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Great theme this week -- and what incredible material is being handed to all our satirists, cartoonists and stand-ups. Thanks for giving people a chance to reflect on our increasingly bizarre culture.
Icky uncle-ness aside, Alex and Jeff would never work. Alex needs grounding, supplied freely and magnificently by Leo, and Jeff needs so much grounding he should be buried.
Doonesbury nails it, as usual; how will a gun protect you from an audience of people with guns, especially after you've been shot through the head from behind?
The awful reality is that from Columbine to Va Tech 1 & 2 to Tucson, today's threat does not give up until met with deadly force or full restraint. Every single truthful law enforcement agency will tell you they can not protect the average citizen day in and day out, they can only respond. In this case the cure is scarier, especially to liberal bias (as noted by the Straw Poll) than the problem. There will always be people bent on evil, regardless of regulation. once again we learn of a social outcast and man with major physiological issues who was passed through the system out of fear and political correctness. It wasn't the guns, clips or ammo that killed those people, it was a sick person. Someone who, by the way, had been stalking this woman for at least three years, well before we ever heard of Sara Palin and vitriolic speech. The only thing scarier than free speech is the lack thereof. The only thing scarier than an armed citizenry is one that is helpless to defend itself...
Growing up in the U.S. I remember fearing the gun in the holster of the policeman standing next to me in line at McDonalds (of course, that was Chicago). Over here, it's common to carry concealed weapons -- one of the questions I'm commonly asked by security guards when I enter a store is if I have one (I don't) so he can see my license -- yet I don't feel that same fear I did growing up. The problem, as I see it, lies largely with the values of the society. We're concentrating on carrying concealed weapons when what we should be concentrating on is the glorification of violence in our culture. That's what teaches one to have the fantasy of shooting a gun out of an assailant's hand. The danger of guns in anyone's hands is a symptom of a greater problem. Solve that problem, or you'll never stop seeing the symptoms.
Given Shuler's accuracy record with a football, the thought of him possessing and using a pistol of any sort (even a Nerf) ought to be argument enough to ban concealed and open carry.
I had an experience recently that made me wish with all my being to have a loaded handgun on my belt. I was moving out of a literally psychotic landlord's property, when the landlord's friend (someone riding a Harley, all dressed up in leather) threatened me with a gun. Gosh for all the rhetoric, the handgun would have been comforting, since the county's finest Sheriff's Department refused the civil standby. The biker could certainly have killed me, if he chose, since he was armed and I was not. In the end, I would rather have it and not need it than the reverse, just to escape the boredom of becoming a nightly news special.
I'm enjoying the Congressman's juvenile fantasies about shooting the gun from an assailant's hand with one well-placed shot and dropping an overhead chandelier on him with another. I am impressed -- impressed to learn that the grocery stores in Tuscon have chandeliers. Notwithstanding that I support personal gun ownership and the use of guns for personal protection, I note with no little amusement that Mythbusters has already established that: 1) shooting a gun out of someone's hand is possible but dangerous to bystanders because bullet fragments will fly unpredictably if you hit it, and 2) cutting a rope by shooting at it is also possible but difficult. It would seem that if it's necessary to use a gun stop a shooting rampage, the best way is to shoot the shooter. It's not nearly as flashy, but it's much more practical.
In the current SP, I'm one of the gun owners who voted No Damn Way. I own two handguns: the 22-caliber my deceased ex-husband used to teach my daughter to shoot, and the .45 that he used to blow his brains out. I'm not opposed to regulated gun ownership, but concealed carry permits are obscenities. Sports firearms should be required by law to be carried in public only when enclosed in day-glow orange labeled cases, and removed from cases only on private property with the permission of the owner, at licensed shooting ranges, and, when also carrying a valid hunting license, in designated public wilderness areas. Any non-compliant usage should be a felony. Concealed carry by non-professionals is right out. Ownership of weapons not classified as sport firearms, such as military artifacts, should require a collector's license issued only with an extensive background check, and proper storage and transport of such weapons must also be stringently regulated. No firearm usage within the peacetime social contract is precluded by these rules, nor is a prudent armed citizenry (in case those rules ever are suspended) thereby prevented.
The current STRAW POLL raises, in the first option, an opinion I hear frequently -- that if there had been armed citizens at the mall in Tucson, the gunman could/would have been cut down before doing as much damage as he did. Not only was there an armed citizen present who almost shot the wrong guy (as is pointed out in the third option), but the man who restrained the gunman until police arrived was armed and says that it never occurred to him to draw his weapon. He doesn't tell us why, though I like to think that it's because he had the good sense to know that shooting in a crowd is a bad idea, rather than just because he's not used to drawing a weapon on a real person in an ordinary place. But both of those are very likely responses: this was Arizona, people. Almost certainly at least 25% of the adults present were armed, possibly as many as 50%, and none of them but the mad gunman shot anyone. Which is a good thing, no?
I ran for the Michigan State House in 2010. Living in a rural area, guns and the 2nd Amendment were major. Yesterday's strip took me back to an August primary forum. Sitting next to one of my Republican opponents, I listened as she said the following: "If you see me, I want you to be afraid. I want you to wonder if I'm packing." She didn't win, but to hear her almost verbatim in your strip makes me more convinced than ever that somewhere there's a volume titled The Big Book of Republican Cliches: Things Every GOP Candidate and Elected Official Must Say. (Not to mention that I'm a bit unnerved at the memory).
You can't lay J.J.'s issues at her mother's door because Joanie didn't raise her? I think being abandoned by one's mother might have an effect on one's development.
Congresspeople packing heat -- are we now a banana republic?
It's hardly a new phenomenon for readers to think of fictional characters as real people. Dickens used to write his novels in serial form, and when the ship arrived in New York harbor carrying the last chapter of The Old Curiosity Shop, the wharf was crowded with hundred of people yelling to the sailors on board, "Did Little Nell die?" Spoiler alert: She did.
Armed Congressman refusing to say if they are packing heat. And secret political groups refusing to say where they get their funding. How is GBT going to satirize what is already bizzare?
Quiz after lecture won't work. One student will be designated the "listener" and will live-blog the answers to the quiz. Resistance is futile.
What fascinaties me is how folks who write in regard the characters as real people. There seems to be a phenomenon that could be called "vested attention" that has transformational power. Take the fiction of money for example, or the myths of any major culture. It seems to be a combination of the genius of GBT and the love from millions that has allowed Alex, Leo and others to walk off the page and into our lives.
I don't think Toggle is as dumb as some people are making him out to be. He's certainly ill-served by his family background, and I'd love to see a visit to his old schools. In spite of that, he is a music nerd with a blooming interest in music's technical aspects. He probably has the same kind of analytical, numbers-oriented mind as Alex. Different on the surface, but very similar in the way they think: this could be a very successful relationship -- personal and business. I certainly hope so.
"Doors in every university and college will have this strip posted." How are they going to hang computer monitors?
In Joanie's defense ("raised two real winners...") J.J. was not raised by her mother. So while we can lay some of Jeff Redfern's, uh, idiosyncracies at Joanie's door, she's presumably less responsible for what happened to Joan, Jr. However, given that Jeff is indeed Alex's half-uncle, getting them together would be, well, really icky.