Monthly Archives: December 2015

Declaration Of Love

I wish I could convince the world that God exists. I wish I could convince my readers. I wish I could convince my friends. I’m not a fighter. It’s not in me to argue. It’s not even in me to talk about God very much when a stranger brings it up in small talk. I avoid topics that might bring us there. I have to be very comfortable with you to be able to talk about God. Truthfully, this is, in part, because I don’t want to be judged. However, it is more and more so because I don’t want people to be annoyed or scared and avoid the topic or even avoid me completely. There’s a principle in writing that dictates you should try to show, not tell, when trying to illustrate or explain an event, situation, inner thoughts, etc. I think I translate that principle into everyday life. Maybe it’s not helpful for people to hear that God exists or that he loves them because they’ve heard it a thousand times and still don’t believe it for whatever reason. I just want to show you.

I’ve been given a plethora of resources that could help me argue the case. I can’t bring myself to read any of it because I already know God exists. I already know he loves me. There have been rare occasions on which I’ve had to argue the case because someone threw the first stone. If I had read more, I probably could have put up a better fight, but like I said, I’m not a fighter. Jesus wasn’t a fighter either. He let people know when they were doing something very wrong, but he never started a fight. He’s braver than I am. My philosophy has always been “live and let live.” Lately I’ve started using a new strategy. I’ve been more vocal and opinionated about things that influence, or are influenced by my faith, but I do not, and will not argue the case for God’s existence unless someone intentionally starts an argument with me or asks me about it.

Furthermore, the “show don’t tell” principle makes more sense to me when I consider the fact that Christians are supposed to be the body of Christ. Truthfully, I think that includes his voice. It’s hard to know exactly what he would say to specific people in specific situations, but a good place to start is to ask, “Is this a loving thing to say?” The fact of the matter is, I’m a pacifist, simply by nature. I’ll admit that sometimes even love hurts. I personally just can’t go there, but if it’s necessary to go there, one should remember that it is only loving if it truly helps the other person. I don’t go there because it is very difficult to know whether a loving but still hurtful thing will actually help.

Many Christians make the mistake of thinking too much about the afterlife. We can’t truly know what comes next. There are so many interpretations of the same idea that it’s almost impossible. We do know, however, that we were made for this world; this life. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. I want my peeps to know God in and for this life. I became a much happier and much more peaceful person after becoming Christian. I’m not sure how well they understand that or see it. It happened gradually, and even I didn’t see it for a long time. I had a tough time in public school, and it took me several years to be able to forgive people. It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea of loving my “enemies.”

It’s in human nature to get angry and to hate, and I fall prey to it sometimes. I find myself hating “the haters” in this world, despite my best efforts not to. Really, though, it’s not productive. It just creates walls that are very difficult to break down. Jesus showed us what it is and what it takes to forgive. Forgiving the ones who hurt us allows them to see who God is and what he does. Forgiving does not mean allowing bad situations to persist. It means moving on. It means starting over. Sometimes that means breaking ties, and sometimes that means making bonds stronger. Forgiving and moving on allows people to become better. It fosters greater empathy and strengthens the love they already have for others.

Furthermore, knowing God’s love and forgiveness allows us to love and forgive ourselves as well as others. For some that is difficult. God loves us no matter what. Despite everything we do, say, think, or feel, if we try to follow God’s requirements for spiritual, moral life, he will always forgive us. We are finite, so we cannot always wrap our minds around absolutes. God will always forgive us. He loves us no matter what. Can we do that when it comes to our relationships with others? God is love, and for him, it’s probably automatic. For us, it often takes effort–sometimes a lot, but it is a necessity for a real, successful, strong friendship or any other relationship. It’s a scary notion considering that we cannot know the future, but if we did not adhere to it, we would be forever alone.

I’m a writer, but it’s hard to say in words what actions can show. I can’t just tell you that God loves you, and without explaining some things, I can’t simply show you. It’s hard to find that balance. To this day I’ve never convinced anyone, at least to my knowledge, but I also don’t think God created anyone simply to convince people of his existence. The fact of the matter is, you have to be willing to believe before you will find any evidence that he exists, at least from my experience. God creates people with a purpose in mind. Sometimes that purpose is specific and vague at the same time. I think he created me to write, but it isn’t always clear what he wants me to write and why he wants me to write it.

