I agree with much of what you said, but I take exception to your conclusion that locking doors and owning firearms is somehow an overreaction.
I've lived in absolutely terrible, violent, cut-throat neighborhoods, on both coasts and in Chicago. Not just bad cities, but bad neighborhoods -
the sort where weekend gunfire is as predictable as fourth of July fireworks. Why would anyone live in such a place? Necessity, pure and simple -
I'm a student, and a poor one at that. I can't afford to live in downtown high-rises any more than the other people who populate these crap-holes.
Desperate, hopeless, and marginalized, some even see prison as a vacation.
Like many people who have been forced to live in such conditions, I have adapted in order to survive. It's stressful, and I'm sure it's not
helping my heart any that I jump up and arm myself at every unfamiliar sound, but here I am, still alive. Despite being caught in the middle of
some..regrettable incidents, I have not died (w00t!). It's not a lot of fun, living in fear, but I really don't think that's what I'm doing, when
I lock the doors, and bar the windows, and install cameras, and sleep in shifts - fear is a crippling emotional reaction to stress. Preparedness
leaves no room for fear. Preparedness is the solution to fear (and perhaps a symptom of it as well?).
To die is not such a bad thing, in fact, from what I hear, it's a singularly pleasuable experience. But to feel vulnerable, to feel weak, to be at
the mercy of men who have weapons and the will to use them, that is not something to suffer gladly.
Better to be ready, than to risk being afraid. Healthy caution is a function of our survival instinct, it's something to be nourished and cherished.
There's obviously a huge difference between healthy caution and crippling fear - that should go without saying.
Sadly, too many neglect their own personal well-being, and the well-being of their family, for various superfluous things, like posessions, like
status, like foolish pride. Too many wind up in jail, or dead, because they could not see the angles, or they could not make the tough decisions.
The murder rate is a direct result of a materialistic, morally bankrupt society. It isn't just television, it isn't just the movies, it isn't just
rap music - it's our societal values, as you pointed out. Shoes, or a few dollars, or reputation, are valued more than life - consequences are not
considered before action is taken because greed sublimates logic so effectively.
The solution is to teach young people the true power of their decisions, the true potential of life and love - instead of culturing and nurturing
material greed and selfishness, ego, above all else. This may very well be the most egotistical society ever to fester on this great green earth.
I learned from my mistakes. My hope is that I learned the lessons well enough to teach them to my own children. Time will tell...
We live in Hell, but we have always had the power to change that. We're so close, with our technology, with our psychology, with our philosophy,
with our ability to communicate - but thanks to that very same technology, that very same psychology, etc., we have never been closer to the bottom of
It comes down to individuals, making decisions. The individual who promotes worthless, destructive 'values', and the individual who adopts them out
of selfish greed, are both equally culpable, and equally responsible.
But, then again, I think there must be a point to all of it. Without the scourge there can be no harvest, right? The worst of the worst, are perhaps
the greatest inspiration for the best of the best.
Sorry to rant all over your thread. It's not my intention to piss on anybody's parade, I thought your post was well-presented, and I'm sure it was