Sunday, December 23, 2012



Well here we are again in the wake of yet another national tragedy.  Another mass shooting, this time involving little kids.  I would have never imagined in a million years that a human being was capable of this kind of evil.  And to follow suit with past mass shootings, the heated debate over gun control is in full swing before the shooter’s empty shell casings even hit the floor.  People on the right are screaming “more guns” while people on the left are screaming “no more guns”. 

Before I get into pissing off all of you gun fanatics out there (and I undoubtedly will), I should preface this post by saying that I support the 2nd Amendment.  I support hunting and I support the right to be able to protect yourself and your family.  Please keep that in mind before you brain dead, inbred Tea Party folks start regurgitating your beloved go-to term, “bleeding-heart liberal”.

     As usual, when a tragic news dominated event happens, all the “experts” on the social media sites sound off with all of their infinite wisdom.  Being raised in a bible-thumping red state, most of the people on my Facebook friends list are conservative Republicans (many of which are extreme right wing Tea Baggers).  It’s safe to say that I’m the odd man out, and I’m quick to get shit-hammered by the masses anytime I post an opinion in my status.  So in the wake of this tragedy, I kept my opinions off of Facebook.  I felt like it was more important to grieve for the innocence lost than to get on my soapbox.   Others felt differently, and here are some of the wonderful insights that some of you had:

1.      President Obama wants to get rid of guns and disarm us all!

2.      This wouldn’t have happened if God were allowed in schools!

3.      Our forefathers support the right to bear arms. Those who oppose it? Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, and President Obama.

4.      In the past, countries such as the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, and Guatemala established gun control, at which time millions of people were rounded up by the government…and unable to defend themselves, were “exterminated”. This is what will happen in the United States!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

5.      In Israel, there are armed teachers to protect the students.  This is how it should be in the United States.

Yup…I’m privileged enough to see this enlightenment on a daily basis. Now please allow me to poke holes in each of these things, in order of appearance:

1.      The President does NOT want to abolish the 2nd Amendment nor does he want to disarm everyone.  Liberals from the far left do, but not the President.  He never once said that…never.  He did, however, say that action needed to be taken to help prevent these kinds of tragedies from happening in the future.  He is proposing a ban on military style assault weapons and clips that hold a large number of rounds.  These weapons were not built for hunting nor were they built for home protection.  They were built for one thing only: killing human beings in large numbers (such as in a combat situation). 

2.      You right-wingers love to pull the God card, so here you go: God is allowed in churches, but that doesn’t stop priests from raping little boys on a regular basis, now does it?  Religion of any kind has no place in public schools, PERIOD.

3.      Yeah, let’s get our forefathers involved.  When our Constitution was written, society was COMPLETELY different than what it is today.  Our forefathers were slave owners for crying out loud.  When the 2nd Amendment was written, the most dangerous weapon threat was a single-shot, muzzle-loaded musket.  Yes, we still have the 2nd Amendment, but given what modernized civilization has become, it’s time that Amendment comes with a few asterisks. And as far as President Obama being grouped with those other guys, see #1.

4.      Comparing modern day America to Cambodia and Guatemala…really?  Do I really even need to dignify that far-fetched absurdity with a response?

5.      We need to arm our teachers, huh?  Nothing bad could ever happen out of that scenario, right?  Teachers are underpaid, underappreciated, underfunded, unsupported, and generally shit on from every direction (principals, parents that blame the teachers for not doing their parenting for them, etc).  They work extremely long hours, have very little free time and their work is never done.  To the general public, a teacher will always smile and tell you how great and rewarding their job is…but just ask their spouse and they will tell you different.  It’s constant complaining at how stressful and annoying being a teacher can really be (and not because of the kids, but because of all the other bs that comes with the territory).  Granted, I’m not saying every teacher feels this way of course, but there are many that do.  On top of all that, you’d be surprised at the lack of full disclosure teachers have with their school system.  There are teachers that are on medication for depression, anxiety, and even bipolar disorder.  Now imagine if any of those teachers had a gun in the classroom and just happened to forget their meds that day.  Just because someone is a teacher doesn’t make them exempt from having some deep issues which could have catastrophic results if they were armed.


Look, just because it’s everyone’s right to own a gun, doesn’t mean everyone should.  There are several people that I know personally that have absolutely no business owning a gun, yet have several of them.  Sure, they might be law abiding citizens with no previous criminal record…but is that really the only prerequisite to gun ownership?  I know folks who have a small arsenal of weapons at home, yet barely possess the intelligence to read, write, or put together a simple coherent sentence.  It absolutely scares the shit out of me that these halfwits are packing heat.  Another group of mouthbreathers that I know are the militant extremist hillbillies (better known as Tea Party people).  These are the type of people that absolutely can’t wait to shoot a motherfucker.  They don’t dread somebody breaking into their house…they fantasize about it.  They are the type of people that will launch into an unsolicited “I’ll tell what would happen if somebody broke into MY house” stories, even though nobody actually asked them what would happen if somebody broke into their house.  These people hate everyone who is unlike themselves, and shooting someone is always the first and only option, regardless of the situation.  These are the people that post images like these to facebook:

Yes, they also scare me…especially since they seem to have the most guns.

