Thursday, February 12, 2015

No Vaccination for Stupidity

Al Cohen

Al Cohen contracted Polio in 1939, at the age of 15. Only 1 out of 200 people who get the disease show severe symptoms, and Al was one. He spent time in the hospital, and in an iron lung. He lost muscle strength, and was unable to move.

Even after recovering, he never fully regained strength in his arms and shoulders. From 1939, until his death in 2006, he couldn’t raise his hands over his head. When World War II broke out, he was unable to enlist in the military, and was instead confined to a department store window, where he read the war news to passersby.

Jonas Salk developed the first truly viable vaccine for Polio in 1952.  Too late for Al to have lived a normal life.

It wasn’t all bad for Al. One could certainly make the argument that were it not for these events, he’d have never met Marilyn Melnikoff, and would have never become the man I knew as “Grandpa”.  He was a warm, funny guy. Brilliant, and ahead of his time, in many ways.  I loved him a great deal, and one of the most memorable things about him was that he never let his physical impairment define him, or really even limit him much of the time. He did what he wanted, and he did it on his terms. Except for having green towels. Marilyn wouldn’t allow that.

Still… I can’t help but wonder what his life would have been like had that vaccine been available to him. Maybe he doesn’t marry Marilyn. Maybe he joins the Army and dies in Northern Africa. Either scenario would have made it very difficult for you to read this blog right now, since I would never have been born, but even as much as I love my life, a part of me is sorry he never had those options.

Whenever I read about people opposing vaccines, I think about my grandfather, and what he’d say today if he heard someone willingly rejecting the very treatments that could have completely changed his life.

I have to believe he’d feel as I do… That the anti-vaccination movement is ridiculous and baffling and really damned scary.

Some claim that vaccines cause autism, and those people are wrong, but even assuming for a second it was true, the idea that tetanus (deadly), or polio (potentially crippling), or smallpox (deadly) are preferable to autism is patently absurd.  I know that Autism can be very challenging to manage in some cases. Some kids have a true difficulty communicating. Some have impairment when it comes to relating to the world. Autism is not something to be taken lightly, but even if it were caused by vaccinations, Autism isn’t deadly.  Is the completely mythological chance of your child maaaybe developing autism with potentially exposing them to measles or diphtheria or polio?

Some folks are philosophically against vaccines for a variety of reasons… because they don’t think it’s right that “big pharma” gets rich off of them, or because they don’t want the government or pesky doctors telling them what to do, or because they read somewhere that homeopathic remedies were better… You know what I say to that? Express your convenient, hipster libertarianism on your own time, and stop risking the lives of others. No matter what you can think of, someone is getting rich from it. Your toilet seat? Someone patented that design.  If you don’t like taking the advice of doctors on a public health matter, about what else is it okay to ignore them? If your kid had cancer, would you give them chemo? It’s real easy to roll the dice with the measles, because who fucking gets measles anymore, right? Well… as it turns out, more people all the time, because of dumbasses like you.
Read that link. Read those statistics. It’s NOT FUNNY, and yet we have websites like THIS pretending that it’s no big deal because hardly anybody dies from it. Seriously. That’s what it says. Only read it if you plan on getting furious. By the same logic, let’s just throw 3 million kids in a tank with sharks, because only 500 of them will die, so what’s the big fucking deal?

When I was a kid, I remember that we weren’t allowed to show up to school without proving that we were vaccinated. Nowadays, every state has their own list of exemptions, ranging from religious to philosophical, allowing parents to bring their unvaccinated children to school. My aunt posted a meme on Facebook that essentially said “If my kid can’t bring peanut butter to school because your kid is allergic, why can you bring your unvaccinated child to school?” It’s not often that I see a meme and think “Damned right!” but that’s what I thought. How in the world are schools allowing potentially infected kids to come to school. Freaking Disneyland was the epicenter of a fucking measles outbreak. DISNEYLAND.

