Guns (addendum to blog post below this one)

Yes, I know there are people who have actual good reasons for owning a gun.
(See the post below, where it may have seemed I don't know that)
There really aren't that many of them, but sure, so don't tell me I'm not noticing that.
There are people with dangerous professions, like District Attorneys -- they make enemies.
People who are good targets to rob like diamond couriers.
But not that many.

But the movers and shakers of the 20th century (and in many cases, the 19th) really rang the bell for destructive stuff because it made money even if it fucked up people and places and our world -- oil-burning vehicles, guns, pesticides, financial finagling, et al. (Some of which looked like really good things and only LATER did people begin to realize they were fucking up the world.)

They rang that bell until they bent that bell and it doesn't ring any more, and so now they're down to yelling and accusing and predicting dire events, because they don't want to walk away from the money spigot.

"Class warfare!!" "Job killers!!" "God haters!!" "Reverse racists!" "Economic collapse!!"

Silly, because anyone clever enough to design and make a gun, a rifle, an automatic weapon, is clever enough to design and make other things, like refrigerators, electric cars, solar heating, etc.

And the pimps of the industry -- the ones who make nothing but deals? They will actually find it easier than the engineers to find a new high-paying job pimping for something else most people don't need. The engineers will have to have actual ideas. So the pimps have to keep selling those guns, because thinking up something new is too hard for them and maybe the new idea engineers might want new idea pimps.

And they have lots and lots of help convincing so many people to think they need guns.

News people tell them daily body counts -- of all the things that might have happened in Africa this week -- kids entering college -- first in their families to go, little Catholic kids receiving first communion, boys a little older and Jewish getting Bar Mitzvah'd, doctors saving lives, male and female virgins having their first sex, happy loving ecstasies, a medical missionary gone almost completely blind from River Blindness, getting stabilized in London at Saint Pancras, with 25% vision left in one eye, going back to Africa to return to doctoring the locals  ... do they tell us about that? Nope -- they tell us about a shootout in a shopping center-- 39  DEAD!! AND MORE EXPECTED TO DIE!!!  (Yeehah!)

TV shows tell them every way they can: "Don't go out there. People will kill you. Stay at home with your Friends. Nope -- that's not safe anymore. Lock your doors, people will break in and kill you." And the more people who buy that monstrous crap, the more that network can charge for advertisers who figure they might be willing to buy some other form of crap.

And they use the same tactics -- scare the bejeezus out of them -- it used to be halitosis and B.O.
And then it was no one will like you if you have grey hair, the wrong clothes, drink the wrong beer, short eyelashes, unshiny hair, small breasts, fat butts.
And now it's soft-dick can't get it up penis fatigue, natural decrease of testosterone, wrinkles -- but still "Someone is coming to take stuff away from you -- your crappy light beer, your artery-clogging breakfast food ." Or  "Pretty girls with nice hair who don't need bras will fuck you if you drink the right beer. Really. Even though they find you creepily repugnant now. That's because you drink the wrong beer. And if you drink the wrong beer, all those cheerful guys who drink the RIGHT beer will beat the crap out of you. A word to the idiot."

Politicians insisting the OTHER guy, the OTHER party wants to put everyone in prison camps, wants to take away your money and your TV sets and your cars and your Big Gulps and your heart attack food. They want to give those good things to their own people, people not like you. They only want to give you Medical Insurance so they can refuse to treat you and kill you. They love the terrorists. HE'S a COMMUNIST!!!  HE'S A FASCIST!!! And where does THAT scare go after the election? Because one of them will get elected. And it doesn't go away. It hangs there like smog in the L.A. Basin.

It's not like no one noticed it -- a TV newsman saw it and talked about it in the late 60's.

Imagine that -- it took the LIBERAL news channels on cable THREE YEARS for anyone to even SUGGEST there MIGHT BE some racism in the Republican opposition to all things Obama -- and it was a guest who said it and who shocked the LIBERAL anchor.

But Eric Severeid pointed it out at the dawn of the Nixon Adminstration:

"The biggest business in America is not steel,  automobiles, or television. It is the manufacture,  refinement and distribution of anxiety ... Logically extended, this process can only  terminate in a mass  nervous breakdown  or in a collective condition of resentment..."

Welcome to the 21st century.

