Gun Control: Stupid is Easy; Thinking is Hard

If I recall my high school Latin correctly, “Si Hoc Ergo Iste” is translated as: “If this, then that.” In other words if this is true, then that [which is something else] must also be true. Where the idea of stupidity comes in, is where a statement is declared but the stupid simply stop short by not applying the same line of reasoning to a similar situation. They fail to do so because critical thinking is difficult at best and arduously and painfully taxing at worst. In fact, it is to be expected that stupidity would be far more common than critical thinking. Now lest you think I am being harsh by using the word stupid, notice what Albert Einstein said about human stupidity: “”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

To my point: I have received, on numerous occasions or have heard many times, the following assertion [or some variation thereof]: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” As a gun owner myself, I find the statement to be offensive to my own sense of intellect. This is often the response many gun advocates present when attempting to explain their resistance to various gun-control measures. The statement is at best witty but as Voltaire stated, “A witty statement proves nothing.” Or the gun statement is at worst and most certainly, damn stupid.

More exactly, of course, guns in and of themselves do not kill people. But people use guns to kill people! That is like saying, “Arsenic does not kill people” — unless you consume it, stupid!! So you keep it out of the reach of children. If you do not, you could be charged with neglect or abuse. No court would accept your defense in not keeping arsenic away from your children if you stated, “Arsenic does not kill people; people kill people [or themselves].”

But getting back to my Latin, si hoc ergo iste. If guns don’t kill people then logically, nuclear weapons don’t kill people. Yet, the United States and several other nations do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons. What would any person with at least some semblance of intelligence think if Iran asserted its right to have nuclear weapons by saying: “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people; people kill people.” Do you think the NRA and its followers in Congress would accept that argument? Yes, but only if they were stupid. But somehow when it comes to guns, that argument seems to have weight even though it is just as stupid. Furthermore, if the above statement about guns not killing people is true, then why not let the mentally ill and criminals have guns? After all, “guns don’t kill people.”

The statement that guns don’t kill people is mindless and insulting to anybody who has at least two cents worth of intellect. Yes, it is a witty statement — easy to recite and requires no thought. It is something the stupid can repeat while thinking they sound profound. No wonder it is oft repeated.

To be sure, there are better arguments one can pose in opposition to gun control legislation [whether the arguments can withstand rigorous scrutiny is another matter] but using the above argument, I would think, should be insulting even to the most ardent gun advocate — unless the advocate is stupid.

Published in: on December 20, 2015 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Imagine a “God” who has nothing to do with our successes or our failures.

Imagine a “God” who does not want credit for catastrophes or blame for “miracles” (or even vice versa).

Imagine a “God” who does not need a Satan with whom to stand in contrast.

Imagine a “God” who does not need a “hell” with which to punish or a “heaven” with which to bribe.

Imagine a “God” who is something other than a “He” or a “She” (maybe an “It” or a “They” or something entirely different).

Imagine a “God” whose ego does not require or desire praise, adulation, sacrifice or worship from humans.

Imagine a “God” who does not need humans to kill or punish “in the name of God,” because if such a “God” wanted to kill or punish, It or They would do it without any help or participation from humans.

Imagine a “God” who does not believe in the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, the Veda, the te Ching or any other book as being “holy” or “divinely inspired” but rejects them as the product of the human imagination and various contradictory interpretations.

Imagine a “God” who does not need prophets, priests, preachers, ministers, deacons, reverends, mullahs, monks, ayatollahs, elders, nuns, and so forth, to speak or teach the will of “God.”

Imagine a “God” for whom how humans treat each other is infinitely more important than whether people believe someone did or did not die for their sins, or whether a particular place or day is “holy,” or whether people should wear this and not that, et cetera, (the list extends much too far and wide).

In other words:

Imagine a “God” not made in the image of Humans.

Published in: on December 7, 2015 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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How Sweet The Bitter Taste

A man lies in bed dying from an affliction for which there seemed to be no cure. He mumbled to himself that he would give anything to be cured. Suddenly, an old woman appeared and offered a solution to his predicament. She handed him an elixir that he had to take every day for the rest of his life. The potion would cure the ailment, and he would live an otherwise long and healthy life. There was one caveat, however.

