2017-2018 Publications by Bryan West

American Jesus. by Bryan West

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I don't know how much people were aware of this, but I have been posting one of these editorials every Wednesday for the last 24 months. It was all part of a personal project I developed to push myself to create different more conceptual work. I am SO glad that I went on this journey but also glad that it is over. I will probably still do work like this occasionally, and I may even bring back #humpdayeditorials, but for now, I'm excited to start a new personal project and spend some time immersing myself in the work of others.

Risk Management. by Bryan West

  Owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun. For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns. I used to work a job that involved a lot of risk management. Much of risk management is removing the potential for human error. You put systems in place and asses elements that can malfunction or be used improperly. I know taking things into your own hands can feel empowering but obtaining a gun as a tool for protecting your home can be disastrous and comes with a likelihood of it being used improperly. The world can be a scary place, but introducing a gun into the mix is NOT going to make anyone safer.

Owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun. For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns. I used to work a job that involved a lot of risk management. Much of risk management is removing the potential for human error. You put systems in place and asses elements that can malfunction or be used improperly. I know taking things into your own hands can feel empowering but obtaining a gun as a tool for protecting your home can be disastrous and comes with a likelihood of it being used improperly. The world can be a scary place, but introducing a gun into the mix is NOT going to make anyone safer.

The Key... by Bryan West

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TRIGGER WARNING: I'm going to talk about suicide. You've seen the post, but if you feel like this is something you don't want to think about maybe don't keep reading. Obviously, if you are depressed or have suicidal thoughts GO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW. Find a trusted friend, therapist, or suicide hotline professional. 

There has been a lot of talk about guns and gun control lately, but an often overlooked aspect of guns is their connection to suicide. I think the effect of having guns present in our homes is under-researched, and there has been some research indicating the mere presence of a gun makes people more irritable/violent. The research is too sparse and/or shallow to prove anything, but it's something to consider. What IS a fact is that 90% of suicide attempts involving a gun succeed, compared to only 20% of other methods. Having a gun in the home of someone who struggles with depression can be truly life-threatening. In America, about 20,000 people die from gun suicide every year, and it's something we have to start talking about.

Good Guys... by Bryan West

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I don't have time for a dissertation on police brutality and institutionalized racism, but the idea of giving more guns to "trained" "skilled" "good" people is insane to me. America has enough problems with the good guys we already have.

Keep Guns Away... by Bryan West

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Today's editorial is not meant to be taken as a hard and fast policy, but it's something to seriously consider. Police officers sworn to "serve and protect" kill over 1000 people a year. This number totally eclipses other countries and is entirely unacceptable. While I do think that not all Police officers should carry guns, this is more of a statement against police violence. If you want to seriously ruin your day check out killedbypolice.net and check out the constantly updated list of every person killed by a police officer.

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Guns don't belong in schools. by Bryan West

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A policy of putting more guns in schools is nothing less than an assault on the lives of our youth. It is a threat to their physical and mental wellbeing. Fighting fire by dousing it in gasoline is not a sane policy. Schools are not prisons and the atmosphere should be one of positive growth and curiosity. DON'T @ ME.

Fear and Guns by Bryan West

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I don’t like guns, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. I understand the raw appeal of guns, it’s weapon, lot’s of cool people in movies use them, they’re loud, they give you confidence, there is a skill/game factor, etc. But the appeal is so shallow it’s not difficult for me to see the logical downside of guns and grow to intellectually and emotionally DESPISE guns. I really do get the appeal, but I can’t understand why we’re so obsessed with them as Americans, and why we can’t let go.


There are obviously A TON of factors, one of the main reasons being the politicization of gun control, and those who leverage it for political manipulation. I present the following factor as something I’ve been thinking about and it is not intended to be my final thought on the issue. I think that America’s love of guns comes partially from how materialistic we are as a culture. I don’t just mean financially, but how we hold on so tight to the things we deem valuable. Clinging to our possessions, friends, family, loved ones, and even obsessively preserving memories with our cell phones. All of these things are impermanent, possessions break or get lost, loved ones die, and memories dissipate with time. There is a reason so many spiritual seekers give these things up in favor of a monastic life. Obviously, I don’t think it’s wrong to protect your family, but not being able to let go of the NEED to protect your family is unhealthy. Imagine the state of perpetual suffering necessary to buy a something that is more likely harm your loved ones than protect them; Betting the safety of your family against human error.


We live in a society where our government, our economic system, and in some ways the dominant religion are constantly feeding us a potent dose of fear and competition. Gun control needs to happen NOW, but if we really want to tackle the heart of the issue we need to focus on education, critical thinking and the betterment of the species.

Fruits of action by Bryan West

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I've been busy with a lot of self-initiated work lately, but still managed to knock out one of these #humpdayeditorials. This one is a little different. I've been pretty stressed about my work lately. I went full-time freelance this summer after the agency I worked at went out of business. I took the opportunity to try and make freelance work as my only source of income and it has been rough. One of the hardest parts is that I feel a lot of pressure for everything I make to further my career aspirations. Anything I make and post could potentially get me a job, and it's very stressful. The Quote here is from the Bhagavad Gita, and it sums up one of the key messages of the Gita, which is to do your work without clinging to rewards. To be alike in pleasure and pain and just concentrate on the task at hand. Being organized is all about setting goals, and it's so easy to get hung up on what you want to gain. Letting go of the end result and focusing on the process alleviates a tremendous amount of stress. This is not to say that you shouldn't set goals or strategize, but I try to think of these things as just part of the process rather than the life or death endgame. If your work is all about setting and achieving goals you are going to find out quickly how hollow those achievements are and how fleeting the pleasure is before you move onto the next goal. You really have to learn to love the process and not get hung up on the result or you'll drive yourself crazy.

