Consumerism and Guns

Consumerism and Guns 1024x681 Consumerism and Guns

First, let’s get one fact straight; the most dangerous promoter of guns is not the NRA.  Yes; you read that right! The most dangerous promoter of gun violence in society today is not the National Rifle Association or even the gun-makers themselves; it’s Hollywood!  Movies are how guns are marketed and sold to all of us as consumers.  Don’t agree?

Then ask yourself this question; when was the last time you saw an advertisement for a gun in your favorite magazine? Unless you are reading a law enforcement or specialty magazine, the answer should be never!  When was the last time you watched the evening news or your favorite T.V. show and you heard “This show is sponsored by Smith & Wesson, or Glock, or Sturm, Ruger & Co”?   No, that’s the domain of the pharmaceutical industry!

Marketing Through Portrayals of Gun Violence

Ever watch the movie “Natural Born Killers” which glorified mass shootings?  What about “The Dark Knight” which glorified violence and seemed to make a mass murderer like The Joker seem almost cool? By the way; it also just happens to be one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, further proving that as Americans, we have become desensitized to this type of violence.  Hell, we might even like it!

No people; when it comes to guns and the marketing of them to consumers, gun makers and the NRA can just concentrate on cowering politicians into voting against common sense legislation that protect its citizenry  while Hollywood handles the advertising – all at no cost to them!  Now if I can only get them to promote my blog for free!

Without a doubt, what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School was not a Hollywood movie and it is something that will never leave our psyche as a nation, as parents, and as educators for as long as we live.  However, we cannot ignore the fact that those events played out as a real life retelling of fictional stories told over and over again… at the movies.

What Were These “Wacko’s” Thinking About?

How many of you have asked yourself this question while pondering the Sandy Hook School Massacre, or the Aurora Colorado massacre, or the massacre at Columbine when they happened?   I mean, what could have been going through these demented killers minds as they plotted out which weapons to buy, or how much ammunition they would need, or what body armor to wear in order to carry out such horrific acts of terror?

How many violent movies had these young men watched where some wacko villain like the Joker from the “Dark Night Rises” planned his revenge and then went out in a blaze of glory?  1, 10, 100′s?

Consumerism Is the Common Thread

There is no one “fix” that could have prevented the tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary, but without a doubt, the ability to consume automatic weapons such as the one used at Sandy Hook, the Bushmaster AR-15 shown in the picture above with a cartridge that holds 30 rounds, is something we as civilians and consumers should not have access to!

While we’re at it, why should any civilian need to buy body armor for anything other than committing a crime?  These are all items that should only be in the hands of the military and law enforcement; plain and simple! And please spare me the 2nd Amendment non-sense argument!  But, if you do want to use that argument, then I say go buy yourself a musket and some gun powder like our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment into the Bill of Rights!

Civil War Soldier with Musket and Gun Powder 150x150 Consumerism and Guns

Not a Community of Common Sense

The fact is; businesses must produce goods and consumers must buy those goods in a process that creates the economic backbone of this great country of ours and without a doubt, you cannot sell goods without marketing and advertising.  That is how “consumerism” is born each and every day of our consumer lives!

While I could write an encyclopedia of all the places blame might lay for the culture of violence we live in today, I rather just tell you to awaken to the fact that we are not a community of common sense!  We need to break them down and then rebuild common sense back into the fabric of our communities!

As I said in my last blog post titled “Don’t Call it Gun Control: Just Control The Damn Guns”, common sense isn’t so common.  So here is the last question I will pose;

If The Cambridge Dictionary defines “common sense” as the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way; are we left to surmise that we have lost any common sense as a country?



Don’t Call it Gun Control: Just Control The Damn Guns!

Sandy Nook Elementary Don’t Call it Gun Control: Just Control The Damn Guns!

(Picture taken by Julio Cortez / AP)

As you can tell, this post has nothing to do with credit and debt, consumerism, or recovering from financial hell and everything to do with how angry I am at the continued stupidity of our politicians and so-called leaders regarding gun control.

Today, as a nation, we mourn the innocent deaths and killing of 20 small children and six adults in the nation’s second-worst school shooting ever at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.  Today as Americans, we must all ponder how will those parents ever recover from the senseless murders of their and our nation’s greatest treasure, children? How do they move forward during the holidays when every parent’s heart should be filled with warmth at the look of happiness on their children’s faces as they open their presents?

Our Country’s True Epidemic:  A Lack of Leadership

As I watch the news, I just heard the Presidents White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney say, “Today is not the day to discuss gun laws”.  Really; after 20 little bright lights full of spirit have been snuffed out forever?   If not today, then when the hell will it be the day?  What we have here is a true nationwide epidemic; a lack of leadership!

