Category Archives: Politics

Gunning for Changes

Gun Sight

Let me begin by saying, and then reiterating, that I am not seeking legislation that would take everyone’s guns away, or render gun ownership unconstitutional…

I believe guns are here to stay and like it or not (I don’t), they are part of our society.

But I also believe guns play a role in far too many catastrophes in our nation, and that some changes would probably prevent some of the tragedies, the senseless loss of lives, wrought by the mind-numbing, head-scratching proliferation of mass shootings, Darwin Award nominations and unacceptable “accidents.” I write “probably” not because I don’t 100% believe the right changes would make a difference, but because I, for my part, am willing to concede that until my proposal is enacted and given a proper sample size of time to take hold of our society (which has pretty much devolved into the Wild West of Spaghetti Western fame), I honestly don’t know whether things will measurably improve. But if one life is saved per year, changes are warranted. I believe many more will be spared…I am not alone…we have done things “their” way for too long already and have plenty of “ammunition” (pun intended) to push for change…now let’s enact that change, give it some time, and then compare.

Because the gun lobby has become stronger than the BO of a longshoreman after a two day shift, stronger than the active ingredient in SNL’s Colon Blow (Phil Hartman RIP…another tragic victim of a senseless shooting), stronger than Obi Wan threatens Darth Vader he would become should old Ani strike him down, stronger than the Mountain, stronger than a tech stock circa 1999, stronger than death itself (and death, we all know, is undefeated since the dawn of time)…those of us who believe the 2nd Amendment as imagined by the NRA and staunch gun supporters today is a complete fraud, and is interpreted as loosely (and falsely) as that geography textbook that was recently found to have referred to slaves as “workers” need to get creative.

Here is my plan:

You know who gets totally screwed in today’s campus/school shooting every day hum-drum, Groundhog Day if it was directed by Eli Roth world we live in? I mean, besides all of us, especially those of us with children in school who fear every day and night that the horrible story interrupting the crawl on every television, the nightly news story du jour will feature our own children’s institution…because that’s a given, right? RIGHT?

No, I am referring to the teachers, principals, team coaches, school nurses, admins, professors, and other college campus employees who seem to be thrust onto the battlefield daily in the scariest war imaginable by virtue of their profession. I am guessing none of them, even the rent-a-cops and public safety officers at most schools, signed up for this new fine print inserted into their job descriptions. Sure, there is probably a Sergeant Tackleberry type at some schools…a wanna-be hero, an ex-military type trained to kill by our government’s finest, a gun nut or two and a few other vigilantes and loose cannons, but by and large, the majority of those who dedicate their lives to educating and bettering our children are not looking to be charged with protecting our children from mass murderers and terrorists, with performing daily and weekly drills hiding the kids from danger “just in case,” and with potentially being shot and even dying in one of the historically safest professions out there.

Because of this, I propose all of these school employees, public and private, from elementary school all the way up to graduate school, across the USA, go on simultaneous strike. And I propose they continue to do so until changes are made. And I guarantee changes will be made. (Just imagine…)

I am not trying to insert myself into other people’s livelihoods…to force people already grappling with awful fears and potential scenarios unimaginable to most of us…to take up a selfless cause that could have difficult, unacceptable side effects, economic ramifications and even outcomes. But I am trying to get some of the people closest to the current trends, who have everything to lose, who already must struggle with “what ifs” and nightmares regularly because of the increasing prevalence of these tragedies, to help put an end to the madness, or at least to mitigate it…to act…to do something that might…just might reduce the number of these awful crimes from occurring.

The changes we should enact:

All guns must be registered like cars, with VIN numbers. Those who have guns registered already, need to do nothing else for registration purposes.

All guns not currently registered need to become registered (there will be those who do not comply here…primarily criminals).

To buy and register guns, a licensing and testing period must be passed, just like becoming licensed for a car. All gun owners and gun USERS (even if you are just using your dad’s or brother’s gun at the range), must get licensed, and keep their licensure up to date.

Anyone with a registered gun (see above) must become licensed, or the registration is forfeited.

To qualify for a license, there must be age limits (I propose 18), eye sight minimums (like with driving), and mental health examinations. These last two must be re-affirmed every two years for mental health, and six years for eyes.

All guns must be insured, and all licensed people must also be insured.

Gun Shows will be outlawed.

A hefty tax will be placed on ammunition which will pay for all the services and labor required to enact these new requirements – which will be overseen by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

This will be Federal legislation, and apply to all states in the union (sorry Texas…and those who wish they were Texas).

New protocols will be implemented to allow for police and ATF personnel to make sure guns and their owners are in compliance with all of this – including but not limited to having random gun checks, not unlike sobriety checkpoints on the road.

Those caught with unregistered guns, uninsured guns, etc. will be jailed.

And the kicker: To qualify for a license, applicants must have already served two+ years in the US military in some capacity. Those who have not, must enroll. It’s part of the 2nd Amendment (trust me…it is…and all the friggin’ NRA supporters deserve to live the actual words of our Constitution, rather than the falsified Fantasy Land interpretation they forced upon us for the past thirty years). Plus, the training prospective gun owners will receive is vital.

And to all of you psychopaths who think we need to arm our teachers and school personnel:

I just keep getting images in my head of what it is, exactly, that you ignoramuses are calling for…schools filled with teachers and rent-a-cops and principals and sports team coaches, armed to the gills – and by the way…if these unfortunate, underpaid and underappreciated but generally noble people pack heat on their person, how many of them, when push comes to shove, would actually shoot one of their students? How many would/could get overrun by high school/college bullies and miscreants (I had a middle school teacher get beat up by a 7th grade student in front of an entire homeroom class…no joke…and fortunately, no guns). And if these teachers, et al, kept the arsenal locked away, as they should, for safe keeping, then what good would it really do anyway in the instant it was needed? And how many good teachers would be dissuaded from pursuing that career out of fear of having to pack heat and possibly use a gun one day…on one of his or her students? The idea of a veritable weapons bazaar at an institution of learning, at any level, is in fact, the most disturbing and preposterous idea of all I have heard.

I would love to hear some of your ideas…mine might not be the best, but it is something, and I believe it would work.

Thanks for reading.

IDROS

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And With Freedom Comes Responsibility

flag-day-fireworks

There are a great many options when it comes to spending (I prefer investing) our free time in today’s world.

