So My Head Won't Explode

I blog, lest I lose my alarmingly-tenuous grip.

The Walking Doubt

Rather than lie there trying to muscle myself to sleep, ’cause that always works, I get up and head downstairs, only to find myself back at my blog. It’s been months since I’ve been here. A few less-than-flattering reviews had sent me careening off into a frustrated-writer-artist-wannabe’s existential crisis, and I stopped. Who’m I kidding, I wondered.

Then came some encouragement. Marcia, who loves me like crazy, asked was I blogging because I want to be a writer, or because I have something to say? Sweet Shane, who barely knows me but really gets me, insists that I have a unique voice. She seems to have real interest.

But, I don’t know. I’m fending off the zombies that keep coming to feed on the bit of confidence I have. I wonder how long I can beat them back, even as I realize I’m the zombie.

So, tell me. How do I write when an army of harpies and minions, tirelessly toiling at the behest of my doubt, scream and rend their clothing at every word?

I honestly don’t know.

Remember – Guns Don’t Kill People

Brought to you by my exceedingly talented son, Charlie

With the amount of gun violence that has occurred recently, and the current heated discussion on the topics of gun-control and the need for more thorough background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, gun rights advocates have found a golden opportunity to bring back their favorite slogan, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’’ From Wayne LaPierre, the esteemed head of the NRA, to congressmen and senators across the United States, this witty line has been stated and re-stated to drive home the point that guns themselves are not the issue when it comes to gun violence, and that further limitations on their distribution and proliferation will do nothing to reduce gun violence in America. Things like video games, movies and, well, people are the real problem. I would like to show, however, that no matter how fun and fashionable it may be to find more and more creative ways to stress that guns don’t kill people, the contentious aforementioned slogan is flat-out untrue and down-right ridiculous.

​To begin, I will pose a simple question: When out hunting, what does one usually bring with them? The answer? A gun. Next, I would like to slightly alter our favorite slogan and replace ‘‘people’’ with “animals,” as I feel that changing what’s on the receiving end of the bullet does nothing to detract from the true meaning of the statement. So now we have, ‘‘Guns don’t kill animals. People kill animals.’’ And if people kill animals, and guns don’t, hunters should be able to walk into the woods with arms outstretched, grab unsuspecting animals, and strangle them to death with their bare hands. Clearly, no need for guns. Along similar lines, no need to arm our armed forces. Being a person would be enough to go to war and kill your enemy. Soldiers would march onto the field of battle, fists clenched, and laugh at their foolish foes as they weigh themselves down with those useless and cumbersome machine guns. Police officers wouldn’t need firearms either because, as the NRA will remind you, guns don’t kill people. Think of the money we could save! No more weapons development or defense budgets. Ready and willing people would be all we’d need to put an end to the world’s conflicts. Good ol’ fashioned hardy people.

​But at the same time, since people kill people and guns don’t, anyone walking into a convenience store could easily be misconstrued as someone intending to rob the place. ‘‘We’ve got a person!!’’ would replace ‘‘He’s got a gun!!’’ as the common exclamation to warn everyone in the area of a potential threat. A man would enter a bank and everyone would dive to the floor and cover their heads, while the teller behind the counter throws up his hands and trembles in fear. ‘‘Oh my God! You’re a person! You kill people! Here! Take the money!’’

​If the only condition for being a killer were being human, everyone would be in jail, all the time. There must be some element or determining factor that would transform a regular person into a lethal weapon. A sharp stick would be one possibility – but a gun, or more accurately, an assault rifle – seems to be the object of choice for killers across the country.

SERIOUSLY?!?

Quite often, a factoid appears in my field of vision and provokes a forehead slap of such intensity that all my kids get headaches.

As misery loves company, but only miserable company, I will be sharing these tidbits of colossal irony with you in an ongoing series of posts. Be sure your dominant hand is empty when you read. And, enjoy!

First Factoid

Patricia A. Clark, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the NRA, works in health care.

What can I possibly say after that but, see you soon!

The Funniest Post I Will Ever Write

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced today that he will reappoint conspiracy theorist, Michelle Bachman (R-MN), to the House Intelligence Committee. That’s right. Intelligence.

As soon as I stop laughing, and when my subsequent weeping abates, I will write a bit more about Rep. Bachman. The details are downright hilarious.

