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Archive for January, 2013

Discussions about gun control are always interesting. I casually mentioned to some folks at the gym that the time was probably close when we would have to see armed guards in schools.  The people were shocked. “Are you crazy?” “What a horrible idea!” “We can’t allow that to happen!” I then casually asked, “Well, what is the alternative?” The responses were immediate and darn near unanimous…”Ban assault weapons in the United States!” Now, the people with whom I was speaking appear to be reasonably intelligent.  We’ve had discussions on other topics in the past and I have been impressed with their points of view. This one floored me.

We have somewhere between nine and eleven million illegal aliens living in this country. That means we couldn’t impose our immigration laws on them; they came into the country illegally. No doubt many of these people are making significant contributions to our society; they are still illegal. We have more damned drug task forces than we have God-only-knows-what, but we don’t seem to be able to quell the manufacture, transportation, distribution, sale and use of illegal drugs in our country. In 1920, we attempted to prohibit the manufacture, etc, of alcohol, and while the ban lasted for 13 years, the manufacture, sale, distribution, and consumption of alcohol didn’t seem to miss a beat.

There are well over 100 gun manufacturers in the United States.  Are we going to tell Mark and Chuck Larson of Rock River Arms that they have to close up shop and find a new line of work? Should we let Bill Alexander of Alexander Arms know that his Beowulf and Grendel cartridges can no longer be made because they’re too powerful? How about the Springfield Armory in Illinois, or Remington or Smith & Wesson; what do we say to those folks? “Oh, you can manufacturer for the military and you can make; you can make; you can make…aw, hell, we don’t want you to make anything that might kill our civilians!” How bloody naïve can are we? Putting a ban on assault weapons now is somewhat akin to locking the barn door after the horses have run. Can we slow down the sales? Most assuredly we can have a minor impact, but that’s about all. Can we guarantee that an assault rifle will not fall into the hands of someone who is unbalanced? That’s open to debate. How do we know who is going to snap for whatever reason? The answer, obviously, is that we don’t. Therefore, mall shootings, school shootings, business office shootings, supermarket shootings, etc., are going to happen. We don’t like it – not a one of us – but it’s a fact of life in the society in which we just happen to live.

When you boil down the bullshit, one fact remains clear: If you fire a gun, you are trying to become proficient at killing. You may call it sport shooting or target practice or whatever name you wish, but it boils down to aiming a weapon that’s sole purpose is to kill. Whether you are trying to become a better hunter for the food that you need to put on the table or whether you are attempting to eliminate an enemy before he/she/it eliminates you, your gun’s ultimate purpose is to kill something. “Oh, I just have it for protection,” someone will say. How does a gun protect you if you are not willing to use it? And, if you are willing to use it, you are willing to kill because that’s what guns do. I love these television shows and movies where the bad guys always miss from 30 feet away with an AR-15 while the good guys can make a head shot from fifty yards with a .45 caliber pistol. Anyone who has ever handled weapons knows just how unlikely these scenarios are. Therefore, the phrase, “Shoot to wound,” is about as unrealistic as it can possibly be. If you are firing a gun at someone to stop them from killing you, the largest mass of the body is that for which you are aiming; that is not the head, nor an arm or leg; it is the chest and stomach, both of which are generally kill shots.

We must wake up to the fact that we are not living in the genteel days of the 50s, 60s, or even 70s. We are living in a time, for whatever reason, people are taking violent actions in their rage. What causes anyone to go into a shopping mall, a theater, a school, or even a business and begin firing? I don’t know, and until the time comes when we can identify predictors of aberrant behavior, no one will be able to accurately predict who is going to do what or when.

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When it comes to forgiveness, America is a very strange place indeed. Periodically, even today, someone will send me the photographs condemning Jane Fonda for her exploits in North Vietnam during that terrible period in our history. Yet, we go absolutely ga-ga over a South Korean rapper named Jae-sang Park who used to sing about killing Americans as part of his regular repertoire. We forgive him his lyrics because he has some strange dance and besides, “He was only a young man when he sang those lyrics.” Bullshit! He demonstrated his anti-American feelings, singing the following lyrics…

  • “Kill those f*****g Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives                                                                                                                       Kill those f*****g Yankees who ordered them to torture                                   Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers                            Kill them all slowly and painfully.”

