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Saturday 29 December 2012

Wheaton's Law

Some pointless rambling, if you will.

What if people obeyed Wheaton's Law - which is, put simply, Don't Be A Dick?

What if every codice of laws included it as the first entry and it was just as binding a piece of law as anything else?

If people genuinely looked at their actions, each action they took, and thought - am I being a dick when I do this? To an individual, a group, the human race in general? How different would things be?

If we accept that we shouldn't disadvantage others just to advance ourselves, especially when we already have such an advantage over those being disadvantaged - would the world be a better place?

Are we even capable of being the people we'd have to be, for it to work?

The vast majority of humanity aren't dicks the vast majority of the time. It bears mention. It's just those few times and those few people. Because it seems that the dickery happens when we need it least.

I suppose the only way we can get around it is to punish dickery when it occurs, reward non-dickery, and hope that the lessons are learned.

But do me a favour? Just as an experiment? Tomorrow - go out of your way to not be a dick. Assess what you do before you do it, see if it is being a dick to anyone - either directly or indirectly.

Let's just see if it won't make our world a little bit better.

We're sorely in need of it.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Where Do I Begin?

There is so much wrong in the world, right now, that it takes a lot for one particularly wrong thing to eclipse everything else.

Since my last blog post there's been ongoing campaigns of extermination in Syria and Gaza, unrest and violence in Egypt, moves both forward and back in US state politics, further moves backward in the UK government's responsibilities to its people, weekly trips to my doctor, and a whole host of other things that have added to the Human Race's collective karmic burden and overall stress level.

And that's the extraordinary stuff. We then have the ordinary - people starving to death and dying of preventable and treatable illnesses. The stuff we don't dwell on every day because we're simply not wired sufficiently to cope with it. Stuff that is often thrown in our faces the moment we feel bad about something, anything, else - as if hurting about something means that we immediately don't care about something else.

The attack on a Chinese school in Henan province, for example; 22 children injure, some of them seriously. Something that was eclipsed in the media, but immediately held up as an example of ethnocentric reporting - unfairly in my opinion.

All of you reading this know what I'm leading up to I'm sure.

At the core of all of the passionate arguments, the angry tirades and the reasoned debates that follow - about gun control, about psychiatric evaluation, about metal detectors and safety, about motives and responsibility and all the things that could have been done - there is the inescapable fact that a young man murdered seven adults and twenty children, before killing himself.

The same dance happens around every shooting, especially every school shooting - the nature of the beast results in high emotion, understandably. Everyone wants a solution, a way to stop it happening, and they want it to be implemented quickly, and they all have their own theory on why it happened and how it could have been prevented, and agreement and concensus is harder to get hold of than a flash application on an iPhone.

I of course have my own theories, my own opinions. I'm not sure about sharing them. While a lot of people have an interest in specific crimes - serial killers is a popular one - I have always had a rather grim interest and fascination over school shootings; of course I take no pleasure from it, but trying to understand why, trying to get to the root of it is a constant drive for me. I'm sure that probably sounds rather insensitive, and it's not meant that way, at all - no more so than a World War 2 enthusiast is insensitive to the 60 million or so casualties of that war.

There are simply the inescapable facts, and they must be taken for what they are, and conjecture recognised for what it is. And the people of Newtown Connecticut deserve our sympathies and our condolences for what must be the most difficult time most of them have ever had to face.

And now I wonder, with a certain amount of dread, whether or not the Westboro Baptist Church will actually dare show their faces in that town. At first I dreaded the NRA - but thus far they have been somewhat silent, a modicum of grace I wish they would show more often. But Phelps and his crowd are an entirely different kettle of fish; and how they haven't been declared a hate group, I will never know.

I have nothing witty to round this off with, so I'm just going to stop typing.