“Well, it’s not even 100% effective in all people, so why risk the side effects?”

Good question… There’s something called “Herd Immunity” and it works for everyone, vaccination resistant or not, as long as a large enough portion of the population has been inoculated.

“Oh, well then… I’m good, right? Because even if I don’t get vaccines, enough other people have!”

Well, no. That’s not how society works. There are enough uneducated rubes like you running around to ruin it for everyone. All a virus needs is one hospitable host to keep perpetuating its life. When the community is 99% vaccinated, even with varying degrees of efficacy, the chances of that virus finding that 1% are very low. As it is now, we’re at 84%. That means that out of every 100 people a virus comes in contact with, it can infect 16. Now say those 16 people go to 16 other groups of 100… Now we’ve got an EXPONENTIAL exposure, and FUCK YOU.

“Well… my kid got some unexplained illness, and she was vaccinated shortly before she got sick, and even though doctors insist they’re unrelated, I know in my gut they are connected. They have to be, because there’s no other explanation.”

Let’s talk about coincidence for a minute… well, not really coincidence as much as the obsession with “Why”, and our inability as a society to accept that some things have no explanation. The inability to accept coincidence. This belief is not based on evidence, but rather the lack of evidence of anything else. That’s not the way science works. That’s the way religion works. Do not endanger everyone else, because you can’t accept that coincidences happen.

The more I think about it all, and the people actively deciding to go without vaccinations for themselves or their children, the angrier I get. Well… Angry isn’t the right word. Embarrassed.

There’s that joke since 9/11 where whenever we Americans do something particularly decadent someone says “this is why the terrorists hate us”. Well… This actually IS why the terrorists hate us. Have you ever heard of a more American thing than actively rejecting preventative treatments that millions of people in the world, not only have no access to, but would do anything to get?

That is embarrassing. 

It makes me ashamed to live in a place so privileged that people would even think to reject all scientific advancement in exchange for a quick spin around WebMD message boards, and the arrogance to believe we’re somehow immune just by virtue of our wealth and national comfort. 
We’ve lived in a world free from these illnesses for so long that we’ve become complacent in our privilege, and if you’re not going to vaccinate your kids, you’re rolling the dice for all of us.  

One of my dearest friends, Melissa, send me this link. I encourage you to read it, but there’s one passage I want to share, because this (understandably terrified) father says it perfectly.

"You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the privilege of our protection, for free."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weeping for Clowns

From Esquire Magazine

My whole life I’ve looked for exceptions to the “comedian who’s secretly in pain” rule.  I’ve always wanted to be the funniest guy. When Chris Farley lived, I delighted in his self-effacing style and his willingness to lean into his physicality, so to speak, and embrace that he was a big dude.. I appreciated that acknowledgement of the obvious. Yeah, I’m a big guy, and I can be funny, and THAT’S why people will like me. It’ll be funny when I fall or break a chair... When he died, even at age 15 or 16 I saw a little too much of myself in the fat guy who would do anything for a laugh, and I even got scared when my eyes were opened to the relentless abuse he inflicted upon himself through drugs and booze and all manner of things. He was clearly a guy who wasn’t as confident or happy with himself “Chris Farley the Funny Fat Guy” as I’d always wanted him to be. I’m sure another generation felt the same about John Belushi.

I probably didn’t think about Robin Williams all that much over the past 10 years, but when I heard about his death, from an apparent suicide, I was struck with sadness I couldn’t have predicted. I was saddened over his death, but especially so over the manner. And, if I’m honest, not entirely shocked.

It’s nothing I’d ever said to anyone. Mostly because I don’t think people sit around talking about the funny guys who are most likely to off themselves. I’m sure there’s someone somewhere who would have guessed drug overdose (Robin Williams’ struggles with addition were well known), but suicide always comes out of left field, even when you look back and say “All of the signs were there.”

