Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paging Dr. Evil

Dr Evil2At the Sam Harris/William Lane Craig debate at Notre Dame the other night, Craig made a statement that I wanted to return to. I was so struck by it that I wrote it down verbatim in my notes, and then wrote it on my “To Write About” list so that I didn’t forget it. (I have little notepads and notebooks all around me. I try to keep them tidy, but they really are a necessity for me. I’ve got so many thoughts going through my mind that I have to corral them somehow!)

Craig’s statement was this: “Evil proves that God exists.” Nothing fancy there, just five little words, but said with great certainty. I knew that I needed to think about this.

I’m no philosopher, and have read very little of any of the great philosophers’ writings, so I can’t really approach this question from that sort of viewpoint. I was raised with religion and have done a lot of pondering through the years, so this will only be from my perspective. I can’t really make any of those sorts of philosophical arguments and back it up with data or references. This will be only my own questions and thoughts on the matter.

I suppose I could take the sarcastic viewpoint, and make the observation that because there has been so much misery in the world throughout the millennia, stating that evil proves that God exists makes a lot of sense, and places the blame entirely on God. (For the purposes of this entry, I will be capitalizing the word “god,” because Craig obviously intended it to mean the Judeo-Christian god, rather than any of a number of other gods, or a general descriptive term for a divine being.) But I know that wasn’t his intended meaning; no, he meant to say that the existence of evil in the world somehow proves that there must be a counter-force, and he says that counter-force is God.

I honestly don’t see the logic in that statement. Is he saying that God created evil? If so, why? What purpose would that serve? Was it to be a test for his creations, to see if we were tempted and succumbed? Isn’t that sort of like giving an alcoholic a bottle of scotch and telling them not to drink it or be damned? Isn’t that sort of sadistic?

If God didn’t create evil, did Satan? And if God is omnipotent, why did he let Satan do that? Didn’t he want to protect his creations from such evil? For that matter, didn’t he see it coming when Satan rebelled...and why didn’t he put a stop to it? Wouldn’t that have been better than unleashing such evil upon the world and the people he created?

If I recall, the whole concept of evil and misery goes back to Eve defying orders and eating the fruit that was forbidden to her, and then getting Adam to join in, all after being tempted by Satan. (Sure, blame it on the woman.) Again, this God seems like a rather malicious sort, one who would taunt his children by placing things within their reach and then telling them to not partake, or be damned. Again, if he is omnipotent, didn’t he know exactly what would happen? What sort of bizarre scenario did he set up in which he knew exactly how his children would behave, but then damn them and their descendants for the rest of time?

As for Craig’s original statement, that evil proves that God exists, I still don’t understand this logic. I could just as easily say that happiness proves that Bigfoot exists. Or that shame proves that unicorns exist. There is no correlation there. It is attributing the existence of some entity to a human trait, which seems completely arbitrary to me.

For that is what “evil” is: an entirely human trait and behavior. Some see a killer and say that they are evil. Chances are good that they are mentally ill. Some see genocide taking place in our world, and say that it is evil. It is a societal ill perpetrated by those in power upon others. Can people be evil? Of course. But how does the behavior of a madman prove the existence of God? How does the presence of one thing guarantee the existence of another thing? This makes no sense to me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trump: The non-serious non-candidate

*Article first published as Trump: The Non-Serious Non-candidate on Blogcritics (this is my first post there!)
TrumpThere has been much buzz lately concerning whether or not Donald Trump will run for President. Trump, a master of self-promotion, has blatantly courted the Tea Party by aligning himself with the little group of crazies that just won’t go away, the Birthers.

Trump’s shameless pandering to this group of idiots seems to be paying off. Not only does a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll show Trump tied with Mike Huckabee at 17% for second place behind Mitt Romney, the ratings for his NBC show Celebrity Apprentice are up. (I’ll admit to Apprentice being one of my guilty pleasures. It’s a fun show.) He’s a smart businessman and a good promoter.

