Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Morning After

Like a lot of people, I was glued to the tube Friday for the latest news on the atrocity in Aurora. In a depraved sort of way, I was somewhat relieved to see the corporate media covering actual news and debating substantive issues for a change, rather than the latest gaffes and attacks in the presidential horserace. I was somewhat impressed when the campaigns announced they'd be pulling their ads out of respect for the victims.

Only, that was a lie.

After almost every CNN scene of tears, anguish and anger came the usual:

"I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message. 'God bless Ame-e--e-rica'......"

This ad is already being lauded as the most effective attack ad ever in the history of presidential politics. Better than the iconic "Daisy" commercial. More hard-hitting than Michael Dukakis in a tank.

And it's being run over, and over, and over again. On CNN, I counted seven times in one hour. On the day of the worst shooting attack in American history, when all the attack ads were supposedly being pulled.

I guess I heard wrong. The ad blackout would only be effective in the one square mile radius surrounding Aurora, Col. And since Colorado is a battleground state, look for the same old politics as usual to return soon to a TV screen near you. Hurry up and bury your dead so the horserace can continue, so the fundraisers can rake in the cash, so the NRA can skip the phony condolences and forge ahead with its quest to arm every man, woman and child with an assault rifle while it writes more laws to making it easier to buy a gun than it is to register to vote.

President Obama needn't have bothered to order flags lowered to half-staff. All he needed to do was replace the American flag with a white flag, signalling total surrender to right wing nutjobs and the shadow government known as the National Rifle Association.


There's been some fantastic writing in the aftermath of this most recent act of domestic terrorism:

Brady Campaign Director President Dan Gross tells Obama that we don't need his phony sympathy.

Roger Ebert says our gun laws are just as insane as the craziest shooter and that nothing will likely change just because a dozen more innocents lost their lives yesterday.

Gail Collins writes about the long hard slog of the loyal opposition -- the tiny groups of activists who quixotically never quit striving for justice in the face of the all-powerful gun lobby. Accompanied by some fine readers' comments as well as those from the usual suspects equating gun ownership with freedom.

The New York Daily News showcases its editorial in a front-page banner headline: "Colombine, Virginia Tech and now Aurora: How Many More Must Die, Mr. President?"

And E.J. Dionne Jr. calls bullshit on the political canard that talking about gun control so soon after the latest atrocity is somehow disrespecting the victims. 


Anne Lavoie said...

Of course gun ownership is equated with freedom! That's how we won our freedom from the Crown in the first place - a bunch of ragtag patriots with guns. It's been drilled into eveyrone's heads since grade school.

NOW we have a new Crown in the form of Obama, the destroyer of the very Constitutional rights and protections those people fought and died for - with guns.

NOW we have a thriving, powerful, growing National Security Police State, owned and operated by Corporate America for THEIR profit and benefit, solidly in control of our county.

Hello? Is anyone out there??? What kind of American would be willing to trust their government with securing their freedom when they see it being taken away more and more each day by the power elite?

Liberals, I guess.

Anonymous said...

You are not counting BO's special message to the nation on the shooting with his cheering supporters behind him?

Will said...

Just wanted to pay tribute to Jessica Ghawi (a sports journalist professionally known as Jessica Redfield), one of the poor souls murdered by that asshole in Aurora yesterday.

Touching stories from her colleagues:

From the article above, a hilarious video of Jessica interviewing a hockey player:

May Jessica and all the victims of this stupid, senseless and completely preventable tragedy rest in peace.

James F Traynor said...

I guess I'm pretty much visual (I never really 'get' mathematics until I visualize it- notation doen't do it). Thanks to Will for that 'youtube' reference. We're really such a sad culture. I've just about given up on it, except for a sort of scientific detachment.

Denis Neville said...

Senator Carl Schurz, Missouri, in his speech delivered at the Anti-Imperialistic Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on October 17, 1899, said:

“I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves . . . too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of TRUE patriotism: ‘Our country – when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

Instead, today we have hypocrisy on both ends of our political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals.

We live compartmentalized lives and suffer from a national disease of narcissism.

Mexico estimates that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. Republican lawmakers say they want ATF to halt this deadly flow of guns. 47,000 Mexicans have died in the drug-war violence in the past five years. Straw gun purchasers for Mexican criminals were under surveillance by the ATF. Republicans charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. Gun seizures by the ATF's in Arizona have since dropped by more than 90% since the Fast and Furious scandal.

The ATF did no such thing. They did just the opposite, confiscating guns whenever they could. However, they were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws. There are no federal laws to prevent the trafficking of firearms within the U.S. The NRA has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that Congress explicitly prohibits the ATF from establishing one. ATF agents have only a patchwork of toothless laws to stop this flow of guns into Mexico.

Yet, hypocritical Republicans also charge that the ATF was using Fast and Furious to limit gun rights.

Mexico's drug war, our guns, 47,000 human beings slaughtered. Where is our moral and ethical outrage?

Our own staggering 62 page list of mass shootings in the United States since 2005,

Tom Tomorrow, July 20, 2012 , “I wrote this cartoon after the Gabby Giffords shooting in January of 2011. It remains tragically relevant.”


Jay - Ottawa said...

I’m with Mayor Bloomberg on this one. He says Obama and Romney in campaign mode should be one-upping each another with concrete proposals for the tightest legislation and enforcement mechanisms imaginable to curb this endless cycle of big shoots in America.

One of the important newspapers in Spain had an ironic (I think) line about our chief executive on the Aurora massacre: “Obama Counsels Prayer and Reflection.”

Anne Lavoie said...

How was it that with all the surveillance going on in this country that DHS didn't pick up on this guy buying all that ammunition, weaponry, chemicals, and gear for months in advance? Or did they know but let him run with it to see where it led/who else he might be linked with?

If he managed to do so without being detected, presumably under the radar and with only a few months planning, we have to guess that there could be many others who have built up more dangerous arsenals and government doesn't have a CLUE, apparently.

I don't suppose this could possibly be another one of those FBI set-ups where they find a unstable (batty) person like at an Occupy rally, cultivate them, provide all the weaponry, then try to stop their 'terrorist' just in the nick of time. Unlikely, but whatever the situation was, this guy sure turned out to be a real pro in short order, tragically.

James F Traynor said...


I imagine there are a lot of small arsenals out there. It's probably something like money; movements of 10k or more (last I heard) are flagged and sent to the FBI, anything less than that is ignored. That allows for a lot of guns and ammo to pile up in small arsenals over time.