Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here are the two best comments on the Virginia Tech massacre

1. We Are Getting Tired of Prying Your Guns out of Your Cold Dead Hand
By Elayne Boosler/Huffington Post

If 33 people were killed by apples instead of guns at Virginia Tech, there wouldn't be an apple left on the shelves or in the homes of this country until apples could be made safe. Screw your "constitutional right" to have an apple, there is something called the "greater good", and the good of the country takes precedence over your "interpretation" of any amendment in the now defunct anyway constitution. Just ask the spinach growers, and the people who love to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. And why do you always forget the words, "well regulated militia"?

2500 Children Left Behind

If 2500 children under the age of 17 were felled by apples instead of guns every year in America, there wouldn't be a congressman or senator left serving who took one penny from the National Apple Association. The shame and admonishment would be too great. And if there were even incremental steps to take to make apples safer, and even they were fought tooth and nail by your blood money National Apple Association, claiming the straw man of the "slippery slope" to "regulation", America might better see you for the mercenary and shameful organization you truly are.

We are getting tired of prying your guns out of your cold dead hands.

Here's a news flash for you gun waving "real Americans": It's not about guns. It's about money. Follow the money. The NRA raises hundreds of millions of dollars by convincing you they are fighting for your "rights". Wake up. It's a business. Just like any other business, except with the help of their bought off representatives, they are the only UNREGULATED consumer product in America. What do they sell? FEAR. Fear, fake patriotism, and fake bravado, just like their commander in chief, President Custer. You're being played.

With their hundreds of millions of dollars raised on the blood of murdered Americans, they pay themselves, they keep their product manufacturers flush, and they buy their government officials. They exist to convince you you need their product. And when sales slow, they target new markets. They market fear to women, then sell them "feminine little purse guns". They market to children. The cartoon character Joe Camel is banned, but sure shootin' Eddie Eagle is alive and well to shit again on Friday. (He teaches children "gun safety", meaning, he teaches children to use guns.)

We're Number One!!

The number of children under the age of 17 shot by guns in America every year is greater than the gun-related deaths of children in all the industrialized nations of the world COMBINED.

Here is the population of Japan: 127,463,611.

Here is the number of children killed by guns in Japan every year: 0.

A 2001 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study found that in homicides among intimate partners, women are murdered more with guns than with all other means COMBINED.

In 2004, guns were most commonly used by males to murder their female partners.

A 2003 study found women living with a gun in the home were almost three times more likely to be murdered than women with no gun in the home.

"If we ban handguns only criminals will have guns." Well then let's not have any laws in America at all. No drug laws, no traffic laws, no laws at all, right? Duh.

"Cars kill people!!" Yes, cars kill people when something goes wrong. Guns are MADE to kill people. Handguns have one purpose, to kill people.

Stage Rule: If There is a Gun on the Wall in Act I, It Will Go Off in Act II.

Bush's Unmitigated Gall

I watched President Custer speak at the Virginia Tech memorial yesterday. How dare he "express condolences". How DARE he. Here is how his administration helped kill 33 people at Virginia Tech:

Passage of gun industry immunity bill. That's right, you can sue every industry in America, except gun manufacturers and dealers. Your family gets murdered by a madman? Tough.

Refusal to aid in renewal of federal assault weapons ban, even though the law had already been eviscerated by the gun industry. Get it? INDUSTRY.

Fighting background checks. The Virginia shooter had been committed to a mental institution. In Virginia that means you can't buy a gun. Oh yeah? Thank goodness the gun shop owner who sold it to him can't be sued.

The president does not support the police when citizens can have assault weapons.

The president does not support the police when citizens can have armor piercing bullets.

The president helps the terrorists when anyone can have a shoulder rocket launcher that can take a plane out of the sky. And I'm taking my shoes off at the airport?

The president helps the terrorists when he supports a ban on release of federal crime tracing data necessary to identify patterns in illegal gun trafficking.

The president helps the terrorists when he requires the ATF to immediately destroy gun sales records previously allowed to be kept for 90 days under Brady Bill background check.

We Found the WMD. They Are Here.

Guns are for cowards. You can kill from a distance. You are detached, removed. You don't get your hands dirty. You don't feel the life draining out of another human being in an eye to eye struggle, face to face, with your hands squeezing or beating soft, human, flesh, one on one. We had just as many disturbed, sick citizens in America in the last century as we do in this. The difference now is access to weapons of mass destruction. Anyone can have a gun. Anyone. It did not used to be like this. It's easy to kill now.

The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight

"Two Secret Service officers were injured yesterday after a gun held by another Secret Service officer accidentally fired inside the White House gate. The officers received wounds to face and leg."

"Vice President Cheney shoots hunting companion in the face."

So really, what chance do thousands of children a year have?

3,300 Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last four years. 120,000 Americans have been shot to death in America in the last four years. Where is the outrage? If we can elect a new congress based on its commitment to end the war overseas, we can elect a congress committed to end the war here at home. End both wars.

