God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference
Several things have come up in the past couple of days. Things that have angered me. Things that have made me shake my head and wonder what the hell people are thinking. And, frankly, made me wonder why some people are so damned stupid. That's not very enlightened of me. I like to think of myself as being on the path to enlightenment. I don't like to think of people as stupid. And I try to remember that just because people have a different opinion than I do does not mean they are stupid. But maybe I had an unenlightened moment. Can't be perfect!
The first thing happened when I arrived at my very relaxing, 3-hour-per-week job/social engagement at the library. Turns out that without the public even getting a whiff of it, the city council where I live was debating whether to maintain the City Archives - I found out from one of our volunteers who got an e-mail from someone who knew someone at a meeting. Three members of our city council of 7 had decided that just because they didn't know why we needed a city archives, they could save the $120,000 a year that it cost the city (0.1% of the city budget, apparently). Fortunately, saner heads prevailed and they got voted down. But there was nothing about this in the news, nothing made public. It was very quietly done behind closed doors. If they had voted against keeping them open, I wonder if the voting public would have had a say. Main point here is that, for a couple of hours I was on edge because of this one little thing. Shouldn't let it bother me, but I did.
The next thing that really bothered me was this morning, when a Facebook friend posted part of this interview between Piers Morgan and Alex Jones - a gun rights advocate who has started a petition to deport Piers Morgan for his gun control advocacy. Piers invited him on to "debate" gun control. It's long, but if you watch any 30-second segment of it, you'll get the gist.
I think what bothered me the most (and there were a lot of parts of this "interview" - more like a monologue - that bothered me) was the fact that he was saying that the government is putting anti-depressants out there to make people kill themselves. Really. He says that. More than once. So he thinks all anti-depressants should be taken off the market. Wonder how that would affect the suicide rate??
Let's look at this issue from a slightly different angle, shall we? We live in a very high stress society. We are constantly bombarded with information (aren't you glad you're being bombarded by my blog right now?), we are surrounded by violent images in the media, what we see is entirely based on what raw human emotional nerve it hits and how high the ratings are. We are on overload. And a lot of people can't handle it (myself included at times). So the pharmaceutical companies, for whom I seldom have a good word, have filled a need and found chemicals that help people deal with this crazy, competitive, violent culture. They have produced relatively safe drugs that enable people to function. On the rare occasion, these drugs react differently in a person and cause the wrong effects - suicide being one. But the vast majority of people taking them experience a benefit.
Much in the same way, I feel that ALL GUNS should be taken away from private citizens because a few people go nuts and kill in mass shootings. NOT. I don't feel that way. I feel that semi-automatic weapons have no place in a personal arsenal. As a matter of fact, I think personal arsenals are unnecessary. But I don't have problems with people having a couple of guns to go hunting. Rifles or shotguns, safely stored and responsibly used ... those I have no problem with. But no one needs a semi-automatic weapon. For any reason other than to kill lots of people. Which they shouldn't be doing.
I was going to write more on the 2nd amendment and the history of gun control in the States. Never mind. You probably know how I feel about that. I understand the history, but things have changed since the 1700s. The rules also need to change to go along with the new world we live in. That's enough on that.
And then there is the ever-present environmental issue - the world is getting too hot. 2012 was the hottest year on record. Australia is burning (now apparently it's so hot in some places of that country that gasoline evaporates before you can pump it). They had to add new colours to the heat map. I feel for the Australians. I hope not too many people or animals die. It's only going to get worse. But I can't fix that. I can't change the other 7 billion people on the planet. I can only change me. (And I need to get back on my environmental bandwagon, because I've been slacking off at home lately - that's something I CAN change).
And then there is this gun community they want to create in Idaho - I saw it on The Colbert Report last night. If it's on Colbert, at least that means that other people think it's ridiculous. Because it's ridiculous
It's almost like God is throwing the most ridiculous examples of ridiculousness at me to make this rather obvious point: I have no control over these things. I need to stop worrying about them and letting them affect me so much. God Grant me the Serenity ...