With friends like these, who the fuck needs COINTELPRO by Bryan West

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If I was better at the internet, I would have planned a Valentine's Day post, but I'm not, and I didn't. I wanted to do another Black History-inspired post. These days there are a lot of liberals rooting for the FBI, but it's important to remember that the FBI is predominantly right-wing authority that has done(and continues to do) terrible things. COINTELPRO was a program designed to systematically infiltrate, descredit, harass, and destroy The Black Panthers and other socialist or anti-war organizations. It is regarded by most as a mistake and an embarrassment, but even today we see BLM being investigated by the FBI and it's not hard to imagine what sort of nefarious methods they might be using given today's surveillance culture.

The Black Panther by Bryan West

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This is my first #humpdayeditorial of Black History Month so I thought it would be cool to focus on Emory Douglas. Emory Douglas was not only a talented designer and illustrator but a true revolutionary. He was a key member of The Black Panther Party and served as the Minister of Culture. His work for The Black Panther Newspaper is truly amazing, every image he created feels urgent but also timeless. A lot of artists make art that is political, but Douglas' work really feels like a political statement taking form as art. I tried to incorporate some of his style into this portrait and I don't think I was entirely successful, but this was a fun experiment.

 

I scream, you scream... by Bryan West

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I actually had another post ready to go for today, but the recent targeting of the bay area and other sanctuary cities throughout America brought ICE back to mind. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was never something I've liked, but it seems to have gotten even more oppressive under Trump. I really can't(and probably shouldn't) get into how low my opinion is of every single person doing this job, but like I said in a previous post they are cogs in a machine, and this is a systemic problem that is not going to be solved anytime soon. In the meantime, there are organizations that provide support to immigrants that have been arrested, and activists prepared to make things as difficult as possible for ICE to function. If you have information about an ICE raid or witness and ICE raid there is probably a local organization you can call. I have done some research for the Bay Area, but a quick google and you should be able to find what you need.

If you witness an ICE raid or have information about an upcoming raid please call:

San Francisco: (415) 200-1548
Alameda County: (510) 241-4011 (taking Contra Costa calls too)
San Mateo: (203) 666-4472
Santa Clara County: (408) 290-1144
Marin County: (415) 991-4545
North Bay (Sonoma, Solano): (707) 800-4544
Sacramento: (916) 245-6773
Santa Cruz County: (831) 239-4289
Monterey County: (831) 643-5225
Fresno: (559) 206-0151

Google doc link with current info: http://bit.ly/2BGMrwh
 

Carcinogens by Bryan West

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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. Now, this study was somewhat blown out of proportion by some which led to a lot of people disregarding the study altogether. Because processed meats were placed in the same category as smoking the story became "processed meat is as bad as smoking" which isn't an accurate comparison for a plethora of reasons. Smoking is probably still worse for you, and if you smoke cigarettes, you should probably stop. However bad headlines and improper reporting do not discredit the study. The study is large, well regarded, peer-reviewed, and confirms what numerous other studies have shown. All this just addresses the risk of cancer, red meat and processed meats increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, etc, etc, etc.

Killed By Police by Bryan West

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This is a topic that I honestly can't even begin to pick apart in a social media post. In 2017 American Law Enforcement killed 1188 people. This is a totally shocking and disturbing number. Just so you get a sense of scale, China(whose population exceeds ours multiple times over) has about 10-20 deaths from police violence per year. According to Globalresearch.ca Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations. There are a lot of factors that go into this, but we need to start by acknowledging that there is something fundamentally wrong with our approach to law enforcement. Also, I pulled the 1188 number from killedbypolice.net, who is doing very important work. Check out their page and consider making a donation.

Sue the Bastards! by Bryan West

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I wanted to do a piece about FCC and Net Neutrality mainly because I think people should still be talking about this. Everyone raised a big stink about this in Dec, but talk has died down to a whisper due to the 24-hour news cycle. The fight is not over. There are still ways to kill the FCC's plan to destroy the internet. Congress could review the plan and reject it, States could potentially pass their own legislation protecting net neutrality, and many states are planning to sue the FCC. Whatever the mechanics are, it's important that you get in touch with your representative and let them know that the issue is still very real to you and that you expect them to take action.

4 Trillion Reasons Not To Support McDonald's by Bryan West

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The holidays have got me up against the ropes to get these out every weds, but I managed to squeak by once again. I'm not sure if corporations are evil by nature, but I think there are at least a handful that are undeniably negative forces in the world. McDonald's obviously spends a lot of money on philanthropic efforts, but I don't buy into the idea that we need corporations to fund these organizations. Even taking their various charities into account, the damage they do eclipses any charitable spending. McD's is the most profitable fast food in the world raking in 36.4 billion dollars in sales for 2016, more than twice their closest competitor, Starbucks(14 billion). McDonald's boasts that they sell 75 burgers per second. Every hamburger is responsible for producing 5 lbs of methane(one of the very worst greenhouse gases) and requires about 600 gallons of water. This means that every day McDonald's is responsible for producing 16,200 TONS of methane and using 3,888,000,000 gallons of water. Really let that sink in...almost FOUR TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER PER DAY. I don't even have the time to break down the health or cultural impact much less other environmental impacts from food transportation, etc.