When I joined the Army I swore to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies- foreign and domestic. I thought that was easy. Black and white. My time in Iraq taught me a lot of things and really turned everything I thought I knew and was fighting for on its head.
I fought for your right to practice your religion – hell, that is what inspired Roger Williams to found the colony of Rhode Island. I fought for your right to bear arms. I was fighting for Freedom – for you to be able to live your life as you please so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. I came home to a country which only CARED about infringing on the rights of others depending on what side of politics you fell. What the hell? Now if you are trying to take rights away does that make you an enemy of the constitution? …. Who is it that I should be fighting??
Who’s the bad guy? Bomb my country for decades and you better believe I’m going to be pissed off. Until you look in to the eyes of a father who hasn’t been able to provide his family with a full meal in months while his toddler screams from starvation in the other room, you can’t possibly speak for him and the decisions he makes. People aren’t being stupid on purpose. AGAIN: people aren’t being stupid on purpose.
Here’s the thing: we don’t have a gun problem. We don’t have a Muslim problem. We also don’t have a LGBTQ problem. (ohhhh divisive, Jennifer! … Yeah. Open your mind and stick with me.)
We have a HEART problem. There are very few people in this world that you would actually hate if you sat down and empathetically listened to their stories. I fall in love with nearly every single person I ever meet because I take the time to get to know them. The further we remove ourselves from others, the easier it is do disconnect and breed a culture of negativity and death.
Who is familiar with the Milgram Experiment? For those of you who aren’t, here is an excerpt from wiki:
“Three individuals were involved: the one running the experiment, the subject of the experiment (a volunteer), and a confederate pretending to be a volunteer. These three people fill three distinct roles: the Experimenter (an authoritative role), the Teacher (a role intended to obey the orders of the Experimenter), and the Learner (the recipient of stimulus from the Teacher). The subject and the actor both drew slips of paper to determine their roles, but unknown to the subject, both slips said "teacher". The actor would always claim to have drawn the slip that read "learner", thus guaranteeing that the subject would always be the "teacher". At this point, the "teacher" and "learner" were separated into different rooms where they could communicate but not see each other. In one version of the experiment, the confederate was sure to mention to the participant that he had a heart condition.
At some point prior to the actual test, the "teacher" was given a sample electric shock from the electroshock generator in order to experience firsthand what the shock that the "learner" would supposedly receive during the experiment would feel like. The "teacher" was then given a list of word pairs that he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. The learner would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing in 15-volt increments for each wrong answer. If correct, the teacher would read the next word pair.
The subjects believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. In reality, there were no shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electroshock generator, which played prerecorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage-level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.
At this point, many people indicated their desire to stop the experiment and check on the learner. Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.
If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:
2.The experiment requires that you continue.
3.It is absolutely essential that you continue.
4.You have no other choice, you must go on.
If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.
The experimenter also gave special prods if the teacher made specific comments. If the teacher asked whether the learner might suffer permanent physical harm, the experimenter replied, "Although the shocks may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on." If the teacher said that the learner clearly wants to stop, the experimenter replied, "Whether the learner likes it or not, you must go on until he has learned all the word pairs correctly, so please go on." If the teacher asks who is responsible for any negative effects, the experimenter replied, "I will take responsibility."”
SO, that was the experiment. Please feel free to look up the results.
When you remove yourself from your community and others around you, it is so much easier to cause harm and blame someone else….. HEY. I’m not talking about the shooter here. I’m talking about all of you who choose to try and ban some bullshit because this tragedy scares you or hurts your feelings.
STOP letting the media and the government tell you how to think. For those of you who want to ban Muslims from the country – I BEG YOU TO BAN ME FIRST. For those of you who want to spit hate and vitriol at the LGBTQ community – throw it at me first! Come after my guns first. COME AFTER ME FIRST. However – If you want to stop this cycle of anti-humanity – JOIN ME! Take responsibility for your place in this world! I was born free. I will continue to be free. I will die free.
One day I may very well die fighting for one of the many causes I believe in… and when my blood spills on the ground you WILL NOT be able to differentiate it between that of someone of a different religion, color, creed, etc. Our blood is ALL of the same constitution and it all has every right to be on this planet as mine does.
You can’t regulate morality into existence. You can’t napalm societies into compliance with your beliefs. You CAN LOVE people into compassion and empathy.
If you aren’t being the change you wish to see,… If you aren’t approaching nearly every situation with compassion and empathy,… If you make decisions based on fear and selfish emotion …. You are doing this whole humaning thing wrong. I promise.
So here is my request of those doing it wrong, those doing it right, and those still trying to figure out where they fall. Do one of the below and report back to me. It can be here on this thread. It can be in a private message. It can be in an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just do it. Let’s talk about how you felt and what impact it had on you and others. Let’s talk about how you can do MORE stuff like that. Let’s talk about how you can get others to do stuff like that.
1. Join some kind of community program you care about and attend an event. Here are a few suggestions: Veterans causes: Team Red, White, and Blue. Children in their communities: Big Brothers / Big Sisters. There are many others. Post suggestions below of your favorites.
2. Give blood. If you do not know how / are apprehensive, let me know. If we are even somewhat geographically co-located I will come with you and stay by your side throughout the process and give blood myself. Your single donation helps save three lives. DISCLAIMER: Those lives might be Muslim/Christian/LGBTQ/Redneck/Green eyed/Gun Grabbing/etc. Who the hell cares? You are not above them. Have a slice of humble pie and do something for someone other than yourself.
3. Donate to the Red Cross, Team Rubicon, or some other disaster relief organization. Your donations will go towards rebuilding lives. Wouldn’t you want someone to do so if it were you and your family?
4. Learn to protect your family. Think guns are scary? Good. They are. Now how are you going to defend yourself against them? I’ve thrown this offer out there many times. If you would like to learn to be proficient with firearms (and you are within a reasonable driving distance), I would like to sponsor you. I will teach you a lot of what you need to know, and pay for a day of shooting at the range (range time, ammunition, gun rental). If the thought of this makes you want to pee your pants – this is for you. I promise I will not let a single bad thing happen to you. Empower yourself. Educate yourself. If you walk away thinking “Jenn is crazy, and guns are still bad” at least now you can speak from experience and not just from what you are told on TV.
Some of the people I see being vocal on facebook are some of the most miserable people I know…. Time for a pulse check. If you aren’t happy with shit… CHANGE IT. Walk the walk! You have the time. You have the means. What is important to you? If you are not willing to do any of the things above, or come up with something of your own, your opinions are irrelevant to me. You have every right to say them all you want, and I have every right to disregard them completely. If you aren’t going to give everything you’ve got during your short time on this spinning rock, then sit on the bench and shut up. The rest of us are busy changing the world