That was in 2004. In 2002, he participated in an anti-American concert after two U.S. soldiers were convicted of killing two young South Korean girls. Now, however, Park has become a hit over his dance, “Gangnam Style.” When it comes to forgiveness, we appear to choose our “forgivees” for weird reasons.

I was reading the Washington Post this morning and discovered that Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens is going to be feted for his 17-year career in professional football. There is no question in anyone’s mind that has seen Mr. Lewis on the football field that he is probably better left in a cage until Sunday afternoon when he can be allowed out – preferably on a very long leash – to perform his mayhem between the sideline markers. His showmanship at introduction time is surpassed only by his very real violence when it comes to playing the sport of professional football. We forgive Ray for his part in the murder of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker back in 2000. We conveniently forget the blood that was found in Lewis’ limousine and the disappearance of the white suit that he was wearing that night. We forgive him, in part because he paid millions in a civil suit to the Lollar and Baker families. We forgive him his part in a murder that left two young people dead and, to this day, no one paying for the crime.

What is wrong with us? I’m not here to defend Jane Fonda’s actions any more than I can defend Jae-sang Park’s actions; any more than I can believe that people are willing to forgive an animal like Ray Lewis, or the management and owners of the New Orleans Saints for paying bounties to injure people from other teams. I rather thought that we had graduated from the days of the Coliseums where you could always count on the final score as being Lions 10, Christians 0.

I know of people who still believe that O.J. Simpson had nothing to do with the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Their sole raison d’être for believing this is “…if the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.” Thankfully, Simpson was finally put behind bars.

Why can we tolerate some actions that are intolerable and refuse to justify other actions which might have justification…or not? I will grant that Ms. Fonda certainly used extremely poor judgment in going to North Vietnam.  I prefer to call her actions stupid. After all, she was only a movie actress, and not a particularly good one at that. But when it comes to our athletic heroes, they can do no wrong…including murder. If you or I couldn’t find the suit we were wearing on the night two people were murdered, and if we had been known to have been around those victims on that evening, we’d either be lying in some grave with a needle mark in our arm or we’d be sitting on death row for the rest of our natural lives. If we went around the neighborhood singing songs about killing American soldiers, we’d get our asses kicked so high we’d be needing parachutes to land safely.

Before anyone condemns a foolish young woman for childish acts, think about the foolish young – and some not-so-young – people who decry America and Americans or who kill their fellow citizens. Who do  we forgive? Why do we forgive or not forgive them. What are the parameters for forgiveness? Who can do what and get away with it? Ah, my mischievous  Puck, you were so right…”What fools these mortals be!.

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MEMORANDUM

Date:                    January 1, 2013

TO:                        All State Department Personnel

FROM:                  THE Secretary of State

SUBJECT:             Dates to remember

In light of the attack on our embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 – get that; see that date there; does it have any significance to anyone in the department; a free steamship roast beef sandwich to the first five people who can correctly identify the meaning of that particular date. It’s not rocket science, people; get with the program.

Here’s another date of which I’d like everyone to take note; May 2. The year doesn’t matter; it’s an extremely significant date in the State Department annals.

Since my telephone has yet to ring, I will assume that no one has a clue about either date. This tells me a couple of things. The first is that I’m working with a bunch of complete idiots – that’s polite State Department speak for “assholes of the first order.” The second thing it tells me is that for the past decade or more, you morons have either had your heads tucked completely where the sun don’t shine or you have so many game apps on your computers that you don’t have time to do the work for which you are supposedly getting paid. The third thing it tells me is that you could all use a history lesson regarding terrorism.

From this date forward – check the word “date” just below the word, “memorandum” on this page, all American embassies located on foreign soil will go on Condition Red status or whatever we’re calling it these days three weeks prior to and one month following May 2nd of any given year and one month before and one month after September 11th of any given year. This means that each embassy will be reinforced with one company of United States Marine personnel for these periods of time.

