Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hypocritical Hollywood Demands a Plan


Unless celebrities are talking about cancer or AIDS, I usually don't listen to a word they say. My first thought is: How can you with your private tutors, private planes, personal chauffeurs, personal stylist, kids you don't raise, and endless bank accounts know what it's like to be an average American? This time they're speaking out against gun violence and for gun control. They don't say gun control in this video, but we know where this is going. Only an out of touch faction of society would say something out of touch. And what ground do these Hollywood celebrities have to speak against violence? Let's look at a few of the people in this video.
  • Beyonce is married to a man who thinks he's king of "Gangsta Rap" and she starred in that awful version of Swimfan a few years ago where she fights and kills Ali Larter in the end.
  • Michelle Williams' breakout performance was Halloween: H20 and one of her more recent roles was playing Leonardo DiCaprio's wife in Shutter Island where she killed her three kids.
  • Jamie Foxx was in Collateral with Tom Cruise and his new film set to release in a few days is Django Unchained in which he kills a bunch of white people. He was also in The Player's Club and Law Abiding Citizen.
  • The opening scene of Hannibal, starring Julianne Moore, was a mini-massacre at a fish market. She was also in Children of Men, Eagle Eye, Chloe, and she'll star in the Carrie remake this spring with Chloe Grace Moretz.
  • If you've never seen Chris Rock in New Jack City, then you're missing out.
  • Jeremy Renner was most recently in Bourne Legacy and Marvel's The Avengers. He was also in Ben Affleck's The Town, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, and the latest installment of the Mission: Impossible movies.
  • One of Reece Witherspoon's earliest films was a hilarious number called Freeway where she shoots a man with a gun and bangs a girl's head into the concrete. She also had a small part in American Psycho.
  • Do not let Selena Gomez's doe eyes fool you. Her Disney Channel tenure is over and she's set to star in Spring Breakers this coming spring where she and three of her bombshell friends commit armed robbery to fund their spring break trip. At some point she'll start production on 13 Reasons Why, one of the most realistic novels on teen depression/suicide I've ever read.
  • While that lame 90s TV show is what made Courtney Cox famous, I'll always love her for her role as the annoying reporter in the Scream films.
  • Kate Hudson's resume is mostly adorable, but she was in Skeleton Key and The Killer Inside Me.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow played a drunk who commits suicide in Country Strong. She was also in Seven and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  • Brooke Shields was also in Freeway with Reese Witherspoon. If we want to talk about exploitation, she was also in Pretty Baby and Blue Lagoon.
  • No matter what Paul Rudd does, he'll always be Creepy Tommy Doyle from Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers to me.
and the stand out, in my opinion:
  • Elizabeth Banks. She won the coveted role of Effie Trinket in the The Hunger Games, an adaptation about kids killing kids for sport.
Am I against any of these films? No. Many of them happen to be my favorites and a few I'm looking forward to. One of the first movies I remember seeing in theaters was one of the Child's Play movies. My favorite film since I was seven-years-old is a crappy sci-fi flick about alien kids who kill most of their town. Violent and scary films are apart of my childhood. My point is how can you advocate for an end to gun violence when you profit off of violence and you depend on the public finding their joy in artificial bloodshed. It's hypocritical. I don't believe there is a link between mass killings and violent films, but I do believe that violent films fuel our culture's obsession with violence. Movies are bloodier, the body count is higher, and the acting still sucks. I do believe there should be a plan to address violence in our culture, but I'm not following the advice of Selena Gomez who is set to a wield a gun in her next film, or Elizabeth Banks who will be walking the red carpet next November for Catching Fire. We can't fix these problems when we refuse to take responsibility for whatever impact we may have, and Hollywood is the next to the last resort if we run out of options. Tell me: How can Jamie Foxx complain about guns and violence in our culture and promote his soon to be Oscar-nominated bloodbath at the same time?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stigmas and Rifles and Evil, Oh My!

Five days have passed since twenty children and six adults were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. We probably haven't had enough time to wrap our heads around it and grieve, but the conversations have begun and we have to engage. What can we do to prevent this from happening again? I stressed already the importance of the second amendment and why a repeal is not up for discussion, now let's talk about prevention. I've been watching the news, reading blogs and twitter conversations and I see us making the same mistakes we make every time this happens.

