Another City, Another Shoot: Kiss Me Fate

—Once again, we have a race war in this country. This time, it has several drivers. Most recently, one type of driver has been cop shootings of African-Americans, in one case obviously deliberate and staged to justify a prior plan to kill, in another case, a cop who panicked. It comes as no surprise that eventually there would be retaliation on cops, particularly white ones.

The police chief in the first case says we’re asking too much of cops. Here are some ideas of what we do or should ask of them. Most of all, police and the departments they work for need to make a wholesale change. Get out of the military and get into sociology.

First, we need to remember that all of the shootings, by definition, involved guns. They and the ammunition and other explosive devices do not belong in the hands of the general public, and if you could control that, you could justify taking them out of the hands of the cops, all in keeping with the logical wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

One can defend the police, especially the innocent ones in Dallas, but why are they so militarized? What’s with the military ranks, the marching, the saluting and “sir” and all the other stuff involved in basic military training? Until police forces drop the military style of training and focus more on the social-science aspect of their job, this madness will never end.

The Military

The peak physical age of the average male is at around 30 years old. Yet, recruiters largely ignore them and recruit males in their late teens. Why? Have you ever met someone in his late teens and early 20s?

 Evolution dictated that one of the primary measures of adulthood is when a youngster is truly convinced that actions have consequences. A child will run toward a cliff with no idea that going over it would mean its death. It has no idea of such things. It won’t have an idea for many more years because an adult has always intervened and saved it from doing so. It learns consequences gradually, up through adolescence, puberty and the teenage years and on into the twenties.

That’s why the military wants them at that age, and not at their peak of physical performance, coupled with a solid sense of consequences, less capable of being brainwashed and, with a greater sense of logic, to question authority. Individual performance means nothing to the military if it is not carried out in unison with the rest of the crowd.

In those young years, one can easily brainwash a teenager or twenty-something into believing anything: to behave like one of Pavlov’s dogs, to be a Manchurian candidate, or to just salute automatically and call anyone wearing pants “sir.” The supposed reason for that brainwashing is to build an army of people who will follow orders without question and behave as programmed robots, sacrificing their lives away for the good of the group.

Not surprisingly, there is no need for that type of person outside of the military, and one can question whether there really is a need inside it. Nevertheless, they come out of service as robots, still flipping salutes and addressing even younger men as “sir” for years, many longing to return to service and people who make decisions for them.

The Police

Those are the people most likely to be recruited by police departments around the nation and around the world. They’ve already been trained to follow orders without question, no matter how ridiculous those orders may be. Police departments apparently believe that is the type of people they need. That is obvious in the military style of the entire police system.

Do police officers really need to be considered “officers”? Why not “enforcers” or “protectors”, followed by “of the law”? Why not have a police department president instead of chief or commander, vice president or some other classification instead of captain, lieutenant, sergeant or private? Why the marching and spit-and-polish military lines they have to form?

How much of policing requires that, even in the face of battle? A trained policeman will run toward the gunfire instead of away from it, and risk his or her life because a comrade is at risk instead of cowering because it is his or her job and stands to lose that job if he or she cowers instead. It also is not an unnatural thing to do. Notice how parents or even strangers often put themselves in harm’s way to save someone, usually without any training or urging. It’s inborn in decent people. There is no need to brainwash them.

Military needs that may require soldiers to behave as robots may be necessary in a war-like situation, but we doubt it. Nonetheless, it has no place in police departments. All that time in military training would be spent in learning social sciences, why people behave as they do, how to reach a peaceful solution to a problem, or better yet, prevent the problem in the first place.

Even then, ban the practice in most police departments in which officers gang up to harass someone, perhaps someone who is a habitual petty criminal they would like to put away, just a bad-ass in general or simply because he sassed or insulted them. Suck it up, officer and display a demeanor that invites just the opposition reaction.

One favorite tactic witnessed as a cub reporter is taking a suspect to the police department garage and surrounding him with cops, leaving him enough space to escape. They want to pin a crime on him and want to get him to confess to it, or they simply want to get back at him because he is a thorn in their side and they can never get him sent to jail. They assail him with highly offensive taunts, such as assertions that they just had sex with his mother or young sister or something similarly offensive, daring him to strike out or flee through the opening they left. To the cops, that would justify tackling him, pummeling him and charging him with a crime they now could prove, or at least win in court.

