The Amazing Atheist: “There’s No Rape Culture!” and “The End of Rape”

“There’s No Rape Culture!”:

“The End of Rape”:

I especially appreciated the 2nd video there.

“Survival of the fittest. Adios. Unfit.” — excerpts from a very interesting article on the rise of suicide

In the land that commercialized positive thinking and put pill bottles in every drawer, depression has emerged as the most debilitating condition we face.

Came across a very interesting article this evening in Newsweek titled “The Suicide Epidemic” by Tony Dokoupil (May 22, 2013):

http://mag.newsweek.com/2013/05/22/why-suicide-has-become-and-epidemic-and-what-we-can-do-to-help.html

I read the following excerpts aloud in a video uploaded on YT:

Suicide — a very important, albeit under-appreciated, topic. I’m running out of steam and time this evening, so I’ll save all my thoughts for another day and post up excerpts from it instead.

Every year since 1999, more Americans have killed themselves than the year before, making suicide the nation’s greatest untamed cause of death. In much of the world, it’s among the only major threats to get significantly worse in this century than in the last.

The result is an accelerating paradox. Over the last five decades, millions of lives have been remade for the better. Yet within this brighter tomorrow, we suffer unprecedented despair. In a time defined by ever more social progress and astounding innovations, we have never been more burdened by sadness or more consumed by self-harm. And this may be only the beginning. If Joiner and others are right—and a landmark collection of studies suggests they are—we’ve reached the end of one order of human history and are at the beginning of a new order entirely, one beset by a whole lot of self-inflicted bloodshed, and a whole lot more to come.

Damn. That’s what I’ve been suspecting in my own little way also. Hence why I keep fretting about us driving one another crazy and stepping all up on each other’s necks so much, being rude and cruel and outright dismissive and inhumanely intolerant, especially online. And this ties into why I also freak out a bit over prescribed psychotropics intended to treat “mental disorders,” seeing as how they too can add “suicidal ideations,” as their small print states and as evidenced in news stories that tell of those medicated or getting off of these drugs doing harm to themselves and/or others.

This is also why I keep yammering on about us creating hell on earth. This hits at the core of that concern and aids me in pointing at where we appear to be headed and why.

This year, America is likely to reach a grim milestone: the 40,000th death by suicide, the highest annual total on record, and one reached years ahead of what would be expected by population growth alone. We blew past an even bigger milestone revealed in November, when a study lead by Ian Rockett, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University, showed that suicide had become the leading cause of “injury death” in America. As the CDC noted again this spring, suicide outpaces the rate of death on the road—and for that matter anywhere else people accidentally harm themselves.

If the CDC is to be believed, that data is shocking.

(Not sure why he chose to crack on Ralph Nader in the article though. Cheap shot and completely irrelevant.)

This development evades simple explanation. The shift in suicides began long before the recession, for example, and although the changes accelerated after 2007, when the unemployment rate began to rise, no more than a quarter of those new suicides have been tied to joblessness, according to researchers. Guns aren’t all to blame either, since the suicide rate has grown even as the portion of suicides by firearm has remained stable.

Throughout the developed world, for example, self-harm is now the leading cause of death for people 15 to 49, surpassing all cancers and heart disease. That’s a dizzying change, a milestone that shows just how effective we are at fighting disease, and just how haunted we remain at the same time. Around the world, in 2010 self-harm took more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined, stealing more than 36 million years of healthy life across all ages. In more advanced countries, only three diseases on the planet do more harm.

[…]

Last fall the World Health Organization estimated that “global rates” of suicide are up 60 percent since World War II. And none of this includes the pestilence of suicidal behavior, the thoughts and plans that slowly eat away at people, the corrosive social cost of 25 attempts for every one official death.

[…]

That’s scary in a world of constant (and welcome) improvement, but there’s an even bigger reason to fear the burden of suicide in the new millennium: it’s a charge being led by people in middle age. In America in the last decade, the suicide rate has declined among teens and people in their early 20s, and it’s also down or stable for the elderly.

The suicide rate for Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade, according to the new CDC report, and it’s possible to slice the data even more finely than they did. Among white, middle-aged men, the rate has jumped by more than 50 percent, according to a Newsweek analysis of the public data. […] In wealthy countries, suicide is the leading cause of death for men in their 40s, a top-five killer of men in their 50s, and the burden of suicide has increased by double digits in both groups since 1990.

The situation is even more dramatic for white, middle-aged women, who experienced a 60 percent rise in suicide in that same period, a shift accompanied by a comparable increase in emergency-room visits for drug-related (usually prescription-drug-related) attempts to die. […] And the picture is equally grim for women in high-income countries, where self-harm trails only breast cancer as a killer of women in their early 40s—and has become the leading killer of women in their 30s.

[…]

She sifted through eight decades of U.S. suicide data, wrenching it to separate the influence of absolute age, peer effects, and the events of the moment, and she found something shocking: the boomers have the highest suicide rate right now, but everyone born after 1945 shows a higher suicide risk than expected—and everyone is on pace for a higher rate than the boomers.

