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Archive for the ‘sick society’ Category

So, ho hum, another school shooting today. Ten people died, mostly kids, as usual. The shooter did the deed with guns his father had just left sitting around the house — a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Which was quite legal for his father to do in the state of Texas, which has no gun storage laws requiring guns to be secured if they’re not on your person or being used.

So, as we hit an average of one school shooting per week (U S A! U S A! MAGA! YAY!), the solution that the NRA-backed politicos are talking about is…. reducing the number of doors at schools?

Uhm, wut?

Well, gosh, they have a point, I guess. If a school has *no* doors, then it’s perfectly safe! Oh, how are the kids going to get into the school? Well, we just set up Star Trek style transporter booths outside the schools and teleport the kids into the school building. But only the organic parts of the kids get transported. No clothing that guns could be hidden in, and, of course, no guns. Once they arrive, naked as the day they were born, they are issued hospital gowns and then crayons, paper, and books (crayons because we can’t issue pens and pencils, why, some kid might put another kid’s eyes out!). At the end of the day they are teleported back to the booth they arrived from, where they are reunited with their clothing and get to go home where they then get to study with their at-home copy of their books.

Or we could enact strict gun controls like every other civilized country, which have had zero school shootings this year. But that’s far less practical than teleporter beams, apparently.

So it goes.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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I’m one of those people whose life has spanned the transition from the paper era to the digital era. When I went to college, researching any topic required going to the library and using the card catalog and microfiche indexes to locate material. If I wanted government statistics, they were on paper in what was basically 1/4th of the bottom floor of our college library and I had to use a big paper index to find them. Making a copy for later was 5 cents per page. So basically, there was an excuse back then for someone to say something stupid — the information just wasn’t easily available.

But today? If you want to look up tort costs in healthcare, you can look up the total amount spent on medical liability insurance (approximately 0.3% of total healthcare spending), then look up tort limits and healthcare costs by state, and easily see that a) the amount spent defending and paying out on lawsuits is trivial, and b) defensive medicine isn’t really a “thing”, states with strict tort limits don’t have lower healthcare costs on average than those without. Then you can go look for the real causes of high healthcare costs, which isn’t lawsuits. Despite access to every bit of information needed to prove or disprove the assertion “tort costs causes high healthcare costs”, virtually nobody does the few mouse strokes needed to do so.

Instead, we seem to have weaponized ignorance. Ignorant memes that can easily be disproved by a few mouse strokes use social media to sweep the nation within hours of their release by Russian troll factories. Despite the fact that so much information is available, most of the American public seems disinterested in looking it up. And that surprises some people.

But not me. Because I’ve studied American history (hell, I’ve lived half a century of it). Ignorance has always been the preferred state of the average American. Few regardless of the era have cared about education. There’s a *reason* why the atom bomb was built mostly by European immigrants. Even today, close to half of our STEM workforce is foreign-born or the children of immigrants. All that technology has managed to do is allow the ignorant to confirm with each other that their ignorance is truth and anything that doesn’t agree with their ignorant opinions is fake. Science textbooks? Fake. Government statistics? Fake. Scientists? Elitist fakes. By allowing them to confirm with each other that anybody who actually knows anything is a fake, their ignorance is not only confirmed, but weaponized.

The fact that immigrants have contributed much of the intellectual advancement of America in the past century is also why the ignorant are so anti-immigrant. The last thing they want is for people smarter and harder working than they are to render them obsolete. Even if they are.

– Badtux the Ignorance-spottin’ Penguin

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Of the 15070 murders that happened in 2016 where we know what weapon was used to kill, 11004 were committed with firearms. Over 70% were committed with handguns and 30% with long guns (or unknown kind of gun).

“Guns don’t kill, people do!” is the NRA talking point. But the numbers are clear: People with guns kill a lot more people than people without guns. Sure, you can hit someone over the head with a big rock or a hammer and kill them. But only 472 people managed to do so in 2016. Sure, you can poison someone. But only 11 people were murdered with poison in 2016. Guns just are super effective at killing people. In fact, the only other method of killing people that broke the four digit mark was murder by knife, which killed 1604 people in 2016 — a significantly smaller number than 11004. (Which, BTW, is why I don’t complain when cops kill someone who’s coming at them with a knife — it’s a deadly weapon, albeit only 1/10th as deadly as a gun in the big picture).

So what’s the NRA response to the reality that people with guns kill a lot more people than people without guns?

[CRICKETS].

So it goes. It isn’t as if anything’s going to be done. I almost didn’t even bother posting about the 19 year old MAGAt who murdered 17 people at Parkland High School in Florida, including fourteen students. Because what’s the point? It’s not as if anything’s going to be done. This uniquely deadly weapon, the gun, will still be widely available to any looney who decides to kill someone, regardless of whatever I post.

So fuck it. I’m going to watch videos of Chloe Kim pulling off back-to-back 1080’s.

She reminds me of a friend of mine, who is also short and Asian and a snowboarder, albeit somewhat older (in her late 50’s). If they’d had snowboarding in the Olympics thirty years ago, I like to think that my friend would have been up there… as it is, she’s slowed down a bit in her late 50’s, as have all of us. She still snowboards though… heckuva lot better than I ever did, or ever will.

