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Mark Shields
Mark Shields
6 Feb 2016
Cracking the Code of Campaign-Speak

"Do you ever get the feeling," asked humorist Robert Orben, "that the only reason we have elections is to … Read More.

30 Jan 2016
Is There Only One True Progressive?

Mark Shields is off this week. The following is a column by Joe Conason. In our polarized politics, the … Read More.

23 Jan 2016
The Man Who Drowned Democracy With 'Sewer Money'

Mark Shields is off this week. The following is a column by Joe Conason. This week marked the anniversary of … Read More.

No Safety in These Numbers


On April 9, 1968, I was part of the human crush inside of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church not far from six of that year's presidential candidates: Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. Mahalia Jackson gave an unforgettable rendition of Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," and at the widow's request a tape of Dr. King speaking just two months earlier about his own funeral was played:

"Tell him (the eulogist) not to talk too long. ... Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace prize. That's not important. ... I want you to be able to say that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say that I did try to visit those who were in prison."

After the funeral, many in the church and thousands outside marched in the Georgia heat behind a simple farm wagon drawn by two mules and bearing the mahogany coffin some 3-and-a-half miles to Morehouse College for the public service.

Not quite two months later, I was working in the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy. A week earlier, the New York senator had finished second to Eugene McCarthy in the Oregon primary and, in so doing, became the first Kennedy to lose an election. I had been in Oregon and was then working out of San Francisco on the get-out-the-vote effort for the June 4 California primary, the outcome of which would determine whether RFK had a real chance to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

Robert Kennedy won California and, minutes after thanking his supporters in the ballroom of Los Angeles' Ambassador hotel, walked through the hotel kitchen, where an assassin waited to shoot and kill him.

Martin Luther King was 39 years old. Robert Kennedy was 42. But those are not the numbers I want you to think about.

In this nation's wars — including, but not limited to, the Revolutionary, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the bloodiest of all, our Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — the price in human lives lost in battle is well beyond steep. In 236 years, 659,073 Americans have died fighting for their country.

In just the 42 years immediately following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy — between June of 1968 and the end of 2010 (the last year for which, as they say, official figures are available) — the number of civilians killed in the United States by firearms, according to official records, was 1,260,781.

That's right, nearly twice as many civilian fatalities by firearms as suffered by American service members in wartime — and in less than one-fifth the number of years.

There is no safety in these numbers. Nor in the World Health Organization's 2011 report on firearm deaths in 23 high-income countries around the globe. This is a group that would include France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Canada, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and the U.S. For the most recent year for which results were available from all these countries, there were 7,653 firearm deaths in all the other 22 countries and 29,771 deaths in the U.S. from firearms.

To put it bluntly, nearly 80 percent of all the deaths from firearms in the First World were here in the U.S.A. This is one aspect of American Exceptionalism in which no resident can take any comfort.

These numbers are real. These numbers are in unacceptable. We're Americans. We're better than that.

