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#1163 – Dick Bernard: 9-11-16, and the dark days of 2001-2009

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Friday, my wife and I and our 87 year old neighbor Don, went to the local theatre to be among the first to see the new movie, Sully, the incredible story of the emergency landing of an airliner in the Hudson River off NYC in January, 2009. “How can you take a 90 second event and turn it into a 90 minute movie?” my friend asked.

Very, very easily. Take in the film. The basic true story is here.

*

Of course (I’m certain), the movie was timed to be released on the eve of the 15th anniversary of 9-11-01, even though the near-disaster actually happened in January, 2009.

I have feelings about 9-11-01. At the end of this post, I share a few personal links from that period in time. I will always have doubts about certain and substantial parts of the official narrative about what happened that awful day, though that labels me as a “conspiracy theorist” I suppose. So be it.

*

But what occurs to me this day in 2016 came to mind a few days ago when I found a cardboard envelope in a box, whose contents included this certificate (8 1/2×11 in original size).

Notice the signature on the certificate (Donald Rumsfeld) and the date of the form printed in the lower left corner (July 1, 2001). (Click to enlarge).

cold-war-certificate-001

The full contents of the envelope can be viewed here: cold-war-cert-packet003

Of course, people like myself had no idea why the article appeared in the newspaper, or how this particular project came to be.

It is obvious from the documents themselves that the free certificate was publicized no later than sometime in 1999; and the certificate itself wasn’t mailed until some time in 2001 to my then mailing address…. The original website about the certificate seems no longer accessible, but there is a wikipedia entry about it.

When I revisited the envelope I remembered a working group of powerful people called the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) formed in the late 1990s.

The group as then constituted no longer officially exists, but had (my opinion) huge influence on America’s disastrous response to 9-11-01 (which continues to this day).

Many members of this select group, including Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard B. Cheney, strategized to establish permanent U.S. dominance in the world, and had very high level positions in the administration of George W. Bush, 2001-2009. PNAC was no benign committee of friends meeting for coffee every Saturday. To cement the notion that to have peace you must be stronger than the enemy…there has to be an enemy. If not a hot war, then a cold war will have to do. Keep things unsettled and people will follow some dominant leader more easily.

Their Cold War ended in December, 1991, as you’ll note, which likely was cause for concern. 9-11-01 became the magic elixir for a permanent war with an enemy….

(I happen to be a long-time member of the American Legion also – the Cuban Missile Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam era were part of my tour of duty in the Army – and much more recently, the Legion magazine
updated talk about the Cold War, here: America at War001.)

My opinion: there remains a desperate and powerful need by powerful entities to sustain an enemy for the U.S. to fight against and, so goes the story, “win”, to borrow a phrase and “make America great again”. As we learned in the years after 9-11-01, dominance has a huge and unsustainable cost. But the idea still lives on.

The mood of the people of this country is for peace – it is simple common sense – but peacemakers have to do much more than simply demonstrate against war to have it come to pass, in a sustainable fashion.

*

Yes, 9-11-01 was very impactful for me. Here are three personal reflections: 1) chez-nous-wtc-2001002; 2) here; and 3) here: Post 9-11-01001.

I have never been comfortable with the official explanations about many aspects of 9-11-01 and what came after. It is not enough to be ridiculed into silence. Eight years ago my friend Dr. Michael Andregg spent a year doing what I consider a scholarly piece of work about some troubling aspects he saw with 9-11-01. You can watch it online in Rethinking 9-11 at the website, Ground Zero Minnesota. Dr. Andregg made this film for those who are open to critical thinking about an extremely important issue. I watched it again, online, in the last couple of days. It is about 54 minutes, and very well done. Take a look.

Let’s make 9-11-01 a day for peace, not for endless and never to be won war. Humanity deserves better.

(click to enlarge. Photos: Dick Bernard, late June, 1972)

World Trade Center Towers late June 1972, New York City

World Trade Center Towers late June 1972, New York City

Twin Towers from Statue of Liberty, late June, 1972.  (one tower was newly opened, the other nearly completed)

Twin Towers from Statue of Liberty, late June, 1972. (one tower was newly opened, the other nearly completed)

Here, thanks to a long ago handout at a workshop I took in the early 70s, is a more normal reaction sequence to a crisis. As you’ll note, it is useful to allow 9-11-01 to live on and on and on. It is not healthy.

