You Are Not Excused

Everyone knows by now about the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent aftermath. Despite the tragedy, it is nice to see people standing up together instead of fighting for a change.

Having said that, I’ve seen a disturbing trend in the last few years.  It is very likely it existed long before I noticed it, but now it’s all I can see. I am talking about select people’s need to use current events to further their own goals.  In this case specifically, I am referring to the connection people are making to the Boston Marathon bombings and America’s gun control laws.

These two things have absolutely nothing to do with one another, and yet I’ve seen dozens of posts, memes, images, and articles proudly displaying that there would be no fear for citizen’s armed with assault rifles. Good job, you’re retarded.

Why, you ask? Let me count the ways.

1.) Just because a person owns a gun doesn’t mean they know how to use it.

2.) A person filled with fear is far more likely to have an itchy trigger finger, which would cause more problems in this case, not get results.

3.) You can’t cry about your constitutional rights to own firearms while simultaneously saying the suspect(s) should be shot on sight.

Now to drift away from the subject of Boston and focus solely on gun ownership in America from my point of view.

There are very, very few people I know that I would trust with a gun. By that statement you may assume that there are many people I would not trust with a gun, and you would be correct. The problem is that a lot of gun owners I know fall squarely into the second category. If you want a gun, I don’t care. Go for it. Just learn how to use it. Learn everything about it. If you don’t know every single piece and their functions, you have no business owning that weapon.

Why do you want to own military-grade weapons? “Home defense”? A pistol can do that, arguably much more effectively due to its smaller size. Because you’re “a collector”? I get that, I really do, but if you choose to be a gun collector then you should be fully aware of how dangerous these guns are and act accordingly, i.e. not keeping a loaded AR-15 in your hands on the off-chance a terrorist walks into your house (see point 2 above).

What it really seems to come down to is that they’re cool, and I won’t argue with that. Guns are cool, Hollywood has been pounding that into my head for decades. They’re also fun to shoot, they give quite the adrenaline rush, and their wide array of types makes them a hell of a hobby. But you know what else is cool? Hm. Smoking, perhaps?

Yes, that seems fitting. You tie your constitutional rights to a bombing attack, and I shall compare the girth of your hard-on for guns with my disgusting black lungs. Each topic is about as closely related to each other, I think.

The only real problem in my opinion is that imposing restrictions on these kinds of guns would make it way too easy to further encroach on a citizen’s rights and eventually be able to not only disarm the entire population, but also tell us exactly what we can or cannot have. It’ll be like that scene in Demolition Man where Sandra Bullock explains what the government has made illegal: “smoking is not good for you, and it’s been deemed that anything not good for you is bad; hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat […] bad language, chocolate, gasoline, uneducational toys and anything spicy.”  It may sound far-fetched, but it looks like we’re already taking steps toward a parallel future.

In the meantime, learn how to take those “Like if U Agree!” banners and shove them up your ass. Clicking that button is not an act of supporting your own rights, it’s just feeding into the ego of some anonymous asshole that has no say in the matter at hand and only wants to win some sort of faux popularity test.

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As America Succumbs to a Government-Provided Plague

All of us have heard a few examples of dumb laws in our time, ranging from a law in Oregon stating that dishes must “drip dry” to Canada placing a ban on any comic books that contain images of illegal acts.  While amusing, I don’t find these to be the truly stupid laws.  My examples are much worse.

Abortion Laws

Let’s start with pro-life versus pro-choice.  Everyone knows the argument and takes their own sides.  I’m not here to tell you who is right and who is wrong, nor am I here to explain my feelings on the subject.  Instead, I wish to present some facts that prohibit one side (either one, doesn’t matter) from practicing their beliefs, and how the government sometimes seeks to place firm restraints on its citizens that are far beyond what We The People should deem acceptable.

For example, Kansas made a few headlines recently when the Republican-driven Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill defining life as beginning “at fertilization.”  In layman’s terms, this renders all abortions illegal.  Period.  No argument, no discussion.  As soon as Governor Sam Brownback puts his name to paper, abortions will be considered illegal in the state of Kansas.