Mayor Bloomberg, the Republican Mayor of New York City and Co-Chair of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns just put out a response that I believe shows both leadership and the political will needed to address the issue of gun control;

“With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen.  It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their ABCs are safe.  We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech – After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek.  And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds.”

Dead Not the Only Victims

So what does anyone tell those children who survived, who just had their lives fast forwarded 20 years, what just happened, because they will most certainly ask!   I just saw a little boy on T.V. who described being told by whoever was herding his class out to shut their eyes as they ran down the hall.  How do you undo that memory?  How do you undo this episode to our nations psyche; to those parents, teachers, community members, law enforcement and first responders who just experienced this in person?  The answer is; you don’t!

What we have to do now is stand up to the ideologues and special interests who want everything to remain status quo.  Stand up against the NRA, against ALEC, against everyone suppressing common sense; against “sound and prudent” judgment!

Common Sense Isn’t So Common

Common sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.”  The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, “the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way”.  So I ask you to apply those definitions to these actions by our cowardice and spineless politicians across this country:

1. The Michigan Senate today rejected an attempt to eliminate a law requiring people who buy handguns from unlicensed sellers to first pass a background check, voting instead to preserve every essential element of a system mayors and police called a successful crime-fighting tool.

Doesn’t pass the “sound and prudent” test nor does their judgment help Michiganders live in a reasonable and safe way, does it?

2.  In order to begin driving, you need a learners permit.  When you become licensed, you can now drive a car.  But in Arizona, you don’t need either to purchase or own a gun

Arizona Gun Laws Don’t Call it Gun Control: Just Control The Damn Guns!

Doesn’t pass the “sound and prudent” test nor does their judgment help Arizonians live in a reasonable and safe way, does it?

3.  In January of 2011 Representative Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was severely injured in a gun attack, yet in the same year, our greatest “do nothing” Congress in history found it necessary to pass a “pro-gun” bill that would let those with valid state permits to carry a concealed firearm in almost every other state in the country.  Hell yes; now that’s leadership!   That’s our government using “sound and prudent” judgement to help us live in a reasonable and safe way, right?

4.  While Governor Rick Snyder is busy shoving “union busting” reform no one asked for in Michigan (unless you count ALEC or the KOCH Brothers),  their state house passed a bill allowing concealed weapons in schools, day care centers, stadiums, and churches.

If you think this legislation is based on “sound and prudent” judgement that helps Michiganders live in a reasonable and safe way, please leave your comment below.  I want to hear you defend this! 

The Most Armed Country In the World

According to the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, The United States is far and away the most heavily armed country in the world.  The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens.  And according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms.

So how can it be that this country also has one of the highest rates of homicides by guns of any country in the world? In 2005, there were 10,100 gun-related homicides, 75% of which were committed with handguns, and since the murders in Tucson where Congresswoman Gifford was almost murdered, Bloomberg News reported that there was a run on Glocks in Arizona.  Yes, that Glock; the same weapon that killed six people including a Federal judge and a nine-year-old child – no permit or license needed!

Imagine That Was Your Child Shot and Killed Today

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Family at shooting 300x165 Don’t Call it Gun Control: Just Control The Damn Guns!

 

Imagine today, being at work, getting out of the gym, or being home and getting that phone call or that knock at the door with someone telling you there has been an incident and they regret to inform you – your child was killed today!  Imagine coming home and turning on the T.V. and seeing your child’s school being evacuated because there were mass murders?

No America; imagine no more because today every parent’s nightmare was realized and until we push our leaders and politicians to have the will and strength to use common sense when it comes to gun control, this scene will continue to play itself out across this great land of ours.  Instead of hoping and praying it doesn’t happen to you, do something about it!

Get off your apathetic asses, get involved in your child’s school, talk to administrators about safety, and know who can come and go.  Call your politicians and let them know your mad as hell and you’re not going to accept that guns should be an everyday part of your child’s life, the fabric of our country, and that a lot of this tragedy that happened today, can at least be minimized by using “sound and prudent” judgment that will truly help us all live in a reasonable and safe way!

Start the conversation amongst your friends and family by sharing this special commentary with them.  I believe it is an important conversation we all need to have as a country!



Why You Should Wake Up Each Day With a Sense of Urgency

Sense Of Urgency 1024x681 Why You Should Wake Up Each Day With a Sense of Urgency

As a survivor of credit and financial hell, on the road to recovery you will find there is a sense of urgency you can’t help but to develop.  Maybe some of you reading this post can directly relate to that statement.  Once you have reached the point of, it is what it is, but will become what you make of it, and you have awakened from the malaise you were in, that sense of urgency should be there waiting for you with open arms.