(click to enlarge)

Handout from a circa 1972 workshop.

Handout from a circa 1972 workshop.

#622 – Dick Bernard: 9-11-12

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

9-11-2001 seems to have become a permanent fixture in the American psyche. I offer a reflection a little different from what appears to be typical this day.

On this anniversary of 9-11-2001 the front page of the Minneapolis paper had a photo of a beam of one of the collapsed NYC towers as it is exhibited in a park in rural city in southwest Minnesota.

I wondered how this would have played post-December 7, 1941. Who would have suggested dismantling my uncle Franks tomb, the USS Arizona, with parts taken here and there as monuments in various places?

I cannot imagine even a serious thought, then, of desecrating the relic that was the USS Arizona and shipping pieces here and there as relics of war.

To this day, to my knowledge, the Arizona rests where it was destroyed, undisturbed. I’ve been there.

I also wondered how this debris will be looked on by some successor to our civilization coming across this rusted beam in a remote town 150 or 1000 years from now.

It will be puzzling to the visitor to what remains of the United States.

Like everyone, I would guess, I remember exactly what I was doing at the time I heard of the Towers being hit on 9-11-01. I didn’t see it on TV until late in the afternoon of that Tuesday.

The event had a strong personal impact: when I established my first web presence in April 2002, I chose for my Peace and Justice page two photos I’d taken of the twin towers in June, 1972, right before they were completed. A year later I wrote a reflection that remains at that same place on the web.

I remember.

(click to enlarge)

The Twin Towers NYC late June 1972.

NYC skyline June 1972. Photos by Dick Bernard

I wonder what we have learned since 9-11-01.

Sadly, it seems we have learned very little.

On 9-11-01 we seem to have had two forks in the road to recovery from the attack of 19 terrorists.

We could have done the normal thing: after the shock wore off, normally a short period of time, we would have begun to regroup, to learn from what happened, to not react. We could have even found ways to reconcile and for certain not indict an entire religion and race for the vicious attack perpetrated by a few.

Of course, we didn’t do that.

Almost unanimously, our country took the other fork, by far the most popular route: a combination of negative emotions such as revenge, or exploiting an opportunity…. We ended up injuring ourselves almost fatally in many ways. We damaged ourselves far more than the terrorists damaged us on September 11, 2001. Afghanistan Oct 7 2001001

Fast forward to the current day.

The photo of the tower beam on display in Marshall jarred me a bit, but did not surprise because three years ago, at the Peace Garden near Dunseith ND, bordering Canada and the U.S. since 1934 as a Garden of Peace between our two nations, I saw one of those monuments of World Trade Center rubble on the grounds.

I wrote my feelings about it in 2009, and it is archived here.

At the same post, as an Update, much more recent, is a column written this summer by James Skakoon of St. Paul. After his own visit to the Peace Garden, with the same reaction as mine, he happened to find my column on-line, and his comments speaks for itself.

But the bottom line is that it appears likely that we will be solemnizing the tragedy of New York City in 2001 for the immediate future as a monument to War, not Peace. We are compounding our loss from the tragedy.

I hope that there is thought given to changing the emphasis from continued emphasis on war, to more emphasis on the need for peace.

#430 – Dick Bernard: 9-11-01 to 9-11-11. Have we learned anything these last ten years?

Friday, September 9th, 2011

UPDATE September 12, 2011: There have been a large number of comments on this post. They are in a separate post for September 11, 2011, here. Additional comments will be added to this post, as received.

September 9, 2011

Dear Family and Friends:

One of the indelible memories of my life came on my 60th birthday, May 4, 2000. We spent the entire day at the horrific Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. Entering one of the first buildings with the awful artifacts of the final solution – hair, shoes, suitcases… – was a sign with this quotation:

“Those who
cannot remember the past,
are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

We Americans – every one of us – have created what became the ten years after 9-11. We are well advised to remember Santayana’s admonition as our future begins with President Obama’s address to Congress a few hours ago.

Everyone has their own perspective.

Here’s how I remember the last ten years, and how I hope we work for a better future.

*

Here are two snapshots I took of the as-yet incomplete twin towers of the World Trade Center 39 years ago, in late June, 1972. (click to enlarge). (The Statue of Liberty photos later in this post were taken the same day.) This was my first and to date only visit to New York City. I remember the day vividly.

