Asperger’s Is Not an Excuse, Actions Still Have Consequences, and Humanity is Still Totally Depraved

signers-drawing

I am glad that some thinking people are starting to understand that keeping people from protecting themselves and their families does nothing to change the fact that killers will kill. Even in the light of the past couple weeks’ worth of senseless shootings- and I freely admit that the existence of evil is something I don’t comprehend- I still believe that the Framers of the Constitution had the right idea when they included:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. “

The Second Amendment has been expounded upon by far greater minds than mine, however, there are two points being made here.  Some more left-leaning interpretations of the Second Amendment take the first part about a well regulated militia and assume that meant that the Framers were talking about the armed forces, National Guard and law enforcement but not about private individuals.  What they are leaving out is a knowledge of 18th century history.  In the 18th century there was really no full-time armed forces, but individuals who would volunteer in time of war (a concept similar to a very rudimentary National Guard) and individuals had to keep their own weaponry in order to be able to be available when the need arose.

the_second_amendment_protects_poster

Fast forward to the 21st century.  Most Americans have no concept of what it would be like to have to defend one’s life and property if a scenario such as the one proposed in the film “Red Dawn” would arise, where there would be war in streets and neighborhoods rather than an abstract concept of soldiers and armies fighting over obscure hills and fields in far-distant lands.  However, many Americans have experienced armed robbery, assault and other crimes of violence that could have been prevented if the victim had been able to defend him/herself.  The Framers had a solution to that: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”  The Framers not only believed so heartily in a strong national defense that it is one of only two responsibilities of the Federal government spelled out in the Constitution, but they also added it to the Bill of Rights- along with the proviso that individuals also have the right to defend their person and property.  In this statement the right to self defense is underscored as a natural right rather than a privilege granted (or withheld) by the whim of the state.

SelfDefense1

I don’t have any problem at all with responsible gun ownership.  The law-abiding person who owns a gun and has had appropriate background checks and safety training is not generally the person you have to worry about- unless you are trying to perpetrate crime.  On the other hand, the unarmed are all potential victims.  All one has to do to be a victim is to be in the wrong place at the right time.

This being said, I can go back to the fundamental argument that guns don’t kill people any more than spoons make people fat.  The conscious decision to aim a firearm and pull the trigger is what kills.  It’s easy to go around screaming “gun control,” until one realizes that the decision of a killer is the root of the lethal mechanism.  It is possible to kill with bare hands, with knives, with poison, with motor vehicles, with a baseball bat.  The possibilities of potential lethal weapons are only limited by a potential killer’s imagination and desperation.  Banning firearms just means killers will find weapons other than guns to kill people with.  There are still murders in the UK and in every other country where strict gun control has been enacted.  The murderous impulse does not lie in an armament of steel, but in the convoluted and dark malice dwelling in a killer’s heart.

heart_core_dark-1680x1050

Dark malice that can lead to murder can surface in any human being alive today if circumstances and opportunity press that individual hard enough.  Evil is that pervasive in this world.  I don’t subscribe to all of Calvinism (my soteriological leanings are more congruent with Molinism) but I agree with 100% of one of the petals of Calvin’s TULIP- the Total Depravity of man.

Human beings, if left to their own devices, are 100% self serving.  I’ve heard every excuse out there for why people kill- video games, bad childhoods, being deprived, being over-indulged, crappy schools, being bullied, being introverted, being mocked, et cetera and so on.  I think a better question, given the total depravity of man, is what keeps everyone from becoming a killer?   Or are we all killers, and the severity of our behavior is simply a matter of degree?  If so, then what is the mechanism of our restraint?  Does it have to do with the wiring of the frontal lobe of the brain, or is it a matter of the will, or a combination of both?  I believe it is entirely possible that the only thing that restrains most from indulging their darker urges is simply the grace and mercy of God.

Even though I believe that there is a God and that He is highly involved in the lives of humanity, I also believe that He expects people to respond to Him. I believe He has expectations for his creation (and maybe this is my repressed Catholic guilt coming out.)  After all, when one reads Scripture we learn that most of humanity’s problems arise from thinking our ways are better than God’s ways.

We don’t have the liberty to simply say, “the Devil made me do it,” if for any other reason than at the end of the day, God holds us accountable for what we do or don’t do.  Psychology would say that humans do what they do to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, but there is a deeper aspect- the aspect of “you own who you are and what you have become.”

