Tag Archives: Politics

The Right to Senseless Slaughter – Shall Not be Infringed

Gun CartoonLike everyone else on this planet, yesterday we witnessed yet another mass shooting happen in the United States. Once again, another tormented individual exercised his Second Amendment rights and slaughtered innocent men and women serving their country in a blaze of bullets, confusion, and horror. Once more the world’s media dutifully recorded the flood of anguish, bewilderment, and unspeakable sadness as paramedics, police, and security forces rushed to the scene. Once more we witnessed the hastily arranged press conferences that tried to explain the unexplainable. Once more, the massive vortex of ambiguity and speculation  swirled about who was responsible and what were the motivations. Was it a lone wolf? Was it a terrorist? Was it a co-ordinated attack?

Once more the President of the United States appeared on television to console Americans and assure them that everything would be done to get to the bottom of this. Barack Obama looked like a sad, weary figure at the podium as the press clamoured for details and clarifications. I thought to myself ‘how many times has he had to do this?

There have been six mass shootings in the last nine months,and 20 during the Obama presidency.

I lived in the United States for a total of 6 1/2 years, from 1994 to 2001. I have many good friends there who are decent, intelligent, wonderful people. I miss them very much and I wish I could see them again. Many Americans are decent people who are not extremists, fascists, neo-nazi’s, or overzealous fundmentalist religious types. But for the life of me, I can’t understand how Americans condone the level of gun violence that happens every year in their country. Consider this chilling piece of information. Since the hideous slaughter at Newtown in late 2012, 8, 250 Americans have died from firearms.  It’s shocking beyond all belief. 8,250 dead men, women, and children since Newtown.

There are over 300 MILLION GUNS in circulation in the United States. On September 13th, the largest study done on gun violence in the United States was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the study, every year 31,000 people die from gun violence and 74,000 suffer nonlethal injuries.

How many more innocent people have to die or suffer gruesome injuries in the United States for the convenience of owning a gun? How many more babies in strollers have to be shot in the head point blank? How many more little children have to die accidentally because their parents didn’t put the weapons away? How many more people need to be murdered by bored American teenagers looking for something to do? How many more concealed weapons do Americans need to carry around to make criminals think twice about using a gun? How many more vigilantes do they need to prowl the halls of elementary schools to scare off mass shooters? When a society reaches the point where it actually condones weapons being carried around in elementary schools, I submit that it’s in a state of civil war with itself.

I give my deepest condolences to my American friends, and offer up this meditation from Peter, Paul, and Mary:

How many deaths will it take til’ he knows, that too many people have died?

The Grumpy Ferret (The answer is blowing in the wind)

God Isn’t Happy About What You’re Doing to the Earth

God was on Youtube the other day. I’m not surprised. The Almighty is a pretty tech-savvy entity, seeing as God gave us the ability to create all this super cool wireless techno-stuff. Why was God on Youtube? Probably because God realized that it’s the best way to get people’s attention these days, since all most folks want to do is glue their eyes to smartphone screens and plug up their auditory canals with earphones. Oh sure, once upon a time, God used the physical environment to communicate with humanity. But that’s just so ‘old school’ in the 21st century. Actually talking to God in person in a physical place just isn’t as convenient or efficient as real-time virtual communications. Much better to engage your audience digitally. At least that’s probably what God’s legion of celestial tech experts said.

So what did God want to talk about?

I’m pretty sure that in God’s eyes, humanity resembles awkward teenagers who have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions. When asked to explain themselves, the answer sounds – ridiculous. No matter how many times you point out the error of their ways, they keep repeating the same negative behaviours and wilfully ignoring the consequences. In real life, you only get so many chances to learn from your mistakes. When it comes to the stewardship of Earth, I think we are unwilling to honestly admit to ourselves that we have run out of chances.

