They Can’t Be Serious

Nothing but wreckage left in the wake. Nothing but damage. Lives needlessly lost or forever scarred, yet all the NRA and most Republicans can manage is a default nod to thoughts and prayers and an ever-present stranglehold on a manufactured “right.”

Arm the teachers? That should go well. You think we have a teacher shortage now? Try telling teachers they have to go to gun training classes. You know, so when the next monster with an assault rifle decides it’s his turn to distinguish himself with a body count, they can stand in the way and protect their kids. Bet they didn’t teach that in college.

Press retired military and law enforcement back into service with promises of reduced taxes or other enticements? Yup, that should be attractive. I’m sure many would jump at that opportunity.

Have only one entrance? That sounds safe. Man traps? They’re grasping at straws, being ridiculous, doing all they can to avoid the obvious.

Another Whole Cloth Lie

No charts with actual, corroborated gun violence statistics will make a difference.

The contrived sacral honor ascribed to the 2nd Amendment will remain a touchstone for many Republican legislators and voters. The stats proving how far out of whack the U.S. really is won’t make a bit of difference, won’t sway opinions, won’t contribute to helpful, effective legislation.

As one source put it, any attack on 2nd Amendment rights is a “third rail” infraction, or something like that. A non-starter for the AR-15 crowd. So… I guess we just keep enduring the periodic slaughter, chalk it up to living in the land of paranoid gunslingers who would absolutely dismiss the words of Chief Justice Warren Burger, who said, decades ago, that such a convenient, late-to-the-party interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as pushed by the NRA and elected officials, and embraced by a vocal segment of a naïve public, is a total fraud.

For Future Reference

I came across a Congressional hearing from 1985 involving Carl Sagan, who was giving his take on environmental concerns. I couldn’t help but notice the distracting background.

This is something that’s often a part of any Capitol Hill hearing, whether the testimony of a scientist or a confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court justice. There’s so much background noise— people milling about, seeming to be restless or bored or rummaging around for something—a pen or a pad of paper, or just trying to find their phone. Well, not in 1985. In any event, just a lot of fidgeting going on.

I can imagine some of those on the panel were trying to stay awake or their eyes were glazing over, but what Dr. Sagan had to say was important and prescient. He deserved respect and attention, without the distracting movement and looks of disinterest unfolding around him.

Change the camera angle so we don’t have to watch the annoying side show! Or please rearrange the seating.

The Tear Ducts Are Long Dry

The parade of descriptors is growing shorter, and more impotent. Depravity, darkness, evil—they all miss the mark more often than they hit it anymore, mainly due to overuse.

The footage of SWAT teams and ambulances, family members and strangers consoling one another, the sickening party line sound bytes offered up by mainly Republican officials, the oh-so-predictable fallback to the “primary concerns” being for the investigation and the families of those lost to another mass shooting…

The impassioned pleas of Steve Kerr and Sen. Chris Murphy and others are liable yet again to fall on deaf ears, dismissed as over-the-top Democratic theatrics, as the cowardly cries of weak-kneed liberals who just can’t hack it in Wild West America. How sick can this get? What and where is next?

There are no rays of sunshine, no glimpses of hope, just fear that memories are short and inaction is the watchword—because Republicans don’t want to lose their jobs, their power?

It was the last days of school! A time I remember as anticipatory and euphoric as summer vacation approached. Instead, in this day and age– and largely only in this country– it was the last day on earth for 21 people, most of them young children, along with two adults trying to protect their kids, trying to be quiet, terrified beyond imagining, their lives snuffed out by yet one more animal with weapons that were way too easy to get his grimy hands on.

Amen, Brother

“Those who conceived this war want only one thing—to remain in power forever, live in pompous, tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity… I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.”

This from Boris Bondarev, a Russian diplomat to the U.N. Former Russian diplomat to the U.N., if these statements are accurate. He apparently has turned in his resignation from that post, adding, “The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia.

If such a sentiment enjoys even a modicum of distribution, one could dare think that this would help open eyes or at least cause people to reconsider the Putin line on this whole human disaster. How much lying and disinformation can people take before they realize it for what it is, before they realize they’ve been played, kept in the dark, told some manipulated and doctored version of reality?

One might expect these folks to be mad as hell.

