(I guess there is something positive that can be said about having an officially Catholic society after all. Yay for quiet Belgian Sundays.)
Also, leaf blowers are the gas-guzzling tools of Satan. Where's the Christian Right when you need them?
Addendum: on the flipside, these
worship-deficient heathens here have the wonderfully good taste to not
sound off their church bells every other minute and a half. Whereas
that problem plagued me all my years in Louvain-la-Neuve, I've not
heard a peep from church bells here, and it's definitely not for lack
of churches since every god-bothering denomination/ congregation/ sect
apparently has to have its own.
I have previously written of school shootings and of my new-found passion for paintball (and never the twain shall meet, I should hope).
Now I read in a BBC news brief that the German government is planning to move against sports/games such as laser tag and paintball, in reaction to the recent school shooting in Winnenden, because they "simulate killing" and thus "trivialise and encourage violence".
Certainly this is the same old argument used to blame video games and violent movies for teen violence, although there is not a shred of supporting evidence from the many sociological studies that have been conducted on the subject. At best such studies uncover correlations, which should not be (but sadly, so often are) confused with causation, between aggressive tendencies and playing/watching violent material. In fact, more often than not, researchers note the cathartic effect of these activities. (Check out the two paintballers in the picture... don't they look happy and relaxed? Incidentally, what they're each holding up is a Tippman 98 Custom marker, which is what I just bought. A sweet little piece of kit, basic but solid.)
Speaking for myself I can definitely attest to the reality and benefits of the cathartic effect of simulated and/or controlled violence. And if I were to indulge in a brief bout of bar-top psychology, I'd venture to propose that these tragic kids who snap and go on killing rampages are not so much the victims of violent conditioning by games or movies, but rather of life situations in which they find insufficient means to express, channel or defuse the inner rage, whatever its origin, that seems to devour them. Stupendously original insight, I know.
My point is, could we please focus the discussion on the two points that are most likely to prevent future school shootings, i.e. 1) how to identify and actually help kids who are in danger of blowing their fuse and 2) let's controlthe frakking guns already.