Once upon a night in the west (of Michigan).

A Grand Rapids Saturday night. And why are we in Dutchistan? Because we have to pick up Kate at camp about 45 minutes northwest of here on Sunday, so what the hell. This is the second year in a row we’ve made homecoming eve a couple’s getaway in west Michigan, so I guess it’s a tradition now.

And yes, we’re at the Amway again. A million Rainbow Girls are checking in. As far as I can tell, they’re called Rainbow Girls because they favor Vera Bradley garment bags and duffels, which make a vivid color mashup on the luggage carts, along with the coolers in bright primary shades, because who can travel without a cooler? A few seem to be packing special stuffed animals as well. Rainbow Girls are the teen-girl version of Demolay, right? And Demolay is a Masonic thing? Whatever. All I know is, it’s 5 p.m., and some of them are loafing around the lobby in flip-flops and T-shirts, a few more in cocktail dresses and platform sandals, and a few more in floor-length gowns, which makes me wonder what the hell is on the agenda for tonight. But not enough to keep us hanging around, not when there’s a tapas place to be patronized.

I have to say, before I go on, the downtown is surprisingly oxygenated. Fort Wayne could learn a thing or two from this place. Clubs, bars, restaurants everywhere, lots of people out walking around. The tapas place was full. A few of the patrons were young women wearing tiaras and sashes. I thought they might be Rainbow alumane. A closer look revealed they were bachelorettes.

I don’t want to say this started with “Bridesmaids” because obviously it didn’t, but the movie seems to have breathed new life into the idea of going out with your besties the week before your wedding, eating tapas, getting shitfaced and otherwise bonding. If you can’t afford Vegas, Grand Rapids will do. For what it’s worth, these groups were well-behaved, but then, the sun hadn’t set yet. Back at the hotel, there were more — two more parties, one of which was uniformly dressed in outfits I disapprove of, in the sense that they defied the advice I offer to my daughter. Which is: “If you want to dress sexy, you have three choices — tight, short or low-cut. Choose one, two at the absolute most. All three and you cross the line into slutty.” (Actually, I think Michael Kors tells the contestants on “Project Runway” the same thing. Is the tangerine queen a mother at heart?) The woman waiting for the elevator with me had chosen all three, in a stretch-lace minidress that had the extra detail of being rendered in a eye-popping day-glo highway-hazard orange. It puzzled me until I remembered the electronic-music festival — it shows up under black lights at crummy nightclubs.

Well, a girl wants to be seen.

As it turned out, the crushing fatigue, and the effects of a half-bottle of pinot grigio, couldn’t keep me awake past 11, so who knows how these parties ended up? As it turned out, the cable channels were running “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” so what the hell, why not enjoy this giant HD hotel TV for a few minutes? Caught a bit of both. and all I can say is: What a mess. Heath Ledger was great, the rest incoherent, but I don’t go into these things with an open mind. And I only watched about 30 minutes.

Do I have any bloggage? Not much. I didn’t read the Sunday papers very closely, and I cannot stand to even consider the news from Aurora until we have more of it — I have seen this particular movie too many times to do more. One observation, though: I was watching the shaky cellphone video taken that night from the theater, marveling at a few things, including:

Why is this on TV? It shows nothing, is of poor quality, and mainly reveals that the person shooting didn’t have the sense to take cover when blood-soaked people began staggering out of a movie theater. If everyone’s going to be a journalist, they ought to know that many newsrooms have a closet with riot gear. For a reason.

Here’s another video, if you have 12 minutes: “Goat Years,” a short I saw at a film festival a few weeks back. A Detroit story about love, loss and goats. One goat, actually:

Happy Monday, all.

Posted at 12:12 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

82 responses to “Once upon a night in the west (of Michigan).”

  1. Dexter said on July 23, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Newsroom was again very good last night, and Breaking Bad was very dark and creepy…character Mike was drawn out to let us know him better. That guy is a damn good actor. His name is Jonathan Banks.

    201 chars

  2. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Fort Wayne could learn a thing or two from this place.