Duchovny Arrest Scene

Maybe we should start with locking up all the sex addicts first?  Nah, that’s crazy…

This is not the first state to pass such a bill; in fact, it’s the eighth (or thirteenth, depending on your source).  I understand why it’s such a hot debate: is abortion murder?  It’s nearly an impossible question to answer given people’s varying perspectives on when life truly “begins” inside of a womb, but to have a government impose laws telling us how we should view any subject is just wrong, pure and simple.  It is one of many steps this country’s leaders have taken to establish supreme control over its people.

North Dakota also recently passed an abortion-related bill into effect in a campaign spearheaded by Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple.  This particular bill states that abortions are declared illegal after a fetal heartbeat can be detected through a transvaginal ultrasound, which occurs about six weeks into a typical pregnancy.  Although this “Heartbeat Bill” has little chance of standing up to the Supreme Court, it is still a very clear effort to restrain the individual freedoms of the American people.

Jack Dalrymple

Hell, I can barely hear his heartbeat coming through those cholesterol-clogged arteries. Maybe we can still abort him?

Let’s change the subject, shall we?  Nobody likes talking about dead babies for too long.  How about…

Drug Testing For Welfare

Ah, this issue seems to have really exploded over the last few years amongst cries from blue-collar America, screaming about how drug users can still apply (and receive) welfare while they spend all their “free money” on drugs and alcohol instead of life necessities.  It got so hyped up that many states began working on legislation to pass bills addressing the issue, including Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, and a dozen others.  The most notorious of these instances involved Florida, however, in which the state legislation signed into law the mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients.  The entire affair lasted only a few months before a temporary – and still currently standing – ban was placed on the program, and in the span of these few short months, a groundbreaking 108 people tested positive for drug use, most of which were for marijuana use.  That may sound high, but considering the state tested over 4,000 people, the number is hardly impressive.  Another interesting bit of information is the fact that any person that passed the test was refunded the cost of the procedure, which resulted in costs of nearly $200,000 – all in the span of only four months.

“Well, maybe they knew the tests were coming and decided not to take them.”  A good theory, and one I certainly wondered myself.  It should be noted, then, that only 40 people actually canceled their tests.  So I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt: let’s say 148 out of 4,126 people would have tested positive for drug-use.  That’s…what, 3.5%, if my math is right?  WOW.  Good job, guys.  Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just pay the benefits to the drug users in the first place?  Actually, yes.  Yes it would.

heroin

Not pictured: someone worried about getting on welfare.

And while we’re on this subject, how many of you smoke pot?  Because I’m 26 years old, and pretty much every single person I know has at least tried it or become a full-fledged habitual user.  Not only that, but the most common reasons I personally hear when asked why you smoke pot is “It just helps me mellow out” or “I had a rough day and just need it to relax.”  Fair enough, we all have our vices, and I am of the opinion that marijuana, while not my cup of tea, really isn’t that bad.  I’d even say cigarettes and alcohol are infinitely worse, and I have experience with both of those things.  But anyway, let’s say things in your life take a turn for the worse and you find yourself in a position of applying for welfare to help get through the tough times ahead.  Is your first instinct going to be “I better give up that thing that makes me happy for a few hours a day!” or will it be “this sucks, everything sucks, I’m depressed, I’m gonna smoke a joint and chill out for a bit.”

….Yeah, I thought you might go with the latter.  So, are these people heathens that deserve to be denied access to money they would most likely spend on food, clothes, laundry detergent, shampoo, and electricity (and maybe a dimebag)?  I would say no, but we’re all entitled to our opinions.

Marijuana Machine

$15?!  There goes all my food money.

I’m simply asking for everyone, no matter which side of an argument to stand on, to stop and take a look around at what’s happening.  While we’re too busy having our petty squabbles with each other, our individual freedoms are getting destroyed by those that we elected to preserve them.  Maybe instead of blindly reposting the same images on Facebook and Twitter every day, you can go do some research on a given subject and weigh the pros and cons for yourself.  All I’m saying is, don’t get caught up in something just because it sounds nice in your head.  At the risk of ending this post with a cliché, even communism looks good on paper, but that doesn’t mean it works well in the real world.