– Badtux the Fact-based Penguin

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Death used to be a big deal. The whole family would gather at a church, while the deceased’s corpse rested in a coffin at the front. There would be lots of flowers all around. A preacher would say some words. There might be a hymn played or performed. Then everybody would troop out to the graveyard to plant the corpse, and afterwards withdraw to the home belonging to the nearest next of kin, bringing along potluck dishes to feed the hoard. Folding tables might be set up on the lawn to hold the food, and folding chairs brought out from all around as people sat around talking about the deceased and catching up on family business. Then everybody would go home, until the next time.

But that was in a time of connection, when families were large and connected with each other, before the nuclear family blew up our society and turned it into isolated islands. Sunday I went to a “Celebration of Life” for a friend who died unexpectedly. A “Celebration of Life” is a California thing, I guess, where people get together with pictures of the deceased and talk about him and view pictures of his life. This was at the shop of an auto restoration business whose owners had met my friend via our Jeep club. There was no body present, no minister, no flowers, none of the trappings of the traditional Death industry. One of the members of the Jeep club is a caterer, and he catered some goodies to eat while we remembered our friend. And that is that. No children. No wife. His only living relative an older sister, who spoke of her memories. A girlfriend spoke of her memories. A street preacher who was the husband of a woman who worked at the shop and had visited my friend in the hospital spoke of his memories. No visiting a grave. He was cremated, and basically tossed to the winds.

That is our society today. Cremated, and tossed to the winds.

My mother was an only child. My father was an only child. My brother and I were their only children, and neither of us have children, though my brother has step-children. I guess I can leave whatever to the oldest of my brother’s stepchildren if my brother predeceases me, as is likely since my brother is younger than I am but lives in Louisiana, where people die on average ten years sooner than here in California. But when I die… it is likely that the story will be the same. Except I doubt that there will be forty people who show up to share memories of me. I doubt there will be anyone at all.

Because that is how we live, and that is how we die, in this time of societal dissolution and isolation.

– Badtux the Sombre Penguin

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They’ve become so common that most people utterly ignored the news report today that two kids were killed and 17 were wounded at a Kentucky high school.

I would make comments about that, but you’ve heard them before. Kids shouldn’t have access to guns except under parental supervision. Period. But the only thing that would really work would be an Australian-type gun ban, where guns outside of registered gun clubs are heavily regulated and permits to carry or possess even long guns outside of registered gun clubs are hard to come by. Yeah, good luck with that… Americans are a violent people, and they want their kill-sticks, yo.

– Badtux the Depressed Penguin

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Well, not the Christ guy, anyhow. The only Jesus in El Cajon’s city government, apparently, is the gardener.

Twelve people have been charged with a misdemeanor for feeding the homeless in El Cajon, California.

Now, if you read the Bible, Jesus Christ had a lot to say about caring for and feeding those in need. E.g., ““Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11). Or “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40). Then there’s his disciples, e.g., “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17).

But Jesus Christ doesn’t live in El Cajon anymore. The people there in the El Cajon city government may claim to be Christian. The police officers handcuffing people for the crime of feeding the poor may claim to be Christian. But those are empty claims, as empty as proclaiming themselves to be unicorns or cotton candy trees. Because Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, which are pretty clear about feeding the poor: You do it. Because that’s what followers of Jesus do.

It’s pathetic that twelve people who for the most part express no particular faith are more Christian than all these people in the El Cajon city government who claim, despite all evidence to the contrary, to be Christian. The hypocrisy never ends. “Christians” who don’t follow the teachings of Jesus Christ continue to be a pox on the land. So it goes.

— Badtux the Hypocrisy-scryin’ Penguin

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She was six years old, a little girl who loved animals, any animals. Then an insane person killed her. An insane person who was legally able to own guns because he’d never been institutionalized, and whose mother was fond of taking him shooting because it was a “bonding experience”.

Her name was Catherine Hubbard, and she was a firecracker. She would have been eleven years old today. Every year her parents wonder what she would have become. Every year they know they’ll never know.

Her name was Jessica Rekos. She loved horses. Everything about horses. She drew horses, she read stories about horses, she was learning to ride horses. Then some insane person with guns killed her. Every year her parents wonder what she would have done with her life. Every year they break down because they’ll never know.

And I can go on and on, for the twenty children who were only six or seven years old murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary six years ago, but I’m already too sad just after two. So many children dead for no reason other than our fetish for guns. Surely America would realize that its addiction to deadly weaponry was accomplishing nothing other than stacking up bodies, and do something about it, right?

No. America literally decided “we like our guns more than we like little children”, and proceeded to do nothing at all. Sandy Hook was proof that America will never do anything about its gun addiction. If twenty dead little kids didn’t do it, nothing will.

And five years later, the parents of those slaughtered children, and hundreds of other children cut down early by guns nationwide over those same five years, sorrow for what their child never had the chance to become. And must endure the fact that to the depraved and insane nation that is America, it is they, not the guns, who are the problem. How dare they display their grief in public where it might disturb people!

But their children remain dead. Forever.

– Badtux the Somber Penguin

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