Posts Tagged With: Syria

NEW VICTIMS…SAME OLD HATREDS

It is said that hate is so insidious, that it hollows out from the inside, the container it’s held in. Once a person invests his or her soul in hatred, it’s virtually a bottomless pit that one can rarely crawl out of. That person then becomes a mere shell of a human form, with his or her insides totally corroded and eaten away. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mid-East, which has become an all-encompassing cauldron for the most deep-seated of hatreds and revenge-seeking. And it’s not just Arab versus Jew. It’s also one sect of Islam trying to destroy a different sect of Islam although both sects pray to Allah with the same level of devotion. For example, in Syria, almost a quarter of a million inhabitants have been slaughtered in an on-going 4 year old civil war pitting the Sunni faction of Islam against the the Shia faction. Yet both sects pray to Allah and generally follow the same Islamic trappings and customs. Similar mortal combats between Shia and Sunni are also occurring in Yemen, Iraq, and Libya. Sadly, when such hatred spills over the top of the vat, people are fated to die. Nowhere, however,  is the lust for hatred and vengeance more pronounced than in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Between Arabs and Jews. As we all know, this has led to an outbreak over the last few weeks of mostly young Palestinians mindlessly attacking  and killing Jews with knives and guns, and in turn, usually being shot dead by Israeli police. The attacks are mainly on civilians peacefully going about their business. So far the death tolls have been about 10 Israelis and 25 Palestinians; but there seems to be no end in sight. The attackers are sometimes as young as 15 or 16. Teenagers willing to so recklessly throw their lives away in an act of delusional fantasy about achieving vengeance against the hated Jews, and martyrdom before Allah. And why not? Arab children are brainwashed from their earliest age to despise Jews, and that their greatest glory would be to become martyrs by killing as many Jews as possible.

The head of the Palestinian territories, Mahmoud Abbas, recently stated that he cherishes every drop of blood spilt in Jerusalem. Arab children from ages 2 or 3 are taught that Jews are to be despised as beasts. That Hebrew rabbis seek to slit the throats of Arab children and drink their blood. That Jews are desecrating Arab holy lands by their occupation, and must be killed or otherwise be driven into the sea in order to re-purify those lands. That Allah’s greatest wish is for martyrdom to be achieved by spilling Jewish blood, and if these children succeed in that objective, a special place in heaven will be set aside for them. Virtually all Moslem political and religious figures throughout the Mid-East preach this same message; and it’s been ongoing since the end of WWII, when the state of Israel was created by the United Nations. Almost 70 years of pure, undiluted hatred and vengeance-seeking that has resulted in nothing but death, destruction and misery for both sides. Almost 70 years of a failed policy that Arab leaders refuse to disown.

The United States position in this long conflict has come to be known as the two-state solution. Have Israel give the Palestinians total control over the West Bank and Gaza, and let them form their own nation. The trouble with that premise is, that in this realm of pure hatred, it’s plainly unworkable. Israel did just that in the Gaza Strip and the result has been 3 wars and the loss of thousands of lives. As soon as Gaza was free of Israeli occupation, the people living there turned over the reigns of government to Hamas, a terrorist organization. Hamas’s first priority was to acquire thousands of rockets that could be launched against Israeli civilian population centers. As I said, they did this 3 times with the same resulting death, destruction and misery for both sides. Hamas’s second priority was to dig 30 mile long tunnels into Israel so their terrorist thugs could sneak across the border and murder Israelis sleeping in their beds. It would appear that there is just too much hatred for a two state solution to be a feasible option.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, with the most timid foreign policy objectives of any administration since WWII, continues to push for a two-state solution. It doesn’t seem to matter that under this administration, U.S. foreign policy objectives have been a total disaster. Obama’s failure to act in Syria, when Assad, the butcher, crossed Obama’s red line in the sand, has let to the loss of the 250,000 lives I mentioned earlier. It has led to Russian entry into that war, in behalf of Assad, with virtually no U.S. complaint. It has led to ISIS, Al-Qaida and other assorted terrorist organizations establishing an Islamic “caliphate” in huge chunks of Iraq and Syria, with the most minimal of U.S. counter-actions. To the most brutal and barbaric killings of innocents by these terrorists.To on-going civil wars in Yemen and Libya with no U.S. counter-action. To allowing Russia’s tyrant, Vladimir Putin, to slowly but surely chew up the Ukraine with hardly a peep from U.S. officials. To a deal with Iran that would supposedly prevent it from achieving nuclear bombs, in return for unfreezing about $150 billion of Iranian assets held by U.S. banks. A deal which looks more and more flawed with each passing day. And so it goes.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinan conflict will never materialize because there is just too much hatred, rancor, despair, vengeance-seeking, etc. to allow such a solution. Over the next couple of decades a one-state solution may occur, with Israel absorbing the West Bank with its large Arab population. Jews would still have a narrow majority of the population in such a nation, but with Arab births exceeding the Jewish rate, that majority could easily slip away. When that happens, it would well behoove Israeli Jews to immigrate to the U.S., and move into the vast, unpopulated areas of Nevada, Montana, and other similar states.