We can take ridiculous “tests” that determine which Kardashian we would be, or which character in Silver Spoons we would be, or which nursery rhyme villain, Disney World ride, Lady Gaga outfit, extinct animal, Spielberg film, Shel Silverstein poem, Chinese Food menu item, etc…

We can crush Netflix original programs four episodes at a clip;

We can pore over, troll and contribute to various social media platforms;

We can have sex (alone or with others), pamper ourselves, shop, exercise, eat, travel, play sports or games, read, nap, Prancercise, meditate, go to the movies, do a crossword, enjoy time with friends or family, volunteer…

We have choices…lots of them. And for that, we are fortunate. God bless America.

I urge all of you to take an hour or so and read The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an intriguing and very well written piece recently featured in The Atlantic.

I have no idea how you will feel while and after reading the article. I read it a few weeks ago and still haven’t fully determined how I feel, what I think, and what, if anything, I should do now that I read it, given that it definitely affected me in profound ways.

A few of my personal takeaways:

Reading this piece made me feel ashamed and embarrassed to call myself an American in much the same way most of the W Bush presidency did (especially in the aftermath of Katrina – “Heck of a job, Brownie,” the invasion of Iraq and failure to find WMDs and his continual buffoonery that made him a global laughing stock) – and a great deal of the current Obama presidency is doing (Obamacare, the IRS scandal, his hypocrisy in solving the financial crisis – thank god we bailed out GM so they could continue to be so poorly run that their shoddily built cars have killed hundreds – and aren’t we all equally proud that our tax-dollar bailouts were used to bestow giant bonuses on Wall Street’s wolves just days after they fleeced us and the Federal Government out of billions. And don’t get me started on Obama’s consistently shameful treatment of Israel, arguably America’s most loyal and important ally, but alas that is for another article and another time.

My own black history education is shameful…and I know I am at least partly to blame for this. Worse still, I believe I received a top 1% education in our country, and still feel this is true, so I can’t imagine what is taught (and more importantly, what isn’t) in classrooms and curricula that unfortunately fall in the lower tiers of the American education system. I expect the world, and most importantly all Americans, to be educated on the Holocaust as I believe this will at least help to preclude something that awful from ever happing again…and I know there is a complete systemic failure right now in our country in making Holocaust education mandatory and in ensuring it is carried out professionally and effectively (watch this video if you don’t believe me). I similarly believe black history and race relations need to be taught at every level of education in our country. Ignorance nurtures racism…education combats ignorance.

Random thought: show me an important article on race that doesn’t feature an embarrassing nugget about a Philadelphia mayor…

Unfortunate thought: I am once again sickened by Donald Sterling, and he wasn’t even mentioned once in this article. (And Dan Snyder is no prize either).

History is littered with examples of man’s mind-bogglingly evil inhumanity towards his fellow man. Vonnegut built an incredible career upon that fact. Kubrick’s 2001 showcases man’s inhumanity as a core theme. Women (i.e., 50% of the world population) have been mistreated since the dawn of time, and unfortunately continue to suffer in many parts of the world. Same for homosexuals, mentally and physically challenged, vertically challenged, Native Americans and countless others. Bottom line, I am not sure reparations can ever fully repay everyone…or anyone, frankly, who has been egregiously wronged throughout history.

As a Jew and a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I kept waiting for the author to relate his argument to a situation in which reparations have been paid in the recent past. I know Germany paid reparations to Israel and to survivors of the Holocaust. I was glad to see the parallel drawn, but was also upset that important lessons, themes and facts regarding Germany’s reparations were omitted. While Germany and some other groups did pay approximately $7 billion in today’s dollars to Israel and direct survivors of the Shoah, Jewish and otherwise, the payments were quite small (a few hundred dollars a month)…let’s say 500,000 people were paid, that total would amount to $14,000 per person. Furthermore, families of those who died received little or nothing. And payments typically only endured for the lifespan of the survivor, so once my grandfather passed away, his payments ceased…same with my grandmother. But what of their children? What of their parents, brothers, sisters and children that perished? The reparations contemplated by Coates are quite different to those paid by Germany in that money would only be paid to descendants of victims (obviously there is no choice at this point). And Coates fails to explain who actually footed the bill Germany paid, how it was funded, how news of it was received in Germany, who received payments, who didn’t, and who was responsible for determining all of this. At least for me, some if not all of that information would have been interesting if not essential for a true thought-provoking comparison to be made.

Among the issues not discussed are the feelings of resentment many Germans felt when these payments were announced – particularly Germans who believed they were innocent and whose families did not participate in the horror show. Also not discussed is the rampant Anti-Semitism raging through Germany and the rest of Europe today…so perhaps the cathartic act of reparations helped quash some racism in the immediate sense (though I doubt that), but the deep-seeded fear, hatred and ignorance always lingered just below the surface and were just waiting for time to pass, memories to fade and hard times to fall in order to resurface. Sure, Germany is not the most blatantly anti-Semitic country in Europe right now…so whoop-dee-doo…I guess the nation deserves a prize for that…but as a Jew, would I dare to live there right now? Would I be comfortable walking alone anywhere in Germany wearing a yarmulke, or a visible Star of David?

That said, I believe it was a good thing that Germany did anything at all even though you could never put a price-tag on the horror of the experience endured nor on the lives and livelihoods lost. But I am not sure I can ever forgive Germany despite the act of contrition. The problem is, it could never be enough, and the powerful and unimaginable anti-Semitism that it took to allow the Holocaust to be perpetrated had been ingrained into the fabric of German and Eastern European life over hundreds of years. Paying money most Germans never authorized or actually supported in reparations did not extinguish that ignorance and hatred.

And then there is this…I am honestly not sure how I feel about the premise of paying reparations given my ancestors were not in America during the time of slavery. My suspicion is there are many people who would feel similarly. Furthermore, my grandparents were treated just as horrifically in Germany and Poland and Russia, if not more so, were left with nothing, and faced awful racism themselves, even in America.

But when the time came to start over, even with nothing, in America…let’s just say that I concede it was fortunate my grandparents were white. Being white is a blessing in many ways for most Jews. If Jews were blue, or green or any color other than white, I am not entirely sure there would be any Jews left on our planet. Hell, we flirted with extinction more than a few times even with our light skin. But being white allowed many Jews to blend in with non-Semitic whites in many parts of the Western world and rise to some modicum of wealth and status. And for American Jews, it can be argued that many direct and indirect benefits we experienced as a result of being lucky enough to have light skin came, at least in some part, from the same exploitation of black people Coates argues quite convincingly benefitted (and continue to benefit) all white people in America. So we reaped and continue to reap the benefits, even if we aren’t culpable for the gruesome and unconscionable acts that enabled the benefits to exist.

