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Saturday, March 2, 2013



 Cranky Opinion Saturday

What explains so much violent behavior in our world? 

A world class paralympian unexplainably shoots and kills his girlfriend.  His life is ruined by this crazed action.  Clearly if he had it to do over again, if he was able to think rationally in a moment of rage, a beautiful girl would be alive and his life would not be irrevocably changed for the worse.

An animal trainer is filmed playing with a tiger.  Suddenly the tiger attacks.  Not for food; why?  Was the tiger threatened in any way?  Who knows? Who knows the tiger language, who knows what triggers the tiger’s irrational response to a playful slap.

Most violence has a trigger.

What prompted this rant was a YouTube clip of a baseball brawl.  What triggered this brawl? 

Mrs. Cranky could not tell.  Many people, especially women, would not see the trigger; they do not know the “tiger language.” 

A player was picked off rounding second base after he hit a double.  He was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out.  Seemingly out of nowhere he turned and slugged the man who tagged him out and both teams poured onto the field and started to fight.

“That’s crazy, why did he do that?” Mrs. C inquired.

As a woman she missed the trigger.  I am not advocating the runner’s reaction, but I do understand it.

This player had just hit a double.  His adrenalin was at a high level.  He overran the base and was caught; he felt deflated and foolish, but the real trigger to his aggression was the tag.  The shortstop tagged him harder than he needed to tag him.  The tag itself did not hurt, but it was over aggressive, it was a challenge, it was a diss, it was a trigger.  The tag was followed by an almost imperceptible push.  The push did not seem like much, but to the runner it spoke volumes.  To the runner it said, “Get the fuck out of here you asshole!”  The push was the final trigger that started a brawl.

In the case of this YouTube brawl no one was hurt. 


What happens when a similar diss occurs on the street?  What happens when the overdosed-testosterone kid who is pushed has a gun?

That is the problem with our youth today.  When triggered to violence they answer with tiger claws, not teen fists.  My generation's black eyes become the new eras tragedies.  What was a future story of braggadocio, today becomes a ruined life.  Young men, especially when high on testosterone and adrenalin do not know how to ignore the triggers.  Young men who are pumped up with steroids have a hair-trigger. 

If we do not eliminate easy access to guns, if we do not eliminate illegal use of steroids, if we do not teach our youth to recognize and ignore impulsive reactions to “triggers” in society, we will continue to have tragedies such as Sandyhook, such as Oscar Pistorius, and such as we have in our streets on a daily basis.

I do not advocate repealing the second amendment.   I don’t want to see government take guns from the hands of responsible citizens.  I am advocating gun control;  gun control which would make it difficult for irresponsible people to have access to weapons;  gun control which would teach people to lockup their legal weapons; gun control which would assure that gun owners knew how to use their weapon accurately and responsibly. 

I am advocating keeping triggers out of the hands of people that do not know how to deal with “triggers.”


The preceding has been a Cranky Old Man opinion, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


In response to anticipated comments:

Guns don’t people kill, people kill people – Yes, but guns make people killing people really efficient and clearly increase productivity.

Gun control is a slippery slope to repeal of the 2nd amendment – I disagree.

You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hand – Please take this man’s gun away…NOW!

If you take away all guns only the criminals will have them – Where did I advocate taking away all guns?

Where ever guns are removed crime goes up – This has been disputed, but again, where did I advocate taking away all guns?

We need guns for protection – DAMN!! Where did I advocate taking away all guns?

Citizens need guns to hold the government in check – This may have held water in 1793, but today I kinda think AK47’s would not hold a company of tanks at bay.  And again, Where did I advocate taking away all guns?


  1. You make very good sense here, Joe. Also, IMO, the violence in games and in movies has desensitized people, particuclarly kids, to believe a quick trigger is OK. That needs to change, too.


  2. I agree with Lowandslow. By the time today's kids are teens, they have seen hundreds, if not thousands of people die in movies & video games. The only difference between that & real life is those people aren't really dead. A friend of mine was watering his lawn & was shot & killed at random by someone who had to kill a stranger as his initiation into a gang.

  3. Well said, and we're... you and I... on the same page here.

  4. I do believe that the 2nd amendment was designed to protect the citizens enabling them to make a militia and take over the government if required. It was not designed to enable man to have a gun just for the purpose of shooting his fellow man because he got upset and frustrated, or cos someone tagged him too hard..per se

    Today I have shot a shotgun for the first time. Steven said it was important that I knew how to in case I need to shoot a rattlesnake in the back yard. Steven keeps his guns in lock cases in a locked up cupboard that only he and I have keys to. I have no desire to shoot anything with a gun - even a snake!

    Perhaps and amendment to the 2nd amendment to make it more current is what is called for. As you say - guns don't kill people, people kill people and often use guns to do so. I am very proud of the lessons being taught to both my sons regarding guns, and the respect they have of them as a result.

    Personally, I prefer my big billy club as a line of self-defence.

  5. You're awfully rational for a cranky old man. Well said.

  6. There's much merit in what you say. Too bad your brand of common sense isn't coming into play when it comes to this issue.

  7. There is no solution except to become better people, and I'm not expecting that any time soon. Personally I believe there should be no guns (in the universe!), but that will never happen. I believe being licensed to use/own a gun is reasonable. From my lips to god's ear.