Each time he took the potion, it would cause pain, and there was no way to avoid it. Sometimes the pain would be very brief or barely perceptible; at other times, it would be much longer or excruciating. The duration and severity would vary depending on the circumstances. But, he would be alive and otherwise healthy. If he stopped taking it, he would definitely suffer, wither and die an arduous death.

The man agreed to swallow the potion but just before he did, he asked the old woman what was the potion. She replied, “Love.”

So goes it. Life is best lived if we love, whether we love a child, a sibling, a parent, a spouse or friend. We are genetically structured so that loving someone is what we need to do to be fully human – to express the meritorious side of our humanity. Loving someone, however, comes with a price. We expose ourselves to pain; in fact, we invite it. Pain caused by the one we love scraping her knee as a child or failing to be put in the high school homecoming game. Pain caused by the one we love being mistreated or being disappointed. Pain caused by a loved one’s broken heart or unrequited love. Not to speak of the pain caused by the one we love being sick or dying.

We love; therefore, we feel for – we empathize with – the people we love. It is almost as if we feel what they feel – sometimes even more painfully. But to stop loving is to stop living (though not necessarily to stop existing). So, we drink the potion completely knowing we will suffer pain, later or sooner. So, we drink the potion and choose the pain of loving over the pain of not loving.

Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 7:44 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The Eleven Commandments of Beauty

I. Thou shalt strive to be even more beautiful on the inside than thou art on the outside.

II. Thou shalt honor thy physical beauty, with plenty of self-respect and class.

III. Thou shalt always remember that grace and charm make your beauty, even more beautiful.

IV. Thou shalt not adulterate thy beauty by abusing thy body with illegal or dangerous substances or excessive use of alcohol.

V. Thou shalt not be envious of or covet the beauty of another beautiful woman because, although all beauty is not created equally, each one has a right to their day in the sun – to be admired.

VI. Thou shalt not steal from others the joy of respectfully admiring thy beauty

VII. Thou shalt not abuse the power or advantages that accrue to thee because of thy physical beauty.

VIII. Thou shalt not kill others with thy beauty by callously and recklessly breaking hearts.

IX. Thou shalt not diminish thy beauty by being crude, stupid or self-centered.

X. Thou shalt not forget that physical beauty grabs attention, but physical beauty alone does not keep it.

XI. Thou shalt live by the above Ten Commandments to avoid becoming ugly!

Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 4:21 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Unfair Fight: Truth v Opinion

Truth and opinion are constantly battling each other for acceptance and the battle is often fought within the context of a zero-sum game. Former New York Senator Moynihan once quipped that we can all have our own opinions, but we can’t all have our own facts. The problem is most humans confuse the one for the other. In fact it is that phenomenon that is the source of much of human misery. Voltaire, the French philosopher once stated, “Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes” (Brainy Quote).

Truth moves in tandem with fact, but opinion is the one that often masquerades as either. Truth and fact can be elusive, even evasive. Thus, the valid is often difficult to identify or acknowledge and so when presented with an issue, one must sort out, collate and present as is – in all its naked glory – what is fact or truth and what is opinion. Humans often find this task to be daunting and demanding.

As a matter of course, humans prefer opinion over fact or truth because opinion often does not tax the mind but rather sedates it. Fact and truth are exacting taskmasters whereas opinion often requires mindless compliance, which is the course of least resistance. Once opinion is introduced into the equation, the answers are often the same: Wrong! This is starkly evident in science, religion, politics and all the other realms of the human experience. Opinion has the advantage over truth because humans, as a matter of course, have demonstrated a proclivity for choosing the shiny rock rather than the diamond in the rough.

Truth and fact are worthy of relentless pursuit, and sometimes they may even take on a fugitive-like stature, but opinion should be slaughtered at every turn – except where it is openly acknowledged that opinion and not fact or truth is at play. When the man called Jesus spoke of truth to Pontius Pilate, Pilate quipped, “What is truth?” He was never given an answer. The philosopher, Diogenes is said to have walked the streets in broad daylight while holding a lantern. When asked why, he is reported to have said he was searching for an honest man. May we all do likewise – searching for facts or truth, and along the way, give no more power to opinion than what it deserves so as to ensure that the fight between the two is fair.

Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 4:17 AM  Leave a Comment  
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