Crazy Week

Posted by Mike Merritt in Personal Life on | No Comments

This week, and last, really has been one thing after another.  For the past two weeks, I edited two ten minute videos for an abstract poetry performance taking place.  As late as Wednesday of last week, I was very nervous that they wouldn’t get done.  However, I put in the hours, and they’re now done and ready.  So, today we set it all up.  Were there from 11:30 to 5:30.  Was hell of a time setting it up, because the video was overmodulated.  Then we had to play the waiting game for a couple people.  But, we got it all done, and I made it back just in time for the news.

Tomorrow is the actual production, and it’s going to be crazy.  10 minutes of Chibeau doing his stuff, then 10 of this video playing.  I get to play the role of documentarian for a documentary I’ll be doing starting next week.  It should be fun.


Our Great Earth

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society on | One Comment

Before I continue, I’d like to point you to the change in the logo.  I added a ribbon to commemorate the victims of the horrible Virginia Tech shooting last Monday.  Another site I frequent added it, and released the image for public use.  If anybody would like to use it for their site, click this link for the full-sized image.

In other news, however, it is Earth Day, meaning I should make the obligatory post about it (and the fact that I have material I feel strongly about helps).  I didn’t do anything last year, but this year I will.

As everybody know (though not everybody accepts), humans are changing the Earth’s climate at a drastic rate.  Chiefly through our use of fossil fuels, we our adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate that is unprecedented in human, and probably Earth, history.  Now, before I continue, I’m not one of those people who think we can completely stop global warming, because we can’t.  The fact is that global warming is a natural process.  It happens after every global cooling that leads to an ice age.  The problem, however, is that it’s not meant to go this fast.  If you look at charts of carbon dioxide variations over the last 400,000 years, you can see that since 1850 or so, the amount of CO2 added to air is astronomical.  And with these amounts of CO2 comes the increase in global temperature.

From what I’ve seen, things are only going to get worse as less developed countries become more developed.  The third world won’t stay that way forever.  They will industrialize, and the demand for fossil fuels will rise.  This will add to amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere every year, and will only serve to make the planet hotter.

So, what can we do?  Well, in my opinion, I don’t think there is one single-shot fix, as a lot of people seem to think.  We can’t simply rely on the government to regulate, and we can’t just rely on the corporations to change their ways.  We also can’t just reply on humans to change their energy consumption patterns.  Instead, we need a combination of all three.  Governments, companies, and people must work together to bring about the change.  We can’t start with the government and companies working together to provide a path to success.  It may take some government subsidizing to do it, and I think that if this is required, they should do it (all of them mind you, not just the U.S.).  Companies and the government then need to research the issue on how we can reduce our CO2 footprint, find the best way, or combination of ways, and then implement it.  I think it will take a combination of these two to start things off.

Forgive me for saying so, but except for the “econerds, (and I say that in the nicest way possible, by the way)” people generally are not going to change their methods or call for it.  So, once the corporations and governments have taken the lead, people should catch on.  Also, it would probably help if a celebrity econerd were to get out there and lobby the public, since people love celebrities.  So, eventually, the public interest will rise.  There will be a structure in place to get people going.  In the end, people, corporations, and governments will work hand in hand in hand to lessen our dependence on CO2 emitting products.

Now, in the area of gasoline for cars, I think the big corps need to get their act together.  We’ve already seen Ford and others get into the game.  However, I don’t think I’ve seen a big fuel company like ExxonMobile do anything.  I believe they need to do something.  It’ll only be a matter of time before people are clamoring for a solution, and if they gas companies don’t start changing their attitudes toward all of this, they’ll come crashing as someone else steps in to meet the demand.  So, wise up ExxonMobile and others.  Get into the game before it’s too late!  It may cost in the short run (but, with your profits, you can afford it), but it’ll only help in the long run.

Now, everybody always says that we need to care for the planet.  I’m not saying I disagree, but they say it in a way that makes it sound like that if we don’t slow global warming (which is all we can do), that Earth is going to blow up.  Definitely not going to happen.  Some species of plant and animal may die, but others will thrive in the heat.  It may take some time before the Earth gets cooler again if it gets too bad, but short of a supernova, the planet’s not going anywhere.  Instead, what I think people really mean when they thing the Earth is in trouble is that humans are in trouble.  In trouble we will be if we change our attitudes toward global climate change.  We can’t stop global warming (you need that lesson, *Ahnold*) , and we probably will never completely go back to natural global warming, but we can slow it.  Now is the time to act, not when it becomes a critical problem.  One arm of society alone will not fix it, we need three: government, corporation, human.  Working together, a solution can be found.