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NEW YEAR, SAME OLD HATREDS

A recent Gallop poll showed that close to two-thirds of all Americans considered 2013 to be a bummer. A year in which their fortunes or circumstances not only did not improve, but mostly worsened. So, as the festivities surrounding the artificial demarcation of the calendar have now ended, it might be useful to view where the world stands and what we can expect in 2014. A good place to start might be the Mid-East where centuries of embedded hatreds have come bubbling to the surface with a vengeance, resulting in the slaughter of thousands of people. Besides the hatreds between Palestinian Moslems and Israeli Jews, there are the larger hatreds between the primary two factions of Islam-the Shiites and the Sunnis. Both factions pray to Allah; both observe nearly identical religious rites, and yet both despise the very existence of each other’s lives. Never underestimate man’s capacity to revel in the depths of hatred and thirst for vengeance, which is like a bottomless pit.

A good example of this is current-day Iraq. Remember Iraq; the place that used to be ruled by the tyrant Saddam Hussein. Remember back in 2003 when President George W. Bush stated that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weaponry. How the world could not allow such a blood thirsty butcher as Saddam to possess these WMDs. How we had to go to war with Iraq in March 2003 in order to depose Saddam and rid Iraq of these WMDs. And how, after we easily won that war, we found that, lo and behold, there were actually no WMDs in Iraq whatsoever. Oops. A slight miscalculation in our intelligence community. We finally extracted our forces out of Iraq after nearly 10 years of on-going bloodshed, after the deaths of over 6000 U.S military personnel and civilian contractors, the expenditure of nearly a trillion dollars, and the slaughter of close to 200,000 Iraqis. What’s left now, however, is an Iraqi nation in shambles with Shiite and Sunni factions, along with the emerging presence of Al-Qaida, murdering each other by the thousands.

In 2013, almost 9000 Iraqis were killed in suicide terrorist attacks. When Saddam was in charge, he had led his minority Sunni people to rule over the majority Shiite population. With Saddam gone, and with no U.S. presence to mediate between both Islamic factions, the majority Shiites have taken control of the government led by Prime Minister Maleki who has moved harshly against the Sunnis; including handing out death sentences against Sunni political leaders. As a result, old hatreds have come to the forefront with Sunnis going on a killing spree against Shiites to avenge the oppression they’re experiencing.  Al-Qaida, ever vigilant for new opportunities to spread their unique brand of terrorism, has stepped into the fray by aligning themselves with the Sunni minority. But in reality, Al-Qaeda is just out for themselves, and has now taken control of a significant chunk of Iraqi territory; including the city of Fallujah, where so many U.S. lives were lost. As the beat goes on, old hatreds keep on bubbling to the surface as Iraq continues to degenerate or devolve into never-ending tribal warfare.

I’ve written extensively before, about the 3 year-old civil war going on in Syria, which has now claimed about 125,000 lives with hundreds more lost on an almost daily basis; so I won’t repeat the details here. Except to note that Al-Qaida also has a growing presence in that debacle as well; with the goal of uniting with Al-Qaeda in Iraq so as to control a huge area of land and population from which they can indulge in their terrorist fascism with impunity. The rest of the Mid-East is a similar basket case. Libya, which commendably overthrew its own bloody tyrant, has now degenerated into a conglomeration of tribes that are constantly at war with each other. Tiny Lebanon, has the unfortunate circumstance of having a major terrorist organization within its borders thanks to funding and support from Iran. It’s part of Iran’s scheme of one day destroying Israel. And speaking of Iran, 2014 should be the year that it is allowed to, at last, come into possession of nuclear weaponry. While this country, and the rest of the world, sits by and lets it happen. Sort of the way the world watched Hitler and Nazism rise to power in the 1930s, and did nothing about it until it was too late.