Celebrity Celebration

So I just went to check the news this morning.  The first story I see a headline for is North Korea preparing to test a missile launch.  Legitimate news that I’ll read.  Fair enough, what’s next.  Oh, I’ve got a real winner on my hands here: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (I definitely just had to google them to make sure I spelled that right) were “lovey-dovey” on their lunch date!

There are so many things I could say right now.  And I will.

Why in the hell is this on par with news of a potential nuclear attack in the future?  Do you seriously think I’m going to read about this country’s possible annihilation and then say “Oh man, I wonder what those fucking Twilight stars are up to these days”?  No!  That’s got to be the most retarded, confounding thing I’ve ever seen.  Not only that, but this is far from unusual; conversely, I’m mildly surprised that their lunch date didn’t take top billing over the world news.

Why are celebrities so…worshipped, for lack of a better word, in today’s society?  I’m half-tempted to click the link to see if they have a list of what they ate, but I’m honestly too afraid that there will be.  Why?  Why would anyone care what those people do in their free time?  Do you like their movies?  Good for you!  That does NOT mean to need to know every facet of their lives outside of the silver screen.  Sure, it’s fun to know about their work and what they do on set, but my brain starts hemorrhaging when I’m reminded that there are thousands upon thousands of people in the world that are personally invested in what these people, these total strangers, do with every single moment of their lives.  Why?  What is the point?  Who gives a shit about their lives that much?  They’re human, they have the same bullshit drama that you and I do.  These Twilight stars, for instance.  Relationship drama.  Only difference between them and you?  Their job is acting, which for some reason translates into headlines for every petty argument, squabble, lunch date, or whatever else they do.

Did you know that scientists have recently made new advancements on proving how life may have originally formed on Earth?  Or that four Americans were killed in a car bomb in Afghanistan yesterday?  Maybe not.  But I’ll bet you were fully aware about the way Ryan Gosling suddenly stood up for animal rights a few days ago.  Do you not see anything wrong with that, or is it just me?

Look, I respect when actors, burdened with all this fame and glory, use their “power” to try to do the right thing, like Mr. Gosling is doing.  But it’s hardly front-page news, and it’s definitely not more important than world politics and constant (read: needless) loss of American lives.  You know what I think would be just peachy?  If every morning, Joseph Gordon-Levitt got up and read the world news every morning in front of a camera.  Just for ten minutes a day.  I guarantee you, your facebook walls and twitter feeds and whatever else will explode with reposts of that video every day.  Not my ideal solution, but hey, it would certainly get the job done.  Clearly I’m not going to beat this fascination society has with celebrities.  Might as well try to make it positive.

Speaking of twitter….if you got a twitter account just to follow celebrities, then fuck you.  You disgust me.  That’s just the shortest possible way of telling me you needed to be able to tune into that object of your affection any given second of the day to see what mind-numbing bullshit they had to share with the world.  I was going to post some of this morning’s tweets from these celebrities, but I honestly can’t figure out the real accounts from the fake ones.  How do you people use this disgustingly convoluted, glorified messenger service?  You know what, no, I really don’t want to know.

I still think my Joseph Gordon-Levitt idea is a good one.

PETA: Arguably the Worst Goddamn Organization on the Planet

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  PETA is the most manipulative organization on the planet.  The very acronym brings forth a wave of disgust in me each time I hear it, and I find myself choking back a sick combination of tears and vomit.  In my personal life, I am an avid lover of animals.  And I don’t just mean the cute and cuddly ones.  I love cats and dogs as much (or more than) the next person, but I am also fascinated with insects, birds, aquatic creatures, and everything in between.  I even have a passion for watching spiders eating and spinning webs.

PETA claims to be advocates of fair animal treatment.  They are widely known for organizing protests against such things as killing animals for fur clothing and the inhumane torture many animals experience on farms and ranches.  Although their methods are…questionable, to say the least and have gotten them into a bit of hot water, they sound like they’re trying to do the right thing and put a stop to the unnecessary murder of innocent animals.

Unfortunately, PETA doesn’t practice what they preach, a fact that has become well-known over the years but largely ignored.  Reports are constantly surfacing about the amount of animals they kill and their methods of how they attempt to place animals into homes (fun fact: they don’t).  However, these things aren’t the worst thing to me, as awful as they may be.  Although PETA claims to stand for animal rights, they take millions of dollars in donations from like-minded individuals, most of whom are undoubtedly unaware that their money is not spent on helping animals – instead, their money is used for their genocide.

