November 26, 2015
I know that when somebody is in a position of power, other folks are always trying to pull them off to the side to give them advice. I do not normally do this, myself, but the more I watch this mess in Kosovo, I want to pull Bill Clinton over and tell him about my old tomcat.
Tom could have been the poster-child for stray cats, which is what he was when he found himself adopted into my little family back in Mississippi.
After he settled in, he cleaned himself up pretty well, working at his armor-plating of mats until his long fur looked fairly presentable. He was chunky, and looked a little like a mohair cork.
Tom was a lot to contend with, about 20 pounds of bad attitude with claws. He as a warlike old cuss who would actually take off across the yard toward any dog he saw coming into his territory.
As far as I know, the only thing on this earth he was afraid of was Minsky.
Minsky was our little female cat. She was tiny, about half Tom’s size, and excessively cute, with long brindled black and orange fur, and a little three-inch stub of a tail, the result of a close call with a large neighborhood dog.
That stub is an important player in our story. It was sharp, and Minsky was in the habit of holding it straight up in the air when she was happy or in heat, which for Minsky usually meant one and the same thing.
In an effort to be delicate, let me just say that Minsky suffered from an excess of, er, romance when it came to cats of the opposite sex. In fact, when she went into heat, which seemed to happen every 20 minutes, she became so flirtatious she even embarrassed me.
In fact, it was Minsky’s affectionate nature that was Tom’s downfall.
One rainy winter night, my wife and I sat reading in bed, enjoying the heat and glow of the industrial-sized open gas heater, which stood against the wall opposite the foot of our brass bed. Minsky, the hussy, was lolling around all over the floor, making odd little cooing noises, and casting steamy glances across the room at Tom.
Tom, poor boy, was totally smitten. A passionate creature by nature, he approached matters of the heart with the same verve he used in attacking dogs and small children. Used much of the same technique, too, as I recall.
Tensely, he watched Minsky from where he curled on the new bedspread. I watched them both. Minsky was giving an Oscar-grade performance. She lolled. She mewed. She made suggestive remarks.
Tom grew more and more…interested.
Finally, he dropped to the floor, and crouched into a coiled stance, like a coiled spring ready to let go.
A few seconds later, after Minsky uttered one more invitation, that spring exploded into life. Tom launched himself across the little room, to land with all his weight and speed right on top of…that cruel, sharp, rigid little spike of a tail.
It was not the sensation he had been expecting.
Giving something between a grunt and a yowl, he catapulted himself backwards through the air, performing a lovely parabola from point A, (that would be Minsky,) to point B, (which would be the big gas heater,) which promptly set him on fire.
Now a ball of flaming fur, Tom launched himself in the other direction, landing on top of the bed, burning merrily.
My wife screamed. I screamed. None of us screamed as much as Tom.
Thinking I ought to do something immediately, even if it was wrong, I threw the new bedspread over Tom and wrapped him tight, extinguishing the flames. Tom, not happy with being smothered, proceeded to yowl and shred his way out of the bedspread.
My wife, not happy with what was happening to her new bedspread, started to yowl and beat on me with her Bible. Yowling a little myself, I took the whole sorry bundle out the back door and dumped Tom on the ground. He took off, still smoking, into the garden.
Minsky, meanwhile, was still looking for companionship. I picked her up and, resisting the urge to drop-kick her, set her down on the ground. She took off after Tom, whose smoke trail was easy to follow, even in the rain.
After a few days, things were back to what passed for normal in our household. There was yet another new bedspread on the brass bed. Minsky was calm and, we learned later, pregnant, papa unknown. Tom, however, was a changed cat.
Even after his fur grew back out, his lion-like bearing fell away whenever he came into the house. If Minsky came anywhere near him, he slinked around the edges of the room and went to go hide under the couch.
This is the cautionary tale I would tell Bill Clinton if I were to advise him about the situation in Kosovo No matter how small and tempting your target, remember there may be sharp and unpleasant surprises lurking in what looked like an easy victory.
Now, if he wanted to apply that advice to any other aspect of his life, that is his business.
November 8, 2015
It had been an unusually bitter argument.
I don’t remember the topic, it was so long ago. We had been drifting apart for years, and we were almost to the end of that process.
We were polar opposites, and not in the way that made us more interesting to one another. I was a blue-collar hippy, she was a military officer’s kid. I took any kind of job I could get, she always managed to avoid working anywhere. She had become deeply religious suspiciously quickly after we got together, I wavered between the occult, agnosticism, and downright atheism. She wanted kids. I did not.