  8. Applause, applause! My palms are hurting.
    Great case, beautifully stated.

    However, I am with Joanne......the only good gun is no gun at all. After all.....what if all guns suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.....we'd still have knives, and swords, and spears and poleaxes and rocks and fists and nuclear bombs. I could live in that world. My next idea would be to make the nukes all disappear, but no guns would be a step in the right direction.

    Really.....what do we need them for? (I am serious)

    You present compelling arguments so beautifully. Yay for you.

  9. Which guns? Which Constitution? Which law?
    I just saw a story where three school kids in FL were suspended for taking a loaded gun away from another student on a bus who had the gun pointed at a kid's head.
    What about enforcing our laws?

  10. I'm an Aussie so I just don't get the whole obsession with gun ownership. I'd be terrified to even hold a gun, let alone own one.

  11. The problem, Joe, is in determining who is too unstable to own a gun and in who makes that determination.

    Sure, we will all pretty much agree that someone foaming at the mouth and saying "Kill!Kill!" should not have access to a killing machine. But, when you put the determination into the hands of those who can amass more power via making certain judgments against ownership (read: politicians) you open the way to someone perhaps making the decision that YOU are not stable enough (read: compliant) to own one.

    It's not a simple problem (nor have you said it is, so I don't mean to imply that you have.) Until such time as I can be assured that nobody will take guns away in an effort to eliminate strength of political opposition, I'd rather live with the occasional nut having a gun. Neither is desirable, but one is more irrevocable than the other.

  12. You took on a hot button topic with poise so good job there. Rather than focus on the gun control issue, in terms of young people and their extreme response to frustration/high testosterone-adrenaline, etc. I firmly believe (and studies are supporting this) that the continued breakdown of the family is key in creating vulnerable situations with kids now. I have taught school for years, and have witnessed the increase in single parent homes, and the lack of parental authority/supervision/attention and care that is needed to guide young people morally and all other ways they need support. I now supervise student teachers, and the stories I am hearing first hand ALARM me greatly - first and second graders speaking of harming themselves and/or others. Wishing to die...or to kill young as 7. These kids are in incredibly unstable home situations, and the ones that get ignored, and get no help to sort out and cope with their crumbling world are the children. These are the ones that grow up and find destructive outlets for their growing frustrations. When we take a more intentional look at this reality, we will start to be able to sort out how to keep those tragedies from happening.

  13. Great post Joe - living in the UK guns are just not a part of daily life and I'm very thankful for that.

  14. I will firstly apologise for not reading your blog regularly. I have wandered in here before but haven’t really been around much.

    I am an gun owning Australian who is living under relatively strict “gun control” and I can tell you that it is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    For me to licence a firearm of any sort I need to jump through multiple flaming hoops. I need to have passed a written and practical safety test. I need to prove “genuine need” and fork out the money for the gun around 3 months before I can actually have it. Then when I finally get it, I need to store it in a safe, with the magazine separately and ammo separately again. Pretty much, from what I see, the type of “gun control” you’re proposing.

    Now, if I ever needed my gun in the case of someone intruding into my house, I need to unlock at least two safes and then put all the bits back together – given whomever it is amply time to dissuade me. Who is this helping?

    And, in spite of the “buy back”, in spite of these regulations there are many shootings per week by non-licensed firearms owners who don’t jump through these hoops. The guns are generally imported illegally (like drugs) and make their way onto the streets. This is the main source of violence with firearms – always has been an always will be. Criminals who have no respect of the law will not jump through the hoops that law-abiding people do.

    So then, where do you go from here? You can not make something more illegal. The only people you can ‘control’ are those who obey the law in the first place.

    Even if you did succeed in taking every single gun off the street there are multiple ways that someone who is determined to kill can.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to make this a blog post in itself. But I can not see what benefits are derived from any time type “gun-control” – other than to really make life much more difficult for those who are willing to follow the law.

  15. I'm glad Hilary chose this post as a POTW. I hope your readers will include people who need to think about the effect of those "triggers."

  16. Well said, and thanks for the explanation of the baseball trigger.

  17. The bulk of the crimes you're talking about occur in places with the most stringent personal-disarmament laws; Chicago, for instance. DC, and others. The excuse for that is "Well, OTHER places don't have our laws, that's why it doesn't work here!" Does that also hold for Britain? Island, handguns banned, rifles & shotguns highly restricted, and they can't keep the bad guys from getting guns. And grenades.

    Up till 1968, you could mail-order guns, no federal paperwork; MUCH easier access than now, and the crime rates were lower. 'Easy access' isn't the real problem, especially since you're mostly talking about people who can't legally have a gun anyway(juveniles, convicted criminals).

    The big problem is attitude: you've got a lot of people who grew up with a grievance culture that says "If somebody disses you, you can hurt him. His life is worth less than your feelings." There's your big one. How many dead from beatings, from stabbings and other methods? Those don't make the news like shootings(except locally), but the victims are just as dead.
    And, as CLR pointed out, the mess described as 'homes' that a lot of kids grow up in is a big part of this.

    By the way, Lo, we had a world without guns: the strongest ruled. Not big enough/strong enough to fight off the robber/rapist/murderer? Too bad. I don't want to go back to that.