Overreaction … January 18, 2013

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BushmasterSlight traces of mercury are found in apple juice in containers from Upper State New York. As a precaution, a nationwide recall is made of all apple juice, not only from that particular company, but also from all distributors for a season, to ensure the public safety.

An overreaction.

A report is made that a razor blade is found in apples given out at Halloween to children near Cleveland, Ohio. A warning is broadcast across the nation via the media, informing parents of this danger. So many of these loving individuals take their children’s candy to the local hospital, where free inspections and X-rays of the treats are made available. Other parents (including yours truly) make sure they comb through every piece of sweet so that their children will not be damaged. It ends up being an isolated incident, in one case in one community.

So all the concern was certainly an overreaction.

Arsenic is discovered in several capsules of Tylenol near Chicago, Illinois. Within hours, all Tylenol products are pulled off the shelves, quarantined and put to the test, to make sure the public is protected from this poisonous outbreak. Once again, it was limited to that single store.

One might consider this an overreaction.

In the Pacific Northwest, ecoli turns up in some fresh spinach, making several people ill and causing the death of one. Within twenty-four hours, all fresh spinach is removed from the produce aisles, to shield us all from what turns out to be a very narrow spectrum of danger.

Likewise, toys that came from China had tiny particles of lead in the paint, forcing concerned parties to cease accepting shipments and to physically take all such products off the shelves.

An overreaction?

And now, twelve years later, we are still removing our shoes, having all of our possessions radiated and even being frisked at airports because of what happened on September 11th, 2001. Simultaneously, due to that tragedy, a Patriot Act was quickly voted into place, which limited freedoms and allowed for personal intrusions into our lives when it was deemed necessary to guard the common good.

An overreaction?

The truth of the matter is, if tomorrow’s news cycle generated a story in which a young man in Atlanta, Georgia, threw a coconut cream pie at one of his fellow-students in the cafeteria at Oglethorpe High School, in a matter of just a few hours, coconut cream pies would be removed from all cafeterias in our schools, deemed a recent danger. An investigation would be set into motion to determine when and how the treat could be returned to the menu.

Certainly an overreaction.

Yet when the Newtown Twenty-six were lying in their own blood in an elementary school, the American public, rather than producing a righteous overreaction by ceasing further commerce in the matter of weapons, ammunition and insisting on a full investigation of the kind of mental illness that produces such a macabre fiasco–yes, instead of this NORMAL overreaction that Americans would grant to a bunch of suspected spinach, the public instead went out and bought more guns than they ever have before–especially interested in the assault rifle used by the assailant who murdered our children.

No overreaction. Really no debate.

We are settling for a contentious conversation about how we can continue to be mediocrely prepared for such mayhem, while continuing to put an amendment in first place, which should be secondary to human lives.

Do I have this right? Spinach and Tylenol can be blamed in entirety for delivering ecoli and arsenic, which is not in the original makeup. But guns get a free pass simply because normally they sit on a shelf, waiting to be used. If spinach and Tylenol are blamed for producing a few deaths when they are completely innocent, guns must take their turn.

The only way for us to prove that we are serious about stopping violence in this country is to generate an overreaction, demanding a thirty-day moratorium on the sale of any weapons. It would speed up the process of our debate–because certainly the gun sellers would want to expedite a conclusion–and it would show that we have as much concern for our children’s safety from bullets as we do from ecoli.

The absence of this is the presence of a nationwide insanity, riddled with hypocrisy, which renders us at the mercy of an instrument that has a trigger on it, which can be pulled by anyone at anytime.

I am not against guns. I am against guns until we find out how we can keep them in the possession of the common citizen without putting the general citizenry in jeopardy.

And please do not quote the Second Amendment to me unless you’ve taken a moment to read it. The Second Amendment allows for a militia, which, if you move ahead to current time, would be the police force. I have no problem with policemen having automatic weapons. And by the way, the Second Amendment has already been infringed upon–because it allows citizens to BEAR arms. Most states have laws against walking around toting a pistol. You have to have a carrying permit, which after all, is the government infringing on your rights.

This is not a states’ rights issue. This is not about personal freedom. It is about the necessity we have as intelligent people to overreact when we realize … that a bit of hell is threatening our heaven.