Post argument, I was lying on my belly on the brass double bed, fuming and staring at the chipped plaster wall.
She sat upright, pillows piled behind her, reading her Bible.
As I lay there mired in that acidic anger, she suddenly gasped out loud.
I switched immediately to protective mode. It just works that way.
“What is it, what’s wrong?” I asked.
It’s him, she said.
“Him who?” I asked, honestly puzzled.
“Jesus,” she said, in an ecstatic voice.
I lay silent for a while. Then:
He is standing at the foot of the bed, she explained.
By now, I am studying the pale blue walls with great attention. As I saw it, there were only two possible options.
One: There was nothing at the foot of the bed but air, and my significant other was nuts.
Two: Jesus was standing at the foot of my brass bed and I was in deep doo-doo.
It was quite the quandary.
I didn’t want to know the answer, to be honest.
Understand, that when I am nervous I have a tendency to say the first wisecrack that comes to mind. My knee-jerk reaction is to defuse the situation and get everybody to relax.
It really never works, but I do it anyway.
Being an atheist who has just been told that the Son of God is standing at the foot of the bed is probably the very definition of a nervous situation.
So, I said what could have been the worst possible thing ever.
DO YOU TWO WANT TO BE ALONE?
I have to remark that her command of the saltier parts of the English vocabulary was stellar for a churchy girl.
She excoriated me with little grace but a whole lot of enthusiasm. I mean back seven generations and all the way out to my 3rd cousins, whoever they are.
And, for the record, Jesus was not standing at the foot of the bed. But I slept on the couch that night anyway.
October 23, 2015
I try my best to be rational, despite a lot of guff I get from less liberal friends.
I went through religious phases, even tinkered around in the occult for a while, until I got tired of trying to believe ridiculous things. So, I have self-identified as an atheist and a non-believer in magic for decades now, but I have to make an exception for particular dogs and cats.
I remembered that when I met Max.
I had a wonderful dog when I was a kid, a Heinz 57 of very democratic ancestry named Gramps. His previous owners called him that because his bark sounded like the griping of a querulous old man.
Gramps and I were as inseparable as a boy and his dog could be. We explored the woods and fields in the area where I grew up and were often out till after dark. I had a BB gun and Gramps, and was relatively fearless, except for that time with the Peacock, but that’s ‘whole ‘nother’ story.
When I was in Junior High, a brat down the street yanked on Gramps’ tail where it had been slammed in a door before we got him. Gramps yelped, turned and bit the little turd on the face.
Without hesitation, Dad took Gramps to the vet and had him put down. He said if he had not, the family of the little monster would have sued us.
I was heartbroken. I suggested that we put the kid down too, but that idea gained no traction.
I didn’t speak to my dad for a couple of weeks. I think he was really hurt.
Four years later I worked as a helper on a beer truck. I was loading the hand-dolly back on the truck in a town 40 miles from home when I turned around and there was Gramps.
Of course, that was silly. He was a young dog, and Gramps was pretty old when he died. But he was identical; same short glossy black fur, same white blaze on his chest, same quizzical tilt to his head when I talked to him.
I laughed at myself and climbed up in to the passenger seat of the cab.
Gramps II took a running leap and sat in my lap.
We talked for a long time. Wes the Driver, being a notorious motor-mouth and unable to keep a schedule, stayed in the package store for a long time.
I told him how much I missed him and stuff like that. He wagged and licked my face and looked into my eyes. When Wes came out from the package store, Gramps II licked my face again and jumped out of the cap and trotted away.
Wes, who had not seen the dog, saw my face and asked what was wrong. Nothing, I said, smiling. Everything’s fine.
And it was.
During my recent vacation, several of us were out exploring South Bristol, a little fishing village on the Maine coast. The town has a rare swing bridge spanning the gut between a sheltered harbor and Muscongus Bay.
A swing bridge serves the same purpose as a draw bridge, but instead of lifting up, it rotates to the side to let boats pass.
I am told there are only a few of these in existence, and the one in South Bristol will be gone by the spring of 2016, replaced by a more traditional drawbridge.
We had been watching the bridge working and taking photos of it. I finally sat on the steel curb on the span’s walkway to rest.
A slender, well-dressed woman with white hair approached with an older white Labrador retriever on a leash.