    It has, it has—that everything in Grand Rapids is subsidized by Amway. I’m sure the gentleman at the Eastern Market knew this and tried to explain it to people who wonder why that podunk makes ours look so pitiful by comparison. Now if Vera Bradley wants to build Fort Wayne a Disneyfied downtown on its own dime, that would be really cool. And Vera’s a product our town doesn’t have to be embarrassed about.

    476 chars

  3. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

    And now for a day brightener, Donnelly and Mourdock are in a dead heat at this point. I’d say that’s cause for optimism. Even if they don’t like their president coffee brown, they ain’t drinkin’ the Tea.

    304 chars

  4. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Alex: no telling how many sympathy votes Mourdock will pick up now that we know the real victims of the Aurora shooting were the tea party and their guns ArmaLite-Americans.
    It has at least answered the question of how the Republican party proposes to expand its voter base while marginalizing Hispanics, Blacks, gays, firemen, teachers, Muslims, poors ad infinitum.
    They’re concentrating their efforts on the paranoid schizophrenic vote!
    And from the number of rightwads calling Aurora a “false-flag” operation that will result in Obama taking away their right to fire a couple of hundred rounds before reloading, it just might work out for them.
    I wish Obama was half the Kenyan Muslim usurper they made him out to be. Then maybe the moral harelips who showed up at gun shows looking for an assault weapon could be leucotomized at public expense.

    863 chars

  5. Julie Robinson said on July 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Hmm…that poll is two months old. Is it to believed? One can hope.

    I’m with our Proprietress on skipping in-depth coverage of the Aurora shootings. I’m not sure that anything positive is accomplished in wallowing in all the details. With a good rain on Thursday followed by two cooler days*, I attacked the weeds and listened to music and an audio book instead.

    However, I did see the end of President Obama’s remarks last night and what I saw seemed very good. Dennis commented that he had spoken off the cuff for 10 minutes, so take that all you needs-the-teleprompter haters.

    *And how my perspective has changed after this summer–I now consider 85° as relatively cool!

    684 chars

  6. Dorothy said on July 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I sat at a table in a booth at the Knox County Fair yesterday for four hours, and was illuminated about the need to repeal the Marriage Act in the state of Ohio. The booth was the Knox County GSA (Gay Straight Alliance in case you weren’t sure.) Met some new friends and got a close up view of the reaction of people every time Gwen would say very directly “What’s your view of the Marriage Act in the state of Ohio? Will you sign the petition against it?” She said polling shows that 67% of Ohioans support the repeal. I can’t really say the majority of the people who heard Gwen were negative. Many just walked away, a few looked at us in disgust, but there were also quite a few who stopped to talk and learn and that made me glad. Young people were almost universally in favor of same sex marriage, which I took to be a very positive thing. A few boys who looked to be middle school aged hollered “GAY IS NOT THE WAY!” At least they didn’t throw any fried pickles at us. And that trifecta of tight, short and low-cut? Saw plenty of that, too.

    1051 chars

  7. Judybusy said on July 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Dorothy, we also have an amendment on the ballot to change our constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman. Thanks for volunteering in Ohio! I am volunteering a lot between now and the election. Sadly, even if the amendment is defeated it doesn’t change a darn thing, because of DOMA and a MN statute outlawing same-sex marriage, but we we would be the first state to defeat such an amendment.It’s passed in all 31 states where it’s been on the ballot. I try to see that the organizing efforts in themselves will lay groundwork for changing minds and creating a more just society. Most of the time, I also really resent all the money and effort spent when we have real challenges to address.

    I was thinking about the shooting, asking myself, “When is enough enough” to get some reasonable gun control measures in place. My next thought was, if the pro-gun people can tolerate a Republican president getting shot, and that’s not enough to change the culture, nothing will.