Things in life can and do suck, but it’s every person’s responsibility to choose how to react to things that suck.  The question is, do we turn to God and His will or do we let evil win?

evilvsgood

I find it disturbing that society is all too willing to absolve people from individual accountability and blame their abherrent behavior on everything from being bullied as children to being on the autistic spectrum.  As someone who experienced both gratuitous and fierce childhood bullying and is a high-functioning autistic,* (apparently that’s what the medical community is calling Asperger’s Syndrome these days) I am here to tell you that both of those theories may have some credence, but at the end of the day, the decision to move beyond a painful past and to learn to work the wiring is not only possible, but it is also a moral obligation.  Maybe I say this out of a sense of noblesse oblige that I was taught- that those who are given more are held to a higher standard.  I can say that the convoluted and sometimes vexing wiring of Asperger’s or “high functioning autism” or whatever is the current terminology used to categorize the introverted, weird and/or eccentric is not a license to allow the depravity within to overcome.  Video games are no excuse. Technology in general is no excuse.  The laxity of discipline and the pervasive faux feel good PC philosophy being taught in the schools (while dreadful, false, and a contributor to the delinquency factor) is not an excuse either. There is a God, and He has standards and rules, even when it seems like society does not.

I don’t discount the influence of mental illness, and how society so conveniently “mainstreams” the mentally ill, denying that some people do have an inability to control their rage and that some people should be isolated from the greater community for a time to receive mental health treatment.  I do understand what it is to be depressed and near suicidal, but I also understand that there is help available for individuals and families when mental illness becomes overwhelming.  I’m no poster child for mental health, and insanity is downright pervasive in my family tree.  If there is anything that society (as opposed to the individual) can do to help prevent violence it is to identify mental illness and provide ways for those at risk to get help.

insaneI wish this were a joke, but it’s not.  I have ancestors who were crazier than shithouse rats.

I may never know for what purpose God decided to plop my sorry carcass on this earth, but I’m pretty sure that no matter how beat up on I was or how bizarre my wiring, He didn’t intend for me to load up an assault rifle and shoot up a classroom of unarmed, defenseless kids.

Sexy pole dancerI’m pretty sure God never intended me to be a pole dancer, either.  I’m doing good to walk a straight line without tripping over my own feet.

There I go again with that whole morality thing again, and no, I am not talking about the mundane concepts of morality- refraining from fornication,  eschewing the use of swear words, and those sorts of trite formalities, but a deeper morality.

One that says, “There is a God, and He has rules.”

More Sins of Omission, Explaining One’s Offspring to Others, and More Awesome Tunes

Old-time Catholicism is a bit masochistic, but you gotta love the artwork.  I have nothing against Catholics- some of the best Christians I know adhere to Catholicism, and I’m not going to argue the small points- other than to say that by definition I cannot be considered a Catholic because I don’t agree 100% with the Catholic Church.  Agreeing with Church teachings 100% is part of the deal.  I’ve read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I agree with a good deal of it- but I do disagree with some key points of what the Catholic Church teaches, and I don’t agree 100% with their theology- especially what I consider to be the bizarre extra-biblical stuff like purgatory and indulgences and praying to saints.  It would be dishonest for me to claim to be Catholic when I don’t agree with everything the Church believes and teaches.  So those who claim to be Catholic but embrace some very un-Catholic and very un-Christian thought processes are effectively lying their pants off.  You either take the whole hog or not at all- that’s the way that Catholicism works.

Joe Biden: claims to be Catholic, but if my grandfather were still alive I think the descriptive would change to “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat.”  Though in the end he- and we- are accountable to God alone.

As a confessional Lutheran I don’t fall terribly far away from the core beliefs of Catholicism, and theologically I am well within the sphere of orthodox (small “o”) Christianity.   I’m not into weird stuff like God being a space alien (who knows, He might be, but I doubt it) and I don’t believe that I’m part of some elite nerd tribe whose destiny is to be spirited up to heaven in a space ship with Marshall Applewhite and company.  I’m definitely more conservative both socially and theologically than most of the people who go to my church, which does give me pause at times, and does cause me some cognitive dissonance, but there’s an important point to be made with that unease.  If I were to seek out a very literal, fundamentalist church (at one point I almost became a Southern Baptist) I wouldn’t hear any viewpoints remarkably different from my own. (I do differ with the SB’s on the subject of infant baptism, which is an important point of dissent- but otherwise I can pretty much get right on the bandwagon.)  I need to be challenged to see viewpoints that are different than mine, and I need to be challenged to be compassionate to those who are coming from a different perspective.  As a confessional Lutheran I have considerable freedom to ask theological questions and to hold differing opinions on non-essential issues without being considered heretical or completely outside the box of Christian orthodoxy.