I suspect that God is presently thinking ‘I’ve done everything I could to try and make it clear that actions have consequences, but these kids of mine think they know better. Fine. They made their bed – now they’ll have to lie in it‘ Don’t want to make immediate, hard decisions about seriously acting on climate change? Go ahead. Extract all the coal, oil, and natural gas you want. Frack your brains out. Pump up those carbon emissions and warm up the lower atmosphere. So what if the emissions from TENS OF GIGATONNES of naturally occurring methane contained deep in the oceans and under the permafrost is accelerating? Make all that profit shipping cheap fuel around the world while entire global ecosystems and millions of people you don’t know are severely affected. Keep holding intergovernmental climate conferences to debate what should be discussed at the next intergovernmental climate conference, while the oceans turn acidic, coral reefs die, and fish populations continue plummeting.

Don’t worry about all that global corruption, hatred, ignorance, inequality, injustice, intolerance, and violence. Hey, it’s all part of being human, right? Suffering builds character, doesn’t it? Look, so every major religion riffs on the theme ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you‘ and ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself‘.

It’s all good – isn’t it?

The Grumpy Ferret (Keeping the faith on speaking out)

Stupid Human Tricks Part One (Or Why I Sometimes Think We’re Doomed)

I think that it’s part of the human condition to have weeks where you wonder if we’re truly doomed as a species due to our own greed and stupidity. I’m sure it’s covered in the owner’s manual that comes with each one of us when we’re born.

Wait a moment – What do you mean we don’t come with a manual? How about an app? Surely there’s an app for that?

What? No app either?!

Guinea Pigs - The Next Great Evolutionary Leap

Guinea Pigs – The Next Great Evolutionary Leap

In the last 72 hours, I’ve read, viewed, and witnessed FIVE instances of what I can only call greedy, stupid, thoughtless acts that make me wonder if it wouldn’t be better to wipe the slate clean of human beings and let another species have a go at being the dominant form of life on Earth. I vote for guinea pigs.

Exhibit #1: Global Greed

With the election of Pope Francis at the Vatican, there have been news reports about his concern for the plight of the poor in this world. I’m not Catholic; I have some very strong personal opinions about the church’s history and teachings. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I believe in God as promoted and taught by organized religions? No. One fact I read this week in a news report was that 80% of the human population lives on less than $10 a day. This would mean that approximately five and a half billion people on the planet are desperately poor. But what about globalization and the shiny new consumer society which would raise everyone’s standards of living and let us all share in the good times? We’ve seen what has happened. The economic results of globalization have been profoundly unequal. Large corporations move their operations offshore to lower manufacturing costs and avoid inconvenient government regulations. A tiny minority of humanity controls the majority of the wealth derived from the global economy. Your sacred smartphone was made by a factory worker in China who is paid two dollars an hour. At the same time, Chinese superstitions about the potency of bear gall bladders, shark fins, and tiger penises is driving these endangered species to extinction, along with the African elephant because of overwhelming demand from China’s ivory industry for making tourist trinkets. By the way, the BBC reported earlier this month that approximately 100 MILLION SHARK FINS were harvested from the ocean in 2012. 100 MILLION SHARKS killed for the LUXURY of  putting their fins in a soup pot for ‘Good Luck‘.

With globalization came increased corporate and political corruption, increased environmental pollution and degradation of sensitive eco-systems, and massive populations of young people in developing countries who have no opportunities to better themselves. I believe North Americans don’t understand how much of the world doesn’t play by the rules. Democratic societies are a rarity in this world; authoritarian control, corruption, and humans rights abuses are the norm in many part of the globe. It galls me no end to see the poobahs of business and the sycophantic economic pundits earnestly promoting all things economic as the saviour of humanity while the opposite is proving to be true. It really feels like we’re being indoctrinated to accept a ‘false’ religion beamed at us 24 hours a day (cue visions of a golden calf and Charlton Heston as Moses).

Stay tuned for Part Two – coming soon!

The Grumpy Ferret (So shall it be written, so shall it be done!)