooting.

1. Stop giving the killer attention. It only draws other mal-adjusted kids to the flame. It's painfully obvious that the young generation is infatuated with celebrity. And why not? That's what they grew up with. MTV reality TV (born during GenX time), American Idol, Survivor, etc. These shows that make "normal" people famous- or in some cases, infamous. Even if it's negative attention, it's still attention.

2. Everyone's so freaking sensitive these days. Buck up, life's going to be a bumpy ride. Nothing will go perfect, especially if your plans, aspirations, and dreams are firmly cemented on what you see on television.

3. The amount of information today that is available to people is astronomical. We don't have the skills- at least young people don't- to compile, analyze, and absorb this information usefully. And because we have the information at our fingertips, we believe that it's more popular, more prevalent, or more frequent. In most cases, none of that is true. We see lots of car accident videos. Are accidents happening at a higher-than normal? I don't think so.

4. Prevention. What could have prevented the MPHS shooting? The elimination of firearms in the world. That is the only thing that could have prevented the shooting. Metal detectors? Shooter would have just started shooting at the school entrance. Parents locking up the firearms? Kids are sneaky. Grab the key to the gun case/lock sometime and access it when parents are asleep. If the parents took extreme precautions, the kid would find a different gun, or a different weapon, or devise a different plan.

Monday, June 30, 2014

"How do you say 'Get the F*$# out of the way!' in Chinese?" (Transformers: Age of Extinction)

Oh, wow. Where to begin with Michael Bay's fourth installment of the Transformers franchise. I think he should have passed on it and let someone fresh take over. Jon Favreau maybe?

The good points: Autobots still fight the good fight, and giant robots fighting. Throw in some more "organic" aliens, and that's all cool.

And below be spoilers!

So years after T:DofM, the Battle of Chicago is still fresh, and plenty of political "See Something - Say Something" efforts are in action. Rewards, para-military hunting parties, etc. to round up the Transformers.

Basically, the CIA is using a inter-galactic bounty hunter, Lockdown, to hunt Autobots and Decepticons. Lockdown wants Optimus for he own reasons- something to do with "the Creators."

Meanwhile, back at the uber-techy KSI (headed up by Stanley Tucci- brill!), we find out that KSI has been able to create new Transformers from metal found on Earth and by melting destroyed Transformers. They call this metal "transformium" or something else worthy of groans. I guarantee Jim Jannard is laughing at that one.

Lockdown just muddies the story. He sole purpose is to introduce a bigger, badder "villain" in the Creators and bring about the Dinobots. Which could have been done in any number of ways.

I think the better story would have been to have the CIA/KSI develop the new Transformers from captured Decepticons. Then, under testing, Galvatron escapes with his new minions, and the Autobots need to find and fight them. To save Earth, or something.

During (or after, depending upon time) the fight, it is revealed that Optimus is being hunted by the Creators, and Lockdown appears, captures Optimus and takes him away. Roll credits. End credits scene is Lockdown flying in space, with Optimus hanging upside down behind him. Lockdown communicates with his employer about the success.

Things that really broke the escapism:
First fight with Lockdown and Optimus. You never saw it begin. Optimus driving off, cut to the "rally" car driving through old industrial site, then you see Optimus and Lockdown climbing a building. Uh, what?!

Michael Bay's fascination with females in white, that stay white no matter if they're in the desert, Cybertronian ship, or wherever.

Working on prototypes, but then finding in the Arctic the "transformium"-encased T-Rex. You would think they'd lead off with the discovery, then create the prototypes from that material. It just doesn't help with the story flow.

Overall, giant robots that fight is awesome. Seeing childhood toys on the big screen is awesome. Trying to create deep, intricate stories from a cartoon and toyline? Meh. Might as well try to make the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens instead of mutants. Oh, wait...

Friday, June 27, 2014

"You an American?" "No, I'm from Kentucky!" (Edge of Tomorrow)

The biggest issue with the Internet is the assumption of anonymity. I think it's a cultural and generational issue that will not be considered an issue in twenty years (and not in a good way).

This is what's wrong with it.

People know they're not alone online, but the interaction is still one-sided. Interacting with people online takes a bit more effort to engage, in contrast to simply talking to someone in real life (depending upon the person, that could take an extraordinary effort). To begin or end a conversation, if you will, online only requires one to access a computer, or step away from one. Conversing requires finding the desired forum, topic, and people. And then you type. After contributing (positively or negatively), you have to wait for a response, which isn't always immediate. And then you have problems with composition and comprehension, which creates a whole dynamic of communication that devolves rather quickly. This is the failure in the structure of the Internet. People can't communicate effectively. And won't, until our global education level rises up.

But the failings of the structure are only brought about because the underlying myth that things on the Internet aren't real because the perceived anonymity. There's no direct reaction to something you do or say online from people. You get words on the screen. Sometimes you get hilarious pictures as a response.

An analogy is conversing on the Internet is like singing in your car. Most of the time, no one hears or sees you do it. But those times they do...
From Hyperbole and A Half. Go Allie Brosh!
Or maybe that's just the reaction from Introverts. But the point is that we don't expect to have anyone see or hear us, thus a reaction by a real person. Posting to the Internet is very similar. We're shouting to the cloud, not really wanting anyone to answer. When they do, two things happen. You get affirmation, or you get rebuked and you do your damnest to rain down acid and fireballs from the heavens in the form of defensive posts, rants, and ramblings. When that fails to appease your voice that says you're always right, you resort to insults.

