Friday leftovers

This week’s headline:

“To any local Florida officials who refuse to perform these ceremonies: You live in a giant cockroach choking-hazard infested, Hooters-dining, reptile-abusing Everglades-draining, election-ruining, stripper-motorboating, ball-sweat scented, genitalia-shaped, 24-hour-mugshot factory.” ~ Jon Stewart on some Florida counties’ decision not to perform courthouse marriages, “The Daily Show” (15 January 2015)

Um . . . come again?

I don’t think this was what Big Brother had in mind:

Needs no explanation . . .

How cool is this?

Marie Curie: One of the baddest of the original BAMF:

Wasabi is a miracle food as far as I’m concerned. Nothing opens my sinuses faster, and after a good crying jag, wasabi allows me to breathe . . . just saying . . .

                    

Music by The Neighborhood, “Let it Go” (no, not that one)

“You know what? It’s a different kind of war, and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day, then you’re not going to last very long.” ~ Rep. Louie Gomhert (R), on gays in the military

Thursday evening. Clear and cool, 55 degrees.

I took Olivia home late this afternoon and then went to the movies with Eamonn. He has really wanted to see Fury, so I said that I would go with him. Got home just a bit ago, and boy, am I tired.

Catching up on the backlog on the DVR. Jon Stewart has been in Austin, Texas all week, and it’s been exactly as you would have imagined it. Here, have some “Daily Show” sarcasm:

From “The Daily Show” (October 29, 2014):

Al Madrigal covers the immigrant problem in Texas

                   

See the full clip below:

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Yes, I know. I scheduled the damn thing to publish a day early. Sheesh. What a week . . .


Friday afternoon. Cloudy, muggy, but cooler, 70 degrees.

So I was right about the one thing that I wish I had been wrong about. I am having one of those weak episodes, the kind where moving feels like swimming, lifting anything feels as if I’m trying to hoist 55 gallon drums filled with cement. In other words, blech.

Dreamed last night that my mother and I went to White Castle to get burgers. We found the last one left in the area (I think they’re all gone). She wanted her burger with rice and greens on top, and I just didn’t understand that combination. Years ago when I worked at the newspaper, there was a White Castle a few streets over and the woman on the grill had been there for years. She could cook a mean burger.

Oh well. Here, have some leftovers . . .

Are you a feminist

Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman

None of your kind wanted . . .

Photo: Well this is sure to get the goatee of some.

Look closely . . .

I’ve finally found my spirit animal . . .

Speaking of koalas . . . I don’t know if I’m more intrigued by the photos or the caption accompanying them:

A Koala reflecting on his sins, his triumphs, and the inevitability of death.

This is a thing:

 Moon rabbit, Taoyuan, Taiwan (2014) by Florentijn Hofman

Here, have a little happiness:

There aren’t enough palms to smack enough faces for this one:

Photo: Must not be a writing opportunity.

Say what?

Mutually Exclusive?

Come again?

That liberal lie: Climate Change

Wi-Fi Wars . . .

How cool are these?

Ghost-it notes for highlighting without defacing the book

This is important. Lava Mae is fundraising for their second bus. Go here for more information:

“Welcome to America, the land of blue jeans, rock and roll, and sporadic meaningless mass murder.” ~ Ben DreyFuss, Mother Jones

 

| Sun Apr. 20, 2014 2:31 PM PDT

On April 20, 1999, two teenagers walked into a suburban high school outside of Denver and shot 13 people to death. The massacre at Columbine was not the first mass shooting in America. It was not the first mass shooting at an American school. Indeed, Peter Jennings began the news that night, “The reaction of so many people today was ‘Oh no, not again.'” But Columbine was different. It became a national trauma in a way the others hadn’t. Yes, it was the deadliest American school shooting on record at the time—though it is no longer—but what really amplified its significance was the fact it was the first mass shooting that played out in real time on television. The shootings began at 11:19 a.m. By noon, local television stations had broken into regular programming with uninterrupted media coverage. Millions of people across the country turned on CNN and watched the story develop.

Here’s how America watched the chaos of Columbine: There were reports of a shooting and it was at a school and the body count began going up and witnesses said they were two shooters with shotguns and rifles and pistols and there had been an explosion across town and it had been a diversion maybe and pipe bombs, something about pipe bombs, and the body count kept rising, and booby traps, and then Clinton gave a speech and then the shooters were in a mafia that wore trench coats and maybe there were more than two and then, no, there were only two and they were dead and the bomb squad finished the initial sweep of the building at 4:45 p.m. and it was over, but not really because then there was the CCTV footage, the witness interviews, the search for motive, they had been bowling, they had been bullied, they had said something about Hitler and they listened to Marilyn Manson and they wanted to one up Timothy McVeigh and What Does It All Mean?

After Columbine there was a general sense that something had to be done. That kids getting killed at school was a thing we weren’t going to be okay with. “Never again,” as they say.

It wasn’t some fanciful impossibility. The British did it after Dunblane. And so we did that. Everyone got together and passed sweeping gun control legislation and there was never another mass shooting in America.

Except not really. Because the “never again” response—though shared by many—was not shared by all.

We seem to have accepted that the occasional mass murder is the cost of America.

On May 1, Charlton Heston came to Denver and made a much-discussed speech where he said, “We have work to do, hearts to heal, evil to defeat, and a country to unite. We may have differences, yes, and we will again suffer tragedy almost beyond description. But when the sun sets on Denver tonight, and forever more, let it always set on we the people, secure in our land of the free and the home of the brave.” Say what you will about that speech, but as far as predictions go it was spot on. It’s a fait accompli. There were more shootings. We mourned and then did nothing because we seem to have accepted that occasional mass murder is the cost of America.

Both responses, “never again” and “don’t bother trying,” offer statements about the USA. The former says “America is the greatest country on Earth. We went to the moon. Surely, we can stop kids from getting shot to death at school! If the Brits can do it, so can we. ” The latter says, “No, we can’t. We’re America. The greatest country on Earth and the cost of the liberty that makes us so is that our kids may get shot to death at school.”

Every time there is another mass shooting and nothing happens it becomes a little easier to believe that the “don’t bother” crowd is right.

Nothing changed after 13 people were killed at Columbine, or 33 at Virginia Tech, or 26 at Sandy Hook. Each of those tragedies came with the same breaking-news urgency as Columbine, but none generated the same sense of expected action because fewer and fewer people actually believed things could change. The last 15 years have been a lesson in how “never again” can be cowed into “I need a drink.”

And that’s insane.

Fifteen years after Columbine rattled America to its core, people still get shot while they’re at school. People get shot while they’re at work. People get shot eating. People get shot drinking. People get shot watching movies, shopping, driving, swimming, skipping, and playing baseball. It’s 2014 and in America people get shot doing basically any goddamn thing you can think of.

They don’t have to.

 

Ben Dreyfuss

Ben Dreyfuss is the engagement editor at Mother Jones.