I think we can agree: This dude was one crazy mo-fo.

I don’t like to argue theology with anyone.  I will gladly explain what I believe and more importantly in Whom I believe- and why, but I’m not going to pound anyone in the head.  It doesn’t work.  Some of my closest friends are atheists and agnostics, who likely view my faith as something archaic and quaint- but they still talk to me and there’s still a relationship there.  Jesus was all about building relationships with unlikely people in unlikely ways, so if it worked for Him, why not?  I learned long ago that the number one way to dissuade people from faith and a relationship with God is to act like Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.

Could it be….SATAN?????

I may differ even with some of my more orthodox cohorts in that I believe Satan is real and that there are real evil forces at work in this world.   But most of the ills of this world can be attributed to human beings doing what we do best- screwing up.  The sin of the Garden was not so much, “The devil made me do it,” as “I screwed up and did the opposite of what I was told.”  Is this not the underlying theme of human history?  I know it’s the definitely the story of my life.  I am an example, and a good amount of the time I am an example of What Not to Do.

A sin of omission is knowing what you’re supposed to do, but not doing it for whatever reason.  I know I should refrain from laughing at Jerry when he can’t find the beer in the fridge because it’s behind the milk, but I laugh anyway.  Technically that’s a sin of commission because I did laugh, though.  Sins of omission are more like knowing I should iron Jerry’s shirts, but not doing it because I hate ironing, and because I know it’s something his lazy ass can do for himself.  He should be happy I’m washing them and hanging them up for him, but if I were really good I would be doing the ironing thing too.  That’s the omission thing, sort of, anyway.   I should be a missionary in Africa giving out food and water to pitiful orphans, but my selfish ass is too satisfied with sleeping in the A/C and not having dysentery.  There’s always something I should be doing but for whatever reason I’m not.  Take it right on back to the old Catholic guilt trips perhaps, but there’s a grain of truth there.  I know full well I do things I shouldn’t and neglect to do things I should.  Which segues quite well into my hit-or-miss parenting.

This won’t be the last time he will be cajoled into sporting his daughter’s clothes- heh-heh!

As far as Steve-o goes I am delighted that he is remarkably normal in many ways.  He is gainfully employed, only has a couple of weeks until he graduates from college (YAY!) and is very close to Independence from the Parental Units, which in my mind is the ultimate goal of parenting to begin with.  As far as I’m concerned, I did not give birth and work myself into the ground to end up with a thirty five year old acne-ridden, obese couch jockey stinking up the basement with greasy Taco Bell wrappers whilst clogging up his brain cells with assorted online interactive video games 24/7 on my dime.   I do wish Steve-o would have listened to Mother a little more intently in regard to abstinence, chastity and so forth, but hindsight is 20/20.  I love my granddaughter and wouldn’t trade her for anything, but it would have been better if they would have waited a bit.  However, life is such that you wish in one hand, or shit in the other, and we all know which one fills up first.

The two most common elements in the universe are:  Shit and Stupidity.  Figure out how to convert either into energy, and screw foreign oil.

Today’s playlist is just as awesome as Friday’s:

“Urban Angel” from Neal Schon’s I On You

“Double Vision” – Foreigner

“Evil Woman”- ELO

“After the Fall” – Journey from Greatest Hits Live

“Somebody to Love”- Queen

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”-Nirvana

The “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat” Files

 

How can you say no to a request like that?  I, for one, will be absolutely sure to keep my munchables good and far away from the toilet brush holder.

My grandfather (my Dad’s Dad) was one of the most taciturn individuals I’ve ever known- I think he could go days with little more than a grunt or a “yep” or “nope” when asked a direct question.  He could read Louis L’Amour or Zane Grey and watch Westerns for days on end without saying a word to anyone unless he was asked a question.  Grandpa didn’t usually talk unless there was something worth talking about. 