Given the above sentiment, I am reminded of the seminal moment in Soul Man, when Darth Vader asks Pony Boy what he learned from his experience as a “black” man, and CTH replied, “if I didn’t like it, I could always get out…” I heard JEJ saying, “you’ve learned a great deal more than I thought” quite a few times as I read the piece.

Other pop-culture references I recalled during and after reading the article:

Dazed and Confused teacher, Ms. Ginny Stroud, to her class after the bell rings: “Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don’t forget what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”

The Wire, when Prez quoted the first few lines of The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar, and nobody had any idea what he was saying…the opening lyrics of that song are haunting.

Coates’ piece accomplished exactly what the author set out to do, in my opinion. He frustrated me. He made me feel guilt. But most importantly, he made me think. This is an important topic, and if nothing else, my hope is that the education requirements and curriculum for black history and race relations education are expanded as a result of this article.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. I am interested in hearing/reading your thoughts on Coates’ piece. Feel free to comment below.

Best regards,

 

IDROS

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My Heartfelt And Personal Shout Out To Ed Koch

King of New York

King of New York

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the passing of my favorite judge, a New York icon, a Jewish and Israeli activist and a lifelong bachelor with “questionable sexuality.” After all, he presided on the bench in my dominant performance in 1998 on The People’s Court, when I took Ramon “I listen to you Hainah” Diaz to the cleaners, so to speak. There are a number of memorable and laugh out loud funny moments from that experience…I will share one:

The Honorable Ed as I Remember Him

The Honorable Ed as I Remember Him

As of 1998, I had never been on a show like The People’s Court before, not even to a taping. Having seen the show a few times, particularly with Wapner in his post-Rain Man prime, I was familiar with the format, the set, the premise and the unmistakable music. But nothing, and I mean nothing, could prepare me for my actual taping. When we (and by “we” I mean myself and my “character witness” Craig) strode through the doors that led to the courtroom set, in boomed the familiar music (bah-dah-dah-dah)…really loud. A) I thought that music would be added in post production/editing – boy was I wrong; B) I was in the moment, game face on, ready to tear my opponent a new one…focusing on my arguments and such; C) I knew this would be on television, so I did all I could to fight back a surge of uncontrollable laughter that was quickly emerging from deep in my stomach; and D) I may have torn a muscle or two in my gut during said struggle, but the laughter was somehow suppressed…not the wry smile, however, which Easy Ed noticed and made reference to during a commercial break – He whispered, “I saw you trying not to laugh, and you should know that despite all evidence to the contrary, my courtroom is a serious place.” He then winked at me, and the rest, as they say, is history. I will miss his Honorable Ed Koch and my “slam dunk” victory.

A few noteworthy facts about His Honor:

1)      Born in the Bronx to immigrant Polish Conservative Jews in 1924, he grew up in Newark, New Jersey

2)      He was a decorated Army Sergeant who fought in the Battle of the Bulge

3)      He began his political career as a very left wing liberal, opposing the war in Vietnam and marching in the South and in Washington during the Civil Rights Movement

4)      In the wake of the Watergate scandal, during which he actually coined the phrase, “The Watergate Seven,” Koch began to lean more toward the right – so much so, in fact, that by his second campaign for mayor he ran on both Republican and Democratic platforms, and by his third campaign, abandoned both parties completely, running as an independent, though he was still included on the Democratic ticket

5)      This shift toward the right played a key role, as after 8 years in Congress, he ran for NYC mayor in 1977 with a more conservative platform than his competitors, and his timing, in the face of the riots that engulfed the city following the blackouts (and Son of Sam’s reign of terror), was impeccable – He won largely due to his hard-line promise to restore public safety

6)      His three terms as mayor were fraught with highs and lows, but his trademark sympathetic maxim, “How am I doing?” bolstered him to popularity

7)      No matter what his ambiguous sexuality actually was, his primary failure during his first term was his failure to act in the face of the overwhelming AIDS epidemic that gripped NYC during the early 1980s – many authors and activists condemned his behavior, including Randy Shilts, who in And the Band Played On, his influential history of the early AIDS epidemic in America, discussed the possibility that Koch ignored the developing epidemic in New York City in 1982–1983 because he was afraid of lending credence to rumors of his homosexuality. (It should be known that In 1986, Mayor Koch signed a lesbian and gay rights ordinance for the city after the City Council passed the measure (on March 20), following several failed attempts by that body to approve such legislation)

8)      He authored and co-authored nearly 20 books from 1980 through 2007, and in retirement started reviewing movies for a weekly web video segment entitled Mayor at the Movies, which was syndicated in the Huffington Post

9)      Ed provoked and maintained an almost legendary feud with Jesse Jackson, which began during the primaries of the 1988 Presidential election. That race had seen Jackson surprising many as he challenged for the Democratic nomination. As the April New York primary approached, Koch reminded voters of Jackson’s alleged anti-Semitism and said that Jews would be “crazy” to vote for Jackson. It continued from there, and played a large role in Koch’s loss to David Dinkins in the 1989 mayoral primary

10)   Koch often wrote in defense of Israel and, also, against anti-Semitism. He also appeared in the documentary FahrenHYPE 9/11 defending President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and blasting Michael Moore. Koch was quoted in the film saying of Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, “It’s not a documentary, it’s a lie.”

11)   The very year he and I crossed paths, he penned my favorite quote when asked to comment on his actual sexual experiences, writing:  “What do I care? I’m 73 years old. I find it fascinating that people are interested in my sex life at age 73. It’s rather complimentary! But as I say in my book, my answer to questions on this subject is simply ‘Fuck off.’ There have to be some private matters left.”

Edward Irving Koch, may you rest in peace.

IDROS

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We Don’t Need Guns To Win This Fight…Part Two

From The Washington Times

From The Washington Times

Please click here for Part One of my long but necessary opinion piece about gun control. And here for an amazing article by Garry Wills on our society’ sickening worship of the gun.