From about 20 feet away, the Lab, 12 years old and named Max, spotted me and nearly tugged his leash out of the woman’s hand. He plowed through my standing friends and threw himself at me.
He butted his head against mine. He licked my face and beard, wriggling like a puppy. I rubbed his ears and scratched his chest. He made small vocalizations. We were long-lost friends…who had never seen one another before.
“My god, he never does that,” said the woman. “He is normally kind of shy. He never approaches people.”
The group of us chatted with the woman for a while. She lived somewhere on the Maryland coast. I don’t remember much of the conversation; I was all about Max.
I talked the way I would to any other friend. Max mostly spoke through his eyes and body language. I said I would be happy to take him home, and I meant it. Whatever it was between the two of us, between two members of separate species, it was powerful.
Finally, it was time for the woman to leave; he husband was picking her up and two days later they would leave for Boston to visit some family, then home to Maryland.
She tugged the leash. Max looked at me, licked my face. He turned and walked away slowly. My throat tightened. If I had been a child I would have made a scene.
I do not know how to explain what happened between Max and me. I am not sure that I really want some cut-and-dried psychological explanation. I had felt a spark of something that bridged a gap that some would say cannot be bridged.
Max and I know better.
August 11, 2015
Rosie and the Killer Turkey
Revised from the original, which appeared in The Gettysburg Times in 1989.
We called him Rosie because of the girl my best friend was dating. We were all in high school, and she was in her early 20s. Now, Georgia was probably one of one of the sexiest things breathing. You take that and couple it with the fact that teenage boys are biologically very little more than hormones in sneakers, and you have a potential for real heartbreak.
Nat and I used to double date, only mine often didn’t show up. I would drive. They would sit in the back. Later, I’d tell them what the movie was about, and think of some clever reason why the steering wheel had gotten tied in a knot.
Anyway, all of us were madly in love with Georgia. I wrote little poems about her. Wise beyond my years, I kept them to myself. I no longer have them; I think that they self-combusted.
Wally, (not his real name) however, forgoing his usual indirection, bought Georgia a dozen Roses. From then on, Georgia would fix him with those big, brown eyes when Wally walked into a room, and say, Well, hey, there’s Rosie.”
The name stuck for a long time, though Georgia didn’t.
So, anyway, one November day, Rosie came across the street to my house and asks me, “Hey, you like turkey?”
Sure, I replied, sensing a trap. Rosie was one of those guys who, when he walked up to you smiling, you wanted to check the location of both your wallet and your girlfriend. I think he works in Washington now.
“A farmer daddy knows just gave him some turkeys. Would you help me get’em ready?”
“Getting ‘em ready” was more involved than I’d hoped. When we got to Rosie’s back yard, there stood two very large turkeys, beady of eye, sharp of beak, and very much alive and unready.
Rosie volunteered to hold the turkeys, one by one, while I took the firewood axe and ushered them out of this vale of tears and into their manifest destiny of stuffing, cranberry sauce, and endless leftovers.
Rosie was not the most steady of individuals.
He held onto the frantically struggling body of the first turkey. I held its head, and applied the axe somewhere in between.
Rosie, never one for long goodbyes, let go of the turkey.
I am not real good with an axe.
The future turkey dinner rose into the air, gravely wounded and furious.
Every one of its feathers stood on end; it looked as big as a Volkswagen. It landed on me, locking its claws into my sweatshirt, gobbling furiously as it tried to peck at my eyes.
Rosie started to laugh.
I hurled the turkey at him. Rosie stopped laughing.
Somewhere in the next few minutes, the turkey expired, probably of natural causes. I walked home. My poor mother almost had a heart attack, as I walked into the house, carrying the axe and covered with blood.
I never learned what the Rosie family did with the other turkey. I never got any thanks for my help, not so much as a plateful of leftovers.
Rosie, who was also famous for his short memory, probably never figured out why I chased him out of my yard a few weeks later. All he did, I’m sure he told his other friends, was walk up to me and ask: “Hey, you like pork?”
April 1, 2015
By T.W. Burger
It’s going to be all right, after all.
I heard peepers.
I mean spring peepers, if you’re from some dull place that doesn’t have them. Whatever the weather might be doing at the moment you hear them, it means that spring has actually arrived and is busy setting up housekeeping
It’s been a long, grueling winter. Many records for cold and snowfall were set on the eastern side of the U.S., giving those who don’t know the difference between weather and climate the chance to pop off like a bunch of spring peepers and say there is no such thing as climate change. They always ignore all the places in the world that are hotter and drier than ever before.