Twin Towers nearing completion late June, 1972 (see construction equipment on top of one of the towers)

New York City skyline from ferry enroute to Statue of Liberty late June, 1972

I also remember vividly 9-11-01: The death toll that day was approximately 3,000. Each of those people died tragically and needlessly. This doesn’t make them unusual. Thousands of others die tragically and needlessly every day, everywhere. How we have elected to hang onto the circumstances of the death of these 3000, and what it has done to us as a nation, is what makes this ten year commemoration unusual. (See NOTE FROM MADELINE SIMON at the end of this post).

The ten years since 9-11-01 are ten years we should all also remember vividly:
– We’ve been in two wars, now ten years old, with no end in sight;
the price of 9-11 has been dreadful;
over 100,000 dead in Iraq, 25,000 in Afghanistan; – hundreds of thousands of people displaced; plenty of anger against the United States by these people;
over 6,000 U.S. dead in these wars;
– Over 3 trillion of our dollars ($3,000,000,000,000) spent, not counting huge and certain future costs even if the wars were to stop today;
– incalculable ruin to our national reputation – a reservoir of ill-will which will not be forgotten.

And the War continues….

In my opinion it need not have been this way:

Here’s my personal recollection written a few days after 9-11: September 17 and 24, 2001, a letter to family and friends reflecting on 9-11-01. (Entire letter here Post 9-11-01001.)

9-11-01 was my second day on the job as a volunteer on a Habitat for Humanity house in south Minneapolis. A large crew of us from Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis volunteered for one or more days during our two week commitment. Per previous plans, Cathy, my wife, and son-in-law John also joined that crew the week of 9-11. I was there the first week.

Habitat Home Stevens Ave S Minneapolis MN Sep 11, 2001

After 9-11 we were overrun with unexpected volunteers coming off the street to help – their way of dealing with grief, I suppose.

This urge to do something positive was a very normal immediate outcome of the shock of 9-11, as it is a normal response after any tragedy.

For many years I have kept a handout from a long-ago workshop I attended which explains the normal human response to crisis very well (click to enlarge). Note: the time period to recovery is described in months, not years:

OUR RESPONSE POST-9-11-01

Rather than normal and positive resolution of grief, and closure, after 9-11-01 we in the U.S. chose to go to war. It was and is a disastrous decision.

We Americans* almost unanimously supported war as a remedy. Afghanistan Oct 7 2001001

One wonders what would have happened had we chosen to respond as Norway did in the wake of their July 22, 2011, terrorist attack.

After 9-11 we were largely kept in the dark about specifics of war plans. Five months after 9-11, a column (2002001) I wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (published April 20, 2002), does not even mention the word “Iraq”. Iraq was not on my radar screen then, and I was an engaged citizen then.

In April, 2002, the official roll-out of the Iraq War was nearly a year away.

But we now know the Bush administration focus had almost instantly shifted to Iraq after 9-11, even though Iraq, and no Iraqis, were involved in 9-11. We took the deadly fork in the national road which we still live with today.

At the same time we launched this war, we were encouraged to get on with life, to go shopping, and we happily obliged during the decade. Vice-President Richard Cheney famously noted that “deficits don’t matter….” (see 18th para beginning “In his own account…”).

War almost instantly became an opportunity to implement the dreams of the Project for a New American Century. Its principles are worth rereading, as are the names of its signatories. Most of its signatories likely still believe its false premise: America once and forever King of the World. Too many of us still have visions of a permanent American empire. (My opinion: We could not effectively conquer Iraq, a place similar in size and population to California. Our vision of world dominance was false then, and still is. It is rapidly killing us.)

In October, 2002, Congress issued what turned out to be a blank check to wage war on the national credit card. (You can see how the political parties voted on that resolution in 2002 at the preceding link.)

We, the people approved that action; indeed, it can fairly be said that we insisted on war. It was politically very dangerous for a politician to be against this War on “terrorists”. We the people bought the idea of war, and thus we own its consequences.

We’re still at war in Afghanistan, the place we attacked first, 10 years ago. Much of our national debt flows from war, not only unpaid for by any national sacrifice when it happened, but accompanied by huge and continuing tax cuts for everybody; and unfunded, large and politically popular Medicare improvements. To this day, we refuse to pay for that credit card debt of ours. As a nation we are still very deep in denial.