Here's the Punchline

Today the supreme court overturned thirty years of supreme court precedent, and overturned the findings of six federal courts, to declare war on women, their health, their privacy, and their lives, by upholding a ban on dilation and curettage abortion that contains NO exception to preserve the health or SAVE THE LIFE of the woman. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, writing for the four dissenting justices, called the decision "alarming".

Wait for it...

President Custer - "Today's decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people's representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America. This affirms the progress my administration has made to defend the "sanctity of life".

(Elayne Boosler is a writer/comedian. Catch up with her at Her nationwide animal rescue and advocacy organization can be found at

2. A tale of two horrors
The Virginia Tech massacre made America shudder. But will it awaken us to the nightmare of suffering in Iraq?
By Gary Kamiya/

It is every parent's worst nightmare. Your child is at school, going about his or her business, doing the ordinary, everyday things that are woven into your heart. Then someone who lives in an invisible universe of hatred suddenly appears and starts shooting. And the bullet that ends your child's life ends yours too. You may live on. But your old life, the life in which the world, or God, or whatever you stand on, seemed to be on your side -- that world no longer exists.

The Talmud says those who save one life save the world. Four hundred years ago, John Donne said the same thing, in reverse. "No man is an island, entire of itself ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." We like to think that we embrace these teachings, with the similar teachings of Jesus Christ and Mohammed and the Buddha, with the compassion for human suffering that lies at the core of every great religion.

But most of the time, we don't. In the age of universal media, it's impossible. In the modern world, death is at once too ubiquitous and too distant. The morning paper brings us dozens of deaths, each of which ends a miraculous human life, each of which diminishes us all. And we feel nothing. There are simply too many of them.

But there are deeper reasons. Our society pushes death offstage. Even when those close to us die, they usually do so in a rationalized, bureaucratic hospital setting which shrink-wraps death. The inexplicable mystery becomes as ordinary as a corporate newsletter from beyond.

It isn't just our society as a whole that is responsible for this. We demand it. Death is the great unthought, the face we don't want to see. As the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote in "The Denial of Death," denying death is wired into humans. Our very personalities, our religion, our sense of the heroic -- all, Becker argued, are a response to our fundamental terror at our finitude.

Certain public events, however, can shock us into a confrontation with death. The Virginia Tech massacre, in its metaphysical obscenity, forced us to take notice. With our defenses momentarily torn down, the subterranean river of simple fellow feeling flowed to the surface: sorrow for the young lives lost, admiration for the teacher who saved his students' lives at the cost of his own, compassion for the victims' families.

As humans do, we try to ensure that this awful spectacle of death was not for nothing. Hence our national soul-searching and debate. How could this happen? Is our society somehow to blame? Our values? Our gun laws? What could we have done differently to save this tortured soul?

But half a world away, similar horrors are happening every day -- horrors, unlike Seung-Hui Cho's slaughter, for which America bears direct responsibility. And we feel nothing.

On Sunday afternoon, 23 Iraqis were pulled out of their buses outside Mosul as they were on their way home from work, stood up against a wall, and shot to death. Their crime belonged to the Yezidis, a religious sect. The story appeared on page A-6 of the New York Times.

In Iraq, where dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people are brutally murdered every day, the Virginia Tech horror would be a respite. Yet we pay no attention. We put them in a little closed box marked "casualties of war."

The Iraq war is a tragic demonstration of one of the oldest, saddest truths in history: Victims often become executioners. Bloodshed and tragedy all too often lead not to wisdom and compassion but to more bloodshed and tragedy. The sadness and sickness in America's soul today is not just that we launched an unjustified war, and betrayed the humanity of the Iraqis we said we wanted to help, but that we betrayed our own humanity -- and the memory of those who died on Sept. 11.

The nightmare that is Iraq was born in the nightmare that was 9/11. A self-righteous president learned all the wrong lessons from that national tragedy. He truly believed he was honoring the dead and preventing another atrocity. But by launching an unjustified war, one that predictably went terribly wrong, he proved that he understood nothing about what war is -- and, ultimately, about what death is.

Bush's America is righteous. Baptized in the blood of the 9/11 victims, it has been born again. In its sanctity, it can do anything. This is an old story. Before they go to war, nations always insist that they are blameless victims. It is essential that a nation's people be convinced that God and right are on their side and that the enemy is evil and monstrous. The powerful drugs of patriotism and moral supremacy are necessary to sell the upcoming horror show.

Bush believed after 9/11 that he was called by God to fight a great war against Islamist evil. But Iraq is just the latest war to show that those who decide to play God can create not heaven on earth, but hell.

For years, America had believed that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of powerful weapons. But we put up with Saddam, even worked with him, correctly deeming that the risks of invading Iraq were much greater than the risk that Saddam would use those supposed weapons against us. As we know, Bush was thinking about attacking Iraq from the moment he took office, but 9/11 produced a kind of religious conversion in him and his administration. As Ron Suskind showed in his devastating portrait of the Bush administration, "The One Percent Doctrine," 9/11 led Dick Cheney to embrace the radical idea that if there was even a 1 percent chance that an Islamist enemy could get its hands on weapons of mass destruction, we had to attack. And it didn't matter who we attacked, or what the rationale was. "It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence," Cheney said. "It's about our response."

