George Zimmerman who?

George Zimmerman the mouse who wanted to be a lion. The blubbery, out-of-shape would-be superhero who might have found self-respect in a therapist’s office, if our sick society hadn’t offered him a quicker fix in the form of a gun.

He has to live with himself, trying to convince himself that those scratches on the back of his head were life threatening, that there was more than his dignity at risk when a 17-year-old kid busted his schnozz. (Just as an aside, I’ve had my own nose broken several times, but never felt compelled to kill anyone over it.)

To be sure he’ll have his admirers. Other people who trust a gun over common sense. People who call themselves great Americans, but don’t trust our system of government. Ready to form themselves into a mob of army ants, Read more…

America needs tough love

Today too many pundits and loudmouths define patriotism as the willingness to proclaim that “America is the greatest nation on earth” and to take a pugilistic attitude toward anyone who shows a glimmer of doubt about it. But let’s think about that.

You’re not a loving parent if you ignore the fact that your child is hooked on drugs and failing at school. You’re not a loving son or daughter for sending holiday cards to your parents but not caring that they can’t afford decent food and shelter.

Sure, I love America. Loving America means caring about America. Noticing when it’s hurting. By “hurting” I don’t mean that someone I don’t like got elected. Those things happen in free nations. I mean going backward. Showing signs that should worry all of us. Right, left, and center.

Everyone seems to agree that we are the most powerful nation on earth. True, if you mean that we could blow the world into smaller pieces than any other nation. I won’t argue with that. We could also obliterate just about any other nation on earth pretty quickly, I guess. Understandable, since more than 41% of all the money spent on killing systems in the world comes from us.

That does give us a certain amount of influence. Not necessarily respect, but influence. Influence that we have to be ready to back up with even more money, and American blood. Read more…

The firearms dilemma in one simple cartoon:

Mostly Republicans, but too many Democrats also.

What’s my slogan here? Tear down the walls, there’s still time for America. So now you may think I’m slamming Republicans and some cowardly Democrats; building walls, not bridges.NRA-Assault-d

I don’t see it that way. What I’d like to do here, if I could, is knock down a little bit of the wall that the current incarnation of the Republican party has built to defend the carnage mongers against the will of the American people. The wall they’ve built between themselves and the traditional spirit of the Republican party.

There was a time when I admired the NRA, when I was a boy with BB gun, when I was the envy of the family for my marksmanship with my big brother’s .22 rifle. Read more…

Do we really love our guns that much?

Isanity. And I use the word advisedly. Pretending that easy access to firearms in America has nothing to do with our shamefully high murder rate makes no sense. Stripping the Second Amendment of any context or historical perspective, then using it as a sacred cloak for the carnage in our streets – and schools, and theaters, and shopping malls, and what next? – is the stuff of psychosis.

Which is more important, the right to bear arms, or the right to life? Who would tell the bereaved parents in Connecticut that the loss of their precious children is just the price we have to pay for our AK-47s and 40-round magazines? With its usual hubris the NRA will point out that “guns don’t kill, people kill,” and that authorities should do a better job of enforcing existing gun laws.

Two obvious problems to anyone who wants to think honestly about it. Number one, some people kill in some circumstances, and guns make it too damned easy. Number two, existing gun laws are far too loose, and the NRA does its best to make even those unenforceable.

It’s not “the world we live in today.” There have always been, and will always be, deranged individuals, people who act violently in a moment of anger, people who do not value or respect human life, people who get angry and fight. Tragedies like the slaughter in Newtown don’t happen because we “took God out of the schools,” as Mike Huckabee opined on Fox News. (Note that the violent crime rate is higher than average in the so-called Bible Belt.) The BIG problem is the flood of highly effective and readily available killing tools.

To put this in context, we have to leave the ongoing tragedy that moved our president to tears. We’ll get back to it.

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