Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walkin' in a Splintered Gun-derland pt. 3: The Palinode

    I've expressed my opinion on firearms in America several times now, and now I would like to go back and overturn some previous opinions. I made it clear when I started this blog that I was not above admitting when I was wrong, in light of new information. I am indeed going back on some opinions I've expressed on gun control in the past. I believe in the American ideals of freedom on a personal level and on a national level, and to ban guns would be a ideological infringement that constitutes treating the symptom and not the disease. I hold personal responsibility in exceedingly high esteem in all aspects of my life, and guns can undeniably be used responsibly and therefore should never be banned. In essence, it should not be the guns that come under scrutiny, but how they are used.
    Guns must be kept legal because they are harmless in the hands of responsible adults. Likewise, drugs, prostitution, gambling, and any manner of vices should be viewed the same way, and I know that many people who are pro-guns may disagree. Prostitution is a prime example of something like guns, that when approached responsibly, can be utilized safely to the satisfaction of all parties involved. If used recklessly, guns can kill people, many people, very quickly. Prostitution, if used recklessly, can severly damage people physically, emotionally and psychologically. From the cold, logical standpoint of "which is worst in it's worse case scenario," prostitution seems to have even more of a right to be legal than guns. But this isn't about which "has more of a right to be legal." This is about the oppression that exists in taking the decision of whether or not to act responsible out of the hands of American citizens. The government should not be telling it's citizens "we do not trust any of you with this gun, or with this prostitute, or with these narcotics, or your with own gambling money" without giving each citizen the chance to show they can exercise responsibility.
    A vice is by definition, something that goes against a moral code. Morality is concerned with good and evil, right and wrong. Some things are very clear. Harming another person is evil, and helping another person is good. However, there is an ocean of issues that cannot be so clearly defined. These grey areas are notoriously difficult to legislate, due to conflicting opinions. That word, opinion, is the keystone of why the issues are so difficult to govern. We cannot and should not, as a nation that loves it's freedom above all, pass laws based on opinions in any way. I abhor prostitution, from the predatory pimps, to the greedy clients, and workers with their clear lack of self-respect or standards for themselves. I loathe guns, also, as something I find completely obsolete inside our country. The ease of which they can be obtained is appalling and the devastating degree of some tragedies we have experienced were possible due to guns. However, bans are an indirect, lazy and ineffective solution. It's my right to think something is evil, it's their right to think it is perfectly acceptable, and if we can't come to an agreement based on something substantial, then neither of us has a right to force change on the other.
    The solution lies in a nationwide effort from each and every one of us to be responsible, teach responsibility, educate the ignorant about the dangers of irresponsibility. We also must be insightful enough to recognize when our fellow humans are a danger those around them and courageous take preventative measures so we aren't forced to take retaliatory measures. The only action I see the government needing to take, is the role of watchdog. When there is  potential for someone to harm to others, it is perfectly reasonable and prudent to have an authoritative body in place to restrict access for malicious, unstable, or irresponsible people. To the tree-hugging hippy liberals, telling others they cannot do something because you think it is wrong is called fascism, and for a nation that places such a high value on freedom, fascism is not compatible. To the right-wing nutjobs, this is not about guns, or even about protection, it is about personal and interpersonal responsibility, and you must decide if you are pro-gun because you really like guns, or if you support the idea that it's not about what you are using, but about how it is being used, and the full implications of that. Use and abuse are two completely different things, and unfortunately for our freedom, many people try to blur or ignore this distinction. I've been guilty of it myself, but my personal ideas of right and wrong do not give me, or anyone else, the privilege to restrict another responsible adult from doing what she or he thinks is right, if all we have to base it on is opinions.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Excerpt From A Short Story

The following is an excerpt from A short story I am working on as a creative writing exercise. Hope you enjoy!

    "Did it work?" She gasped, with the last of her strength.
    "Perfectly. Sorry." But Alonzo wasn't talking to anyone now. He pulled a handful of small glass vials out from his leather bag and lined them up to be filled. She had been a singular experience, he thought, and he would savor her like cognac.
    He was surprised at himself for saying 'sorry' to her. He used to apologize to everyone, saying 'sorry' for hours after they were dead, sacrificed to him. He held little memorials for a while, then he just tried to detatch from everyone. Now, though, he was seasoned at this grim existance and he never apologized anymore.
    His shovel was already in the car he left in the alley, but it was getting late, almost 5 A.M. He would have to wait until tomorrow to bury her body.
He delicately pulled a thin silver chain from her neck and put it in the top drawer of his dresser. On the chain was a small heart locket with her initial on it. The drawer already clamored with trinkets, a memento from every person on which he had ever fed. He kept them to remind himself of who he was.
    He flicked off the single 40-watt bulb that dangled bare from the ceiling. The sun would be up soon. He laid back on the grey, stained mattress. He never cared to sleep in a coffin. He lived in one.
    Alonzo dreamt that night. He stood in a crowd of children; girls in pettycoats and bonnets, boys shoeless in plain cotton clothes made to last. The group gathered outside of a large, wooden building, like a house, but too big, and all one room. A woman looked down at him, called him 'Michelle.' The woman, their teacher, circled them around a sapling, a new apple sprout she'd found. They were transplanting it, their class tree, that would grow as they did. He thought he might like to grow things too. Or maybe Michelle thought that. When he got older, he would grow flowers, vegetables, trees. When he was done with his chores later, maybe mama would let him go and look for seeds...

    He woke groggily at the onset of night, his head like a sack of wet cement. For the moment he tried to ignore the corpse on the floor. He pulled a brown paper bag from the floor next to his bed. He filled a thin white rolling paper with dull green herb and twisted it. He lit a match and filled his lungs, trying to clear his thoughts for the task at hand.
    "Can I have a hit? My head is killing me." Marah sat up, rubbing her temple. Alonzo violently coughed out a greying cloud, and the joint fell onto his leg, left to burn for a few seconds in disbelief. She rubbed her eyes. He passed it to her from the circle of charred flesh on his leg. He looked her over without blinking, like a new species of animal. Memories from the previous night billowed in her mind.
    "So... Did it work?"
    "Uhh... Yeah." He stood suddenly and walked to the only door other than the exit. "Be right out." He stared into an empty mirror, frosted over in decades of grime. he almost never came into the bathroom, but he needed to think for a minute. What the hell happened? How was she still alive? She seemed to remember everything, too, how would he explain this? He leaned over the browning, crusty sink to try to focus. Should he just kill her outright and be done with it?
    The door banged open and off one hinge.