Now I’m not blind.  I know that some animals need to be euthanized due to a variety of reasons ranging from overpopulation to general inability to adapt to a cooperative life with humans.  But this does not give PETA the right to make that decision in a matter of seconds and carry out executions on “unsuitable” animals.  While thousands of people trust them to use their donations towards the common good of fair animal treatment, the company decides it would be better to build a $9,000 freezer used to store the dead animal carcasses before throwing them into black trash bags like nothing more than a pile of discarded tissues.

My main problem is this: although all of these facts are widely available to anyone willing to listen, why isn’t anything done to stop it?  More importantly, how do I spark the necessary catalyst?  I know writing this blog doesn’t help any changes take place, but at least I can farm for ideas.  So…thoughts?  Anyone?

A Recorded History of the Death of the English Language, Part 2

Yesterday I criticized the usage of incorrect homophones in specific situations. It is quite possibly my biggest pet peeve in the world and I could easily write a few thousand more words on the subject. But since I’m not one to beat a dead horse, I’ll move on to something equally important, something I touched on yesterday without going into any great depth: spelling.

Like I said, I’m not the best speller, but I’m far from the worst. I sincerely expect people my age to be able to spell certain words without a second thought, but it appears that is not the case. I used to think it was another form of shorthand typing, but now I’m wondering if they’re just so used to spelling particular words that way that they’ve become irredeemable.

Some examples that come to mind:

“My sister just had a babby.”

“My fone is being stupid.”

“I lyk everything xcept that.”

“I was gonna go home but den I got lost.”

“I definately misspelt that.”

“I’m so kewl.”

Seriously, come on.  Is it incomprehensible that “PH” can make a sound like an “F”?  Because if you can’t wrap your mind around that, you should go back to phucking school.  And the irony behind misspelling “misspelled” never fails to amuse me.

Which reminds me, how do people that type like this pass any classes anyway?  When I was younger, these words weren’t even an issue.  We had to focus on words that were actually challenging, like the one day we had a substitute teacher and she thought it would be fun spending the entire day teaching us how to spell pneumosilicovolcanoconiosis (which I don’t even think is an actual medical term, but I digress).  I’m sure there were days where I had to learn words like “dog” and “child” but that was probably in the first grade.  If you can’t spell “phone” then my logic tells me you haven’t made it to a first grader’s level of intelligence.

Saying that spelling isn’t beneficial to you is like asking how math is going to help you later in life.  It is an invalid argument, immediately dismissed by every adult in the civilized world.  Misspellings can lead to accidental meanings that weren’t your intention, just like failing to learn how to do math can result in you getting audited or being the unlucky winner of a speeding ticket.  It is the fundamental element of language: without letters there are no words, and there are no words if the letters aren’t correct.

So I urge you, learn how to spell.  If not for yourself, then do it for others.  Have some respect for yourself, and I might learn to respect you in turn.

A Recorded History of the Death of the English Language, Part 1

I’ve become convinced that the English language is dying. Not evolving, as some may be saying, but being brutally murdered on cell phones and message boards all across the globe.

It’s “for” not “4”.

It’s “could have” not “could of”.

It’s “too” not “2”.

It’s “someone” not “sum1”.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point clear enough. I have a massive amount of respect for written words; my kind is a rapidly declining breed. Texting and typing have slaughtered both our collective intelligence and our ability to differentiate words. They’re called homophones, people. They’re all spelled differently. Please use the correct word in a given situation, or I will immediately think less of you. It pains me in every sense of the word when I see someone trying to prove their point while using nearly illegible speech. If I have to take an extra few seconds to decipher what you’re saying, then clearly you haven’t put much thought into it and I’m already dismissing your argument on that basis alone. I am often referred to as a grammar Nazi, though I’m not sure why. I don’t correct 99% of the mistakes I see, and the ones I choose to edit are for the sake of education. It’s not a big deal if you can’t spell it. There’s plenty of words I don’t know how to spell.