However, when he uses the Birther “controversy,” a non-issue that has been repeatedly debunked, to garner attention and generate publicity, it is impossible to take him seriously. He spouts the typical nonsense about how a certificate of live birth is not the equivalent of a birth certificate; he states that Obama’s grandmother in Kenya says she was a witness to the birth, although it has been shown that that was due to a translation error; he maintains that Obama’s mother didn’t have the money to put birth announcements in not one but two Hawaiian papers, although most newspapers publish such announcements at no charge. It’s a silly argument, and Trump makes himself look silly for climbing onto the Birther bandwagon.

Trump doesn’t just make himself look foolish. He diminishes the stature of the office of the presidency. While he certainly has the right to run for president if he so chooses, his pursuit of the Birthers is ludicrous and laughable. Former entertainers can certainly take being elected seriously, and approach the job with the appropriate gravitas. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Bono, even Fred Grandy (Gopher from The Love Boat), for pete’s sake, made the transition from entertainment to politics. While they all occasionally had non-serious moments, they embraced nothing so ridiculous as the Birther nonsense. (One could make the argument that trickle-down economics was every bit as ridiculous, but that is a topic for another day.) I suspect that the GOP is not thrilled with this development; when they are struggling to field a serious candidate who has a chance against Obama, this clown is talking Birther blather. When even Glenn Beck says you’ve taken it too far, you might need to realize that you’ve got a credibility problem.

If Trump’s goal was to garner attention and generate publicity, he has succeeded. If his goal is really to be taken seriously as a possible presidential candidate, he is failing miserably, except with a small and deluded minority of the population. Astonishingly, a significant portion of Republicans (51%) don’t believe Obama was born in America. That portion of the population isn’t enough to win an election; Independent voters will be key, and they want no part of the Birther silliness. Nor should any thinking American.

Harris kicked his butt!

Sam HarrisThat may be the quote of the night, but I’ll get to that at the end.

I went to see Sam Harris debate William Lane Craig at Notre Dame this evening. (Heretofore known as SH and WLC.) I cannot begin to describe just how good this was, but I will try. I took many notes (along with a couple of crummy pictures on the sly...I wasn’t supposed to take any, but being the heathen that I am, I did...and I liked it!), and I think the easiest way to write this up will be to just transcribe my notes with a little “neatening up” and commentary for clarity. The premise of the debate was whether or not religion and/or God is required for morality, i.e., can someone be moral without being religious? Harris maintains that that is most certainly possible; Craig says no. It naturally ended up as a debate of whether or not there is a supreme being who shaped our world and expects our worship; if we do not accept those terms, we will burn in hell. So here are my notes, and I’ll try to make some sense out of them. I can already see that there are some things I wrote down that I’m thinking “What was that about?” St. Anselm? What? Ha!

Heard behind me before the debate started: “I believe in a higher power...but I’m not Catholic.”

WLC looks smug. Harris opens his Mac.

WLC goes first, has 20 minutes to speak:
  • Quotes SH from The Moral Landscape, but leaves out crucial points of his hypothesis, especially regarding genital mutilation of females. In some cultures, this is considered a “moral” reality, based on religious beliefs. As moral beings, how can anyone condone this? Craig doesn’t seem to grasp what Harris was saying about that.
  • States that by nature, God is loving and kind
  • Says that Judeo-Christian beliefs are to love your God, love your neighbor
  • Compares humans to rats or insects
  • Says “Nature is morally neutral”
  • I want to barf (This was my thought, not a statement from him)
  • Compares humans to bees, corn, and bacteria
  • “If there is not a God, what foundation remains for objective moral duty?”
  • Incest - without religion there is nothing to stop it (I might have laughed out loud at this point)
  • States that Harris says there is no free will (since when did Harris say that?), so no one is morally responsible
  • Says that Harris says right and wrong don’t exist