    On edit: Sanctions against Penn State. Enough? http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–penn-state-sanctions-mark-emmert-four-year-bowl-ban-60-million-fine.html

    1147 chars

  8. Judybusy said on July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Hmmm, tried to edit with news of sanctions agains Penn state; must have gone into moderation. Here’s the link again: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–penn-state-sanctions-mark-emmert-four-year-bowl-ban-60-million-fine.html

    226 chars

  9. Icarus said on July 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

    My fear about the Penn State sanctions is that other schools will be careful and cautious not to let a similar thing happen at their school NOT because they feel raping children and hiding it is wrong but because they don’t want to endure these types of sanctions. Am I too cynical or what?

    291 chars

  10. Bitter Scribe said on July 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I’m glad they got rid of that damn statue at least. Leaving it in place would be giving the finger, and I don’t mean Paterno’s forefinger, to Sandusky’s victims (and to all child sex abuse victims).

    198 chars

  11. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Even Reagan himself was too big a wuss to lend any support whatsoever to James and Sarah Brady’s organization, and I seem to recall reading that the Bradys took it quite personally.

    181 chars

  12. Sue said on July 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Tight, short and low-cut takes you into the land of slutty, and you establish your firm citizenship when you add poorly-coiffed updo hairstyles and evening makeup at 2 p.m.
    Based on what I see in my conservative little town, since the above is the standard outfit for young ladies attending all wedding ceremonies and a surprising number of funerals, you can change my town’s name to Sluttyville.
    But fiddle dee dee! I shall wear my green afternoon dress IN THE MORNING and just you try to stop me!
    Yes, such has it ever been.

    531 chars

  13. Little Bird said on July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    To add to the slutty look, and remove all doubt of ones membership to slutdom, think sheer.

    91 chars

  14. A.Riley said on July 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

    And add a big tattoo.

    We visited friends who have beach passes at one of the flossier Chicago suburbs & were treated to the sight of a plump 16-year-old? wearing a black one-piece that was cut nearly to the navel in the front and nearly to the danger point in the back — and up to the waist at the hips, giving everyone a good view not only of her natural assets but also of a great big tattoo just east of her left kidney and surrounding landmarks.

    458 chars

  15. Dorothy said on July 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I’ve come to the conclusion that very few of these badly dressed women have no mirrors in their home. I suppose they just choose to ignore the mirror and do what they please. And don’t get me started on the tattoos. I have never seen a single one that made me think “Hmmmm…. if I had that I would still be thrilled with it 30 years from now!”

    345 chars

  16. LAMary said on July 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I was a Rainbow girl, briefly. Those girls you saw were probably attending a state convention. If they were officers they would have been wearing all white, or at least back in the Jurassic period we wore all white if we held office.

    233 chars

  17. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Nothing will happen regarding gun laws in our wild, wild, wild country except probably even more loosening of regulations and even more efforts to allow concealed carry weaponry. The National Rifle Association, despite its relatively low membership levels, is the premier lobbying group, even more effective than AIPAC, which is saying something. Obama and Romney will mouth a few platitudes. . .we’ll read about the victims for a few more days. . .then it will be off to the next mass slaughter.

    Neil Steinberg notes in his Sun-Times column today that the only thing that catches our attention is the size of the victim pool. He accurately notes we kill about that many people every weekend in Chicago, but with the exception of innocent children being gunned down, we rarely take note.

    I know this sounds terrible and I preface this by saying again that I grew up in an area where many of my friends had rifles and shotguns and enjoyed hunting. I’m not against guns, per se. Yet I wonder what would happen if a loon like our boy out in Aurora ever walked into an NRA office and started murdering innocents. Would Wayne LaPierre, who has more blood on his hands than Caligula, alter his view that any and all weaponry should be welcome on our streets? Would his view change if a beloved child or grandchild was injured or killed by an asshole with a gun?

    Terrible thoughts, I know, but I can’t help but wonder.

    1420 chars

  18. Julie Robinson said on July 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Our two are still ink free, unless they’ve become very good at lying to us. We’re hoping they go out of fashion by the next generation. Our daughter has one friend who has them up and down both arms, even extending onto her neck. She’s a sweet girl and she has complained about how she’s treated in stores (as if she’ll be shoplifting) but in the next breath continues plans for her next.

