CSotD: Paralysed Force, Gesture Without Motion

It was a bit of a coin flip, deciding whether to start the day with Jen Sorensen or T.S. Eliot, and they don’t really qualify as a Juxtaposition because they’re nearly the same.

Sorensen wins because this is a cartoon feature and not a poetry corner, but we’ll add the rest of Tom’s commentary at the end.

As predicted, there have been several cartoons pointing out that, boy, we sure have a lot of guns in this country, and that while other countries have mental illness and racism and video games, they don’t have nearly so many guns or nearly so many murders.

Some of these cartoons are new and some are re-posted from years past, because nothing has changed.

Writer David Rothkopf got a lot of retweets and likes for an extended thread that begins

He goes on through several levels on all the things it is but that it isn’t just, collected here and worth reading. He’s right; we’re really messed up.


However, as the Pointed Man told Oblio, “A point in every direction is the same as no point at all.”

While it’s not just the guns, it sure as hell is the guns, and, if we hope to change this toxic situation, we have to narrow things down and focus.


Ann Telnaes does just that, picking out two major, interconnecting issues, which she correctly labels as things we are unwilling to confront.

Ouch. I’m a guy, and, more than that, I’m a guy with no fear or hatred of guns.

I don’t know if a majority of my friends were hunters, but there were plenty of guns in my hometown and quite a few families that counted on getting a deer each fall to stretch their limited food budgets. In addition, I was on the rifle team at Camp Lord O’ The Flies and earned badges in the days before the NRA became a sponsor of rightwing terrorism.

So I am positioned to play both the “Not All Men” and “Not All Guns” cards, but it would require me to also play the Fool.

Not that I’d have to play them alone.


Mike Lester (AMS) offers an irrelevant bit of whataboutism, with a cartoon the only real point of which is that Jill Biden went to the memorial service in Waukesha, where, when a mentally ill wifebeater drove through a crowd, six people died, while, on that same day, the President was visiting Kentucky, where tornados had killed 76 people.

Lester isn’t the only one accusing Biden of reverse racism, apparently because the driver in Waukesha was a knee-grow, which means six is more than 76, $18 billion in damage and hundreds of thousands homeless is insignificant and, anyway, a Republican President would have been in both places at once.


The issue of male violence Telnaes raises is as hard to address as it is to dismiss, and, while, no, it’s “Not All Men,” Mike Luckovich paints a pretty good picture here of the men who marched in Charlottesville and who seem, as he accuses, to be courted by the GOP.

My only quibble is the different colored shirts, which are attractive in a cartoon but don’t capture the white-on-khaki preppy uniforms worn by those lockstep racists as they chanted their defiance of the Great Replacement Theory.


However, Rob Rogers captures the smirking preppy issue, and it’s important to point out, as he does, that this hateful lie is not limited to illiterate, anonymous racists but is voiced by a well-dressed, wealthy, privileged celebrity, not only proud to be identified with racist harangues but sheltered by a network dedicated to promoting the theory and to soft-pedaling any contravening opinions or bad news.

There is a real issue with toxic masculinity and you cannot address it by throwing around insults about illiterate hillbillies, because not all low-income rural people are idiots and not all well-dressed, well-educated urbanites are civilized, honest and open-minded.


Steve Brodner’s illustration of the ambitious, unrepentant racist Elise Stefanik (Harvard, ’06), framed with a damning quote from Eugene Robinson, admittedly stings personally.

Stefanik represents my old hometown, in a massive, rural district in Northern New York which she captured as a carpetbagger with virtually no ties to the area but which she seems to be holding.

It’s a demonstration of the flaws in social media, because my friends from high school hate her, but, then again, there are former classmates with whom I am not in touch and for good reason. What you see online largely depends on how you’ve curated your presence.

In any case, Stefanik is widely linked to the Great Replacement Theory, which she ran on in her last campaign, but she is both in denial of her record and deeply insulted that anyone would accuse her of saying the things she said.


As for those guns, and my former status as an NRA sharpshooter, Kevin Siers notes another great replacement, the Revolt at Cincinnati in which the NRA went from a gun-safety group to a politically powerful rightwing supporter of terrorism.

But there is more to this, and Siers notes how “well-regulated militia” became a meaningless phrase, hijacked not just by the NRA but with a decision by Justice Scalia every bit as self-serving as Alito’s current citing of a witch-hunter to justify his pending ban on women’s autonomy.

This lengthy rebuttal notes that, as Scalia wrote, the militia clause only offers a reason for the right and does not limit gun ownership to militias.

However, as this pre-Heller article outlines, the first draft of the amendment was far more explicit,

while the various models it was based on made belonging to the local militia their clear intent.


Within a quarter century, the abject failure of militias in the War of 1812 — not just at Bladensburg, as witnessed by Madison, but at Sacket’s Harbor and elsewhere — brought about a reorganization of the regular army, demoting the militia to its current backup level as National Guard and rendering the Second Amendment as pointless and vestigial as the Third.

Neither amendment was ever repealed, however, perhaps because nobody thought they needed to be.

I suppose we should be flattered that they assumed we would be wise and decent.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Paralysed Force, Gesture Without Motion

  1. I remember “Silent Running,” in which Bruce Dern’s character is a caretaker of the earth’s last remaining green things on a space-greenhouse.

    Money quote about the destruction of earth’s ecosystems:

    “If it was important to them, they would have done something.”

  2. If the Third seems vestigial, it’s because it works.

    My son tells me that when his unit was on exercises in Germany, they lived in private homes.

    So don’t be too quick to discard the Third.

  3. “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

    The Redcoats were commandeering private homes. As the Amendment specifies, there’s nothing wrong with the gov’t renting housing. The “in wartime” clause is a little more flexible, granted, but it still requires some form of legal process.

    Both the Second and Third are emblematic of our experience with a standing army, but one noted for arrogance and governmental overreach. Perhaps a bit of overreaction on the part of the Founders, as it turned out, but they’d been through a lot.

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