The Time Is Now

I do not believe the second amendment confers upon the individual the right to bear arms, but that it related to the maintenance of a well-regulated militia. If the DOJ and Supreme Court will not unequivocally state that the second amendment does not provide the right to private gun ownership, then the amendment should be repealed. I believe gun ownership in this country should be outlawed, except for the military and law enforcement. What are the chances, do you suppose, that these things will happen?

I can live with common-sense compromise that will allow for gun enthusiasts, those who believe that a gun in their home will keep them and their family safe, and hunters to own guns that are appropriate for their personal use. But I want to see a total ban on the manufacture, sale, transference or ownership of assault weapons and high-capacity clips and magazines; the complete closure of the gun show loophole; the development of a comprehensive, national database that will include the names of known terrorists, convicted felons, and the mentally ill; a limit to the number of guns one can purchase at a time – such as a one-gun-per-month rule  that will dramatically cut down on illegal trafficking and straw purchases – immediately enacted. How likely is it that these things will happen?

The leadership of the NRA, the lap dog of the arms manufacturing industry, wants to arm every teacher and principal in the country, every Mom and Dad, every homeowner. They want to see every American citizen armed to the teeth with a license to carry a concealed weapon into any place of business, house of worship, university and school building, public park, private home, ad infinitum, and these things could very well happen. If Americans continue to acquire guns at the current rate, guns will outnumber citizens in two years.

The leadership of the NRA should be branded as terrorists. Those who put profits of gun manufacturers above the lives of babies are terrorists. Those insane conspiracy theorists who believe the government will be coming for their guns any minute now; the rabid idealogues who value unfettered access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – weapons of war that have no earthly purpose but to take as many human lives as possible – more than they value the lives of our children, our children’s teachers, and the sanctity of parents’ love for their children, those who worship guns before humanity, are murderers.

The unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Newtown has ignited a furor around gun violence that we have not seen in this country. But while Joe Biden, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, and others come together to discuss what can be done about the fact that 85% of children in the world killed by guns are killed in the US, we see the stealthy retreat of the NRA’s congressional surrogates who timidly stated immediately following the horror that maybe it’s time to do something about guns in America.

A window is open wider than it has ever been, and if we can stomach the fight and muster the stamina, the time is now to effect real progress in our gun laws. And if we will not sustain the effort and don’t demand change, we will be complicit. Just as the hands of the NRA leadership drip with the blood of our babies – so, too, will ours. Our children are being gunned down in their classroom. What greater outrage can there possibly be? How many more will we sacrifice on the altar of the murderers? The time is now.

The power to deal with this nihilistic insanity lies in the hands of the American people. With us. Each of us. Only us. It’s time to organize. Time for rational and responsible gun rights and gun control advocates to unite in the effort. Time to call our local, state and federal representatives, write letters to the editor, march en masse in the streets of every state capital and descend on every senator’s and congressperson’s office with the ferocity of the mother lion protecting her young. We must march on Washington in enormous numbers in the Million Child March. We must insist and empower friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to take action.

The time has come to wrest power from the terrorists and murderers – the gun lobby and their minions and the delusional zealots – and impose the values they cravenly and with a wink and a nod purport to hold so dear – pro-life, family values. The value of our children and their right to live to fulfill their human potential.

Visit www.demandaplan.org and raise your voice.

The Creationists Might Be Onto Something

I’m no scientist, like duh, but I think I have a fairly good idea of how evolution works, or is supposed to, anyway. Well, I don’t know about you, but I can feel the global vibration as Darwin spins at warp speed in his grave. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the continuation of any species ensured by, indeed reliant upon, the constant evolutionary culling of the herd? Survival of the fittest, for chrissake. Let’s delve a bit into the most recent history of our human evolution, shall we? Closer scrutiny might beg the question “How’s that Origin-of-Species-y, natural-selection-y thing workin’ out for us?”

Consider, if you will, the illustrious congressman, Todd Akin (R-MO). How fit do you figure the finally former representative is, when after determining the legitimacy of a rape and conferring with all those doctors, he concludes that the female body has ways of shutting that whole pregnancy thing down. And how naturally selected should we suppose were the brainiacs who, in their infinite fitness, decided it was a good idea to seat him on the congressional Committee on Science? You heard me. Science.