There was something desperate about his comedy. Someone on Grantland said as much during one of the tributes, and they put it perfectly… he always seemed afraid of losing the audience, even as they were erupting with laughter over one of his bits. While many were brought to tears of laughter by his antics, I was always at least a little unsettled. There was something about the incredible, relentless drive of words and consciousness that always made me uneasy. I used to watch Letterman pretty regularly, and when Williams would come on, I’d watch the first couple of minutes in hopes that he’d tone down his spitfire stream, and usually would flip channels halfway through the interview. I just couldn’t ever get past the idea of how incredibly tiring he must have been being so ON all the time.

He was clearly the most talented guy in almost any room he was in, but there was never a moment he didn’t seem to be begging for everyone’s approval. It makes me unbearably sad to think that this man, who made millions of people laugh, and cry, and feel, and *seize the day*, was able to do those things so powerfully and magically for everyone around him, but couldn’t connect those reactions with the reality of how truly loved that made him.

It’s not uncommon for addicts to talk about how they lacked *something* or couldn’t get enough of *something* and the drugs were a surrogate for what they really needed… I have to wonder what it was that Robin Williams couldn’t get.

Of course, it never really matters how much other people love you if you can’t love yourself. What a trite and annoying cliché, but also perhaps tragically true. I just wish that every kid who fell immediately in love with the mania and genius that was Genie in ‘Aladdin’, or Peter in ‘Hook’ … every teenager who wished they’d had a teacher as dynamic as Mr. Keating in ‘Dead Poets Society’, or a nanny like Mrs. Doubtfire, or a therapist like Sean Maguire in ‘Good Will Hunting’ … I wish all of those people whose lives were so profoundly enriched by his talent and warmth and empathy and just… utter goddamned fire… were able to transfer just one pinch of that back to him, so he could truly feel it. So maybe that could have penetrated the inscrutable shell that is depression and isolation that he apparently felt through a lot of his life. Unfortunately my rudimentary understanding of that kind of depression tells me that the more you’re told how much you’re loved, the deeper your own hole can feel. “Why don’t I feel about myself  what other people say they feel about me?”
It makes me unbearably sad to think that this man, who made literally millions of people laugh, and cry, and feel, and *seize the day*,  was able to do those things so powerfully and magically for everyone around him, but couldn’t connect those reactions with the reality of how truly loved that made him.

Looking back you see it… He was always searching for that key to whatever riddle he believed he was, and all of his roles were just new attacks at his own personal Rubicks Cube. He never quite found that key, so he kept manically plugging away and plugging away and I guess he finally just decided to peel off the colors, and solve himself that way.

I sincerely hope that, if there’s an afterlife, he’s found the peace and fulfillment that eluded him in life. I’ll continue to find joy in his performances. To revel in the unbridled perfection of Genie. To well up at his warm, passionate, inspiring Mr. Keating. And I’ll wish he’d taken to heart the words of his own, Oscar Winning role in Good Will Hunting:

You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

No Joy in Mudville

Liar. Cheater. Scumbag.
I remember when I was a kid, I loved to listen to my dad tell stories about all manner of his memories from when he was a kid.

He'd tell me about the amazing powers of The Green Lantern, and about playing pick-up basketball at the old JCC with the road teams who were in town to play the Cincinnati Royals, and about how he accidentally shredded his brother's foot in the spokes of his bike.

I loved all of them. I ate them up. I soaked them all in...

My favorite stories were always about baseball. Probably because I was utterly obsessed with the sport.

I made my dad help me recite the top home run hitters of all time. "Hank Aaron 755. Babe Ruth 714. Willie Mays 660. Frank Robinson 586."  He used to tell me that Johnny Bench could hold a million baseballs in his hand. He would tell me about how getting Joe Morgan for Lee May made the the Reds the greatest team of the 1970s and among the greatest teams ever.

I remember watching TV when Pete Rose came back to town to re-sign with the Reds. I was 4 years old and I remember seeing the footage of Pete's car coming across the bridge. I will never forget going with my mom to the game BEFORE Pete broke Cobb's record. I made a sign. Pete went 0 for 4.

