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Knives, Guns, Social Media, Despair!!

Knives, Guns, Social Media, Despair…. without a doubt that heading has just placed me on a watch list with someone.  No black helicopters flying over the house yet but I’ll check again later today.  So what’s brought me to the brink of despair (tongue in cheek).

A couple of weeks back I had a post cautioning to be careful what you wished for and that’s been hammered home for me since then.   I’m not going to dwell on the gun control issue other then to say after watching the pro and anti news channels the twisting of facts by the anti’s is sickening.  No matter how serious and frequent the screws ups by government agencies the blame is squarely laid on the tool, not the cause.  The sickening part is the manipulation of the kids to push a political agenda.

We witnessed a similar situation with the Ivory drama that played out a year or two ago.  While I’m not denying the decimation of the elephant population by poachers, we were led to believe the only way to deal with the problem was to ban the Ivory trade at virtually all levels.  What I find incredible about the entire situation was the governments destruction of TONS of already harvested ivory.  In my mind the question remains, why wasn’t the ivory sold and the proceeds used to fund the projects to aid the elephant population and the elimination of the poachers.  At the very least, flooding the market with that much Ivory would have helped depress demand and push down prices.  And did this eliminate the black market for Ivory?

In the last few weeks we’ve seen corporate sponsors drop relationships with the NRA due to the Florida school shooting that could have been prevented with a minimal amount of effort on the part of local law enforcement and the FBI.  CitiGroup came out with the following policy change which is a meaningless, feel good effort to show they are concerned and ‘doing something’:

Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines. This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label. It doesn’t impact the ability of consumers to use their Citi cards at merchants of their choice.

Yesterday Youtube announced they were banning certain gun videos   I’m interested to see if this will extend to competitive shooting match videos or military weapon displays.  How about a video of a demonstration of and 1800’s era Gatling gun?  And are they going to ban videos of idiots blowing stuff up?

And to add to the mix we find out that Facebook ‘screwed’ up when they violated there privacy policy and were found to be selling the private info of their users.  And of course this spider web creeps out into the apps you may have subscribed to through Facebook.  Take a second to read this from the Facebook Help Page.  Then slip on over and read this current article regarding security.  Is Your Data Safe On Facebook?

The ban on switchblades started with mass hysteria fueled by a Broadway musical.  And they were banned without the aid of social media.  In fact, it happened without many people even aware it was happening and no one spoke up.  Several years ago we witnessed a terrorist group executing victims by beheading them on camera using long bladed knives.  Edited versions of the videos were shown over and over on both TV and the internet.  I can remember at the time wondering if that could be a flash point resulting in a call for more blade length restrictions at a federal level.

Over and over I hear the statistic that 90% of the public favors stricter gun laws and I’ve yet to hear anyone provide a source for these “facts”.  I’m not hanging out with a group of fanatical militants but I sure can’t say that I’ve heard anywhere near that level of support in my circle of acquaintances.  Why aren’t these statistics called out?  There’s a point at which perception becomes reality.  The old joke used to be if you read it on the internet it must be true.  Now…..

I’ve avoided the knife discussion boards and haven’t participated on one in years.  I don’t know if it’s still the same but for a while so many of the boards became a place to complain and in some instances flat out smear others.  It seemed that level of discourse attracted other similarly mean spirited folks that had an axe to grind.  After a while it got boring and tiresome.  While I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, Twitter, etc I decided to use Facebook to ‘follow the crowd’ along with other manufacturers and retailers by automatically feeding my blog posts to a Facebook page.  Not sure I’m going to maintain it.

I can’t help but believe we’ve rapidly reached a point Einstein predicted:  “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.”

No doubt the social media outlets CAN be a great tool and do all kinds of good but there’s another aspect I just don’t care for.  It’s become more and more obvious the information we all leave on the social networks is used to influence and steer us in our consumption and more frighteningly our beliefs.   I hate being bombarded with popups for anything related to a search term I may have used.  Leave me alone!! And of course it can be an outlet for the intellectually challenged.  ‘Hold my beer and watch this!!!!…..’

Recently in Minnesota we had a young guy hold a book against his chest and had his girlfriend fire a shot into the book  at point blank range.  They were trying to gain fame on YouTube and filmed the entire incident.   For future reference, a hard cover book will not reliably stop a 50 caliber slug from and Desert Eagle .50 cal pistol.

Since your reading this blog post you obviously don’t fall into the group of knuckle draggers I’m referring to.

So speak up, speak out.  Don’t despair!  If you’re not willing to take the time and effort to write the occasional letter to your congress ‘person’, don’t bitch about changes you don’t like.  I’m cancelling my Citi issued credit card to make a small statement.  I’ve contacted my state representative this week about proposed legislation.  This isn’t just  about popups, news feeds, gun rights or knife rights or any specific rights its about freedom and choice.

The recent public battles may be centered around gun control efforts but if you don’t think that discussion can swing around to knife rights, think again.   Pay attention.  Listen and think about what’s said on social media.  If you stay silent and don’t think your voice counts, your right, it won’t.

Damn!  Gotta run.  I think I hear a chopper…..