    Icarus, you have a good point, but I still would have liked the death penalty, and not just for the football program.

    Sue, thanks for the chuckle!

    541 chars

  19. Jakash said on July 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Jeff B.,
    Would his view change? I sure as hell don’t think so. He’d just regret that the child or grandchild hadn’t been packing (if, indeed, they weren’t) to protect themselves.

    As Judybusy and alex point out above, if Reagan actually getting shot wasn’t enough to alter either his or Republican thinking on the matter, what would?

    I realize, of course, that “guns don’t kill people, people do” but what is so hard to understand about the equation “the more guns there are = the more people get shot”?

    I also understand that the gun lobby likes to note instances where people have legitimately used firearms to protect themselves. My question is this. There are a number of instances where assault rifles have been used to inflict injury and death on innocent people, as in Colorado. Is there even ONE instance in which an assault rifle has been necessary for the protection of a civilian in a dangerous situation? Where it would have been the preferred weapon? Or is the only argument for their availability that they will be necessary to defend our liberty when Obama’s gummint Storm Troopers come marching into town?

    1136 chars

  20. Jakash said on July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I agree with Julie that the NCAA penalty doesn’t go far enough. It seems like a proportional response to a travesty that is out of all proportion to the types of transgressions that they usually deal with.

    206 chars

  21. Bitter Scribe said on July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Jeff Borden: You’re right, those are terrible thoughts to have about LaPierre. I know because I’ve had them myself many times.

    126 chars

  22. Joe K said on July 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    All the people killed in Chicago,and Chicago has one of the toughest gun laws in the country.
    Pilot Joe

    104 chars

  23. Charlotte said on July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Yowza — just got into it on Facebook with a Penn State person — I have an acquaintance who spends summers here who teaches English at Penn State and who posted the article about them taking down the statue. Lots of denial from what I can only assume is a former student, who simply WILL NOT accept the evidence that Paterno knew the whole time. He’s innocent. Penn State is innocent. The evidence isn’t in. Those of us who WEREN’T THERE can’t understand and shouldn’t rush to judgement — reminds me so much of the beginning of the Catholic church scandals in the 1980s …
    Sort of amazing to me actually. I fled the U of Illinois because I so hated the group-think of football/Greek system. That there are people so like that sort of group identity, and are so invested in it that they’ll just deny the reality of the evidence … like I said. Yowza.
    I suggested perhaps Toby should build a syllabus around the problems of idolatry. Hubris, etc …. now ducking.

    969 chars

  24. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Joe K.,

    It’s true we have tough gun laws on the books, but they are being challenged in court and likely will fall. Right now, the big issue is “straw buyers” who purchase weapons for the street gangs at out-of-state gun shops. It’s been duly noted that the shooter in Aurora bought all of his weaponry quite legally, and that tougher gun laws would not have prevented him from murdering all those people.

    It’s clear we as a nation have made a choice. We will tolerate several thousand gun deaths per year to protect the Second Amendment. The men, women and children who fall are collateral damage, nothing more or less. We will NEVER do anything about guns and the NRA bosses and their paid employees in Congress know it.

    As I noted above, it won’t be long before Aurora is supplanted by a new massacre. . .and then another. . .and another. It will never stop.

    870 chars

  25. Sherri said on July 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    The NCAA penalty may not feel like enough, but it is unprecedented. There wasn’t any violation of their rules, and they didn’t really have any jurisdiction in this area. I suspect that they only reason they can do it this time is because the crimes were so egregious and public sentiment so strong that Penn State doesn’t dare sue them over the penalties, and indeed, Penn State has already signed a consent decree agreeing to the penalties.

    The NCAA didn’t follow any of its normal rules and procedures in this case. NCAA head Mark Emmert just made a power grab here, and bypassed everything to act as dictator. The outcome may not feel like enough to people who don’t follow the NCAA, but it’s astounding to anyone who has. I guarantee one thing; if he tries to do something like this at a real football factory, he’ll get sued.

