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Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah, everybody.

(Because even if you don’t specifically celebrate that, I hope the next eight days of your life bring you both joy and wisdom.)

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Be part of the solution

Today marks the 353rd, 354th and 355th mass shootings in America in 2015.

We’re on course to have more mass shootings than days in the year. Considering the fact that the number of background-check applications hit a record high on Black Friday (itself a showcase of national idiocy), I would be entirely unsurprised if next year brings more.

This has gone beyond “problem” into “epidemic”.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, guns are guaranteed under the Constitution, there’s nothing that can be done”, you are part of the problem. The Constitution has been, and can be changed. They’re called Amendments, and even if you don’t know that there are 27 of them or how they work, you probably know about the second half of the second one.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, more people die from cars than guns”, you are part of the problem. Guns are designed for the purpose of killing, cars are not.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, I need a gun for hunting, that’s part of how I put food on the table” BUT are somehow trying to convince me that you’re going to tote a .357 into the woods to bag a deer, you’re part of the problem. Use a hunting rifle if you absolutely must, but you don’t need a handgun for it, and you certainly don’t need something that can pump fifty rounds into the deer, because if that’s the only way you can get it done, your venison isn’t doing you much good and you’re a lousy hunter to boot.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, here are the acts of mentally troubled individuals, the guns aren’t the issue”, you are part of the problem. When mentally sound guys can get guns, mentally troubled guys can get guns.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, all of that could have been prevented by having more good guys with guns”, you are part of the problem. For one thing, I can’t tell the difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun until I’m staring down at my own sucking chest wound. For another, when Good Guy With Gun #1 sees Bad Guy With Gun, but Good Guy With Gun #2 only sees Good Guy With Gun #1 and erroneously assumes him to be Bad Guy With Gun, giant bloodbath ensues instead of being prevented. No thank you.

If you’re one of those people who says “well, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families” instead of demanding action, while their other hand is taking a campaign donation from the NRA instead, you are a big part of the problem. Inaction for fear of losing political power is the mark of putting one’s own benefit over that of the nation, and that is not a quality I cherish in my elected representatives.

The Declaration of Independence tells us that whenever Government becomes destructive of its own ends, it is the duty of the citizenry to effect change. Government which continues to allow its citizens to massacre each other has sure as hell become destructive of its own ends.

It is long past time to put an end to this madness, and enact meaningful gun control legislation. Praying for the families won’t stop the next mass shooting. As a citizen of these United States, I demand action.

Call it domestic terrorism

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Planned Parenthood does a LOT more than just abortions…

When you walk into a Planned Parenthood facility and kill people, you don’t get to say you’re pro-life any more.

When you utterly ignore both “‘vengeance is mine’, saith the Lord” and “thou shalt not kill”, you don’t get to say you’re Christian any more.

When you kill civilians in an attempt to scare them into not doing the thing that pisses you off, the only thing you get to call yourself is a terrorist.

‪#‎StandWithPP‬

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Many women have been grievously hurt, physically or psychologically, by domestic abuse, by rape, by extreme neglect, by a horrifyingly long list of acts, almost exclusively perpetrated by men. Many suffer in silence, muted by a fear of speaking out. Many have spoken out but been ignored.

A great many women live with this kind of threat every day. This can and must change. If we are to consider ourselves anything more than ignorant savages, we must excise this violence from our species.

I hope to see a day when women’s shelters close their doors not due to lack of funding, but due to lack of need.

Turkey wars!

I’m at the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving. So far, there are two dudes with machetes dueling over the last turkey, one old lady has built a pallet fort around the sweet potatoes and is defending them with a MAC-10, there are two or three SWAT teams swooping in low over the canned pumpkin in an effort to defuse a potentially serious whipped cream incident, but other than that it’s just busy as hell, if hell were as busy as Union Station at rush hour.

Presidents of the past have shone their own light, by which we can perhaps be guided in our handling of the Syrian refugee issue:

“This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying ‘his color is not mine’ or ‘his beliefs are strange and different’, in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this nation.” – Lyndon Johnson

“The spirit of the American people can set the course of world history. If we maintain and strengthen our cherished ideals, and if we share our great bounty with war-stricken people over the world, then the faith of our citizens in freedom and democracy will be spread over the whole earth and free men everywhere will share our devotion to those ideals.” – Harry Truman

“I have found – as I am sure you have, in your travels – that people everywhere, in spite of occasional disappointments, look to us – not to our wealth or power, but to the splendor of our ideals. For our Nation is commissioned by history to be either an observer of freedom’s failure or the cause of its success. Our overriding obligation in the months ahead is to fulfill the world’s hopes by fulfilling our own faith.” – John F. Kennedy

And lastly:

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” – Bill Clinton

Another one

What a surprise. Someone in a crowded place in the United States pulled out a gun and started trying to empty it into people via the barrel. I wish I could express even a small amount of surprise at this, but all I have left for it is sorrow.

Sorrow that we seem either unwilling or unable to get serious about guns. Sorrow that by morning, the shooter will be described as a thug if black, a terrorist if brown or a mentally troubled lone wolf if white. And most of all, sorrow for the people of New Orleans, who apparently drew the short straw on this week’s episode of Gun Crazy Nation.