The first poem I ever wrote was about the 1994 strike. The Reds winning the 1990 World Series still, 23 years later, counts as one of the 10 greatest moments of my life. Maybe that's sad, but I guarantee I'm not the only one.

 I would throw ball after ball against the wall of my grandparent's house. Always aiming for the small square my grandpa had drawn in blue crayon. Always pretending to be Mike Schmidt, who was, in my opinion, the greatest third baseman ever. I held that opinion even then, because some time in 1984 or 85 my dad and I were watching the Reds play the Phillies, and my dad pointed out Schmidt at the plate. He said "This guy is really good. He hits a lot of home runs.". Then Schmidt homered. It was like he could do it on command. It was like my dad made it happen. Baseball is magical, I guess.

No... I don't guess. Baseball IS magical. There's no 9 part Ken Burns documentary on Football... As much as we all love football, it isn't (and will never be) baseball.

And now, I'm not sure baseball is baseball.

Look... I realize I'm late to this party. The McGwires and Sosas and Bonds and Palmeiros and Giambis and all of those guys who stood there and pointed and pretended to not speak English and dissembled and claimed ignorance... they are the ones who put doubt in the mind of every fan. They are the ones who shattered the sacred records and spat on the legacies of Roger Maris and Hank Aaron and every other player who achieved their astronomical records legitimately.

Then... after all of those bombs dropped over and over... Starting with Raphael Palmeiro (outed while I was driving back from the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend with my dad and the Brawny Hombre) and capping off with Barry Bonds, there were swaths of legends felled by allegations, assertions, and often direct evidence of their cheating. It was a dark time, to be sure. We had a single-season and career homer champion whose numbers are questioned.  In 1998 there was this incredible home run race to 62 homers by two separate men, often regarded (along with Cal Ripken's longevity streak) as the moment baseball resurrected herself from the ashes of a horrible players strike. Only 5 years later that same chase could arguably be seen as nothing more than a slap in the face to Roger Maris and his family.

Numbers we hallowed our entire lives were being surpassed by these hulking behemoths with clubs, and as quickly as they shattered the records, they were outed as being cheats. Baseball fans everywhere could no longer hold on to the one thing they'd always had as an advantage over the fans of other sports. The statistics. The beautiful, simple statistics.

I thought we were going in a better direction. Power numbers went down to more historically consistent levels in conjunction with new drug testing policies. More and more players were openly in favor of cleaning up the sport.

And yet... Here comes Ryan Braun. A player with prodigious power and offensive polish who'd tested positive late in his MVP season and insisted he was innocent. He dragged the name of the tester through the mud. He pulled out all of the legal stops on his league-allowed appeal, and HE WON. He won his appeal on some very nebulous technicality, and he returned to the field none-the-worse for wear the next season. Don't even get me started on the "coincidence" that the owner of the team for whom Braun plays also happens to be the commissioner of baseball. How that's not a conflict of interest I'll never know.

Now, today, he was suspended for the rest of the season based on some apparently damning evidence in some report and it must be pretty clear, because the Great Appealer isn't appealing. He's now admitting to some "mistakes".  

Apparently he's just the first domino in a long line of suspensions and bombs to come. Alex Rodriguez is on the list. A-Rod is currently 6th on the all time homers list, and was up until last year the single biggest contender to pass the other cheater, Barry Bonds for the record. It's very likely now that he'll never come close, and maybe won't ever play again.

You know... none of this is news. None of us are surprised anymore. I'm certainly not.

I'm just sad. I'm sad that the stories my dad told me as a kid are somehow laced with asterisks now. I'm sad that every number has to be questioned and scrutinized. I'm sad that heroes like Hank Aaron and Roger Maris are no longer the official holders of those iconic records. I'm sad that when the dads of my generation tell their kids about the great players they watched growing up, that the most exciting ones were cheaters.

