Gunipulation: Kids, Patriotism and Profits

Kid with Gun

Not sure how many people were able to watch HBO’s Real Sports last night, but there was an eye opening segment regarding kids and guns that was truly shocking.  The main focus was on how the gun industry has placed its focus on marketing guns to children.  This is not a typo or a misprint but, reality, and that reality is a result of the fact that we have become a nation of greedy corporations and their leaders.

I want to start out by saying I am a 5 year Veteran of the US Army and about two years of that was spent as an armorer handling weapons on nearly a daily basis.  And, trust me; I felt leery of handing out machine guns to many of the adults in my unit let alone to kids.  Also, I am not trying to say that no one should own a gun.  What I am saying is many people in this nation have been wrapped up into believing in something that is little more than hype, and in the process have become blind to reality.  Trust me the gestapo is not coming for your guns…maybe your porn…but not your guns.

The main purpose of this Real Sports segment shows how the gun industry and its lobbyists are affecting laws in our states by lowering the age for hunting in many states, so more and younger children can hunt and justify owning a gun.  I think the big picture may be even more frightening though. After all, those gun makers and lobbyist sure are great supporters of our rights aren’t they?

In reality, they are nothing but marketing machines that have many Americans blindly following them.  The marketing genius is actually two fold!  They get parents to buy their kids cute little target style guns, and then, if the kids like it, they have customers for life.  The gun industry also uses the Second Amendment and phrases about “my cold dead hands” to get us to believe, they are on our side in some sinister plot by the government and other assorted boogiemen to confiscate weapons.  The reality is they are just like any other corporate entity in the world these days.  They are after profits and shareholder approval. At the end of the day, they are only interested in their bank accounts, actually, your bank account and extracting as much out of it as possible.

In making this move to arm the youth of the Unites States, are our children safer in their schools?  Are we safer as a nation?  Have public shootings gone down?  The gun industry will claim that the kids with these guns are trained and responsible.  Children usually are pretty responsible when they are being watched, but what about when they are not?  As we have seen too many times recently, much like an unsupervised gun industry, an unsupervised, armed child or teenager is going to do whatever the hell he wants.

Sleep well tonight…I know I won’t.

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Bullying: A New Level of Pain

incognito

I am a sports fan, a football fan, and after living in South Florida for 12 years, a bit of a Dolphin’s fan.  That may be changing.  My plan for this blog was to not use this forum to get too personal about things, but with the recent news about what has been going on within the Dolphin’s organization, I had to vent.  Where are we as a society that some people are defending Richie Incognito in any way shape or form on this?  Not only was this a workplace, but whether they like it or not, this was unacceptable and brutal behavior between two role models for our youth.  We as a society are dealing with a new bullying phenomenon that many adults today are unable to comprehend.

Today, many adults are, unfortunately, looking back on when they may have been bullied.  I am 41 and there were bullies in my schools.  We were called names or pushed, maybe even punches were thrown.  It was uncomfortable, but it was usually older kids picking on the younger kids and for the most part harmless.  It ended for most shortly after it started, and at that time, was a coming of age experience.

Today, on the other hand, bullying has gotten so evil and harsh that kids feel it is easier to commit suicide than to deal with this new extreme form of bullying.  This is a sad statement, and one that should reach parents deeply to their very core.  How are some of our kids becoming so aggressive in their hate for others who are different, that they can push them to suicide?  Or, on another level, make a grown man quit his job forfeiting the possibility of earning millions of dollars?  What have we become as a people…as a society?

Spending 5 years in the military, I have been through my share of hazing that easily could have been defined as bullying by higher ranking soldiers and sergeants.  The big difference was there seemed to be a purpose to most of it.  The purpose was to strengthen your mind or body to prepare you for battle, and everybody went through it.  And, no matter how many football players compare their job to going into battle, it never will be the same thing.  In the military, hazing was used to build a team.  The hazing and bullying we hear about today has no purpose, but to make one person feel weak while building up the personal ego of their tormentor.

I have often heard the answer to this issue is to punch the bully in the face.  I keep hearing “The victim, Jonathon Martin, was 320lbs he should have kicked his ass!”  Take a look at this Richie Incognito rant at a pool hall.  I can’t think of many people who would be throwing punches at someone that looks and acts like this around his “friends”!  Teammates and coaches knew this guy had drug and mental issues in the past.  Was no one watching out for him and his teammates?

The more news that comes out on this; the more it sounds like people in positions of power knew that many of these things were happening.  We do not yet know how much.  Regardless, we as humans need to take this as a wakeup-call and take a good look at today’s style of bullying.  It is a new more dangerous world, but should this behavior be anywhere in our current society, let alone in the very places we go for relief like our schools, the playground and now even NFL locker rooms!?!

Perhaps, it is time to look within ourselves and ask what are we creating and to what end?  Is this “win at all costs” truly worth the cost of our children and their childhood?  Have we become such a “Lord of the Flies” society, that the rich and powerful will beat those perceived as weaker into the ultimate submission?