    834 chars

  26. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    The Chicago analogy is only apt in the number of dead, but to the right, it has the dual function of reminding the killbillies they need them assault weapons because the negroes is a comin’ to eat their lunch and shag their daughters.
    Where the analogy chokes on its own vomit is the immense gray area where both legal and illegal firearms purchases flow though identical channels, and Wayne LaPierre is just as complicit, and profits equally from putting the uzi in the hands of drug dealers as your all too plentiful suburban white nutjob.

    I’d like to know what kind of sedatives Wayne takes at night to silence the hell steadily closing in on his evil, murderous ass.
    And is it just me, or is there something particularly noxious about the Republicans shamelessly trying to squeeze them some of their precious racist nectar out of this?

    Fucking rotten slags.

    EDIT: I’ll bet this poor stupid son of a bitch is worried about the murder rate in Chicago: http://rochester.ynn.com/content/top_stories/592387/off-duty-officer-mistakenly-shoots-son-to-death/

    1065 chars

  27. Deborah said on July 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Did any of you watch the video of the shooter in court today. Really creepy, he looked like he was high. What would cause that? Did they have him drugged or something? Or is that just part of the craziness?

    206 chars

  28. beb said on July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    The author Robert A. Heinlein, who did so much to poison my generation with his libertarian muggery, used to say that “an armed society is a polite society” but I often how that was. Why would my holding a gun make me any more polite to the next person? Then I realized that what he meant was that in his society anyone who felt dissed by another person would have the right to blow them away! In such a world one doesn’t stand one’s ground and complain about an undercooked hamburger, least one become part of the daily dead wagon. But that’s not politeness. That’s terrorism. It’s also the way the world is today. I’ve read too many accounts of men being killed because someone thought they had looked at them “funny,” you know, in a dissing manner.

    There’s a map of gun violence in America. It shocking overlays the map of Republican domination in the country — ie, the old south, and up the Louisiana Purchase.

    Mass Murders in America

    Gun Violence in America

    I am surprised that the NCAA took any action against Penn State at all since I had the impression that they only cared about recruiting violations and the violations Sandusky was committing weren’t recruiting related. Then again, the loss of a few titles, the inability to compete for championships for a few years…. Nothing really harsh, but probably all that they could do.

    Short, tight and low cut…. didn’t really see that many such at the weeding we appended two weeks ago. But then, aside for the bridesmaids there weren’t many 20-something women in the crowd.

    1682 chars

  29. Jakash said on July 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Joe K.,
    My, that’s shocking, isn’t it? Chicago has tough gun laws, but people bring guns from elsewhere into the city. Uh, so what? Because people subvert laws, we should have no laws? Doesn’t sound like what I usually hear from law and order Republicans.

    260 chars

  30. beb said on July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Joe the Pilot @22: City level gun laws don’t have much effect when travel is so easy. NYC also has one of the toughest gun laws on the books and a lot of gun related violence. Know what, a substantial number of guns were traced to Virginia gun dealers! You’d think that would be a long haul to get a gun but apparently not.

    It’s kind of windy here in Detroit. I gather rains coming in. I hope you’re having clear sailing in whatever part of the country you’re in today.

    472 chars

  31. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Obama’s actually been good for the gun business. Record numbers of guns and record amounts of ammo have been flying off the shelves all because the NRA keeps promoting the fiction that Obama has sweeping legislation in the works to disarm every citizen.

    253 chars

  32. Joe K said on July 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Your right, but how, if you banned guns, would you be able to begin to collect them? How many shootouts would take place and how many more would be killed trying to take the guns away? It’s kind of like the tfr’s I have to worry about. You can have them but it does no good, all you can say is well he broke a tfr when he flew that plane into a stadium. Well he broke the gun law while he gunned down those people.
    Pilot Joe

    433 chars

  33. beb said on July 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Coolzedad asked what kind of meds LaPierre takesat night: Thorazine, maybe?