Your brain tells you you're on an online forum. That you're interacting with real people. But without a personal presence, human instinct and thousands of years of interaction know it's just not true. That's why people just turn into complete idiots online. You're not just shouting at the cloud, you're shouting into a tape recorder that saves your blabbering, keeps for posterity so your parents, friends, acquaintances, little Johnny down the block, FBI, NSA, and media all can experience your Great Idiocy.

But we're never going to correct this. Generations that come later will gladly overshare or negatively react. Because they'll be raised in it. I suspect it might infiltrate into real conversations and interactions, and that's when we're going to have problems.

If you're one of those people that don't care what you write or share online, this is about you.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Baseball Statistics and Gunshows

The below image got me thinking about the stats. Notice the MDA is employing the baseball method of statistics- With runners in scoring position in the 7th inning with 2 strikes and stadium capacity at 34% less than full with 3,000 gallons of beer sold that night, the batter hits a homerun (rolling eyes go here).

So I looked at the overall stats. Homicides and guns as the weapon. Pulling data from Wiki, FBI, and, I started comparing the numbers.

Sixteen states have required checks for handguns and/or all firearms at purchased at gunshows. Those states are: CA, CO, CT, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OR, PA, and RI. And let's not leave out our bastion of freedom, our central government: DC (sarcasm font needed).

Pulling the by-state data, collectively these 16 states and DC accounted for 6,368 homicides in 2010, with 4,324 using firearms. Compared to the US totals for 2010, that's 49.8% and 48.8%, respectively.

These states are (mostly) our nation's most densely-populated states (NJ, RI, MA, CT, MD are 1-5). One-third of our states account for almost half of the homicides in our country. While correlation doesn't mean causation, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to see the "gunshow loophole" isn't really a loophole.

Copied from MDA-WA's Facebook's page:

Here's my version:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Puny god." (The Avengers)

I believe the folks involved in Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action (EGS/MDA) are a cult. Let's look at the definition of the word cult from some online sources:

: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans
1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

 Google Dictionary:
a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.
a person or thing that is popular or fashionable, especially among a particular section of society.
So back to it, now that we have a deeper understanding of the word.

In dealing with those involved with EGS/MDA, they exude common traits that would follow the definition of a cult. The beliefs of EGS/MDA follow blindly the words of its leader(s). They dismiss any intellectual thought and evidence contrary to their position a direct threat- literally. In effort to manipulate their audience, they attempt to assassinate the character of more public persons that oppose their views. And in the most egregious transgression is their staunch refusal to even entertain dissenting thought by banning and blocking opposing viewpoints on social media.

So let's start with point one- the dogma. The leaders- or money man Bloomberg- communicate to the followers lots of information that guns are bad. They churn out statistics with such a spin, just a moment's thought shows how superficial it is. One of the biggest points is the "90% of Americans support universal background checks." This number is based on a small survey performed in the 1990's, if I recall correctly. It's been roundly dismissed because it's an irrelevant, outdated statistic.

Another wrong bit of information is the claim of school shootings are happening more and more frequent. Yet when you look at the data, that's not true. Included in these statistics are college and university incidents, school parking lots, no school in session, and a host of other things reasonable people would not consider school shooting. They get all lumped together to propagate the image of our schools being under a Columbine or Sandy Hook attack at any given point. If the data is accurately scrubbed to only include shootings at "Gun-Free School Zones," the number is fewer.

There are multiple data points that can be refuted, but the simple fact is EGS/MDA promote untrue- or at minimum highly suspect- information. And that information is parroted by it's followers. Unquestioningly.

When trying to correct EGS/MDA followers, data is highly secondary to these people. Opinion is presented as fact, and anecdotal stories trump logic. And once that is done- and by dozens of people, not just one or two- EGS/MDA followers start firing up the torches and sharpening the pitchforks, calling anyone who refutes their claims with facts and knowledge to be "gun bullies." And this term is the most polite term they have for those that oppose them. When that doesn't work, the followers begin the character assassination and name-calling. Calling more public persons "misogynists" or "paid shills" of the gun industry. They do this publicly and repeatedly, despite having no evidence to support their insults.

The most ironic thing that EGS/MDA does is hypocritically espouse their desire to have honest, open dialogue for common-sense solutions to ending gun violence. Utilizing social media, they are always claiming that they want to discuss rational ideas. The problem is that their actions completely nullify all of their intentions. The honest debate has already been addressed with their manipulation of statistics. And it's certain that they don't allow for open communication, as any person that debates and deflates their argument- whether civil or not- is banned or blocked from adding to the discussion. They don't want to discuss rational ideas since they are eyeball-deep in irrational thought and fear. They don't want common-sense solutions, supported by the fact they are trying to ban one of America's most popular rifles (and responsible for less than 1% of gun-related homicides) in the name of reducing gun violence.

In summation, EGS/MDA blindly follows its leaders without thinking, believes in false and misconstrued data, and prevents any non-like-thinking to infiltrate their circle of influence. It's simply amazing the misdirection that comes about when the opposing viewpoint defeats the dogma of EGS/MDA. The swarm of insults that follow and the straight-up refusal to have an open, honest debate based on facts and knowledge rather than opinion and hyperbole demonstrate how much of a cult EGS/MDA truly is.