In case you haven’t figured things out quite yet, the Benghazi attack took place on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center on September 1, 2001. Anyone who does not believe that terrorists, particularly those of Islamic faith, won’t try to do this again in the future has no place working in the State Department; pack your bags and get the hell out of Dodge. That’s State Department speak for “you’re fired and the fact that you’re a political appointee doesn’t matter one goddamned bit to me.” The second date is that on which Osama bin Laden, a.k.a. Abu Hamza was killed by Seal Team Six, a branch of the United States military. The reasoning behind this request is quite simple: I do not wish to go to Capitol Hill to speak to some committee comprised of fools who have nothing better to do with their time than ask stupid questions or to reduce our budget by an amount so significant that we cannot afford to staff our embassies with appropriate protection. These are the same people who couldn’t find their ass with a map, compass, and flashlights. We have enough problems without interference from people who are do-nothing, know-nothing hacks.

Should you have any questions regarding this memorandum, I would be delighted to speak with you when I am in town. I would advise, however, that anyone with questions should come to my door prepared to be fired, because if this memo doesn’t make things clear, the only thing I can suggest to you is a lobotomy…which used to be available at Walter Reed but which is now being done on a walk-in basis at the Fort Myer North Post Dispensary on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 0800 to 1300.  

Good luck, Godspeed, and please remember to shred this memo before putting it in a burn bag!

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Hey, check it out; I’m above average…no, not like that silly…I’ve exceeded my life expectancy. Yep, you heard it here first…unless you heard it somewhere else, and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t mess with my ego by telling me so.  The average age of the American white male is 76.3 years. At 78 years and five months, I’m feelin’ pretty damned perky about my age [said he, falling to the floor with a massive stroke].

I often think about people I’ve known, many much younger than I, who are now underground or in a jar on the mantel. I have to ask, “Why?” Why have I been allowed to achieve these years when people whom I regarded as having so much promise– in my mind at least – were snatched away prematurely. Maybe it just reinforces my theory that we are all born with a certain task or series of tasks that we must accomplish before being called ‘home.’ It just takes some of us a bit longer to complete the jobs that we have to do. We, of course, are totally unaware of what these chores might be and that’s probably a good thing. It certainly does give me pause to wonder.

How often do you consider the life you’re living? Why is it that you do the things you do; eat the things you eat; live the place that you live; have friends that you think you know, but do you really? We breathe in and out and most of us take that for granted. I suppose they are the things of museums by now, but did you ever see anyone being kept alive by an iron lung.  Before poliomyelitis became an “illness of the past,” iron lungs were common in hospital wards. A friend of mine who had contracted polio died in an iron lung. It breathed for him, but he was taken anyway. I can still see his face; he had a buzz cut before they were popular, and; he had these crazy round spectacles with skinny black rims…couldn’t see a damned thing without those glasses. He was 16 when he died; that’s a long way from 78+.

Perhaps I have too much time on my hands. It doesn’t seem that way. Like everyone else, I’m a victim of Parkinson’s Law…work expands to fill the time available. There’s only one problem with that; I’m retired; my ‘work’ is a thing of the past. My time is now occupied with the things I wanted to do years ago but couldn’t because my time was filled with work, family, and more work. The funny part of that story is that I used to teach a workshop in time management; talk about the cobbler’s kids who didn’t have shoes! I even practiced what I preached but that 168 hours we all have on a weekly basis just seemed to get fuller ‘n fuller ‘n fuller.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in growing older is not being able to do some of the things you enjoyed doing when you were young. As we age, we lose strength; it’s a function of aging. We settle for less weight and more reps when we’re in the gym. We don’t use certain machines because we know which part of our body will hurt like hell if we’re stupid enough to forget.  My eyes don’t adjust as quickly when I try to shoot a basketball, something I probably shouldn’t be doing anyway – act your age really does have meaning. Looking back, I remember when I could sink hoops from way beyond the arc and punt a football close to 50 yards. Why would I want to do those things at 78? Heck, I don’t know but I’d like to think that I could still do it if I wanted.