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




21 Comments | Post Comment
An idiotic, rambling article. What you don't show is that violent crimes have gone down in recent years, despite firearm sales increasing. Also, you make the assumption that these crimes woulden't happen if there were no guns. Wrong. Just as many violent crimes take place in gun-free countries. They just use different means. You can pick and choose facts and statistics to make your inept arguements, but when you take in the whole picture, you'll find that guns aren't the problem here.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:44 AM
No, guns aren't the problem here. But anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear realizes the problem is with the gun owners. Shoot each other, get that shit out of your system and let the rest of us get on with getting along.
Comment: #2
Posted by: morgan
Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:50 AM
Sir;... This is just an observation; but the price of freedom is often high, and so too is the price of tyranny... To believe one cannot suffer tyranny in the work place, in the home, on the street, or from the police is insanity...Violence is a fact of human character, and it takes violence in some measure to live, to eat, or to cut down a tree to have heat...I am a violent man among a violent people and apart from regretting that fact, I am often ashamed that I am not better at it... I am not terribly ashamed that I broke a man's back once with a punch in the nose because he wronged me after a promise that he would not, and he literally asked for it... No one should ever believe that the sort of people who bend iron to their will, and build their buildings and bridges are not violent people, and if they are not always violent, it is because they are human beings as well, and that violence and sympathy are both human characteristics...
The key to making human beings less violent is not to deny them means to express their violence because they will find ways destructive of themselves and others regardless... The key to peace is to give them other means of resolving their issues, and of finding justice in their lives... It makes only slight difference to me whether a person destroys their family by killing themselves with drink, or killing another driving drunk, or kills their family out of the same sort of self loathing... People kill their families when they send themselves to jail... People kill their families with suicide and with murder, or by sabotaging their happiness...
What do your statistics tell you??? How many of those gun deaths were suicide???. How many were suicide by proxy??? How many were murder suicides??? How many were hunting deaths??? How many were accidental???
Because I have known much unhappiness in my life, I am more aware of the signs of unhappiness around me...In fact, it is a persistent and unavoidable problem in my life that I am empathic... If I enter a room of happy people I grow happy too... If I enter a room of unhappy people I am soon unhappy... The tone of conversations has almost as profound an effect on me as the vocabulary and the obvious intended message can go unnoticed amid my viceral reaction... I notice that my difficulty with verbal communication often leads my serious expression to be taken for the expression of anger, and this is because my level of frustration with the form is already high...It is easy to send the wrong message or mixed messages...
I do not think I am wrong about the tone of message we are hearing from America... I think it is approximately the same in tone as it was before our Civil War... There is a profound level of miscommunication, and misunderstanding, much of it intended; and simply because of the cost in financial terms of being understood...
We have the great deal of violent desires gratified and encouraged on the one hand, and denied, and discouraged on the other hand...
Here let me state the obvious: Violence is both wrongly defined, and is a form of communication... What violence communicates cannot be communicated in any other fashion.. When a person spanks a child who they otherwise love, they are communicating their frustration and anger which the want of words or understanding on the part of the child makes pointless... (They are also communicating the effectivness and acceptibility of violence)...People in their communication with other adults often express themselves with words long before their communication reaches the stage of violence...We think of violence as wrong, as bad, and as cruel... Are we certain we are not inviting violence by denying to others their verbal avenues of problem resolution???
In A History of The Supreme Court, by Bernard Schwartz, the author gives a quotation of Justice Rehnquist's literate opinion writing style... The question was one posed by Justice Powell on whether the 1980s three strikes law, mandating a life sentence for a man who obtained but $229 through fraud and forgery, did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment...Mr. Rehnquist took issue with Justice Powell's opinion that since the crimes were properly related, and did not involve violence, the penalty was extreme... In the process of denying the dissent, He, the Chief Justice said that Caesar's murder by Brutus was violent, but that Hamlet's father's murder by poison was not, yet both are today punished as murder... Then he compared the armed robbery of a savings and loan to an embezzlement by one of its officers, and concludes that while rational people could disagree as to which crime merits a harsher punishment, that the seriousness of an offense, or a series of offenses is not a line but a plane... My paraphrase, of course; but here the law concludes what people should of natural course conclude of violence, at least in the sense of murder, that murder is murder...
I say: Violence is violence by intent or result...
Violence is wrongly defined by the speed of the event, or the amount of blood that flows from it... In fact, the murder of Hamlet's father, if not a fig newton of Hamlet's deranged mind, was as much an act of violence as Caesar's... The aim of all activity is good, and the ultimate good of each is life, and the ultimate of evil is the loss of life whether by natural or unnatural means...People are absoultely correct to fear the suddenness of violence since at that point it is so impossible to control, but death is always sudden, always violent, even if life drags on interminably...
A person with intent and armed is like a lit stick of TNT... It is the intent rather than the means which make violence violent... That man embezzleing is taking the fruit of the hard work of years... Will those people not feel as pain all their hard work and privation and sacrifice demeaned??? Can anyone believe that in that taking he is not injuring and bringing people closer measurably to death???...
