Notes from around the Human Experience…
CAN’T WE JUST CUT AND PASTE THE LAST MASS SHOOTING COLUMN?: We were hoping that the angry, white misfits that regularly subject this nation to mass shootings would be content to have one of their own in the White House and would lay low for a few years.
No such luck. The worst mass shooting in US history occurred Sunday in Las Vegas. The shooter was a 64-year-old white male, a bit older than most mass shooters, but angry and white nonetheless. He is also dead. As we write this he killed 59 people and injured over 500.
Sad State Of Affairs: Mass shootings have become so common we are going to be very honest and say we had been, figuratively, glancing at our watches, wondering when and where the next one was going to be. Because it wasn’t a question of if there was going to be another mass shooting, it was merely a question of when there was going to be another mass shooting.
A Personal Note: As it was, it happened in a town where lived for 14 years. We know one person who was shot. She was treated and released. Hopefully, we won’t know anyone else.
Dry, Technical Matter: While America is hardly the only nation to have mass shootings, we are the only nation regularly subjected to them. As both a citizen and as a candidate for the US Senate and House, we’ve spent no small amount of time wondering why.
Guns aren’t the issue. Lots of countries have guns, but we are the only nation with a list of mass shootings as long as your arm. Besides, if guns weren’t available the demented would merely find another way to wreck mayhem, as cars being plowed into pedestrians in Europe, car bombs in the Middle East and knife attacks in China bear witness to.
Here We Go Again: The usual arguments you read and hear about don’t help answer this question, either. Neither trotting out the Second Amendment – as if that allows us to shrug and absolve ourselves of responsibility – nor calling for laws regulating or banning guns – as if criminals obey laws – substantively addresses this issue.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: We’ve come to the following conclusion:
America has violent citizens because America has a violent government. Violence begets violence.
We don’t see how this point can be argued anymore. America has been at war continuously since 1989, meaning we have raised a generation of children who have never known a peaceful day in the lives. We are paying the price for that right now: a citizenry as comfortable with violence as they are comfortable with their mobile phone.
Well, Aren’t We Miss Mary Sunshine Today: And it’s not going to vanish anytime soon because even if America were magically at peace tomorrow, we will continue to pay this price for another generation.
Once More With Feeling: We have violent American citizens because we have a violent American government. When America is at peace, then her citizens will, eventually, be at peace, too.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Wally Schirra becomes the fifth American to enter space on this date in 1962, orbiting Earth six times on Mercury-Atlas 8 on a mission that lasted nine hours and 13 minutes. The mission did not break any new ground, though as the longest manned mission to date the effects on both Schirra and the spacecraft were eagerly noted, and the worldwide tracking and communications system also received its longest workout to date.
FunFact: Schirra would later command Apollo 7 in 1968, the first manned Apollo mission. It tested the Command/Service Module in low Earth orbit and after the mission, Schirra retired from NASA.
Please Pass The Salt: A hunger strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland ends on this date in 1981. The strike lasted seven months and resulted in ten deaths, including Bobby Sands, who had been elected to Parliament during the strike.
Insert Suitable German Phrase Here: Germany becomes one nation again when West Germany and East Germany reunite on this date in 1990. Germany had been divided in 1949.
Great Moments In Getting Away With Murder: OJ Simpson is acquitted of two counts of murder on this date in 1995. He had been accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. In 1997 Simpson would be found civilly liable for both deaths and the victim’s families were awarded $33 million in damages, an amount Simpson has paid only a fraction of.
FunFact: On October 1 Simpson was released from state prison in Nevada, paroled after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence following a 2008 conviction on assorted charges.
Quotebook: Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The two Nazi’s sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal that were not executed on October 16, 1946, were Martin Bormann, who had been convicted in absentia and who was actually already dead, and Hermann Goring, who got petulant and had committed suicide a couple of hours earlier because he objected to being hanged instead of shot to death.
Today’s Stumper: How long did it take Bobby Sands to die after he began his hunger strike? – Answer next time!