Which brings us to the most intractable of all Mid-East hatreds-that, of course, being between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Both sides have been in a kind of constant state of war, hot or cold, since Israel was granted statehood in 1948. The problem is that both sides seek to be the dominant force in a relatively small geographical space that is, apparently, not big enough for the both of them. As a result, both sides are trapped in a never-ending cycle of terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, resulting in a series of harsh reprisals and segregation of the Palestinians by the Israelis, countered by cries for vengeance and and destruction of Israel by the Palestinians, etc., resulting in a never-ending merry-go-round of bitterness, dysfunction, and revenge. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, is engaging in almost super-human effort to bring both sides to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution of this on-going mess. Remember John Kerry? He ran for President in 2004, and lost by whisker to George Bush, when Ohio tipped into Bush’s column. Now, he’s making it his life’s mission to forge a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state, where both parties can live in peace and harmony. He deserves an A for effort; but the prospects for success remain quite poor. The reason-its not easy for people or nations to give up on their centuries old hatreds or lusts for vengeance.

And so this is the way the world spins in 2014, or at least that part of the world I’ve discussed in this entry. Doesn’t look very appetizing does it? But, we have almost an entire year to see how all this plays out, before we once again, engage in the rites and rituals surrounding the artificial turnover of the calendar that occurs during every winter solstice.

 

 

 

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TAKING INVENTORY

As 2013 winds down to its dreary conclusion, a look back over the year would seem to be in order. Both internationally and here in the U.S., events generally did not go well. From the hysterics surrounding the rollout of ObamaCare and the general dysfunction and demonization of political opponents in our so-called government, to to the triumphs of tyrants and murderers abroad, 2013 will not make the hit parade of winners over the years, decades or centuries, past or future. So lets us start with the “unpleasantness” occurring overseas before we swing back to what has taken place in this country.

Take Greece. Please. (Still attached to that old Hennie Youngman joke.) Greece, as we all know, has long been considered the cradle of democracy, if not civilization itself. Between Plato, Socrates, Homer and others, Greece has profoundly enriched western civilization and culture with literature, art, philosophy, etc. But modern day Greece, as we further know, has been an economic basket case. The country has been in a virtual state of bankruptcy for at least the last 6 years, and its economy would have been driven down to the very depths of depression if it hadn’t received continual cash infusions from wealthier European countries such as Germany. So, as what usually happens in societies that are suffering hard economic times, extremism on a broad scale has raised its ugly head.

A political movement in Greece called “Golden Dawn” which espouses a neo-Nazi philosophy, has been steadily gaining political muscle and influence. Much like the race riots caused by Nazi brownshirts in 1920s Germany, the Greek police have generally stood on the sidelines while Golden Dawn’s para-military squads have rolled into action, spewing forth hate and violent demonstrations against anyone deemed genetically inferior. And much like Hitler and the Nazis in the 1920s, Golden Dawn, once considered a fringe group known for its stiff-arm salutes and Holocaust denials, has now achieved at least 15% support and growing, among the Greek populace. They also have 18 seats now in the Greek parliament. Emboldened by their rising popularity and parliamentary successes, Golden Dawn has embarked on an ever-increasing level of racial violence and street demonstrations which have resulted in scores of deaths. And why not? This was the same route so successfully taken by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis on their road to political domination. So, in addition to the economic misery the average Greek citizen is expected to suffer through, they now have to combat the rising tide of right-wing fanaticism. And I would submit that all this is all going on under most Americans radar screens.