We effectively demand even more tax cuts and to slash our government (our state and national infrastructure) even further, rather than using our still great national wealth to work on reducing our debt. Going broke is a deliberate political strategy of the many current government leaders who follow Grover Norquist, whose anti-tax mantra has long been to starve government “until it can be drowned in the bathtub”. There is no negotiating with such an ideology.

We didn’t know it 9-11-01, but 2001-2011 became a highly radical Republican decade all the way up to the present moment where the avowed and very public aim of the Republican leadership is to make certain that President Obama fails to generate jobs for national recovery. “Give us another chance”, they seem to say. “See him fail.” The same characters in charge will bring the same results as in the past, I say. Watch their real response to the Presidents request last night over the next months to discern their priorities.

The Republican leadership of the last 20 or so years is not cut from the same Republican cloth as my father’s or grandfather’s generation, nor my own. The current Republican leadership bunch worships power and control for its own sake. (For a dozen years my own political “best friend” was a former Republican Governor until he passed away several years ago. He would not be welcome in today’s Republican party.)

Today’s Republican strategy is led by amoral radicals** whose sole interest is permanent majority and raw power, rather than the long-term health of this country.

Ten years after 9-11, we’re still at it even though, for all intents and purposes, our country went bankrupt “going shopping” for everything we desired, getting big tax breaks and unpaid for benefit increases, and making war on credit***.

Now the narrative that I hear from the political radical right about our current national malaise is: “It’s all Obama’s fault, just give us another chance….”

This is insane.

So, what does this all mean? I removed from the title of this post these words: “A squandered decade.” But that is exactly what 2001-2011 has been: a squandered decade. And we continue the waste.

When will we Americans get a grip on reality?

Ten years ago we were caught unawares, and our emotions were easily manipulated and used.

Will the coming ten years be more of the same?

We are still “going shopping”.

Ten years from now, where will we be?

Are we going to continue down the same destructive road which has all but destroyed us; or will we commit to positive change? It is we citizens who will decide the future of our children and the generations to follow.

It is we as individuals who will be determining the answer to that question.

Same former Habitat house in South Minneapolis Sep 11, 2010. It continues to look the same in September, 2011, and to my knowledge remains occupied by the same Somali family for whom it was built ten years ago.

Statue of Liberty New York City harbor late June, 1972

Joni and Tom Bernard at Statue of Liberty, late June, 1972

NOTE FROM MADELINE SIMON received on August 8 prior to publication of this post, and included with her permission. Madeline is a long-time good friend, very active in Justice and social concerns issues with her Church. I met her through my involvement with the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. She sent this item to persons she knows:
Last night, I happened to catch part of [PBS] Frontline, titled “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero.” [NOTE: this is can be watched online here] Representatives, particularly clergy, from the three major religions all talked about the very real, scary dark side of religious zeal, equally lethal in their respective religions. One, who shared the podium at a 9/11 memorial service with clergy from other religious traditions became the receiver of hate mail from members of his own clergy. They were incensed that he would give any degree of validity to another religion and its followers, and he was asked to resign as a minister of their absolute truth faith.

One woman related that in an interview with Putin, he said that to the 9/11 hijackers, the people in the towers were “just dust.” In the Nazi era, Jews were considered less than human by some supposed Christians; in the U.S. pre-civil rights era, some Christians considered blacks less than human; and some Israeli Jews treat Palestinians similarly. Much evil has been done throughout history in the name of God, and it continues today.

No doubt that the extreme religious right in our country is dangerous, used and exceedingly well-funded by greedy corporate America who demand laissez faire–no government-by-the-people regulation of their excesses, and they should not be allowed to control government at any level. Our government, federal and local, are already dysfunctional, preferring to be insanely destructive rather than lose power in the interest of the common good.

We have much important work to do before the next election, none being so important as reminding the country of our common humanity, the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and our interdependence, on each other and the well-being of our small planet. As Unitarian Universalists and a 501(c)(3) religious organization, we can’t advocate for or against candidates, but issues are fair game!!!

FOOTNOTES:
* – This commentary is written to “we, the people”. We are a society that likes to blame somebody else for our problems. The collective credit or blame lies with everyone of us, so long as we are fortunate enough to have a democracy (that is at risk).