In this world it is possible to do injury to all, and to intend injury with a deep malignancy, but because it does not happen suddenly, with force, with noise, unnoticed it is not considered violence, but those doing injury upon calculation have no more love in their hearts than a murderer...
How many times do the young have sex without love... Without love, then what is a touch but a tort??? And then we must ask as Aristotles, if a person can willingly suffer an injustice... And the answer in a sense is that to live in any sort of society we must willingly suffer some injustice, and this willingness is preyed upon by those who have no sense of limits to propagate injustice with intent to profit off of it, knowing they can commit almost any crime short of violence with impunity...The fact that they may be working on the destruction of their society with every anti social act -they would deny...
The society that suffers out of necessity the injury of injustice to the point of immorality and wide spread disease will find that injury more and more expressed in the very violence it most fears to see turned against itself... We know, and accept violence so long as it is turned toward traditional enemies of society...The problem is that people aloof from humanity and from society injure everyone without restraint or remourse and more and more those suffering injustice without the means of self expression or problem resolution act out their pain, and express the pain they cannot effectively communicate...
Even the sexual act between consenting adults which can be the expression of all their unmet desires, and their frustrated need for love, of their loneliness and pain, their long denied needs for intimacy and trust, hopeful as much as hateful- can be considered as violence...
My friend; Mr. Shields... God loves you for seeing a part of the problem, for daring to look at it...You would have to be the devil himself to see the whole picture with a smile, and as numb to the pain of humanity as a stone if you could do so without a tear... Gun violence is but a symptom... The solution in part is in defining the problem, as only a redefinition of violence as being all injustice, is... Enough of wrongs suffered by a single individual will accumulate in most people, and sooner or later find expression in traditionally conceived of violence... The reason law tries to make an issue of injustice is to see an end to it; but so long as so much injustice is allowed and encouraged there will be no end to the need for law....If we cannot address the need of people, of humanity for justice as a reality in their daily lives we must expect and armor ourselves against violence for more will be forthcoming...
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:02 AM
Re: morgan;... Certainly gun ownership shows a willingness to conceive of violence as a possible solution for life's problem... I trust many who own guns also think of suicide as an option, and sometimes turn their guns on themselves... But; while I am inclined to accept violence as a form of communication it is not preferable to other forms, but is only effective because it is so drastic and so final... What we have here is a failure to communicate...
I am not saying we have a failure of communication as that author of Cool Hand Luke did, poking fun at liberal psychobabble... Every guilty person in prison has a problem with communicating... Some times there is not an acceptible expression of pure hatred or malignancy, of hatred for women, children, or humanity... It is not simply the problem as expressed by the warden, of society's inability to communicate its expectations of proper behavior to inmates who are but citizens removed; but the inability of society to hear its citizens... It is not even the problem of expectation or behavior; but more of motivations, and of the feelings of affection for society on nation, and nationality...And in some senses this back and forth of communication, the expectation that one will speak and another will listen works into the greatest of life's tragedies whether it is Civil War, or the Iliad, where people could surely communicate, could be heard, and each refused the other understanding... What shall we do with an entire society refusing understanding to itself???
I do believe Chris has a point here, that guns per se, are not the problem... The real problem is the willingness of all people to endure more injustice than they should, and it is actually in the attempts by law to prevent and punish minor instances of violence when people feel they have no recourse that leads in the end to great acts of violence all abhore...If you are wronged by some one in life, and society gives you no option but to go to court and suffer a worse injury with no guarantee of being made whole, then you will suck it up and suffer, but then, society will be certain to suffer with you...Since society is the ultimate victim of all injustice, it is the people who should bear the court costs... Let both sides be heard, minus the over head of lawyers, and let some one decide...
So much injustice affecting so many people unresolved in the end will cost society more than it can ever afford to pay... Was it not an injustice to all that these madmen were not quietly and humanely treated, or that mental issues are so stigmatized that even common problems like depression are ignored???....
If so much of trying to maintain society and endure the human cost of universal injustice is sucking the money out of community physical and mental health, we will continue to suffer individual cases of insanity while those who remain alive blame each other for intransigence..The problem only seems complex, but the solution is simple...
What makes the simple solution impossible is that it would require an total re-evaluation of the principals this society as long taken for granted...As long as we treat gun violence as external, as if a pox, or an abcess on the outside of society we will not grasp the problem... It is a stomach ulcer whose ultimate cause is the stress we have chosen to accept as a natural condition of life... How much of it is really necessary???We have grown up with stress and with injustice, and so we consider it as natural as day; but what if the entire aim and point of society were to eliminate injustice and in that fashion have peace??? How natural would injustice and violence then seem???
Comment: #4
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:01 AM
Lumping a braod group of people toegther and making assumptions is never an accurate thing to do. If gun owners were the only ones in society that cause all the violence and "shoot each other", than there should be no violent crime in gun free nations, but we find the opposite is true because good people don't have effective means to defend themselves.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:38 AM
Re: Chris McCoy