I’ve written before about the other on-going, long-term,  festering foreign policy  problems that the U.S. tends more and more to walk away from. In 2013, the rising tide of U.S. isolationism gathered increased momentum. Both the political left and right in this country have entered into an unholy alliance to disengage from foreign affairs. For example, the one thing that Ted Cruz, on the far-far right, complimented President Obama for, was not taking military action in Syria. Even though bloody dictator Basher Assad has now slaughtered about 130,000 of his on people in a never-ending civil war. Even though Assad crossed Obama’s red line in the sand by using chemical warfare in killing hundreds of Syrians. Even though Assad orders bombings of Syrian cities, killing hundreds on a daily basis. But who are we to intervene? Certainly not the leader of the free world. Not anymore.

I’ve also written before about how Iran, the leading world sponsor of terrorism, is first-down and goal to go on the one yard line, as far as acquiring nuclear weaponry. About how, in 2013, we’ve eased up on the economic sanctions placed on Iran in attempting dissuade the ruling mullahs from crossing that goal line. In return for relaxed sanctions we’ve gotten supposed negotiations which appear to be going no-where. About how absent any direct military action by this country in bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, they will almost certainly come into possession of dirty bombs. And, about how, given the growing isolationist tendencies in the U.S., the chances of such military action are about….less than zero. Because we all know how well isolationism worked out in the past; say just before WWII. The one thing I’ve learned in life is that there’s always a price to pay for every action, or inaction, as the case may be. That free lunch everyone’s always looking for-it just ain’t there.

Moving back to our shores, 2013 saw an increasing amount of dysfunction and polarization among the American public and its representatives. We saw the Government shut down for weeks in October, as both parties created one phony crises after another to further their political agendas. Any thought of actually enacting something beneficial for the American public evaporated like the morning mist. As a result, the decades-long decline of the American middle-class continued unabated. Average annual income for middle-class families declined from about $56,000 before the recession to about an inflation-adjusted $51,000 currently. Meanwhile, the richest one or two percent saw their wealth grow considerably higher. We are becoming more and more like a third-world banana republic, where the one percent richest elite will rule the rest of us peasants. Republicans, smelling blood in the water, are attacking the highly Democratic ineptitude in rolling out ObamaCare. The GOP figures that the ObamaCare failures in 2013 will give them an absolute lock on winning both the House and the Senate in 2014, and perhaps they’re right. Won’t life in America be fun then. So to my thinking, 2013 has recorded a pretty dismal record when it comes to the betterment of mankind’s future.

Meanwhile, dysfunction will still be the order of the day, come 2014. Starting early next year, another Government shutdown is looming over the debt-ceiling debacle. And I haven’t even discussed the enormous progress made in  the ecological degradation of our planet during 2013, and sure to continue as 2014 unfurls. (I’ve written about that previously, if anyone is interested.) So raise a glass of good cheer come New Year’s Eve. After all, the fun just never stops coming.

 

 

 

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LURKING UNDER THE HOLIDAY RADAR

We’re currently right in the middle of the holiday season; a time for merriment, frolicking, and joy for all. Or almost all. A time for lighting up Christmas trees all over the world, or decorating the exterior of one’s house to resemble pinball machines. A time for office and neighborhood parties, for egg nog or harder spirits, and for gorging and feasting on holiday treats with a calorie-be damned attitude. After all, we’ll all go back on our diets after the new year, won’t we? It’s a time for college students to enjoy a lengthy break from their studies and return home to their families, or for extraordinarily lucky ones, to vacation in some tropical paradise. A time to engage in holiday shopping in overcrowded malls with lengthy lines at the checkout counters in most stores, for gift giving and receiving, and perhaps for even feeling more generous than usual toward one’s fellow man.

Of course, not every one will be in such a celebratory mood. Ask the 1.3 million, long-term, unemployed Americans whose benefits are about to run out just before Christmas, if they’re experiencing heaps of the holiday spirit. These people receive roughly $325 a week in unemployment payments which enables them to sleep with a roof over their heads and put some food on the table. But the legislation providing these benefits expires shortly, and our dysfunctional Congress seems little inclined to renew it. Which leaves these people with 2 alternatives; either becoming homeless, or just simply dying. Or how about the millions of people incarcerated in our nations prisons. Think they’ll be frolicking in their cells? Many are there for either using or selling illegal substances such as marijuana or heroin. While these may be unwise choices, the stupidity of jailing people for bad decisions not only destroys millions of lives, it also costs the taxpayer hundreds of billions dollars. While the most deadly substance of all, smoking tobacco, remains perfectly legal.