So where was I? Oh yeah, guns are bad…

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary (actually, since the tragedy at Columbine High), I have been deeply saddened, angered, repulsed and generally frustrated by arguments I have heard, read and witnessed from the other side of the barrel (pun intended). Some of the head-scratching rhetoric has been directly directed at my own commentary, while a great deal more has addressed other posts on social media sites as well as opinion pieces, essays, pleas and interview answers among countless other media outlets.

Most of the hot air pro-gun honks blow is worthy of nothing more than this classic gem:

But there are some decent common arguments I have read/heard, worthy of a response. I have listed a few of these in bold type below, with a rational rebuttal below it. I am really trying here, because there are lives at stake. And if last Friday is any indication, innocent, young lives at that. I now have a baby girl. I am quite sure all of you with children had a very difficult time dropping your loved ones off at school this past Monday morning (and all mornings after that), if you were even able to muster the strength at all. This madness will, unfortunately, never fully cease, but we can definitely save lives. Even if we save one precious life through our efforts, it will be worth it.

So please read my rebuttals, and agree that it is time to change. There is no way to know if these proposed changes will be better than the current system of anarchy unless we try. But I suspect they will be. And they really can’t make our current state of blood-bath tinged affairs any worse, right?

So please do what you can to help. We need to rise up and protect our children. We need to protect our country. And we need to protect our fellow man. Pro-gun types will argue, “That’s our point.” Well please read below to see OUR logic:

Our Second Amendment rights: Any argument clinging to our Constitution and the Second Amendment is farcical at best. Written nearly 250 years ago, the language and spirit of the Amendment has no relevance or place in today’s society. A) The amendment itself is just that, a change to the original reflecting the dire need, in the time it was written, to allow citizens to bear arms as part of a regulated militia that would combat those attempting to exploit and exert their unwanted will upon the citizens of the USA; B) There is precedent allowing for Constitutional Amendments to be reedited out, just as Prohibition was 80 years ago; C) The times dictate the need for a change to the Second Amendment and its interpretation, as well as the resources and infrastructure dedicated to enforcing the changes made.

As an aside, one potential solution to consider might just be to REINFORCE the language of the Second Amendment, requiring all who would like to bear arms to be required to enlist in the armed forces, where they can get the necessary safety and responsibility training of using a deadly weapon. However, military experience often leads to mental trauma later on in life, so this fix might actually necessitate further action (*see below regarding my plan).

We will basically be arming criminals, and disarming innocent people trying to defend themselves: First of all, I am a realist. As much as I would love guns to be completely outlawed and made illegal, I do not believe this is a viable or practical option. For one thing, there are like 300 million guns out there in the general population of our country, and collecting each and every one of them would be impossible, not to mention extremely dangerous. So what I am proposing is far more stringent GUN CONTROL. My plan follows:

Ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, military grade armor and all other assault weapons. Effort to seize, collect and destroy all of these types of weapons already in circulation (this may be difficult and dangerous, but would be worthwhile).

Make it extremely difficult to procure guns going forward: Require written and practical tests, just like with drivers licenses, continuing education, and quality mental health screening up front as well as every three or five years of gun ownership. Require criminal background checks as well as multiple (two or three) character witnesses, notarized, that will basically vouch for the applicant.

*For military personnel returning to civilian life after deployment, require more rigorous mental health screenings up front (consider their return like you would the average driver exiting a freeway. One’s propensity to speed is far greater immediately following an extended period of driving fast…plus, my guess is that the battlefield causes more stress and mental anguish than our highways…just a little more, but more nonetheless). Also, require more frequent screenings (PTSD and other military psychological trauma can lie dormant, like an inactive volcano, until one day…well go visit Pompeii, or read about it).

For athletes and any other professionals who might suffer head trauma on the job, during practice or while training, require the same rigorous and frequent mental health screening as for military personnel throughout their careers as well as after.

Limit the number of guns one person can purchase to one in a three or five year period.

Make serial numbers more permanent.

Account for guns more closely, adding resources to Homeland Security and ATF to do so.

Possibly place GPS tracking capabilities of some type on guns.

And finally, require guns to be manufactured with some kind of password protection or fingerprint activation so that only the licensed gun owner can use said gun (this is obviously to prevent the type of atrocity that occurred in Newtown, where the murder weapons were registered to the mother, but her son “stole” them and used them for unspeakable evil).

If people had guns at the school (or theater, or mall), these tragic events would never have happened, or at least fewer people would have been killed/shot: Variations of this argument are as ubiquitous as awful reality television, and it frightens me to no end believing that proliferation of firearms on our streets and in public places such as schools, malls, movie theaters and amusement parks will create a Cold War-like stalemate that will actually make our world safer. First off, have you ever driven on a public road, or in a parking lot? People are irritable, and honk, cuss and irrationally cut people off all the time. Are these the people you want carrying deadly weapons around 24/7? Second, I do not want teachers and school officials carrying loaded weapons in my child’s school. How do we know we can trust those people and their general mental well-being? How do we know they would act responsibly and safely under duress? And what if they were unable to control their own students, and lost control of the weapon, or had it stolen, and then the students had a loaded weapon in your child’s school? But most important to this ridiculous premise is the safety of our own police and security personnel already in place. How on earth will police who arrive to a scene where a gunman, or multiple gunmen are at large, differentiate between the “bad guys” and the “good guys?” I foresee an incredible number of accidental gunshot wounds and deaths resulting from this vigilante approach.

What if the killer uses a bomb? This argument is certainly germane to our times, and is worthy of concern. However, it has nothing at all to do with the gun control debate. Whether people are armed with guns or not, if terrorists or crazy kids (possibly synonymous) plant a bomb somewhere, no amount of guns are going to stop them. And the same holds true for suicide bombers. Police don’t shoot terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests for a reason: they can still detonate the bomb even if shot, and the act of shooting might actually detonate the bomb on its own.

I don’t trust the majority of my fellow Americans. How can I be sure I won’t run into a psychopath out there? I need my gun(s) to protect myself and my family from everyone, because it seems like anyone, anywhere could be a mass murderer. This is the most hypocritical argument of the bunch. Are we supposed to trust our own children to go play at a friend’s house now? How can we trust NRA members? What if YOUR kid finds YOUR gun while OUR kid is at your home? What if someone gets shot accidentally? I find it totally unacceptable to put even your kids at risk in that scenario, let alone mine, and other innocent children of anti-gun parents. This isn’t a Dirty Harry movie, or Dexter. This is real life, and the more guns out there, the more people trying to be a hero, the bloodier and scarier our society becomes.