I’ve heard stories about friends of friends, etc, who knew exactly what they were going to do from the day they were born. I get the sense this is not common. We don’t have to know what the heck we’re doing to serve God. We just have to do whatever we do with a purpose. We have to write intentionally. We have to love intentionally. We have to create intentionally. God just wants us to make his world better. Maybe that just means writing interesting stories for the world’s enjoyment. Maybe it means doing missionary work. Maybe it means running a business and being super nice to customers. As I said, it’s not always easy to tell.

I started this post by saying that I’m not a fighter. There are militant atheists out there who feel it is their duty to convince the world that believing in God is simply willful ignorance. There are people out there from various religions who would kill me for what I believe. I try not to fight at all costs, but I do believe it’s my duty to defend those who can’t defend themselves. I defend my friends, and that includes Jesus. I don’t need to defend his existence or the fact that he is God, but I will always defend his honor. The same goes for any of my friends. We defend each other. It’s what friends do. That being said, I will end that fight as quickly as I can, even if it means letting the other person think they’ve won. In fact, I think that’s a good policy in general. If an argument cannot otherwise end peacefully, end it quickly, and let the “enemy” think they’ve won. Your own pride should never be a factor in an important argument.

Hatred and war are self-perpetuating. Love negates both. If you forgive a person you’ve been fighting with, the fight cannot continue. If you let go of hate, it will eventually die. The world can be made perfect, maybe even in our lifetime. Only love will make that happen. I can’t convince anyone that God exists. That’s been made clear. I can love people, including those who dislike me or disagree with me, because he’s shown me how. I’m not asking anyone to believe tonight. I’m not even asking anyone to consider the facts because I haven’t provided any. All I’m asking is that people would try love. Love no matter what. Forgive everything. Make it your default. If you do the world, or at least your little part of it, will be a better place. I can promise you that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Happy Christmas!

Hey peeps! I just wanted to say happy Christmas to all of my readers and anyone else who might drop in! I wasn’t going to write today, but I’ve ended up working anyway. What can I say? It’s work and it’s fun! The fact of the matter is that our family tends to celebrate more on Christmas Eve. We party, eat foot and exchange gifts and then go to Midnight Mass.

This ended up being a super nice Christmas, but I can’t really put my finger on any particular reason why. It wasn’t really any different than any other year, other than the fact that we had a bitey little parrot in our midst. Seamus got a couple new toys, one of which he was afraid of. My bird is a bit of an anomaly because he’s a fearless little jerk sometimes, but he’s afraid of the most seemingly random things. He’s almost a year old now. Obviously we don’t know exactly when his birthday is, but it’s some time in January. I guess this is maybe a little bit like how parents feel. My boo isn’t going to officially be a boo any more! I’m a little obsessed with my bird.

In other news, I have enough chocolate to feed an army, which is kind of a problem because I have the tiniest appetite in the world. Luckily I have friends who can eat a ludicrous amount of chocolate. I’ve also acquired a certificate for four violin lessons, a day to sleep and be as lazy as I want without being bugged (which, let’s face it, I will probably never use), several Star Wars related things… namely a sign to put in my room and a travel mug, a wireless plug-in thingy for my guitar, and a few games. My parents always get me way more than I ask for.

I missed one or two weeks during Advent, but our priest has been really great, and the service last night was amazing over all. The music was good, the message was new and interesting because our priest is super interested in history and always manages to teach us something new, but the way I reacted to everything was almost weird–in a good way. At seemingly mundane moments I just felt excited. Right before we were going to take communion, when we were going through the motions like usual, a thought and a feeling just kind of came to me. There’s a difference between knowing something and feeling it. Of course I believe and intellectually know that Jesus is alive and coming again, but last night I felt it, and I just got super excited. That’s a good thing to get excited about. To be honest, I don’t often get excited about spiritual things like I get excited about a new development in a story I’m writing or reading, so when I really feel it, it’s the best thing.