Nowadays, I content myself with several mornings a week in the gym, doing an hour of cardiovascular exercise and not much else. Having had both shoulders reconstructed and a hand that’s now missing three bones, there’s damned little to be done with weights. Since my physique is now similar to that of the Michelin man and never going to be like that of one of the young studs, what the hell. As Ruth said in the play, My Sister Eileen, “What the hell, let it spread!” I have what I am now defining as “couch butt” because I spend so much time there reading, watching television or working on a latch hook project. There really isn’t a hell of lot else to be done during a New England winter. If it isn’t snowing and blowing, the sun is deceptively shining while the temperature is damned close to zero.

Oh, well, sometimes it’s just a kick to review how far one has come in however long one has been living. One thing is certain: We can’t go back to what once was; therefore, we might as well look ahead to the exciting things that await us in the future…hot damn, it’s IPod 44!

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What can we say about the 113th Congress? Well, it’s young; that’s for darn sure. It’s inexperienced; when you have two freshmen holding seats on the House Appropriations Committee, you know there’s trouble from the git-go. In addition another freshman is chairing one of the Homeland Security subcommittees.

Initially, it seems that the first big debate for the new administration – pardon me; old administration in a new guise – will be the battle over the debt ceiling. How do we reduce our multi-trillion dollar deficit or do we raise the ceiling so we can spend more? Oh, wait a minute, we also have to discuss the matter of taxes and get that resolved in the next three months. How these two items can take the next four years is impossible to foresee, but I imagine that the Republican House of Representatives already has a plan in place that will stall progress for months and months to come.

It was nice of the Obama’s to cut the number of inaugural balls to two this time instead of the ten that were held as part of the last inaugural celebration. This time there was no limit to what corporate donors could give. Maybe we could use part of that to lower the budget deficit. Probably not because it was ‘earmarked’ – if there ever was a word to be hated, it’s ‘earmarked – for the celebration.

This Congress, this new group of inexperienced men and women, should not turn to their older colleagues for knowledge. The older members of Congress are too set in their ways. They are the most polarized group of politicians we have seen in decades, and that’s too bad. Corruption by continuation is no way for this country to reach new heights. The concept of proposing a bill meant to benefit the vast majority of Americans must not be allowed to become a contentious piece of legislation because some fool decided to attach a piece of pork that just might kill the bill in the final analysis. Perhaps there will be some young Republican Senator or Congressman/woman who will reach across the aisle and work closely with colleagues from the other party – and the opposite can be true – to outlaw earmarks and riders on legislation. It won’t be easy; it might mean his or her death knell, but this has to be done. It has to become part of the legislative process. We cannot allow this foolishness to continue. If we do, then we, the people of the United States of America, will finally begin to realize that the members of our legislative branch are for sale to the highest bidder. That, my friends, is not democracy. It is not the manner in which our form of government should be allowed to operate.

The President might want to let us, his loyal electors, know what his priorities are for the second term, not in the banal terms that he seems to toss around willy-nilly, but in real-life-honest-to-God words that the average American can understand. Don’t throw talking points at me, Mr. President; give me a real plan, day-by-day, if necessary and tell me what the hell you’re going to do for me, the guy who threw a few bucks into your campaign…more out of fear of what Herr Mitt might do rather than what you might don’t. As I listened to your Inaugural Address, I was completely unimpressed by its banality. I heard “gay rights, civil rights, and gun control.” It was the largest wagon-load of horse manure that Washington has seen since the mid-1800s.  Unfortunately, I can almost hear your yes men and women telling you how great it was. I’m sorry, sir, but it most assuredly did not carry the day.

Sorry – once more I digress. We’re all aware that, following the horror at Newtown, CT, the issue of gun control will once again be on the agenda. I’ve said before, but I must reiterate, this is a useless topic for Congress and the President to debate. No one is planning a rewrite of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and we are not going to ban gun sales in the United States. As a consequence, that must go to the bottom of the barrel in terms of what can be done to accomplish tasks about which we might stand some chance of getting done.