It makes no difference in how you look at it anyway. GOD gave us free will and that is what HE will judge because free will takes away any excuses we might have to give HIM. It boils down to whose report do you believe, non-violent to REAL VIOLENT Jesus at HIS 2nd coming or violent created man?
Comment: #6
Posted by: Lynn McCowen
Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:48 PM
Re: Lynn McCowen... Ma'am, it is almost impossible to not believe in some kind of God... As Montaigne pointed out: Man is quite insane... He wouldn't know how to create a maggot, and he creates Gods by the dozen...
It always matters how you look at it... Few of us share the same perspective, but perhaps 99% of every argument is to persuade some one to see IT from your point of view...
If you wish to believe in God, can you consider that our caring for each other is a means by which God also cares for us, that if God works in mysterious ways that it is possible God also works through human agency, and even Governments at times???
May I suggest that my church, and even my society puts peace before justice, and this too often leaves us without justice, but that I differ from my church in saying one is not preferable or likely without the other...We should encourage peace and use our freedom to seek justice as an essential to all life and happiness..
People are not made better by being made less free... Freedom and morality are the legs of human advancement since no one is more free than they are moral or more moral than they are free... The most immoral state is one of slavery since that one who accepts slavery has surrendered his will to another, and no longer has a say in what purpose his life is used...Now, in the light of human history we can see the significance of the word Christian...In Roman law, no slave had a legal name, but only the name of his master, so he could not conduct any business for himself, or act for his own benefit... Every slave had the designation -ian- meaning property of after the name of his master, and so it is that Chrisitians are property, that is, slaves of Christ... We must be certain to the extent that we are moral and free, that we bind ourselves to the will of our God, and not to some substitute earthly authority that has only taken what was found unused... When we give unto Caesar, or give unto God, it is good to be careful of who we are actually giving to, since we may be giving both freedom and morality to the wrong representative...
Comment: #7
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:40 AM
Re: Chris McCoy;... As was pointed out in the News Hour on PBS, the majority of the gun deaths have been suicides, and primarily by old folks wanting to make a quick end of it...An old friend of mine was one of them, and actually, another old neighbor too... He called the cops and said: come and get me, I am going to shoot myself now; and he hung up the phone, and did just that...
I think we may agree that in the effort to seem effective, that our government will act in some fashion on the evidence, but will not reach the problem, but will over reach its authority in the process... One size fitzall gun laws are not the answer... The resistence of rural society to such nonsense as leaves them unarmed in what is an increasingly dangerous world- to make some city dwellers feel safer- is well warranted... We cannot afford the police and penal system we have... The great desire to punish instead of correct is brutalizing people who are often brutes to begin with...The freedom of a greater brute made out of a lesser brute is nothing to celebrate, and it happens every day...
Government acts upon vast generalizations when it some times should not act at all...If guns, or sorts of guns should be limited in some areas or states, then exceptions could be more easily made, and accepted -than blanket bans... Madness has been behind so much of this violence, and enough people should have been aware of that madness- to have raise a flag, so that some where, and with some one, responsible action was not taken...It is impossible to brand people, to tattoo them, to stigmatize them; and it is also hard to tell when some odd duck is going to go off an edge...If people were forced to organize militias to have gun rights, it is possible that many would be kept off the roles for good reason...