Sam Harris gets 20 minutes:
  • He is surprisingly soft-spoken
  • Quotes his book concerning burqas; considered moral in that society, but highly restrictive of the rights of women in ours.
  • Where do our notions of right and wrong come from? Evolution and then cultural mores.
  • Avoid the worst possible misery for everyone; that is what drives our morality and guides us to making things better for others.
  • Talks at length about the Taliban; a highly religious society that dictates morality, but one that we find repugnant. They feel that throwing acid in the faces of young girls who dare to go to school is perfectly acceptable, and their literacy rate for women is something like 12%.
  • Generally seems to be a little more humorous, in a low-key way
  • Speaks of the value of evidence and logic, whether looking for reasons behind morality or for a belief in a god

WLC rebuttal:
  • God is essentially compassionate
  • Moral values are grounded ontologically in God
  • Speaks of the non-moral uses of “good,” using ridiculous, semantic arguments--bullshit
  • Atheism cannot explain moral values because atheists can’t see any reason to act morally; they have no moral lawgiver.
  • My head is exploding! (My thought, not his.)

SH rebuttal:
  • Any god is either impotent or evil
  • If you’re praying to the wrong god, you’re evidence to support this. Made a comparison to Lord of the Rings. I snorted, and the crowd laughed (at his remark, not at my snort, although those in my immediate proximity might have been laughing at me).
  • The Bible supports slavery
  • God is psychotic--totally detached from the well-being of humanity
  • References transubstantiation by saying that it’s like praying over pancakes to turn into Elvis. I snorted again.
  • “I hate to break it to you here at Notre Dame, but Christianity is a religion of sacrifice.”

WLC rebuttal:
  • Responding to Harris’s remarks concerning an impotent or evil god, a psychotic god, Bible supporting slavery: “The less moral framework is ATHEISM!” There was laughter among the audience.
  • If God does not exist, we have no foundation for morality
  • Evil proves that God exists (I think I need to explore that premise further in another entry)
  • The Taliban has got the wrong god

SH rebuttal:
  • Every branch of science relies on core values
  • Certain facts are objective
  • “We have hit philosophical bedrock with the shovel of a stupid question.” Brilliant!
  • We can have a conversation that is from the first century, with the Old Testament. Or from the seventh century, with the Koran. Or we can have a discussion in the 21st century.

WLC closing statements: God is the paradigm of good blah blah blah

SH closing statements:
  • Everything that WLC has said about Christianity could also be said about Islam
  • The scriptures were written by men who had no concept of our worldview, or of what we have learned since they were alive.

Question and Answer time:
  • Someone asks Harris if some religion could be true? Would he accept any religion as true? Harris says that in about five minutes, we could make a new religion. Let’s just cut out Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and at least half of the ten commandments. (The crowd laughs.)
  • Someone asks about WLC’s previous remarks concerning light vs. dark (it was along the lines of O’Reilly talking about the tide goes in, the tide goes can’t explain that), and how older societies turned to a magical explanation for the phenomenon. She stated that this is now explained by science. WLC goes into a long response about ontology vs epistemology. The questioner says, “Can I clarify? Why is God an explanation for morality?” (Laughter and mild cheers from the audience.) More stuff from Craig about ontology vs epistemology.
  • The existence of God doesn’t really add to the concept of love. (I don’t recall the question there, but that was a statement from Harris.)
  • A questioner asks about miracle stories, and how that can be explained. Harris says, “It would be trivially easy for God to convince me of his existence.” (Laughter from the audience.)
  • A questioner asks about homosexual vs heterosexual love, says that the former was shown to him last Harris struggles not to laugh, WLC berates the questioner for not being serious. In all fairness to WLC, although it was amusing, it was a troll question.
  • Harris says that people are means, not ends...our happiness is dependent upon that of others. Unless we’re psychotic, we genuinely want to see others happy, and do what we can (while taking into account our own well-being) to achieve that.
  • Harris says that this is the only encompasses the most happy and the most miserable. Most of us want to help others rather than harm them.
  • Harris mentions WLC’s “divine command theory.” God instructed Abraham to kill his son, and Abraham was going to do it. Harris’s point was that such blind obedience is not conducive to morality, and is no different than the Taliban ordering its religious adherents to throw acid in the faces of young girls who dare to go to school.
  • Harris maintains that there is no consensus within Christianity; various denominations believe various things, and have differing dogma. Christian dogma is dependent not upon morality but upon whatever the hierarchy decides will be the dogma.
  • WLC ends with the statement that there are no morals in atheism.