As I said, I’ve worked on my story a bit today, and I’ll probably do a bit more. I wasn’t going to because I thought it would be more respectful or something, but I think God wants me to. I’ve been really feeling like he’s pushing me to get this thing done, not to meet a deadline or anything, but just to write an excellent story, and I kind of feel like when I write something good and say “thank you” for it, it’s a real, personal form of worship. People are coming back over later, but for now I’m just going to write until I get stuck.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Write Your Story

 

Over the weekend I went absolutely Star Wars crazy. I’ve already seen the movie three times. I’ve done more than my fair share of theorizing about the next one already. My friends and I have all been very nostalgic about the old movies, and are now super excited about where the story is going. I’ve imagined what it would be like to be a Star Wars character (Jedi or not), and I’ve wondered whether I would turn to the dark side. At the same time, I began to feel a strange, increasing feeling of seemingly misplaced guilt, or something like it.

Eventually I thought, “What gives?”

Then it came to me. “You don’t want to live in that universe. You may feel like you would have more agency; you might have more of a chance of being a hero, but planets get blown up in that universe. Billions upon billions of people die in a matter of minutes or hours.”

Still, this whole thought process wasn’t normal. I’ve done this before–the whole “what if” thing. I’ve imagined myself as another character in another world, living a different story and thought nothing of it.

So I argued. “I’m just having fun. Star Wars is just such a good, fun story. It’s obviously fictional, and no, I probably wouldn’t want to live in that universe. It’s just fun to think about.”

At this point I was convinced I was arguing with God. I probably shouldn’t do that, but it happens. He said, “Your story’s fun, too.”

Me: Yeah, but it’s not as fun as Star Wars.

Him: Make it as fun as Star Wars. It’s your story. You can make it whatever you want it to be.

Me: You mean my novel, right?

Him: Yes.

Me: I’ll try, but I need your help. It’s your story, too.

Him: I know. So you’ve told me. I’ll help you when you get stuck. I want you to write an amazing story, and I want you to use it for good. I know you can.

This is an actual conversation I had. Maybe it was with God, maybe it wasn’t, but answers were coming back to me in a way that made it seem like I wasn’t just talking to myself, and I’m convinced. On top of that, I ended up writing for around four hours straight yesterday, and I finally finished a scene that I was really nervous about writing. I’ve been agonizing and procrastinating because of it for at least a couple of weeks now. Yesterday it just seemed to come to me.

There are going to be two parts to my novel, and I’m very close to finishing Part One. I’m going to have a couple trustworthy people read it before moving on to Part Two, and I’m probably going to have to do a lot of editing, but especially in the past few weeks, for one thing, my style has been improving quite a bit. I seem to be getting back into the groove. I started writing this novel over the summer, and there was a time where I could write ten pages in a day. Then in October (I think) I hit a brick wall and went for several weeks without writing at all. Then my mommy yelled at me. Both my parents, but she especially seem to be convinced that it’s my destiny to write the next great Science Fiction novel. I hope they’re right. I’m falling in love with this story again, and yesterday, as I said, I wrote a lot. I’m going to try and finish Part One by next Monday because I’d like people to read it while they’re on vacation.

For reference, I’ve written almost 120 pages. That’s the most I’ve written ever, at least on one project. I’ve invented a futuristic drug trade. I’ve invented an alphabet. I’ve developed an evil, corrupt government plot (the details of which you’ll just have to wait for). In retrospect, I’m darn proud of this story. If nothing else, it’s complicated. Admittedly, there’s a part of me that wants to use this story to legitimize Science Fiction as a genre in the literary world. At school I took every creative writing class that was offered, but of course, that did not include fantasy or Sci-Fi. In many ways, realistic fiction lost its charm for me a long time ago. It has to be a really freaking compelling story for it to hold my interest. I live in this universe. Why would I want to read about it? If there’s no magic, no dragons, no space ships, no “what if,” then it’s no fun.

The argument, or so I’ve heard, is that sci-fi and fantasy are nothing more than entertainment because they are not relevant to real-world issues. That’s only the case if you let it be. You can absolutely use alternate universes to address issues of morality, power, politics, and spirituality, among other things, all of which come up in my story. What happens if religion is taken out of the equation entirely? What happens when the military has the most political power? What would happen if you brought magic into the equation? A friend of mine said something that i thought was quite interesting and true. She said that a miracle is something that we just aren’t able to explain yet. I’d like to explore that as well.