First off, we need to stop blaming everything but the killer. The guns didn't make him do it, video games didn't make him do it, what ever mental illness he may or may not have had didn't make him do it, and his mother didn't make him do it. Yes, video games and movies have an impact on impressionable minds, but people make choices. Autism isn't a mental illness and it's not linked to this kind of violence, and while he had issues, we don't know what kind of issues. They didn't find any prescription drugs and we don't know if he was seeing a therapist. He may not have had a mental disorder, for all we know. He shot his mother in the face four times while she was sleeping. The question isn't what was wrong with him, but what was he angry about? While the last few mass murderers had depression or schizophrenia, we need to stop assuming mental illness is the problem because as a society we're very ignorant when it comes to mental illness. Sean Hannity on his Fox News show asked Joel Osteen if there was a difference between mental illness and evil. What kind of question is that?

We need to stop blaming other people for this young man's actions. We obviously didn't learn from Tucson when dumb liberals blamed Sarah Palin for the actions of an apolitical unmedicated schizophrenic. The NRA didn't tell Adam Lanza to shoot those kids, they didn't give him the guns to do it, nor do they advocate for this kind of behavior. Personal responsibility is an endangered species in our culture. It's almost like it's painful for us to admit that Adam Lanza made a choice, which brings me to my next point. We need to stop refusing to talk about the killer. Calling him a freak or any name or refusing to say his name is stupid. He's not Voldemort. It is important to memorialize the ones who died, but remembering the victims won't prevent this from happening again. The next Adam Lanza, and there will be a next one, doesn't care about his victims like we do. We need to remember Adam Lanza. It's always the same kind of kid: loner, socially awkward, angry, withdrawn, sad. In life we dismiss them and we do the same in death and the cycle just continues. We need to get know him, get to know his struggle, and only then can we recognize those characteristics in someone else or ourselves.

We need to stop acting with our emotions and think with logic. Adam Lanza acted with his emotions and people died. Calling for gun control or a ban on guns is done so out of emotion. Logical people know that gun control is not a logical option because it doesn't work. The kind of gun control liberals want would take guns away from law abiding citizens leaving them vulnerable to criminals who don't care about the law. James Holmes could have gone to any movie theater in Aurora, but he chose the only theater that was a gun free zone. What else constitutes a gun free zone? High schools, elementary schools, college campuses, post offices. It's no coincidence mass murderers pick gun free zones. We've done an assault weapons ban before in 1994. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris got the guns they used for Columbine illegally, and that was 1999. Adam Lanza tried to purchase a gun legally, but didn't want to do the waiting period so he took his mother's guns and killed her. Timothy McVeigh didn't use a gun when he bombed that building in Oklahoma City. He used fertilizer. The point I'm making is that where there's a will there's a way, and there's no law in existence or waiting in a congressman's brain that can stop that kind of determination.

We need to accept the existence of evil. I believe that our blaming video games and the NRA is our way, consciously or subconsciously, to keep from acknowledging that Adam Lanza is human and he made a conscious choice, despite whatever disabilities he may have had, to kill children. No one wants to believe that kind of evil exists, but it does. Acknowledging the existence of evil would force us to admit our own helplessness because, truthfully, there's very little we can do to prevent something like this from happening. All we can do is recognize the signs before people snap and put measures in place to prevent as much damage as possible. It is ignorant to think the President's signature on a bill would stop something like this from happening again, so we need to prepare for it.

We have got to educate people and ourselves on mental illness. What I have been hearing from liberals and conservatives alike the last few days is scary. Disarming the mentally ill is a bad idea. Do I need to explain the significance of the second amendment again? People with mental problems want to live normal lives, not be controlled by bureaucrats.  There are plenty of people who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and they own guns and they're not shooting people or themselves. This stigma and stereotype that mentally ill people are off kilter and waiting to explode needs to stop and it's only going to lead to harmful policies against the mentally ill.

Lastly, our culture has to change, and I'm not talking about video games and movies. We need to stop supporting organizations that push our kids to keep secrets from their parents (I'm looking at you, Planned Parenthood). We need to promote the importance of fatherhood and a two-parent home. Anti-bully movements are pointless if we don't teach our kids to show compassion for potential victims of bullying. We talk way too damn much and we need to start listening. A lot of these kids just want to be heard and feel like their problems matter. We need to support parents who have children with anti-social mental disorders and developmental disorders. We need to do more than educate our kids, we need to give them hope for a future. Most importantly, we can't fight evil if we push God to the side.

