We've reached the point where mass murder provokes the same dulled responses from our cartoonists, the same "When are we going to do something about this?" and the same "It's not the guns, don't blame guns" from the NRA and its devoted servants, both the ones it deceives and the ones it bribes.
So for those who proclaim "American Exceptionalism," here's the view from a distance, courtesy of Nicaraguan cartoonist Pedro X. Molina.
Yes, we're exceptional. We allow delusional fanatics to set policy, even when it results in the murder of innocent people, again and again and again.
It's true that there are some other places where dangerous, violent people have virtually unfettered access to weapons. But do you truly believe that the Somali and American governments have equal abilities to monitor and protect public safety?
I'm tired of pointing out that the NRA was formed to promote gun safety but was taken over by rightwing lunatics 40 years ago. That's not my opinion. That's history.
The NRA has not spoken for responsible gun owners in nearly 40 years, and if hunters and sport shooters don't start speaking up, they will find that laws will be passed by people who know nothing about guns.
The revulsion against arming crazy people is reaching a tipping point, and it would be nice if sane, sensible gun owners would join the conversation, because your silence makes people think you don't exist.
A guy I grew up with posted a link the other day to a list of Top Ten Deer Rifles. Nine of the ten were basic hunting rifles, some lever-action, some bolt-action.
There was only one semi-automatic "assault rifle" with pistol grip and large ammunition clip, and it was described as a good rifle -- I'm not making this up -- for hunting on small plots of private land where you have to knock the deer down before it crosses over to someone else's property.
None of the comments referenced that ridiculous argument or that particular weapon, though some cited the author's apparent need to include dubious products from advertisers among the legitimate selections.
Responsible gun owners own sensible guns. And they shouldn't let paranoid maniacs speak for them.
The whole world is watching, and, like Jenny in that Scottish church, we smile and toss our heads and pride ourselves on being so stylish and beautiful, when that isn't why they're staring.
Publicly funded campaigning
As Rob Rogers notes, Boehner's heir apparent, Kevin McCarthy, has already made his first strategic blunder, boasting of how the Republicans have kept the Benghazi rumor mill churning for the purpose of attacking Hillary Clinton and easing their path to the White House.
Those who favor using public funding for elections might take some comfort in knowing the Republicans approve of the idea: Taxpayers have spent millions on this GOP promotional farce.
I wasn't blown away by David Horsey's cartoon on the topic, but his essay is definitely worth reading and spares me further ranting on the issue.
Except to say that, if you believe the NRA still represents responsible gun owners, I guess you could believe that the Republican Party still represents responsible voters.
But it doesn't speak well for you.
... and other popular delusions
We can just sum up our discussion of "Some People Will Believe Anything" with Don Asmussen's Bad Reporter, which has a nice collection of stupid things people currently believe.
I'm less appalled by the Planned Parenthood lies, because I think they've reached a point where they're doing more harm to the liars than to the organization, though I might have said the same thing when Republican anarchists used fake videos to take down ACORN.
If you have the votes, the truth doesn't matter.
But the spinning of an audience with the Pope into his endorsement of hateful behavior is a more insidious insult to truth, in large part because so much of his time here was devoted to asking us not to hate and divide each other.
The problem is that a lot of people are simply accepting that it happened as Davis's spin team claims it did, and then either proclaiming that the Pope said it's okay to keep your job even if you aren't going to perform it, or attacking him for his "support" with no actual proof that he gave her any.
Again, I'm spared the need to rant, because the Vatican has finally spoken up to clarify that Davis was one of dozens of people the Pope met with and that they didn't get into the details of her case, nor did he have any comment on it.
But before that, Fr. James Martin SJ wrote a piece for America magazine with seven points to keep in mind about the rumored meeting, each of them worth reading and the last worth repeating here:
7. Most of all, despite what Ms. Davis said, a meeting with the pope does not “kind of validate everything.” Again, the pope meets with many people, some of whom he may know well, others of whom may be introduced to him as a reward for long service, and perhaps others who will use a meeting to make a political point. Meeting with the pope is a great honor, but it does not betoken a blanket blessing on “everything” one does. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pope Francis also met Mark Wahlberg, and that does not mean that he liked “Ted.”
Juxtaposition of the Day
I was in a store yesterday that had a display of salted caramel something-or-other, and it occurred to me what a good idea this is, because the sugar can help add to the explosion of type 2 diabetes in our population, while adding salt can contribute to our need for more hypertension.
Though you can hold the sugar and still promote these outcomes simply by deep-frying whatever you plan to coat with sodium.
Now here's your moment of non-nutritious, truth-free zen