Friday, July 20, 2012


I'm horrified by the recent theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. Perhaps it's too early for me to ask this question, but one of the arguments against gun control is that potentially someone being fired upon might be able to fire back. Why is it that it never happens though? Or are there instances where some civilian with a gun has shot a mass murderer mid-rampage?
There were hundreds of people in that theater and no one used a gun to shoot back? Do mass murderers pick their crowds to eliminate this possibility? There was the one in the Unitarian Church in Tennessee a few years ago. The hero simply tackled the shooter, more or less exactly what Batman (who generally doesn't use firearms) would have done.
Okay, I decided to look it up and accurate or not Wikipedia has a page on "spree killers". Some really fascinating patterns. The killers are overwhelmingly male. Only 2 were female and one of those was in the company of her boyfriend. There's a huge cluster of these kinds of shootings after the year 2000 and I didn't find any instance where one of the victims to be pulled out a gun and shot the shooter.
fwiw, their list is incomplete. It's missing the big Stockton shooting at Cleveland School in 1989 and the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique shootings also in 1989. I am, however, assuming that it's reasonably representative. The other interesting thing is that these things are clearly not strictly an American phenomenon. In fact, the most horrific ones have been in other countries like Norway and Australia.
The vast majority of the shooter/killers were very clearly mentally ill and showed signs of stress well before they did what they did. Whatever one's thoughts about gun control, it should also raise questions about providing services and treatment for the seriously mentally ill. It's not a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Read more!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney

A number of Republican leaders have come forward in the last couple days to condemn fellow Republican, Michelle Bachmann's attacks on Huma Abedin (AKA Mrs. Anthony Weiner) and other Moslems in governement or who work with the government. Fascinatingly, one Republican has been noticeably silent on the matter, the presumptive leader of the Republican party, Mitt Romney. I googled Mitt and Bachmann to see if he or his campaign had weighed in on the matter. The only articles that came up were about Mitt having considered Michelle Bachmann as a possible running mate. In the words of his wife, "You people" know all you need to know about her husband. Taking on Bachmann would just be bad for business.

Read more!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Rain in Bain

I don't think any of us can know how "smart" Mitt's refusal to share his past tax returns is without knowing what's in them. For instance, people would have wanted OJ to turn over the knife, but I'd have to say that he was probably smart to get rid of it (assuming OJ, in fact, killed his wife and Ron Goldman). If there's stuff in there that would take him out of the race, Mitt's being very smart indeed and it's worth the cost.

The thing I notice is that even Richard Nixon claimed "executive privilege". He had some "principle" he was trying to protect by refusing to turn over his tapes. Mitt's not claiming any kind of principle other than his insistence that it would be bad strategy. (a difference between business leadership and political leadership. Whenever the guy really left Bain, his mindset never did leave)

That's not smart. His people should have helped him make some claim that he wants to make a stand about "privacy" even for Presidential candidates and the limits of what the debate should be about, "issues" rather than pecadillos. He should also then make a point of refusing to call for information about the President's past and how "gotcha" politics is crippling the process and the real debate we need to have.

Romney's gone the other way instead and it's made it look like he's covering something up. He's playing it more like Darth Vader than say uh Batman. iirc Batman has dark stuff about himself and certainly has secrets, but he also has a strong sense of principle and honor. It's the latter that makes Batman a "hero", albeit a complex one. Mitt had a chance to act like Batman and he chose to play the Joker instead.

Read more!

Friday, July 13, 2012

My story "Forever Plastic" is up at Slurve Magazine

Read more!