I do not expect the government to do the hard and expensive work of increasing every mental health budget in America...We have a huge part of our society on medication for anxiety or depression, and the vast majority of these are not recieving any sort of counseling... Instead; I expect that the government will act to criminalize behavior most think is entirely appropriate, constitutional, and legal... It is every person's obligation to defend himself in a democracy, and some times, some people are too offensive in their defense of self...None the less, it is criminal for the government to deprive country people of that level of defense they feel they need because city madness demands some action...
The government has a big problem in that the farmers who should be the firmest support for the government hold a deep resentment and fear of their government... Depriving such people of access to the pitiful defense they have against criminals, and even government officials will do absolutely nothing good, and nothing to heal the relationship between these people and their government...
Government wants to do something... They can do something about guns without infringing upon anyone's rights... Public safety is an issue that demands government action... It will not do to have government go too far, and it will not improve the standing of the government with the people...
Let me tell you that in some places, the antagonism between government and people is so great that rural mail carriers fear to do their jobs... Whether they are delivering a birthday card or a notice from the IRS, they are not welcomed, and work at a hazzard... My wife is a much loved Rural Carrier... The interoffice rumours, and the fact that some localities have people wanting to shift jobs regularly- is a clue... It is a shame... I am certain my wife has saved lives... And, It is possible she may have helped federal marshalls serving a fugitive warrant... To think good people wanting only to serve their community in the process of making their living must fear their fellow citizens because they are considered an arm of the hated federal government- does not bode well for the future of this United States...
I want everyone armed and responsible... Self defense is THE purpose of democracy... Violence and threat are not necessary for revolution if that is what the rural militias think... All people need to do is resist and be uncooperative...Even the worst of governments survive because people cooperate in their own demise...If the democrats shove some idiot bill through government only because it is within their power, they should be spanked..
Comment: #8
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:35 AM
If you're going to kill yourself, a gun is by far the best option, but it dosen't mean you would kill yourself without one. The statistic means nothing.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:48 AM
I do not believe guns are the problem, never have. In the right hands for the right reasons and with the right training, guns have their place in our society. To this point, my push back is two-fold. It comes from the sick fucks who think the only way to solve a problem is to shoot it or with a show of force. Second, some say it's our culture of violence that creates and pushes these dumb, sick souls to strike out, so I researched that. The same movies, violent video games, ad nauseum are prevalent throughout Europe, Asia, Netherlands, etc., yet their populations don't have the issues we have in the States. Seems here we glorify violence. Name a famous Sheriff. Now name a famous criminal. How many famous Sheriffs/Peacekeepers can you name compared to how many criminals? Our criminals in this country live on in infamy. Our peacekeepers and sheriffs, not so much. We glorify the worst of our society. Why is that? Why is it so difficult to understand the confusion a sick mind has assimilating the messages of our culture when those who are not considered sick and in fact, have great families and home lives become confused and lose their way?

