Quick update for everyone, but Book Three of the MegaTokyo: Endgames series, “Fire Fox” now has an official release date of September 25, 2015. As with the previous two, the cover price will be $9.99, so start savin’ up now!
Archive for August, 2015
Yes, I know… it’s a burst of content for this blog! No, I don’t know who I am and what I did with the real creator of this blog, so please stop asking.
This topic is returning back to more the intended roots of this blog, though. My first real exposure to the Fermi Paradox was when I was a pre-teen living outside Engadine, Michigan. Where is Engadine, Michigan you may ask? Imagine one of the most rural and isolated parts of the lower United States, a town so small its population sign needed three digits and didn’t even warrant a stoplight. You had to drive two hours for the nearest shopping center.
I didn’t even live in that town. I lived a half hour outside that town. If the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was the armpit of the country, I was living at the end of one of the pit hairs.
Point is… I lived in a pretty isolated place where my nearest neighbor was roughly a mile and a half away.
Anyway, it was a summer night and I was looking up at the stars (one advantage of living way out on the pit hairs of civilization is that the view of the sky is amazing), and my father was the first one to pose to me what I would later learn was called the Fermi Paradox. If this universe is so full of life… why don’t we see any evidence of it?
Even then, I thought the question was rather absurd. It would have been like me walking out to the end of the driveway, not see any other human beings, and wonder if I’m the only person in the whole world. Even if through nothing but simple math and probability, I’d know that wasn’t true in the slightest.
That’s kinda how I view the Fermi Paradox, really… a question that sounds deep and philosophical but is really kinda dumb when you actually think about it. Let’s be honest when we look out into the sky… we haven’t been looking very hard. Hell, we can’t look very hard. Right now, the only way we can find other planets is by inference. Our farthest out man made object has barely broken out of the heliopause. The most recent communication we could be possibly be receiving from another inhabited world is roughly 12 years old… assuming there even is a habitable world in Tau Ceti.
Let’s flip the script, and look at it from the perspective of another civilization out there in the universe. Even if they figured there was intelligent life specifically around our Sun… how much of our civilization would be visible without being right in orbit around Earth?
We’re at the end of the driveway outside of Engadine… wondering where all the people are.
There’s no reason to think we’re alone in this vast universe. It’s only a matter of time before we find it. How long will that be is the only question worth musing about.
I didn’t get terribly into details on Gun Control itself in an earlier post, because I wanted to focus on the larger picture beyond that one issue. But it is true that gun control in America is an issue to be addressed, so here are my somewhat disjointed thoughts on that specific topic.
- Thoughts like this don’t help the discussion, and honestly miss the mark. While yes… there certainly are regular people who absolutely abhor anything but completely unfettered access to firearms, they are an insignificant minority of human beings (and I use that term loosely to describe those maniacs). Go to any corner of this nation, and I think you will discover that Americans in fact don’t think the killing of children is bearable. Next to no one objects to authorities at the very least better enforcing the laws we currently have, and would at least tolerate any new laws or actions that fall short of the ATF busting down their doors and taking the guns they own.
- So what is the proper target for our anger? The gun manufacturers who look at the deaths and the casualties and decide their profit margins that come from anyone and their mother being able to buy a gun are more important. The National Rifle Association should really be called the National Firearm Manufacturers Association at this point, and it’s that political lobby that has perpetually stalled and misrepresented every attempt to stiffen the laws that allow access to firearms.
- I do believe we need to extend the liability laws when it pertains to gun usage. If your weapon has been used in a crime, you should be able to held liable for the damage done with it. Starting with civil litigation (paying out in the case of a wrongful death suit, for example) with repeat offenses leading to criminal charges (if your weapons keep winding up in the hands of criminals… at some point, you become the criminal).
- In the case of black market weapons that had no previous established owner, the gun manufacturer can and should be held liable for the damage done. That hopefully would end the little Manufacture – Mexico – hop the border to the U.S. black market triangle that seems to conveniently happen to the benefit of gun manufacturers.
- Which leads to every weapon in the U.S. being required to be registered to whoever legally owns said weapon. Some states already do this… but it should be a national requirement. Carrying an unlicensed firearm should start small (a minor fine), to a misdemeanor offense for repeated violations. Careful monitoring of who owns what weapon and when it changes hands is a good thing, it’s not a sign that the “gubbermint” is going to steal your guns.
Gun Control doesn’t equal a gun-free nation. First of all, that would never happen. But clearly there needs to be some degree of responsibility imposed on gun manufacturers and the public that buys them, because we quite clearly and evidently can’t police ourselves on this score.
Well, here we are again, my friends. Looking at the aftermath of another day riddled with horrific gun violence in a very public fashion. And once again, it’s time to rev the engines on the hottest debate to flood through the laymen and women of this country… gun control.
Now, I don’t want to dismiss the issue of gun control. I do believe it’s important. I do believe that easy access to guns with very few restrictions and little effort to enforce those few restrictions is a very big problem. But at the same time, it’s not the only problem, and just improved gun control isn’t going to solve the tragedies that seem to occur on nearly a weekly basis nowadays.
These sort of events, this sort of complete collapse of humanity and general empathy to another person or group of people isn’t like a visit to Dairy Queen, where you pick one thing and consider your dessert run complete. It’s more like an all you can eat buffet, where you get a whole meal taking from a bunch of different items.
Just removing easy access to guns isn’t going to solve the distressing lack of support for mental health and initiatives that aid people with mental illness. It’s not going to quell the increasing disquiet about simmering racial tensions and culture of fear that lead to police officers shooting unarmed black men. It’s not going to solve the increasing plight of people feeling they don’t have any other options to affect change in our social and economic structures.
It’s all well and good to fight for stronger gun control. But humans (especially us Americans, it would seem) have this very obnoxious tendency to win one battle, then happily walk away like we had won the entire war. We cannot allow this one flashpoint be the only one we address in our deeply scarred culture.