Anyway, I’m playing Dungeons and Dragons later, so I should get back to work.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

 

Celebrate Anyway

I’ve come to understand that some Christians do not celebrate Christmas because it has some traditionally pagan aspects, and because it has become too secular and too commercialized. I do not deny either of these facts. In fact, there are things about the modern, mainly Western take on Christmas that thoroughly annoy me. However, there are reasons that I feel Christmas should be celebrated anyway. At its core, the purpose of Christmas is to commemorate the birth of Christ, and to acknowledge and enforce the hope we have for his second coming. Strip everything else away, and it is nothing more or less than that.

Christianity entered Europe in the first few centuries A.D. They wanted to convert Pagans to their religion, but they were also interested in their traditions and culture. I have heard the argument that this is dangerous. Prying too deeply into non-Christian ideas might lead one to believe in those ideas. However, what one believes in is ultimately a choice. There are many aspects to faith. Though it would be easier if it did not, it usually requires some form of evidence for its truth, but this evidence almost always comes after an initial willingness to believe in the first place. It needs to be relational, meaning that ideas and emotions and even messages go both ways between us and God. Most importantly, it needs to be intentional. There will always be conflicting ideas in the world, and yes, it is possible to be tempted to question one’s own faith. It is the choice to stay steadfast that makes it real, and makes it stronger. Studying other religions and ideas is not dangerous as long as one is capable of discerning what is fact and what is fiction.

However, there is a difference between studying other religions and incorporating some of those ideas into one’s own practices. Admittedly, this can be dangerous, and I think, has honestly become detrimental over time. Though it is still celebrated by Christians, Christmas has become a largely secular holiday. There are several reasons for this. While some traditions were adopted with good intentions, over time, they morphed into new ideas entirely. Saint Nicholas, who was a real, historical person, and a saint in the Catholic Church, eventually became known only as Santa Clause to many people. He is nothing more than a magical dude who hangs out with elves and brings presents to kids once per year. I do personally believe that this particular aspect of the modern rendition of Christmas is a problem because it takes the focus away from Christ and puts it on this character who, for kids, is generally more fun.

Music causes similar problems, at least for me. Many so-called Christmas songs are only about the secular aspects of Christmas–giving gifts, partying, etc. This is a very personal issue for me. Music and faith are very closely entwined in my mind, and I dislike songs that claim to be about Christmas, but have nothing spiritual about them. To be honest, it’s also just a matter of preference. The majority of them are musically annoying, and lyrically stupid, and I can’t help being a snobby art critic. However, this issue, and the issue of Santa Clause are personal issues for me. If I had kids I simply would not play secular holiday music or introduce the concept of Santa Clause. I would still get a tree, give gifts and eat too much food.

You might ask why things like the Christmas tree or the practice of giving gifts are not problematic. I do not see these as problematic because they are passive. They can be and symbolize whatever you want them to. In contrast, music actively introduces and perpetuates ideas, as do stories and fictional characters. A Christmas tree can symbolize life–the life that Christ promises to us. The lights and colorful decorations can symbolize hope and joy in an otherwise dark and cold time of year. The list goes on. Jesus received gifts at his birth, so why shouldn’t we give gifts to each other? Jesus loves us, and God is within all of us. Inventing your own symbolism for old ideas and concepts is absolutely permissible, and is exactly what the early Church did with Pagan ideas. For example, they celebrated a festival commemorating the birth of the New Sun, which we recognize as the Winter Solstice. The early Christians took this idea and used it to commemorate the birth of Christ. This made it understandable and relatable to their early converts.

Lastly, I would like to say that I do not condone the exploitation of a religious tradition for commercial gain, nor do I think it’s something that is worth getting totally stressed out about. I do not appreciate the trivialization by Western culture in general of something that is so beautiful and meaningful. However, I do not condemn the people who do these things. What they do is their business. Furthermore, I find that condemning people for what they believe is right, or at least permissible, is not productive. It only creates divisions and perpetuates the same problems. Take the Starbucks cups for example. Every year a handful of bored, militant atheists get worked up because Starbucks puts snowflakes on their cups, which simply is not a religious symbol. This year, Starbucks didn’t want to deal with it, so they made their cups plain red, which pissed off a bunch of bored, militant Christians. The most productive thing for Starbucks to do would be whatever they very well please. The snowflakes are kind of festive and fun, so if they want to, they should put them on the cups. They’re not going to go bankrupt because a few people with too much time on their hands are annoyed with them.

