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  • Mass Shootings: What can we do?

    Posted on March 25th, 2021 Finster No comments
    I originally posted this to my facebook feed on August 5, 2019. I’m reposting it here because it’s still relevant. 
    I understand why people are upset and angry after another round of horrible mass shootings. I also understand the impetus to blame something, anything for what has happened. I’ve heard video games, guns, Quentin Tarantino, Trump, Fox News, CNN are all to blame.
    My belief is that even if we ban all of these things and pass draconian restrictions on 1st and 2nd amendment rights, we are only treating a symptom of a much bigger problem.
    The problem is an entire generation (maybe multiple generations) of young (usually white) males are giving into nihilism and fatalism. Confronted with the horrible unending suffering that typifies human existence, the importance of finding meaning in our lives becomes ever more important. My heart goes out to not just young males, but young people of all races, genders, identities, that struggle to find meaning and solace.
    As a society and as a nation, we’ve failed them. We’ve done our best to destroy and tear down the institutions that previously provided meaning. We’ve replaced them with counterfeits. We’ve replaced them with an educational system that rejects outliers and for the price of admission, rewards young people with a lifetime of indentured servitude to student loans. We propped up celebrity and whataboutism instead of hard work and personal responsibility.
    When young men reach out for help, they are slapped away, sometimes bitterly. “Check your privilege!”
    In generations past, the antidote for these problems would’ve usually been a church, any church. Unfortunately, like Neitzsche said, “God is dead.” We’ve killed him. So now what?
    Well, they go to those places that are so easy to find in this new age of social media and acceptance. White supremacy, Mens’ Rights Activisim, Antifa, Proud Boys and all the other dark corners of our culture that are more than willing and able to provide a “meaning” for our nation’s wayward souls. Failing that, they turn to suicide and mass homicide.
    I don’t know a good solution to this problem other than for those of us who have found even a shred of purpose in this absurd circus of suffering we call life, to share why we think life is worth living. I think that we need to teach people how to beautify something, anything, in their life. Take something, even if you are the only one who ever sees it or knows it, and beautify it. I think if we do that, and teach others to do it, we can maybe… *maybe* turn back the tide of violence and nihilism that is currently drowning so many.
  • BYU’s Campus Gun Ban

    Posted on July 21st, 2014 Finster No comments

    This is a letter to the editor I recently wrote in response to a ridiculously one-sided front page “story” about BYU’s campus-wide ban on firearms.

    To The Editor:

    In light of recent college shootings, as BYU students and employees, we will naturally wonder, “What if that happened here?” A completely one-sided July 15 article on the cover of The Universe addressed some of the fears and concerns around allowing guns on campus and provided one view of what is not just a question of basic Constitutional rights, but a very real question of protecting life.

    Some common arguments were used by BYU Police Lieutenant Arnold Lemmon and the BYU students who agreed with The Universe’s opinion that armed citizens must remain persona non grata. Unfortunately, those arguments rely on fear, misinformation, and misrepresentation.

    Billy Hagee, a psychology major, said, “I have much more confidence in the police. . . . It seems there is so much risk involved in a situation with untrained shooters.” There is a fear, likely held by many, that an armed populace is inherently more dangerous than armed law enforcement officers.

    Lt. Lemmon said, “If you were an officer walking into an active shooter situation and you saw people with firearms drawn, what would you do?” A valid question, but the sad fact is that private citizens are more often on the right side of that question than the wrong side.

    Newsweek reported that 2% of civilian shootings involved an innocent person being shot (note: that is shot, not killed). The error rate reported for police was 11%, which counted innocent people killed–not just shot. In other words, the error rates for law enforcement are substantially higher than they are for typical, armed citizens. A University of Chicago study found that in 1993, 330 innocent individuals were killed in police shootings in Chicago, while about 600 alleged criminals were killed. That means that for every two criminals killed by trained police officers, one innocent person was killed by law enforcement.

    This is, by no means, a criticism of any police force, let alone BYU police. Police officers routinely are on the front line of danger and naturally encounter difficult circumstance. But when it comes to feelings about who you trust with firearms, people ought to be aware that common, armed citizens–statistically speaking–have a far better track record than law enforcement when it comes to shooting the wrong person.

    I could go on for many more paragraphs detailing study after study after study that shows that there is a correlation between gun ownership, concealed carry permits, and lower violent crime rates. The fact of the matter is, common perception of this subject is wrong: the statistics support confidence in an armed citizenry. Permitting concealed carry, in light of statistical evidence and in spite of what certain people seem to “feel,” would make everyone on campus safer.

