America the dumb

Americans are so stupid about guns. Can we even be considered a civilized nation anymore?

Ethics of Finding Work

I am a burgeoning UX Designer and Web Developer, and as I continue my search for entry-level employment in the field I find myself continuously needing to oversell myself including stretching the truth on how long I've been working in the field and claiming to be fluent with a software I've only just started using. I'm usually a very honest person, and wouldn't even be doing things like this if it didn't feel like the only possibility of even getting an interview for that first position. My quandree is, is this normal? Do people do this often? Or should I stop stretching the truth and stick to the hard facts of the truth?

Living With an Old Crush?

In the coming year, I'm planning to move to a new city to live with an old college crush (and 3 other people). While I would be lying if I said I'd completely gotten over my feelings for her, it is true that I have long since given up pursuing a romantic relationship with her. For a while, it was because she was in a committed relationship and I valued our friendship more than it was worth being jealous of her boyfriend. Then as fate would have it she broke up with her boyfriend, right after I started dating my now long-term girlfriend whom I am still dating today. So now, here I am planning to share a house with this girl I've had suppressed feelings for over nearly 6 years. When I told a close friend about my intent to find housing with this girl, he told me he thought it would be a bad idea, but wouldn't say any more, telling me it should be obvious why it was a bad idea. While my girlfriend knows that I've had feelings for this girl in the past and I'm sure realizes that I still find the girl attractive she has told me that she would be okay with us living in the same house. Do you all think it would be a bad idea to live with this girl, even as part of a group? Before you decide you should know I am almost honest to a fault. If I even dream about cheating on my girlfriend I feel guilty about it. I'm not even the type to have one night stands even while nearly blackout drunk.

Rattlesnake in a fake package?

What do you think? Package thievery has been an epidemic lately, should one lucky criminal get the surprise of a lifetime?

Neighbors shooting guns on New Year's Eve

My neighbors were shooting guns in their yard on New Year's Eve. We live in suburban Los Angeles, and things like that are just dangerous. I love guns as much as the next guy, but everything about what they're doing is not OK. Should I call the police next time? I don't call the police for anything. I always handle my own business, but I think a fine and a weapons charge would be justified.

My friend got high and drove through a red light

My friends and I decided to take a road trip to visit another friend who lived a couple hours out of town. Well, halfway through the road trip, everyone decided to smoke a lot, including the driver. I guess everyone's logic was that we were on the open road so it wouldn't be all that bad. Plus, from what I know, being high while driving doesn't impair your ability all that much anyway. I know many people who do it frequently and nothing has ever happened. When we got closer to to town, you know a place with streets and traffic lights, everyone got heavily invested in one of those ridiculous conversations you can only have under the influence.

My friend in the driver's seat was participating but kept his eyes glued forward, hands at ten and two, and stiff-armed. Sometimes he would get quiet and just focus entirely on the road but, he would jump in and out. Well, when two of my friends were really getting into it, we heard a bunch of horns go off and some tire screeching. We didn't think about it for a couple seconds but, it eventually dawned on us; we ran a fricken' red light. We had to tell the driver for him to even realize it. We made it to our friend's house a couple minutes later safe and sound. But, my question is, do you think it's ok to drive while high?

Do you think animal abuse is criminalized enough?

Recently there has been a video circulating social media of a Canadian teenage throwing a cat a huge distance, so much so that the cat could have been killed (please do not look this video up if you are sensitive to that content.) The cat thankfully survived, but had his leg broken by the incident. The teenager was arrested, but people are concerned he will get off very lightly because of his age, and because animal abuse charges are rarely severe enough to match the crime.

I don't know about Canada, but here in the United States I see a lot of animal abusers get off with a fine and no jail time. I think there should a minimum jail sentence involved, and a ban on owning animals in the future. I believe that intentional animal abuse, especially by children and teens, is a precursor to murder and abuse of humans, and should be taken much more seriously.

Do you think that, in general, animal abusers are under-punished?

Was it ok to hit that woman?

Let's get this out of the way. I'm a guy. Ok, good, now that that's settled, let me get into it. (Caution: Long but interesting.)

