Friday, July 20, 2012

The Tin Man Has No Heart

Given the events at the theater in Colorado last night and the ensuing outrage by basically everyone, I've decided that I'd revive this blog as a way to give you my perspective on the sad state of our world. A good friend of mine posted something on Facebook about seeing everything from a sociological perspective that basically read:
      "...To me, it seems our society puts a decreasing amount of value on human life--not just killings, but even in        some of our laws, life isn't always the priority. If you buy that, in your opinion, what are the factors that you see contributing to this deteriorating respect for life?"
I posted a couple of replies and then realized that I'd been looking at a few different things going on over the last month and succeeded in merely observing them without doing anything about it.

In case you've managed to completely miss the news since last night. A PhD candidate at the Univ. of Colorado walked into a midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises and preceded to throw smoke bombs and shoot up the place killing 12 people and injuring many (some reports I've read say as many as 70 people.) He also managed to booby-trap his apartment with explosives. We all immediately rush to understand the brain and issues therein that would cause a person to do something so heinous instead of focusing on what our world does to cause such an act and ultimately (since we run our world) what we did to cause these scenarios.

I've heard people immediately throw up the gun control, violence on tv and in video games, and the ever present argument that we as a nation have no morals. The first two, I at least understand the vein of their arguments. They feel that access to guns and or being desensitized to violence plays a direct corollary to the probability that a crazy person will shoot up a theater. I'm sure there's a small percentage of truth there. I'm also sure that the fact that the extreme majority of people who don't do these things with the same access/exposure should tell us that it isn't a lack of regulations, morality, or proper upbringing that ultimately causes these things. Sometimes, you buy things and they are instantly defective. Like, out of the box, defective. Sometimes, you buy them, they work fine, but eventually start acting screwy and mess up. And sometimes they explode in your hands. This guy was sadly one of the latter. A defective model, that likely nothing could have changed or repaired. Yet, instead of looking at that in context and choosing to look at what we could change within ourselves, we immediately blame x, y, or z for what happened. We also tend to expect these institutions to act in human-like ways even though they aren't designed to do so, and act outraged when they don't. As I posted in the comments section on the above Facebook post:

I don't blame corporations for putting a figure on human life (especially insurance companies, since their profitability lies in whether someone lives or dies), because they are a business. The end result should be to make x amount of money for selling goods and or services. Corporations do not have hearts, feelings, morals, or any of the things we expect them to have. Yet, we are appalled when they behave in the ways that they are designed to behave. It boils down to what I said earlier about the "me" first attitude. Instead of looking at the problem from an internal perspective, we immediately point the finger at other causes i.e. corporations, lack of regulations, too many regulations, etc. They aren't the problem. Humans are the problem. And since we only keep reproducing at higher rates, it would serve all of us well, to be introspective about it and look at what we can change to reroute the world's course instead of hoping that a corporation or some other large entity will channel his inner Tin Man and visit the Wizard to get a heart...
The end result is we spend more time freeing ourselves of any responsibility for our part in society's decline than we do trying to make some sort of change for the better. It's easier to make yourself believe that others are to blame than to work for the sense of gratitude that comes with being part of the solution (however small said contribution may be...)

One case in point, give that we are in an election year, is that I've come to realize that a 2 party system is inherently flawed and set out to base my opinions on what should be done both fiscally and humanitarianly (pretty sure that's a word...) within the structure of our government. In roughly 85% of the major debates, I side with the Libertarian viewpoint. Less government, less regulation, and more freedom for people to live their lives the way that they choose. Naturally, one would expect that I would change my voter registration to reflect the party my ideals line up with, right? Nope, I'm still registered as a republican despite the fact that I think Romney is quite possibly a cyborg or at the very least has big business' hand stuck up his rear and pulling the strings. So, as I type about how we don't elect to be part of the solution, I realize that I can't even get on the Internet and switch allegiances to a party that more closely represents my views. I'm sure it would take like 10 minutes to do...

In the end, we will always continue to send blame towards that which we believe to be evil (evil sometimes being the opposing viewpoint from ours. and by sometimes I mean 95%) instead of just electing to make a change for the better. So amidst all of this media outcry for radical change to combat crazy people, who despite said change will still continue to be crazy as they have for decades (See: Nero) and we will continue to try and fix the defective instead of engineering a better operating model.

So, in the next week when you start to give us your opinion on the horrific causes of tragedies like this one in Colorado. Maybe instead you should stop, spend that 5 minutes thinking about some small positive change you could make that day, and then go out and do it. We'll all benefit from this more than we will from another opinion that lays the blame in another area, which is basically any area where we don't reside.

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