Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Full of Sound and Fury, and Little Else (UPDATED: Action I've Taken)

Namaste readers. I'm probably guilty of preaching to the converted here, but in the off chance someone from outside my usual reader list sees this, I have something to say about the recent shooting in San Bernardino, California. It's wrong, obviously, but what I have to say needs to be said in light of it.

To those people who insist on making snarky, spiteful comments on social media, be it that Facebook, that stupid bird Twitter, or elsewhere, towards anyone when tragedy strikes like that in San Bernardino, CA, I have one thing to say to you.

YOU'RE NOT HELPING. Seriously. If you know one person who's been changed by your vitriol on social media, tell me now and I'll take down this post.

What we really need to do is stop making comments on social media about events like this (I know, I'm guilty of it myself, but there's a point I'm trying to make) and actually DO something about them. Unless you're famous, the only people listening to such comments are friends who agree with you anyway. So what good will it do? Stop preaching to just the converted and lead by example.

If you want something done about this, do something yourself. Attend a rally. Donate to an organization. Write to your representatives. Do something besides complain. By complaining on social media all you're doing is spreading the grief, sadness, and sometimes hate around. You might as well be one of the people using the pray-for hashtag.

I challenge everyone who reads this post to do something concrete about this problem. I'll post what I do myself on this blog. I'm not directing this to anyone personally. I'm just sick of seeing empty threats on social media making things even more toxic than they already are.


I promised that I would post what action I take against mass shootings like those in San Bernardino, and I'm posting what I just did.

I contacted the NRA directly, via their "Contact Us" webpage (which can be found at and I said in no small words that they need to allow gun control if they are to be taken seriously as an organization. My words are below:

"Hello NRA,

My name is Phillip Miner and I am a concerned citizen from Rochester, NY. And yes, while I may be writing in direct response to the most recent San Bernardino shooting in California, I'm not writing to say guns should be completely banned. What I am writing to you about is your seeming contradictory policies about supposedly preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands, and yet opposing any legislation that would do so.

There are common sense gun laws that should be enacted which would be in accordance with what you already preach to some extent about gun safety. I'm sure you're in agreement when I say that not everyone should have a gun - in particular those who intend on using them against actual people (convicted felons or those with mental health issues for example).

There are people who would endorse such common sense gun legislation without wanting to ban all guns. One such article that takes such a viewpoint is from the Washington Post (…/3fd8cb80-735f-11e5-9cbb-79…). In that article, there are three proposals that would do precisely what you say about keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people:

  • National Permit to Purchase, including a background check.
  • Denying firearms to those likely to commit crimes with them, such as those convicted of domestic violence or other crimes which could escalate with firearms.
  • Making guns safer by implementing devices that would only allow them to be fired by the authorized user.

And yet, the NRA seems to take a stance to oppose all gun legislation, even those that stop way short of total gun confiscation. This seems contradictory to those goals the NRA supposedly preaches about.

And I've seen some of your messages about gun safety. I remember one famous infomercial by your organization that says, quite clearly to children watching it, "if you see a gun, don't touch it. Tell an adult."

If the NRA really has any concern about keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people, then shouldn't it practice what it preaches and at least not block such common-sense gun legislation?

Think about this next time you gear up to take political action. Accepting some common-sense gun control legislation would do more to help your organization than just sticking to utter denial. Some people cannot be allowed to own a gun - if you truly believe that, put your money where your mouth is."