God, Aristotle's unmoved mover, couldn't have said it better himself. After 9/11, the Bush administration embraced a quasi- theological mindset. America was not only always right but also impervious to harm -- because in the Christian-patriotic world that Bush inhabits, those who are right cannot fail.

This messianic conviction still drives Bush today -- which is why his presidency, in which all doubts are banished and reality itself is shut out, is beginning more and more to resemble that of a religious fanatic. But it also sheds light on a strange and disturbing parallel between Bush's invasion of Iraq, justified as a preventive attack to prevent more 9/11s, and the Virginia Tech killings.

In the media's voluminous coverage of the murders, one dark question appears to have remained unasked: Are there ever circumstances under which it is justifiable to preemptively murder someone? If there was ever a murderer whose troubled soul was laid bare for all to see long before he snapped, it was Seung-Hui Cho. And it is hard not to fantasize about some scenario in which some Cassandra-like psychiatrist, or teacher, or family member, or classmate, killed him before he killed someone else.

In the Old West, and in outlaw societies, such preventive murders were and are not unheard of. But nations governed by law reject the idea, for an obvious reason: It is impossible to be certain that you're right. And when you're setting out to kill someone who hasn't done anything yet, being wrong is not an option.

But as we have seen, for Bush, 9/11 removed the constraints of law and logic. He was now acting in the name of God and the flag, and those truths were bigger than logic -- Cheney's "analysis" and "evidence" -- or law. He didn't need the law to take out Saddam. He had a mandate to do so. In Bush's eyes, then and now, invading Iraq was like killing Cho before he started his killing spree.

If Bush had been right that Saddam was planning to attack America -- although there is actually no way we would ever have known that he was -- invading Iraq might have been justifiable homicide. But he was wrong.

And so we are not the heroes in this story -- we are the murderers. Bush's war has created a Virginia Tech nightmare that never stops. To the Iraqis who have seen their houses destroyed, their children blown apart, and their country destroyed, the day America came was the day a whole army of Seung-Hui Chos walked through the door.

Of course I am not literally equating America, or Bush, with the deeply disturbed young man who killed 32 people. The Bush administration did not set out to intentionally cause the death of 650,000 Iraqis. In their eyes, their intentions were good. But those intentions are meaningless. Because even arrogant fools can have good intentions.

For the overwhelming majority of Iraqis, all that matters is that before we invaded, even if their lives were oppressed, impoverished and controlled by a brutal dictator, they could still live. Now they can't. Their friends, their families, their entire country, are dying before their eyes. To be sure, the butchery is being done by Iraqis themselves and a few foreigners, not -- with some horrible exceptions -- by Americans. But America is responsible because America started the war that opened the gates of hell. When you start a war, you have no idea where it will end. You have to be sure it's worth the risk.

America is responsible for the Iraq nightmare. But this truth must be repressed. It does not fit our official narrative. No state wants to be told that it is the national equivalent of Seung-Hui Cho. And so the Bush administration, which now has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on its hands as well as that of more than 3,300 Americans, clings to its Big Lie, insisting that the dreadful ongoing slaughter in Iraq proves that we were right to invade in the first place.

This is a profound perversion of logic and morality. Fortunately, fewer and fewer Americans believe it. But the mere fact that it is our official governmental narrative about a great human-rights catastrophe, one we set in motion, brings shame upon our country.

Bush does not represent the American spirit, thank God. But his leadership has shrunk our national soul. Bush is a devout Christian, but there is no charity, no spiritual generosity, in his vision. Our flag, under which he struts, once stood for an America bigger than itself. Bush's flag stands for an America that arrogates all the humanity and virtue in the world. It is a profoundly unreligious flag.

Which brings us back to individuals killed on Sept. 11, and in Virginia, and on the road from Mosul. What we owe them is what we owe every human being who was passed: the best of ourselves. We owe them remembrance, and respect, and clear thinking, and a resolution to make the world a better place. We owe them, in a word, our humanity.

The tragedy of America's response to 9/11 is that it did not reflect the best of America. The moral obscenity of the Iraq war is not only that it betrayed the Iraqi people, who never harmed us. It is that it betrayed the very people in whose name it was launched. It betrayed us all.

There is a way back to the humanity we have lost. We can find it in our compassionate response to the Virginia Tech tragedy, our prayers that solace will somehow come to those who have lost everything. We can find it by paying attention to an entire nation that is suffering because of a war we needlessly started. We can find it by accepting that we now owe the Iraqis everything, and that our hearts and pocketbooks must be theirs for our lifetime.

And we can find it by resolving to never again listen to leaders who believe that American blood is worth more than that of others, and who in the name of God and right lead us into righteous wars. Because there may be necessary wars, but there are no righteous ones. Because Donne was right, and every man's death diminishes us all. Because the Bible is right, and we must not kill. And those who would do good by waging war often end up becoming the very thing they feared: killers.


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