DiYI’m done complaining. And, I’m pretty sure we all need to stop complaining and start being active in fixing things. Stop expecting someone else to do what it is you want done for yourself. Do it Yourself. Martha Stewart made millions. The old adage, “if you want something done right, you should do it yourself” is more applicable to today’s political-socioeconomic environment than ever before. The main problem with DiY is the access to certain items and the knowledge or know how. The latter is far easier to get to these days, in this “information age,” but the access presents the biggest issue. Access is the key, and the key is money. Sometimes access can be a person.

Doing it yourself is great, but at times it is better to have a professional do it. Especially with craftsmanship, cutting hair, medical stuff, legal issues, real estate transactions and so forth. But, with money?? It’s time we start empowering ourselves and managing our own money. If the economic collapse didn’t teach us something post 9/11, then nothing will. Play with a 401K if you’d like. Paying money into a magical pot and expecting it to come back way better is nice. Just tell me how it really works? Ask yourself how so many 401Ks got wiped out.  Oh…and expecting that paying into social security will hold you over in retirement is foolish. Don’t rely on your parents’ or grandparents’ antiquated scheme. Be your own money manager. Invest your own cash. Taking your own risks. It takes research, luck, and diligence; and a bit of access to resources, but that’s better than losing money while the people you pay to manage it still make money on your wins or losses. I am a proponent of IRAs.

Additionally, insure yourself. Don’t rely on an insurance company to bail you out. There have been and will continue to be too many horror stories about what insurance companies won’t pay. Yeah…pay for insurance because it is going to be required. And pay for insurance especially in the event a chronic or serious illness or injury occurs. But for your everyday problems, like paying for maintenance of yourself or house or car, it may be necessary to have a rainy day fund that you create. And, put away enough money that you can withstand a blow.

What’s the main problem with this? People need wages which can allow them to do this. Thus, you have to live well below your means, which will require you to do things or not do things you “feel” is beneath you. It’s investing for the future. Fuck YOLO. Consider this: doing what everyone else is doing and expecting to have a better result than them is ____________ (fill in the blank). We are going to have to act differently and think more critically if we want to have something outside of the norm. The reason you would want something outside of the norm is because the norm is misery. Normal is barely being able to keep your nose and mouth above water long enough to get some air for when you have to go back under. It’s why people have been protesting across the globe.

You’re not in the 1%, and if you are, don’t mess it up. There is a requirement of being conservative, yet being willing to take educated chances. “May the odds be ever in your favor,” I guess.

Cops and Robbers

How mad would you be if you couldn’t distinguish the cops from the robbers? Take a step back. Forget that! How mad would you be if the cops and robbers worked together? Basically, the cops being the robbers and vice versa?Not even robbers….rapists, thieves, murderers, and the like. You couldn’t trust anyone, right? And, you would take a stand and stand up for yourself–right? You would probably arm yourself and live with a high level of paranoia–probably?

Well, that is happening. Not with the actual police and criminals–all the time–but with other people in similar dichotomous situations. For example, law makers and those entities that the laws are in place to manage and regulate the conduct of. I’m really speaking to big business. How can you trust the laws and the elected officials that legislate or the agencies that regulate for the more specific details? How can you feel protected? What is the recourse available to citizens that are being bled by the tax codes, banks, energy companies and more while those companies circumvent the system and their representatives reap the benefits? Much is mentioned about the revolving door that is Congress and Lobbying (or those in-house as Governmental Relations people for companies). That’s how it is that the cops are the robbers.

When the law fails to deter or control conduct in a meaningful way, there is no point in the law. If those who are supposed to enforce the law are those helping to break it…oh man. And, you have to hope that is the minority of enforcers, or enforcement will be a farce. It’s a farce.

We are all living together, but it’s not harmoniously at the moment. It stems from a very selfish perspective on life and it’s painful to many in a pervasive manner through many aspects of life. :

Diversity of thought, class, background, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and so on, are needed dynamics, which are lacking. And academic attainment is being used as an excuse to draw a line. education fosters group think and kills diversity. So the diversity that is supposed offer divergence in thought is only a masquerade ball for those similarly situated. Diversity will make for more active and effective discussions for progress. And, there’s some, but not in all facets. But, when best friends and people of the same thought, class, and so forth are on both sides of the law, it’s going to create a shit storm for the rest. It’s Shit Storming by the way.