Sorry. I don’t know how that soapbox wound up right in my path.
Anyway, some ofus had begun to worry that winter would go on and on, perhaps rubbing right up against summer. The peepers took a collective deep breath and reassured us.
They are not much to look at; only an inch long or a little more. They hang out in gangs in boggy spots and what you hear is a lot of high-pitched calls. Imagine a thousand rusty porch swings squeaking in chorus but not necessarily in sync and you’ve about got it.
There are two subspecies, by the way, the northern and the southern. There aren’t a lot of differences, except the southern variety peeps with a distinct drawl.
I made that last part up.
By the way, the chorus is all sung by males. They stand around during mating season, each trying to make more noise than the next guy, in order to attract a mate. So, they are not so very different from humans. It’s a good thing Harley-Davidson doesn’t make a model for peepers.
March 30, 2015
Despite my joshing, I never really did much in the way of booze or drugs in my youth. I have my dad to thank for that.
When I was 17, he got me a job at a local funeral home. I grew up in the Deep South, and most funeral homes ran their own ambulance services. We were NOT EMTs (I don’t think the term had been invented then.) Our ambulances were retired or semi-retired hearses with no equipment to speak of, and almost none of us had any training.
If you were alive when you got to the ER it was because God wasn’t ready for you yet, not because of any skill of ours. Dad got me the job just as my cohorts were starting to experiment with alcohol, drugs, and fast cars. I’d pull dead people I knew out of crashed cars and thought “Yeah, THAT looks like fun.” I was in my 30s before it struck me that was my father’s intent. Foxy devil. He would have known that mere lectures and threats weren’t going to cut it for me. It had to be show and tell. Thanks, Dad.
December 24, 2014
Cold Turkey: A Holiday Tale.
Well, this Thursday is the big day. Turkey day. I used to have the figures handy that told how many turkeys die to make Thanksgiving possible, but I’ve lost them.
It’s a lot.
Not so long ago, things were a lot simpler. A lot of the people I knew forswore their store-bought birds and got a live bird from a farmer.
Trouble is, too many of the folks who gave this “old-fashioned” method a try were young people from the ‘burbs. Their experience with “nature” was getting draft ed by their parents to help fight the war on crabgrass.
My neighbors at a little mobile home park in Georgia are a case in point.
The couple, let’s call them Tom and Tif fany, were both raised in one of those towns squeezed like putty at the seams where New York and New Jersey are glued together.
They grew up in some development named after the trees that had been cut down to build it.
Tom was a sleepy, even lethargic sort of guy. It was hard to tell if he was awake or sleepwalking.
Tiffany was, well, perky, given to hare brained ideas and sudden enthusiasms.
Tom was at the university, studying to be a biologist. Tiffany worked somewhere as a secretary.
The way it was told to me, one Thanks giving, Tiffany decided she would surprise Tom with a turkey.
She purchased a big hen from a farmer who swore on a stack of Greenpeace pam phlets that he had raised the thing from a poult and had never fed it anything he could not pronounce.
Back at home, Tiffany, raised on painless supermarket turkeys, could not bring her self to apply the firewood axe to the bird’s neck. The brief stay of execution ended, however, when Tiffany found Tom’s supply of chloroform.
She put the turkey to sleep.
Triumphant and little nauseated, Tiffany got the big hen plucked after a fashion, but the idea of trimming off the head and feet was beyond her sensibilities, not to men tion the idea of moving all the turkey’s in side stuff to the outside.
So, into the fridge went the nude bird, awaiting the arrival of Tom. Remember, the turkey was to be a surprise for Tom.
Tiffany’s unflappable husband came home in the late afternoon, tired, burdened by thick books and reeking of formalde hyde. Tiffany told him she had a surprise for him in the refrigerator.
Tom opened the door.
The little light came on.
The turkey woke up.
Naked. In pain.
And really, really ticked off.
With a hellish gobble, she exploded out from among the beansprouts and leftover chili, straight at Tom. The now-streamlined and furious bird dug its claws into Tom’s sweater and began pecking and biting him on the face and arms.
Tom, as intended, was surprised. And more lively than usual.
Still screaming, the turkey dropped Tom and charged into Tiffany, knocking her backward, breaking the glass front of her china cabinet.