It is time for an overreaction to violence. It is our responsibility to give the Newtown Twenty-six a decent burial and memory by taking more than five minutes to commemorate the loss, but instead, honoring these casualties by making sure that they … are the last ones.

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The Real War on Christmas… December 22, 2012

jon-in-red-hat

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The early followers of Jesus of Nazareth were isolated and persecuted. They had no homeland–no sympathetic government. They were considered to be a fleeting, temporary cult. Therefore, they had no holidays. All the holidays available around them were salutes to gods, goddesses and emperors who were NOT born in a manger in Bethlehem.

These Christ instigators developed the philosophy of redeeming the time. Instead of complaining about their low status on the totem pole, they took the existing celebrations and used them to worship, appreciate and commemorate moments and traditions in their own faith. In so doing, because of things like governments toppling, religions crumbling and just the passage of time changing circumstances, these rag-tag believers ended up inheriting almost all of the holidays.

So Christmas, which for most of its existence, was more or less a feast (which did, at times, lend itself to a bit of debauchery) has become, over the last 150 years, more sacred, more worshipful and more reverent than it ever was in its inception, when it was an explosion of carnal pleasure saluting Mithra.

So all of this fuss–this so-called “war on Christmas” because some geeky atheist in upstate New York wants to file a lawsuit because of a nativity scene in the town square–is utter hogwash. If you’re looking for the real war on Christmas, that conflict is being waged by the very religious system which should be supporting the celebration of the birth of Christ.

First of all, let me make one thing clear. I do believe in the church. The church was Jesus’ dream of a world connected by a great idea through a Golden Rule, and that we could transform the fallen state of affairs gradually through the Spirit to more resemble the Garden of Eden of our origins.

But the church has been overtaken by a religious system which was founded in the style of the Roman Empire and therefore is more interested in relics, traditions and the maintenance of coffers than in the idealistic pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Let it never be said that I am anti-church–but I am against a religious system that would love to take the joy of Christmas over the birth of the Prince of Peace and focus on turning it into either a “Blue Christmas” or a “Bloody Christmas.”

Let us start with this pseudo intellectual–and recent, I may add–journey which has been taken by religious leaders, to provide comfort and sympathy to those who either don’t like Christmas or are finding themselves experiencing their first December 25th without a loved one, a job or family. We cannot take the joy, meaning and importance of this experience called Nativity and spend one minute trying to dilute it so as not to offend a handful of people who need to understand that sometimes we celebrate on behalf of others instead of licking our own wounds.

I do it every time I go to a shopping mall. Because I have bad knees I am in a wheelchair, but I don’t roll in amongst my walking brethren, bitching and complaining about their presumptuous trodding about. I celebrate them. I worship God that I am still able to be among the living and participate. The more briskly they walk, the more I appreciate the gift they’ve been given and my opportunity to still be a part of the human tribe. You do not overcome depression during Christmas by bypassing the unique opportunity to be surrounded by “good tidings of great joy.”

The second war on Christmas comes from the religious system which is in a desperate hurry to break apart the manger cradle and quickly turn it into a cross. Many of them will not even give us one moment to appreciate that God’s original idea was for the world to receive His son, not to crucify him. The heavens would have rejoiced if mankind had accepted the message from the Sermon on the Mount instead of marching the sermon-teller up a mount and killing him. So they turned Christmas into a bloody holiday. They want the baby to become the lamb of God instead of the sweet promise of God’s love for mankind.

For after all, Christmas was God-ordained. It is Easter that is man-made. It is manking which decided to reject His hope and put nails in the hands that came to heal them.

Yes, the true war on Christmas happens in the pews, as we remove part of the great happiness of the season, supposedly in deference to those who are choosing or experiencing blueness. It also is diminished by religionists who can’t wait to get Jesus to a cross.

I love Christmas. It is a reminder to me that if I accept the birth of true mission, then I don’t ever have to die in the hands of my own stupidity.

Be smart. Atheists will never destroy God, because privately, they want God. Otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time fussing about it.

Christmas will not be taken apart–because everyone needs it. But we should be careful that we are not pushing the baby away from the “inn crowd” and leaving him out in the cold. There’s nothing to be blue about–even if it’s a sad time for you. Celebrate the joy of others. It’ll do wonders for your soul.

And let’s not crucify Jesus so soon. Let’s at least give him three months to make things better.

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