As an older reporter in Chicago, I was handed an about-to-be released report and assigned to write a story based on the results of psychological testing of young recruits who applied for jobs with the Cook County Police during the winter ahead of the summer of 1968 and the Democratic National Convention when sometimes violent antiwar protests were expected.  An unusually high number of recruits taking the test illustrated a desire to have a badge that would allow them to bust heads, not to keep peace or perform what are supposed to be normal police duties.

Couple that proclivity, or predisposition with the fact that nearly all of the ills of any society can be traced to various levels of poverty. Poverty leads to desperation, all sorts of aberrant behavior, even something almost forgivable, such as stealing milk for a sick child. And, how many of the dozens of young men shot by police just this year, or the one who targeted white police in Dallas are mentally ill? Many of the videos we have seen are of incidents surrounding obviously mentally ill people. How many police departments train to diffuse those cases, most at least the secondary outcomes of poverty? Few. Instead, their military training tells them to pump bullets into them, when any level of training in sociology would have taught them how to diffuse the situation.

The shooting of the African-American in Baton Rouge, La., was a crime of premeditated murder, and the perpetrator was the cop who shot the victim, his partner an accessory to the crime. How convenient that the body cameras of both officers apparently became dislodged from their chests and recorded nothing. The “perp” was lying on his back, his arms pinned against his body when one officer shouted, “Gun, he’s got a gun.”

Even if one can dismiss reports the Louisiana victim was carrying a gun under Louisiana’s “concealed carry” law, why would a policeman shout it like that when his partner was just a couple of feet away, also on top of the victim, pinning his arms to his sides. Although he had no way to use it under the circumstances, you and I would say, perhaps in an urgent and breathless way, that the perp had a gun. We would not shout it out beyond the scene to within possible range of a cell phone recording the incident.

That is the type of behavior that leads victims, their families and friends to hate the police, and a demented few to exact retribution by trying to kill them. We’re in a spiral and it must cease to spin. The predominant white authority has the wherewithal to change, demilitarize and behave as fellow humans; those in poverty have few incentives to do so otherwise.

Dallas police also revealed another bias in the immediate aftermath of the revenge killing of five policemen by a maniacal African-American who had been trained by the military to demonize the enemy so he could kill without remorse.

In that case, we heard the first time a police department asked the protesters and others who were at the scene to let them see any video of the incident. We are not aware of that request made by any authorities involved with a cop shooting of a black man. And, political correctness almost demanded the president visit Dallas to soothe the police force and citizens, just as he had with landmark shootings in Newtown and Orlando.

The Guns

And, let us not forget the common denominator in all of this horror—guns. “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The Supreme Court may go against logic and interpret that phrase some other way, but pure logic and the mid-1780s environment during which it was written says the right to bear arms is tied directly to the need of a militia, today called a state’s National Guard.

Logically, one can constitutionally allow all citizens to have a firearm, but require that it remain locked in the armory until the militia requires its use.


Senate Filibuster Fights Equate to Treating Pimple on Elephant’s Behind

—What a pathetic government body the U.S. Senate has become. One should never expect much out of either house in the Congress that Gingrich built, but now even the Democrats have joined in the pathetic pandering to poop.

A week of back-and-forth filibuster fights led to nothing, topped off by a childish sit-in by Democrats in the House. For what–Legislation the equivalent of popping a pimple on the rear of an elephant dying of cancer.

Pathetic proposals offered by both sides of the aisles in response to Orlando, which stoked memories of a more-horrific mass shooting in Newton., Conn., supposedly are minor attacks on terrorism. They have nothing to do with gun control.

For the umpteenth time: the common thread in the wave of mass shootings in the United States is guns. Not terrorism, not gays, not pathetic never-would-be, not mentally ill people. It’s the availability of guns.

The Second Amendment says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Go ahead, own a gun, but it must be kept locked up in a National Guard armory. That satisfies the Constitution and it will stop the maniacal slaughters.