That means that the last decade isn’t just a statistical blip, a function of a bad recession, unlocked gun cases, or an aging counterculture. It’s much darker, and deeper than all that. This is the “new epidemiology of suicide,” as Phillips puts it, one where the tectonic changes of the last decade—socially, culturally, economically—have created a heavy burden of suicide, growing heavier by the year. “The baby-boomer generation,” Phillips writes in her new paper on boomers, “may be the tip of the iceberg.”

[…]

With people relinquishing life at its supposed peak, what does that say about the prize itself? What’s gone so rotten in the modern world?

[…]

People tell surveyors that the world has become less helpful, trustworthy, and fair. It’s a place where you work longer at more deadening jobs for less pay, your life pulsing away with each new email, or worse, each additional hour on your feet. What’s deadly about all this is the loss of what Joiner calls “reciprocal care.” When people have no shoulder to lean on, they feel more isolated, and that isolation can be lethal.

[…]

The life-saving power of belonging may help explain why, in America, blacks and Hispanics have long had much lower suicide rates than white people.

[…]

When people see themselves as effective—as providers for their families, resources for their friends, contributors to the world—they maintain the will to live. When they lose that view of themselves, when it curdles into a feeling of liability, the desire to die takes root. We need each other, but if we feel we are failing those we need, the choice is clear. We’d rather be dead.

[…]

Has there ever been a society that does more than our own to make people feel like ineffective animals? Whole neighborhoods are caught in federal catch nets, incarcerated or snared in a cycle of government benefits. Millions more are poor or near poor, most likely stuck that way. And never have Americans been heavier, or sicker. One in five people in middle age suffers multiple chronic diseases, double the rate of a decade earlier. If Joiner is right, all these developments are as hard on the mind as on the body. As one of the suicide notes Joiner quotes puts it: “Survival of the fittest. Adios. Unfit.”

Very sad last message, that was. But I get it all the same.

I’ll stop there. The article is pretty long and these excerpts don’t do it justice, so please check it out for yourselves.

ON THE SUFFERINGS OF THE WORLD – Arthur Schopenhauer

What a great piece. Isn’t it amazing what falls into your hands right when you need it? So many books and articles seem to find me, oftentimes quite by accidental chance, when I’m capable of being most receptive to them.

What a blessing it is when people use the internet to share bits of information and ideas such as this. Food for thought is always welcome.

Sunday night thoughts and opinions on rape, jury nullification strategies, and the role of the courts

I’m stuck still thinking on those damn articles by Paul Elam on jury nullification in man-on-woman rape trials and the potential consequences that may spring from that.

First off, let me state it here plainly: I take issue with how rape shield laws are being applied. Evidence that is of actual relevance to the case should of course be admitted, yet unfortunately that’s not what’s happening in enough cases that it’s causing quite a stir and is creating an impossible situation for mounting an effective defense. When the man has been falsely accused, that seriously matters. Yet activist judges can and do take the law into their own hands and by their discretion have the power to decide these things, for better or worse. This is a travesty, absolutely, because it too often results in a miscarriage of justice. And if it’s going to continue this way, I am tempted to say we’d be better off without such laws then.

Word justice highlighted with a yellow markerAnd this speaks to why I take such major issue with Paul Elam’s encouragement for people to blanketly vote not guilty in all man-on-woman rape trials. While we don’t want to risk sending innocent people to prison for crimes they did not commit, I don’t see how adding more activists in the courtroom is bound to help restore justice. No, instead it just aims to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction that is no more fair or just, when the real focus ought to be holding police and prosecutors accountable for blatant misconduct or negligence where warranted. Because they have jobs to do and it shouldn’t include their own activist leanings either (which so happens to be prejudicial against black males in particular — and let us not forget that the rich often operate as if above the law and somehow manage to get away with it even if they wind up charged and face trial).

Our legal system is indeed a tangled web that won’t likely be untangled anytime soon. And in the meantime tons of people suffer at its hands, especially those convicted on drug charges since the State just loves prosecuting those cases.

But I don’t see how adding even more activists to the pile is in any way going to prove beneficial in the long-run. I try to imagine what sort of backlashes will spring up in response to that if ever the MRM does grow in numbers and many do wind up embracing this jury nullification strategy. I can imagine some feminists feeling it their obligation to play hyper-biased activist juror running in the opposite direction in other types of cases, in an effort to send a message right back to the men’s rights advocates. And then what? What might happen should everyone become activists for their pet causes when selected for jury duty? Well, according to some of the MRAs I’ve interacted with on this topic, that’s precisely what they want to have happen because they see that as hastening the demise of our system. So, at root, that’s what this strategy is angling for? I don’t know if that’s Paul Elam’s own position on the matter or just chortling from his minions, but it’s a rather disconcerting proposition. Assuming law and order could be broken down on such a scale, where does that leave us as a society? Every man and woman for him/herself?

Though I don’t think that’s what will wind up happening. If I know one thing about this system it’s that it won’t go down without a mighty fight. What could stop citizens and State employees from pushing for criminal proceedings to be handled by the judge directly without a jury present, or perhaps to simply try to overhaul the jury selection process in total? See, there’s always a way around these sort of schemes, and I’m willing to bet the public would knee-jerkingly go along with some such alternative if they felt the courts were being undermined. And there again innocent people may face prosecution, this time without the benefit of a jury of their peers to hear them out. That might very well turn into a travesty too.