    Deborah @26: I didn’t watch any of the court video today but the photo TPM has been running on their site shows a man with too bright eyes and a broad grin. This is the face of a mad man, pure and simple. He doesn’t have a normal looking face. As Lawyers, Guns and Money points out. he seemed to be reacting the beginning of “The Dark Knight” which included deliberately getting arrested by the police. Assuming this analysis is true (which I, for one, do) then he’s still happily in the middle of his vast cosplay delusion.

    603 chars

  34. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Brilliant reasoning. It is incumbent upon all of us frequenters of public spaces to become exhibit A that gun laws have been broken, rather than risk a gun dealer losing a dollar. Q.E.D.!

    187 chars

  35. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Joe, I remember the hypocrisy of our old friend Mark Souder, who wanted to eliminate the gun laws in Washington, D.C. on the grounds that the laws don’t work anyway. Of course, as you know, drug laws don’t work either, but that didn’t stop Mr. Souder from trying to make punishments harsher, and not for big-time traffickers in heroin but for kids smoking pot.

    Assault weapons exist for only one purpose and no civilian has any business owning one of those any more than owning a nuclear bomb. The former assault weapons ban was a law that did work. So well, in fact, that the NRA bullied Congress into letting it expire.

    625 chars

  36. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Joe K.,

    Every point you make is valid and underscores why I have thrown in the towel on gun laws. Guns and violence are woven into our national psyche. It was ever thus and it will be ever so. As noted above, we as a nation long ago made the trade off of easy gun ownership in exchange for thousands of gun deaths annually.

    We are comfortable with it so long as it happens to others, I guess, even though we slaughter something like three or four times the number of Americans who died on 9/11 each year. It’s fine if we kill ourselves. We just don’t much like foreigners doing it for us.

    594 chars

  37. Prospero said on July 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The penalty visited upon Penn State by the NCAA will effectively end PSU football. 40 scholarships over four years and $60mill. And PSU football players can transfer and play immediately at new schools. Urban Meyer is parbly licking his chops and revving up the oversigning. That might not be THE Death Penalty, but it will certainly produce a lingering death. Unfortunately, the penalty will have a serious effect on other PSU sports programs, particularly Title IX women’s programs. A lot of people are being punished that did nothing wrong.

    And Fred Phelps is on his way with his bigot brigade to picket the Aurora memorial service, because God hates fags so She causes nutcases to massacre people in a movie theater. Now that guy is a good argument for large capacity magazines.

    It’s actually worse than that Jeff:


    Even if one buys the seriously lame Scalito reading of the 2nd Amendment, how does a presumably sane legislator argue that large capacity clips and scads of ammo are Constitutional rights, as Wisconsin’s idiot Senator Ron Johnson did on TV yesterday

    1208 chars

  38. Rana said on July 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Forget controlling the guns. Regulate the hell out of the ammo, and the ingredients needed to make more. Providing more mental health care would also be helpful.

    163 chars

  39. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I’m so tired of the bullshit “there’s no way we can regulate guns” crap.
    Here’s a Chicago metaphor: In October of 1982 some douche poisoned seven people with Tylenol. A total of eight adulterated bottles were found, five implicated in the deaths.
    Seven dead, the government swings into action.
    Today, You Can Not get a bottle of any foodstuff, medicine or even motor oil that doesn’t bear a protective hermetic seal.
    How many Tylenol poisonings you hear of lately?

    But criminals are still eating goddamn mayonnaise so regulation is invalid.

    547 chars

  40. Prospero said on July 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Nobody ever claimed Scott Brown is the sharpest tool in the shed, but repeating RMoney’s major league lie verbatim is fracking dumb as grunt:


    262 chars

  41. Deborah said on July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Beb, the smiling photo of the shooter is one that was taken way before any of this happened. The image of him taken today in court is scary, because he looks deranged and drugged. It’s almost like he was having trouble staying awake.

    233 chars

  42. Dexter said on July 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    London Telegraph facts:

    Friday, 20 Jul 2012

    “At least 28 mass killings have now occurred in the United States since two teenagers went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April of 1999, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher.