Sure, the 535 members of Congress must face re-election and fear the massive funds and influence of the National Rifle Assn., but how effective can it be in attempting to defeat all members at once?

And, remember this: The NRA was the laughing stock of Washington, D.C., when it announced it was moving its downtown headquarters to a lilly-white suburb because of the D.C. crime problem. The core of the crime problem was shootings.

The laughter got so loud, the NRA postponed the move for several years until it could quietly slink out of town.  The organization of gun nuts is a paper tiger.


Why only one mass shooting between 1994 and 2004?

—Consider these statistics: in the United States since the end of World War II, there have been 17 mass shootings (10 or more deaths) that took 310 lives, according to a CNN count. Nine occurred since 2007, seven occurred in 1991 or earlier.

April 20, 1999, two Columbine High School students in Littleton, Colo., killed 12 other students and a teacher, using an assault rifle armed with a 10-round magazine, the maximum allowed by law. A total of 182 more have died in nine shootings since then.

That’s right: 115 killed in seven mass shootings between World War II and 1994, 182 killed in nine mass shootings since 2004.

Did something happen during that 10-year period of 1994-2004, or was it coincidence, the kind of stuff that rarely, if ever exists? Something did happen.

It was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law on the very day it was passed by Congress, on Sept. 13, 1994. It was better known for its provision banning assault weapons capable of carrying magazines of more than 10 rounds.

The official description of the legislation said it banned: “the manufacture of 19 military-style assault weapons, assault weapons with specific combat features, ‘copy-cat’ models, and certain high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than ten rounds.”

Unfortunately, the law, which technically amended the 1968 gun-control act (which made it unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon), was good for only 10 years, meaning it had to be renewed or die as of Sept. 13, 2004. There were attempts to renew it in 2004, but Republicans controlled all of Congress and the White House at that point. Blocking renewal was one of the National Rifle Association’s major victories.

Three years after the ban was lifted, 32 students were shot dead at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., by a South Korea-born student, on April 16, 2007. He used two semi-automatic pistols.

Two years later, on March 10, an Alabama man killed five family members, two neighbors and three others at random, all with an assault rifle. Just over three weeks later, a man killed 13 attending a class on citizenship at an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y. He used a pair of Beretta pistols. Later that year, an Army major killed 13 at Fort Hood army base in Texas, using a semi-automatic pistol.

On July 20, 2012, using a semi-automatic assault rifle, the forerunner of the M16 military rifle, a man at an Aurora, Colo. theater showing a Batman movie killed 12. The following December came Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. The shooter killed 20 children ages six and seven years old, six school employees and his own mother, all with an assault rifle using 15- and 30-round magazines. Less than a year later came a mass shooting killing of 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard not far from the nation’s Capitol. The killer had only a shotgun.

On December 2, 2015, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde married couple went on a spree at an employee function in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14. Their weapons were semi-automatic rifles and pistols.

This year, its Orlando and the grand-daddy mass shooting of them all, 49 people killed using a semi-automatic rifle with 30-round magazines similar to an AR-15, and a semi-automatic pistol with a 17-round capacity, a common law-enforcement weapon.

Only one mass shooting during the 10-year ban on assault weapons, and that weapon was not covered by the law. In the days after the ban expired in 2004, gun stores included a free high-capacity magazine with purchases of the previously banned assault weapons.

The assault weapons ban expired, but an NRA add-on to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act still remains in effect. It bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from collecting data on gun violence, the number of treatments of wounds caused by guns.

Wayne LaPierre, the highly effective multi-million-dollar NRA lobbyist, who by the way is not a gun enthusiast, is responsible for the organization’s lamest excuses and clownish pontifications , most of them having to do with the Second Amendment, never quoted in full by NRA members.

But, why does he and his organization want to hide information about gunshot wounds treated in emergency rooms all over the nation? That information is a public concern, because ERs have to treat all comers with the nation’s most expensive care, just about all of it funded by taxpayer dollars.