It is important to remember that Congressional delegates will see about 10,000 bills and resolutions during their two-year tenure. Of that group only about 400 will actually become law. One of the greatest problems in consideration of all of these bills and resolutions is that they are written in “Congressionalese.” Let me give you just one example:  H.R. 307, entitled the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 is 97 pages in length. Its purpose is to “…reauthorize certain programs under the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response, and for other purposes.” Oops, what are those other purposes?  Since the bill was written by Representative Mike Rogers of Mississippi’s Eighth Congressional District, does it also contain an earmark for one of the Congressman’s pet projects or does it not. As a Congressman, I suppose I should assume that since it’s a reauthorization, all is well. I’ll just have a staffer review it. But the freaking thing is 97 pages to reauthorize something that already exists. And that’s a short bill!

When he was at Harvard, Henry Kissinger gave an aide a 10-page monograph and asked for a summary. The aide returned with a 5-page summary. “Summarize it,” said Kissinger. The story goes that the aide damned near went crazy because of the number of times Kissinger sent it back. Finally, the 10-page monograph became a two-sentence summary that Kissinger read. It seems to me that there are probably too many 100+ page pieces of legislation that could be condensed by more than half and still cover all of the legalese bullcrap that so many bills contain.

And so, members of the 113th Congress, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Don’t just shake hands across the aisle once and then retreat to your trenches.
  • If you have a piece of legislation on your mind, seek the advice of many…from both sides. Open your mind to the fact that while he or she may be from the opposite party, they may also have some good ideas to improve your work.
  • Make your personal agenda brief. What do your constituents want that will best serve the largest group of Americans? If you’re in the House, it may be good for the District, but is it really important enough at this stage when, perhaps, larger issues are stake?
  • Listen. Most of us have a plague that blocks our ears to the thoughts of others. Remember the old expression, “My mind’s made up; don’t try to convince me with facts!” It’s true, particularly in the halls of congress…sad, but true.
  • Ask the second, third, and fourth questions when you are approached with a new piece of legislation. Too many of you stop after asking the most simplistic question of all: “What’s in it for me?”
  • Most important of all…remember how short of a period of time your tenure actually is. Make the most of it…for America; for your constituents; for you. Let’s get it on, folks.

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Why do we believe that changes in gun control laws are going to reduce violence or stop these horrific shootings that are taking place? It’s just another example of knee-jerk reaction and posturing on the part of politicians and others in an attempt to make the American public believe that something is being done. It’s all nonsense. It’s not going to happen.

We, as a nation, tried to put a ban on something several decades ago. We tried to ban the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. It was called – for those of you who have been sleeping in the back of the class – prohibition. What an interesting word. We will prohibit. The government will tell us what we can and cannot drink. Good heavens; whatever are we going to do? While it took 13 years (1920-1933), cooler heads eventually prevailed, and the smuggled rum from Barbados, and whiskey from Canada, England, and right here in our own backyard – remember “bathtub gin” – began flowing once more. It still kills…but it’s legal.

We are not going to close the Smith & Wesson plant in Springfield, Massachusetts any more than we are going to tell gun manufacturers from all over the world to stop sending weapons across our borders. We are not going to run around and try to grab guns from “bad guys.” We aren’t going to do any of that crap that would look good in television and newspaper stories. Hopefully, we know better; after all, just how gullible can the politicians actually believe the American public really is…whoops, don’t answer that…”We have averted the ‘weapons cliff’ by snatching the last guns from a housing project in East Bumfuck, Delaware!!” Yeah, right.

What should we be doing to control gun violence? You have your ideas; I have mine; the NRA has theirs, and; the Federal Government doesn’t really give a damn…just as long as it looks as though they care. One of my thoughts is that gun shows should be more closely monitored. The problem with that, however, is that gun shows, just like the speakeasies of prohibition days, would go underground. It would actually make it more exciting to attend a gun show in some out-of-the-way warehouse than in the local Holiday Inn. Everyone likes to think they are “getting away” with something, and this would merely add more sneaky glamour to looking at and purchasing weapons.