    The latest tragedy, which occurred early Friday not far from Columbine at an opening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado left 14 people dead and at least 50 wounded.

    According to a list compiled by the The Telegraph of London, the last mass killing that took place before the incident in Aurora was in January, 2011 at a shopping center in Tuscon, Arizona, where six people were killed and at least 12 wounded, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

    Of the 28 incidents noted by the Telegraph, the deadliest by far was the shooting incident on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia in April 2007 when student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 before shooting himself.

    The following is the list of mass killings in the United States since Columbine compiled by the Telegraph:

    April 1999 – two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.

    July 1999 – a stock exchange trader in Atlanta, Georgia, killed 12 people including his wife and two children before taking his own life.

    September 1999 – a gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people before committing suicide.

    October 2002 – a series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead.

    August 2003 – in Chicago, a laid-off worker shot and killed six of his former workmates.

    November 2004 – in Birchwood, Wisconsin, a hunter killed six other hunters and wounded two others after an argument with them.

    March 2005 – a man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people.

    October 2006 – a truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania before taking his own life.

    April 2007 – student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.

    August 2007 – Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed.

    December 2007 – a 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping center in Omaha, Nebraska.

    December 2007 – a woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington.

    February 2008 – a shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured.

    February 2008 – a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering.

    September 2008 – a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded.

    December 2008 – a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house.

    March 2009 – a 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.

    March 2009 – a heavily armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.

    March 2009 – six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California.

    April 2009 – a man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.

    July 2009 – Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.

    November 2009 – U.S. army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.

    February 2010 – A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing three colleagues and wounding three others.

    January 2011 – a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.”

    © 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

    The killings in Paducah, KY were in 1997, before Columbine, which is the timeline for this story.

    4938 chars

  43. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm


    I understand the emotion behind what you’re saying, but how can that be put in service of a more sensible stance on guns? We have proven we can change our society when we want to –witness the way we look at cigarettes and drunkenness today– but this seems to be so much more difficult because you do have real ties to the Constitution, which gives proponents a lot of cover for their arguments.

    I was a senior in high school when MLK and Bobby Kennedy were murdered. Surely, I thought, this would lead to one of those moments of clarity when a nation looks into the mirror and doesn’t like what it sees and takes action. I was wrong then. I’m still wrong.

    669 chars

  44. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    borden: All that has to happen is for the Republican party to finally drown in its own shit. But it has to happen before enough of the rats scamper over to the Dem side and fuck IT up, utterly.

    193 chars

  45. Sherri said on July 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Why are some parts of our Constitution held in more regard than others? Why are so many people willing to surrender so many 4th amendment rights in the name of security, but refuse to give an inch on any limitation of 2 amendment rights, also in the name of security? Do they really believe that assault rifle is going to protect them from a government they’ve allowed to eavesdrop on them? I honestly don’t understand how the logistics of owning a gun for protection are supposed to work. A loaded gun convenient enough to serve as protection is dangerous on its own, and if it’s stored so that it isn’t so dangerous, then its ability to serve as protection is limited.

    As for firing back at a shooter in a dark, crowded movie theater, well, that’s nothing more than a video game dream.

    It’s easier to get a concealed carry permit in my state than a driver’s license if you’ve never had a license. At least to get a driver’s license, you have to pass a knowledge test and a driving test. To get a concealed carry permit, you have to undergo a background check, which basically means, you can’t have been a felon. The concealed carry permit even lasts longer than a driver’s license before needing to be renewed, and you apply at the local police department, which is generally closer than the nearest DMV office. You don’t have to demonstrate any knowledge of firearms or safe handling of them, and you don’t have to register firearms.

    1443 chars

  46. Deborah said on July 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Holy cow that list from the Telegraph is mind blowing.

    54 chars

  47. Hattie said on July 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    We must be brave and cheery as our country goes to hell.

