Monday, August 07, 2006

We Are In Our Last Days For Real

Although slightly cheeky, my title is for real. Several states have expanded their self-defense laws which, for example, allow you to shoot, and possibly kill someone in self-defense, even if you have time and opportunity to flee to safety. And, in Florida, you can shoot to protect your property. Your property. You can shoot, and possibly kill someone to protect your home and your stuff. I've known about this madness for a while now since my brother, who lives in Nevada, proudly owns a gun and did almost shoot a young man that hopped his fence to retrieve a ball. Bro says he protects his property thusly because liability laws are a drag; if aforementioned kid had fallen and broken his ankle in aforementioned fall, he could sue my brother for damages, even though he had no business in my brother's yard.

I can't imagine that in states where gun possession is highly regarded that we'll necessarily have responsible application of this law. The self-defense argument supported by this law doesn't only apply to you on your property, but also to you on the street, feeling threatened. Throw a little racial profiling in, a little queer panic, and you have possible abuse of self-defense.

And, in other last days news, the Times reports on a new genre of "reality" t.v. (which, interestingly enough is as scripted as a sitcom) where homeless people are paid as little as five bucks to fight, injure themselves, and perform other humiliating acts, which are then recorded and released on DVD, a la chicks doin' crazy things. Needless to say, these DVDs have raked in millions, with no remorse for their perversion, from the series creator. He claims he's simply providing something new and entertaining. We truly are in our last days when we think watching people without options do the most humiliating things possible all for five lousy dollars.

I recently shared my views on violence in our world, and now I'm thoroughly convinced we have a huge problem on our hands. We in America are baffled by the behavior of suicide bombers and terrorists, but we don't value life. We call the aggressive response to a threat self-defense, but if you look at how these laws are structured, particularly Florida's, you'll find cases where an opportunity to flee was present, and not taken. Is the answer now to become a wild west-type society where everyone is armed and people are disposable? Why should we teach our children to avoid violence when adults don't have to? Why should we enact laws that supposedly protect life by outlawing abortion when the only lives we're interested in protecting are those that a few people think are worth protecting? I'm not some random tree hugger; I wear leather and eat animal products, including foie gras and lobster. I think far too many people who could be gainfully employed in non-strenuous work are sitting at home collecting disability and too many people who don't make enough of an effort to gain an employable skill, preferring, even for multiple generations, to collect welfare and live in subsidized housing. I am in support of our armed forces, police, and firefighters because it takes a hell of a lot to willfully put onesself in harm's way, and I believe if you can't reasonably and optimally take responsibility for what the results may be from having unprotected sex, you shouldn't. However, I don't believe we're fighting a war that makes sense, we'd rather spend money on private schools that only a few can afford to attend instead of public schools for everyone, and I don't believe that racism, sexism, homophobia and classism no longer exist. We don't respect life enough, and that will ultimately be the fall of our society.

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