I was at a bar with some friends one time and I was in charge of getting the next round. So, I went up to the bar to order some beers when this woman comes up next to me and shoves her way in between me and an empty bar stool, damn near knocking me to the floor. She was pretty flagrant with her movement so I assumed she was drunk. She looks at me and says, "Excuse me, sorry, I need to get the bartender's attention." Ok, so fine, cut in line, whatever, I don't mind. She's visibly impatient and begins to climb the bar stool. She started mildly jumping up and down on one end of it which caused it to tip over backwards. I saw it happening and reached to grab the stool. Well, when I successfully stopped her from suffering a concussion, she responds by telling me that I should keep my hands to myself. Right, ok. I said, "Sorry, my bad," and grabbed all my drinks. But, then she continued, "Um, yeah, ya know, that could be considered sexual harassment." That just sounded beyond stupid to me, so I said, "Ok, great, thanks. Have fun then."

Now, I'm happily back at my seat, sipping a lager and chatting with my friends. About 30 minutes go by and I can see this girl from across the room talking with her friends, her movements getting more violent. She then starts to walk over. I'm begging that she's just passing me to get to the restroom. Nope! She comes right up to me and starts (abbreviated), "Ya know, I don't think it's funny what you said, and sexual harassment is very serious, and I could have you sent to prison." I respond, "Well, sorry you feel that way, didn't mean to bother you." She then DEMANDS an apology. Usually, I would just say sorry and move on, but this was just obnoxious. I refused.

She then started acting like a five-year-old, crossing her arms, pouting and demanding more. I did not oblige. Here's where things take a turn. She says "Listen, I've been raped before, it's not funny!" I made the mistake of laughing because this whole thing was just silly. Yes, I understand how serious rape is but the manner in which this "lesson" was being presented was funny to me. So, I laughed for a split second. She didn't take too kindly to that and smacked me on the shoulder. I took this as playful slap like she was flirting so I laughed and half-heartedly apologized. She then smacks me across the face.

I didn't react. I told her to go back and sit with her friends, some of whom were already trying to calm her down. She slaps me again and yells in my face, "Rapist! Rapist! Rapist!". I told her to stop. She didn't and slapped me again. This time, her friends try to grab her. This prompts her to break free and legitimately attack me. She pulls my hair and starts punching wildly. Blow after blow, I felt it in my neck, and my chest, and a couple grazed my face. Her friends pulling her back only made her pull on my hair more, so, at that point, I said "F*ck it." I held her by the wrist of the arm that was on my hair and karate chopped her in the upper ribs, fairly hard. I'm not a fighter, I don't even know if karate chopping is a real thing outside of comedy, but it was the most effective thing one tier down from an actual punch; it knocked the wind out of her a bit and she let go. She began to cry and complain and yell more as she was carried off. I may have come off looking like an ass but I think I had it in my right to defend myself.

What do you think?

Can writers write about other cultures?

I recently had a short story rejected by a literary magazine, which was fine, and I agreed with most of the criticism they gave me, but at the end they said, "You shouldn't write from the perspective of another culture. Wait for someone else to write this kind of story." That really got me angry. They judged that I wasn't of that culture purely based on my name, not knowing my background. It seems incredibly judgmental to assume I don't know what I'm talking about, or to tell me I can't write about a culture I'm not part of.

This story has been through a workshop, where no one said it was inappropriate. I wrote the story with the guidance of someone who is part of that culture, and she fact-checked what I wrote. I've submitted this story to other places, and no other publication has said anything bad about the cultural aspect of it, so I have to assume this is a personal hangup held by the editors at this recent place.

Do you think that it's wrong to write about a culture you aren't part of? Movie directors direct films about cultures they aren't part of, and sometimes it's bad, but sometimes it's great. I'm not trying to claim I'm an authority, but it seems like art should be about bridging cultural gaps, not writing about your own world all of the time.

Government vs people?

I recently came across a story about a group of people who live is sad part of town and pay rent to a government institution. One man would only talk off the record about the problems he had living in the area. He was also a contractor for the same government branch and saw that the land owned by them in another nearby city with nicer houses was much better maintained and much harder to rent in. Everyone else I spoke to was too afraid to talk about it because they thought they would get evicted.