For instance, I used to constantly misspell “ridiculous” (which I wrote as “rediculous”) and it wasn’t until my cousin corrected me that I realized I was erring. Did I get mad and call her a Nazi? Of course not, that’s preposterous. I listened to her and I haven’t misspelled it since. I learned from being told I was wrong and now I apply that knowledge every time I use that word, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I’m not asking for much here. I’m not saying everyone should know how to diagram sentences properly or pick up a thesaurus just for the sake of learning a new word (though I wouldn’t object). I’m just asking for the proper use of a homophone. Not even a homonym, mind you; that’s a whole other ball game.

For, four, fore.

Their, there, they’re.

To, two, too.

Once you’ve got that down, tackle some harder ones:

Principle, principal.

Capital, capitol.

Complement, compliment.

Or continue living in ignorance and contribute to the destruction of a language through laziness. I know it can be difficult stretching your finger to hit all the letters. I’m sure you’re far too busy playing Atari or braiding your hair, or whatever the hell it is you people do all day. Hey, that’s another one. Hair, hare. See? English is fun! Show it some respect. You can even make it more fun by inserting random profanity if you damn well feel like it.

Meet, meat, mete.

Buy, by, bye.

Damn, dam.

Oh, and try to embrace the beauty of punctuation while you’re at it. Or at the very least, capitalize (not “capitolize”! See, it is fun!) the first word of a sentence and throw a period on the end. Trust me, it goes a long way.

To All You Religious Zealots Out There

I see a lot of religious propaganda on a daily basis, mostly involving the Church’s stance on various political issues.  While I don’t have a direct problem with this, I do take issue with the suggestion that the Church demands every member and follower of that faith absolutely must share these views, which would totally negate that stuff we have called “free will.”

If memory serves, free will was given to us by God as a gift and is rather self-explanatory: an individual is free to make his or her own choices in life without having to conform to a larger ideology.  This includes all kinds of freedoms in life, like the freedom to wear pants, be a vegetarian, or even not to believe in God at all if you don’t want to.  So, I ask: why does it seem like the Church is forcing its will upon its own followers?

I’m starting to wonder about the future of religion, specifically Catholicism. I’m personally not a subscriber of any faith, but I hold no ill will towards any that are.  On the contrary, I understand it completely and silently admire (envy, sometimes) those that are able to have faith.  Today, however, we are living in an age of wisdom and curiosity.  New discoveries are made all around the globe, progressing the collective knowledge of human beings as a whole on a daily basis, while the Catholic Church seems to be moving backwards, or is at the very least stuck in the past.  Now when I see religious content anywhere, I don’t see a group of people saying “Amen!” or “Praise be to God!”  I see harsh criticisms and mockeries being made of those that have found religion.  I find it very hard to believe that this may be a trend, but rather I see it as the evolution of the people’s thought of Catholicism as a whole.

“Evolution” is probably not the best word, considering their stance on that hot subject.  So I’ll put it in layman’s terms: the Church needs to grow up.  We as a people cannot survive by abiding to laws that were applicable over two thousand years ago; it simply isn’t possible.  Hell, we can’t even live like we did two hundred years ago.  Society is constantly changing, and instead of adapting and trying to overcome, the Church seems to be caught in a constant cycle of Condemnation and Forgiveness.  Thanks for acting like the good guy in the end, but seriously, you’ll just hate me for something else tomorrow.  What’s the point?

The Bible-quoting arguments are the ones that really make me laugh.  People that post random Bible verses in order to support an argument amuse me to no end, mostly because there’s only one of two possible outcomes: 1.) there’s a different variation on the interpretation of the quote you’ve selected, thus invalidating your point, or 2.) there’s a verse a few chapters down the road that completely contradicts whatever you just said.  People fail to understand the actual meaning of the Bible.  It is not a directive on how to live your life.  Not every word is meant to be taken literally.  It is a collection of parables and guidelines on how to live your life appropriately in the eyes of the Lord.  But instead of doing that, it seems preferable to be completely random at which exact rules to follow.  If you were born gay then you’re going straight to hell, all while nobody seems to care about the rampant murder, incest, and rape that takes place in the Bible.  Seriously, have you read that thing lately?  And I mean actually read it, not just listened to a few clergies here and there.  The Bible contains countless atrocities in vivid detail, a small example being the impaling and agonizing death of a man on a 70-foot-tall pole.  Granted, the man I’m referring to was Haman and he is regarded as being a bit of an asshole, but what happened to that “forgiveness” stuff I mentioned earlier?  That’s a pretty huge value contradiction there, wouldn’t you say?