Here we are dragging our 18th, 19th,20th century fears with us.

So get a gun. Actually, get 2 guns, or 3 or 5 or more...

Because the number of people buying guns is going down (is that a bit of sunlight in the area of mental health?) but the NUMBER OF GUNS being sold is going up (is that like crazy is a fixed amount and if one person loses it another gains the extra?)

Who knows?  I don't.

There's no heaven or hell -- just one big fucking madhouse.

And guns don't make it better.



Once a month in the USA:

--------- killed in mass shooting in -----------
Gunman kills -------------- at ------------- school.
----------- people shot at sporting event in ---------- 
Cop kills unarmed (black man/black men) in -----------------

Once every month on average.
(This month isn't over yet and we already have two of them.)

And gun laws
It’s not about the wrong people getting guns.
It's about the nature of what guns are --
It’s about guns being a comfort weapon for stupid people, for scared people, for dummies.

Guns make it easy to shoot someone without thinking.
And we have no shortage either of guns or of people who act without thinking.

Consider this – in the world of weapons, a gun differs from a knife or a club or a sword.
Any of these require an overt action (even if defensive) to be used.

A gun?
Especially a handgun?
A weapon for the inept.

A person feels threatened, feels defensive.
The natural response to that usually includes clenching the hands, as in making a fist.
And this reflexive physical response will, if a gun is in hand, be the act of pulling the trigger.

Which leads to all those “oh boo hoo I didn’t mean it” people who have just killed someone saying:
“It was an accident. I didn’t mean to shoot him.”

An accident?
You paid over $1000 for that gun.
No one put it in your hand and said: “Here, hold this.”
Owning that hunk of lethality was no accident.
It’s a piece of premeditation that you bought.
Even if you’re too stupid to think about what you do.

You bought that gun to make it easier to hurt someone than using a club or a knife.
And the people who manufacture and sell guns know it.

It’s the same thing as making multi-blade throwaway razors are for men who never learned how to actually shave. “Can’t figure out how to use a blade to scrape off your whiskers? Use this piece of plastic and steel landfill and you don't need to think about it.”

It is the nature of a gun itself that it is the tool for scared, inept, angry people.
Why else would a cop shoot an unarmed man 12 times except that the dead man was black and big and he, poor Offisah Pup, was scared.

Why would New Orleans cops shoot unarmed people for crossing a bridge to escape the flood?
Because they were scared those people would not obey them, would not grant them their BIGMAN status.

Think about why the Old West Colt .45 was called “The Equalizer.”
Because it allowed people who were scared and felt unable to defend themselves to kill the people who scared them.

And in the most recent case of a North Carolina cop shooting the unarmed Jonathan Ferrell 12 times, (Randall Kerrick) if I were on that jury (assuming there might be one) and if Offisah Pup pled self-defense because: "He was big and black and he was walking towards us and even though he didn't do anything, I was scared," I might consider jury nullification, because EVEN ONE killer cop admitting that on the record, could change our national racist horror show.

Just one police officer admitting "He scared me. He was a big black scary man." Could change our national conscience into something we're not ashamed to admit.

Not long ago in this blog, I wrote about having smart-assed a couple people during the Vietnam war who were tsk-tsk-ing about the nasty nature of the land mines were were using (see below)and I said "Wouldn't you rather use a knife?" 

The point being NOBODY (almost nobody) would rather use a knife, because when you do you have to actually decide you want to hurt/kill/maim someone. When you use a knife you can FEEL what you're doing to that person in your hand and arm, and there aren't many people who can deal with that. Gun people look down on knife people because they think knife people are weird, sick, creepy -- because as creepy as it may be, people who use knives, clubs, baseball bats, swords, KNOW what they're doing because they can FEEL it in their own bodies. And to feel that in your own body is to REALLY know that the other guy is more or less the same as you. 

The best urban knife-fighter I've ever known taught me something. 
If you need to pull a knife on someone to protect yourself, stab toward his crotch -- he'll always protect that and you can then stab him in the thigh -- the quadriceps -- because "It hurts like hell and it will really slow him down so you can run away." The fact that it was unlikely to cause any permanent damage was also a consideration he favored.  

Aikido with pointy objects.