I don't believe we need military weapons for hunting or self defense. I do believe photos of the bodies of those Sandy Hook babies splattered and torn apart by that sick fuck should have been released for public consumption. I believe they should know there is no bulletproof protection you can buy rated to stop .223-caliber rifle bullets - the rounds fired by the gunman using his mother's AR-15 assault rifle.
The coroner said every young child was shot several times - up to 11 bullets. Picture if you can, the carnage done to those little bodies. If our culture truly embraces violence then show the outcome of that violence. Show the photos of the destruction and the blood, gore, and body parts and lets see if we do have the stomach for this violence.

A famous picture from the Vietnam war called Napalm Girl just popped to mind. A child, a little girl, running with other children,screaming, her clothes burned off and skin still burning from American bombers dropping napalm. Recent pictures of carnage in Iraq, Syria, other foreign countries are published to garner the attention and public outcry to stop the horror. Yet here, in the United States, when these horrors happen, we don't show the blood and gore. Everything is sanitized and censored. We are not allowed to see and have a physical response to the horror, to experience it with all our senses and internalize it for fear we will do whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again. When you are not given the opportunity to gag with revulsion and sickness to see it and feel it internally, it hasn't touched you and never will and you will not have the strength or interest to stop it.

How are we dealing with these horrors? Gun debates, or controls, or more laws. All proven to fail. Proof positive these horrendous actions haven't touched us because once touched it's about self less actions, self less debates. The bullets that shot eighteen, killed a nine year old and five adults and that penetrated Congresswoman Gifford's brain should have penetrated everyone's brain. Same with the bullets that were shot in the kids in the movie theatre in Aurora...and on and on.
Show the carnage done by those bullets to those little bodies and the adult bodies, then let's have a conversation about guns and bullets and laws and regulations.
Ask yourself why our media will show dead bloody bodies to excite our passions and sympathies for foreigners and their children but not for our own? Who is behind it and why? What do they fear will happen if Americans see what we have wrought with our culture of glorifying violence?

We need to send a message to our children and each other that we are not afraid to do what it takes, and it doesn't mean buying more guns or taking away guns. I believe our passions and sympathies toward each other and our children needs to be tweaked as a major step toward thwarting our peculiar type of cultural violence.
Comment: #10
Posted by: morgan
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:50 AM
A friend just texted, asked me to clarify something.
Most children and many people view things abstractly meaning as not real or as theory if it's not within their realm of experience. Sometimes the only way to create keener or deeper understanding or empathy for what we haven't experienced is to have a visceral reaction to it. I'm saying if you haven't had a true gut reaction to these horrors, just discussions, then nothing changes. Only when we internalize something will we be changed and be the object of change (that's a redundant statement, but just trying to be clear).
Comment: #11
Posted by: morgan
Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:17 AM
The issue is violence, not necessarily guns. Our culture feeds on it. One of our most robust industries, entertainment, professes not to be able to live without it.

We can argue til the cows come home about whether entertainment based on fantasized violence causes actual violence. I for one, firmly believe that is true. Doesn't cause the average citizen to act it out, but with millions of people out there, if the odds are a million to one that someone will act on it, that means one in a million will, on average. And that's a lot of bad apples in a nation of over 300 million. Then there are all the folks raised in the ghetto who find violent crime to be the only profitable path.

Think about it. This is the same kind of calculus that insurance companies use to charge premiums that will pay for the occasional accident.

If Obama had any spine, he would call in the Hollywood moguls and the other vampires of the violence entertainment industry and urge them to step up to a patriotic initiative to steer American culture toward a different path. Don't hold your breath. Too much money to be lost there.