In any event, I thought it might be fun to examine some of the world’s problems that we like to ignore during the holiday season, but which stubbornly refuse to go away, even with the on-going holiday merriment. The ones currently flying below the radar screen, but which will emerge in all their full glory, come January. Take Iran, for example. Please.

Iran, which is the world’s leading purveyor of terrorism and anti-semitism, is first down with goal to go on the one-yard line, as far as acquiring nuclear weaponry. Those crazy-kid mullahs who run the country have repeated many times that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. The acquisition of nuclear bombs will, of course, give them the means of accomplishing that goal. It doesn’t have to be a direct attack either. For example, a nuclear suitcase bomb left in a hotel room in Tel-Aviv by an Iranian sponsored terrorist, will not only kill hundreds of thousands of residents, it would render the city uninhabitable for generations to come. Israel would undoubtably respond by unleashing their own nuclear missiles against Iran which could kill millions more. But the carnage would not end there. Radiation clouds would form in the stratosphere and travel around the globe, pouring down radiation poisoning on all countries.

The U.S. effort to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weaponry has been to impose fairly tough economic sanctions on that country. While these sanctions have resulted in some impairment of Iran’s economy, they have apparently not been enough to dissuade the mullahs from pushing ahead with their nuclear ambitions. So now, the Obama Administration has engaged Iran in negotiations to prevent its nuclear acquisition. As part of these talks, we have eased up on many of the existing sanctions while Iran has given up virtually nothing. Most foreign policy experts believe it’s sheer folly to expect Iran to discontinue its nuclear bomb development no matter what the on-going talks produce. The mullahs running the country are too fanatical in their hatred of Israel and the U.S. for that to happen. By the way, since the Iranian government despises the U.S. almost as much as Israel, a dirty bomb placed in a hotel room in Houston or Chicago would not be beyond the realm of possibilities. The only way to stop Iran from from acquiring nuclear weaponry would be for the U.S. to undertake decisive military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, such as around-the-clock bombing of these facilities until they are ruble. But that will never happen with this Administration; nor would it have happened had his Mittness won the presidency in 2012.

Speaking of weak foreign policy initiatives, the on-going “civil war” in Syria continues unabated with us doing nothing about it. The Assad government long ago crossed Obama’s red line in the sand by killing thousands of its fellow country-men using chemical weapons, with out any repercussions from the West. The war is now pretty much stalemated, but the killing goes on without any end in sight. And we do absolutely nothing; a course strongly applauded by both the far right and far left. The one thing that Ted Cruz praised Obama for was not taking any military action in Syria. A good illustration of the sanity of that foreign policy position.

Of course, many other long-term disasters are waiting in the wings. I’ve written before about how the steady and systematic destruction of our rain forests and oceans, coupled with climate change, will have devastating consequences for the very existence of life on this planet. Or how about our highly dysfunctional and polarized government that can no longer produce anything of benefit for its citizenry. The same citizenry that elected this government into power in the first place. I could go on but you get the picture. Besides it’s holiday time. So get in the holiday spirit, and eat, drink and join in all the festivities. We don’t have to check the radar screen until after the first. That’s when we’ll go back on our diets too. And also pay attention to what’s going on in the world.

 

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THE ASCENT OF EVIL

Shortly before his death in 2007, writer Norman Mailer in one of his last interviews, stated that he believed that “evil was on the ascent.”  Worldwide, according to Mailer, the forces of evil were triumphing over the forces of good. Judging by recent events, and going far, far back into history, who can deny the validity of his statement. The horror the world has just witnessed in Colorado is but the latest example of evil spreading over the globe like a deranged but insidious blob. About a week and a half before the Colorado slaughter, another insanely murderous young man got on a bus in Bulgaria that was filled with young Israeli tourists going to the beach for a holiday, and detonated a bomb that killed six people. Supposedly a terrorist attack arranged by Iran to murder as many Jews as possible. As I’ve written before, a terrorist is just a serial killer looking to pile up more bodies. And the massacre in Colorado is almost one year to the date, that another lunatic in Norway went about the methodical process of slaughtering 77 people in a murderous rampage.