If somebody wants to kill people/themselves, they can do it, with or without guns: I heard this argument a great deal following the tragedy in Kansas City as few weeks back, when NFLer Belcher shot his baby mama 9 times and then killed himself in front of his coaches at Arrowhead. And I agree. But I guarantee said person would kill a lot fewer people in the same amount of time, and more importantly, there is a far greater chance of surviving a knifing, a beating or a strangulation, as morbid as that may sound, than a gunshot or NINE. There is also the personal angle some psychiatrists have argued, i.e. using a gun is very impersonal, whereas knives, bare hands and strangulation are very personal murder techniques. This may just give an attempted murderer the time to think/feel a connection and stop him or herself in the act. Unlikely, but possible.

And speaking of the tragedy in KC, many people were quick to criticize Bob Costas for using a national spotlight at a sporting event to wax political (calling for stricter gun control), saying it was neither the time nor place. Well clearly, a mere two weeks before the tragedy in Newtown, it was as good a time and place as any. How dare anyone tell a hardworking man like Bob Costas, who has earned the right to talk to us in our living rooms each week, what he can and cannot talk about. Furthermore, on the heels of yet another senseless murder with a gun, when is a more appropriate time to speak out? Is Kasandra Perkins’ life not as precious as any other victim of gun violence? Is her three month old son, who will now grow up without his mother and father, no less a champion for change than any of the children in Newtown, or Aurora, or Columbine?

For another sports figure using his own limited celebrity to speak out on the issue, unsolicited, but beautifully, please click here. Winthrop Coach Pat Kelsey’s speech is a must listen sound bite for all.

If people really want guns, they will get guns anyway they can, even through illegal means. Look at narcotics as an example: There is no way to prevent this. As I already mentioned, there are nearly 300 million guns already out there in America (and many, many more the world over). Criminals will produce and trade guns in any type of regulated environment, and any tightening of the law will only make their product that much more valuable. BUT – making it more difficult to get guns, coupled with better regulation and expanded resources to track and enforce gun control will definitely deter some, delay some and overall, will reduce gun traffic. Remember, nothing will perfectly eliminate gun murder. But if we can reduce the body count at all, it is a win.

Murder is actually a fraction of what it was, per capita, today vs. in the 1980s: That might be true on an overall basis, but reading Malcolm Gladwell and understanding demographic trends, the crack cocaine phenomenon, better police strategies as well as the effects of Roe vs. Wade explains a big portion of that discrepancy. But this argument is completely made irrelevant when considering the alarming increase in the frequency of MASS gun murder. A rare event in the 1980s, there have been 31 mass murders since 1999 in the US. More stringent gun control can help.

Guns kill people like spoons make people fat: Variations of this gem abound (Guns don’t kill people, people do). And you know what? It’s difficult to argue. But there is no doubt that guns are lethal weapons, killing machines, designed with one primary use – to fire a compact metal object really fast at a target in the hopes of killing, or at least incapacitating said target. Spoons were not designed to make people gain weight, just as a means to convey liquids and loose foods from plate/bowl to mouth. So a disconnect in the logic of this argument stems right from the design table, from the very origins of both utensils. And furthermore, as my cousin astutely reasoned, if you look around at all the overweight among us, it becomes even more apparent that if even a fraction of as many people abused guns as do spoons, we likely have a serious problem on our hands. And we do.

What will we do if our government abuses its power, our military goes rogue or if a tyrannical despot seizes power? Let’s face it. If Orwellian times descend upon us, or even if anarchy runs amok in the US, there is no armory of guns the collective sum of us can have that will render us safe. Our government and military have a stockpile of weapons capable of blowing up the entire solar system, even assuming Pluto is still part of it. Our military has advanced technology, WMDs of varying types, planes, tanks, submarines, boats, choppers and trained personnel. Our Second Amendment rights are not protecting us from evil or tyrannical government anymore. Rambo is fictitious. So are Colonel John Matrix and Robert Clayton Dean. This is yet another reason that Amendment needs to be redacted, or at least, rethought and re-amended.

There are many more arguments and logical rebuttals to appeal to the educated pro-gun, NRA types out there. Unfortunately, reason and logic will be wasted on the frightening segment of that populace that continues to bewilder with comments like “you are gonna have to pry my gun out of my cold dead hand you liberal scum.”

To reiterate: Please help change our nation. Please help save lives. Contact your congressman here.

Or sign a petition here or here.

Thanks again for bearing with me (and not bearing arms).

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe new year.

IDROS

This two part passion piece was paid, in full, by the blood of:

Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, James Garfield, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Sam Cooke, Bill Brady, Robert F. Kennedy, Harvey Milk, Marvin Gaye, Phil Hartman, Jam Master Jay, Malcolm X, Selena, Sean Taylor, Gianni Versace, Darrent Williams, Peter Tosh, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the victims of Columbine High, Virginia Tech, Red Lake High, the Tuscon Safeway, the Aurora Movie Theater, the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Newtown Elementary School, every other site of a mass shooting, and thousands more non-celebrity, non-publicized (or publicized on a very limited, local basis) names every year.

And partially by: Teddy Roosevelt, Pope John Paul II, George Wallace, Ronald Reagan, Bob Marley, Larry Flynt, Andy Warhol, Jackie Wilson, 50 Cent, Suge Knight, Greg LeMond, Garrett Morris and millions more.

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We Don’t Need Guns To Win This Fight…Part One

From The Washington Times

From The Washington Times

My heart is crying. I am at a loss for words, as many of you are.

First and foremost, I would like to extend my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the families of those that were senselessly murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as those who must now live with the horror of the events that transpired last Friday morning. For 20 families (27, actually), it likely feels like the Mayan End of Days was real after all…it just came one week sooner than expected.

I do not like to get up on a soapbox.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this year that I have felt this anguish, this befuddlement, this frustration.

31 times since Columbine, we as a society have been left scratching our heads, searching our souls, uttering words of disbelief, crying, screaming and demanding changes.

What happened in Newtown this past week was all the more tragic, having transpired on what we as a society view as sacred ground (an Elementary School) and because the fatalities were primarily children…very young and innocent children. And because it was the second such tragedy befalling our society in one week’s time. But mostly because of the children.

Things can’t go on this way.

Each time a mass-murder involving guns occurs on American soil, our country sinks further into the bowels of a horrific, frightening and polarizing debate regarding Gun Control. Even a tragic murder suicide involving an NFL player less than a month ago sparked this same debate.