If you want to get to what is wrong with our culture and why it produces such hideous behavior on the part of so many, think about what we feed ourselves every day in the way of entertainment and preoccupation. It's disgusting. Go to church on Sunday and think about God for a few moments, then go back home, turn on the TV, and start lapping up the gory good stuff.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Masako
Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:22 PM
Re: Masako... Yes... The problem is one of violence at every range of society, and throughout the government... The economy could not exist without doing violence to nature or humanity and it is everywhere a tool of foreign policy... Don't tell me how many guns are bought, because much of that is motivated by well deserved fear... Tell me how many human cut out targets are sold, because those who consider the form of a human being a fit target ought to have their effin heads examined... We have to stop thinking of each other as the enemy, and as hard as it is since we are fighting over dwindling resources and profits; but it must happen.. Change minds first, and the gun thing will take care of itself...
Comment: #13
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:07 AM
Not to get off topic, but if people stopped "going to Church" and made home, family, friends, and 'the hood' their church, life would be so much sweeter.
Comment: #14
Posted by: morgan
Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:28 AM
Masako it would be nice if Obama stepped up to Hollywood, but what he lacks in spine he makes up for in greed. He would never bite the hand that feeds him. Hollywood is one of his biggest contributors. And now Obama is going after violent video games at the behest of Hollywood because they are their biggest competators. Its all about money and not about solutions with these clowns.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:41 AM
Re: Chris McCoy;... What makes anyone think Mr. Obama the example of such vices??? If he has nads enough to stand up to the NRA, then he is not spineless, and if he puts any measure of gun legislation before complete control of the congress which is where the money is, how can anyone accuse him of greed...
I can agree as a general principal that government as power is the equal of money as power, and that there in government money can become power, and power money as easily as water and wine can be transubstantiated with the hocus pocus of mass...As immoral as people can become or seem in such a market place, no one can be removed entirely from their morality... Even immorality is a degree of morality, and at some point it is purely immoral to allow anything that aids madness in the slaughter of children...
Problem is, once more, that when the people are so alienated from their government as to think of it as much as an enemy as any foreign tyrant, the ability of the government even when motivated to do good is strictly limited... It is too bad, but it is a natural consequence...The goodness and good will of the government is no longer presumed by the people...
Comment: #16
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:20 PM
Re: Chris McCoy;... To often statistics do not mean anything, and it is terribly easy to use even words like average to give a false sense of reality...To get the right statistical answer, people have to pose the correct questions understanding that if you try to fit people into pre arrainged groupings, that they will inevitably stray, or straddle lines... It is like me saying I am proud to be an American; when that may mean in my case that I am proud of what we are supposed to stand for, and no too sure about what we do stand for given our history...You can say that you understand human nature on the one hand, and also see that people under stress beome volatile, and that too is a facet of human behavior that makes people unpredicatable...
Any of these statistic that point to our general violence and self loathing as a people can be misleading...I think I have seen families with that exact sort of traits, violent, always fighting, never supportive or agreeable; but then mess with one of them any they could in an instant be one dangerous machine...I hope that is the case, that under necessity we could become as one, and cooperate in our own defense...The fact that this has not happened in most societies that I know of does not make me hope less...I do think the more we fight and hate each other the more capable of fight and hate we become...Even the most disagreeable and belicose people must some time find peace within itself...As divided as we are, what could such a peace look like??? Statistics are better at telling the past, than in predicting the future...
Comment: #17
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:34 PM
Sweeny, Obama standing up to the NRA and standing up to Hollywood are two different things. Hollywood gives him money, the NRA campaigns against him. He's spineless and greedy, but he's not dumb. Show me an example of him doing something against the interest of his campaign donors and I'll take back my previous comments.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:31 PM
Re: Chris McCoy;... Well Sir; no matter how many pictures of people getting killed are taken, it does not amount to one real person being killed... It is not a matter of arithmatic as money always is, but of unreality as opposed to reality... And the absolute last thing people can live without is unreality, as in the freedom of thought...
I like to believe that it is better to imagine some one dead than to kill them, and if the thought has ever crossed my mind, I'd like to consider it, and not resist it, and I have even found that others can some times feel like wise in the same fashion toward the object of my poison muse... Maybe an astaroid could fall on them and the whole crew could joke about the guy with a fatal case of roids... The point is, that the freedom to think, and to express ones feelings is the last freedom anyone would be without, but is the first freedom tyrannies always try to make people live without... Dr. Johnson said there is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government... I trust that what he meant was our tendency to think freely, and as much as possible to follow our free thoughts with free action...

For those people who cannot distinguish a real murder from an imagined one, it is for the best if people try to discourage such from the completion of their intrigues, or suffer them with the consequences... I have had to suffer a few unrequited hatreds in my life, and may have plotted a few fictional murders, but it is remarkable and difficult to imagine what grave may not some day remain unturned, or what God might forget that we could never unremember... I have a theory that has proven true to date... I don't have to lift a finger because life's essholes self destruct...I can think all I want about their nads getting fried by lightning, but it will only be for my own amusement; and the only problem with that sort of entertainment, for the most part found in the Genera of comedy, is that it does not really entertain, and it gives no one the release that tragedy does because tragedy allows people time to consider and forgive which makes possible their own forgiveness, I guess in a process of Dianoia, or more properly: Catharsis...

