The latest outbreak of gun-rights machismo…

The NRA has asked a federal judge to block a newly-enacted Florida gun-control law. The law affects several aspects of gun sales and ownership — a waiting period to buy, a ban on bump stocks — but what most upset the NRA apparently was raising the legal age to buy a gun, from 18 to 21.

Same old same old, you may say. Yet the phrasing of one objection caught my attention. It was a quote from Chris Cox of the NRA. “Securing our schools and protecting the constitutional rights of Americans are not mutually exclusive….”

So. Safe schools and gun ownership are not mutually exclusive. They are of equal value, equal importance in a rational society.

In other words, his right to own a gun is just as important as my grandchildren’s right to a safe school. And, as we are in a federal court, the law of the land prevents even trying to control gun ownership in order to save children’s lives.

Frankly, I believe that is what the gun lobby has been saying all along, but not until now have I heard it quite so specifically spelled out.


Pay no attention to…

Stories of interest/amusement/distress associated with the day’s news.

l/ President Trump — in person and through his aidess — has tried to downplay or deny news items about his alleged encounter with a porn star.

2/ A glance at news-stand headlines or TV features suggests the denial tactic has not and apparently will not produce number 1 above.

3/ President Trump’s standard strategy when confronted with negative items is, first, an outright and outraged denial. That failing, he resorts to distraction. Get people — and the press — to look at something else for a while.

4/ Thursday, the President had a White House meeting with a delegation from North Korea.

5/ During that meeting, President Trump at least twice left the briefing room to put the press on the alert for a major item.

6/ After that meeting, the North Korean delegation, standing on the White House steps, announced that the President had agree to meet with President Kim-jong Il.

7/ As a consequence of number 6, item number 1 appears to be getting far less attention.

8/ As a consequence of numbers 1-7 above, administration officials — some named, some not — are walking back announced features of the proposed meeting.

  • It probably will not come as soon as May of this year
  • Several new pre-conditions are being developed
  • It may not happen at all.

9/ With no apparent direct connection to any of the above, plans are still underway for a military parade in the nation’s capital.

Our nation, that is.

Could be…

You probably heard the news.

The White House said that President Trump would meet with Mr. Kim “at a place and time to be determined.”


Look, I am all in favor of reducing international tension, increasing safety and well-being for all people, and developing for my children and grandchildren a world which is not merely tolerable but is comfortable. If these two men can get together and in any way work toward those goals, hurray for them and a sigh of relief for me.

To be continued… maybe

I spent — wasted — an hour or so flipping through news pages, trying to find just the right report or quote to use here. A framework, a metaphor, a key phrase. But there weren’t any. Or perhaps there were too many.

What I wanted to illustrate was the idea that we should solve school shooting problems by arming teachers.

Everywhere I looked, someone was explaining what a perfect solution this could be, or how it should or should not be implemented, or what a dangerous idea it was.

Okay. All relevant and predictable.

What I did not find, what I am asking here, is this. What do we tell ourselves and the rest of the world about us if we reach the point in our loudly-proclaimed and widely-admired civilization if we even bring up the idea of putting guns in school, in the hands of teachers?

I sit now at the keyboard, trying to elaborate on the idea, and cannot. It defies explication, analysis, study. I’m going to post this, then turn off the computer, go downstairs, and have a suitable afternoon libation.

Left? Right? Who knows?

A moment of confusion while getting out of the car yesterday, and now I’m trying to coordinate the New Testament, neurology, and contemporary politics.

Here’s what happened. I pulled the car into the driveway, turned off the engine, picked up a couple items from the seat and opened the car door to get out. Couldn’t move. I’d forgotten to unhook the seat belt.

Pretty ordinary so far, right? All that’s needed is to unhook the belt. But my right hand — the one which normally unhooks the belt — was full of stuff. So I reached my left hand back to the right to unhook the belt.


My left hand didn’t know how to do it. Had the clip been on my left, I’m sure the left hand could have opened it. But my left hand — or the part of my brain which directs it — was at a loss. Could not figure out how to open a seat belt on the right.

What happened? Had some malign force modified the clip? Had my brain lost contact with my hands? Why wouldn’t the damn thing open?

Finally I grabbed the packages with my left hand and easily unhooked the seat belt with my right hand.

OK: Anyone know what was going on there? Or is this just another of those land mines — mind mines? — on the road to old age?

As to the Bible. Matthew 6:3: “Never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” It originally applied to charity, but now it goes even further. Google it. I got 36 million hits.

I’ll leave to the clever and politically-astute among you to suss out a way to apply this incident to contemporaneous American politics.


Candidates, anyone?

My father liked to enliven political discussions by citing an ancient civilization which had a highly effective leadership system. At each election, people chose one man to be absolute ruler for life. After one year in office he was executed, and a new ruler was chosen. The reasoning: only a loyal, patriotic and hard-working man, a man with no reason to enrich himself in office, would take the job.

Strange to say, I’ve never been able to find historical data on that particular civilization. Of course, my father was a man given to casual metaphor. Still, I can’t help wondering what would happen to political ambition if that format were imposed on… no, let us say merely, “made available to”… our own world.