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:icontompreston: More from TomPreston

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Submitted on
February 28


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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.

Mental Health
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.

Sexual Education
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.”
~Desmond Tutu
  • Mood: Unheard
  • Listening to: Chip Tunes
  • Reading: The Art of Frozen
  • Watching: Honey I Shrunk The Kids
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Oatmeal
  • Drinking: Earl Grey Tea, Hot
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zananos Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree. So much is linked to education, and when people don't bother to learn, they might as well cause the gun to go off, the woman to die doing an illegal apportion, the cosplayer to get harassed.

Don't fix the conclusion, fix the steps that caused the problem. It is called Root Cause Analysis, and I want to see it more in the world, rather than for medical errors.
sugarhighneko Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
I want to spread this message everywhere so BADLY!! I love how you've articulated the need for education and understanding the root of the problem rather than the symptom! It's too many times where people will attack things like "more gun control" when we all need to focus on the mental illness. Also, 1,000 times YES on the sexual education portion! With more education, more people will have more information and knowingly decide what to do and how to remain safe. Because although I believe that a baby is a blessing, at a young age and with a potentially no support system, young men and women may make choices that will have a big impact on their lives. 

Please keep adding more journals like these! :D
UnsoundHero Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014
Kudos. A very informative read.
MummyMetaller Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014
You know what gets me so angry about this?

The fact that all of this is bloody common sense! We're all brought up being told that knowledge & wisdom is the true power; yet a majority of people don't seem to exercise this behaviour in their adult years.

People are quick to jump the gun (sorry for the bad pun there) & take things at face value rather than take the time to research the sources/facts themselves, & this is what leads to so many problems. 

Personally I cannot stand the concept of relying on ignorance to see me through my life.
If there is something I do not understand then I have to know; I have to start researching from every angle to get the full story/all theories from all sides. To not do this would drive me insane & I cannot grasp the fact that there are so many people out there who do not do this?
Dewani90 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
we really gotta educate ourselves and others, most people just focus on the wrong topic instead of the real problems, i mean, we gotta help people realize the problem is not on the gun of the person with the gun, but what made him/her take a hold of a gun, maybe it is greed in the case of thieves that would steal stuff at gun-point instead of looking for an honest work... that would always provide, not one where if you fail all your problems are over and your corpse ends up in the morgue... or the fact that sexual education is terrible in schools, they just say "here is a condom, use it if you don't wanna get pregnant or avoid sex altogether", and i'm like, is that it?, excuse me, teacher, but, did you investigated before doing this class a two sentences thing?, and about nerd and geek culture, yeah, some of them are just plain anti-women, but that's because all the women they know are the vain-air-headed ones, there are others that even if they look good, they go and study, and wanna make a name for themselves, finishing a career, i have an engineering title myself... not all are plain and superficial, and some are in the same circle playing dungeons and dragons or video games with them, i just want to play as a strong female character at times, like sheppard from mass effect or Lyn from fire emblem, miss sarkessian is just taking the wrong approach, it's not about empowering feminism, it is about educating the gaming community about the fact that women are as good as doing heroic things in games as any other character, i didn't care most of the time, but playing as a fat plumber, blue hedgehog, elf with sword and shield, made me disregard the main character and just play the game for the story, and what it had to offer... nowadays i wanna see equality at times, and even if that's not possible, at least i wanna see good games, not the same recycled stuff the companies do to "play it safe", a female not oversexualized lead would work here and there also.
CalumTraveler Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Agreed 100%.

The world is in such a bad place right now because we focus on the wrong problems.
Maple-Girl Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I like your thoughts. I agree with many of them. I think the difficulty with educating the masses could be this - with so many different viewpoints it would be hard to find a neutral ground. From those who support the issues to those against it. We can't even agree on the little issues let alone the big ones.

Although I think that nerd/geek culture does need a collective kick in the pants. As a female gamer I've been subjected to comments like "You don't like FPS's? You're not a 'real' gamer", "I thought that was just for men", and my most recent - "show me your tits!"

While I agree that education is a key factor in all of this, I still maintain that pocketbooks need to follow ideology. We can argue that certain media has sexualized women, but we are still handing them money. Why should they stop if it isn't affecting their bottom line? You can vote EA for being a bad company, but if you still buy their games they aren't going to listen.
daaku-no-tenshi Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never been much of a fan of Tom but I find myself surprisingly agreeing with him on a few points here. I didn't honestly expect it.

I totally agree that education is the way forward, but I think the argument falls flat on its face, because one of the hard truths is that most shootings come from a criminal underclass that not only DOESNT learn or educate themselves, but the fact that they are PROUD of the fact that they are anti-institution and, well, basically uneducated and/or stupid. And you can't fix stupid. It's simply a matter of evolution.

You can have the best teachers in the world but if your class is a bunch of subhuman trash, the best teachers in the world still fall on deaf ears. Education always works BUT people have to have a working mind first, and a lot of people not only don't want to be educated - they will resent you for it and fight tooth and nail not to be educated. These are the people who grow up to be part time workers, socialists and criminal majorities.

Meanwhile, controls on guns get tighter and tighter, and the American bill of human rights is in tatters. There is no bill inherent for human rights in britains constitution, and the rights we DO get are a dictat from the EU - a dictat that provides protection for criminals over protecting the average working family. In my opinion, any tighter controls on guns are part of an agenda brought forth by the Left.

Criminals who are going to do something wrong will use a SPOON to kill you if need be. If you're planning something horrible you WILL find a gun, whether it is illegal or not. Criminals don't care, so stricter controls only hurt the average person who wants to protect themselves. Gun controls are for people who follow rules, so how does that apply to criminals, mentally sick people, etc? These individuals do not follow rules. Has the law stopped murder? Has rape law stopped rape? 

I believe in a Eutopia where everyone, from one teens to elderly pensioners, are carrying a gun on their person. If everyone can potentially shoot back at you, you'll be surprised how few people try to rob you at gunpoint when everyone else in the street can potentially pull a gun on you to protect themselves and their fellow citizens.

That's not to say I support gun use outside of sports. Needless to say, I'm not some maniac who wants to shoot up stuff just because I support zero gun control. And I hope no one hands me that rubbish about "being more inclined to use it if you have a firearm on your person". That is a resentful remark that seeks to remove a persons rights and responsibilities. If you're stupid enough to open fire on someone for no less a reason than absolute danger to your own life, then you belong behind bars.

It's all about personal accountability. If a clerk sells a gun to a man wearing a ripped up straitjacket caked in blood, then that clerk should be guilty of murder if that mentally sick person then goes out and shoots up a building. The SALE of guns should have more control, in the same way that alcohol has more controls of its sale here in Scotland. Actual control OVER the use and keeping of firearms as a means to protect yourself, your property and your loved ones, is a Leftist agenda by the Commies to take away your rights as individuals.

Be responsible, smart and respect life, weapons and each other.
Never let the ruling majority, voters, the state or the government try to dictate away your responsibilities as living, working individuals.
animething7 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I love the insight your journals provide
unicornsquest Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree! Well said! Education is always better than ignorance, and in this world, there is no excuse for ignorance, or heads in the sand!
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