Mass Shootings and Social Media Reaction


Originally posted on Facebook on 2/17/2018

The shooting that happened in Florida is a sad affair as is any shooting. What’s even more sad is people’s polarized reactions to what happened on Facebook and other social media outlets.

Blindly sharing memes in support and against gun control and other contributing factors is not helping anything. These memes (often times oversimplifying the reasons for the shooting such as “God is not allowed in schools anymore” “More people are killed by falling down their stairs than byintruders in their homes” just to name a few) do not help and in fact, inflame or enrage people on both sides; and so the cycle continues.

If you are for gun control, do something about it. Call your congressman, push for legislation.

If you are against gun control, do something about it. Call your congressman, push for legislation.

If you want God in the schools, organize a group at your church, temple, mosque, or other religious institution to form an outreach committee to see how they can help the schools, teachers, staff, parents and students cope and understand.

The bottom line is, don’t be rude without knowing it and post meme’s or posts with questionable validity and think you’ve done your part. You haven’t. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, but if you want change, make change happen.

… And Everything Under the Sun is in Tune

Enjoying the eclipse in style


Wow! What an event. The eclipse of 2017 turned out to be everything that it was hyped to be. As early ago as yesterday, it was still looking a little dubious whether or not we would be able to see it as we were forecasted to have mostly cloudy skies during the time of the eclipse. Would the weather hold true to its promise? As you can see, the forecast was once again wrong, although at the time of this writing, it is now mostly cloudy outside.

I worked to get setup for the eclipse and it was muggy and hot. I thought for sure that I would either be spending a good chunk of the eclipse inside and be outside for the 45 minutes or so before the eclipse but that turned out to not be the case.

Soon after the eclipse started, the temperature began to drop. I knew that this would be a possibility, but I don’t know if it was due to a front moving through or the eclipse itself causing the cool down, I’ll have to look into that later.

Eclipse shadows
Weird shadows

Halfway There

About halfway through the eclipse, there was a definite dimming of the sky. Strange shadows from the trees had the appearance of waves flowing over the ground. It was indeed a strange site. I suppose I should define weird. All the shadows of leaves seemed to have a crescent shape to them. It was this crescent shape and the movement of the shadows that caused them to look like water waves.

About twenty minutes before totality, nocturnal instincts of animals started to kick in. The crickets chirped, some other nocturnal bugs started crawled onto the patio. Thankfully, I did not see any snakes. Birds started returning to their nests. Thor went into bedtime mode and retired to his room.

Thor's eclipse glasses
Thor, not liking the glasses

The Darkside of the Moon

I am happy to report that my experiment of syncing Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon seemed to be almost perfect. I did take video, but it did not turn out too well for a variety of reasons but the major one of which was that a train was going by at the time of totality. Other night animals started in the form of neighbors shooting off fireworks during totality.

While I did not see any stars, I did see at least one planet, I’m assuming it to be Jupiter. I began shooting away with

the camera at totality, I had just under 2 minutes. The best one I took is at the top of this article. I missed the ‘diamond ring’ image due to taking in the scenery with my own eyes, but I don’t regret it.

This has been billed as a once in a lifetime event, but I hope to get to Texas in 2024 for that one. Based on the cost of hotel rooms in Kearney ($7k+ if booked close to eclipse time) I may need to make reservations soon.


Thoughts on Removing Confederate Symbols

Removing Confederate SymbolsI used to think that removing confederate symbols was in some way destroying or rewriting history but then I though, “Huh, You know what we don’t see any? We don’t see swastika statues around; not even the Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, nor the Native American swastika.” We also don’t see statues or displays of pentagrams around much anymore. We removed those for the most part and yet we still know what they were. We know the weight they carried through news, textbooks, history courses and online resources such as wikipedia.

Power in Symbols

Good or bad, there is power in symbols. A symbol doesn’t care what its intention originally was. People, groups and society in general assign power to objects until they become a battery to charge beliefs. These beliefs can be beliefs that benefit others (good beliefs) or beliefs that hurt others (bad beliefs).

The swastika was originally a religious symbol of many peoples the world over. In some areas of the world, it still is. It remains a sacred symbol of spiritual principles in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. In the Western world, it was historically a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck. It was not until the 1930s when the Nazi regime came to power when its meaning changed.

The pentagram is now widely considered a symbol of ‘evil’ by many religions, including Christianity. The fact is that the pentagram was once a sacred Christian symbol. It represented the five wounds of Christ. Today it is considered a sacred symbol among the Wiccan religion.

The Bellamy Salute

We no longer perform the “Bellamy Salute” when saying the Pledge of Allegiance because of its similarity to the “Sieg Heil” of Nazi Germany. Civilians now remove their head cover and place their hands over hearts. Some stand with hands at their side when saying the Pledge or during the singing of our National Anthem. Military members perform a military salute during these activities.

How the Meaning of Symbols Changes Over Time

I bring up these historic examples because I want to demonstrate how a symbol can change over time. This directly relates to what is going on now. We are not erasing our history by removing monuments of generals and leaders. These people fought to leave the United States; to keep their economy, an economy which relied heavily on slavery, the way it was. Yes, they fought brave and strong for what they believed, but in the end, they were rebels. They wanted to break up the United States and create their own country with a major chunk of the pieces. Today we would call that treason.

A Reason for Removing Confederate Symbols

Statues and flags of the confederacy have become magnets for people of hate. People like the white supremacist who gathered in Virginia for a white pride rally. These symbols have been growing in strength in the last few years and not in a good way. Perhaps, like the swastika and the pentagram, we should abandon these symbols as well. We should not abandon them through violence or vandalism, but through a legal process. Lets let the majority agree on what they symbolize and what should be done with them. Perhaps removing confederate symbols is the appropriate thing to do. They are not serving anyone any good anymore; they are only bringing trouble.