The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sad, Hopeful Thinking

A sad thought occurred to me the other day: if I had to judge from the people I know, I would have to conclude that Islam is a good religion and Christianity is an evil one occasionally misused for good.


I am well aware that neither is evil - I mean, they're essentially the same religion to begin with. But, of all the Christians I know, very few of them display their religion for good. It manifests in hating others, judging others, and occasionally trying to keep others from living their lives. On the other hand, I know a few Muslims. They are, without exception, among the best people I know. None of them have ever judged (out loud, anyway) someone for not following the tenets of Islam. None have ever declared that the nation should adhere to Islamic rules. None have ever interfered with the lives of the people around them because their faith disagrees with the way those other people live their lives.

I wish I could convince more people of all (and no) faiths to just live and let live. The Golden Rule exists in all religions:

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
"Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself."
"Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself"
"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
 "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
"Respect for all life is the foundation."
"The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own."
"Don't be a dick."

Ok...one of those might have been Wil Wheaton.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Judge Actions, Not People

People are people, with all that entails. They are amazing, and beautiful, and flawed. They are capable of astounding achievements and unspeakable evils.

It isn’t helpful to say that “he is a racist.” It can advance the conversation to note that “that comment was racist.” It obscures the truth to say “she was a great woman.” It is inspirational to say that “she performed a great deed.”

I understand that the difference is largely just a matter of tone, and that there may be ample (and more than ample) justification to put this label or that on one person or another. But, to what end? To me, the only end is to improve - for us all to be better. We cannot learn or move forward if we are just calling each other names. No matter how well-earned, that leads to defensiveness and digging in and no movement. If we can focus on the actions, we may be able to teach and learn and get better.

And maybe we can get past the idea that someone is a “great person” or an “evil person.” We just might be able to get to the truth that everyone is great; everyone is evil; everyone is everyone. A person is much too complex to boil down into one word, unless that word is human.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Am Disappoint

I've come to be very disappointed with many of the people I call friends (particularly here in Virginia).

As everyone is no doubt aware, there is something of a Syrian refugee crisis. Da'esh (or ISIS, or ISIL, whatever you want to call them) has made much of Syria and Iraq a non-tenable place to live. Brutal torture and death await people for the smallest infractions of the extreme code they preach. So, people are leaving in droves. Running for their lives, often with only their lives - when you flee murderous thugs, you generally don't stop to pack.

President Obama has called for housing some 10,000 of these refugees in the United States. Many (to say things nicely) disagree. Most or all of the GOP Presidential candidates have said vehemently that these refugees pose a risk - look at Paris! They ignore differences between our processes and theirs. It takes roughly two years of vetting before a refugee is admitted to the US. Literally NONE of the terror attacks that have happened on US soil were by someone admitted as a refugee.

I see the current rejection of refugees and think of another time when we, as a country, turned away refugees - Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. How many may have avoided the ovens and gas chambers had they found shelter in the Land of the Free? (Home of the Brave? Doesn't sound like it to me.) I actually used the current situation as a bit of a lesson for my youngest this morning. "Imagine you're being chased by some murderers. You pound on a door. 'Please let me in, there are killers after me!' 'No way!' they say. 'What if you're a killer?' How would that feel?"

Many of the people I know - that I've met either locally, or through my Air Force career - are saying the same things about these Syrians. "What if you're a killer?" I can't imagine how that feels. Even more from some that are very religious. It saddens me to realize that some of the most important lessons fall on deaf ears. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." How do you turn away your Christ? Have you no shame, at least?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sad Statement About Society + 140 Characters = Mea Culpa

I kind of accidentally insulted one of my favorite websites on Twitter yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for the Presidency online.

Phil Plait (a very good @BadAstronomer) retweeted @EverydaySexism's Everyday Sexism Bingo Card for it.

 I saved it, and replied: "@EverydaySexism @BadAstronomer Saved that image. I read @fark, so I'll likely fill it in the next 20 minutes or so."

