Sunday, October 19, 2014

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse!: News In America, Where Is Clark Kent Today?!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

by Nicholas Meyeres

News in the United States is not what it once was. Our American citizens don't trust anyone anymore, and they have every reason not to. Impartiality certainly is not par for the course today, and money talks.

Nothing encapsulates that thought more than this meme  going around social media networks:

But is this meme wrong because Stewart is "correct and accurate" as a friend of mine tried to tell me recently?

Well, Hogan's Heroes is accurate and correct, also. They were correct about the years the war raged on. They "reported" who was in charge of both sides in as factual a way as possible. They were accurate when they claimed that allied forces were taken as prisoners of war, and put into detention camps. There were even underground intelligence agencies at work in some of those POW camps trying to subvert Nazi progress. It was ALL correct and accurate! The problem came with the editorial that was added in for effect and ratings.

Excess commentary makes for bad comedy when it comes to the news.

The times when Lois Lane was in it for the "scoop", or Clark Kent would use his moral compass as his guide to write a truly unbiased piece is a thing of the past.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what your political persuasion is. John Stewart, MSNBC, and nearly everyone at Fox News are nothing more than opinion suitors in the guise of the real reporter. They are all correct and accurate in the same sense that the winner of the war is the one to always write the history books.

It is indeed the truth. It simply is not the whole, and undoctored truth. After all, this meme could have easily said "Getting your dieting tips from Rosie O'Donnell is like learning how to stay healthy from watching Honey Boo-Boo."

Personally, I like Glenn Beck and agree with him most of the time-- especially when he takes on both sides (which he does nearly every, single day). I also recognize he is exactly what his tagline states on tv and radio: "The fusion of entertainment and enlightenment." He is a showman, former radio personality, and stand up comic. What he says is "true" as far as I am concerned, but I also know that my "truth" may not be yours, and that perception is reality.

After all, mainstream news (at least in America) is fast approaching something akin to State propaganda these days. 

After all, I was always told that journalists were intended to be the watchdogs of the government, not tell stories about how Fluffy got stuck in a tree, or how tasty Mrs. Robinson's hot, apple pie is on a Sunday afternoon right after church. That is why Wikipedia says, "Like a literal guard dog that barks when it notices an intruder, a 'watchdog' [reporter] involves alerting others when a problem is detected."

In that case, people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are the true heroes of journalistic integrity even though neither of them are actual reporters. Yet, how does our government treat them both? Like traitors, and criminals for uncovering corrupt and immoral behavior perpetrated by the State. And in turn, most corporate news reporting agencies will say the very same things about them.

As I see it, honest reporters report with unbiased integrity which is difficult because that is not humanity's default position.

Judges in courtrooms are exactly the same. How can a judge truly rule in any way other than with bias and their own experiences as their guide? The answer is easy. They follow the letter of the law & Constitution, and rely solely on the facts presented before them to reach a decision. Sadly, that is hardly ever the case. Activist judges are just as morally corrupt as activist journalists, and they must all be held to a higher standard.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse!: Robin Williams Was My Friend!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

by Nicholas Meyeres
Few times has a complete stranger so deeply and profoundly touched my life that upon word of their passing I am left with overwhelming sadness and regret for not knowing who they truly were. Such a person was Robin Williams, and now I- like so many other people- feel that a part of me is missing. A part none of us will ever get back again.

I may not have known you, Robin, but I feel that you knew me.

You knew when I needed a good cry. You could make my belly shake until my side ached from laughter. You showed me how to think about life in a way that no one else could-- unique and fresh. You were a good friend to me even though our paths never crossed.
Whenever I heard Robin Williams was doing an interview, or when he was on tv, or in a movie I was excited like a child the night before Christmas. I knew at some point during that short period of time I would be allowed to step completely outside of myself, and let the sorrows I felt in my own life go. Unfortunately, no one could do the same for him.

His manic energy and infectious laughter and smile shook me to my core. Yet, few actors could go to that quiet, small place with their craft, shed the frenzied intensity, and make you believe with all your heart like he could. Robin couldn't turn off the emotional spigot within himself. He was either a sun or a moon. Very rarely was he anything in-between. Yet, that is what made him so brilliant, and so sad.