As for the Second Amendment the NRA supposedly holds sacred, here’s what it says in full: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice who declared himself a strict constructionist and decried “activist judges” was himself an activist judge and not a strict constructionist, or he would have read the Second Amendment to say that the right to keep and bear arms lies only within service to a militia, today’s National Guard.

Since the Second Amendment has not been amended, a strict construction (until it is amended, it means only what it said at the time it was written) can only view it as it was written grammatically: The second half cannot exist without the first half, i.e., all that follows the first phrase has its reason for being in the first phrase and without the first phrase, does not exist.

A strict interpretation, therefore, is that the right to keep and bear arms exists only in service to a militia today’s, National Guard. Logically, that means the Constitution is served if the National Guard requires all firearms, private or otherwise, be kept in its armories, to be handed back to their owners as the Guard itself sees fit and as long as it is in the service of the militia, such as training.

The extent of the proposals in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, is more background checks, as if that is going to stop the average homicidal gun-nut and the man-boy who fakes his testosterone level by repeating macho crap such as “pry my gun from my cold, dead hands.” The answer should be: “so be it.”


Just For Once, Keep It in Perspective!

Once again, a nation driven by “oh, my God” news is in need of a little perspective.

  • Much will be said about the “worst mass shooting” in U.S. history. To begin with, calling it the “worst” is poor writing. That is a judgment call; try calling it the “biggest” or “largest”.

  • Even if more people did die that in any other U.S. mass shooting, the number still is only 50 out of a city of more than 235,000. That’s .02 percent, not that big a loss, unless a friend or family was one of the victims.

  • Flood the site with flowers, teddy bears and all sorts of “selfie” material to commemorate death (and strangely, celebrate it), something never done for life.

  • It will be called a terrorist attack, simply because the shooter was muslim and vowed allegiance to ISIL He could have been, and most likely was, just a biased, macho idiot with a love for guns, not atypical of gun nuts, who hated gays and by the way was pro-ISIL The 911 call was a way to get him martyrdom.

  • Whatever the reason for the Orlando massacre, it still has something in common with all other shootings; it involved a gun easily purchased. In this case it was an assault rifle of no earthly use except in war.

  • A justifiable anti-gun backlash will engender a far-out-of-perspective over-the-top backlash from the gun nuts shouting guttural slogans the know not the meaning of and quoting only the latter half of the Second Amendment.

  • In truth, all of the Second Amendment would be satisfied if all guns were required to be kept in National Guard (militia) armories and issued for practice for state or national defense purposes, or for whatever reason the guard sets. The Constitution protects no other use.

Instead of the usual steady drum-beat of hand-wringing news, overreaction and recrimination that will go on for weeks, how about we finally get rational and make the correct response. Just this once.


A Child Designed to Go Wrong

Start with the name: Brock. Sounds machismo, probably not the mother’s choice.

Consider his father’s excuse: “These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Then there was the judge: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”

All that macho whining, and where was any thought given to the victim? If she hadn’t been drinking, would these guys have at least mentioned what she suffered? Not.

Hell, his dad said, it was only 20 minutes of action out of his 20 years of life. If he lives to be 100, he’s got at least four other women he could “rape,” but not in the legal sense under California law. Apparently, macho Brock was couldn’t manage to ejaculate within 20 minutes.

Yet, according to the judge who swallowed the dad’s whine, “he will not be a danger to others.” Hell, he only spent 20 minutes. Obviously, he should have taken a lesson from the Pointer Sisters: “I want a man with a slow hand. I want a lover with an easy touch. I want somebody who will spend some time. Not come and go in a heated rush. I want somebody who will understand. When it comes to love, I want a slow hand.”

To them, 20 minutes just doesn’t crack it, whether he came and went, or didn’t. And, behind a dumpster? And, blame it on the two Swedes who intervened as he thrust away with what the law termed “a foreign object.” How would you like your junk to be called that. That’s unfair.

Shoot, in just another five minutes, maybe he could have shot, and although she was drunk and unconscious, she would have been but grateful for the extra time he hung around, and no complaints all around.

Brock, as his dad, was not worthy of the macho name. Maybe dad could be allowed to serve those three months for his precious son. Just three months of inaction out of his 50-year life.

