Monday, December 6, 2021

Getting mad about it won’t help

     Anger is ephemeral. 
     Whoops, big word, sorry. Anger, it passes quickly.
     If you let it, that is. Many people hold onto anger. They sulk and are bitter.
     Here, time can help. An hour passes and you’re a different person. That’s why, when I can, I try to write these columns, then, before sending them to my editor, set them aside a bit. To cool.
     Saturday I snarled one out that ... well, the headline will give you the idea: “Let’s all stop voting and shoot each other.” It was a never-published mashup of anxiety over American democracy falling apart and horror over the latest school shooting.
     Not a bad column, mind you, in my biased estimation. It does come charging out of the blocks:
     Maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Regarding both democracy AND guns.
     All this handwringing about elections, it’s so 2020. Nobody really believes in voting anymore.
      To my right, Republicans, faces red from screaming how amazingly well-run elections are actually fraudulent, ‘cause they lost, kneecapping the mechanics of voting across the country, so they won’t look so lame trying to steal the next one.
     Meanwhile, in case I’m tempted to get into a partisan snit, we’ve got Democrats, particularly in Illinois, double that in Chicago, who recognize the unfortunate reality of one person/one vote, but then turn blue concocting these gerrymandered jigsaw maps to guarantee those votes are diffused, so those in power — aka themselves — stay in power. Chicago can’t have more Hispanic wards simply because there are more Hispanic voters. That’s craaaaazeeeee ...
     So far, so good. A point is made, riding that plague-on-both-your-houses hobbyhorse we moderate pundits enjoy straddling.
     Then I veer into the ditch:
     Maybe we need to do what the rest of the world does, now and throughout history: arm up, divide into factions and start shooting each other. We seem halfway there already.
     That’s enough of that. I went on to spout these Modest Proposal violent suggestions that I then immediately have to claw back. In the calm of Sunday, I figure: so many angry people already. Why be one more?
     Puffing away the steam, I see the problem: it’s the Crumbleys — Thomas Pynchon could not have dreamt up a better name — the Michigan parents who, it is alleged, bought a Sig Sauer for their 15-year-old son as an early Christmas present, then snickered off the alarms his teachers raised about the teen doing an internet search for ammunition and threatening to shoot people, which he is accused of doing last Tuesday. Four classmates were killed.
     It’s one of those horror stories that cuts through the normalized carnival of insanity that is American life today, hooks two fingers into the nostrils of parents and pulls us along, agog that anybody could behave that way.

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  1. Since the charges against the Crumbleys are state charges in Michigan, T**** won't ever get a chance to pardon them.

    1. Under our current law. Maybe under the law of whatever Donald Trump wants, it'll be different.

  2. Good column, NS. After getting angry it then becomes a sad situation that never seems to change.

  3. With regard to anger, especially righteous anger, I have a good example in my brother-in-law, a University of Chicago cop, who was outraged when he was called in for duty because that "phony, illegitimate, non-native-citizen" was coming to town last weekend. He was mad of course and allowed his rancor to spoil every instant of every day since, but I note also the knee-jerk reaction to anything concerning Obama and I realized that I was subject to the same kind of automatic reaction, when I read about the San Fran restaurant that denied service to a couple policemen, who quite naturally were packing heat. Even though the restaurant wisely retreated from the controversy with apologies, I found myself rooting for their original stance: i.e. guns are dangerous, we're against guns, no matter who is carrying them. After all we've seen that cops can use their weapons injudiciously. And like the NRA's 100% support for any use whatsoever of guns, I find myself coming down on the other side just as automatically and irrationally. Mea culpa.


  4. I’m appalled by the actions, and inactions, of these parents. But a measure of accountability also lies with the school, for permitting the student to return to class without, at the very least, requiring his parents to search his backpack and locker. What a horrific tragedy.

  5. I can't really believe in a second Trump administration, but the suggestion makes me uneasy...and a little sick. Which is maybe your intention.


  6. The irony is that followers of Trump believe he stands for freedom when in fact, although not obvious to them, he has chipped away at our rights and will go whole hog if God forbid he wins in 2024.

  7. I'm one of those hot-tempered lions, a Leo who quickly roars in anger and who then cools off to a low purr, and usually just as fast. It's one of the main reasons I've never trusted myself enough to keep a gun around. But I also hold grudges, and neither forgive nor forget so easily. Another good reason to avoid gun ownership.

    Unfortunately, even after trying to chill, and retyping and editing, I've posted at any number of sites, over the last two decades, that have allowed neither revisions nor deletions. There was no tomorrow. Once you hit send, your words were carved in stone. Consequently, I have been deleted, suspended, and banned more times than I could ever begin to count. It stings, but one does get used to it.

    At EGD, I always polish and smooth and refine my words before I hit the blue "Publish" button, because there's no going back. Nearly all of the time, my final draft gets posted as typed. Rarely is it killed. For which I thank you muchly, Mr. S...


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