Back in the 1970’s, someone wrote a book which concluded with two friends talking, one of whom had just been through a series of upsetting, even horrifying, realities. They were over and his friend, worried that there might be some post-traumatic problems asked him:

“What do you think?”
“What do I think? I think there’s no Heaven or Hell, just one big fucking madhouse.”
The friend, relieved says:
“Well, ok – let’s go, nothing wrong with you.”

Having guns doesn't change that, just makes it worse.



Comment to President Obama about his historically important speech yesterday

What he had to say was historically HUGE....


This was the first time in a long time that an American president has presented the situation, directly, without twisty thinking to exempt himself from doing the right thing. 
The situation:
"If you perceive a moral imperative, you have to take action, not just stand around and wish you had" -- and take that action with mindfulness to the principles that you know are the source of your strength...

No total bullshit fabrications like 
"They hate us for our freedom."
That's what they love about us. 

They hate us because we support multinational corporations going into their homes and pissing all over their culture and beliefs for their profit and campaign contributions...

What Our President had to say AND what he said was historically extraordinary.

BUT the way he said it! Damn.
This was the first time I can recall when I really noticed the professorial academic syntactical self-gelding of his message in which, instead of confidently asserting and stating the points to be made as the person who is the holder of the ONLY nationally elected office in America (along with his choice of VP) -- the ONE PERSON the entire voting population has chosen, the one person in the world who can rightfully take the stance of "L'etat c'est moi" for that particular instance -- instead of that, mealy-mouthing his historically and philosophically significant impeccable case by positing and footnoting as if he were a doctoral candidate presenting his dissertation before the dubious academic board,  prefacing and modifying each important point with "I think..." "I believe..." etc.

Jeezus Keerist, Barry -- We KNOW it's what you think. 
We have always thought it's EXACTLY what you believe. 
You're NOT a candidate for a degree or a job.   
You've already got the job.   
(You had us at "I'm not McCain and Palin.") 

So stop shillyshallying around -- put the goddamn hammer down. Kick some ass and take some names.

"I think..." and "I believe" amputates the power and limits the validity of the message as much as "Under God" in the pledge limits the right of the franchise to only those who suffer from the same fantasy as the people who are afraid we can't compete with the godless communists and need some supernatural validation in order to try.

A man who knew more about Euro-American politics than almost anyone else -- George Orwell -- noticed the problem:  
"We have a hunger for something like authenticity,  
but are easily satisfied by an ersatz facsimile."

In this case, Mr. President -- you ARE authenticity itself, but you are ceding the authority to the signifying monkeys of the right and and wrong.

We live in a world of "It's the singer, not the song." 
You HAVE the song, and it's the right one. 
Hell, you WROTE the song and we love you for that. 

But we need for you to sing it to us the way you did those few bars at the Apollo theater. 

No one wants to hear Noam Chomsky do Al Green, as brilliant and perceptive as Professor Chomsky is. 

Forget that old crap of 
"Campaign in poetry and govern in prose." 
That's what old white guys who can't dance like to say. 
Don't lose the poetry. 

We need for you to sing to us.
We want to know you still love us.

That you still think we're beautiful.

That you want us to stay together.

And that's why you're standing up there.

So, to be concise -- don't just tell us -- sing your song to us. 

(Bolinas poet Bill Brown used to put it this way: 
"You can call them horse's asses if you want, 
but for God's sake -- don't bore 'em to death." )



Some perspective on the "Let's-tell-Syria-to-stop-what-they're-doing" debate

Some perspective on the"Let's-tell-Syria-to-stop-what-they're-doing" debate

Ok, so I'm an old fart, and this anecdote took place during  our wonderful adventure in Vietnam.
Doesn't mean it isn't to the point.

Long time ago -- early 70's -- my pal Greg and I were having raw fish salad at Sam Wo's in San Francisco. This was something we did so often that the irascible waiter Edsel Ford Fung recognized us and knew we knew the rules. (You don't ask for water. You don't ask for a fork.) He yelled at people who didn't. ("You want water? Go jump in a lake!)

People at the next table were discussing the war and were incensed by the diabolical weapons being used, particularly the anti-personnel land mines. They found two of them especially pernicious -- the Bouncing Betty and the Glass fragmentation mine. When stepped on, the Bouncing Betty's charge caused it to fly up about a meter, or right about waist/chest height, and then explode.  The glass fragmentation mine was as the name indicated one which sent out a handsome sufficiency of fragments of glass, rather than steel, meaning that the shrapnel wouldn't be easily seen by an X-ray.  

