There are just too many things going on in the world (and in my life) for me to focus on only one topic right now, so here are a few random observations.
- In an earlier post I offered my views regarding gun control and the 2nd Amendment. The killings at the Baptist Church in Texas over the weekend were the 307th “mass shooting” (four or more shot at one time) in the United States this year. As of November 6, 2017, 13,203 Americans have been killed in gun incidents and 27,045 have been injured just this year. By comparison, even one of the most conservative anti-Islam websites could find only 19 Americans killed by “radical Muslim extremists” thus far in 2017. Still, Americans’ fear of terrorism is our second greatest concern (second only to corrupt government officials). So our chance of being killed by terrorists is almost zero while the liklihood of being killed by a fellow citizen with a gun in 2017 is almost 700 times greater, but we focus on terrorism rather than easy access to guns. Makes sense.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time”. It appears a large number of my fellow citizens do not satisfy this definition. In personal conversations I’ve had recently and in comments I’ve seen in the media, when the issue of Russia’s involvement in our elections and the possible collusion of Trump campaign officials is raised, one response is “well what about Hillary Clinton and the Uranium One deal in Russia”. These are not related events. One does not justify the other. If Clinton is guilty she (and any others involved) should be prosecuted. The same is true for any guilty Trump officials. I’ve actually had Americans tell me they don’t care if Russia impacted our presidential election. Yes…that is frightening.
- The “me too” campaign has really shed light on sexual assault and harassment, and I’ve been bothered a great deal by the number of friends and family who typed “me too” as their Facebook statuses. By 2017 one would hope we were beyond the “boys will be boys” (or “men will be men”) excuse, but it appears some men still believe their authority and power give them the authority to grab, grope, demand sex, or otherwise assault women (or other men). And, by the way, I’ve also wanted to put “me too” in my own status but I didn’t want to explain and I also thought it might somehow cheapen women’s experiences.
- A month ago the Las Vegas shooter killed about 60 and injured another 500 using a “bump stock” which allowed him to fire a lot of rounds in a short period of time. You have probably heard that the sales of “bump stocks” soared after the Las Vegas shooting. The manufacturer stopped selling them and Congress said it would begin hearings on the devices (a month later still no hearings and most gun dealers sold out). Now the manufacturer decided to release more bump stocks onto the market again. Yet another example of profits taking precedence over lives.
- I’ve previously discussed America’s low opinion of President Trump. As it turns out Americans have a pretty low opinion of the Democratic and Republican parties as well. Support for the Democratic Party is at a twenty-five year low , with only 37% of Americans viewing that party favorably and 54% viewing it unfavorably. Only about 30% of Americans view the Republican Party favorably and 60% view it unfavorably. What America needs is a third party that offers common sense, non-ideological solutions to problems like unemployment, declining infrastructure, the drug crisis, the debt, and other similar problems.
- Last week I was in Denver for a conference. It is a beautiful city with lots of great things going for it. However, I was struck by the number of homeless people on the city’s streets. I had the opportunity to interact with several of these folks and it became obvious that most of them were suffering from a serious mental illness. Earlier this year Scientific American reported that America’s mental health has declined in the last twenty years. Suicide rates are higher, opioid use has skyrocketed, and more Americans have been declared disabled because of mental illness. I don’t have a solution but I do know that I saw a bunch of folks in Denver (and see others here in Columbia) who do not have much of a life because of a mental illness.
- OK. We need something happier. I’ve often said that most people are genuinely good, caring, loving, and kind and the number of jerks is very small. That sentiment was proven once again in Denver where I met fellow conferees, baristas (lots of those), people in restaurants, people on planes and trains, and people in airports. Everywhere I go I find very good people and find that they are the overwhelming majority.
That’s all I have for now. I do appreciate you reading!