The judge was not worthy of mention here. The victim? No one mentioned her. She had to speak for herself, anonymously.


Remembering When We Did Intern People

—It must be spooky to those aware of WWII internment when would-be politicians speak today of locking up some other group of people because of their looks, culture, nationality or religion.

Really? Could we make the same mistake? Was George Santayana correct when he wrote more than 100 years ago that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”? Let First Taken, Last Released: Overlooked WWII Internment fill in missing parts of the internment history as it serves as a memory-jogger.

Why First Taken-Last Released?

Most Americans whose family histories cover World War II are aware of the taciturn manner in which those of all cultures and nationalities who served or were imprisoned speak of what they experienced. It was as if an entire generation clammed up.

Among those who did speak were a few who wrote the history that we have today of those times, just as journalists today are writing what will be the history that following generations will learn as history.

It took years to get American veterans of that war to describe it, and only now are their exploits freely told. Similarly, people of Japanese ancestry forced from their homes in Hawaii and the US West Coast were loathe to talk about their incarceration. Eventually many did and we now have a lot of chronicles about life in what has become referred to in the Japanese community as American concentration camps.

Many of those accounts were written by children, all with at least hyphenated citizenship who were penned up along with their parents. Many books on the subject list all of the camps where those interned families were kept.

Those books and academic accounts, however, ignore at least half a dozen other camps where Japanese were held: Missoula in Montana, McCoy in Wisconsin, Forrest in Tennessee, Livingston in Louisiana and Santa Fe in New Mexico. Nearly all were located deeper into the interior of the US than the better known family camps of the Far West and even Hawaii.

Most of the latter group were arrested under direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 issued on February 19, 1942. The numbers taken grew to more than 120,000 within weeks.

Incarceration of Japanese actually began more than two months earlier, on December 7, 1941 before the smoke cleared over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, nearly a day before the US declared war over the day that lived in infamy.

The first 5,000 Japanese taken into custody were all men, the vast majority Issei born in Japan and no American citizenship, many intending to return to Japan. Along with them were Kibei sons born in the US with dual citizenship, but sent to Japan before the war to be raised in its culture and language in advance and returned.

All 5,000 already had meticulous FBI dossiers, amassed over the previous several months as hostilities between Japan and the US heated up, expanding from words of recrimination to economic sanctions, reprisals and threats.

The men drew the FBI’s attention only because they were Issei, obviously loyal to their home country, but more importantly, they usually were community leaders or religious figures, language teachers or others considered to have influence in Japanese communities.

That was particularly true in Hawaii where 40 percent of the population at the time was composed of pineapple and sugar cane workers of Japanese ancestry, many Issei themselves. Men at the top of the list were the first Japanese arrested even before martial law was declared at mid-afternoon of December 7. As the title suggests, the first-taken also became the last-released from behind barbed wire.

For decades, knowledge of their experiences could be found only in two published books. The first was Life Behind Barbed Wire, by a Honolulu newspaper publisher, Yasutaro Soga, published in 1945 in Japanese and translated decades later into English. The second, which drew extensively from Soga’s work, was Haisho Ten Ten, published in Japanese in 1964 by the Honolulu Japanese language newspaper Hawaii Times. As of this writing it was still being translated into English. The author was Kumaji Furuya, who was among the 160 first-taken and described his experiences as a prisoner held in places that save for one, were different from those where Soga was held.

Furuya spent his entire time in the men-only internment camps in close proximity with Shinri Sarashina, one of the very first to be taken among the 160 as the No. 2 man in Hawaii of the predominant Buddhist sect. His experiences in the camps dovetail with those of Furuya, and his lengthy FBI dossier and detailed National Archives records of his incarceration were obtained for his son, Takuji, through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Other research uncovered recently declassified documents, including transcripts of the meetings of Japan’s highest leaders, including Emperor Hirohito, during where the attack on Pearl Harbor was hatched and discussed endlessly. Furuya’s book and the transcripts were translated by Takuji for Tommy’s Wars: Paradise to Hell and Back, published in October, 2015.