So just because you are legally allowed to have that gun, doesn’t mean you are mentally capable or even responsible enough to have it.  Neither of these things can be caught on a screening when purchasing a gun, either. More children have been killed by having access to an unsecured gun in their own house than being gunned down by a psychopath at their school.  Way more, in fact.  That goes for adults as well.  From 2005 to 2010, nearly 3800 people died in the United States due to unintentional shootings. We have a maturity and responsibility problem.

I know what you’re thinking. “But Marcus, what about other countries in the world?  This stuff happens there, too!”.  You’re right. It does happen there, but the numbers aren’t anywhere close to ours.  Not even in the ballpark.  The big comparison in the gun debates is the United States and Switzerland.  Switzerland ranks 3rd on the list of countries with the most guns per capita (only behind the first two, the United States and Yemen, respectively).  Damn near everyone owns a gun over there and yet it has only a fraction of gun-related crimes and deaths.  The same could be said of many other countries…they don’t even come close to our gun death numbers.  Why is that?  That’s the magic question that nobody seems to have an answer for. What is it about American culture that produces some of the most violent, brutal, homicidal maniacs? 

Look folks, I’m not claiming to have all the solutions for all of the problems.  But it’s time we, as a nation, grow up and start thinking and behaving like mature adults.  Often times, it’s only the extremists that have the loudest voices, and get the most press.  That only complicates everything and makes matters worse.  It’s time to push the extremists off to the side and start getting rational people together and make some rational compromises.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not ok with these kinds of tragedies being “normal” news.  These things are slowly becoming unsurprising these days, and that’s terrifying.

I guess that’s all.  Be good, hug your kids, and take nothing for granted. Peace.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chick-Fil-Haaaaay! *snap*

So the media frenzy as of late is shrouded around Dan Cathy, the president & COO of Chick-Fil-A.  Now with any story that makes headlines all over the country, it also sparks all of the mouth-breathers on facebook and twitter to sound off with their views on the subject, with all of their infinite wisdom and intellect.

Before I get into making some of my points, let’s first take a look at exactly what Mr. Cathy said.  In an interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy is quoted as saying, “We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles”.  He further reiterated his stance when he did an interview on “The Ken Coleman Show”, where he remarked, “I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about”.  He has also donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups and organizations.

These things that Mr. Cathy said are well within his rights to do so.  That’s one of the perks of living in America…you can say whatever you want (even if it’s completely void of merit and morality, or promotes hatred).  However, even though you are legally allowed to say what you want, there are still consequences…some good, some bad.  In Dan Cathy’s case, it’s both.  As they say, there’s no such thing as bad press.  With the backlash of Cathy’s comments, Chick-Fil-A is at the forefront of newspapers, blogs, radio, and television.  While the gay/lesbian community is outraged, others have flocked to buy chicken sandwiches to show support.  This week, Chick-Fil-A has shown record high sales.  Dan Cathy: religious bigot or marketing genius?  Makes you wonder.

As with any big story making headlines, invariably my facebook and twitter feeds are exploding with people sounding off with their opinions.  I’m always interested to read these opinions, because it gives me a pretty good stranglehold on how the typical American thinks.  And as usual, I’m left disappointed on how far we haven’t come.

Here’s my take on this whole thing.  First let me start by giving my views on homosexuality and gay marriage. I accept it.  I don’t understand it, but I accept it.  I don’t understand how a dude can be attracted to another dude.  That’s unfathomable to me.  If I see two guys being affectionate to one another, I throw up in my mouth a little bit.  Now girls on the other hand…I get it.  Three hot women pillow fighting.  One thing leads to another.  They start caressing each other and kissing, while slowly slipping off their lingerie to the floor.  Mmmmm.  Whoa…sorry about that.  I just wondered into an alternate universe and into the writings of the book series, “Fifty Shades of Gay”.  What was I talking about, now?  Oh yeah. Like I said, I will never understand homosexuality, but I accept it.  They’re people like you and me.  And citizens of the United States of America all have the same rights, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation (well at least we are supposed to, anyway).  However, in simple-minded America, there are too many people who have this mindset: “If you have different beliefs or opinions as me, or like different things than I like, you’re not allowed to be around anymore”.  And, unfortunately, many of the people with this mindset are in our government, doing their best to ensure that certain Americans aren’t given equal rights.