Faith can be an extremely powerful thing.  It grants people the ability to overcome their fears and problems, gives them the strength to overcome adversity, makes them feel like they are not alone, and above all else, faith can make a person just feel happier.  Unfortunately, all I see these days is the use of faith to exacerbate fears and hatred instead of trying to dissipate them.  For all of you theists reading this, I strongly urge you to follow the Two Great Commandments instead of the original Ten (for unaware parties: the “Two Great Commandments” refer to “Love thy God” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”), because if you do, the other ten will fall right into place.  The way I see it, using God’s name in support of your personal beliefs on today’s hot topics and contradictory issues is the same as taking His name in vain, which in turn shows a complete lack of respect for your own faith.  I urge you to be more supportive and understanding instead of screaming your views and condemning people to hell all the time.  Disagreement is a part of life, and an important one at that.  Without it, we have no free will at all.  So don’t fight over the gift that God bestowed upon everyone.  Instead, share it with others, take pride in it, respect it and yourself; but most importantly, have respect for others in the process.

Unexplainable Occurrences in Countless Murder Cases

Those who have known me for a while are probably aware of my interest in murder, with particular attention paid to serial killers. I’ve read all the cases I can get my hands on, meticulously reading every detail I can find. A gruesome and disgusting hobby, you might claim, and I would not argue with you. However, despite my interest in the matter at hand, there are some things I simply cannot wrap my head around.

Before I begin, I’d just like to clarify that my darkest days are long behind me in that I’ve joined adulthood. I think about killing people, sure, but in the same way you do: “man I hate that guy, I wish he was dead” or whatever. This entry in no way is meant to express any desire I may have to commit such acts.

Having said that, let’s get started.

1.) I can’t ever possibly imagine how a person could strangle someone to death, no matter what the circumstance. I understand that not all people are emotional or even have emotions, but to watch someone struggle to breathe mere inches from your face and knowing it’s your fault and you can stop at any time…it gives me chills. Clearly this is why strangulation, especially with one’s bare hands, is considered the most “personal” method of killing someone. It is an act driven completely by a passionate hatred, all-consuming and terrifying, the likes of which I cannot begin (or even want) to comprehend. Hell, I was watching The X Files the other day and Mulder began choking someone out of fear and anger, and the look on the other guy’s face was horrifying. And that was just an actor. I couldn’t possibly see how someone could want to do that to another person.

2.) How in the world do people kill pregnant women? It’s astounding how often a mass murderer’s victim tally says n+1, the n being however many were killed and the +1 being an unborn child. Why? What possible justification could your mind come up with for killing a woman’s unborn baby? I mean, I can even understand the desperation (“understand” isn’t the best word, but it’s almost 5 am, so deal with it) that can cause women to attempt to carve a baby out of a mother’s body and keep the child for herself, but to simply kill them and be done with it is…unfathomable to me. It’s just pointless. There is no possible reason it should ever be done, but it is. Rather frequently.

3.) Depression is often a driving force behind spree killings: misplaced anger due to rejection, some sort of perceived unfair treatment, etc. But why would you want to take the lives of dozens of strangers with you? I wrote an entry some time ago about my old suicidal thoughts, but never in my life have I said to myself “I really wish I was dead…guess I better go on a killing rampage before I kill myself.” Seriously, why? To punish strangers for those you feel mistreated you? To make sure you don’t die alone? I’m fairly certain it’s the former, the justification for which lies in the blaming of society as a whole instead of individuals, but then why not just punish the people you feel had personally wronged you? It doesn’t make sense.

Again, I’d like to take a moment to reiterate that I do not condone any acts of violence such as these. I’m just striving to make sense of it.