The bulk of this book is excerpted from Tommy’s Wars, which is about three members of one Japanese family of five Hawaii-born children, who were caught up in four of the war’s atrocities: Pearl Harbor, internment, the Hiroshima atomic bomb and Soviet POWs in Siberia.

Pearl Harbor and internment-related research and detailed descriptions gathered for Tommy’s Wars, but omitted for space reasons, are included in this book.

Son Takuji, known better as Tommy Sarashina and among golfers as Tommy Tang, is the primary subject of Tommy’s Wars, his father Shinri Sarashina the primary subject of First Taken, Last Released: Overlooked WWII Internment.


Of Cabals and Guns

—The time has come, the walrus said,
To talk with many puns,
Of shoots and clips and sealing wax
Of caballing and guns

No puns in the Constitution: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”

The rest of the Second Amendment is well-known, so well-known the opening phrase has become an orphan lost to memory.

That the Supreme Court, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, went against historical practice and ignored its own precedent as well as the first half of amendment does not blur the fact that it exists in the Constitution and especially should be protected by those who call themselves strict constructionists.

That apparent dichotomy aside, let’s work on a solution to the U.S. problem of daily mass shootings, whether they be carried out by mental cases or maniacs or terrorists, if one can separate the third from the first two. The solution is not going to be found in determining who is doing the shooting and why.

The common element is that all mass shootings involve guns. None could have been carried out on the scale that it did with a knife, a pea shooter or words. In each incident, unique as it was, only with guns or their relative, explosives, could so many deaths and injuries occur.

To say that the problem could be solved by checks for mental illness is like putting a Bandaid on a cancer. There are all kinds of nuts out there with guns, but no outward sign of their nuttiness except their macho bluster, which of course, is never tested. It is guns and access to them that is the problem.

A good case in point is the San Bernadino mass shooting now labeled a terrorist act. The perpetrators may have been naive and stupid, but by all indications, they weren’t crazy. The common element is the availability of guns.

The National Rifle Association has turned most of its members into Pavlovian dogs, salivating over the second half of the Second Amendment as if the first were never written. Instead of reasoned rhetoric and reasonable efforts, the NRA offers nothing but macho responses.

Read as a true strict constructionist must read it, the first half says the second half is based on the first. Without the first, of course, the second would not exist.

Those first words comprise a phrase that says what follows is based on the reason for the amendment, that states need to be able to have militias for security.  Of course, that was security as it meant in terms of the situation at the time.

The Second Amendment was added to the Constitution as part of a group of 10 in 1789, all of them ratified by 11 of what were then 14 states, within just over two years. The other three forgot to do so, somehow, until 1939.

The upshot is pure logic: locking all guns in National Guard armories to be distributed in case of a threat to the state’s security, satisfies the Constitution and the command of the amendment.

Presumably, the guard and/or the state then has the right to determine when and how the owners could be allowed access to their guns and for what purpose. It also suggests, contrary to what many of us would like to see, that it is solely a state matter, not a federal one.

The amendment intended that restriction because the reason for it in the first place was to protect states from overreach by the larger government to which they belonged. The fear was a repeat of the over-reach of the British government against whom the victorious was fought.

That is the context of “the right to bear arms,” to defend the state against the federal government. Today, militias exists as a state’s National Guard, which since the amendment was acted have never been called on to guard against the federal military.

Obviously, the American public is not at the stage where it would go that far, particularly with the NRA and now the FOXed people not only opposing controls, but requiring everyone to own one and use it.

Instead of starting at the beginning, let’s start at the end and see how much state control would be relaxed and in what circumstances.

Whenever  you hear “the right to bear arms,” etc., perhaps we should respond with, “A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state” and just ignore the rest of it.

(We like to remind readers that several decades ago when the NRA wanted to move its headquarters from an area of Washington, D.C. that had not been gentrified yet. It said the area was no longer a safe one for its employees, which everyone knew meant shootings. The NRA wanted to move to the Virginia suburbs. So embarrassed was it by the irony, it delayed the slink to the suburbs for several years and no longer cited safety.)



We have no intention here of responding to every mass shooting in the U.S., primarily because they are averaging nearly one-a-day this year. We set up another page for the responses we do make, the central issue being access to guns. The same with the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. In one way, they are the same.