** – “ends justify the means, politics is war, winning is all that matters” seems the dominant ethic. It is amazing, and very discouraging, to see the kind of racist, false and malicious information that is passed along, computer to computer, these days. Media advertising is as bad. It is far worse on the Republican side than on the Democrat. A recently retired 30-year GOP staff member in Washington recently wrote very candidly about this problem. You can read it here.

*** – even considering today’s relatively high unemployment, America is an immensely wealthy nation with far more than sufficient resources to recover from a problem we never should have gotten into. But to do so requires our political will, and the congressional leadership feels the problem is more beneficial to their interests than a solution.

There are many directly related posts, if you wish, beginning with June 27, 2011:
I will write a followup to this post, most likely on Monday, September 12, 2011
June 27, 2011: Killing the President, and many posts in the weeks that followed.
July 23, 2009: International Peace Garden

#76 – Dick Bernard: “Taking Woodstock” (and “zipping to Zap”)

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

UPDATE ON THE ZIP TO ZAP:  Subsequent to the September 6 update I received two most interesting items:  my brother, who had been involved in the event sent a research piece that was most interesting #mce_temp_url#   .  Then I ordered the 1991 documentary on the event, an equally fascinating summary of what happened during those interesting few days in rural North Dakota in 1969, a few months before Woodstock.  I’d recommend the 53 minute video to anyone with an interest in the topic.   It can be ordered through #mce_temp_url#

UPDATE September 6: see comment re Zip to Zap, as well as link references at end of this post.

Original Post:

Yesterday we went down the street to see the just released “Taking Woodstock”, a film I thought would give me a retro look at Woodstock 1969.  Maybe it would be a temporary release from the bizarre country we seem to be living in today:  A country where some people are terrified that the President of the country might have some unsupervised time with unsuspecting school children when school begins this week (more on that on Tuesday morning.)  A country where health care for all is somehow un-American.  One wonders where we’re headed, and my concern is not our President; my concern is the collective us.

“Taking Woodstock”  turned out to be a very good choice of movie.  It had a comedy aspect to it, and was not a documentary, but in the over two hours in the theatre it gave a pretty decent picture of how Woodstock impacted on small town New York state and the participants in the drama.  I wouldn’t call it an exciting movie – for a while I wondered where it was going – but it was interesting, and gave lots of food for thought.

In the end, it seems, Woodstock 1969 was an unintended very major event that was simply allowed to happen.  One wonders how such an event would play out today, with “cowboys” wandering the streets, armed and dangerous; moralists tut-tutting about immoral behavior, and all the rest.

The 1969 bottom line, or so it seems: in an atmosphere that could well have been chaotic and violent, Woodstock participants did their thing, peacefully, and the area recovered.  Even in the midst of a disastrous Vietnam War, there was a sense of sanity and civility that we seem to have lost today.

(There’s plenty of information available about Woodstock: a good source seems to be http://www.woodstock.com/1969-festival; for more about the film, http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taking_Woodstock )

For the record, I totally missed out on Woodstock in 1969.  I don’t remember a thing about it “back in the day”.  I remember hearing about the famous “Zip to Zap” in the spring of 1969 (my kid brother almost scored with Life magazine with photos he took there, in western ND); and about the moon-landing in the summer, but nothing about Woodstock.  Had I known about Woodstock, I would not have been interested. Wasn’t my thing.  Plus I was going to graduate school, building a new house, getting ready for a child who arrived August 25, 1969, etc.  On my priority list, Woodstock wasn’t….

Still, Woodstock has been an object of fascination for me over the years.  

I could grant that lots of the folks who hung out at Woodstock in the summer of 1969 – perhaps even most of them – engaged in one or another kind of dangerous or even self-destructive behavior.  But best as I know, their only potential victims were themselves.  They were surrounded by a genuine ad hoc community of sorts that cared whether the neighbors lived or died.  The atmosphere was live and let live.

Today the moralists would be out there with their National Guard troops and their blazing news releases raging moralism and hell-fire and damnation, and doing their best to quiet other voices.