We make these same mistakes every single time, and then we scream, "Why does this keep happening!?" What can be done can't be done through our government; our communities and churches have to step up. These are our schools, our children, and our family members. Our responsibility. Looking to government to take care of us when we can do it ourselves will cause more harm than good. No one is going to care about your personal safety, or your mental health, more than you do. Writing and debating legislation that isn't going to do any good is a waste of time and money. If we want to avoid these situations, we have to educate ourselves and avoid stigmas and stereotypes, and act with our brains. Most importantly we need to remember God and remember the evil that causes this in the first place.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our God-Given Rights in the Second

This past Friday, a young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother while she was still in her pajamas. He stole her car and her guns and drove to an elementary school and killed twenty children and six adults. Words cannot describe it and there are too many questions to answer. The first question is, "Why?" We may never know why, and that's something we'll have to accept. It's human nature to think about the what ifs and the could have beens and what could we have dones. We can't change the past, and we can't bring those children back. We can only move forward and try to prevent this from happening again. As always, whenever there's a mass shooting you hear two things, mainly from liberals: gun control and the second amendment. Who needs an AR-15? Guns are just designed to kill people. Those kids wouldn't have died if guns were banned. Repeal the 2nd Amendment! I've had a lot to think about over the last few days and I think I'm ready to put my thoughts into paragraphs instead of tweets. I want to talk about gun control and mental health and what we can do to prevent this from happening, but we need to cover the basics. Why do have a second amendment, and why is it so important? Yes, let's start there.

The Second Amendment of the Constitution says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The courts have long decided that this means we as individuals, states, and municipalities have the right to bear arms. Our government is not some free for all where they can do whatever they want without consequence. They have boundaries. The Constitution is the government's cage and the second amendment is the key. Many people will say the first amendment is the most essential and what makes us unique, and they may be right, but without the second amendment, we don't have a nation. Coming up with our government wasn't an overnight job, it took days and countless debate and for good reason. Our founding fathers wanted a free nation not subject to a tyrannical monarchy. In layman's terms, the first two amendments read like this:
  1. We the people can say and believe whatever we want,
  2. and I dare you to do something about it.
The Constitution is not for us. We have a God-given right to defend ourselves and our families, and the Constitution reminds the government they cannot infringe on these God-given rights...or there will be consequences. The second amendment is that consequence. An armed public is a scary public no government will touch. Why not repeal the second amendment, take away all guns in an attempt to make us safer. Let's look at the history of gun control:
  • The Soviet Union banned guns in 1929, and 20 million people who opposed were executed over the next twenty-four years.
  • China banned guns in 1935. 20 million people died between 1948 and 1953.
  • The Ugandan dictator banned guns in 1970, and then had 300,000 Christians killed between then and 1979.
  • In 1938, the German dictator Adolf Hitler established gun control, banning Jews from owning guns. Do I need to tell you what happened next?
The keyword in "gun control" is control. Gun control is about controlling the masses, not public safety. If it happened in Europe, Asia, and Africa then it can most definitely happen here. Bad things happen to the people when the people are unable to defend themselves from government. That's a historical fact. Taking away the right to bear arms is the first step of any dictatorship. No guns means the people can't rise up and overthrow them. That's why we have a second amendment, to remind our government that the people have the God-given right to rise up and raise hell. The second amendment is a deterrence to keep the government from becoming the King we left behind. We lose the second amendment, then we lose our freedom and this great nation.

In times of tragedy, it's natural to say rash things but when they're repeated over and over again it just sounds stupid. An honest debate needs to be had, but touching the second amendment in any way is out of the question. Police, firefighters, and the military are as far as the government should ever go in protecting the people. Anything else is our problem. It is our job to protect our families, our children. It is our job to teach our children compassion, empathy, and love. God gives us our right and we take them for granted and we need to start taking personal responsibility. And when it comes to our schools, public and private, that push needs to come from us so that we're in control. The last thing we need to do is give the government more power than what is guaranteed in the Constitution.