In my worldview, if we want the system to function properly, we the citizens operating within it in whatever capacities, from cops to judges to jurors, must conduct ourselves properly and objectively assess all evidence presented to the best of our abilities. That is our duty and our responsibility to one another. If not us, then who else? If we worry that pertinent information or evidence is being withheld, we should be able to demand greater access so as to more deeply scrutinize the methodologies employed in accumulating evidence for the case in question. And here I can see where rape shield laws will get in the way of that, so perhaps that’s where we need to start directing more of our focus, on getting those either repealed or more strictly limited to certain types of information that would only likely bias the trial without adding anything of real relevance. But, in so doing that, we have to get to a point where we Americans learn to accept that just because a person was or is “promiscuous” by some people’s standards, that in no way means they are deserving of being violently attacked. Until we can lay these prejudices to rest, justice cannot be served and feminists will continue arguing in favor of suppression of information.

Then, when we get down to hearsay and “he said vs. she said” situations where there’s no real way to determine whether consent was granted, we step into some seriously sticky terrain. And personally, much as people aren’t going to want to hear this and worried as I am that people will mistake me for minimizing date rape situations to mere trivialities (that is not my aim), I think it may be better to handle some of those cases outside of court. Because where there’s no real way to determine what went on, especially between two drunk individuals who weren’t apparently dangerously violent toward one another, what can the courts realistically be expected to do? To simply take one’s word over the other’s? That’s not necessarily right either.

I’ve personally been subjected to enough negative sexual experiences in the past to feel comfortable enough saying that just because someone is in the wrong and oversteps the bounds and mistreats someone else doesn’t automatically make it a criminal matter. It entirely depends. Perhaps in a case where one party transmitted a serious and incurable STD to the other in what one claims was a non-consensual tryst, or when rather serious physical injuries were acquired, that’d be a matter for the courts to decide on. But in what I’m going to callously refer to here as “garden variety” date rape situations, he may be a major asshole who deserves comeuppance but that doesn’t mean cops and the courts are the best option for handling it necessarily. That’s my opinion.

And this is where a lot of folks and I don’t see eye to eye. I just do not see the State as being deserving of playing the role of arbiter for every dispute that arises out here in society. Some things we can handle better among our own. Sometimes the best course of action is putting the word out to warn others that someone mistreated you so that they can take precautions, and this can be achieved a number of ways. But unfortunately there are times when turning to the cops will prove to be more of a pain than it’s worth, and that’s not intended to deter anyone from going to the police if they’ve been injured. Just sayin’ is all.

I personally never involved the cops in anything I’ve been through in this respect, and the reason why had a lot to do with how I’d heard cops had treated others in positions similar to my own, and it just didn’t seem worth it. And sometimes it’s just a matter of the evidence not being sufficient for the D.A. to want to take the case to trial, as is very common especially among these sort of he said/she said situations. Going back to his residence or having him over isn’t asking him to mistreat us, and poor treatment shouldn’t be accepted if it can be anyhow avoided, BUT in the eyes of the law that can look quite foggy. And when it comes to both persons being very drunk, hmmm…I’m not sure what the hell people are supposed to do about that other than learn to be much more careful about how much they’re drinking and who they’re leaving with. Shitfaced isn’t the best state of mind to assess the character of another person you’re about to go somewhere private with. It might start off consensual but what if he moves into doing things you don’t like? Well, at his home and naked underneath him is a pretty vulnerable position to be in when figuring this out. I’m speaking very seriously here.

We must do more to better protect ourselves, because this hook-up culture combined with rape hysteria has everything out of wack nowadays. And I don’t think the courts are in a position to remedy all of this for us. If we could understand that and do what is within our power, then a lot of rapes and sexual mistreatment probably wouldn’t occur. Because it tends to be a crime of opportunity, especially date rape. But this is swerving off into topics I probably should create a video or two to delve into, when time and energy permits.

[Edited for greater clarity Jan. 29th, 2015.]

“Bigger, Stronger, Faster”

Watching this film again today:

I’ve viewed this documentary several times in the past and given it as a gift on a couple of occasions. Very interesting subject matter.

I believe it states in the extras that come with the DVD that one of the Bell brothers does wind up dying about 6 months after this documentary was produced. Very sad, that is.

JohnTheOther (In His Own Words)

Mirror of the original video by JtO:

[Updated to include John’s latest video (below) explaining the one said to have been created 5 years ago.]

That’s JohnTheOther, a.k.a. John Hembling, Editor in Chief at A Voice For Men.

Here’s the  article on Raw Story (Oct. 21, 2013) that discusses a bit more on John Hembling.

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Update July 21, 2014: John Hembling continues to assert that he still, really and truly, doesn’t “give a fuck” about actual rape victims:

Frickin’ depressing…

To be honest, I’m glad to hear that John Hembling has since distanced himself from the organization AVFM.