There were certain people in the public eye who he would comment on, and when he did, the tirades were priceless.  For some reason he didn’t much like Jimmy Carter. When President Carter was in the news, Grandpa would go on and on as to why Jimmy should have stayed down in Georgia picking peanuts.  Nor did he like Ted Kennedy, or for that matter, the whole Kennedy family, who he saw as being “Nazi-loving tomcats.”  I always wondered about that statement as a child, but in light of evidence suggesting Joe Kennedy’s pre -WWII support of Hitler and Nazism when he was Ambassador to England, I believe Grandpa actually did know what he was talking about regarding the Kennedys.  Grandpa didn’t care a whole lot for Reagan at first, either (I’ll forgive him for that) as he wasn’t much of a fan of his acting, and Grandpa thought him too old to be President,  but he did gain a lot of respect for Reagan after the assassination attempt. 

But when Grandpa had a really low opinion of someone, he would consider them “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  I have been known to use that simile myself in regard to certain people, but coming from Grandpa the phrase had a deeper dimension to it.  Until the early 1960’s they did not have an indoor toilet.  He used an outhouse for many years and probably encountered real live shithouse rats.  I remember an incident from when I was maybe five or six years old that helped illustrate the point. 

Back in the 1970’s there was still an open sewer that ran parallel to the railroad tracks that were not even a block away from my grandparents’ house.   We didn’t really understand what it was, we just called it the QuQua ditch, and we knew that the water in it was really dirty. It was OK to float paper boats in it- if you could stand the smell- but you dared not wade in it or even touch the water.  It was several years before I learned why this was so imperative.

An absolutely huge rat – and this is no exaggeration, it was the size of a small dog- came up from the sewer grate in the street (not far from the open ditch, as the storm sewers ran directly into the QuQua, along with lots of other unspeakable things) and was leisurely strolling about in broad daylight when we kids were playing outside.  I was completely freaked by this and ran back, screaming, into my grandparents’ house.  Grandpa looked out the window, saw the rat and got a shovel from the garage.  As the rat sauntered ever closer to the yards and the sidewalk, Grandpa ran up behind it and bashed its brains out with the shovel.  He scooped up the dead rat with the shovel and dumped it in the trash.  All he said about it was that we kids should never get near any rats or possums that come up from the sewer in the daytime because they have rabies and if they bite you’ll get the rabies. 

Nobody wanted to get the rabies, believe that.  We didn’t understand what rabies is, but we didn’t want to get it either.

That was probably the closest I ever got to a literal shithouse rat.

I have had pet rats- they are smarter than gerbils or hamsters- but they still have the common rodent problem of no bowel or bladder control.  Somehow a pet loses some of its charm when it is constantly going to the bathroom on you.  Our snakes eat rats (I have a ball python and Jerry has a red-tailed boa) which is sort of difficult because the snakes like their food live.  I know, it’s weird to have snakes, but Jerry likes them, and even I have to admit they are cool to watch.

Which brings me to today’s example of “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  Sadly, he’s from Ohio, albeit the northeast corner of Ohio where the lunatic fringe tends to congregate.   Dennis Kucinich is in the news again- for suing the government over an olive pit.  And I thought Obama’s priorities were screwed.  Compared to Kucinich, Obama almost looks reasonable and sane.

Why, oh, why, don’t the voters send their space cadet of a Representative back to the mistake on the lake where he belongs?

And speaking of being a space cadet, Kucinich claims that he saw a UFO while hanging out at Shirley MacLaine’s.  And I’m the Queen of England.

It may be unfair to the rats to compare them to Kucinich- he’s truly a nut job.  However, infamy is still a form of fame.

Beam me up!

Exploits of the Inane, A Case for Devolution, and Early Bird Birthday Requests

I don’t deal with the general public very well.  Perhaps my cynicism and wafer-thin tolerance threshold comes from years of dealing with retail parts customers and (worse) service customers.  I have no problem dealing with the technical aspects of automotive repair, etc. but dealing with people when they’re being ignorant, stupid, or just plain out of control really gets on my nerves.  I think I lose my patience the most when I explain things to people multiple times and they still fail to get it.  As Ron White put it, “You can’t fix stupid.”  Even so, some people have problems with spoken and written language (not necessarily foreigners…) and perhaps it may help to have things explained to them in pictures.  This must be the logic behind today’s traffic signs.

I remember when I was growing up you would see signs like this when there was roadwork ahead:

This sign seemed self explanatory to me.  Somewhere up ahead some dude with a flag will be waving traffic past.  Apparently as time went on, political correctness crept into the world of road signs.  “Flagman” apparently implied that women weren’t allowed to wave traffic past, so someone came up with a new term and a new sign:

I always thought “Flagger” sounded kind of dirty.  It isn’t, but it should be. 