I can't say I fully understand depression, addiction or suicide because I have never struggled with any of the above. In fact, I have only ever known one person close to me who ended their own life, and it still confounds and haunts me today. Why would anyone choose death when life is filled with such joy, happiness, beauty, and wonder?

But in that very question lies the answer.

In the mind of depression lies that same desire for joy, happiness, beauty, and wonder, but somehow it's like a distant memory. It's an abstract cloud in the sky that’s always out of reach. It’s tons of ocean water crashing down around you where you can never quite reach the surface no matter how hard you try. The depth of the world's woes far outweigh the positive influences surrounding them in the world of addiction. To these people, the bottle or the pill is a release from pain, and frighteningly, suicide is ever an option.

Ending a life would be an absolute last resort for me. Maybe it would never be one for another person. To people who suffer from severe depression, perhaps they feel it is their only recourse. But rest assured, it is not.

Life is about making choices, and it is what separates us from the animals. Those choices define who we are- right or wrong- and we must always endeavor to find ways to make the proper ones for us, and those around us. Sadly, most people seem to recall the few times when we turned left instead of right in life, and not the many times we moved forward without stumbling.

The old adage goes "we all make mistakes." Unfortunately, some of us make big mistakes often, but that doesn't stop us from trying our best to be the best we can be in life. I just wish I could wave a magic wand, and have everyone say to themselves without question: "I like me today, and I can't wait to be an even better me tomorrow." After all, we are not the men we are because of the mistakes we have made in life; we are the men we are because it is who we choose to be, not who we have become.

Death as an abstract thought is a very selfish business, and a business no one likes to ever invest in. When someone passes on we say out loud, "I can't believe this person is gone", or question "why did this person have to die?" But what we really mean to say is, "We did YOU leave ME?"

However, suicide is not the same.
A person determined to end their lives doesn't think in the same rational way we do as evidenced by the many suicide notes and letters left behind. They don't seem to be thinking about the wake they leave, but instead what they can do to mitigate the pain of others. Robin Williams likely didn't say before he left "I am leaving you  because the world is too hard", but rather "I am leaving because it will make your life easier." If anything that is the opposite of selfishness.

Robin Williams said in a movie back in 2009, “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.

I am sure Robin loved his family, and never felt alone in their presence, but could they truly empathize with his many struggles and hardships? Could any of us, even someone who suffered like he did? We are all individuals, and we all walk a different path. No one was in Robin's head but Robin, and no one will ever know what his last thoughts were. But do we even need to?

It is true, most people choose not to remember the many times we move forward without stumbling. I choose to remember Robin Williams, not as an addict who ended his own life, but as a friend who brought joy to mine many times over. I choose to surround myself with people and things that make me happy and whole, not with those who only wish to drain me, and tear me down.

Don’t let the worst thing in your life end up being with people who make you feel all alone- including you.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse: The Gun Control Debate.... AGAIN!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

by Nicholas Meyeres

The shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was an horrific tragedy. My heart goes out to those that lost loved ones that day. I can’t even imagine the heartache and anger one must feel after such an event, but talk of new gun control measures is never the course we should take no matter how filled with emotion we all become.

After all, what gun control advocates don’t seem to understand is that outlawing gun ownership will not reduce crime. In fact, the areas with the strictest gun control laws (like Chicago for instance) are also the most violent. But even if that wasn’t the case, as I have said on a previous blog post, enforcing gun control requires criminal behavior on an even more massive scale: In order to disarm gun owners and regulate gun producers, the government themselves must commit crimes against the people by violating the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. That is, the government must forcibly expropriate the property of gun owners against their will. Therefore, gun control cannot reduce crime when enforcing gun control is a crime in and of itself.

And it can't be said enough times- as basic as is sounds- criminals are deterred by armed victims, while gun control disarms the law-abiding ones. After all, a criminal will always find a way to obtain and use a gun- legal or otherwise- especially in a so-called “gun-free zone” where only the criminals are armed. In essence, unarmed citizens make easy victims. It really is that simple. 

