Monday, July 23, 2012

Good morning, everyone.  We expect another hot day on this Monday.  Yesterday my thermometer touched 90.  I had already watered everything thoroughly, moved my Mexican tarragon and one of the stevia, and picked a small handful of cherry tomatoes.  Today we expect high 90s and maybe 100.

I didn't see anything on which I felt any motivation to comment.  The media is still in mid-orgy on the Colorado shooting.  I see the usual treatments.  In one breath they wonder how this obviously disturbed individual managed to plan the assault and gather his equipment/weapons without anyone noticing how obviously disturbed he was.  Fruitless non-conversation really.  They seem to be hoping that if they can decode this individual they can then predict how others would behave and nip future problems in the bud.  Then there are the pronouncements about how easy it is to get guns and use them inappropriately.  Once again a fruitless non-conversation.  "Non-conversation??" you ask.  Yes.  Because all sides in these debates are talking from nearly hermetically sealed bubbles and to their own choirs.  If we could really predict human behavior with any certainty psychiatry would be a real science instead some kind of alchemy.  I am somewhat bemused by the blame people attach to a mindless tool.  And once again the various parties to the gun control issue talk past each other.  "Guns don't kill people.  People kill people," says one side.  To which the other side replies, "But people kill with guns." And to that latter I say, "Not always.  People also use cars, knives, fists, and anything else they can find."  I don't hear anyone suggesting that we ban cars, knives or amputate hands.  And please don't tell me that guns make it easy to kill large numbers at one time.  The 9/11 terrorists killed 200 times the number killed in Aurora--without guns.  Timothy McVeigh killed  17 times the 12 killed in Aurora--without guns.  And tell me--who do you trust with guns.  The news this morning carried a story of an off-duty Chicago policeman who got into an argument with his girlfriend at a children's party and shot her as several of the children watched.  And if you think members of the armed services are any more trustworthy you have been avoiding the news more assiduously than I have.  I had a thought on the matter that rather intrigued me:  we talk often (and about as effectively) of how our democracy requires an educated citizenry.  There is another requirement as well that isn't discussed very often:  a citizenry that recognizes moral and legal boundaries.  That last, I think, has been in very short supply.

I wish I could take credit for the weather coming your way, Kay.  But since I don't want the blame for what is coming--I will simply hope you enjoy it while you can.  I sympathize with your situation with respect to gardening.  If our landlords had not extended our patio and fenced it in, I doubt I would be doing any gardening.  The fence provides a nice fairly controlled area that isn't as open to potential vandalism or children's errant balls.  I certainly wouldn't have as many containers.  Your observation on the cost of eating healthy hits home also.  All the fresh veggies are higher than ever and going higher.  And my limited gardening space cannot make more than a minimum dent in our food needs.

This Tomdispatch post ties in with the remarks I posted above.  How can we expect ordinary cities to recognize and respect moral and legal boundaries when our government splits some very fine hairs on the whole notion of 'due process?'  Or when the large institutions can violate both morals and law with impunity?  Where are the prosecutions for mortgage fraud?  What about perjury charges in the robo-signing scandal (you do remember that one, don't you)?  One of the news stories over the weekend featured some kind of psychologist speculating on the possible mental disorders the Aurora shooter might be suffering from.  No one is responsible for his behavior anymore.

And, in case you think I am unnecessarily gloomy, consider this article posted on Naked Capitalism.

Well, somebody is certainly sending a message.  Long overdue but I have to question how effective.  The sanctions are a good start but the problem as with the above links is that they are too inconsistently applied and without a change in culture the behavior will simply go into stealth mode.  The article mentioned two other instances of severe discipline being meted out but can anyone really say that the message has been received and has resulted in an authentic reformation of the culture of college sports.

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