And with every instance, much to my dismay, time passes, the passion for change seems to ebb, and society returns to business as usual, guns a-blazing, holsters full, ammo at the ready…as if nothing ever happened.

I can no longer sit quietly and watch these massacres continue without making an appeal to the sensibilities of anyone out there who feels guns are not part of the problem. I would even like to address those that are willing to concede that point, but are still compelled to believe their Second Amendment rights are more important, in the long run, than allowing our government to make more stringent gun laws that might make it incredibly difficult to buy a gun, and potentially even make it illegal to own a gun.

No matter what people think the Second Amendment says, or how literal they believe those words to be, even today, when we are not living in fear of an army sent by a far-away king attempting to exert control over us by any means necessary. Just like living in America as a full citizen, gun ownership is not a “right.” It never was. Gun ownership is a PRIVILEGE. And with any privilege comes great responsibility. Somewhere along the way, this was forgotten. Somewhere along the way, our nation’s leaders failed to reinforce this fact. Somewhere along the way, guns became something we as a society took for granted, that we viewed as an American rite of passage, a commodity as common as gasoline and as easy to buy and sell, too. Our machismo as a nation depended on the ubiquity of firearms. As we pushed westward, we feared attacks by Native Americans…and we massacred them with our fire sticks. And as we laid claim to vast pieces of land, valuable minerals and natural resources, we took up arms again to protect our homesteads, our livelihoods and our families. Potential robbers, vandals and no-goodniks came to fear guns wielded by upstanding citizens and the law. Or at the very least, respect them. Soon the gun became the de facto law.

Our neighborhoods were secure, replete with gun-carrying watchmen. Our banks and stores were robbery proof with a gun behind the counter. We taught our sons to hunt and to shoot a gun. Women, fearing rape and abuse, flocked to gun ranges to cling to some semblance of security.

I, for my part, am certainly willing to concede that guns are not solely to blame here. We can all point our fingers at a number of things that contribute to this unsettling trend of bloodshed our generation is currently witnessing. Mental Health issues are a big one, and this includes the resources dedicated to research, community outreach, treatment and the de-stigmatization of mental illness in general in our society. Our media is another perpetrator that deserves some of the blame. Godless and evil killers seem to be glorified by our media after each atrocity, and these soulless people are too often given far more attention than the victims and the heroes that try to stop them. Part of this is our own societal issues, as humans find the unknown, the evil, the bizarre and the misunderstood to be far more compelling than those who are normal, law-abiding, regular Joes and Josephines. Furthermore, other media outlets, such as the movie, television and video game industries create and release a never-ending pile of violence-centric content on the public. Other fingers point at Big-Pharma, and our propensity to over medicate our youth with chemicals and band-aids to mask real problems.  And then there are those that blame current parenting techniques, our education system, our diets (which trend toward processed, genetically altered foodstuffs) and our technology (electronics and the internet create a world far less dependent on personal contact and intimacy).

Any and all of the above factors need to be addressed, and very well might be (read: ARE) contributing to a growing epidemic of mass-murder. But there is one factor that seems to be the giant elephant in the room after almost every catastrophic and heart-wrenching breaking news story: GUNS.

This latest tragedy in Newtown has restirred the pot, bringing the gun control debate, and its associated vitriol, to the forefront of national conversation. This time, we cannot let the passage of time once again mask, or at least assuage the passion of those in favor of more stringent gun control. There are too many innocent souls who have paid the ultimate price for us to continue to kowtow to the NRA, to the Second Amendment hardliners and to the general gun-toting populace that refuses to yield on this issue.

Please note that for nearly 250 years, we have endured the Second Amendment. But the frightening and deadly interpretation of that Amendment has only emerged over the past 35 years (please read this article for the gory details).

This coincided, unsurprisingly, with the rise of the NRA. Well, Charlton “Moses” Heston (RIP) and your terrifying army of stubborn gun wielders: we tried it your way…the NRA’s way. And we gave it a go for far too long. I saw that the NRA finally commented on the Newtown tragedy, saying “[We are] prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” That quote was totally fear-induced. There is no way for them to make such an insipid promise. But they know the tides are turning, and want to appeal to the “undecided” in this debate with a last gasp of strength and bravado. Here’s the thing…every argument made by pro-gun honks and NRA supporters hinges on hypothetical, unsound, unproven, flawed logic. There is no evidence, no sample size, not one fact to support their arguments. Just guesses and rhetoric and hubris. And why? Because we haven’t had a chance to see how things work in an American society highly regulated for firearms.

Since the Newtown massacre, I have been trying to rally the troops, to lead an intelligent dialogue for change. I have become, apparently, an accidental activist for gun control (I couldn’t make this up if I tried…there is actually a term for this phenomenon, and I am glad I am not alone in my efforts.)

So I am asking you all to consider acting as well. Even if you are on the fence, educate yourselves. Please don’t allow the children in Newtown to have died in vain. Please do whatever you can to help prevent further atrocities in the future. Our efforts may not completely eliminate senseless murders, but if even one or two lives can be spared, it will be worth it.

Please do something. Because doing nothing is just what the gun lobby and the NRA are hoping for. They sense weakness, and will use their vast resources and influence to counteract any measures from their opposition…unless said opposition can rise up, unified, in numbers pro-gunners have never seen or imagined before. We have them on the ropes. It’s like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and the NRA is King Hippo (rather apt, no?)…the fat slob’s mouth is now agape, fist in the air, cocked to punch us…and Newtown was the stunning uppercut to Hippo’s face. Now we must land a flurry of body blows and know the bully out. For good.

From Nintendo

From Nintendo

So contact your congressman here.Or sign a petition here,  or here.

Oh, and shame on you Wal-Mart. Please read this article, and consider boycotting that big box empire too. And Alice Walton, you might consider decorating at least one bare wall of your Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas with the blood of every victim murdered by assault weapons purchased at your stores.

Thanks for reading. The second installment of this post will be forthcoming. I appreciate your patience and understanding of my verbosity, which admittedly is even more voluminous than usual. But this issue is extremely important and incredibly polarizing (apologies to Jonathan Safran Foer), and my passion for change is equally great.

IDROS

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Escaping the Frustration of the upcoming Election With…More Frustration, From the NFL of All Places

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So who’s frustrated?