4.) How do serial killers forget so many details of their crimes? I’m pretty sure if I did kill someone, I would remember every single second I spent with them. I wouldn’t forget what day it was or where I buried the body. I used to think along the lines of “well, it was just part of their routine, like eating or breathing,” but I’ve come to see that’s far from the truth. If that were the case, there would be no attempt at concealing the murderous acts. If killing is such a necessary compulsion that you have to act on it and avoid being caught, how could you go about your life without remembering the murder and clean-up in detail? I get why they lie and say they killed more than they have – everyone wants to be at the top of the leaderboards. But there is no reason to lie after agreeing to assist in the retrieval of lost victims. They have truly forgotten their own crimes to an extent. It’s almost beyond belief.

That concludes this exercise in morbidity for today. Maybe later I’ll write a bit about the ridiculousness of serial killers getting fan mail, or discuss why Charlie Manson is far from the “greatest” serial killer of all time. That guy does deserve a retrial, though. Certainly hope he never gets out, but still. His trial was pretty screwed up. Til then, sleep well.

Congress and Me (second draft)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about politics. Those of you that know me are aware of my disdain for the whole process. I am not Republican, I am not a Democrat, I am not affiliated with the Greens or Libertarians. These parties, I feel, do more to separate Americans into bickering groups than they do to actually benefit the country in any way. To be honest, there’s a lot I don’t know about this whole politics thing. I know my own views on certain issues while having absolutely no idea which party I would align with in each given situation; it just isn’t important to me.

I am aware, however, that “Congressman” is a bit of a blanket term, covering both Senators and state Representatives, and that the number of representatives each state has is a direct correlation to the state’s populace and number of electoral votes. This makes sense to me: more people means more issues to work out, which leads to a greater need for public servants.

Having said that, they hardly seem like “public servants” to me. I’m constantly reading stories about Congress passing legislation from which they exempt themselves, forcing laws on the American people that are somehow deemed unworthy for their own use(more on that later). Now I don’t disagree with the fact that we need people to represent the majority’s interests. It would be far too anarchic having individuals represent themselves; nothing would ever get done.

But that leads me to my next point: what exactly does Congress do? I’m aware of their general purpose, but I’m wholly unfamiliar with a more down to earth, day-to-day routine. When I write to my Congressman, I’m not writing to an address in my home state, but rather to an address in Washington, D.C. Why is that? If my state representatives are all living in a different part of the country, how can they possibly be familiar with the specific needs of their people? Now yes I am aware that they take three or four (I think) trips per month to their home state in a mandatory (yes, mandatory) effort to stay connected, just as I’m aware of the idea that we, as citizens, are supposed to make our voices heard and let our individual representatives know what it is we need. I am also aware that the United States government only provides funds to cover the cost of 12 trips each year, thus leaving the remaining travel expenses to the Congressman his or herself. What I’m asking is, why do representatives need to live in Washington when they could just be used as middlemen between the Senators and the people?

This could help explain the high salaries received by members of Congress. Not only are they saddled with these additional expenses, but they are now also forced to maintain their lives in two separate homes in accordance with two different costs of living, one of which (Washington) has one of the highest costs of living in the entire country. I understand the “need” for it, as explained earlier: they must be able to meet and vote in Congress while maintaining a stable relationship with the populace they represent. A populace, I might add, that a majority voted for in an effort to align their interests with ours. Alright, so we have the people we want in the offices we want them in, representing our needs to the best of their ability. What’s the problem, then?

The problem is the idea that these members of Congress are NOT representing us to the best of their abilities, but instead only looking out for themselves and leaving “we the people” to feast on the crumbs. This is best shown in the aforementioned ability they have to exclude themselves from any laws they pass. Take Obamacare, for instance. I for one don’t know a whole lot about it; I never read it, and everything I see is just propoganda made in an effort to make one party look bad (another issue I’ll get more in-depth with later). What I do know is Congress has voted themselves exempt from Obamacare, opting instead to keep their already existent health benefits. Why? Because we’re getting the crumbs once again, the morsels that have fallen to our collective mouths from the edges of their gold-rimmed china. If it’s not good enough for the person representing us, why is it good enough for us? I don’t mind dining on kraft macaroni and cheese every once in a while, so long as you don’t treat yourself to a porterhouse every night while we’re at the same table. And don’t kid yourselves, we are at the same table. We are all citizens of the same country no matter what views you hold or how much money you make.