    A gun owner and concealed carry permit holder

  • Zombie Attack!

    Posted on June 11th, 2008 Finster No comments

    Corvus over at Man Bytes Blog has issued the following meme discussion:

    You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:

    1. one weapon.
    2. one song blasting on the speakers.
    3. one famous person to fight alongside you

    This is so easy.

    1. The trusty Halberd. Corvus’s shovel is definitely a good choice, but I think I want something a little longer, and a little sharper.

    2. “Doomsday Clock” by Smashing Pumpkins.

    3. The Rock. Seems like a nice guy, and I think he could be trusted to watch my back and hold his own against the zombies.

    (I admit that this is kind of cheating for me. I’ve read World War Z.)

  • MinneBar, HO!

    Posted on May 6th, 2008 Finster 1 comment

    Just put my name down for MinneBar.

    Since, this is my first time attending MinneBar (or any barcamp, for that matter) I’ll be putting together a presentation on building a simple CMS for CakePHP.

    I’m kinda nervous, but it should be a lot of fun.

  • Oy vey…

    Posted on December 15th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    So, tonight is my wife’s company’s christmas party. Tomorrow night is MY company’s christmas party. The night after that is the U2 concert.

    Can you say, “sick of large crowds of people”?

    You know how on livejournal, people have those little things at the beginning of their post that says, “Mood: angst-ridden” or “This Jack’s total lack of excitement”?

    Mood: Pre-exhausted.

    Pre-exhaustion is when you realize just how much CRAP is going to be occurring in the next three days, and you instantly become tired and stressed out.

    Another reason why I could really stand to do without the non-religious aspects of the Christmas season. Except for pie. Although, I eat pie religiously, so I guess it doesn’t count.

  • Notice of generic introduction

    Posted on September 26th, 2005 admin No comments

    Greetings all.
    But that would be much more formal than I normally am. Hi, solyd here, with the advent of the new MoveableType version, I’m able to join the fray here freely. So, first, a few words about myself:

    I am a freelance Japanese translator. I have done some manga as part of this, it’s out there, and if you’re especially clever, you’ll find out what I’ve done. I follow anime and manga in a casual fashion, expect to see the majority of my posts on such, though I dabble in near all subjects.

  • UK: We stand with you!

    Posted on July 8th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I’d like to take a time out from summer vacation to say something to British citizens:

    We stand with you. Condolences to anyone who has lost loved ones or been injured because of the warped ideals of radicals, whether they be Al Qaeda or IRA.

    The London blasts has dredged up a lot of complex feelings that really hadn’t been at the surface since the aftermath of 9/11. It is saddening to see so many innocent people die, yet there is something else there. A stronger resolution to seek out those who did this and bring war to them until their twisted ideas are dead and buried. Mixed with the sadness and anger is something else. A sure confidence that despite this despicable murder of innocent people, WE WILL WIN.

  • Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam

    Posted on April 26th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    Well, I got married last week to my true love. It is quite delightful, at times, when you realize that your new spouse knows you so well.

    I think the conversation about what we would buy if we had near limitless piles of cash went something like…

    Me: Hmm, what would I buy first?
    Her: Video cards.

    There’s a thrill that runs up and down my spine when someone I consider my best friend so quickly offers up knowledge of my secret desires. I do so lust after large powerful video cards, but it’s not something I mention in conversation with the significant other. It was like she could peer straight into my heart and perceive the technology craving geek within. What was also great was the total lack of disdain. There were no rolling eyes or shaking heads. No lingering glances as silent judgment was passed on my desire for something so trivial… as a graphics adapter.

    She is a rare gem.

  • I Hate Moving

    Posted on January 19th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    I haven’t updated this site as much as I’d like to. Believe it or not, I have a few entries in rough draft format waiting to be published. The problem is that I haven’t been able to sit down at my home computer long enough to hammer out some of the entries I want to make. This stems from simultaneously trying to live in 2 places at once. Why am I living in 2 places at once?

    I hate moving.

    Large items like TV’s and computers are still sitting there awaiting transport because I only have internet at one location, the location that I don’t spend much time at anymore. However, I don’t want to remove my computer and such from the internet, because I probably won’t be installing broadband at my new place just yet.

    So there’s the quandry. Who knows what’ll happen?