Every day you don’t take action with a sense of urgency to right your financial ship, is a day you continue in decline!  And I’m not just talking about one or two things here; I’m talking about an “across-the-board” sense of urgency in everything you do – both personal and business!  For some of you, this may be easier to do than others.  Lucky for me, I’m a Type A personality and a sense of urgency is part of my DNA make up.

Positive Steps to Increasing a True Sense of Urgency

So that we’re clear, urgency is not just excess energy, anger, or frustration manifesting itself in what you are trying to accomplish.  For sure, those things are a part of it, but what you really need to learn is to behave with urgency every day.   As much as you can, you need to demonstrate your own sense of urgency in your daily interactions to as many people as possible and with your everyday tasks.

I mean, if your tone or actions lack urgency, then that’s what others will feel.  But you and I, we’re on the road to financial recovery and that means we are out to accomplish our tasks and goals that will lead us to success with the maximum amount of efficiency – in the shortest amount of time, right?

Move and Win Now

Look, this is about you!  You have to develop a habit and determination to move and win now.  We are not in take prisoner’s mode.  We are aiming straight for the heart, not just the mind.  You need to compel yourself to action in order to feel empowered to buy into your own sense of urgency.  This is what I am doing, and have committed to do, in my every day tasks.  You should too!

If you look close enough and you have taken the first step I outlined in my post “3 Steps You Must Take To Recover From Credit and Financial Hell” which is to change your mindset, you will see that there is actually opportunity in crisis!  In fact, having gone through credit and financial hell, you should have learned to think of any crises as a potential opportunity to better yourself and improve your situation!

Do They Share Your Sense of Urgency?

This is an important question to ask yourself, you see: not everyone will share in your sense of urgency.  There are many people who for one reason or another, could give “two shits” about your sense of urgency and here’s what you should do if you run into that person; run the other way!  You have to remove or neutralize all the relentless urgency-killers in your life; people who by their actions or lack thereof, keep you complacent or worse yet, create destructive urgency!

In a recent blog post titled “10 Things Winners Do Differently” from the Marc and Angel Hack Life Blog, number 5 on that list spoke directly to my point:

#5 Keep good company.It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters most.  Some people drain you and others provide soul food.  Be sure to get in the company of those who feed your spirit, and give the gift of your absence to those who do not appreciate your presence.

And by ‘give the gift of your absence’ they mean – run the other way!  If there’s one thing you are in control of, it’s who you choose to associate with! Do it wisely.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Another blogger I follow is Craig Ballantyne from the Early To Rise blog.  In a recent post titled “Break Out of This Today” he wrote about being in the comfort zone, “Unless we get out of our comfort zone, the reality is that we won’t make breakthroughs in our lives, our businesses, our relationships, or our health.  You simply can’t coast through life if you want to get better.  However, getting out of the old comfort zone is something everyone deals with and struggles to overcome. When you have bad days, you’ll be tempted to return to your comfort zone habits, but it’s also the time when you need to fight against that the most.”

Keeping bad company and associating with people whom, for one reason or another don’t share your sense of urgency to succeed, will chase you right back into your comfort zone! That means if you’re looking for a new job, partner, or company to associate with, interview them too!  That’s right; make sure they fit into your current mindset and they are fully aware of your sense of urgency and commitment to succeed!  If they say, like was recently said to me, “I realize your urgency but we are not staffed to do things at the drop of a pencil”, run as fast and as far as you can from them.  They will not help you get to where you want to go so why waste your time; make sense?

Wake Up Each Day With A Sense Of Urgency

Let me close this blog post out with item number 10 of the Marc and Angel Hack Life Blog post titled “10 Things Winners Do Differently” :

#10 Keep going.No matter what you do, no matter how many times you screw up and think to yourself that there’s no point to carry on, and no matter how many people tell you that you can’t do it – keep going.  Pick yourself back up.  Don’t quit.  Don’t quit, because a few months from now you will be so much closer to your goal than you are now.  Focus on the road ahead.

So my challenge to each of you is that you wake up each and every day with a sense of urgency, both with your career and in your personal life, and remember these points moving forward;

  • The magic happens outside your comfort zone!
  • Look inward, not outward.
  • Success requires change, so embrace it!
  • Bullet proof your mindset
  • And, go to work on you!

Do you have a sense of urgency?  If yes; is it helping you reach your goals?  If no, why not, and do you think by adding a sense of urgency to your daily tasks, it could help you “win the day” and achieve your goals quicker?