This journal contains a lot of potentially buzz-work things that could result in arguments from people who don't take the time to read my message. For example I mention Anita Sarkeesian, but I don't want people to start arguing against her points of view because that's NOT what this journal is about. So please, read carefully before you respond to help avoid knee-jerk reactions since that's exactly what this journal is about trying to AVOID.
Over the years I’ve had a pretty straightforward view on gun control. Guns are dangerous and need to be restricted and made more inaccessible to prevent future acts of gun violence. I’ve never genuinely believed in the idea of banning all guns because I do think people DO need to have ways to protect themselves.
However, I’ve recently been thinking more about a different aspect to the gun control debate and it’s broader implications to other troublesome politically charged areas of our (United States) culture...
And I’m not just talking about education as in schools and colleges... but just education about basic safety and health information.
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Guns are merely the tools people use to help facilitate their actions. Yes making guns more difficult to get ahold of will help, but if someone is mentally sick, they’re gonna find ways to express their illness in other negative ways. If not through gun violence then through some other horrible act.
What we need to do more of is educate people about mental illnesses, how to identify and notice them, how to treat them, and basically how to handle being around people who have them. Depression and other illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in your brain, and telling these people to “just think positively” doesn’t really help. We need to educate people to look out for signs of depression so that we can help treat people who might commit suicide rather than trying to ban the gun that was used to commit the suicide. Likewise, banning guns doesn’t stop a mad-man from committing horrible acts of violence against a large group of people, but educating people to identify and help that person get treatment is a much safer and beneficial way to deal with the problem.
And education doesn’t just stop at gun violence and mental health, it can also encompass more societal issues too. Sexual education and easy access to a wide variety of contraceptives does FAR MORE to prevent unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases than advocating abstinence. People who are educated know how to avoid making mistakes, and if you look at the statistics it’s always in areas where people treat it like a taboo and don’t educate their kids that all that bad stuff starts running rampant.
Advocating for sexual education and contraceptives doesn’t have to be against your religious beliefs either. If you don’t want to use them, then you do not have to. But denying people the knowledge that could potentially HELP them from making mistakes is really detrimental to everyone. To use the gun analogy again: a person who is educated on how a gun works is far less likely to have an accident than an uneducated person just waving it around haphazardly.
Symptoms vs Problem
Far too often it seems like we’d rather fight the symptom than the actual problem. A mentally unstable person uses a gun to kill someone? Don’t focus on the gun. Focus on the mentally unstable person. Understand WHY they’re mentally unstable. Find ways to identify this behavior and figure out how to treat it with medication or therapy so that it doesn’t happen again. Banning the gun won’t stop a mentally unstable person from committing some act of atrociousness. Treat the problem, not the symptom.
Nerd and Geek Culture
And again, the need for education can be applied to SO MANY aspects of our lives. It seems more or less like the reason so much shit happens in the world is because people haven’t been educated on really BASIC things. We direct our attention to focus on symptoms and rarely focus on the problem. Case in point: There are more people arguing against Anita Sarkeesian than there are people who are trying to argue against the problems Anita brings up. Even if you disagree with her opinion, tearing HER down doesn’t solve the problem. It just helps the problem continue to fester because you’re not really addressing the issue.
Nerd/Geek culture and Gaming in particular have a SERIOUS ISSUE when it comes to how it views and treats female members. This is a real phenomenon that needs to be fixed and whining about “fem-nazies” isn’t helping it. Stop trying to deny the problem exists and try to help solve it by realizing... hey, this isn’t ok... maybe we should try to change things for the better.
So yeah, gun control, poverty, mental health, abortion, sexual education, feminism, sexism, racism, homophobia... all of these things would be easier to solve if so many people weren’t against educating themselves and others. So many people’s knee-jerk reaction to these issues is to try to AVOID dealing with the problem and accusing the people bringing up the issues as being the CAUSE of the problem instead.
I think that if there are problems in the world and we see them existing, we have an obligation to point it out and try to EDUCATE people on WHY this is/isn’t an issue and how things can be resolved in a peaceful way. Remember:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Listening to: Chip Tunes
Reading: The Art of Frozen
Watching: Honey I Shrunk The Kids
Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
Drinking: Earl Grey Tea, Hot