The bird bashed the portable TV off its stand, knocked a life-size poster of Elvis the King from the walls before it flapped through the still-open trailer door. A strange, pale apparition in the fading light, the turkey fled gobbling fiercely into the depths of the trailer park.
The next day, Thanksgiving, I dined on a properly quiet and immobile turkey with my mother and brother. Tom and Tiffany went out for dinner at a local restaurant that featured a large and placid salad bar.
The attack turkey, I found out later, met its fate at the hands of a little old lady down the street who had never heard of “Mother Earth News,” but who knew a dinner on the run when she saw one.
December 14, 2014
This week’s “Reporter’s Notebook” entry from the Gettysburg Times. I’ve received a lot of comments on it….
By T.W. Burger for the Gettysburg Times
Now and then, I take the long way home from town, down Red Rock and Shriver roads. Despite a few ostentatious houses sprouting up like warts in the rolling fields, it is still a pleasant, rural drive. Sometimes I am treated to the sight of a bald eagle, and once saw a pair sitting in the branches of a sycamore.
The route takes me past the memorial set up for Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove, shot to death by a moron on the night of Nov. 11, 2010. He was 31, but looked younger. Any death of a law enforcement officer is a hard thing. But this one hit home because it was close to home. Had I been standing outside my house I would have heard the shots. The bad guy was caught almost immediately and will never see the world outside prison again. I don’t remember his names, and don’t care to. Even if they put the cretin to death, it won’t change anything.
I can’t say exactly why I frequent the memorial. I did not know WCO Grove. It may be that I realize that I can hang around on my deck at night or walk my road after dark without having to worry very much about being attacked because there are cops out there who stand between me and my easy life and the bad guys. Cops have been getting a bad rap lately, and maybe in some cases necessarily so. But we should never forget what’s out there, and who is manning the walls.
September 18, 2014
Athens, GA — The man was not old, but weathered, like a well-used hammer.
He had come into the office of the concrete plant where I worked to buy sand for a project “back to the house.”
He dug the money for his purchase out of a ragged leather wallet that he must of bought when Ike was still in office. I think some of the money had been in there that long, too.
“How much?” he asked.
I put down the book I had been reading. I have forgotten the title, but it was about human evolution. The volume lay open on the computer console in front of me.
On the page, a row of skulls stared vacantly outward, with the cranium belonging to the oldest member of the human family on one side, and modern man’s vaulted white dome on the other, with assorted way stops lined up between.
It was one of those rainy days, late in the Georgia summer, when business was slow, and there was time to talk, to do things at an idle pace. We weren’t busy anyway; several days of rain had turned the Georgia clay into something like pudding. I had sent most of the drivers home.
I looked up the price of that particular grade of sand, added the tax and gave him the total. He counted out the exact amount, digging in his bib overalls for the change. He leaned against the doorframe and lit up a cigarette.
“Wet,” he noted.
“Yeah,” I replied, “not much going on.”
He was as dry as beef jerky, impervious to the rain. The daylight pouring in through the office window wrapped around him in the same way that lamplight embraces wood that has been carved into shape and oiled.
His eyes drifted to the book, the skulls looking back from the page like the portraits of family members in an old home.
“That there about evolution?” he asked, giving the first letter the sound of a long “e.”
Uh, oh, I thought, nodding in assent.
“You believe in that there?”
“Yessir, I do,” I answered. “Do you?”
“Surely do not,” he said, new steel rising in his voice. “I believe unto the Lord, and unto His Word.”
I was a little more than halfway through my university study, and a little bit more than half arrogant. I knew things. I believed in things that I could see and feel and smell.
“Look here,” I said. “You see those pictures there. Those are skulls, real ones. A long time ago there was meat on those skulls, and brains in them. Something or someone lived in there, do you believe that?’
“Yessir, I believe that. They’re real, all right.”
I stood and picked up the book, excited. Perhaps I was going to make a convert. Perhaps, having stepped into the swampy world of Religion Vs. Science, I may have managed to win an argument.
I pointed out to him what little I thought I knew for certain regarding the evolution of human and pre-human anatomy. I talked about progressively larger brain cavities, different jaw structures, flatter faces, flipping pages in the book as I spoke. I felt flushed with power.
“So, can’t you see that there seems to be a definite progression in these, from the oldest to the modern?”
He agreed that it seemed to be so.
“Do not you agree, then, that these creatures were real, and that they may possibly have been our ancestors?”