About 5 hours later @Fark replied with "@beaver1224 @EverydaySexism @BadAstronomer :("

When I saw the frowny face, I realized that I had not quite conveyed my meaning. D'oh! There is no color for stupid.

What I MEANT to say was this:

However you feel about Hillary Clinton, you cannot deny that there will be tons of these will be lobbed about. Were they arrows, we would be able to eat in the shade for the next year and a half. The "safest" place to fire the arrows of everyday sexism from is the anonymity of the internet. But there are all too many people - some of them policy-makers, some of them people that influence policy-makers - that will fire away without even that anonymity.

I like to describe Fark as "a news aggregator site with attitude." If something interesting, stupid, funny, cool, unlikely, scary, or just Florida happens, it's almost certain to be on Fark. I am there every day. I am, in fact, a TotalFarker, paying for the privilege of seeing (and commenting) on these stories before they go before the public, so to speak. Fark has a very diverse community, even among its pay subscribers. There are a lot of very cool people there; there are a lot of complete idiots there; there are a lot of trolls there. Some of those groups overlap.

So here's the thing. I am fairly certain that hate will be spewed at Mrs. Clinton. I am fairly certain that some of that will hit the news. I am fairly certain that some of it will be reflected in the comment threads of most or all of those articles. I am also fairly certain that those hateful comments will be called out, ridiculed, and lambasted in those threads.

Fark is not a bad place, it's a great place, but it is an internet place. Hateful things unfortunately happen on the internet, but positive things often follow.

@Fark, I'm very sorry I didn't think to find a way to stuff that into 140 characters. I'm sorry I didn't think to just shut up. I'm sorry that I didn't think much at all, really.

I still love you. Can we be friends?

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It Is Finished

The campaign is finally over. I doubt that the opposing parties will start to get along now that it's done, but I can hope. My biggest complaint, however, is not the constant bickering. It's the manner in which that bickering is done. We truly need to make two changes to the manner of our speech - particularly political speech - if we want to improve the country.

First, eliminate rhetoric. Few things tossed about this past year annoyed me so much as the rhetorical speech. Romney wasn't planning to "fire Big Bird." He wanted to eliminate Federal funding for PBS. (They get funding from many other sources.) Obama never tried to take credit away from the SEALs for killing Bin Laden. (He authorized the mission and added a detail that became important.) If your point is valid, you shouldn't need to remove the truth to make it.

 Second, stop with the stupid anecdotes. As the old maxim says, "anecdotal evidence isn't." Don't tell me that this one person was on welfare and bought beer and cigarettes with their food stamps. Tell me that the best estimates put welfare abuse at roughly 2-3%. Don't say that a proposed tax plan will cause a specific company to lay off people. Show the math and the projected effects on the private sector as a whole.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that both of these devices are powerful tools in a speech or debate. But when they are the entirety of a platform or position, you've brought the discussion to uselessness. Especially when people repeat that garbage without investigating the truth behind the ridiculous claims.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bad Beaver

I've been a Bad Beaver. I haven't posted for quite a long time, even though some amazing things have happened in my life. I went to Afghanistan. Had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, didn't get shot at even once (thank you!). Somewhat concurrently, Tristan (Bubby the Younger) started kindergarten. So now both my Mooseketeers are in school. Met a no-kidding chef (and got autographed cookbooks)! Got a kilt. Now I wear it any time I'm at home (and a few times when I'm not). I've been moved back to the squadron from the wing. This puts me back in the operational level I started in, which is a bit of a step back; but I'm a "Flight Chief" in charge of 40 Airmen, which is a big step forward. There are lots of interesting new challenge-opportunities for me. Oh, yes: I also bought a brand new Mustang Convertible. Sooner or later, I will start work on the children's book I conceptualized while in the desert. A description of some of the things/events on a Forward Operating Base (FOB). "'Boom! Boom! Boom!' says Ollie the Outgoing Artillery. I keep the bad guys away from the base." Life is life. I will try to be better about my ramblings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weather

So, we just had a bout of Apocalyptic Rain. For a moment I thought, maybe the rapture did come and we just didn't notice 'cause no one qualified.

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