It may well be a poor analogy to compare the Prohibition era with what we are going through right now with regard to guns. I don’t really know. The guns that have been used in these rampages all over this country and abroad – don’t forget the horror in Norway – haven’t been conducted using illegally obtained weapons. We haven’t had rival factions shooting each other just to gain more territory for their illegal sale of guns. The fact that 100-round magazines are available isn’t outlawed by any nation. The original AK.47 is an outstanding example of weaponry. Unless you try to beat a tank to death with it, the gun is damn near indestructible. Who, among gun collectors, wouldn’t wish to own one of these things? So while my analogy may have some weak points, there are many, many similarities to the age of Prohibition with the age Gun Rampage.

Stopping the killing has very little to do with stopping guns and everything to do with identification of those with personalities who are likely to take a gun and do the kind of damage that we have seen done over the past several decades. “How do we do that?” you ask. “Do I look like God?” I respond. And, being somewhat God-like in this regard, I have to say that I don’t think we stand a snowball’s chance in Hell of determining all who should or who should not be allowed to handle guns. No one knows. Most assuredly, Vice President Joe Biden and the group he has gathered together don’t have a clue. You might get more intelligent answers regarding gun control by gathering a group of respected psychologists or psychiatrists together and asking, “For what characteristics in people should we be looking?” That would not solve the problem a) because the professionals don’t really know; b) because parents wear blinders when it comes to their own children, e.g., Mrs. Lanza pulling her kid out of school but having no clue that her child was killer-crazy until it was too late; c) because there is no way to enforce any law or legislative act that would allow us to lock up ‘suspected’ killers. And the alphabet could go on and on about why we cannot prevent what has happened in Sandy Hook, West Paducah, Springfield, Oregon, or Chardon, Indiana.

The world does not consist of clairvoyant people. We do not have super powers. We cannot pick out who is going to be ‘good’ or who is going to be ‘bad.’ Hell, we can’t even tell the rest of the world exactly what those words mean. Analysts have defined all sorts of disorders and why some people are ‘crazy’ (another word defying accurate definition) and others are perfectly sane. What creates fanaticism?  Are people who run for the Presidency of the United States completely unbalanced or just plain masochistic?

So we should all say a big, fat “thank you” to Joe Biden and his committee, and we should all continue to wring our hands and hold our vigils when this same stuff happens all over again. We should all decry who has access to guns and what we should do about it and…nothing’s going to happen.

Nothing’s going to happen!

Nothing’s going to happen!

NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

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America appears to be a nation that revels in excuses for actions that are intolerable. When Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on their massacre at Columbine High School; when Seung-Hui-Cho killed 32 at Virginia Tech; when Adam Lanza slaughtered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School; when, when, when, when, when…we attempted to justify the killers’ actions.  Klebold and Harris were bullied. Cho had an anxiety disorder. Lanza  was described as having a personality disorder.

Since 1992, there have been 387 school shootings. Some, like Sandy Hook and Columbine and Va Tech have attracted national and international attention. Others like Inskip Elementary School or North Charleston High School received a minimum of publicity. Think of the numbers, however; think of the fact that school shootings have numbered nearly 400 in 20 years. The fact of the matter is that we really don’t know what is causing all of this hatred and killing, so we make up excuses for why these murderers killed. I wonder if anyone has ever considered the fact, for that’s what it is, the fact that these are just evil children. It has nothing to do with a personality disorder or a medical problem diagnosed because we have made such great strides in psychoanalysis. Hell, I’m positive that if I was to go to a reading specialist or a school psychologist today, I would be diagnosed with some kind of learning disability that would require medication of some kind. I will put money on the table that bets that damn near every kid with whom I went to school would be scarred in some way by today’s professionals. My youngest was diagnosed with dyslexia and with attention deficit disorder. The college admission officer, a personal friend and former colleague, wanted to put her in a year-long, post-high school program to prepare her for college. I declined that offer because I was certain of my child’s capabilities. She not only graduated as a four-year Academic All-American, she overloaded by one course in every term after her freshman year. Oh, and she also graduated holding all of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference swimming records for each of the three butterfly events. Learning disability my ass; the kid learned differently from other children.  Bullied? Klebold and Harris were bullied? Other killers were bullied? Whose problem is that? You may get the crap beat out of you if you stand up to a bully or you may just finish it by walking up to a bully and getting in the first punch. Either way, you really can end it without a gun. Ask me; I’ve been there.

