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CSotD: Taking The Opportunity To Shut Up

Patrick Bagley responds to a report that the TSA in Salt Lake City found 7 guns in 7 days in carry-on luggage. Six were loaded, the seventh person was also carrying ammunition.

As he suggests, careless gun ownership leads to tragedy. How often? How often is too often?

I’m not against guns, but I don’t like living in a society were someone can forget they’re carrying one, and I don’t like living among people who are so paranoid that they consider routinely carrying a gun to make sense.

Everyone had a good sneer and a laugh when the administration blamed mass shootings not on easy access to guns but on the corrosive impact of video games.

I’d agree that it’s foolish to blame one rather than the other, but I’m not sure that blade doesn’t cut both ways.

That is, we’ve got the supply, but where does the demand come from?

I mentioned Serpico yesterday, asking when the police would clean up their ranks, and it reminds me that, a generation ago, Joseph Wambaugh’s stories, which became the TV show “Police Story,” often asked the same question.

However, not long after, we began fingerprinting toddlers to “keep them safe” from a level of stranger-danger than never existed, as John Walsh turned his personal tragedy into a national fetish.

And instead of making Serpico, or even Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, heroes, we worshiped at the altar of Dirty Harry, who never let a suspect’s rights stand in the way of a good collar.

Since then, the “Law & Order” franchise, which began with the premise that, most times, the public defender stands in the way of justice, has morphed into cop shows that compete to depict the most depraved crimes in a world so outrageously dangerous that perhaps you are foolish not to pack heat wherever you go.

Assuming you accept their perverse fictional view of the world as real, and it has long and often been shown that people who watch that crap greatly overestimate their odds of becoming crime victims.

Hence the guns in the carry-on bags at airports.

Hence the guns in the hands of curious toddlers.

Simply a case of supply and demand in a society that fails to address either.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Gary Varvel)

(Ed Hall)

Let’s be fair: When Lebron James missed an excellent chance to shut up the other day, his apparent defense of the Chinese crackdown on Hong Kong was (A) in response to a question, not a spontaneous remark and (B) somewhat misinterpreted.

The chance to shut up would have been adequately addressed by pushing off the question to management. “That’s above my pay grade,” may annoy the press, but it’s better than speaking — or misspeaking or being misunderstood — on a topic that is, indeed, above your pay grade.

What he did say was not that free speech is bad or that the Chinese government is good but that shooting your mouth off on social media can lead to problems you hadn’t anticipated.

As does shooting off your mouth in press conferences, since it can make people like Gary Varvel, and a whole lot of people in Hong Kong, think you are taking sides with the oppressor.

And it can make people like Ed Hall think you’re more interested in money than in principles, that it is indeed “all about the Benjamins.”

When all you meant was that sports is sports and politics is politics and that people who win Olympic medals should stand politely on the podium and not raise their fists and disturb everyone.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Ann Telnaes)

(Mike Marland)

Meanwhile, in the Land of Shiny Happy Athletes and of the Thin Blue Line that protects us from all danger, we have one of those darling cases of a charming, naive letter apparently written by a precocious 10-year-old to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Oh wait. Oh no. Oh god no.

Telnaes is right: It’s about one step above being written in crayon.

And Marland is right that it’s so ridiculous that it comes across as a joke, not as an actual letter from a qualified adult.

And oh, yes, indeedy: Trump missed a most excellent opportunity to shut up.

But he didn’t and it’s real and that’s not the problem.

The problem is that the same people who think that fingerprinting children will somehow keep them from being abducted, and who think that CSI is a realistic portrayal of crime scene investigations, and who think that the cops in those grotesque crime-horror shows are an accurate depiction of real-life police officers, can read that amateurish, semi-literate letter and see it as a perfectly normal, acceptable piece of international communication between world leaders.

Is it? That’s not the point.

Look, here’s what JFK and his staff were going through this week in 1962.

That’s how qualfied, responsible grownups in charge of important things operate.

But so what?

There is a substantial portion of the American people who see absolutely nothing wrong with that letter, a portion large enough that commercial television caters to them not only with phony cop shows but with Duck Dynasty and Baby June and a running stream of moronic daytime programming.

It’s good to publicize Donald Trump’s incapacities, because it keeps up the morale of the resistance.

But the fact that he brags of sexual assault and bribes strippers to conceal their sexual encounters hasn’t made a dent among his allegedly religious followers, many of whom wanted Clinton out of the White House for his sexual transgressions.

And they hate socialists and communists but are unruffled by his embrace of Russian leaders and oligarchs.

And you can bet they are accepting his description of the melt-down in the White House yesterday with Democratic leaders.

And they will vote in November.

They will vote in November.

And if those who would prefer a more enlightened, democratic government want to see one returned to Washington, they’d better not sit back and take many opportunities to shut up.

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
October/17/2019
@ 6:06 am

How does one “forget” that they packed a loaded gun in their carry on?

Obviously, they dont, but it sure makes for a convenient lie, I guess. Kinda up there with “I was driving that fast? I had no idea!”

Thanks for the reminder as to why I really dont like visiting the US much anymore. Yes, I know it’s a stereotype to think of USians that way… but who wants to really take the chance?

#2 Paul Berge
October/17/2019
@ 6:42 am

I thought Telnaes had drawn Donnie Boy scrawling with a pink crayon until I noticed the label on it. Here’s to a well-placed Bugs Bunny reference!

#3 Mark B
October/17/2019
@ 7:37 am

I saw the trailer from “The French Connection” (which is a good movie FWIW).. It refers to Gene Hackman’s character as “a good cop.” No he’s not!! He goes into black bars to harass and beat customers. He drives like a bat out of hell to catch the smuggler. (good chase scene in a movie, BAD in real life.) He’s a bully with a badge.

#4 mark johnson
October/17/2019
@ 9:15 am

Guns in your household do not make you safer. See publicized stats indicating that someone the gun owner knows is the most common victim.Check Tatania Jefferson’s story from Fort Worth. Her response to someone in her back yard snooping around was to grab her gun. The cop appears to have freaked out and shot her. Now, not her gun that killed her, not directly, but it seems likely she’d be alive if she hadn’t grabbed it.

#5 Mary McNeil
October/17/2019
@ 5:34 pm

Yeah, and Botham John got hisself shot because the cop was not paying attention when she walked into John’s apartment where he was eating ice cream and watching TV. Black man – white ice cream – of course she felt threatened !
Evidence indicates that Tatiana Jefferson hunted up her gun because she saw the flashlight in the back yard, but the cop, being the strong silent type – didn’t bother to holler “Police !”

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