People are worked up and frustrated by comedic violence, and left frustrated, because they desire it, but they cannot have it, sort of like pornography that even with an orgasm leaves people lonely and without love... Comedic violence in no sense improves those who watch it, but if they can be honest with themselves, it will help them come to terms with who they are, their lust for violence, their frustration with life, their desire to strike out and share their pain... To the extent that movies recreate and mirror reality, they do a service... No one would go to them if the good guys did not win, but even when the good guys win it is after the fact of the crime...
A vast number of real crimes are never solved... Many people are wrongly convicted... The sense that the criminal justice system fails us sends people to prison for long terms that brutalize them, and does not rehabilitate them... There is nothing equal in the punishment to the crime, and the whole juvinile justice system teaches the wrong lesson to kids... We glorify outlaws only because they are par excellent, the individual standing alone against society...The whole thing is nutty as squirrel shit, but the only thing worse than the portrayal of life in the movies is the inability to do so as it is, truthfully... People could look in the mirror for free, but the fact that it is some one else living some one else's life makes it entertainment in some fashion... It is all morality play, in a sense... People may need to be reminded that if they play out their fantasies toward those who shit on them that it will not turn out well... My attitude is: save your money and figure it out for yourself...
You must know that people use art, if I may so stretch the word, in order to play out the notion of absolute freedom vicariously, through the medium of the players they identify with, and almost all people, if they are sane reject the notion of such freedom, and that is the font of their frustrations, because they feel themselve putting the halter on their own head, and the bits in their own mouths...
Not one of us willingly accepts the wrongs we all must endure to be part of a society of any sort... Some societies are better than others, but even the best of societies comes with asses and elbows, bumps, and bruises... We must endure injustice to be one of the gang; and yet it is this very toleration of injustice that is pushed to the limit and can make victims of the vast majority in society until at some point, the frustration and violence breaks out in war or revolution or some reign of terror...Who ever said many people live lives of quite desparation had it about right... Most people are hooked into morality well enough that they would never let themselves go free; and such people have never been in a mob...
Comment: #19
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:47 PM
Mark: Greetings from central Ohio. I was shocked at the figure you use in this column, and on the 1/18th segment of the PBS NEWSHOUR of 1,260,703. Could you provide me a citation for the number ?? I would apprecaite additional data as I don't believe that number.
Likewise, a so-called study by a Florida State University professor claimed that people using guns over TWO MILLION times a year to deter crimes. That would translate into about 5,480 incidents per day which I feel is suspect.
Also, a few years ago I did hear on a talk show a guest saying that more chiklren are killed in swimming pool drowings than by guns, but failed to provide any citation.
Finally, I think you should retire you green and black stripped tie that you have worn so often on the PBS NEWS. Maybe your old boss, John Gillian, could give youj one of his.... :->
Bill Grant
Columbus, OHIO
Comment: #20
Posted by: Wm. Grant
Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:57 AM
Re: Wm. Grant... Specifics sketch a scene, and generalities color it...I am reading a wonderful set of books right now, Vol's 1 and 2 of Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th century, by Fernand Brandel... It is a wealth of actual data on every page... Research, facts and figures, are beautiful things... Used selectively, they can turn any argument, but all together they can provide a very realistic picture of reality...I wish I were better at them... I take impressions, and try to communicate the same...I like to think I love the truth to the extent I can touch upon it; but generalities always lie, some times a little, and some times in gross... Much as I care for Mr. Shield's, I trust his figures lie in gross, and the fact is that more specific information is denied to us by the NRA, who refuse to have the issue looked at...
It does not offend me to think of Americans as a violent people... As long as we can fear each other there is the possibility that we will be feared by all others...Problem is, that few people accept their fear and tremble before it... Most people, in my estimation, turn their fear to hate, and then begin to work on the source of their fear...In the end, fear is not nearly the protection that honor and universal friendship are...
You may have the option of E-mailing Mr. Shields... I am certain he will respond to you in his inimitably kindly fashion...
Comment: #21
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:53 PM
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