My seat being backed up to theirs, I leaned back and smiled and said:

"It's really terrible stuff, isn't it? Wouldn't you rather use a knife?"

One of them said: "Are you insane?"

( Ahh, how innocent we all were in those days. No one would dare ask that question today. As unlikely as someone like Janet Leigh deciding to take an obviously psychologically troubled Army vet into her home upon meeting him on a train in The Manchurian Candidate.)

And I said: "ME? I'm not arguing about what's a Better or Worse way to kill people."


In Syria, Al-Assad has already killed more than 100,000 of his people in the past 2 years. (Some people actually will argue that it's not quite that many. To those people I can only say "Really? That makes a difference to you?") One can only try to stop oneself from wondering how many have been maimed. Really don't want to put that picture in your head.

The current ogre-in-chief Bashful Al-Assad succeeded his father, Halfass Al-Assad in 2000. Prior to that time, Halfass' claim to fame was pretty much limited to the fact that he had taken the art of torture to such heights as to make Nazi torturers turn in their graves in post-mortem envy.

We can only assume that Bashful, like so many sons of powerful mass-murdering fathers, is trying hard to prove to daddy that he's just as good, even better at the family trade.

But since Bashful already has more than 100,000 dead under his belt, most of them blown to bits if not crushed by falling buildings or shot by roving bands of sociopaths,  and we didn't feel any need to get off our internationally supercilious asses before, then WHY THE FUCK SHOULD IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO US IF HE KILLS 1500 MORE WITH NERVE GAS?

Or is it just because making bio-weapons like Sarin is simple and can be done with easily-obtained ingredients? And packed in a suitcase.

Another legacy from the Nazi's - the Nazi's made Sarin at Spandau and other locations -- and like the VW, it was something that could be assembled by a non-professional with very little instruction.

Four ingredients. 26 times as lethal as cyanide. And it only takes 1/100th of 1 mg per Kg of body mass to kill. (Simple math -- you can kill a 220 pound adult with 1 milligram of the stuff. One kilo will do 1000 adults.) Absorbs through the skin, easier to make than simple vitamins and the only adverse side effect, if you screw up, is that some people will survive.

It's odorless, colorless, and since it's dense and lingers close to the ground for weeks before dispersing, it's the  Gift  that keeps on killing. (Which may be why Bashful kept shelling the killing ground to try to disperse the gas before the inspectors could get there.)  

And, oh, for Assad -- the bonus -- it also causes a very very painful death and so I would imagine it satisfies the sadistic imperative desired by a family which has -- as already mentioned -- only one traditional craft -- torture. (And oh, Bashful's 11-year-old son, Halfass II is the one doing all the Facebook threats and dares against the USA contemplating taking action against Syria.) Hmmm -- they say the TRUE genetic factors skip a generation. In this case, maybe Arab tradition to kill the monster's children while you're at it might make sense.


We, on the other hand, are trying hard to maintain our traditional superiority at warcraft, and after two wars in which our PR people have had to sort through the litter like Joyce's Little Red Hen to just find SOMETHING -- ANYTHING we did successfully in either Iraq or Afghanistan (not even mentioning Vietnam) we're still trying to prove we're the toughest guys in the world, when the fact is, we're not even the toughest guys on the block anymore.

So, with all this political push-and-shove, the "Bomb-'em-back-to-the-stone-age" rec room warriors demanding the President ask congress for permission.  The "He's a dictator if he doesn't come to congress for approval" types screaming that the President is delaying because he's asking congress for approval (the congress which is still on vacation), I can only say this:

"Maybe I AM insane, but I'm not the one arguing about what's a better or worse way to kill people."

Maybe we might focus on finding something else to be good at, something other than our ability to bomb the crap out of people. Like making peace. Starting with ending our national pastime, which isn't baseball -- a lovely and noble game -- I refer to the  national pastime of bickering, nattering, fixing blame, and the always reliable: "LOOK what YOU made me do."

Because it sure looks like we've lost our touch at war, and for that new incompetence, we can only give thanks.


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