“Some people are just hard wired differently,” I hear the analysts say. Okay, I’ll buy that. Then let’s find out who has the wiring that will cause them to kill and kill them first. If you know that some child is going to kill, why are they allowed to live? “Oh, well, we can’t really identify them. You wouldn’t kill a child just because you know he or she is going to be born with Down’s syndrome, would you?” Excuse me; I’m not talking about an illness. None of the children who have killed other children and adults have had Down’s or CP or MS or and other diseases that I know of. They certainly have “excuse” diseases. They have been given charming names like “personality disorder,” or “lack of social skills,” or acute this or extreme that. They are what might be found in a doctor’s PDA under “bullshit diagnoses.”

For years we have heard police officers, lawyers, and judges say something about serial killers to the effect that, “You look at them and all you can see is pure evil.” It, in and of itself, is a diagnosis. When could that look first be seen? Was it when the killer as a kid tied cats to the clothesline, doused them with lighter fluid and lit them up? Was it when he or she did ‘funny’ things to other children? Was it when strange behavior was considered humorous? Exactly when did we get the first clue that little Theordore might become killer Ted Bundy? Hmm, when did that behavioral pattern first emerge? Did that funny kid, Jeffie Dahmer like to bite other children or grab them in the crotch area? “Oh, well, you know, boys will be boys!

I have no clue regarding the totality of the responsibility of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. I am aware that when these school shootings first began, that the unit was interviewing jailed serial killers in an effort to learn if any of their traits were also present in the school killer kids. It’s not physically possible to psychologically profile every child born in this country. It’s not even possible to get parents to be aware that their child might be different. How many times have you heard a parent say, “Not my kid; my kid would never do anything like that. You’ve got the wrong kid:” All this, despite the fact that the kid is standing there with a rock or some other evidence right in his hand.

The truth of the entire matter is that there will be more school shootings. There will be more mall shootings and theater shootings. We will graduate to larger ‘audiences’ or killing fields. Who knows, maybe some kid will get his – or her; let’s not be sexist – hands on a rocket propelled grenade and release that somewhere. Maybe some idiot will begin thinking that improvised explosive devices are a fun thing to use and set off by their smart phones; I have no idea what goes through the head of today’s sick and twisted youth. Maybe it’s not the kids we should be looking at. Maybe we should be examining the traits of the parent or parents who raise these kids. Where did they go wrong? Were they the ones who went wrong? What did they miss in their child’s behavior? Were they to inattentive; not sufficiently attentive? Did they dismiss something as ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘girls will be girls?’ Who the hell is responsible and how the hell do we prevent it from happening again? And, as I say, we don’t know who bears the responsibility for identifying the potential killers.

The world of the 21st Century is a violent world. We read in damn near every report issued that violent crime in America is on the decline. If that is the case, that’s great. Then how do you explain the horror of these killings that have taken place in Littleton and Aurora, Colorado? How can you explain away Newtown, Connecticut? Is it just a case of how we reveal our statistical data?  I don’t care what laws are passed to control guns. They may have pretty words on paper and sound convincingly appropriate. However, we aren’t going to stop people from getting guns. We won’t confiscate every AK-47 or 100-round magazine. It’s unrealistic to think it can be done. We certainly haven’t reached the point where teaching is done in every home by computer to ensure child safety and pray God we will never reach that point. But to say that armed guards are too frightening to have in schools is sticking our collective heads straight into the sand. “This, my child, is a gun. It is used to kill. It is used to put food on the table and to prevent someone from coming into this wonderful building and killing you. Get used to it kid; it’s part of life in the New World!”

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