Me: "really, there is no stopping it. We are on the verge of serious societal collapse. Who you vote for doesn't make a damn bit of difference, neither party is really going to change anything"
Various other people: Then you should buy a gun. If it's really going to get that bad, you should have a gun.
Me: Some variation of "teenage boy in the house, blah blah blah"
VOP: No really you need a gun
Me: No really what I need to do is learn to grow some tomatoes
VOP: Then you should have a gun to protect them.
Now I am not a pacifist. I believe that self defense and defense of others are acceptable forms of violence. And I'm not even anti-gun, but again, teenage boy in the house. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to beat the shit out of someone hurting my kid, and I have gotten in the middle of strangers trying to hurt other strangers. But I have never had to go beyond angry screaming in those situations (but from other situations that I'm not in the mood to discuss, I know I wouldn't have a problem fighting back if it came down to it).
It does strike as a serious and not often enough discussed problem though that the VOPs in every one of these convos have all been 1)lifetime democrats and 2)Christian. I'm pretty sure that Jesus wouldn't have been so quick to defend a tomato plant from a hungry mob. But what the fuck do I know, I'm mostly an atheist at this point.
And then tonight I am watching The Story of India (pbs documentary) and it gets to the part about Ashoka and his conversion to Buddhism after the slaughter at Kalinga. Apparently his move towards non-violence involved a pretty severe police state because "It is difficult to make men do good".
But the problem lies in the "making" men (and as they put it in Doctor Who "women, undecideds, trees and multiforms")do good. Making someone brush their teeth doesn't always mean they are going to love the minty fresh feeling. What you have to do is understand that violence is as bad for those that commit it as it is for those they are violent to. It rots our brains and souls and hearts the same way plaque rots your teeth.
But again, I'm just a little almost atheist, agreeing with Buddha and Jesus on a bunch of shit that a vast majority of their followers don't get.