The week from hell…
Posted June 15, 2016on:
Where do you start in a week like this? Dwell on the horrific? Dwell on the histrionics? Dwell on the hollowness? Or just say to hell with it all?
Like all of us, my heart hurts for the folks in Orlando. Happiness turned into the horrific. Frivolity turned frantic. Dancing turned into death. There are no definitive answers and in all likelihood, there never will be. As unsatisfying as this is, we should make peace with it. Otherwise, disappointment will add to the despondency.
For what it’s worth, the shooter was a toxic soup of self-loathing, narcissism, and brutality. Coming from a family where fantasy seemed the norm, his socialization was problematic at best. Being a twice-married closeted gay homophobe does not lend itself to a startling degree of self-awareness; though it might lead to a last-minute deflection excuse of ISIL allegiance.
Invariably there is the “same old, same old” gun control chatter. So far in 2016 there have been 132 other mass shootings. Will this one be different beyond claiming the record number of lives? Perhaps – perhaps not.
Here’s the rub – depending on the use, the average lifespan of a gun is generational. That means a useful lifetime of somewhere between 20 and 25 years on the low side. We don’t know exactly how many of these AR-15 type weapons there are in the stream of commerce because sales are not reported. We do know there is a gun in circulation for every man, woman, and child in the country. The statistics are mind-blowing: America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of its civilian-owned guns.
During the ten years of the assault weapons ban, 1994-2004, we were just beginning to see the results of the ban. Then it ended. Now, with the AR-15 being the most popular rifle sold, the number in the stream of commerce is staggering. Again, we don’t know exactly because the CDC can’t collect information on such things and the manufacturers won’t report.
The best all around article on this Gordian knot of death is one entitled, What No Politician Wants to Admit about Gun Control. It is well worth the read. The conclusions are staggering. It is something to keep in mind given the holy war about to be unleashed over gun sales to those on the “no fly list”. A holy war over sales to a paltry 247 people – total. Barring people on the no fly list from buying guns is not a big “ask”.
Let’s face it – death isn’t enough to defeat the gun merchants. It’s going to take different thinking and a different political climate. Hillary is doing her best to make that world a reality.
Turning to the histrionics – Donald Trump and Barack Obama are two scorpions in a media bottle. My question is this: Where has this Barack Obama been for the last seven and a half years? Yesterday, the world did not come to an end when it appeared he was emotionally capable of being angry. Where has that man been?
Trump is the political equivalent of the crazy man standing on the street corner. No one dares make eye contact with him. No one wants to engage him. He’s a big orange turd in the Republican punch bowl. He’s a pariah. No Republican dares stand up for him other than Sleazy, the rotund troll who closed the bridge.
Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, another of Trump’s opponents early in the campaign, has transformed himself into a sort of manservant, who is constantly with Trump at events. (One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order.)
If there was an “Unpresidential Handbook for Dummies,” Trump would be its author. Trump’s vanity exercise may well lead to the overruling of Heller and Citizens United. In the greater scheme of things, he does have a purpose.
As for the hollowness, the Republican Party, as Professor Krugman puts it, is a Party Agrift. It is a party without a soul. Those who now pretend to take a stand against Trump were, four years ago, engaged in a primal mating dance. Case in point: Mittens.
What is alarming is Trump’s Donny-come lately pro-gay Islamophobia is straight out of the European playbook. Welcome to the political styling of Paul Manafort. All those years of working for two-bit dictators does pay a dividend. A word of caution: It has worked.
Repeatedly Trump confuses political talking points for a substantive understanding of the issues. One of his favorites is “political correctness”. Political correctness has become the double secret code word for “white male victimization”. Criticism of political correctness is a way for white males to delegitimize the experiential reality of minorities.
This election will revolve around the victimization of white males. As we have pointed out previously, conservatives believe that discrimination is a larger problem affecting whites than minorities. It worked in the Republican primary. It is an anathema to those who decide elections, the ten to fifteen percent in the middle. The hollowness with which Trump is approaching this election is intellectually bankrupt and ironically, he does know about bankruptcy.
It has been a miserable week so far and as I write this a 2-year old has been attacked and carried away by an alligator at Disney World’s Grand Floridian hotel lagoon.
We need better news. At least the Bloomberg Poll says Hillary is ahead by 12 points.
Here’s Ken Burns at Stanford with some good life lessons after eviscerating the Meerkat-headed buffoon.
What’s on your mind?
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