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“Riddle of the Gun” or, the Best Article I’ve Ever Read

Author Sam Harris has done what I didn’t think possible – he’s articulated a dispassionate and rational summation of the “gun situation” in the U.S.


Image from Sam Harris'

What to do about 300 million of these and a strong 2nd amendment?

Mr. Harris is neither cheer leader or adversary of guns and explores the questions surrounding such a complicated issue with clear eyes and full weight given to all arguments.

Do yourself a favor and read this article entitled “Riddle of the Gun” regardless of how much you think you know about the issue. I can promise you, there is a wealth of information you’ve never heard before, or at least not in this way.

As a disclaimer, I’m not a member of the NRA and I don’t own a gun personally. Additionally, I’m a parent of two small children that mean the world to me and I can’t begin to imagine the anguish of the parents of Newtown, CT and would love more than anything to insure such a thing never happens again.

I don’t think that “this isn’t the time for debate” as every moment is time for debate when it comes to things of great importance in our lives. Especially today, the debate will be raging and I don’t think you’re going to find a better, more even-handed take than the Mr. Harris’ post on the subject.

Please read it and feel free to let me know your thoughts on the subject and I’d love to let you know mine. We all want the same things in the end: for our children to be safe, for less blood to be shed, and for a strong feeling of security. What we disagree with at the moment, is how to get there.

In the meantime, here’s a video of Harris speaking at a TED talk about moral relativism. This guy is brilliant.

Sam Harris – “Science can Show What’s Right”

Is College Worth it?

As hundreds of thousands of fresh faced high school grads launch their credit-card-driven assaults on Target & Walmart positions the nation over, are parents and students spending more time debating mini-fridges than the very education they’re aiming to get?

ABC’s 20/20 broaches the subject in the video above. I’m certain there are a number of college grads who feel as though, perhaps, they paid a bit too much for their educations. But hey – what are you going to do, right? “We had to go! It cost what it cost!”

I remember sitting on a porch one evening about ten years ago speaking with a friend’s beau who claimed that:

“College has absolutely no value whatsoever.For anyone. Seriously. No one should go.”

In only his early 20’s, this guy was knocking on the door of six figures, with only a high school diploma to speak of. Well, that and a truckload of charisma and confidence – but they don’t have pieces of paper for those sorts of things.

As I was presently enrolled in school, I rebuked his claim as a bridge too far. Certainly there had to be some redeeming value I was getting for my hard earned money!? I’d read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and was now well versed in the ancient Japanese practice of “foot binding” but did that make me any more employable? Better yet, would it help me break through the phalanx that is a modern day HR department to even get myself in front of someone for an interview? When everyone has a degree, does anyone have a degree?

I guess the pertinent question here is “what makes people successful?” Is a college education, where students learn to work hard, study, prepare for large projects, etc… the best indicator of future success? Or, as the guy in the video asserts, would those top high school students have been successful no matter? Isn’t it their innate drive, passion, and personality that serve as the better markers for a stellar career?

I never did get my 4 year degree. I was putting myself through school full time and wound up finding out that I was really good at property management and sales. It also helped that I was making double what I would have, had I finished with a journalism degree (my chosen course of study) and all without taking out a ton of additional loans. Not that I could have found a job at the time anyway (broadband internet wasn’t exactly the best thing to happen to newspapers) but I digress…

Something doesn't add up...

I’m in the wrong business! Clearly opening a college is where it’s at!

Undoubtedly, a college education is valuable. How much so remains the real question and one that only parents and students can answer for themselves. Live it up at an out of state school? On campus or off? Attend a local college or take mostly internet courses? What you choose to spend is entirely up to you. Just make sure you’re honest about what it’s worth to you and what you think it’s worth to the market place.

If you did graduate and are now enjoying the process that is paying off student loans, let me know your thoughts! Worth it overall? Would you do it over, and if so, would you change anything?