NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

To The Next School Shooter: If You Do It, You Will Never Do This Again

PULLING THE TRIGGER IS LIKE FLUSHING YOUR LIFE DOWN THE DRAIN. BE SMART: THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO VENT YOUR FRUSTRATION. CAN'T THINK OF IT? LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO LISTEN AND HELP

This is available as a poster in PDF and GIF formats.

COMMENT: Four days after posting that on LinkedIn, it received 553 views, 3 likes (< 1%), and 2 comments yet gorgeous women with transparently flimsy excuses for posting pictures of themselves can get tens of thousands of likes.

After most school and other shootings, people bring flowers, spout platitudes, and profess to care—but do they really? They seem to care more about stroking the egos of narcissistic young beauties than doing something to deter the next shooter. I've heard “we must do something!” umpteen times yet can't recall the last viable solution proposed.

I have a folder full of other ideas on ways to prevent and stop shooters, prevent rape (posted an article on that long ago), and stop physical bullying.

Prediction: venture capitalists will continue to ignore innovation solving real-world problems until one of their loved ones is victimized.

Something for thinkers to think about

Why has revenge persisted for millions of years? Why is behavior akin to it seen in some animals? Because behavior is shaped not on the basis of what is right and wrong, but what is most adaptive. In evolutionary terms, it is adaptive for others to know that if you screw with them or their loved ones, you will pay a price for it.

Until recently (in the evolutionary timescale), we didn't have courts to adjudicate disputes, we had angry fathers literally bashing in the skulls of men who raped their wives and daughters, which made would-be rapists think twice.

While we are wired for revenge, we are also wired to think of ourselves, doing what is best for us. That is the impetus for the above message to would-be shooters: instilling the idea that NOT shooting is in their best interests long-term. Long after the brief flash of satisfaction from revenge, they face decades of living a life much more miserable than it could have been.

Yes, I know: temporal discounting (a.k.a., discounting the future) makes most people place more value on smaller rewards now versus bigger ones in the future, so my poster clearly won't deter everyone thinking of shooting, bombing, or whatever. But its batting average will not be zero; if seen by enough people, eventually it will change someone's mind so he thinks of what is best for him in the future, thus it will save lives.

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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