An Ex-Athlete’s Delight

Wake up with the pain of a prior day’s work recalled as your feet shockingly touch the floor.
Resent waking up…well, the process.
Love waking up to carry out your night’s dreams in today.
Begrudgingly start your routine of push ups, sit ups, squats, toe raises….
Willing to do whatever to get that advantage on your competition–wherever they reside.
Gotta make it.
You wake quick, to get to the next step.
But, the daily grind wears on your mind,
takes a physical toll on your body, and thrashes at your soul.
Being an athlete has it rewards in the fleeting moments they come, but it’s all work, but some say its tons of fun.
Essentially, athletes keep playing for the chance at “the glory.”
“Thank God if I make it.”
Blame him for having another plan for me if I don’t.
“It can’t be me. I work too hard. Sweat too much.”
Why do I even do this? I’m tall? I’m strong? I’m fast? I’m quick?
My friends, family and expectations?
Is this love or lust?
I know I can have minions to keep feeding my overgrown ego that i wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s only because my name appears in the paper; or, my image flies across YouTube;
or, your HDTV.
Do I do it for the day I hit the Shine of a Spotlight?
Do I do it for the day I can really get paid?
Do I do it so that my good looks are profitable
or bad ones and skin color become irrelevant?…
I love the game.
It defines me.
I enjoy winning.
The losing is motivating.
I see God, and the good in both.
I spend all my free time in a gym,
with or without people.
It’s my religion.
Sorry, God! (I think).
I sacrifice:
Academics, love life, social experience, other life joys, jobs and money.
I’m different for my ability to sacrifice.
But, I’m not honored or given my due unless I win and keep winning.
So how can I really appreciate a loss?
Fans can love or hate you for what they can’t do.
Future employers can love to gloat about your past accomplishments, while longing for the day to berate you….”I’m your coach, now!”
What it is to work for love and passion–neither can be replaced by money or trophies.
It’s great to have it all, but better to have your sport.
You grow to love the pain, agony, triumph,
and defeat, and saddened when you’re liberated from it all when…
On the one day it stops.
Death over dishonor?
I gave so much to the game and now it’s gone.
With it, my youth and spirit.
How to care beyond something you have given more than half your life to?
How to carry burdens of burned friendships in pursuit of a bigger dream?
I love the clicks in my knees, toes, elbows and neck.
It’s what I have left from days achieving without having
to look at old stat sheets, clippings, or trophies.
Artists at their finest is an athlete.
Those you’ve never heard of and those we all adore.
We all have this in common: a lot of pain and love and muscle memory.

Gun Violence is Out of Control: Revisit Laws Now!

With the string of mass shootings that occurred in Aurora, Colorado, at a midnight premier of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises; in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a Sikh Temple; and, Manhattan near the Empire State Building, the federal and local governments must revisit their respective laws and regulations on gun control.

The people have proven they are not competent to handle having access to weapons. Additionally, there is an argument that the coverage of the Aurora shootings and the in-depth detail of the suspect of that shooting led to the Wisconsin incident a short time thereafter. Hopefully, the frenzy of coverage for the latest NY shooting will not lead to another.

Controlling access to guns and harshening the punishment for having certain weapons only begins resolving the gun violence problems. But, it must be done. “A gun problem” doesn’t exist in this country because of the Empire State Building shooting, or because of Columbine, Fort Hood, or Virginia Tech. The problem exists because of the recurring, low scale, daily, less media covered incidents of gun violence like that warzone that exists in Chicago.

See Link

Yet, the mass murder shootings call national attention to the problem. Congress needs to double down on the Gun Control Act by preventing access to guns to curtail the foolhardy action by people who use guns against others. Basically, a person without a gun cannot shoot people.