IMG_2334Whew! Man, that was a wild ride. I know that I’m biased, but I thought that Harris came across as rational and logical, humorous and earnest. He seemed much more relaxed and low-key; although I know he wasn’t speaking off-the-cuff, he seemed much more at ease and comfortable with his opinions and statements. Craig seemed stiff and uncomfortable, very rehearsed and stilted. I sensed that the crowd responded to Harris’s comments better than Craig’s; Harris’s comparison of the Taliban and Christianity seemed to resonate. Not that they are the same, but in one sense, they are: the absolute certainty that anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do will surely burn in hell. I felt like his examples of Taliban justice in the name of their religion got through to people; he questioned how certain any religion can be of their absolute righteousness. He implored people to think about what he said.

Here is what was really remarkable to me. This lecture took place at Notre Dame, that bastion of Catholic universities. (Although with President Obama speaking at their 2009 commencement, they seem to have lost a bit of their holy cred.) The questioners, who all seemed to be Notre Dame students, asked some great questions (except for the guy talking about last night’s homersextical experience) and were not giving Craig a pass. I honestly think that the students, at least, were much more in line with Harris’s thinking than Craig’s. They were definitely questioning, in every way, and I applaud both the university for hosting this debate, and the students for using their critical thinking and asking some really amazing questions. It was truly a fantastic debate, in a setting where you wouldn’t expect to see such a thing!

IMG_2335As for the title of this entry...on the way out, I overheard a young man (all decked out in a suit and tie) say to his friend, “Harris kicked his butt!” I was still on cloud nine feeling the same thing, so I said, “Excuse me...did I just hear you say that Harris kicked his butt?” He said, “Yeah!” I shook his hand, and he added, “I’m a good Christian, though!” He said something like “I don’t agree with either of them!” I have to chuckle about that. Was he telling me, or was he trying to convince himself? At least for that young man, Sam Harris succeeded in getting him to think past the indoctrination, and maybe start doing some critical thinking. If a self-proclaimed “good Christian” thought that Harris kicked butt, then I think that Harris pretty much kicked butt.

William Lane Craig? You got pwned. At the University of Notre Dame. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Was that a tantrum?

CartmanOh dear, it seems as though I struck a nerve with yesterday’s entry. After lobbing a few softball insults my way (ones that weren’t very firmly grounded in reality), someone picked up their ball and went home. Apparently my life is worthless, insignificant, and fake. I can think of a few people who might disagree with such a statement. You know, I’m really to the point where I don’t care what certain people think of me. If people are stupid enough to be brainwashed by hearing a distorted view of reality and don’t have the balls to ask questions and find out for themselves, that’s not someone I care to have around. I don’t feel one bit diminished, or less fulfilled as a person. In fact, I feel richer every day, and I don’t mean that in a monetary way at all (although I’m sure it will be portrayed that way).

People find fulfillment in different ways; what matters greatly to some is not that big of a deal to others. This seems to go back to the feelings of some that I am less of a person or that I am selfish because I have not had children. What is this, the 1950’s, in which it was expected that a woman get married and have children? I’ve done the marriage part—twice—but the children part never worked out for various reasons, and it was a conscious, logical, and well thought out choice. I find it amusing that someone would think this was an insult. Yeah, I’ve got a uterus and ovaries, but I chose not to use them! I’ve been laughing about it all day. It really is almost incomprehensible to me that there are people that still think in such terms. My uterus is none of your concern. Really.

