Opinions (are like assholes) and checking your facts

**This blog contains opinions that are bound to piss someone off ! Reader beware!**

I was starting this as a Facebook post, but decided I could probably write a decent blog about these subjects.

There’s been a lot of coverage of the death (murder?) of Cecil the Lion over the past couple of days. Jimmy Kimmel said some things about it that resonated with me. I got a bit teary eyed, too.

My opinion (or asshole) is like Jimmys’. Hunting for sport is morally repugnant. If you’re going out to kill an animal because you want to hang its head on the wall, or want to make a rug out of it, or just want to post pictures and brag? You’re a sick human being. If you pay large sums of money to do so, you’re even more disturbed in my opinion. If you have that much money laying around just waiting to be spent on something, there are a hell of a lot of charities out there that would welcome it, do good with it. Concerned about how those charities are spending your money? Check out Charity Navigator or Charity Watch. They are independently run sites that provide you with a breakdown of how charities are spending your money.

Got a bit off track-back to hunting. If you have to hunt to eat, that’s the way it is. If you hang its head on the wall too? I don’t know what to say about that. I find it a bit disturbing. The glazed over eyes–which reminds me, the episode of Criminal Minds with the taxidermist? He’d taken over the business from his dad when he died, and everyone always commented on what a great job his father did with the eyes. In his grief and delusion, and desire to put out a product that was as good as his fathers, the guy started killing people and putting their eyes in the animals. Yeah, disturbing, and totally off topic again!

Everyone has different morals and values, which lead to different opinions. That’s a fact of life. Do I eat meat? Currently I do. Have I been considering going vegetarian or vegan? I have, actually. Will I? I don’t know. Most of my diet is plant based these days because that’s what makes me feel best, so it could happen. Want to call me a hypocrite because I’m still eating meat, or wear leather but criticize hunting? You’re prerogative.

Gun control is a big issue these days, too. There have been an awful lot of senseless murders with guns. I’m not a fan of guns. That said, there are three in this house–two that are antiques that belonged to my grandfather and haven’t been fired in who knows how long (I don’t even know why he owned them), and one that belongs to my roommate. Am I happy they are in the house? No. We’re all adults here, so I’m not worried about anyone getting a gun out to “play” with it and hurting themselves or someone else. However, because I dislike, and honestly fear guns, when Jon was loading and/or unloading his gun last night, I got nervous. I don’t know what he was doing or why, but I started to feel panicked just because of the sound (yes, I’ve had a bad experience with a gun in the past that most definitely fuels how I feel about guns.I’ve thought about shooting one at a range to see if it changes how I feel about them, gives me a better sense of their power and how it can be controlled, but it hasn’t happened because, frankly, I don’t want to spend the money because I’m scared of guns). Do I believe people have the right to own guns? Yeah. Sure. Do I understand why someone would want to own a gun? Not entirely. Do I think that everyone that owns a guy wants to kill people? No. Do I believe everyone that owns a guy is paranoid? Not all, just some. Do I have a clear idea of what should be done to stop the senseless crimes and not infringe on rights? Hell no. I’m going to let Jim Jefferies do the talking here, because I think he says some things that are very true. (Yes, he’s a comedian, and this is a little long but totally worth watching)

Where is all of this going, and what does it have to do with checking your facts? I see a lot of political posts on Facebook where people post something from a very left or right wing website. One of the most recent ones I’ve seen popping up is “Obama wants to wipe out the second amendment and take away our guns!” Uh, no. That’s not true. There’s are some great, non biased websites you can go to to find out if something is true or not, like politifact.com or factcheck.org. Hell, go to Snopes!  Check your facts, people! There is power in being informed!

I’m not saying these left or right wing sites are always wrong. A friend posted a graphic from The Other 98% that broke down Planned Parenthoods services. It was right on target (though the breakdown is six years old, it seems to be the most recent). Another that was not related to politics were the posts about Caitlyn Jenner getting that ESPN courage award, saying that some combat wounded veteran came in second place? There was no such thing as a runner up. Lots of people had an opinion on who should have won the award, and that’s their right! Hell, I think Rafa Nadal should have won it because he’s been gracious on and off the court through whats been a very difficult season. Or Tony Stewart should have won it because he’s an awesome person who is passionate about what he does, and he periscopes toads and raccoons. So there. (I’m probably going to get a whole lot of shit for bringing up Tony Stewart, aren’t I?)

I like the old saying “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” If you don’t have an opinion, you should! But opinions don’t always equal facts, and I think everyone needs to keep that in mind. I know a lot of people hate Obama, but that doesn’t mean every article that says he’s trying to take away our rights or put the southwest under martial law (don’t EVEN get me started on Jade Helm!!) is true. No. The same goes for articles that support Obama. Do I like Obama? Yes. Did I vote for him? Yes. Did I vote for him because he’s a Democrat? No, I like his spirit and ideas. Do I think he’s done everything right? No. Do I identify more with Democratic platforms than I do Republicans? Yes. Do I like or would I/did I vote for Donald Trump or Rick Scott? No. Is it because they’re Republicans? No, its because their actions and words don’t align with my beliefs and values, and frankly, I find them to be giant douchecanoes. Does that mean everyone should think they are giant douchecanoes? Yes No. If you like them, fine. Do I think everyone should like Obama because I do? No. You have a right to dislike him and his politics. Do I think politics and government are serving us in the best way? No. Do I even like talking about politics? NO! I wrote a paper in my Freshman Comp class titled “I Hate Politics,” so I’m getting off this train now.

If you want to learn more about Cecil the Lion and conservation efforts, visit The Wildlife Conservation Unit, run by Oxford University. I think reverence for these amazing creatures is important. I think we should be a little more gentle with our environment and its species, human, plant and animal. Is that opinion? Yes, yes it is.

Carry on, my wayward readers. Also, don’t forget to hunker down on Friday–full blue moon in Aquarius is a sure sign of insanity, and its GISHWHES Eve! More on that to come.

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