I love Tony Gwynn and Greg Maddux as much as anyway, but the players who I pretended to be on the diamond, the ones who drew me to the game I love, were the mashers and the flame throwers and a lot of those guys are liars.

Baseball better figure it out fast, because this shit bums me out. It's gotta end. We've gotta have the purity of our game.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Oscar Predictions

I have all kinds of things I want to blog about, and as sometimes happens in those kinds of situations where I have a ton of stuff to say, I find myself not blogging at all.

It's very frustrating.

I decided that with The Oscars on tomorrow night, and me having seen an inordinate number of the movies involved this year, that I should weigh in. Of course, with only having until tomorrow to make the predictions, here's what I'm going to do... I'm going to get those out of the way, and then once I feel like I have the time I'll talk about things like:

"Why the girl from Beasts of the Southern Wild is the most impressive marionette in history, but decidedly not an actress."

"Why Les Miserables is a hugely impressive movie that had absolutely no chance to make everyone happy."


"How I'd be fine with 7 of the nominees for Best Picture actually winning. Also Hell is frozen over."

Those are for another, simpler time.

Without further ado, my Oscar Predictions along with who I believe should win.

Best Original Screenplay:
Should Win: Django Unchained
Will Win: Django Unchained

Comments - Tarantino is a master on the page. I love his turn of phrase. There will be people who are turned off by the profanity, but.. you know... fuck 'em.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Should Win: Lincoln
Will Win: Lincoln

Comments - I love Tony Kushner, and while some people didn't love how densely written Lincoln was, it takes an expert touch to write period dialogue that also conveys a lot of ideas without getting boring. Kushner nails it.

Visual Effects
Should Win: Life of Pi
Will Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Comments- A lot of folks didn't like The Hobbit, but the effects are great. They're also probably the only thing that doesn't suffer a little from the 48fps. Still... Life of Pi had a ridiculously lush feel, and also featured a CGI tiger that was extremely convincing. Also...a  better movie, by a lot.

Animated Short Film:
Should Win: Paperman
Will Win: Paperman

Comments: It's one of the most romantic shorts I've ever seen, and has a great visual style to boot.

Best Original Song:
Should Win: Skyfall
Will Win: Skyfall

Comments... c'mon.. It's Adele.

Best Score:
Should Win: Life of Pi
Will Win: Lincoln

Comments: It's a toss-up for me between the two, really, but I absolutely loved the Life of Pi music throughout, and John Williams' music from Lincoln is only the 10th or 11th best thing about that movie.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Should Win: I have no idea
Will Win: Amour

Comments... Think about it... The movie is nominated for Best Picture. It's not gonna win that, but doesn't that sort of automatically make it the best Foreign Language movie?

Film Editing:
Should Win: Argo
Will Win: Lincoln

Comments- I wouldn't be surprised if this goes to Zero Dark Thirty, because that movie has much snappier editing, but Argo was so well cut together, I don't think anything else was close this year. Heart-beating. Still... Lincoln's gonna take it, because I'm basically predicting that Lincoln's gonna take a lot of these close calls.

Documentary Feature:
Should Win: I dunno
Will Win: Searching for Sugarman

Comments: I have no idea... i'm a bad Cinema Junkie who didn't see any of these.

Should Win: Steven Spielberg
Will Win:  Steven Spielberg

Comments: Had Tarantino or Affleck been nominated, this might be a different discussion, but since they're not I have to believe Spielberg has this in the bag, and probably should.

Should Win: Django Unchained
Will Win: Lincoln

Comments: Look... this is very close, but I personally prefer the more stylish Django to the more epic/cinematic Lincoln. If Lincoln wins, I won't be bummed, but I'd be more excited about a Django win.

Animated Feature Film
Should Win: Wreck-it Ralph
Will Win: Wreck-it Ralph

Comments: If it was just about the animation itself, I'd be totally down with Paranorman or Frankeweenie, but I just found the story and writing of Wreck-it Ralph to be so well done, that it wins. It's not like it looked shabby, either. It was really beautifully realized. (PS... i loved Brave also, but no chance.)

