A Few Quick Thoughts on Sanity and Lines in the Sand

i opened up the Sunday paper this morning to sort and throw out all of the ads, which we never even bother to scan, the same we do with all of the ads in the mail. There on the front page was the recounting over and over of the mass killings in El Paso.


i boot up this computer and my nephew, Tommy Duff, has posted a news item about another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.


Tommy had added to his earlier post on El Paso about what will happen next. All the people screaming for eliminating guns will exchange shouts and protests with all of those who scream about violation of rights, i.e. the second amendment to our constitution. The politicians will rally to the side where they think they can get the most votes, take the lines in the sand to the halls of congress and the white house and scream uselessly for their voters. The tirades will die down. Someone will appoint a committee, claim it’s “bipartisan,” which is simply jingoism to mollify the middle of our citizenship who want to do the right thing, politics not considered, because “bipartisanship” does not exist in today’s political climate. And nothing, as it has in past such incidents, will happen.

i must pause here to point out that stupid, inane slogan of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is damn near criminally insane because the people who kill people use guns, nearly always guns manufactured to kill people, lots and lots of people. And while i’m at it, this idea about using our second amendment rights to justify not limiting guns that kill lots of people completely ignores the rights of those  people who have been killed and wounded and those who will be killed and wounded by those guns intended to kill lots and lots of people.

And i should point out, i own a gun. It is a gun i acquired years ago to protect my home. It is not a gun intended to kill lots and lots of people. At the most i could kill six home invaders without reloading, one at a time. i haven’t had any ammunition for that gun since 1985. i still think about getting some ammo to protect against a home invasion. i still contemplate getting a hunting rifle to kill game if required to keep my family alive during a great catastrophe. But my neighbors across the street are hunters supreme and will have plenty of hunting guns available if such a disaster occurs.

Yesterday, i went to the Del Mar horse races, courtesy of Catherine Hooper and the Vanderbilt Alumni. Having access to the “Turf Club,” i wore the required sports jacket, adding my bow tie and straw fedora for effect. i felt pretty fine walking to the entry. At the narrow entry gate, there was a gaggle of folks, all ages, with signs. Everyone had a sign. About half of them wished to eliminate horse racing because horses die occasionally, sometimes unnecessarily (ignoring the fact that if horse racing were banned, many horses would die because there would be no reason for their owners to keep them). The other half of the protestors had signs declaring how noble horse racing was and noted it was their source for making a living. They shouted across the gauntlet at each other. Everyone going to the races, including me, averted their eyes and hustled through the screaming gauntlet as quickly as possible.

i wondered how many people changed their mind about horse racing because of those protestors. i’m guessing zero. Existing in my pocket of resistance, i recognized had there only been one group protesting, i most likely would tend to change my mind to the opposite view of the protestors. But being both sides were equally obnoxious, i simply tried to ignore them.

Then this morning after the newspaper headlines and Tommy’s post about Dayton and since our local newspaper cut out one of most favorite comic strips of all time, Non Sequitur out of the comics, i opened up a website to read today’s comic.

Wiley, you are right on once again.


Now other than this tirade — i’m claiming it non-political because it is against the way we conduct politics today — i am not likely to do much more about the mass killing thing. Quite frankly, i’m not willing to get my hands in such such a quagmire of dirt or willing to give up some of my principles for one cause or political party or willing to part with any of  my ever decreasing amount of real money to a cause that will flounder because of the lines drawn in the sand.

Years ago while serving as the understudy facilitator to Dave Carey in the Navy’s leadership workshop for senior officers dubbed “Command Excellence Seminar,” i observed Dave explaining David McClellan’s Theory of Needs, the theory of motivation. Someone questioned the motivation of power. Dave Carey explained two types of “power.”  Personal power, which McClellan was not addressing in his needs theory, is all about a person dominating others, taking control with no real regard for the good of the whole. Social power is what someone seeks to use for the good of the people as a whole, not for personal gain.

It seems to me, our current world has abandoned any attempt at “social power” unless it serves the personal power driven person (or group or party or what have you) to claim as their purpose, a front for attaining that personal power.



Could we have a moment of silence and pray that someone younger folks than me can obtain positions to yield social power with some sanity and, as so well said by other friend from those many years ago, Peter Thomas, do the right thing?

i hope so, but damn, i am not very optimistic.

1 thought on “A Few Quick Thoughts on Sanity and Lines in the Sand

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *