Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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Commentary

May 31, 2014

Guns, massacres, and the masses

The massacre after Newtown, and the one before Santa Barbara, perpetrated at the Navy Yard last September, prompted me to write this:

“The Navy Yard shootings that left 13 dead just leaves me ... uncomfortably numb. It appears that at this point in American history, this is a fact of life and something we have to live with or die by. The shadowy, sulking loner emerges into the public space, blasting away at the innocents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mayors and chiefs tabulate the victims and the perps, open the triage and call out SWAT. The surgeons do pressers. The families mourn and express dismay. The mugshot reveals that crazed look. Gabrielle renews her outrage. Newtown and Colombine are invoked. We observe the moment of silence at the stadium. The NRA hunkers down. Congress is paralyzed to provide any response or adjustment. It seems as if we’re transfixed into rote response and in doing so, a slice of the American dream dies.”

The massacre at the University of California at Santa Barbara combined an array of lethal weaponry, from guns, to knives, to an automobile. And it stoked familiar debates.

Chris Cillizza, writing on his Washington Post blog, reacted to the outrage of Richard Martinez, who lost his only son: “It almost certainly won’t be that galvanizing moment. In the same way that the attempted assassination of then-Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wasn’t. In the same way the deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, wasn’t. (In fact, since Newtown, more states have loosened gun laws than have tightened them.) For those who oppose tighter gun laws, it is an absolute passion and oftentimes the single most important issue on which they make decisions about which candidates to support.”

For the sake of stoking an earnest debate, another columnist - Cliff Schecter of the Daily Beast - began poking holes in some of the most oft repeated assumptions. Here are some of his points:

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Commentary
  • Free Rick Perry |It tells you much about the laughable indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry that it has made him a figure of bipartisan sympathy. Perry was indicted recently for the offense of vetoing an appropriations bill. Not vetoing an appropriations bill in exch

    August 21, 2014

  • Icy heads and warm hearts |Internet fads come and go. Most of them are ridiculous, pointless and often dangerous like the cinnamon challenge, planking and Justin Bieber. Normally the fads involve a lot of people who want to be seen and heard. The new fad, however, is the ice

    August 21, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass |One of the worst things about our “divisive” political culture is that we’re wearing out words. We use some of them so constantly that they’ve lost their power. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel of “This is Spinal Tap,” we’ve turned them up to 11 and kept

    August 18, 2014

  • The seven Facebook friends everyone has |Recently, I was told that I’m behind the times because I’m still on Facebook. Just five years ago, I was told I was behind the times because I wasn’t on Facebook. The new “it” social media apps are Instagram, Twitter and a thousand other apps that I

    August 14, 2014

  • A hell of a diplomatic foray |If an Israeli high-level official were caught on a hot mic candidly commenting on Secretary of State John Kerry's ill-fated act of Israel-Hamas peacemaking, he might call it "a hell of a diplomatic foray." Kerry was caught sarcastically describing t

    July 30, 2014

  • Adopting Indiana? Or a 'deadbeat parent'? This past week we’ve learned that the State of Indiana has essentially stiffed 1,400 families who have adopted special needs children. The subsidies they were promised to raise kids in the state’s foster child program have been denied, prompting one

    July 12, 2014

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