Supporting Actress
Should Win: Anne Hathaway
Will Win: Anne Hathaway

Comments: Seems like this one is already done, because she's won (and annoyed) at every award show so far. I am a big Amy Adams fan, and I'd love to see her win for something some time, because I think this is now the 3rd nomination for her, but it's not her year. The Master was too bizarre, and Anne Hathaway just crushes too hard.

Supporting Actor
Should Win: Christoph Waltz
Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones

Comments: Man... what a field, huh? All former winners. DeNiro!! I liked all of these performances except maybe Hoffman (I just hated The Master, kinda). Still... the real show was Christoph Waltz playing a truly memorable character. I loved his performance. Tommy Lee Jones was great, too, though and for the bigger winner overall. I'd be shocked if he doesn't win.

Best Actress
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence

Comments: I'm fine with any of these women winning except for the kid. That's a whole other blog. Jennifer Lawrence is awesome, and definitely the best part of the movie. I kinda feel like she's got the momentum, and she's as deserving as any of these ladies.Except the kid. She's more deserving than the kid.

Best Actor
Should Win: Daniel Day Lewis
Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis

Comments: This one is tough for me, because I could definitely make a real argument for 2 of the other guys. Joaquin Phoenix was by far the most interesting part of The Master, and he is one of my favorite kooky actors out there. Hugh Jackman was almost unsung (ha!) in Les Mis, but as the Beefy Padre said "Oh yeah? Well YOU do it." That guy did a very strong job with an unbelievably difficult character. Still.. Daniel Day Lewis gave a performance that, if you ask me, is a one-in-a-generation performance. Years from now people will still talk about that performance in that movie.

Best Picture
Should Win: Lincoln
Will Win: Argo

Comments: As I mentioned at the top, I truly believe that 7 of the 9 nominees are excellent enough that I wouldn't be mad if they won. Any one of those 7 would have easily been the top choice ahead of The Artist last year. (The 2 others being Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of which just has no chance, and the other isn't really all that good respectively. ).

Still... When all is said and done, I say that the argument can truly only be made for 3 of these. Lincoln, Argo, and Django Unchained. In 30 years, these are the 3 that'll be debated as being "All timers". And if I'm being honest with myself I just have to go with Lincoln. It was affecting, beautifully acted, and tightly written. It was directed by a living legend, led by a performance by another living legend, and written by one of the great playwrights of our generation. It's as close to a no-brainer as I can think of, and yet...

I think Argo will win. It's got the momentum. It's a movie that gives a giant tip of the cap to the movie industry. It's exciting, smartly directed, and is just super in its own right. Do I think it should win? No. Will my feelings be hurt? No. It's awesome.

Now... Let's see how wrong I am tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Rights and What's Right

I apologize for the time I've taken away from blogging. I moved across the country and found a new job and blah blah nobody cares... Anyway, nothing seemed all that important to talk about, but then today a young man made a little visit to a grade school in Connecticut and shot a whole mess of innocent people.

Now I have something to say.

The other day, after Bob Costas was nearly lynched for having the audacity to suggest that guns shouldn't be so easy to get sometimes, I went on Facebook.

I found a discussion between two of my friends. One suggested that guns don't kill people any more than cars do, and that ultimately it's the people doing it, and why don't we take away the cars since they're also deadly... The other friend said something that I wholly agree with in equating cars and guns is a false equivalency, because while cars (or knives or ropes or whatever else) can be used to kill, they ultimately have a different primary purpose, whereas the purpose of a gun can only truly be one thing. To wound, maim, or kill.

He's right, of course, and that's the reason I don't understand the people out there laboring so adamantly to fight against gun control.

I simply don't see how a logical, evolved person would in good conscience hold out this “right” to have guns as this completely impregnable thing that can't ever be questioned.

