Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where Lives Might Be Saved Someday, the Answer Is Never "Do Nothing."

Just because we can't or won't solve every aspect of a problem doesn't mean we can't solve any aspect of that problem: Gun violence is what I'm referring to obviously in light of yesterday.
In this interconnected life we live, in the developed world in which even our most emotionally driven responses can been twittered, texted, or IM’ed across all of our acquaintances familiar and distant, there have been some asinine responses to yesterday’s massacre in New Town. I say asinine because that’s the only word I can think of when people put culture, politics, or personal liberty above their own personal safety and the safety of others.
I've received messages and seen responses to posts on Facebook like:

“Gun control laws don’t solve anything!!!”

Statements like this of course reach the heights of stupidity as there are already several regulations and laws regarding gun ownership that nobody would strike from the books (Violent felons released from jail barred from handgun possession, age restrictions and so on) -already governing our lives in different parts of the country. Few would argue their necessity. The one constant refrain I hear over and over again from people so in love with their guns that no massacre can make them rethink anything is this: gun control hasn’t stopped every violent attack, therefore it is useless. –Well can’t the same be said of every single law ever enacted? The answer sadly is yes, -but no sane person would say that homicide laws should be struck because they didn’t prevent a neighbor from being killed, or in the case of Friday’s assault, the mass murder of several children.

Personally as someone who has no small history with guns (I’ve had them pointed at me in aggression more than once before I even turned 18, and I’ve returned the favor more than once) and as no stranger to firing ranges, I am intimate with them as weapons and tools. In the nineties my familiarity with guns was often a skill, an ability that got me hired often as an AD on independent film sets where I’d be asked to “clear” a weapon before handing it over to an actor or stunt player, then keeping it under lock and key until the production was over. I’ve never questioned the need for regulation and laws in a city where people’s proximity to each other makes for daily conflicts that can turn lethal if the conditions are right.

My feelings about guns and especially certain accessories is this: laws governing the possession of assault rifles and high capacity magazines are inefficient when they enable any shooter to kill as many people as they want before they can be stopped. Gun control isn’t ONLY about eradicating every single gun on the street, much can be done to ensure that high capacity magazines, assault rifles, armor piercers –in short all the weapons of choice for mass murderers are not as accessible as, say aftermarket exhaust parts, because in the end, the fact that a killer can bring down as many people as he wants because his ammo will never run out, is often the deciding factor in whether Police response will be effective in saving many more lives or many less.

I’ll say it again, just because we can't or won't solve every aspect of a problem doesn't mean we can't solve any aspect of that problem:
-That problem is weak gun control and a culture that insists any legislation on arms is an affront to liberty no matter how many children get killed.
-That problem is America’s Gun Lobby.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A More Perfect Union

I am just as proud of my vote this year as I was 4 years ago. Thank you Maine, Maryland and Minnesota for affirming the rights of those who should have always had them. Thank you Wisconsin for showing the way. Thank you Missouri and Indiana for standing up against ignorance. Thank you to everyone who voted. It is an imperfect system, but it's the best one in the world. And thank you Mr. President for giving us 4 more years of your life. I may not always agree with what you do, but I know that without a doubt, you are the best person for the job.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Low, and a Goodbye.

Greetings to all five of you who may be still linking to us, or following us etc.

It’s been a long while to say the least. My longest hiatus by far in the brief history of this blog, and sadly this post does not signal a return to the haughty days of yore (2008 or even 2010) when MyCue23 and I posted several times a week. I’m afraid I don’t think I will ever again be (in the way I proudly, maybe erroneously think I was) a part of the fraternity of bloggers, whose work and force of reason still humbles me as I read their, in most cases, weekly posts.

It’s a new low for me on this blog, and I feel, at the very least to myself, an obligation to understand and explain the possible reasons why this particular outlet of questions and perspectives MyCue23 invited me to partake in some five years ago has gone without my contributions for so long.

For my part, I’ve been extremely busy these last months with my job, motion picture production, comics, professional development and life in general. The last six months have brought no shortage of new things to comment on, and be outraged by, if not old things, then old problems that keep manifesting in increasingly sinister iterations.  2012 has brought many wonderful opportunities my way. This year I had the chance to meet Stan Lee, Joe Sinnott, Chris Claremont and George Perez (all childhood, and now adulthood heroes of mine,) I had the honor of assistant directing (doing the scheduling and yelling on a movie set) for a longtime collaborator and dear friend Todd Bevan on several (5, I think) production shoots thus far. I finished another story for World War 3 Illustrated; my publisher of now over twenty years and counting. But in February I also lost my friend Ezra Talmatch. There was no herald or omen save a sudden late-night phone call, from another old friend telling me that Ezra, who I’d only spoken to 10 or so days earlier, was gone.
To say that Ezra Talmatch’s passing has deeply affected his friends and family is a world of an understatement. So great is his absence, such was his affection and kindly influence on his peers that I can count no less than 10 new friends, thrust upon me in the shockwave of grief that threatened to flatten us all, had we not all had the good sense to instinctively reach out to each other. Then there are the friends I have had for many years, flung far and wide, connected, as if stitched by our own sinew, to this man whose voice still echoes joyfully in our minds, but will not be heard again in this life.

I miss him.

Ezra, and in some ways for me this blog, belong to another time and place now in June of 2012, and it’s regrettably a place I don’t think I can return to, as much as I want to.

For all my writing on this blog, I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed the thought, but I am in awe of politics. I am humbled by the concepts and theories of law and the dynamics of social contracts and the structures of societies. Government, particularly as expressed by our Congress here in the United States is an incredibly beautiful thing. Despite its vulnerability to corporate influence, lobbyists and crooks, we must never forget that as it voted to defraud and murder the Native peoples of this land, it also moved to end slavery. For all of its messiness and dysfunction, it is the Congress’s core mission of compromise in service of the people that at time leaves me with an almost spiritual hope, that the crimes and mendacity of the last centuries in America may yet stand to be argued into a civil life and rule of law that is fairer, more just and ultimately a reflection of the promises of our Constitution and not manifestations of its literal technicalities and shortcomings. I think as far as animals go, you can do far little better than human beings despite all of our cruelty, and our inability to capitalize on our sentience and self-awareness to see the obvious horrors further down the roads we ourselves are indeed paving.    
A year ago, I undertook a project, a pop-up bookstore here in Washington Heights. It was an impossible task: to create a Community bookshop that no one had asked for, in a city where real estate has managed to crush several nonprofit and for-profit businesses for centuries. But a year later, the Word Up! Community Bookshop stands. It’s an oasis in a neighborhood crowded with fast food joints, 99cent shops and beauty salons that has been embraced by the local community in a ferocious act of willful self-determination and enlightened self-interest. The bookshop was only supposed to be in operation for a month, a year later, we’re celebrating its birthday on Saturday June 15th. In the shadow of the popular movements around the world, and here at home in the US, I now feel that rather than write about what I think are the correct courses of action, it is far more constructive to present alternatives to the things that are wrong, impractical, predatory, self-destructive or criminal in our world. For years I have talked about what is wrong with New York, America, Europe and rest of the world. I have found that the only solutions that work, are the alternatives that exist or that we create.

So that’s going to be my road from here on out.
I’ll never say something as permanent and binding as my days of writing about politics online are ended, but I have to be honest about the fact that these days I’m more likely to get excited about starting up a rooftop farm in a nearby tenement, than write about the lack of one online. 

I sincerely wish good luck to you all, especially those folks who may have seen me as an enemy or provocateur. I never came here to argue, and I’m leaving the same way. So as a fictional, but altogether wise man once said to me through the television,

“Live Long, and Prosper.”