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CSotD: A Small Circle of WalMart Shoppers

In the fury of reactions to last night’s outrage, Pia Guerra responds with such quiet eloquence that there’s a temptation to simply run her piece and call it a day.

Here we are, and the pickup truck behind her might be that of the murderer, judging from what we see on the bumper and what we know of him.

Or it might belong to someone else, because there are all sorts of people helping to spread the insanity and bigotry he acted upon.

They were always among us, but they didn’t have the encouragement they have now, and so they stayed under their rocks. Some seethed with bigotry, some simply felt alienated and hadn’t discovered a cause that they could blame and exalt.

 

Once again, David Rowe has the advantage of that 12-hour time difference, and perhaps the advantage of distance, both of which let him respond to events here with both detail and clarity.

While Guerra mourns the effect, Rowe places the blame, and mocks the empty recital of thoughts, prayers and inaction from those who have profited from stirring up this poisonous atmosphere.

His use of shopping carts adds a macabre touch to the site of the murders, while that flagpole explains the priorities that help propel this special sale of innocent lives.

But perhaps the real horror is that, while he and Guerra react to a specific event, other cartoonists had, well before last night, recognized what is happening to us, and why.

 

The Buffalo News ran this Adam Zyglis piece in Saturday morning’s paper, and it seemed, then, a sharp rebuke. By nightfall, it was a prediction.

 

One-time presidential candidate and all-time tone-deaf opportunist Mitt Romney asked what I would assume was a rhetorical question, but he got, as you see, 13,100 answers, several of which included this visual clue from the shooter’s own Facebook page:

While others provided something more along the lines of people being known by the company they keep:

And we can go back to David Rowe’s cartoon to fill in other faces wearing the same oddly bemused half-smile Mitt bears, which seems to say, “Yes, I’m sitting here, I’m eating his food and keeping his company, but I really have no choice.”

Though the general response to his tweet, and to other “thoughts and prayers” tweets from GOP stalwarts, suggests that people think they have a choice, and that they’ve made it.

 

The company you keep, indeed. Chris Britt explained the company kept after the latest Trump rally, and, as noted here yesterday, not all people at a Trump rally are slavering, racist mutants, but they’d better start thinking about with whom they are making common cause.

 

Rob Rogers had laid it out five days earlier: Those bigots who once stayed under rocks and hid their faces have been emboldened by having a white supremacist in the White House.

And for those with unglued minds, he justifies what they encounter on alt-right Internet sites. In fact, he even held a conference at the White House, a little party for those who breed this violent, delusional wrath with their lies, their hatred, their paranoid theories.

There is no longer a need to read between the lines. The lines themselves spell it out quite clearly.

 

And, as Walt Handelsman notes, Trump is proud of what he has built.

But amid all the discussion remains Pia Guerra’s simple fact:

Here we are.

A few observations:

First, this is not about specific weaponry, and discussions of flintlocks versus AK47s are silly and irrelevant.

Having suffered under military occupation, the Founders envisioned a system of “well regulated militias” to supplement a very small standing army.

But, in the War of 1812, disastrous results at Fort Erie, Sackets Harbor, Bladensburg and elsewhere proved the concept unworkable.

Madison’s order that the army be reorganized made both the 2nd and 3rd Amendments irrelevant and they remained odd little vestigial pieces until the middle of the 20th century when anarchists and rightwingers revived the 2nd, with the help of a conservative court.

We should probably reform the court for other reasons, and, as others have observed, since the slaughter of first graders didn’t move this nation to action, it’s hard to envision summoning the supermajority needed to repeal the anachronistic amendment.

 

Of course, the first step in reforming the Supreme Court is recapturing the White House and the Senate, and Lee Judge points out that Trump has assembled a powerful campaign team.

Which sparks my second observation, which is that we had an advantage in the first Civil War in that it was guided by state governments, and that the central issue happened — for agricultural reasons — to have a geographic element such that all the traitors were in one big bunch and the loyalists in another.

There were certainly scattered sympathies around the nation, but it would have been far more chaotic had Ohio and Pennsylvania, for instance, been on different sides, or if Georgia and South Carolina had not been allies.

Well, it won’t be all that well lined up the next time. It’ll be nightriders and nutcases on both sides, coming from all over.

We could take back control and try to fix things.

And probably some people will do that.

The best thing for the rest of us to do is to sit back and wait for something wonderful to happen without any particular effort or, certainly, any sacrifice on our part.

And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody, outside of a small circle of friends.

That’s them, hunkered down behind the car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
August/4/2019
@ 7:12 am

Sorry, dude, but your country is so far off the rails that getting it anywhere near back is going to take such a cultural shift that, frankly, I dont think you folks can handle. You’ve managed to take Feiffer’s brilliant black comedy LITTLE MURDERS and turn it into a documentary.

#2 Katherine Collins
August/4/2019
@ 2:03 pm

Sean, I too am a Canadian, living in Vancouver. And I too am sickened, appalled and outraged about what is happening to our great big neighbour to the south. Pretty much daily I find my brain automatically starting to form abusive and insulting paragraphs, in the attempt to wake up all Americans, before it’s too late.

But I don’t really think — despite my reflexive formation of angry oratory — that simply being insulting is really any use at all. Those Americans who would agree are already “on side”, and the murderers and racists and brutes who are on the side of Drumpf and his mobs will never just snap out of it by reading someone saying how repulsive they are. There is a terrifying momentum building up. I doubt if the Nazis in the 30s could have been stopped by any kind of expression of shocked civility.

I hope it will not require a prolonged and enormous period of carnage before the whole country collapses into exhaustion and disability. But it might. We all had better be mentally prepared.

Here in Canada, we are also vulnerable to hatred and violence. Some of the gutter-rats in the US are already fomenting their deluded thinking up here; but we are quite capable of developing it all by ourselves. We have had our shooting massacres and countless incidents of hate. We are not above it. If it reaches a high boil in the US, Canadians will jump right in. We already have politicians trying to make it happen — Scheer and Ford and the right-wing Quebecois. It seems that the human race has this inbuilt need to cause destruction on a regular basis.

I live only twenty miles from the 49th parallel border. I often glance southward, as if I might one day see the forces of darkness coming up over the horizon. What can we do? I don’t know.

#3 Brad Perri
August/4/2019
@ 7:17 pm

You’d be great in a fox hole, Sean . . .

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