Oh wait... I should be totally clear.

I like guns. I am not opposed to private gun ownership. I have considering purchasing one of my own on numerous occasions, even recently. I've gone to shooting ranges. I've enjoyed popping off a few rounds targeted at silly paper plates.

I'm not advocating taking guns away from sane people. Guns, themselves, aren't the problem. It is possible to own a gun safely and responsibly.

Still... I think there are some big things to talk about here that go beyond my personal preferences and freedoms. The public good is at stake here.

So what about that good old 2nd Amendment?

Essentially the amendment itself says that the people have the right to bear arms, and that this right cannot be infringed upon.

Seems pretty cut and dry, but there's also this part about militias. Oh, and this other part where it's about it being a right only when crucial to the security of a free state.

Really, it's not all that clear what it all means. You know what IS clear?

The US Constitution, along with the first 10 amendments were ratified in 1791.

Here are some facts about guns in 1791...

Guns in 1791 WOULD

Guns in 1791 WOULD NOT

Had the 3 guns carried by the shooter in today's violence been the “Arms” our founding fathers had in mind, he'd have killed 3 people at most. That's assuming the guns didn't malfunction. That's assuming he wouldn't have missed otherwise. That's assuming he walked in with all 3 guns loaded and ready to fire.

Once those 3 shots were done, he likely would have been subdued by one of the many bystanders while he tried to re-load the muzzles and that would have been that. A horrible tragedy to be sure, but nothing like what transpired today.

My point?

The founding fathers didn't have 9mm automatic handguns in mind when they gave everyone the right to “bear arms”. They weren't governing based on the possibility of a sociopath with a Bushwacker opening fire in a kindergarten class.

So you know.. maybe we don't lean so hard on this 2nd Amendment? Maybe I'm wrong.

But let's just say I am wrong, and Thomas Jefferson and everybody else would have been totally cool with assault rifles.

Should WE be okay with them?

I know that some guns are cool, and some guns are fun to shoot. I get it, totally. I get that it's fun to go to a gun show and buy a .50 caliber sniper rifle, you know... just to have it.

You know what, though?

Maybe YOUR fun isn't what matters. Or mine. Or anyones. Maybe the safety of the people as a whole is more important than your desire to own a cool gun. It's all just dick measuring, right? The need to own a bigger and badder gun than the person next door.

You want to “protect” your family? I'm down with that. I just don't think you need an AK-47 to do it. A simple .38 revolver can do that just fine if a gun is the way you want to do that.

What? You need more than 6 shots to protect your family? What fucking gang did you piss off? If we're being honest here, if you're in a situation where 6 shots isn't enough, maybe you're into some shit a little deeper than you should be. I dunno.

So okay.. lets say that Glock is really necessary for your protection. Do you need 5 of them? You only have 2 hands, and maybe you should consider using one of them to open the back door and run like hell.

That's really what I'm getting at here...

I'm not against guns.

I'm against owning a dozen guns. I'm against the ridiculous loophole that allows people to buy a gun from a gun show without a background check. I'm against people making a big deal about those background checks, because it infringes on your rights to wait a couple of fucking days for your “recreational M16”.

I'm sad that you need to take classes before they give you a license to cut hair, sell real estate, drive a car, ride a scooter, and bartend, but you don't need to take a gun safety class before you can buy one.

A lot of people are going to blame a lot of things for this shooting, and you know, we'll probably never know whether the guy got a little too bored killing digital people in a video game, or if he was listening to too much metal, or any of the other bullshit things that are always blamed. One thing we do know? If he didn't have easy access to guns, those people would still be alive.

I think it's time to look at ourselves. Just because we may have the right to bear arms, does that mean we should bear like... all of them at once?

I'm sure there are people who will argue that the government shouldn't have this kind of say over what we do. That tightening up on gun control will simply start the ball rolling and give the feds the foothold they need to start taking away other rights.

It's a risk I'm willing to take to prevent another day like today.