America is suffering right now in more ways than anyone cares to admit. Unemployment is rampant, the housing market hasn’t rebounded in a meaningful way, it has been reported that nearly two thirds of mortgages are upside down, our national debt is skyrocketing out of control, entitlement programs are verging on bankruptcy, mass murders and hostage crises dominate our news every other day, we still live in a country where every citizen does not share the same rights as their fellow Americans, our young brothers and sisters are forced to continue to fight wars (by their hawkish politicians who somehow are not mandated to sacrifice their own progeny in these never-ending, meaningless and frustratingly ill-conceived bloodbaths) in remote corners of the globe with disturbing accounts of lost American lives seemingly every day, and perhaps most telling, some pudgy redneck child named Honey Boo Boo and her troglodyte mother have a frighteningly large following (and the phenomenon that is her rise to “fame” has surprisingly made its way to people like me, and I can tell you I am shaking my head this very second as I type this).

You would think that the fact this is an election year would be good news for millions of frustrated and struggling Americans. At last, the greatest benefit of living in a democratic society is within reach, appearing almost from nowhere, like a posh oasis in the middle of the scariest desert imaginable. Yay. We can vote out the scourge that got us into this mess, OR…Alright! We can keep this regime, which has nobly tried to help a horrible situation in the face of an unimaginably horrific starting point and starkly uncooperative opposition across the aisle.  Either way, unfortunately, our recourse at the polls in five weeks will inevitably reveal that oasis to be a mirage.

Why? Because the ridiculous emergence of a dominant farcical two-party system relegates every American to literally elect the worst party-influenced caricature imaginable into office every two, four and six years. I am not sure why we only ever have two realistic choices in any political race, and also why those two candidates have to represent both the best AND worst of their respective parties (I would rather cast my vote for an actual elephant or donkey than the human candidates). It ensures every voter has to make some awful choices come election time, basically subrogating rationality in order to choose what they hope will be “the lesser of two evils.” At least that’s how I envision educated people pulling their respective levers. And don’t get me started on the millions of…let’s just say educationally challenged…people.

Why can’t I walk into a voting booth and attempt to elect a candidate who is liberal socially but somewhat conservative fiscally? Why can’t I manage to find a candidate that has a non-hawkish outlook on foreign policy, and who guarantees good relations with Israel, America’s only true ally in the Middle East? Why can’t I ever find a candidate who swears to end America’s dependence on oil and fossil fuels…and MEANS IT?

The real issue boils down to money, as usual. And that is the essence of what really grinds my gears. Our political system has been hijacked by the highest bidders, and what’s worse, those bidders aren’t even allowed to vote. Why not? Because they are corporations, not people. And all of us (or at least the overwhelming majority), the voting public, suffer as a result. Perhaps worst of all is the brash manner in which billions of dollars are flushed down the toilet, mocking all of us – particularly those in need – as ridiculous party venom is spewed all over our homes and neighborhoods through every media outlet imaginable.

The democratic system, designed to help the common man shape (or at least have a say in) the world around him or her, has become a game dominated by mercenaries, where policy and policy makers are sold to the highest bidder(s), leaving all of us worse off.

We have no recourse as voters. And the politicians and the two parties know this. So they play the game that has emerged, benefitting from it however they can no matter what the consequences are for their constituents, as only opportunist politicians can. They all have us by the short hairs. But like lemmings, we all continue the charade that we actually have power, that we still live in a democratic society and that we can affect change through the polls. The thing is, until campaign finance reform is amended and until the two nausea-inducing parties are eliminated from a position of influence, we will all suffer increased polarization of our populace and leaders as well as the whims and fiscal agendas of the most powerful companies in the world.

Despite a crippled economy and growing political unrest, however, if you ask most men (and to be fair, some women too) in America right now what their biggest gripe is, and their answer might just surprise you – though after last night’s debacle, all bets are off. Unfortunately, I am referring to the current NFL lockout of its referees.  The mega-billion dollar monopolistic behemoth that is the National Football League, or “the shield” as it is referred to by its most loving fans, is playing hard ball right now with its crew of 120 well-trained officials over pension funds, back-up officials and a few other negotiable points, and insodoing, is jeopardizing the health and safety of its players as well as the integrity of the game that has become the de facto American pastime, with all due respect to baseball.

As frustrating as this is for fans, both die-hard and casual, to stomach, there is virtually nothing any of us can do about it. And the owners and commissioner of the league know this. They have us by the proverbial short hairs: television ratings are as strong as ever as is attendance at most stadia. And that despite the folly that unfolds on most fields with what amounts to replacement officials seemingly qualified for nothing more than middle school or peewee league football. Some of these replacements have been caught with Facebook pictures openly showcasing their NFL team allegiance, and at least one scab official was reported by an NFL player to have approached said player pleading for a good performance to “aid his fantasy team.” I couldn’t make this stuff up. Nobody could. Well maybe Orwell, but nobody else.

Our only recourse is to not watch and not go to games. But we love our football so much that this really isn’t an option, right? NFL brass knows this. And we all suffer. Hmmm. Sound familiar? Well it should. This exact scenario is playing out concurrently in our nation’s toxic political atmosphere.

Oh well. At least we live in America, right? Greatest nation on the planet…in many ways, I suppose. I am too young to be so frustrated. So I won’t be.

Plus, I (and most of you…actually, all of you. Who am I kidding?) don’t live in Green Bay. You know what goes really well with that sour taste you have in your mouth? Cheese. So at least you have that going for you.

Happy New Year everyone.

IDROS

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100 Guitar Riffs Tells a Bigger Story Than History of Rock Music

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Let me begin by stating that Alex Chadwick’s recent viral video is amazing.

In case you haven’t yet seen it (because you are incredibly busy and don’t have 12 minutes to spare; or, you have been living under a rock, or, in the words of the late great Nora Ephron, spoken by Billy Crystal, trapped under something heavy; or, perhaps you just don’t love music…or Rock & Roll in particular)…please do yourself a favor and click this link.

Hypothesis: Alex Chadwick’s 12-minute amalgamation of 100 of the greatest Rock & Roll guitar riffs throughout history and its viral aftermath seem a telling metaphor of everything that is wrong with American society today.

(A quick aside: The last time someone named Chadwick remotely caught my attention was when this guy coached pretty boy Dean Youngblood against violent goon Racki. You may be wondering what that piece of trivia has to do with this post, or with anything for that matter. The truth is, not much. But I can offer you this: The three most notable actors in Youngblood – Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze (RIP) and Keanu Reeves (yes, he was actually in that flick…seriously…watch it again if you don’t believe me) – all have at least one guitar related credit on their respective resumes.