How evolutionarily buff do you suppose Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Ala.) is? Ms. Roby sponsored HR 205, or The Geometric Simplification Act, which would have declared the Euclidean mathematical constant of pi to be precisely 3. Her bill came in response to data and rankings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which rated the United States’ 15 year-olds 25th in the world in mathematics. You see, since the actual value of pi is really, really hard to remember, Rep. Roby argued on the floor of the House, it would be good to just make it an even 3 and be done with it. We’re talkin’ Ironwoman-triathlete-fit here.

And then there’s Rep. Paul Broun (R., Ga.) who said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology, and the big-bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell, meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.” I didn’t need a savior before I heard him say that, but I can tell you I’m looking under every rock now.

I mean, seriously, how strong (and ironic) can the case for evolution be, exactly, if in the “debate” during the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, the candidates were asked to raise their hand if they didn’t believe in evolution? This isn’t the election of 1860 we’re talking about. Those nine words were actually strung together in a sentence last year. And not to put too fine a point on it, but thirty percent of the candidates raised their hand.

Consider the appalling fact that there is more than one elected official out there who holds the unshakable belief that Earth is 6,000 years old and humans and dinosaurs co-existed. We’re witnessing, for the first time in natural history, proceeding hairlines.

Maybe it’s a good thing, this backward trajectory on which we’re traveling at the speed of light. Maybe way, way, waaaay in the future, when the Republicans figure out how to win the African American, Latino, young, poor, middle class, gay, disabled, urban, suburban, labor and women’s vote, we’ll all be mindlessly, blissfully floating through a primordial cosmic soup and from that celestial stuff a new universe will be created in seven days. Hopefully, the new Adam will be a Texan who can document the whole thing for the new textbooks.

It’s George Bush’s Fault!

Jack was five. In the back seat of Linda’s car, coming home from a birthday party. As he had done since his first automotive adventure exactly five years earlier, albeit in blissful silence then, he relentlessly monitored the slightest move the driver made. Not only monitored, mind you, but challenged. Now loudly and with authority. After all, he possessed the gift of sight, didn’t he, and since he was perfectly able to see exactly what the driver was doing, thank you very much, he had the right, indeed the obligation, to question every single freaking move.

Heading north on Rt 1, approaching Princeton, Jack knew full well that a left turn onto Harrison St. was the way home. So when Linda moved into the right lane, and started the right turn into the jug handle, Jack demanded to know just where did she think she was going. Linda sweetly, and with admirable restraint, explained that on certain roads, in order to turn left, one first had to turn right.

Jack instantaneously concluded and stated with absolute conviction and sheer exasperation, in the highest, reediest, littlest five-year-old voice you ever heard, “It’s George Bush’s fault!”

Imagine my misty-eyed, vest-button-popping, motherly pride when Linda recounted the power of Jack’s declaration, and his well-that’s-the-last-straw, I-don’t-know-how-much-more-of-this-shit-I-can-take take on the sad state of political affairs in our country. Clearly, I had done my maternal duty, and well. My five-year-old was a fully-indoctrinated, card-carrying member (I believe his was a Pokemon card, but still…) of the Jewish liberal forged in the 60s speak truth to power question authority impeach everybody really pissed off and you’re gonna hear about it movement.

Jack’s assessment was spot on. Not only was it, but it is still George Bush’s fault. You can blame W and the meteoric descent of our nation’s collective intelligence, civility and sanity that he so swiftly set in seemingly inexorable motion for my desperate need to take to the blogosphere. So My Head Won’t Explode.

The Big Bang of my steady devolution into the utterly flabbergasted and simply horrified person I am today was the outrageous activism embodied in the decision of the US Supreme Court in Bush v Gore. They did it. They boldly went where no court had gone before. As a five-justice microcosm of the US, or any other shadow government imperialistically installing the puppet regime, the Court crowned W and birthed the new world order. With Cheney madly manipulating the marionette, Rove as the evil ventriloquist, and Rumsfeld, Condi and Ashcroft the Greek chorus behind, lunacy ensued and my mental health declined.

And so I blog, lest I lose my alarmingly-tenuous grip. If I don’t vent, and remember to refill my meds… well, I don’t like to think about what might happen.

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