We respond to both types of attacks they same way, with around-the-c lock TV coverage seemingly stretched out until the next one happens. One way you can discourage terrorist attacks as well as mass shootings is the same–quit giving them as much attention as we give them. Whether it is in California, Paris, on 9/11, wherever and whenever, we should simply


All of the constant attention to these attacks, long after they occur, and the remembrances and memorials are giving terrorists attention far beyond their expectations. Keep all this in perspective. Wherever it occurs, relatively few people are killed, no more than four figures so far, yet the attention suggests millions were killed and we react with civil rights and other restrictions far out of proportion to the lost. Please, just

SHUT THE @#$% UP!!!!


Once again, we have an incident of hate in the United States, this time at another Planned Parenthood center, in Colorado Springs. We refer you to Pearls From the Past for items that, unfortunately, ring as current but are from the past. Nothing is new, nothing has changed. The common element has not changed.


 Why Terrorists Win Big

—FDR probably never realized how profound was his statement: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Nothing better illustrates the wisdom of the phrase than our reaction to terrorist incidents.

After 9/11, we lost constitutional rights we’ll never get back and much of what used to be routine in our lives has been turned into ordeal. We’ve done it to ourselves; the terrorists did not. The Paris bombings illustrate we haven’t learned and we will go on assuring them they will gain more effect than they expected.

It’s all about perspective. This is not just about irrational fear; it is about the re-ignition of all of our no-so-latent racist and xenophobic fears and responding in the most hateful of ways. Political candidates and a major TV shock-jock network masquerading as a legitimate news source are even fanning the fears.

The United States is a country of about 330 million people. 9/11 claimed fewer than 3,000 lives. They comprised .00001 of the national population, most of actual loss being New York City property. Yet, we made it into huge, massive event, and responded with crazy behavior while boldly declaring it was all “so that Osama Bin Laden would not have won.” Too late.

Fourteen years later, long after the overreaction to 9/11 became permanent, the Paris bombing took another 300 lives. Proportionately, they comprised only .00001 of the population of the metropolitan area of Paris itself, an even smaller proportion of all of France.

Yet, we are still whipping up widespread hysteria as this is written. Belgium shut its huge subway system for days merely because of a threat. It’s gotten to the point the terrorists need do nothing but just say what they would do. The U.S. State Department warned American travelers that nowhere in the world is safe, let alone the United States.

The lives lost during 9/11 and the past fortnight in Paris together do not equal what many third-world countries face nearly every day, i.e., 19 deaths in Mali. Their people have learned not to panic, mourn their dead, clean up the mess and go on about their daily business. They are far saner than we.

.00001 is one ten-thousandth of 1 percent, or one in 100,000. That is close to your chances of getting struck by lightning in the U.S. in 2006, our most fatal year when 48 died. We lost no civil liberties, our plans were not interrupted, we made no changes in our lives because of it because it was obvious the odds were far too small to worry about.

The ratio is equivalent to the chances of getting a perfect kidney transplant match from an unrelated donor, amounts to only $15 million of the national budget, is the rate at which DNA mutates in any given year, and far, far lower than the .001 rate at which human life evolves, the rate that took us from the stone age to the present.

And we don’t react just during and the proximate aftermath of terrorist incidents. We burn it in their heads that they won by commemorating their acts every years, even erecting or drawing symbols everywhere to remind us of their victories. That is just plain strange and we need to get a grip.

The way we behave is far more important than what terrorists do or may do in the near future. We kill people at a much higher rate because we don’t restrict guns, we still drive foolishly on our roads and we leave unrepaired for decades a crumbling infrastructure.

Now we are adding people of a certain religion to the long list of people we hate, usually just because they don’t look like the white Europeans most of us claim as our ancestors. We already have built our fear into a far wider hatred, covering any non-American, and now we add on an entire religion, Islam. What Muslims believe has the same roots as Christianity, i.e., Judaism. All three share the same basic tenets and none includes annihilation of an entire group of people, ethnic-cleansing if you will.

To what have we descended? What is happening to us as a nation? Get a grip, people.

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