Skewed Distinction

We must be up over 200 mass shootings this year, and we’re still in May. Have there been anything approaching this number in the rest of the countries on earth combined? Don’t tell me we have an obvious problem that can’t be addressed by legislators with a backbone. Second Amendment adherents need to take a step back, then take a closer look, and bite the bullet. So to speak.

We’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can’t handle a firearms free-for-all. In a perfect world, we’d have a handle on mental illness and who might be susceptible to acting out in mind-numbingly violent ways, but this isn’t a perfect world. Folks need to be satisfied with the arsenals they already have, and we need a crackdown on assault weapons availability. I know this wouldn’t address the proliferation of handguns and the rest of accessible weaponry, but we have to start somewhere.

Everybody is a tough guy with a gun in their hand. What happens if we do the hard work of addressing underlying causes that have people feeling like there’s no other way to behave? Is there still time, or the will, to do that?

Writing On The Wall

We seem to be trending toward a society that will be crying out for a strongman, which bodes well for a damned Donald Trump reboot, despite his being a bloviating fraud. The stock market is in bear territory, society seems to be unraveling a bit every day, and it seems there will be a clamoring for someone who can talk a good game and promise a crackdown on crime. And how about a chicken in every pot, climate change be damned?

The mere prospect of another Trump presidency, besides being achingly depressing, would probably pull the market back into bull territory practically overnight. Or not. I don’t really know. All I know is that at the moment it’s hard to watch my retirement funds disappear before my eyes. Infuriatingly hard. The bleeding has to stop, and soon.

It’s amazing—the concessions we’re willing to entertain in order to hold onto our money. I won’t vote for him, but I’m sure enough people would, if things continue to trend as they currently are and the Democrats can’t legislate some positive vibes, get folks believing there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

A Positive Force

Maybe someday we’ll be shocked and embarrassed by the things that got our attention and took up our time. The things that evoked passion and that we talked about breathlessly, but which turned out to be nothing more than distractions.

Questionable causes, unsubstantiated political opinions, video games, horsepower and torque, golf equipment, the best power tools and beer, action heroes, movie franchises, actors and athletes who undeservedly got put on pedestals. So much fluff and shallowness and envy. The list is probably way longer than we’d like to admit.

Things might be better if we all had a handle on how we should be spending our time on earth. As it is, we fritter it away in frivolous pursuits, in unwinnable arguments, and, perhaps worst of all, idleness. There’s a difference between idleness and stillness. Stillness is intentional, a recognition of the need to rest and observe and listen. Idleness can be laziness, or evidence of a lack of creativity and imagination, or perhaps a symptom of something amiss physically or psychologically.

I guess I’m wondering what could happen if we as citizens of earth could focus on a task and engage one another and work together. There are needs being ignored. Many are in pursuit of their own happiness, whatever that is, and we never quite come to grips with fostering a sense of community, and using our unrivaled brains to solve shared problems and challenges. It’s fun to imagine being able to do that.

Poison

Replacement Theory. To label it a theory is a disservice to the word theory. Mr. Gendron had to be buying into the whole white supremacy “dream” of fomenting a race war.

I’m not going to try to summon words worthy of the disgust and anger I feel. It’s a futile pursuit. I guess my anger manifests itself in what I wish would happen to this piece of shit human being who most likely is feeling like he’s done something great, something heroic and worthy of admiration. It must have taken every ounce of restraint among arresting officers to not mete out immediate justice or lay a hand on him for fear of providing a reason for mistrial or countersuits or getting off on a technicality.

Did he have the dead eyes like the rest? They seem to pride themselves on who can have the emptiest, most haunting stare. And it turns out he wanted to keep going to another store, if he hadn’t been stopped—in order to maximize the fear, so that Black people wouldn’t feel safe anywhere they went.

This disease goes back a long way in this country, and it has not been eradicated. It keeps popping up. It’s so blatantly paranoid and hateful, a conspiracy theory that gains traction among a certain subset of impressionable white people who believe that all human beings aren’t all human. This is such a maddeningly ignorant and dumb way of looking at the world. And it appears to be making its latest comeback.

Perhaps most disheartening of all is the Republican buy-in. Not all, but enough of them. Who in their right mind would believe that this has anything to do with American greatness?

So Many Words

There are many people who have opinions about the Trump presidency and the events of January 6, 2021. They’re all trying to cash in with book deals.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Opportunists all, though maybe some have more to say than others. Seems like a lot of gettin’ while the gettin’ is good. Or do these times require that people with something to say, find the means to say it?