The Culture of Rape

SlutwalkI hope you can excuse my week-long absence.  After updating last, I got a text from my quasi-girlfriend in Houston, Texas.  What followed was a bunch of running about.  About 15 hours after the first text, I was on the road.  I spent New Years with her.  I got to meet her family.  I got to meet her adopted grandfather.  I got to decipher Spanish when the family talked to each other.  It was a great way to spend the first few days of 2013 with her.  Now, back in Colorado, I am preparing to leave for Morocco.  Today is my Goodbye party.  I also have only 20 items on my To-Do list.  It will be a crazy week, but I should be ready in time.

Today’s update is important to me.  I spent the past two or three weeks trying to perfect this article.  After a long late-night discussion with one of my closest friends, I had to write it.  The article revolves around rape and Slutwalk.  I didn’t realize until recently how strongly I feel about this.  The news out of India only makes me realize how severe the problem is.  Still, my article is only focused on America because this is the only culture I have spent a significant amount of time in.  I hope to get some feedback.

Thank you,
Richard

Dismantling the Culture of Rape in America

Gun Control & Mental Health

I sent my letter regarding the Connecticut shooting to ten of my elected officials.  In the hope of keeping them accountable, today I am going to let you know where each of them stand.  I will follow up on this as more details become available.

Colorado State Representative Dave Young: The only person who has responded to my letter thus far.  It was a beautiful response.  His focus is threefold: Better mental health help in Colorado; limit gun ownership for those with serious mental illnesses; close the gun show loophole.  Although he does not agree with me on banning semi-automatic weapons and extended clips, that is okay.  That needs to be done at the Federal level anyway.
Colorado State Representative Steve Humphrey [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Glenn Vaad  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: He helped put together a much needed mental health expansion in Colorado–which needs to be approved by our state congress.  He also called for closing the Gun Show Loophole.  Hickenlooper called for “a debate” to take place regarding gun control, but has yet to release any specifics.

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Representative Jared Polis: Polis has also focused on closing the gun show loophole.  He is also very outspoken about increasing mental health help in Colorado.  No word yet on Gun Control.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Senator Mark Udall [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
President Barack Obama: Obama has been solidly in the pro-gun column his entire presidency.  Fortunately, the events in Connecticut are forcing him to the left.  He appears to be actively pushing for an assault weapons ban.  He has also has talked at length about mental health.  For a President, however, I expect action–not just talk.

I will update this list again in a week or two.  In the meantime, i suggest you write a letter to your elected officials about what you want to see changed.

~Richard

Reacting to Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut

For those of you who have been following me for some time, you know that I am an avid advocate for gun control.  The events of Aurora, Colorado (about an hour south of me) changed me permanently.  I no longer feel like I can sit on the bleachers as shooting after shooting after shooting takes place in my country and my state.  I want to be an active part of the solution.  If you want to be a part of the solution, here’s a short list of what you can do today:

(1) Send condolences to the families.
(2) Contact local representatives and let them know this can never happen again.
(3) Give to charities who help families grieve through these charities
(4) Support loved ones with mental illnesses. If they know they are loved, they are less likely to reach their breaking point.

I am starting off with number two.  I spent the past hour writing a letter to my elected officials (state and national).  I suggest you do the same.  You are also welcome to share my open letter in any way you would like (just let me know).  Inaction is our biggest fault.  Here is the link:

An Open Letter to my Elected Officials Regarding the Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut

 

The Power Outage in India is a Huge Deal

Some days our world feels so small.  Today is one of those days.  The way our world works includes breaking the general population of seven billion or so into countries.  Each of these countries relies on their government for specific things.  What the government provides is usually dependent upon its people.  Oftentimes, it is the businesses that comes in and the government does nothing more than regulate.

Over the past two days, this system has failed.  It’s kind of like a perfect storm of events.  Even through there are seven billion people on our planet spread out of about 200 countries, some have more than others.  Namely China and India.  China has 1.3 billion people or 18% of the planet’s population.  India has 1.1 billion people or about 16% of the planet’s population.  Those 1.1 billion people in India have endured a long, hot summer thanks to Global Warming.  Starting yesterday, it became too much.

Which brings us to the failure.  When one country contains so many people, it is more susceptible to cataclysmic events.  Since most countries control their own electric grid, India’s grid needs to stay only simple because of how many people it would effect if it went off.  Well, it did.  It started with a quadrant.  Starting yesterday, 250 million people were without power.  It got worse today when the second quadrant went down.  Now more than 600 million are without power during the heat of the summer.  That’s twice the population of the United States–without power.  And it’s getting worse….