It literally does not matter what Starbucks puts on their cups, so Christians should have simply ignored the issue. There are certain things we simply cannot compromise about, but this is not one of them. We can be friends with a-religious peeps and Atheists, and Agnostics, and Muslims and Buddhists and people of any other religion while still not believing in or adhering to their faiths and practices. In fact, I argue that it is our duty as Christians to lead by example, and show people what it’s like to know Jesus. We can’t do that if we’re constantly fighting about trivialities. To bring this back to my original point, I would like to say that I don’t think there is one right way to celebrate Christmas, but I do think it should be celebrated because of its true purpose. Its pagan and secular aspects are not things that we need to necessarily be worried about. As I said, some things are problematic for me, so I personally ignore them. If they are not problematic for you, go ahead and enjoy.

For whatever reason there seems to be a sentiment around this time that tends to lead people to good thoughts and nice actions, whether they are religious or not. That alone is a good thing, and most likely ultimately stems from the original purpose of Christmas, whether people know it or not. There tends to be an increase in charitable donations. People tend to be more generous and more patient. Friends and family who often don’t see each other for months get together and enjoy each other’s company. People can stop and relax for a while. None of this is spiritual, but it’s all healthy and good for society in general. If you couple the warm and fuzzy feelings with a spiritual purpose, they can become permanent–not unbreakable, but more clearly defined, and purposeful far after Christmas is over. Christmas symbolizes a beginning, but what it began is still in progress, and we are a part of it. We need to remember that beginning, in part, to keep in mind where we’re going.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Just Some Holiday Banter

Every year my parents ask my brother and me what we want for Christmas. My brother is still in school and I’m working on my novel, so we both still live at home. I feel like it would be weird if we had our own places, but as it is, it’s nice. Every year, my Christmas list gets a little more eccentric, and generally, a little shorter. This year, there are three things on my list.

1: A day of sleep. I want a day in which no one comes into my room, tells me what time it is, or asks me if I want to get up. I want to stay in bed all day, or at least until I’m starving or really have to pee.

2: 1 month of violin lessons. I bought a violin in July, expecting to be able to teach myself. That didn’t happen. Admittedly it’s because I was feeling musically lazy for a while, but it’s also partly because it’s a freaking hard instrument to learn. I really do love my violin. It’s pretty, its’ sound is unique, and I want to learn to play it. I just need some help.

3: A wireless plug-in thing (whatever it’s called) for my guitar. I run over guitar cables, and thus, wreck them. It’s just one of the little annoyances of being a musician who uses a wheelchair.

I don’t know why I felt like sharing this. It’s actually been a pretty laid back Christmas season for my family and friends and me this year, and it’s been nice. I like it that way. Even our decorations are much simpler than usual. I usually only exchange gifts with one of my friends, and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to get her, but it wasn’t a problem this year, so that’s done. I’ve really liked how simple it’s been. It’s allowed me to focus more on the spiritual aspect of it, which is obviously the most important. Of course I’ve also been freaking out about Star Wars. I’m going to see it with my friends tomorrow night, and with my brother and cousin the following night because I’m a dork. I absolutely love movies, and I love my peeps. I love the crap out of my peeps. Maybe it’s just sentimentality, but I really do feel like part of the spiritual aspect is related to the time I spend with my family (chums included). I don’t see some of them for months at a time, but it changes nothing. In fact, it makes the time we do spend that much more memorable and that much more important. It doesn’t really matter what we do, whether we’re watching movies or playing D&D ’till sunrise (which I’m sure will inevitably happen as it always does). I guess that’s all I really have to say at the moment. I’ll probably write again next week or even earlier, but if I don’t I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Insomnia Induced Idea

I went to bed uncharacteristically early last night because my epilepsy wasn’t behaving, which of course meant I woke up at some unreasonable hour. I wanted to get up and read, but that would have been a pain for my parents, so I decided to invent a story instead. Somehow that got me thinking about the story line I’ve been following in Oblivion, which turned out to be entirely unhelpful since I’m presently stuck in that game (I’ve been playing Minecraft instead).