Photo by Joshuashearn

The federal government owes the citizens of the United States to act with the force of law where the people have shown that such governing is necessary given the peoples’ constant acts proving they cannot handle possessing a weapon. Federal law requires the states to conform. Congress should put tighter controls on the ability to purchase weapons and ammunition as well as creating laws affecting the production of such by the companies that produce them. Congress has the power to regulate commerce, and they should (easier said than done).

Some may assert that gun control is not the answer, but it is the people who get their hands on the guns that are the problem. In refuting that claim, since laws cannot fix the cultural problem overnight, Congress should focus on access to weapons and the rights to have guns. Others assert that even if guns were taken off the market, there are other means and people are ingenious enough to find a way around the law. So what! The federal government needs to act where it can—quickly and swiftly—and if and when other routes to gun access occur, the government should then respond accordingly.

Additionally, the government action must change because evidence shows that some of the aforementioned mass murders have occurred with weapons obtained legally with very little resistance—some otherwise. Owning guns is a constitutional right and people want their guns for reasonable needs such as protection of their homes and hunting. But, it is clear that people are taking advantage of this right and exceeding the permissive use. The United States is in an era of gun violence where a privilege should be scaled back to accommodate ever-present concerns.

Some people believe their ability to carry weapons can help in situations where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was attacked, or to effectively retaliate against the shooter of the Aurora shootings. But, why not consider nipping the problem in the bud by preventing access to weapons in general? Thus, decreasing the likelihood of gun violence of this kind. Hypothetically, if all the guns are taken out of the general population, then no one has a gun; therefore no need for vigilantes or heroism exists in the face of mass shootings or attacks with the use of guns.

The idea here is that eliminating the potential for mass and lower scaled shootings outweighs the unknown response by the general population. Haven’t Americans seen enough devastation and irreplaceable lives lost?

The second issue presented from the Aurora shootings is the media coverage the shooter received. It is reasonable to hypothesize that the media did a disservice by providing so much coverage that it spawned a copycat hoping for a similar media frenzy. The media covered the profile of the shooter from Aurora to a sickening extent, which nearly depicted him as a victim. Understandably, curious minds desired to know what caused this attack. Journalists and media outlets obliged by giving the general population as much information as possible. The media erred by sharing too much, no matter how intriguing the story may have been.

In turn, it created the affect that the shooter was the story. The shooter was instantly infamous. That result potentially encouraged the Sikh Temple shooter. The Sikh Temple shooter could have had hopes to gain the same notoriety as the Aurora shooter and have his life become more important than the sharing of the news of the attack.

Although, the Sikh Temple shootings were far less covered, there was very factual coverage of it. The nation was not bombarded with more information than necessary to inform. In the Sikh Temple shooting, the gunman was taken down by a trained armed officer, who was also wounded in the attack. Some could use this to prove that him having access to weapons prevented a greater loss of life. But no access to guns in the first place would prevent this story from existing. Are you getting the point? That officer is a hero nevertheless, but he is also a trained officer, and his actions were within his trained skill set. On-duty officers took down the New York Shooter. Praise them! But innocent by-standers were also harmed by their acts. Maybe the movie Demolition Man was on to something by ridding the entire population of guns.

The lack of media coverage was appropriate for the Sikh shootings. The reason being is to hope that covering it with less vigor than the Aurora Shootings could preclude another the copycat—if that was the reasoning. The drawback concerning the lack of media coverage for the Sikh Temple shootings raises the thought that the victims of this shooting were less important nationally than the victims of the Aurora shootings. Hopefully, that prior statement is without merit. Now, with the media capital that is New York being affected by this tragedy, it is certain to remain a hot topic for too long.

In 2012, America has seen enough gun violence that action must be taken to prevent it. Violent acts will not cease autonomously. The American culture is not placing the value on human life it deserves given the inaction. The pervasive gun violence issue is an indictment of the American culture’s lack of evolution, which is consequently an indictment of the American people.

Everyone is to blame until everyone is on one accord to recognize a change must occur. The 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms should also be under attack and interpreted differently than is currently by the greatest minds of this country. People may believe that this country is at a point economically that safety is increasingly in question, and no one should be left unarmed. But, fighting fire with fire is not going to prevent people from dying which is the ultimate goal. At this point in time, gun violence can only be remedied by disarming the people as a whole.