How to Stop Another Virginia Tech

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society on | No Comments

I’m glad I waited a day to write this up, now there’s a little more to talk about.  We now know a little bit more.  Apparently, a South Korean born legal resident, undergraduate of Virginia Tech, was the shooter.

I said I was going to talk about the mind of a killer, but I think everyone knows why he did it.  Simple enough, he had serious problems.  Teachers have said he wrote rather violent stories in English class.  Then he left a rather depressing note before he went off to do his deeds yesterday.  And it makes sense.  In all the recent situations where people have done mass killings, there seems to be a mental component to the reason they did it.  Whether they don’t know right or wrong, or are depressed and suicidal (as seems to be the case here), I think it can only take a person who has serious mental issues to do something like this.  Whether it’s Timothy McVeigh, this guy, or Saddam Hussein, they all have to be sick in the mind to ever contemplate this.  The same is also true of serial killers.  They may not kill many at once, but they do kill many, whether because they like it or otherwise.

I’m not saying all killers have serious problems.  Certainly there are enough that are motivated by simple jealousy or anger. Yet, those people don’t seem to go around killing anybody they can find; those murders are usually limited to a few.  However, I think yesterday has shown that there is a real problem here in America.  I’m not saying we should legislate an outright ban on guns.  I don’t take advantage of my second amendment right by buying a gun, but I also don’t think it should be gotten rid of entirely.  However, more can be done.

First, we need to make it more difficult to get a gun.  That said, a mere background check for prior violent crimes alone just isn’t going to do it.  I got some ire out of the American crowd at the last place I suggested this, but I think we need a way for our medical professionals to determine who is really a threat to others/themselves, and then let the authorities know this.  Now, I know that the doctor-patient privacy laws are something that we cherish.  I’m not saying that the person with a learning disability or ADD should be marked.  Nor am I saying that all the details of a patient’s case should be revealed.  What I’m saying is that we need some way to let a weapons seller know that a potential buyer may have an ongoing mental problem or some sort, whether it be a long standing, well documented case of depression or suicidal thoughts, or whether somebody has admitted to a shrink that they’ve thought about killing people.

Now, I know the liberals are going to scream “taking away my rights!”  However, I think it is necessary that the authorities and weapons sellers know to whom they are selling.  If there is not an issue, then fine, they can get a gun.  But, if there is, checking for a problem after the person has already killed somebody does little to help.  It’s basically 20/20 hindsight and saying, “Oops, maybe they shouldn’t have gotten a gun.”  America needs a pro-active way to eliminate gun crimes, without resorting to ending the right to own one.

Not that my idea is without problems.  Some people simply cannot afford health care, so their mental problems may never become known.  Others may never visit the psychiatrist to figure out their issues.  So, it is true that people will fall through the cracks.  However, I think some is better than none.  Take what we have already, such as background check for prior crimes, and augment that with a non-invasive way of figuring out if a buyer is a problem before they go around killing somebody.  That may not stop all gun crimes completely, but I think that it would stop a lot of the mass shootings that happen.

Of course, there is more that we can do to stop gun crimes.  We need to do more to eliminate poverty, and other conditions that are breeding grounds for crime.  We need to restructure a system that ostracizes the poor for being that way, instead of helping them up from their condition.  That way, hopefully those stricken by poverty won’t have to resort to crime or joining a gang in order to make money.  There’s a lot we can do to stop gun crimes.  My idea is not perfect, and I admit it.  But, it is an idea, rather than sitting around with the same old system, just because we value our second amendment and our privacy so damn much.

Wow, that was much longer than I intended, but I’m happy I got it out.  Please, I invite you to comment with your opinions and comments on the Virgina Tech shootings, and the issue of gun control.  And please don’t worry about disagreeing with me.  As long as your comment is civil, it will appear.


Back in Action

Posted by Mike Merritt in Uncategorized on | One Comment

Been a while since I’ve posted, but apparently, it’s taken an event of some great magnitude to bring me back.  Today’s topic: school shootings.

The specific one I speak of concerns Virginia Tech in Virginia, where…well, a lot of people died or were injured this morning when a single shooter went on a rampage around the campus.  Details are sketchy, since none of the major news networks can seem to agree with each other, but any shooting is a sad thing, especially of this magnitude.

I’ll be back later with updates and further thoughts into the mindset of school shootings.