Eventually, because my mind is a tangential lunatic, and because insomnia is particularly conducive to intellectual meandering, I got to thinking about Christmas. Christmas is about celebrating how God came among us as a human, and I realized something interesting. The Gospel is not the only story in which a god becomes human, but it is unique in that, as far as I know, it’s the only story in which a god becoming human has a good outcome for humanity in general. It is also the only story in which, again, as far as I know, a god comes among humans as someone vulnerable and helpless. Lastly, it is the only story in which his humanity is permanent, and has a permanent outcome.

We hear all the time how amazing it is that God came among us in human form, but compare it to other stories. Last fall I took a class about ancient literature–namely Greek and Roman mythology. It was a ton of fun because those stories are absolutely insane. I love the insanity, and I realized that a lot of what those gods did made no sense, but a lot the things the Christian God does don’t seem to make a ton of sense either (to me at least). The difference is that God does everything out of love, while in most other stories involving deities, the gods are largely self-serving. Furthermore, those stories are episodic, and while some of the stories in the Bible are episodic, it is professed that God has an overarching plan for humanity.

This is what happens when you study literature and theology together.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly

Why I Am Against Extensive Gun Control

A few summers ago, my dad, little brother, godfather and I took turns shooting at a pineapple with an assault rifle on my godfather’s property. It was completely pointless, hilarious, and innocent. It was also the first time I had ever shot a gun. We were very safe about it. My godfather owns a lot of guns and has plenty of experience from hunting or going to the shooting range. To make a long story short, we decimated the pineapple and then put the gun away.

I have to assume that most peoples’ stories with guns are in a similar vain: it’s just fun. Do I deny that these are dangerous weapons? Of course not, but I firmly believe that it’s your intentions that matter far more than what a weapon is capable of. Why does my godfather have assault weapons? He just likes to collect them and occasionally do pointless, hilarious, innocent things with them.

Many believe that if we had more gun control, or if civilians were not allowed to own guns at all, we’d have a safer society. This, at least from my estimation, is just not the case. If civilians were not allowed to own guns, the criminals would still find ways of getting them and the rest of us would be completely at their mercy. Last night there were gun shots and a bomb threat at my friend’s college in D.C. He and his girlfriend were evacuated from their apartment building across from campus and taken to a safe place. It seems like this kind of news is almost constant these days. My dad takes the train into Boston every day for work, and he carries a knife with him, but what if something really dangerous happened at North Station? What if something happens when I go see Star Wars with my friends? Whether we like it or not, these are dangerous times, and I personally would feel safer if more reasonable people had weapons.

Admittedly, I’m biased. I’ve lived very much on one side of the argument, and I’ve seen how guns can be used safely and reasonably… although blowing up pineapples isn’t exactly reasonable. I think it’s also a matter of knowing yourself. Though I am against more gun control, I don’t think I should have a gun. I’m clumsy, and I don’t trust myself enough to know what to do in a dangerous situation. If you asked me if I tend to have a “fight” or “flight” or “freeze” impulse, I think I have a “fight” impulse, and I know that can be dangerous. That being said, I still would feel safer if I had some way of defending myself and others.

The sheer amount of mass shootings and death and bad news lately is staggering and really discouraging. Perhaps my stance on gun control is partially in response to all of this. I want nothing more than peace on Earth. I want everyone to love each other. I am an idealist. Maybe I’ve become cynical, but I’ve begun to believe that you can just wish and pray evil away. There is a part of me that is a fighter, and though I don’t want to have to, I am willing to fight evil. It has to be fought. I will fight it with words because that’s what I can do, but I think the people who can do more should be allowed to. At heart I’m a pacifist. I will never start a fight, but if it’s a fight worth having, I will finish it.

To some this will sound violent and scary, and you could probably use my words as an argument for gun control. To be fair I’ve heard ridiculous, super conservative people say things that sound similar, but I’m not them. I believe in people, and I believe in freedom. At my core, I’m a Christian, and I believe in peace. In a perfect world there would be no guns. We could get rid of them, and I’d be okay with that. Put them in a box, and send them to the bottom of the ocean. We have much more constructive things to do with our time. To me it’s a matter of allowing a lesser evil to fight a far greater, far scarier one. I don’t believe that guns are necessarily a good, safe thing to own. They are simply a necessary evil that might keep our people a little bit safer for the time being.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!