I also find it kind of sad that someone would be in such denial that they would take the easy path and assume that everything told to them is the truth. I suppose it’s easier to avoid such confrontation, but I see it as simply buying into the delusion and not being curious enough to try to find more of the truth. [shrugs] I can’t control that, but it does tell me a lot about the intellectual level there, and capacity for the pursuit of knowledge, as well as comprehension. Ah well.

Blog Critics logoOn a happier note, I got an invitation from something called BlogCritics about writing political articles for them, and I think I’m going to do it. Has anyone here ever participated in that? It looks to be affiliated with Technorati. Things are really going to start getting exciting with the 2012 campaign soon, so there will be plenty to write about. Then there is that whole looming shutdown thing going on. I think I might like to write a weekly (or thereabouts) thing for them and see how that goes. I keep the rights to whatever I write, but I have to post it there first. Then I can post it here. I think it would be kind of a fun endeavor. They encourage you to let your own voice come out in your writings. I can do that, but I’ll be careful about the swears. I swear promise!

Tonight it’s a lecture at Notre Dame between Sam Harris and William Lane Craig, titled The God Debate II. (The first God Debate was between Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D’Souza. I missed that one.) I’m really looking forward to this. I’m currently reading Harris’s The Moral Landscape, and it’s excellent. I’m planning on taking notes, so I hope to have a writeup for you about it. Harris’s hypothesis in the book is that morality has scientific properties that can be studied and explored. Apparently Craig will argue that morality must come from religion. You can guess which side I’ll be cheering for! I’ll write more about the debate soon, but it seems obvious to me that religion has fostered and even encouraged many very immoral actions. Perhaps Craig will argue that it’s the Judeo-Christian religion that begets morality. I have two words for him, one of them hyphenated: child-raping priests.

Anyway, should be a good time. More to come!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Money for Nothing

GrandmaAnd shit ain’t free. I really get where Bernie there is coming from.

Imagine, if you will, a good relationship gone bad. The circumstances behind the breakdown in communications definitely matter, but not for the purposes of this entry. The situation became so untenable that one party sent a letter to the other party stating that they wanted nothing more to do with them, and that they wanted the person out of their life. After an attempt was made to pass on the information that someone known to the first party had died, this message of alienation was reiterated by other parties involved: no phone calls, no emails, no contact whatsoever was welcome. The decision was made to abide by that request, and so it was done.

Fast forward a few months, and a request for several thousands of dollars is made. Not by the first party, but by other parties involved. There was still to be no contact. But they expected the money. Approximately one third of the money requested was sent, with the understanding and agreement that there would be no more. Anger and death wishes ensued. (I’m not exaggerating.)

Fast forward a few more months, and there is more anger, because further benefits and money is no longer forthcoming. Gee, for someone who wanted no part of the second party, no involvement, no contact whatsoever, they’ve sure got their little girl panties in a wad about money! I guess the “no involvement” part doesn’t apply when they’re holding their hands out waiting for—and apparently feeling entitled to—more money.

Here’s a mental bone to gnaw on. The money train is nearing the end of the line, and one passenger has already arrived at their destination. I’m sure there will be many more travels ahead for them, but they’re going to have to bankroll it on their own. Welcome to the real world! The person who once said that the homeless are a bunch of lazy bums who just don’t want to work is starting to find out that the free ride is over. There are bills to be paid: rent, food, clothing, transportation, and insurance. As I’ve said here before, you don’t get to treat people like shit and then expect them to fork over a bunch of money to you. Life doesn’t work that way. The lesson has arrived. Learn from it.