Of course, the murderous slaughters carried out by lone individuals is small potatoes compared to the activities of evil, brutal, government dictatorships that exist in far too many countries. In Syria, for example, the people’s efforts to bring down the tyrannical dictatorship of the Assad regime has resulted in in swift reprisals by the dictator’s military forces that have led to the killings of between an estimated 15-20 thousand people fighting for their freedom. The situation in Syria has been going on for over a year and has now developed into a full-fledged civil war, with unbelievable massacres and destruction of entire cities, but Basher Assad, a cold-blooded murderous dictator, refuses to give up power. The U.N. and world leaders, including our own, have routinely condemned the actions of the Assad regime, but refuse to take any action that would remove him from power. So Assad goes on slaughtering his own people, many of them unarmed civilian bystanders, while the rest of the word’s Gullivers look on as if helplessly pinned down by this despot, and take no action. In the latest developments, Assad is now threatening to use chemical warfare if the opposition appears to be achieving too much success. Won’t that be a joy.

Tyrannical despots rule many other countries besides Syria, but all have one thing in common. If there is any opposition to their regimes, the first impulse is to jail or murder the “troublemakers.” Freedom as we know it, doesn’t exist in places such as North Korea or Iran, or even in several countries in Latin America. It’s estimated that both N.Korea and Iran have murdered tens if not hundreds of thousands of their citizens who might have protested their dictatorships, while thousands more languish in their prisons, for simply advocating for free speech or press.  Iran also is the largest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, mostly directed against Israel and the U.S., and is rushing ahead in a frenzy to develop nuclear weapons. Both presidential candidates have vowed to take action to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear bombs, but don’t hold your breath. Only military action can prevent that from happening. My reading is, that, whichever one is elected president will not have the fortitude to undertake such military actions, and the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. If we don’t go in there militarily by sometime before the middle of 2013, Iran will almost have nuclear bombs. And their hatred of Israel and the U.S. is so intense that they’re just crazy enough to use them. Of course N.Korea already has nuclear weapons so it’s something the entire world has to live with. A highly paranoid, fascist, tyrannical regime with the power to destroy the world as we know it. I’ve written before about the evils of fascism, and we call all witness them currently on display in both N.Korea and Iran.

We don’t have that kind of tyranny in this country, but we do have a penchant for violence and paranoia. Some author once said that violence is as American as cherry pie. He might have also said that the guns to commit such violence are as available as cherry pie. The murderous tragedies in the U.S., just going back about 15  years from Columbine to the latest in Colorado have all been made possible by the wide availability of guns, ammo, bomb making materials, etc. to just about any individual, sane or deranged. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, there was an immediate surge in gun and bullet buying throughout the country. Guns (which are not cheap by any measure) and ammo were flying off the shelves. Gun store owners couldn’t keep up with the demand. There was, apparently, a wave of paranoia and fear throughout a large chunk of the population, that a liberal Democrat would somehow take everyone’s guns away, and people would be defenseless. Let’s face it, this country has a gun fetish.

The source of that gun fetish is, of course, is the National Riffle Association(NRA) which wields enormous political clout. Both Republicans and Democrats running for every political office, from president on down to dog catcher, pays homage to the NRA. Its been said that Al Gore lost to George Bush in 2000, because the NRA promoted the idea that Gore would confiscate all private guns if elected. The NRA avidly believes that every adult should own at least one gun, if not more. So in even the poorest slums, almost every individual possesses firearms which cost at least several hundred to over a thousand dollars. Guns are as prolific in America as candy. Any attempted discussion of even modest gun control legislation is met with fierce opposition by the NRA. Hence, we have a society where guns are readily available to any nut-case who has any real or imagined grievance against any persons or organizations they feel did wrong by them. What better way to relieve these grievances than to start randomly shooting innocent, unarmed people. It’s so easy too, thanks to the wide availability of weapons.

As long as the the NRA is allowed to wield the huge clout it currently has, we can look forward to more Columbines or killings at the movies. We’ve got a big problem in this country  due to the wide availability of weapons and it’s not going to get any better until the population’s attitude toward gun control and distribution begin to change. That may be never, at least not in my lifetime.

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