Friday, August 30, 2019


I have a long list of things to do. It did not start out long, but as some things get left undone and new tasks are added; it grows weekly.

It is a list of expectations I put upon myself.

Some tasks were taken off the list. They became irrelevant for varying reasons and some jobs were so contingent upon the completion of other duties, or things such as the season, they were removed.

Often I skip a weekly update to my to do list until I can shorten it significantly… otherwise I may become overwhelmed; unable to meet my expectations.

I have shopping lists for things I need to buy. I have lists of supplements and foods that would be beneficial to my current state of health.

Lists allow me to organize my thoughts and activities, to facilitate the completion of goals. They fortify my determination and bring me back into focus when I am distracted or disillusioned.

Lists are a great tool and help shape what I want to accomplish and become.

I always wanted to learn to sail. I briefly joined a sailing club when I returned to school and took some impromptu lessons. I would like to do it again. Sailing is not something on any list I have. I do not see it working into my current lifestyle.

I enjoy fishing. I long to fish. I have some of my grandfather’s fishing poles. A couple years back we got to the fishing spot my grandfather used to take us to; about an hour from our home. My wife and I caught a couple of small fish.

With deep concern over my diet, let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, and the understanding that wild caught fish are the healthiest fish option you would think it would be on a list of mine somewhere.

It is.

I have a wish list tucked away of what I would like as part of my dream farm. A fishing spot is on that list and every once in a very great while I will look at the list and dream.

I made a list of people also. As I set to writing, works of fiction, and came to the point where publishing was actually a certainty, I made a list of people to whom I could self promote my books. It was a list of mainly media figures of like mind to myself.

Realizing that I may not be the next literary genius of my age, and coming to the understand that I would not be putting books out at a rate that would deserve the level of promotion I was seeking I never did an official promotional campaign.

But I had the list. I had made the determination and I did send or drop off a few books to some people locally.

Lists portend action.

And if I ever can afford my dream farm, it will be a place with plenty of fishing opportunities.

When we put things down on paper we declare intent.

Is it any surprise that with all the truly planned mass shootings across this country, the shooters had if not an outright hit list, some form of manifesto declaring their intent to kill and cause mayhem?

Back in the day, as they say, when I was in school, elementary and high school, it would be nearly unheard of for anyone to create such a list. If it did happen, the knee jerk response would be, ‘Were they arrested?’

If they had guns or not was not the primary concern, and if it was found that they were a gun nut the knee jerk response would be ‘Why aren’t they in jail?’ not  necessarily ‘Did they take their guns away?’

The question today is, why are the creation of such lists not met with the same shock and horror? Why do we react differently today? Why can we not recognize the obvious?

There is a simple illustration that can be applied to various social dilemmas of the day.

Back in the day again, in Milwaukee with its Germanic heritage, you could stand downtown on a Sunday morning, and there would not be a single car driving on the street. When you came to a crosswalk and the signal said “DONT WALK” you stood their and waited until the signal said “WALK”, …not a single car driving on the street.

In many counties across the United States it used to be that all the stores would be closed on Sunday.

What we tolerate and do no tolerate in society, what we expect of society and ourselves as part of that society, has a profound influence on how society functions, if it prospers or declines.

Most will poo poo the idea that violent video games are causing today's violence, particularly gun violence. I disagree. It is one of several major contributors to the moral crisis this nation is facing.

The public, young people have become desensitized to killing. They play games where the goal is to kill, where each level of accomplishment is based on killing proficiency and numbers. You could say they are acting in accordance with a preformed list of goals.

They are fulfilling what is expected of them in the game to succeed and receiving a thrill for it.

Law enforcement is continually frustrated by the fact that people are not reporting people with kill lists or that express similar social proclivities. Such acts however do not register with a generation in which killing has become common place, has been glamorized in their homes via video games, in movies and on the news local or otherwise.

This glamorous pursuit of worthless goals via video games is void of the mass destruction and turmoil of war, conveyed with the hypnotic influence of a flat screen. Advancement through violence, actions and words that degrade others, is the quid pro quo. It becomes what is expected.

Video games might not be driving your average person to become a mass murderer, but it is creating a culture where the truly disturbed no longer stand out. All this violence and degrading behavior seems all too normal and at the same time all too unreal.

Is any of it real even after the fact, after a shooting, when the promotion of political agendas fill the news reports often before the facts of the incident? Is that a normal human reaction, or simply what has come to be expected?

More hype for a society that gets its fix off the hype.

Deteriorating societal expectations, video games and social media being a significant part of this dilemma, stigmatizes those pointing to the degenerate, so most do not point.

The ability to discern proper behavior gone, people report the normal for behavior deemed by the media, pop culture, as inappropriate.

Is that the solution? That we should all be treated as degenerates?

Should we all be put on the government’s list?

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