It seems that a sense of entitlement has been fostered there. I can’t say that I’m surprised, though. What is really sad is that there was more help to be had. Planning and saving has been going on here for years (unlike some folks elsewhere, haha!), but the anger and bitterness instilled in and cultivated by others resulted in people hurting only themselves. It’s a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Really, what a horrible attitude to foster in others. That’s no way to go through life, but the pattern will apparently continue. Great job. As Anthony Weiner would say, “Aces!”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fire at the Rumor Mill, Timmy!

Rumors2First, a brief programming note. My friend Leanne has asked me to contribute an occasional article to a blog that she and other activists have started. It is called Americans For Healthcare LINK, and I was happy to have my first entry posted. I’ll need to check with them about the formatting, because my paragraph breaks didn’t show up, and that makes it hard to read. But I’m pleased with it, and it was definitely from the heart. I hope you’ll stop by and take a look, and that the blog will help everyone to understand why it’s important that every American has the access to affordable healthcare. I firmly believe this.

Now, let’s dish some dirt, shall we?!

Did you hear about the interview that John Boehner gave to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone? It’s supposed to appear in the June issue. At one point, they took a break, and Boehner thought he was off the record so he started speaking candidly to Taibbi. He went on a tirade and said that the poor and lazy are responsible for our current fiscal Fukushima; that American kids are fat and lazy; that Obama had his entire life handed to him on a silver plate, and Obama wants to cut doctors’ pay.

It was a bunch of horrible, inflammatory stuff, and it’s really been making the rounds on Facebook and on news sites. The Examiner wrote about it, and so did the Daily Kos. It was some really reactionary stuff coming out of his mouth. Can you believe it?

Well, I didn’t. I spent an hour trying to track down the provenance of the article, and I could find nothing on Rolling Stone or Taibbi’s blog. The original source of the article seemed to be a site called RumorMiller, and I found other stories there that were obviously fake. I checked on Snopes and found nothing, so I submitted the link to them for checking.

I am greatly bothered by the fact that so many accepted this as a true story, without bothering to check the veracity of it, or to even doubt the claims made. The comments and condemnations were flying fast and furious. I’m just a lowly blogger, but I do my best to maintain this blog with as much honesty as possible. I’ve come across stories about Palin that made me question their truth, and I have not written about them. I’m no fan of John Boehner’s policies, but I don’t think he’s a stupid or evil man, and the remarks he spewed just seemed way too extreme to be believable.

Let’s think about this for a moment. The Speaker sat down with a journalist from a known liberal magazine...a reporter known for tearing the teabaggers a new one in his articles and books, and was stupid enough to say these things to that reporter? And to think that they’d truly be off the record? The original article has not even been published yet, so there is no link to it to check. Taibbi writes a blog on the RS site, and he made no mention whatsoever about comments from the Speaker that would be sure to set off a perfect shitstorm of controversy. The text of the comments on the RumorMiller site were fraught with grammatical errors and misspellings; Taibbi would never let something like that get leaked out, not with his name attached to it.

And think about the name of the website where it appeared: RumorMiller. Why would anyone accept something from such a site as true?

What I found absolutely unforgivable was the Examiner article, in which this supposed interview was reported on as a factual one. After the main body of the article, they included this note:
This story originated on and regardless of whether or not it's true, it's safe to say it's not a stretch from how the Republican's view the poor and middle class.
First of all, they got the name of the site wrong. They couldn’t even get the name of a site promoting rumors as factual news right! Second, realizing that it was not factual and reporting on it as if it were is the height of irresponsibility. (And they have an apostrophe in there that shouldn’t be. For shame.) Although Daily Kos originally reported on it, they later issued a note at the beginning of their article stating that it was not true, and that they had fallen for it. They didn’t double down and let people continue to believe that it was true like the Examiner did.