Now, the basis behind Mr. Cathy’s quotes comes from religion.  He is a Christian, and uses the bible as the foundation of his beliefs. Trust me folks, if you look to the bible for morality and principles, you are barking up the wrong tree.  If you have read my past blog posts, you know that I am an atheist.  Nothing can lead a person to atheism faster than reading the bible.  When you go to church on Sundays, you will no doubt hear your preacher/pastor/priest/whatever read many passages from the bible that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  As well he should…it’s called selling your product.  Here’s what you might not know about the bible:  it condones and promotes murder and slavery.  Are you shocked and appalled that you just read that?  Don’t worry, I wouldn’t say that without giving you examples.  Just in case you think I’m making this stuff up, stop what you’re doing and go get your bible, so that way you can read along.

Kill People Who Don't Listen to Priests
Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12)

Kill Homosexuals
If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives. (Leviticus 20:13)

Death for Adultery
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

Death for Fornication
A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9)

Kill Nonbelievers
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)

Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
But if this charge is true, and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)

Kill Men, Women, and Children
"Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7)

God Kills all the First Born of Egypt
And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. (Exodus 12:29-30)

Slaves, anyone?
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6)

Selling Your daughter into Slavery
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11)

          I think you get the idea.  Like I said, if you’re looking to the bible for morality and principle, look elsewhere.  That book is one contradiction after another.  Having said all of that, I still don’t care if you want to be religious or not.  That’s yet another one of our freedoms…freedom of religion. You can believe what you want to believe.  The problem, however, is when those beliefs affect the lives of others in a negative way.  That’s why religion has no business in government.  We end up with legislation that negates equality for everyone across the board.

          Now I know what else you’re thinking: “But Marcus, what about the ‘traditional marriage’??”  This is another term that I see getting thrown around by you good folks on facebook and twitter.  What exactly does “traditional marriage” mean?  Sure, I know what you think it means: marriage between a man and a woman.  Well let’s examine some statistics about this sanctity of marriage that you all are fighting so hard to protect:

·       Almost 49 percent of the marriages end up in divorces

·       60 percent of all divorces are related to individuals aged 25 to 39

·       Over a 40 year period, 67 percent of first marriages terminate in a divorce and 50 percent of these divorces take place within the first 7 years

·       Every year more than 1 million children are affected by divorce

·       The possibility that teenaged girls from single parent homes would give birth to an out-of-wedlock child or would drop out of high school is two times as compared to girls living with both parents

·       The children who are brought up in single parent homes display a lesser possibility to marry and more possibility to divorce

·       50 percent of the children in the country are a witness to the breakup of their parent’s marriage. Almost half of these 50 percent are a witness to the second divorce of a parent

So roughly half of marriages end up in divorce. Most of these divorces involve children (who are privileged enough to witness fighting and verbal abuse on a regular basis).  Then they are dragged through an exhausting and ugly custody battle in court.  Yeah, “traditional marriage” is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? You’d hate for the gays to ruin such a perfect thing, right?  When you say that you are against gay marriage, I present this question to you: So you think it’s perfectly fine for a man and a woman who fight constantly, cheat on each other, and would rather be at the bar than home with their spouse and children have every right to get married….but a gay couple who genuinely love each other and have built a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and trust have no right to be married?  If you answered “yes” to that question, then congratulations…you’re mentality is what’s wrong with the world.

          Now we come back full circle to freedom of speech.  Many of you on the social networks are boasting the term ”freedom of speech” with such American pride.  Here’s the funny thing about freedom of speech: people only support it when they agree with the speech.  When you disagree with it, you’re telling that ignorant person to shut the fuck up.  For those of you that don’t know…that’s called hypocrisy.  Let me present a couple of scenarios to you.  The president of Burger King goes public with his view that black people and white people should not be allowed to get married because it’s not “traditional”.  He has also donated millions to white supremacy groups.  Do you defend him with your freedom of speech routine?  Or how about this: the president of Taco Bell goes public with his view that women should only cook and clean and be their husband’s servant…because that’s their “traditional” role.  Will there be a mile-long line of people waiting to buy tacos to show their support?  When it comes down to it, this whole Chick-Fil-A fiasco is no different than those two examples.  It’s a group of people who are blatantly discriminating against another group of people.

          Look folks, when it comes to homosexuality, I’m not saying you have to like it or even agree with it.  But whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to accept it.  It’s been around since the dawn of mankind, and it always will be.  So they make you uncomfortable?  Well, honestly, in some instances they make me uncomfortable too.  But for every gay person that makes me uncomfortable, there are ten straight people who make me so angry I could strangle them to fucking death.  It’s this giant bouillabaisse we call America.  We are all different people, with different backgrounds, different lifestyles, different interests, different goals, and different opinions.  If we could all just accept each other’s differences without constantly fighting about them, we could start getting on the right track to making this world a better place for everybody.  Even more so, you should spend your efforts tending your own little lot in life, rather than telling others how they should be living theirs.

