America unhinged

Will January 8, 2011, be remembered as yet another date that will live in infamy?

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) was having a beer and eating pizza at a New Jersey bar when he heard the news via the television. Soon thereafter, he was contacted by his staff and was on the phone with other House members.

“It’s somewhat overwhelming. We are all flabbergasted, stunned,” he said.

While noting the obvious differences between the two events, Pascrell said Saturday reminds him of 9/11.

“I couldn’t believe I was really seeing this. This can’t be real,” he told The Hill in an interview Monday.

A mass shooting in America. No, that’s never happened before.

What’s an American to do when contemplating that danger by the next Glock-wielding gunman? Why, go out and buy a Glock!

After Saturday’s shootings:

Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols — popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters — flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

“We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

As for how to cool down the incendiary rhetoric that supposedly triggered Jared Lee Loughner’s rampage, well, maybe it would be better not just to cool it down but shut it down.

One lawmaker, Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), has said he would introduce a bill to make it a crime to threaten or incite violence against a federal official.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) suggested the Federal Communications Commission was “not working anymore,” adding she would look at ways to better police language on the airwaves.

But isn’t it time to get serious about gun control?

The Huffington Post has the improbable headline: “Peter King, Leading Republican, To Introduce Strict Gun-Control Legislation.”

A ray of sanity from the most unexpected place! Unfortunately not. King’s idea of strict gun control is a law against bringing a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official.

Aside from the fact that this would practically speaking be an unenforceable law, what about the rest of us outside government who also like the idea of being able to move around inside a gun-free perimeter?

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10 thoughts on “America unhinged

  1. Ian Arbuckle

    I think this “government official” elitism is just ridiculous. They are already putting themselves above the law. We have have up to secretaries of state and even presidents who are avoiding prosecution for admitted war crimes, we have other US government functionaries responsible for crimes against the constitution, as well as supporting crimes against humanity. This same government is spying on, and arbitrarily restricting the activities of “lists” of citizens, and abrogating human rights under a draconian Patriot act or presidential prerogative. Is this why government employees need another layer of special protection to their safety, so that they may continue unharmed their tyranny.

  2. scott

    I guess it’s sad that a more partisan politician wasn’t the victim. I don’t really know how to see this as so much worse than a Pakistani woman being shot, an American soldier dying of friendly fire–OK 20 people shot, hit with an errant drone attack, whatever.

    I hope the slings and arrows of empire strike our leaders, we aren’t fodder for them. We shouldn’t be the victims of their policies. I like seeing people impaled on their own petards, especially petard hoarders and merchants. I do feel for the little girl, and maybe for some of the staff. But, considering the duplicity, the sophistic nature of debate in Washington, self destruction is the best that can come of them. It seems to me the only earnest people in Washington are Dennis K, Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders–the rest should be tried for treason, then shot in the head–that is the tragedy (I guess,) the lack of due process.

  3. Christopher Hoare

    World view, world view, world view. In Salon yesterday, Michael Lind had a more concise interpretation of the failure of Americans to accept a more coherent world view than my attempt in my comments. While he points out that there are five American worldviews and that they do not connect, he doesn’t mention that they are mostly toxic, and the brew distilled from them is more toxic still.
    America was a good place when most of its citizens were glad that the wild west was some place far away and did not directly effect their society. Today it seems that most Americans are eager to bring the wild west into their own communities.
    With the US military and CIA dispensing wild west ‘justice’ to any country they have the guts to invade (not too big and not too dangerous, perhaps) the people of the world are slowly turning their backs and their concern. That would be sad if it should continue, because the blog’s selections show that Americans have little grasp on what’s wrong, let alone know how to solve it.

  4. Norman

    The mind set is mind boggling in some of the comments, especially the one who saves 3 & shoots all the rest in the head. Way to go there Mr. Hell, how about just giving everyone a gun & let them shoot each other? Or, how about . . . . . . . . . . insanity. None of this hate rhetoric that’s been blasting away should have been allowed to fester. Where are the laws that are already on the books, we don’t need this endless procession of more restrictive laws of the moment. Posturing today, doesn’t excuse the hate that’s being tolerated by either the right or the left. It’s not being a patriot to engage in such character assassination, it’s just plain stupid ignorance, regardless of who, what, when, that person is. The I was only kidding, ha, ha, ha, defense doesn’t cut it. I wonder just how many people who sprout hate, murder, etc., have actually done such? How many humans have they cold bloodily murdered? Perhaps only on the X-Box, or maybe the Desk Top, even cowboys & bad guys. A pissing contest to see who is the most Macho? Of course, there are also those who maybe hunt from Helicopters, human or animals, but ask the Veterans who are among you, the ones who have survived actual combat, how much fun it is to kill another! Did they think it “cool”?

  5. Observer.

    I do not understand Americans — I just do not. It is very difficult to understand that they left Europe only fifty, one hundred, two hundred years ago — and yet have an utterly diferent kind of consciousness and outlook.