RumorsI think we all need to learn a lesson from this. My fellow liberals ridicule those who watch FoxNews for their gullibility and for believing everything Fox tells them to believe. The same thing happened here with this false rumor. Just as in our personal lives, we lose credibility if we spread false rumors—especially those that are hateful and hurtful to others—and we run the risk of losing the good faith of our friends, family, and readers when it comes to our underlying honesty. We are quick to react with anger at false rumors about our President (you know, that Kenyan anti-colonialist socialist Marxist communist Muslim guy), but we are awfully quick to share equally harmful lies about someone on the other side!

We need to do better. We need to think things through before we go with them, and continue to question, question, question. As I said, I am no fan of Boehner and do not support his policies. However, it is wrong to spread such lies about the man. We can’t stoop to that level and expect to be taken seriously, especially when we continue to disseminate such lies after we’ve realized they are not true. Words have power, and we need to try to use them with at much integrity as possible. I may not write on a national forum, but that sort of integrity is still the right thing to do.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Feral hogs

Immigration2Did you catch the story about the Kansas state representative who had a rather unusual solution to the immigration problem? A discussion came up in a meeting concerning the agricultural problem of feral hogs, and the possibility of shooting them from helicopters. Representative Virgil Peck said, “Looks to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.”

Would that be a “final solution,” Mr. Peck?

Well, that was bad enough, but at least there was an immediate backlash, and a petition quickly garnered over 50,000 signatures of those calling for his resignation. I don’t know that anything has been decided, and I’m guessing that the guy will not resign, but he was forced to apologize to “anyone he offended” with his remarks (the usual non-apologetic’s not my fault for saying something so rock-stupid, it’s your fault for being offended), and said that he would be more careful with his words in the future.

Here is what really got to me, though. One of my local news stations posted the story on their Facebook page and wondered what people thought about it. The almost nonstop hateful invective was horrific to see. The majority of commenters thought he was “onto something,” that he had a pretty good idea, and that somebody had to do something about these criminals coming across the border.

When I and a handful of others pointed out that it seemed more than a little extreme to be mowing down people at the border, it didn’t faze them. They continued with their comments about shooting people. I wrote that everyone needed to get a grip...did they understand that they were advocating genocide? Someone wrote that is it genocide if someone breaks into his house and he shoots them for trying to steal from him, because that’s what the illegal immigrants are doing to our country! I didn’t point out that shooting one person wouldn’t be genocide, but that seemed like a minor point considering the over-arching concept of executing people if they tried to step across the border.

I wondered if any of them would be willing to stand at the border and shoot someone in the head if they tried to cross. Would they shoot a pregnant woman in the stomach? Would they shoot a child? The level of bloodlust was astounding, and nothing I or any of the others who seemed to have at least some sort of a grip on reality was able to make any headway. The general attitude seemed to be to shoot ‘em all. Kill them.

I thought I’d reached my limit, but then someone wrote this: ‎"It wouldn't take disposing of that many before they start thinking twice..."

ImmigrationI said that it’s a pretty sad statement when there are those who believe that human beings are the equivalent of garbage that needs to be disposed of. I said that I’m proud to be an American and a Hoosier, but I am not proud to be associated with anyone who feels that way, and that such people should be ashamed of themselves. I said I’d take a decent, hardworking immigrant any day over a bigoted, hateful, xenophobic American. I was this close to asking if the commenter’s plans for “disposal” included ovens, but I didn’t want to Godwin myself.

This happened at least a week ago, and it’s still weighing on my mind. I honestly could not believe the level of bigotry and hatred that was coming from those in my community. How anyone in a supposedly civilized (I’m starting to have my doubts) nation can utter such murderous statements is beyond me. Do they even understand that they are advocating the mass murder of what are largely decent people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their family? Maybe they do understand that...and I find that even more terrible. They would make themselves judge, jury, and executioner for people committing what is NOT a capital offense.

I honestly don’t know what has become of us. I don’t deny that illegal immigration is a problem, or that we need to address it. I just think that mowing people down in cold blood isn’t the way to go about it. And I have a problem with anyone who thinks that is a reasonable--or final--solution.