Rob Lowe is known for his wielding of a different instrument…that sax he laughably pretends to play as Billy in St. Elmo’s Fire. But he also played a role in the movie version of Wayne’s World, which features two guitar playing teenagers…better still, Alex Chadwick and his NPR interviewer, David Greene, reference the classic SNL movie in this recent interview.

The late Swayze, who appeared with Lowe in The Outsiders as well as Youngblood, played a memorable cooler in Roadhouse to a live soundtrack provided by slide guitar phenom Jeff Healey. Many of the artists and songs featured in Alex Chadwick’s 100 licks were played by Healey in that film as well as in Healey’s set lists as a touring musician.

And finally we come to Neo Johnny Utah. We all remember him as Theodore Preston, trying to play the guitar in the cult classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure alongside the Lost Boy that Edgar Allen Corey Frog killed in the cave coffin in that great 1980s Vampire flick. (Sure, we know…according to the late George Carlin, Bill and Ted’s guitar music would become crucial to the survival of future generations.))

But I digress…as usual. Wow did I digress this time.

As I postulated, Alex Chadwick’s 12-minute amalgamation of 100 of the greatest Rock & Roll guitar riffs throughout history and its viral aftermath seem a telling metaphor of everything that is wrong with American society today.

We live in a hyper-critical world, and just as talented people across all walks of life now have countless platforms to reach an audience in the blink of an eye, so too do masses of talentless, ignorant, lazy and gutless drains on society have the ability to sit on their couches (or, likely, their parents’ couches), inhaling thousands of calories of high-fat snacks while they peruse endless media outlets such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, et al. Anonymous people, with a veritable smorgasbord of soapboxes at their fingertips, are free to comment on and critique anything they want, voicing opinions on subjects spanning politics, entertainment, finance, society, sports, medicine, etc.

I love that Chadwick’s video went viral. I love that I can turn on my computer and within seconds, have access to something as beautiful, creative, intelligent and thought provoking as this 12 minute stroll down memory lane via modern rock history. And the vast majority of the populace loved it too, which is echoed in the video’s massive reception throughout the interweb in recent days. Even the comments have ranged from emoticon rich smiles to glowing praise. “Love this,” is one of the more frequent comments associated with the link.

Unfortunately, for as much love and praise as Chadwick rightfully received, there were and continue to be far too many “buts” lingering just beneath the love and praise. People repost the link, or comment on the link because they truly believe it is noteworthy and deserving of additional views by their friends and loved ones, but so many of those re-posters and commenters take the opportunity to critique Chadwick’s journey through rock history.

Sure, my own video would have included riffs from artists such as Bob Marley, Jane’s Addiction, The Clash, Elvis Presley, Lou Reed, Steely Dan, Prince, Peter Frampton, The Kinks, Phish, Radiohead and the Talking Heads…and my version likely would have also omitted some of the artists included or repeated in Chadwick’s list.  I may have even chosen different licks from certain artists. But that’s the thing. For one, I can’t play the friggin’ guitar. But even if I could, criticizing Chadwick for his own taste and hard work is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Go out and create your own musical list. Or create something in your own wheelhouse that might be similarly beautiful and inspiring. And if you must criticize, if that itch just has to be scratched, then save it for those who deserve it…those who never even tried, or who completely failed when everyone…or anyone…was counting on them.

Petty criticism is far from a new phenomenon. People criticize what celebrities wear to movie openings and award shows, and how coaches and players execute down the stretch in games. People criticize how their politicians behave in and out of office and how stupid the endings of groundbreaking television shows are (Lost, The Sopranos).

You know why American Idol and Dancing With the Stars and shows like them are so popular today? It’s because most people alive possess little or no talent in what are deemed to be glamorous fields (music, acting, athletics, art…even cooking, inventing, writing and politics). So today, even the vast majority of us have access to those fields…as critics. These shows empower us all to participate, unqualified as most of us are, and we relish the opportunity. We fork over money to vote, we rant and rave in chat rooms and all over the blogosphere, and we feel it imperative to comment all over the social media world, wasting our own time, and likely the time in lost productivity of our employers, to feel like we are part of something glamorous for a brief moment in time.

This 12-minute viral video captures it all in a nutshell. Alex Chadwick invested thousands of hours learning and practicing the guitar, and then had an idea to compile a list of his own personal favorite 100 rock guitar riffs. Then he practiced his musical list, making sure everything flowed, until it felt right. And then he rehearsed. And when he felt ready to capture his list on video, I am sure he played quite a few takes before getting right, or at least error free enough to publicize.

What took Chadwick a lifetime of practice and countless hours to assemble, posted to the general public in seconds. And hours later, it was simultaneously praised and ripped to shreds. Sure, most people genuinely enjoyed, praised and recommended it to others. But a vast majority if not all of those who have watched and listened to the video all had at least one criticism. For some, this was their first thought upon watching it. For many others, it was perhaps the second thought, shortly after “cool,” or “wow.”

Criticisms primarily centered on what was omitted from the list, in terms of a general who (which artists and bands were not included but should have been), and even entire genres of music that were left out or at least were unfairly represented relative to others. Some criticisms I came across thought the list was too evenly distributed across decades and eras of rock music, others complained about which particular songs by certain artists were and weren’t included. Some found sexist and racist issues with the list and still others felt Chadwick played certain riffs longer than others, which discriminated against certain songs unfairly.

The point is, nearly everyone had a complaint or criticism of some sort. And the tragedy of it is, this is someone else’s list and hard work. There are 300 million people in the United States. All have different tastes in music. And when it comes to rock music, every one of us has a different take on what defines it, who should be included and what eras and artists were/are more significant.

There is a big election coming later this year. Let Chadwick’s incredible video be a lesson to us all. Don’t sit on the sidelines and critique. Listen to the music; appreciate the hard work and personal choice that went into its arrangement. Then take his video as inspiration to create something on your own…to affect change, to get involved, or even simply to get off the damn couch and vote in the upcoming election.

There are more problems than solutions in our world today. I promise these problems will not be solved by people (or even by government candidates and officers) who do no more than criticize others and their efforts. The era of passive criticism must end.

Thanks for reading,

IDROS

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