Maybe it’s just me.  Sometimes I genuinely dislike the way our world works.  I’m not actually a pessimist.  I just honestly believe things can always be made better.  When I hear that hundreds of million are made to suffer through the heat of the day–like results in dozens of death–I can’t help but wonder if there is a better way.  There has got to be a better way.  Anyway, here are some of the Tweets I found regarding the situation in India:

@stravasos Incredible stat! India suffered the largest blackout in history on Tuesday, affecting 670million people, or 10% of the world’s population.
@SandhuBhamra As a former Indian resident, I can’t even imagine this: blackout in 19 states, more than 600 million Indians affected http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/blackout-in-19-states-more-than-600-million-indians-affected-249722

100th Post

Join the Kickstarter Campaign to Publish “The Stagner Chronicle”

I know it’s late, but seeing as I’ve been experimenting with everything in regards to blogging…why not.  This is my 100th post.  The past three months or so have been incredible.  This blog is forcing me to do exactly what I wanted it to do.  I write daily and am improving my craft at a far quicker rate than I thought possible.  I even was able to pull a novel out of nowhere in a matter of weeks.

The next 100 posts will be very interesting.  I am convinced that posting more often and writing about current events will become a permanent part of this blog.  Writing and spreading the word about important matters is all I really know…I couldn’t stay away if I wanted. So…here is update number three from the Manifesto.  Remember to check out the Kickstarter campaign.

Better Questions; Better Schools

Our False Democracy

In late 2011 and early 2012 I wrote nine political pieces under the folder heading “Manifesto.”  I never showed a soul what I wrote.  I’m note sure why.  I knew the writings were rather extreme–but they were meant to help me figure out what my core beliefs actually are.  Now, in order to help advertise my Kickstarter campaign, I decided to post them.  I hope you enjoy.

If you enjoy my writing, check out the Kickstarter campaign.  You can guarantee yourself a copy of the book for only $10.  It is a great way to support independent publishing while getting some new reading material in the process.  The link to the first part of my manifesto as well as the link to the Kickstarter campaign are below.  Thank you to all my readers!

Join the Kickstarter Campaign to Publish “The Stagner Chronicle”

Our False Democracy

Reaction to Dark Knight Rises Shooting in Aurora, Colorado

 

We all react to different types of news stories in different ways.  I like harrowing stories about a person who overcomes the odds and beats cancer.  I feel utterly exhausted when I hear stories about the presidential election.  But then there are stories that I don’t know how to handle.  Like today.  Less than an hour south of where I live, I man walked into the midnight release of The Dark Knight Rises and shot more than 60 people.  12 are dead.  If you haven’t seen the story, click here.

I feel like I react to shootings differently than most people.  I don’t know if that is actually the case.  I start off like most people.  There is an overwhelming confusion about how someone could do such a horrible thing.  The how is what gets me.  I know in the days ahead, everyone will be asking the why.  Why did he shoot a six year old and kill her?  Why did he pick that theatre?  Why a random attack?  The questions are endless.

But my question is: How?  I literally do not understand how someone picks up a gun and shoots 60 people at random.  How can your internal working be so fucked up that you do not understand what you are doing is wrong.  Or do you understand what you are doing is wrong—but you just want to go out with a bang?  If that is the case, why not just commit suicide?  How is killing a dozen people and striking fear into the movie-watching nation better?

My confusion transforms quite quickly.  I spent an hour this morning holding back tears as I read the reports.  I do not know anyone involved…but I feel like I could.  They are right there.  As I wonder about the dead, the injured, the mothers, father, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, and friends of each victim, I start to realize that something like this will dramatically affect the people of this state and this country.  So many people are touched.  I don’t know anyone involved and I am still deeply saddened.

Is it wrong that my thoughts quickly turn to anger?  I live in a country where our second amendment rights are closely guarded.  Although I live in this country, I do not share those beliefs.  Guns scare me.  The destruction that they cause is absolutely frightening.  My problem, however, is not that people own guns.  It’s that everything around owning a gun is easy.  People with mental disorders—such as the man responsible for the Tucson Massacre—are not restricted from owning guns.  Why would we allow someone who is proven mentally unstable to own a gun?

Then there is the extended clip.  I do not know the specifics about the gun here in Colorado.  But in Tucson, where Gabby Giffords and many other were shot, the shooter used a gun with a modified clip.  The extended clip allowed him to continue shooting without reloading for an extended about of time.  I can only imagine the same type of thing is responsible here in Colorado.  How does a man get at least 60 shots off?

I grow angry because the fixes are easy and our government does nothing.  Why can they not agree that extended clips are dangerous and make them illegal?  Why can’t they agree and put restrictions on ownership of guns for people with proven track records of mental instability?  It angers me to such a level that our Congressmen and candidates bicker as the people of this country die in disgusting ways.

Supermarkets.  Schools.  Movie theatres. We are supposed to feel safe in these places.  But the laws of the land no longer reflect the mentality of the land.  I am scared.  I literally cannot bring myself to go see the Dark Knight Rises this weekend.  I love movies, but I cannot understand this…and thus don’t feel like I know how to react to it.  I want to feel safe.  I know we cannot be protected from everything without sacrificing certain right.  But let me make something blatantly clear.  I am okay sacrificing certain liberties regarding guns and the second amendment in order to feel safe again.