    I’d wager that if you ask most Europeans, they’d say that Americans were their cousins or brothers, since they are only separated by a short period of time, and share the same history and great grandparents — but no. Americans are totally different.

    I have known Americans for about a decade now, having worked with them closely in that time — and I understand them less and less as time passes.

    The bigggest block the Americans have to get past ( if they really do want to join the rest of humanity) is to stop seeing themselves and thier country as the entire cosmos. Americans really do see themselves as being the entire planet and summing up the entire human consciousness. Everything else is just a mere periphery, a ‘black and white’ photocopy in US consciousness, ‘the world’ is a mere shadow at the edge of America, a fiant blip.

    A-M-E-R-I-C-A ( dude ) surely is painted in HUGE letters on our globe.

    And having known the English too, when they were powerful, I have to say, the Americans are far, far , far worse — even thier talking, their walking is all done with a swaggering, bloated, consciousness of “Ameeerrrcaa– it’s a big place dude ! Hey , you speak kinda funny! Speak Engerlish dude ! ”

    Americans have to just drop it. And wake up.

  6. BillVZ

    America Unhinged

    Chris Hoare
    “because the blog’s selections show that Americans have little grasp on what’s wrong, let alone know how to solve it……………”

    How true.Yet,it is not only Americans that haven’t a clue on what is wrong, let alone know how to solve it- of course this could be said for most of the inhabitants of the ‘civilized’ world.
    I believe it was Joseph Campbell that mentioned:

    “When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect- the world is a mess. It has always been a mess. There is little we can do to change it.”

    I have on the ‘altar’ of my computer the following quote:
    All things are in the current of life- while here ‘we’ are trying to attach ourselves to something that will ‘stem the flow’ of the whole universe. No wonder we create our own problems!

    Could it be that the steps to solve the ‘problem’ begins with ones self?
    Again- Joesph Campbell -Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

  7. Mario

    Observer — ouch ! I laughed when I read your comment — but you are right. Even the ‘anti American Americans’ I know are narcissistic — because good ‘ole USA is STILL at the centre of their very vain world view.

    However — is the problem with “Americans” themselves — are they specially, uniquely unpleasant people — or is it more something to do with the gross and crass way human beings behave when they get power? I think the latter, objectionable as many Americans certainly are.

    Observer, do you really think, ten years down the line, China is going to have any more an enlightened attitude towards the ‘other’ than America? It is doubtful.

  8. Mario

    PS it is clear though that something has gone very badly wrong with the British/Anglo Saxon/American world model — I mean, drastically, dysfunctionally, wrong.

    I am reading Tony Judt’s “Ill Fares the Land” — the stats and graphs he presents are disturbing, and I’d recommend all English and American people to look at them, to see their own sorry faces in the mirror.

    Even though the English and Americans have stacked up such vast wealth and built up chances for ‘the good life’ barely imaginable a century ago, Tony Judt presents graphs that analyse the following ( in relation to the ‘developed’ world, EG Americas, East Asia, all of Europe) :

    1. How trusting of your fellow citizens are you and how much do feel you belong to your people/nation? Specifically UK and USA were so far off the bad end of the scale, they nearly wrecked the chart.

    2. Mental ill health and lack of a sense of well being. UK/USA top the chart by miles.

    3.Physical iIll health, irrespective of wealth. UK and USA….you guessed it…

    4. Chances for social mobility, ‘self improvement chances’. UK and USA broke the negative end of the chart…

    5. Violence and murder. USA was off the scale.

    So — what is it exactly, that English and Americans cannot get through their thick skulls? And what is it that is so rotten? Is it a European thing? After all, much of America’s ‘consciousness’ is a vastly, vulgarly crude overblown European one. More specifically, is it an ‘English-ness’, then crassly exemplified by USA? The English did have a big hand in founding the monster that is USA, and, in Judt’s charts, — out of all the Europeans — it is undeniably, specifically the English who scored the worst on all traits. The English were off the charts, like the Americans.

  9. Observer

    Mario, interesting post — you sound as disenchanted and annoyed with American people as I do. And yes, the English are hardly much better , it is true.

    BTW, you mentioned Judt’s critique of Americans and the English as being ‘the problem’ — in its early chapters, Judt bases his statistics on Pickett and Wilkinson’s research.

    Judt’s book , I found to be a little general, but very worthwhile. As to your question about why America is so bad, and you ask, is it ‘something European’ at the root of the problem ? But, as you are aware, Judt’s studies show that many European states are comfortable with themselves and have maintained some significant degree of balance. The interesting point to me was that Judt consisently points to the English ( not the British ) and the Americans as the ones who have lost their way. Judt makes it clear ( with no spite or bitterness ) that regarding Europe, it is the English people who are in a state of chaos and disarray. Noticeable in his charts is that the parts of Ireland which have significantly less connection with England — did far far better in surveys analysing ‘sense of community’ , ‘sense of belonging’ etc.

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