          Each and every one of us have one thing in common: we want ourselves and our loved ones to lead a happy life.  But discrimination, bigotry, hatred, and fear of those unlike yourself are constantly preventing many people the opportunity for true happiness.  When is it ever going to end? 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

News & the Societal Perception

In the wake of the shootings that took place in Aurora, Colorado, I have observed many different views, opinions, ideologies, and news broadcasts that make me question a few things.  I can’t turn on the television without being bombarded with coverage of the event.  I can’t log into a social network (facebook, twitter, and Google +) without seeing every other comment being about the event.  I can’t help but wonder if society as a whole stops to think about what’s going on, or just following the crowd.  I’ll explain.

Let me begin by saying that the Aurora shootings were senseless, psychotic, and terrible.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s gander at a few perspectives.  We start with the media.  It’s interesting to see all of the networks frothing at the mouth over a tragic story.  They pretend to care and show sympathy, all the while doing their best to make it as much of a reality show as possible.  It didn’t take long, and the local news here has already given it a dramatic movie title, like “Tragedy in Colorado”.  They even have a graphic for the title, which they air before each mention of the event.  That’s right, you go get those ratings, you heartless douchebags. Ratings…that’s really what it’s all about.  I wouldn’t doubt it if the Lifetime network has a made-for-tv movie already in the works, starring Kirk Cameron and Valerie Bertinelli as scarred survivors, and Skeet Ulrich as the crazed shooter.

Now let’s take a look at some of the ways society has reacted to this.  I go on social networks and see people sounding off left and right.  First, I see the “sympathizers”. They talk about how much of a tragedy it was, and that they’re praying for the families.  They are weeping about the senseless acts that took place.  I see flags at half-staff.  I see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney saying that they’re putting their campaign and attack ads on hold so they can publicly grieve.  I see the Aurora Chief of Police go on tv and sob like John Boehner at a puppy mill.  So here’s my question:  What about the other people killed every single day in this country?  There are, on average, about 45 people murdered every day in the United States.  Other than the victims’ loved ones, I don’t see any of you weeping for them.  I don’t see flags at half-staff every day.  I don’t see the president talking about them.  And most of the time, the local media treats them as an afterthought. I guess sympathy is only warranted for those killed in groups.  If people are killed in singles, society simply has a “sucks to be you” attitude and just goes on about their day.  This begs the question: Are you just thinking and feeling the way the media TELLS you to?  Do you genuinely grieve the death of every human being?  If you did, you would walk around in a severe state of depression 24 hours a day.  When it comes right down to it, you are reacting to the reality show that the media presents to you.  They control the information, so they never hesitate to put their own spin on something in order to make you “feel”.  And with stories such as the shootings in Aurora, the media makes damn sure you can’t get away from it.

Now in addition to the sympathizers, we have the group of people who seem to have made themselves professional psychologists.  Everyone wants to analyze the shooter’s state of mind, given his history and background.  Wow…I had no idea you all were experts in the human psyche.  Let’s not get too technical with one, folks.  Can’t you just keep it simple and say he is bat-shit crazy?

The last group of people I have observed are the “blamers”.  Many of you need to point a finger as to the root cause of this incident.  People quickly launch into the gun control debate.  One side says that the government is too lenient on gun control and that guns should be banned.  The others say that we should all carry a gun on us, like the wild west.  Look, I see both sides to the gun debate.  The right to bear arms is in the Constitution (you know…that document that most American citizens try to change to favor their own particular views?)  Just because someone doesn’t like guns, should they have the right to tell you that you can’t own one?  Nope.  That’s the beauty of living in a free country.  However, with ease of accessibility to guns, the more crazy people will use them to do terrible things.  Needless to say, the gun debate is a tricky one…and I see pros and cons to both sides.

Other blamers will say that violence in video games is the cause.  This is just absurd.  If you are able to be influenced by any video game to begin with, then you’re already bat-shit crazy and will no doubt do something terrible and stupid anyway.  A video game is just an easy scapegoat. 

To sum it all up…this was a senseless, terrible act that was done by a clear psychopath.  The victims involved shouldn’t be disgraced at the hands of the media for turning it into a soap opera or reality show because it’s good for ratings.  The garbage that the media is spoon feeding you shouldn’t be kept going by society via social media.  All you’re doing is making the bad guy more famous and the victims more forgotten.

Thanks for taking the time to read my $0.02.  Be good and stay safe.  Cheers.