Further arguments state that the 2nd Amendment was envisioned with only flintlock muskets in mind even though the word “arms” was the purposefully open-ended word our Framers used. But that argument is fundamentally flawed. If that were how it worked then the 1st Amendment wouldn’t apply to the Internet, or any other form of communication created after the signing of the Constitution. And I can’t imagine anyone arguing that free speech in electronic communications should not be allowed today. That being the case, why then are AK-47s and AR-15s being considered for a ban?

Furthermore, according to the FBI's own statistics it is clear that when considering 5 and 10-year trends, the 2011 estimated violent crime total was 15.4 percent below the 2007 level and 15.5 percent below the 2002 level. Simply put, we are safer today than we have been in some time contrary to an exploitative media and liberal alarmists that would have us believe otherwise.  And as the graph below indicates it has to also be said that compared to the other top 10 “killers” in the United States, firearm homicides are at the very bottom of the list. Tobacco use tops the list at 529, 000 deaths a year, followed closely by medical errors, unintentional injuries, alcohol abuse, motor vehicle accidents, unintentional poisoning, drug abuse, unintentional falls, non-firearm homicides, and lastly at just over 11,000 deaths a year- firearm homicides.

But aside from that, an armed populace is a strong check against government gone awry. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves from tyranny in government." Frankly, contrary to popular thought, guns provide many more designations aside from protecting yourself from home invasion or for the purpose of hunting.

Americans would do well to remember the harrowing stories of the brave Jewish Resistance who armed themselves and fought off the Nazis for as long as they could.  It should also be reminded that the Communists of Vietnam, Russia, China and Cambodia murdered millions of their own people only after first disarming them. However, you don’t think we will ever need to protect ourselves from our government in this day and age?

Please recall that Japanese Americans were interned on American soil during World War II against their free will by this very government. Also, don’t forget that blacks were enslaved and that Native Americans were purged and crushed into dust by that same government, as well. Trust me, it can and already has happened here many times over in America. 

Not only that, but gun control has very racist roots. The very first gun-control measures in American history were designed to keep arms out of the hands of blacks and Native Americans. The Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies both prohibited the sale of guns to Native Americans in the early seventeenth century, and the “Black Codes” of the mid-eighteenth century required French colonists in Louisiana to disarm and beat “any black carrying any potential weapon.” That is why ALL arms need be allowed by “We the People”.

But still, yes, guns do indeed kill people as I have even said- if they are in the wrong hands, that is. But, you could say the same thing about a hammer, a kitchen knife, a drinking straw or any other object that could be construed as a weapon. In fact, also according to the FBI, the #1 weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat. Should we ban baseball bats, too? After all, a gun is impotent while it sits on a counter, unloaded. It only gains power when a bullet is added to the chamber and the trigger is pulled.

It's simply the truth: If you ban guns, bad people will still find a way to do harm to others.  

The same week as the Newtown tragedy a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China where guns of any kind are not allowed. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer and a truck to kill 168 people in Oklahoma. Box cutters were to blame for 9/11. Does that mean we should we ban all of those everyday items, as well?

Let's go one irrational step further; by some accounts the shooter was said to be autistic, or had Asperger’s Syndrome.  So, as with Japanese Americans during the 40’s should we round up all people with developmental disorders and put them in camps since clearly that must have played a factor in the deaths of so many because the shooter suffered from it himself? Of course not. Less freedom is never the answer. Only with more freedom can we truly be safe in a world like the one in which we live today. 

In short, in order to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again we should endeavor to educate ourselves in the ways of self defense so we can be stronger and more aware of everything around us, including gun use. We can’t sit on the sidelines for someone to step in for us in times when waiting for a police officer to arrive simply isn’t enough. It will take the heroic deeds of common, everyday individuals working together towards the same goal of true freedom despite being wary of our own liberties as American citizens.

After all, if a man wields a gun against my family, I for one will never be ashamed or afraid of my own willingness and strength of character to protect my loved ones by any means necessary. Can you say the same?