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Friday, February 15, 2013

One Billion Whining

Okay, this is only peripherally about Second Life, because there were a lot of SL events in support of this Real World movement.

The One Billion Rising event/movement/philosophy is aimed at stopping violence against women.  I'm all for that!  As a matter of fact, I'm for stopping violence against everyone.  Not that it's going to happen any time soon, judging from both our history and current events.

But I do have to register my opposition to the way they are going about it.  Parties.  Gatherings.  Events.  And every person attending one of those events will, I'm sure, feel a sense of accomplishment, a warm feeling of having done their bit to stop violence against women.

But, um...how?

How does going to a rally or a party stop an abusive husband, or a mugger?  I completely fail to see the connection.  Oh...maybe they want more LAWS against violence passed?  Great.  Have they checked to see what the response time of the local police is?  A law only works if there is someone to enforce it.  Moreover, it only comes into effect after someone breaks it.  So...that's just fine, I guess.  You can have the satisfaction of knowing the scoundrel will get arrested, while you are lying there in the hospital with your face smashed in.

I also note the debate about guns, which has moved into high gear following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook.  The anti-gun people are using this as an emotional lever to push a lot of new restrictions on us.  Now, understand me...I am a gun owner, but I am all for rational gun laws.  Laws like, for example, a written and practical exam before being issued a concealed carry permit.  This would be similar to having to get a drivers license before being allowed to operate that other deadly weapon, the automobile.  Or laws like effective background checks that will uncover mental problems and criminal activity.  If every state had a Department of Firearms to handle this sort of thing, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, I'd be pleased.  But almost every proposal I've heard so far would make life tougher for sane, law-abiding gun owners, while doing nothing to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal or the mentally unbalanced.

"There are no dangerous weapons.  There are only dangerous men." - Robert A. Heinlein

Guns or no guns, there will always be dangerous men.  Some...most...of them will only offer violence to defend themselves, their families, or society, bless them.  Some, sadly, will not have such self control.  In the real world, women are, on average, the "weaker sex", at least in terms of physical strength.  And therefore, we are a logical target for violence.

Unless we are prepared to defend ourselves.  One of my friends is a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  She is not a large woman, but she is certainly more prepared to defend herself against violence than almost anyone else I know.  I admire her greatly.  Unfortunately, she has also made Tae Kwon Do her life.  Those of us unwilling to give a martial art that sort of total commitment and devotion simply don't have the time to match her level of training, conditioning, and skill.

But a few hundred dollars, and a couple of hours at the range every few weeks, gives any woman the ability to defend herself against violence.  Well, and one other thing.  We must be mentally strong.  If we have the attitude, the conviction, that no one is going to offer us violence and get away with it...we will prevent an awful lot of what One Billion Rising says they want to prevent.

Stop whining about violence, ladies.  Be very dangerous instead...and you'll have no problems.

My thanks to Chestnut Rau, whose insightful blog post inspired me to speak my mind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Goofiness

Second Life is a magical place.  Lots of people use it to create beautiful, stunning landscapes and buildings.  Others use it for serious, long term and detailed role play.  It can be used for education, and for socializing.  Many people have serious businesses in SL, and work hard to make them profitable.

Or you can just be goofy.

The other night, I showed up at the usual gathering place at Caledon Oxbridge University.  In the middle of the path, someone had created a big cylindrical glass aquarium and filled it with water.  In the tank was my friend Alyshamonsta.

Now, Alysha is, all by herself, sort of an incentive to be goofy.  When I first met her, she was a nine foot tall, hugely muscled, shaggy werewolf...wearing a little pink tutu.  And every time I've met her since, she has on a new and amusing avatar.  This night, she was a sort of shark/tiger hybrid.

We had lots of fun making jokes and fishy puns...then I rezzed a ltttle boat and placed it on the top of the water in the aquarium.  My partner Cindi showed up and joined me in the boat, then she got out a fishing rod and started "fishing" for Alysha.

There were probably about five or six of us in the group, and we kept each other laughing with jokes and puns and silly comments for well over half an hour.  We rezzed other silly vehicles, each of us trying to outdo the others.

On another occasion, I rezzed a steampunk rocket chair and spent some time maneuvering it through the hallowed halls of Oxbridge, stopping here and there to converse with newcomers.  This chair has an "autodestruct" function that causes it to blow up and fall in pieces to the ground, which caused much merriment.

I got an even better response with my lawn chair aircraft, held aloft by bunches of colorful helium balloons.

Second Life can be serious...or it can be just for play.  That's part of its magic.