“No sir, I can’t accept that,” he said, the gray light from outside enhancing the lines and angles of his craggy face. “They are not ours.”
He took a long drag off his cigarette. The smoke hung around his head, something else obscuring the air between us.
“Well, if they are not our forebears,” I said, a little exasperated, “who are they? What are these bones?”
“They are the bones of fallen angels,” he said.
The air rushed out of my lungs, the way it does when one unexpectedly steps waist-deep into frigid water.
I think about that man now and then, with his measuring eyes and his hard hands. Sometimes I see him in my mind as clearly as I saw him in that doorway all those years ago.
I think about him sometimes when I am plodding my way through court records, preparing to cover the trials of accused rapists, child molesters, murderers and drug dealers.
We are influenced by thousands of unseen forces, my educated mind tells me. We are the products of our environment, of our heritage, social and genetic. We create our own Hells.
The man in the doorway stares forever through smoke. “I believe unto The Lord, and unto His Word,” he says.
Like anyone else, I want the world to make sense. Things can be explained, dissected, explored, named. Give me a thing I can name and the name will make most of the fear disappear like smoke.
I say this sometimes with the assurance of the man in the doorway, a man worn by toil and as set in his convictions as a post in the ground.
And sometimes I say it with the shrill bravado of a small boy whistling his way through a dark graveyard.
Usually, reason wins. But now and then I find myself in an interview across a table from someone who seems made of wood, shaped from something no longer living, dead in some sense that goes beyond sensibility.
In times like those, I sometimes see him again, drawing fire to his mouth, speaking through smoke, to a world where angels could fall bereft of God to crash into the cold stones of the world, and I wonder which one of us has found the best answer.
August 31, 2014
By T.W. Burger
Guns are not dangerous in the same way that a sharp knife or a hammer is not dangerous.
There, I said it.
It’s the people. It’s us. We are the danger.
It’s not quite the PC thing, I know. It is quite the fashion now to rage against firearms, as though they are the embodiment of the devil himself.
I like guns. With a couple of odd and mostly inoperative exceptions, I don’t have any, but I like them. I grew up with guns. I had my first gun, a Daisy Model 25 BB gun when I was 11. (If you don’t think a BB gun can be dangerous, talk to any ER physician.) I got my first grown-up gun at about 14 or 15, a single-barrel 16 gauge shotgun, and had a number of firearms afterward.
I never once killed anyone, though I confess to have thought about it once or twice.
As far as the use of guns, well, I like to keep fantasy and reality segregated. The infamously bad movie “Red Dawn” (1984 and again in 2012) and its plucky gang of high school students defeating an invasion by the Soviet Union in the first version and a rogue unit of the North Koreans in the second made everybody feel good.
Despite what we see on TV and at the cinema, it’s not bloody likely. Witness the mess in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan. It seems that absolutely everybody in those places is heavily armed. Do those places seem placid and safe? Take note, NRA.
So, guns are OK by me. Idiots and crazy people are something else. Put a gun into the hands of any member of those two classes and bad things can happen, and often do.
For example: “People just want to experience things they can’t experience elsewhere,” said Genghis Cohen, owner of Machine Guns Vegas. “There’s not an action movie in the past 30 years without a machine gun.”
Ghengis Cohen? Really?
Cohen was commenting on the recent death of an instructor at just such an establishment who died after a 9-year-old girl was unable to control an Uzi. The Uzi is a submachine gun that fires about 600 rounds a minute in calibers from .22 to .45. On August 25, this little girl from New Jersey was on a family adventure and got to fire a real machine gun.
The instructor, Charles Vacca, a 39-year-old combat veteran, took a bullet to the head when the girl lost control of the Uzi. He died. God only knows what psychological injuries the child will have. Some adventure, huh?
There is no way to keep everybody safe. Not in the real world, not even in our own local country, with more than 300 million people bumping into one another every day. Outlawing guns is not going to happen, and it wouldn’t solve the problem anyway. Better control of who can have a firearm is a good idea, but unlikely to be anything but a move to make us feel that at least we’re doing SOMETHING.
One is tempted to suggest that we need to improve ourselves as human beings. Personally, I think that is the only thing that will likely make any real difference. But creating better humans is beyond the reach of government. Such a leap requires introspection and genuine regard for one’s fellow humans.
Somehow, I don’t think that there’s an app for that.
© 2014 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
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