Money. That’s another one. I took the liberty of checking out some charts detailing the per capita income (PCI) of each state over the last ten years, and was not the least bit surprised to find that the citizens of Washington made an average of about $15,000 more in 2010 (the most recent year on the graph) than citizens of any other state, with members of Congress averaging about $174,000 per year and members of the Senate making over $193,000. Not only that, but even after retirement, these same people are still making anywhere from $36,000 to $64,000 per year. Now let’s say these men and women were actually working for us like they’re elected to. It goes without saying that they should be paid for their work, and they do work hard. However, making triple or quadruple the national average seems totally unacceptable to me. Why not have the Senators live in Washington and the representatives live in their home state, with their salaries adjusted to the PCI of that state? This would not only serve to eliminate the need to constantly fly back and forth, but it would greatly improve the impact people can and will have on their local Congressmen. And do they really need the constant meetings and travelling? Let’s face it, the advent of the technological age makes all of that a thing of the past. I see no need why we still need these hundreds of men and women to continue meeting in person for voting purposes. Establish meetings among the local representatives, determine what is in the best interests of the people, and have those members contact the Senators, who are still in Washington. Create a Skype account if you want to talk face-to-face; it’s not that hard.

As for the issue of party affiliations, I just don’t get it. Maybe you can help me to understand. How does it benefit the country to split each and every issue into an attack, making one side black and the other white? There is always a middle ground, a gray area, and whether we choose to find it is up to us. Sadly, it seems nobody wants to hear that. It’s all “my way or the highway” with all this party nonsense, each with their own petty squabbles and constant conflicts. Think for yourself, not how a group of others tells you to think. For example, let’s say you’re pro-gay marriage but anti-abortion. Do you have to sacrifice one ideal for the other, just because your party of choice doesn’t agree with your personal feelings? Absolutely not, but it astounds me how commonplace this kind of behavior is. Personally I tend to see things as more of a democrat (so I’m told). However, if the Democratic party were to tell me something is wrong or unamerican, as politicians so often do, am I just going to take their word for it? No! I can make my own decisions. And when that decision is made, I can vote on it how I see fit and contact my Congressional Representative with my concerns. At least, I wish it was that simple. Instead we are split into factions, constantly warring with one another over power and dominance, all while getting bent over by those that are supposed to be helping bring us together.

The government is partly to blame, yes, but so am I. And so are you. If we want something from our government, we have to let our voices be heard. Not as individuals, but as a unified front that cannot be stopped. The only problem is these unified fronts always end up becoming a new political party, and that is the LAST thing we need. We need a party without an agenda, composed of citizens that are willing to both talk and listen without getting blinded by their own beliefs.

Effects of Pointless Video Gaming

A lot of attention is paid to violent movies and video games when it comes to finding a scapegoat. I do not wholly approve of this, but at the same time I wonder if it’s a possibility. Not to say they’re truly responsible; after all, there is no single reason behind a vast majority of actions, but rather a large collective of past events, thoughts, and life choices fueling even the smallest decisions.

No, I am instead wondering if they can at least play a part in inducing desires for an impossible, unattainable future. I grew up playing these games and I’ve always wanted my own adventure. Who hasn’t? Establish yourself as a force to be reckoned with, condemn and single-handedly dismantle a corrupt, sinister villain’s evil scheme, save the princess. These are exciting fantasies which I have lived through vicariously hundreds of times, so much so that it makes the real world seem a little less…preferable, I suppose is the best word.

Granted, I don’t only play the fantasy stories. I’m also known to engage in the straightforward military shooters, blowing the heads off my enemies without a second thought as to who they were. Does that mean I’ve been desensitized? No, absolutely not. There’s an innate difference between seeing the red polygons splashing around my TV screen and witnessing an act of violence first-hand, one which I don’t think the human mind will ever fail to differentiate.

But at the same time, maybe it makes me less hesitant. Maybe, given the right circumstances, I would be a little quicker to pull the trigger.

This post really has no point. I’m not showing any sympathy for the despicable shooters we’ve seen over the years, nor am I advocating any of the media’s blame game that always follows. I’m just saying I want to save the princess, be the hero, and maybe wipe out an alien planet full of exploding creatures in the process.