Then of course, because no one in state governments or Congress has the stones to insist that if people want to live, work and be in this country that they need to speak, write and understand the English language, the sign was changed yet again:

See how humanity has devolved in the past 30-40 years.  Devolution has been going on since the Fall, but I truly believe it’s picking up momentum.

Some people (rapists, murderers, child molesters, animal abusers) should not be permitted to suck up valuable oxygen.  Others are simply crazy as shithouse rats, and should be protected from themselves and the greater society.  Unfortunately, when you work with the general public you WILL encounter them.  The good thing is today I have my GPS equipped cell phone handy, and 911 on speed dial.

The most memorable “crazy as a shithouse rat” individual from my days of being a service advisor actually tried to throttle me, as in pushing me against the wall, grabbing me by the neck, and attempting to asphyxiate me.  White powder (i.e. cocaine) was a real problem back then. As we found out later, the dude not only was one of the biggest drug dealers in Delaware County, he had made the most common mistake of drug dealers- getting high on his own supply.   Had this happened in more recent times (this has been almost 20 years ago) I would have called the cops and had the dude charged with assault.   I was happy enough when my boss heard the fracas, (as well as I would assume he could smell the techies’ sneaker smoke as they were all running out the side door-the pussies!)  ran out, told the guy to leave, and threatened to call the cops if he ever came back.  Hell, I had the license number as well as the guy’s address, phone number and VIN.  Could have, should have, would have called the cops, but hindsight is 20/20.  My boss didn’t want any further trouble.

It would possibly been different if I’d done anything to deserve a throttling, but this guy was torqued for a really illogical reason.  He had bought an extended warranty on the car for which there was a $50 deductible for every visit– no matter how much work the tech did on it.  Most customers who have this program and who are endowed with any sense will tell the advisor, “fix anything the tech says needs attention,” and the tech will gleefully oblige.  This guy (did I mention he had a white powder problem) brought this late model Camry in and requested we repair the torn CV boot ONLY and nothing else, which I noted on the repair order.  Unfortunately the only thing the tech saw was the extended warranty, so (like any normal flat rate tech would do when basically given carte blanche) he went over this car with a fine toothed comb.  He fixed a few minor transmission leaks, replaced a wheel bearing and hub assembly,  replaced the distributor shaft seal, CV boot, water pump, and made some other repairs typically required on a high mileage Camry.  99.9999% of customers would be overjoyed to get all this work- about $1500 worth- done for $50.  This guy was out of his mind in more ways than one.  He was truly shithouse rat crazy as he went into a rage.  I just had the bad luck of being the nearest target.

Thankfully, two weeks later this dude and a few of his friends’ drug ring got brought down.  I wonder if he’s still in prison.  Being an asshole, as well as a white powder sniffer, has a way of biting one in the ass.

I need to watch the Three Stooges more often. There were a few episodes on AMC last Sunday and it was most enjoyable watching them.  The Stooges are still funny, albeit predictable, after all these years.  I happen to believe this is a perfect illustration for how I see golfers:

The major difference is the Three Stooges were less pompous and better dressed than most of the PGA wannabes I encountered at the Infiniti dealership.   From what I’ve seen of golfers and the holier-than-everyone-else attitude they emanate,  they can keep their hoity-toity sport all to themselves. 

Yes my birthday is coming up and since nobody gives a rat’s ass, and my odds of receiving birthday gifts I might actually want are slim to none, I might as well request big. (in order of most to least outrageous)

1. Bahamas/Caribbean Cougar Cruise- as in ten days of delightful sailing on the tropical seas, where I am The Cougar, and the rest of the ship is staffed with buff young men between the ages of 21 and 30 who are ready and willing to cater to my every whim.

2. Total body laser hair removal- all of my unwanted/superfluous body hair, gone forever.  I would never have to shave, pluck out the Unibrow, or Nair my face again!

3. A year’s membership to the “Y” so I can go to the indoor pool whenever I want.

4. A day at the indoor waterpark.

5. 10 3- packs of Hanes Her Way size 7 white hi-cut undies (thought I forgot about yesterday’s request, didn’t ya?)

6. A $25 gas card.

7. A 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Knowing my luck my Mom will buy me some more cookie cutters.  The gift that says to the diabetic, “Hurry up and die, already?”  She will remember my birthday, but the older she gets, I am afraid to think with what.