Sunday, February 18, 2018

Don't Give Evil Your Knee-Jerk Sanction

Gun control? Mental health? I do not know the solution or if there even is a comprehensive one - gun bans and mental health care can do only so much. Clearly, there is an underlying, and overlooked, societal issue(s) driving the uptick in mass shootings over the past few decades. This is especially concerning with teenage perpetrators. Unfortunately, this trend will not stop until it is properly addressed. But sometimes, evil simply just exists.

New Gun Policies Won’t Stop Mass Shootings, but People Can (National Review)

None of These Popular Gun Control Proposals Would Have Prevented the Parkland Shooting (Reason)

The Existing System is Broken: How Government Failures Helped Enable Four Recent Mass Shootings (Townhall) 

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, anti-gun activists and pundits turn to the same retreaded rhetoric that only ever addresses the means - the weapon used - rather than the root cause - the person who used it. Ostensibly, at the core, adult and teenage perpetrators alike increasingly are not all right - emotionally, mentally and/or socially. Why? Answer that question, find actionable solution(s) and, hopefully, lessen the violence.

An alcoholic or drug abuser does not stop being such just because a bottle or drug is taken away or access is restricted. In those instances, the root cause for the behavior must be addressed in order to stop the abuse. This is the very basis of and mandate for counseling, rehabilitation, etc. The same logic applies to perpetrators of violence. Address the root cause for it, and, hopefully, stop the violent behavior.

Or, maybe some people are just evil. In that instance, there is only one way to confront it - and it does not involve banning guns from the lawful and stable citizen who might do so.

©2018 Steve Sagarra

Friday, December 15, 2017

Super Sonic Elixir Tonic

Do you yearn for a world of simplicity? While I do my best to entertain the notion, often it is to the chagrin of more cosmopolitan types. If given the opportunity, I undoubtedly could pass an entire day on the banks of a flowing river, coffee in hand and unexposed to modernity’s intrusions, contemplating the serenity that abounds. I find comfort, if not clarity, in such solitude, not secluded isolation as some may deem it. People nowadays have an inability to maintain undisturbed stillness for extended periods of time, any external stimuli interrupting them. Perhaps it is the understandable, and assuredly inherent, chaos of their own internal thoughts that cause issues, possibly as a result of those contemporary distractions. At times, I may find myself silently concentrating on a ladybug crawling across a leaf, curious about its thoughts and ideas on its own existence. Perhaps it is our overexposure to those things that detract from observing, let alone appreciating, these solemn occasions against the backdrop of a world evermore drifting away from simplicity.

At the same time, I duly embrace modernity both current and in the near future. We live in a prodigious age, on an amazingly beautiful planet in all of its natural and innovative complexities. Despite the latest talk about fake news and social disengagement - notwithstanding the rose-colored perception that past centuries had neither, gazetteers and tabloid provocateurs having thrived on the former to enhance the latter - humanity is more connected and engaged in various technological ways, particularly social media, than in any generation in history. Unbelievably, we are only on the cusp of such developments, even if in various remote corners of the globe this is not entirely the case. In an instant, we can communicate with each other or travel around the world without leaving the comfort of our homes. While we may lose ourselves - either literally or figuratively - in the infinite possibilities such advancements present from only a keystroke or swipe, we never truly can be lost given the prospects we gain from the real-time interconnectedness achieved thus far.

As the Irish saying goes, “may you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.” As a species, humans are complex creatures now evolved to the point of seeking, and especially in need of, uncomplicated answers to labyrinthine questions that may never be candidly forthcoming. If only to persist in the journey of exploring that condition, albeit what may seem a futile, if not fleeting, venture in the grand scheme. If anything, it is quite the opposite. Perhaps it is a tranquil moment in time shared with intimate company as the surrounding world is forgotten, or a nocturnal sojourn imploring the vast cosmos in a world yet again, consistently, on the brink of insanity. None of which and all of which matters, but only if one holds strong to what personally is needed to be believed and felt. To survive. To understand. To live. It can be difficult at times, yet also that simple.

©2017 Steve Sagarra

Friday, October 6, 2017

Save Humanity From Itself

How to restrict and/or ban firearms to protect innocent lives that does not infringe upon law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights versus why someone with no apparent warning signs or violent history decides to commit horrific mass murder in the first place? This is the perpetually controversial debate, and maybe there is no comprehensive answer to the latter question. Before we yet again have that debate, though, is it impossible to refrain, no matter how brief, from the spewing of differing worldviews, political agendas and speculative vitriol out of respect to victims, families and friends? The act committed is horrible enough without the disgusting entropic inhumanity that oftentimes accompanies it in the immediate aftermath.

Now that some of us have taken that pause, what exactly could have prevented yet another latest mass shooting? More gun control laws? More background checks? According to official reports, like numerous incidents before it, none seemingly could or would have prevented the tragedy as no obvious red flags presented themselves. Never missing an opportunity, this fact has not stopped politicians and pundits from advocating such non sequitur measures. If the forest is burning down, is it logical to continue throwing water on a camp fire that did not start it? What might have prevented the forest fire in the first place? Environmental impact aside, the forest, like the Second Amendment that anti-gun activists find abhorrent, could have been bulldozed and obliterated to mitigate such incidents...but then there would be no forest in order to see the trees. Not every incident is endemically comparable to every other one, and any systemic blanket comparison is foolish in a blind effort to implement any further restrictions or changes to the law without understanding the root cause(s).

This does not negate the necessity of any reasonable measures that can be and, in many cases, currently are applicable. After all, bans and restrictions on camp fires exist for susceptible wooded areas; even so, this does not mean everyone obeys the laws or rules. The same is true with gun control. Now, you probably are thinking, and granted rightly so, that forest fires - whether naturally occurring or accidental - and mass murder are not even on the same level. Victims of gun violence are family, friends, neighbors and, probably for the most part, strangers, while forest fires do not cause mindless slaughter...except to the animals, insects, plants, trees, etc, that live there and die because of them. Any senseless loss of life is tragic, though, no? Or, is there an arbitrary, sliding scale on what constitutes an acceptable and unacceptable loss, simply because we, as sentient beings, identify more with humancentrist tragedy? Perhaps this is why politicians who advance stricter gun control have no issue with allowing the government-sanctioned slaughter of endangered species, like wolves, even as scientists explore the cosmos for the most basic forms of microscopic life.

The point is that until the mindset of humanity as a whole is enlightened to appreciate all life - especially in regions throughout the world where ethnic cleansing and mass genocide are prevalent - there never can be a comprehensive appreciation for any life on an individual level. No matter how much gun control legislation is implemented - even outright weapons confiscation that anti-gun activists preach, because to what would that extend and entail - the profound issue is individual, sentient beings who willingly take another life without conscience, remorse or repentance. The enduring failure to grasp this inherent concept will continue to prevent us from seeing the forest for the trees. That is the real tragedy, which will haunt us until the next one.

©2017 Steve Sagarra