The Woodstock.com site (URL above) gives a pretty decent summation of what seems to have been Woodstock 1969: “…a community of a half million people who managed to peacefully co-exist over three days of consistent rain, food shortages, and a lack of creature comforts. “Woodstock is a reminder that inside each of us is the instinct for building a decent, loving community, the kind we all wish for,” according to Joel Rosenman. “Over the decades, the history of that weekend has served as a beacon of hope that a beautiful spirit in each of us ultimately will triumph.”

If you can, see the film….

Note:  The person posting the comment on “Zip to Zap” has an interesting website #mce_temp_url#, which includes an astonishingly beautiful piece of music by San Franciscan Matt Venuti.  Do visit and share.

#3 – Dick Bernard: Binghamton NY April 3, 2009

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Reader comment follows this post.

It wasn’t until late afternoon on Friday that I learned any details of the latest gun-related tragedy, this time in Binghamton NY. Thirteen dead, plus the shooter; four critically injured; possibly some cause and effect of the shooter having recently lost his job for some unknown reason; an apparent pre-meditated intention to kill as many as possible by blocking the door through which people might escape. It was all horrific.

As I write, Saturday morning, April 4, the facts are beginning to emerge: the shooter had two pistols on him, both registered firearms; he’s Vietnamese, apparently a U.S. citizen for decades; apparently knew well the place where he killed the thirteen people, most of them studying for citizenship…. The stories and analysis are just beginning.

Full disclosure: small arms were around me when I was growing up. Shooting gophers when they were pests on the North Dakota prairies was something I was accustomed to: their tails were worth a nickel, a lot of money to a kid, then. A bunch of us kids were playing with my Dad’s 22 calibre rifle when I was perhaps nine. It was hanging in the garage, and it was off-limits…. There was a bullet in the chamber; it went off; luckily nobody was killed (we were lucky). Dad and Mom never knew of that close call.

In the Army, I qualified as Expert with the M-1 Rifle. Thankfully I never had to use my skills. I have never owned a gun, or had an interest in purchasing one, and to the best of my recollection haven’t shot one since the Army days. There’s never been a gun in a home of mine. I have no issue against hunters and hunting in the traditional sense of that word: shotguns, regular rifles, licenses….

The national debate for years has gone far beyond the lines I describe above. We are an armed and very dangerous nation of far too many people armed to the teeth, wallowing in fear and resentment of this, that or the other.

Binghamton, April 3, 2009, could well be the tip of a very large iceberg.

I decided, last night, to check in on the two “poles” of our nation’s fascination/obsession with guns and other weapons to see how they were spinning Binghamton: the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign. www.nra.org and www.bradycampaign.org. As of 8 a.m. this morning, NRA does not have a word on what happened in Binghamton; as of last night, the Brady Campaign had commented. You can visit their website, and they can speak for themselves.

Even before the reports on Binghamton, I’ve seen scraps of information. One of the news reports I heard mentioned that in this country of 300,000,000, there are 250,000,000 firearms. The ban on assault weapons has apparently sun-setted; till yesterday afternoon there was no real interest in gun legislation…there are other bigger problems to deal with. Gun and ammunition sales are sky-rocketing in this country. We are awash in dangerous arms. The “Gun Lobby” is feared by politicians.

April 2, 2009 – a day before Binghamton – a New York Times editorial commented on a last minute federal regulation issued in December 2008 making concealed loaded guns legal in our national parks and wildlife refuges. “In December, ignoring proper procedure and the risk to public safety, the Bush administration rushed through regulations allowing people to carry concealed, loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.” (The NRA website posted a commentary on that issue from a Joshua Tree, California, newspaper.) A Judge just threw out the rule, calling it “astoundingly flawed”. It remains to be seen if the court ruling will be appealed by the new administration.

And the top headline in yesterday’s Minneapolis paper, hours before Binghamton, was simple and stark: “Was this gun in the hand of Fong Lee when he was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer? Or was the weapon planted at the scene? One shooting. Two stories.”

Guns do make excellent partners for crime: A week or so ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking in Mexico, made news north of Mexico’s border when she observed that most of the weaponry in the current drug wars in Mexico came from U.S. sources; as did most of the demand for the illegal drugs which has precipitated the violence over drug territories in Mexico.

Those who revere gun rights will begin again reciting the mantra: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people”, and the like. Of course, concealed hand guns make killing easier.

We love our guns, and other unhealthy things.