    56 chars

  48. del said on July 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Penn State should have refused to let its football team take the field for at least a year. That would have sent a message that it’s a serious institution of higher learning, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Of course it agreed to pay $60 million to the NCAA over a 5 year period; that’s chump change to an institution with a $1.8 Billion endowment — PSU will get at least $60 million from football this year alone. And that’s a direct revenue tally only.

    I’ve heard it said that State College PA is “a drinking town with a football problem.” Sadly, it looks like that will continue to be the case on football Saturdays this fall.

    649 chars

  49. Catherine said on July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Sherri @ 25, that may have been a brazen power grab by the NCAA, but may I just say that it’s nice to see someone, anyone, in this whole fracking Penn State mess, OVERreact?

    173 chars

  50. basset said on July 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    The shooter… alleged shooter, sorry… reminds me of Rorschach without his mask.

    82 chars

  51. nancy said on July 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    A video-game dream a lot of people have given thought to:

    He could have drawn quickly, said Block. “I can draw and get shots off consistently in 1.3, 1.2 seconds,” he said. “But it might take two seconds to fire. Why? I want to get down on my knees. You know the curvature between the two seats? That’s where my muzzle is going to be. I find the V, the gap between the seats, and I move down into the row where I have a clear shot. Now, I could stand up over everyone else, and engage him. If I stand up, I can see him, he can see me. If I’m down low shooting between two seats, I have a tactical advantage. I can crawl between them, pop up, take a shot.”

    817 chars

  52. JWfromNJ said on July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I found myself in a very Republican crowd at a luncheon on Saturday. I sat with our Sheriff who is very conservative – or I thought I was til he started praising Obama, saying he needs to make Osama and the fight against terror, along with the auto industry his centerpiece, and also said “if that guy was a Republican I’d love him.”

    I was joined by our state representative, our tax collector, and supervisor of elections. The sheriff spoke out against online ammo sales, thinks they need to be tightly controlled or eliminated, and argued that there should be time limits between gun purchases. He drew a standing ovation in a room that was 90% GOP, and that buoyed my spirits.

    682 chars

  53. Sherri said on July 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Unfortunately, they only think about it at the level of a video game. He’s going to move down into the row where he has a clear shot, he says. How’s he going to do that, in a full movie theater, while staying low? There are other people in the way. What’s he going to do when somebody between him and the shooter stands up to run when he’s shooting? Shrug his shoulders and write it off as collateral damage?

    408 chars

  54. paddyo' said on July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    LA Mary @ 16 — Odd, isn’t it, that Rainbow Girls officers dressed in white, “the absence of color.”

    As to AuroraColumbineVirginiaTechetc.etc., sometimes it takes “outsiders” living amongst us to point out our, um, inconsistencies and flaws with the most clarity. One such person is a good friend — a freelance Aussie writer who’s married to a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter and now living in L.A. after a few years here in Denver. Gerard just wrote this eloquent take on America’s relationship with guns and the NRA for an audience back home in Oz . . .

    Watching the Charleton Heston clip again, 13 years after he spat his NRA bile here in Denver just days after Columbine, still nauseates . . .

    846 chars

  55. Deborah said on July 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Paddy O, technically white is the presence of all color. Black is the absence of color.

    edit: and that is an excellent piece by your Australian friend.

    154 chars

  56. brian stouder said on July 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    You know, it just makes you wonder about how thoughtless some people are. Let’s assume, just for a moment, that this guy’s public self-fondling gun dream comes true. He’s in some darkened theater, and bein’ all cat-like and James Bond-ey, and he’s drawing a bead on the bad guy….and then suddenly he sees a bright-light and he’s gone from this world because another jackoff pulled out HIS concealed firearm, and shot the first crazy-lookin’ moron HE saw, which was our Zimmerman-wannabe, moving along the row with a firearm out.

    Since the guys with quill pens SPECIFCALLY indicated that they viewed ownership of firearms as a buttress for a “well regulated militia” – NOT emotionally arrested sad-sack shitheads whose only friend is whatever they have in their right hand – I think that if unrestricted gun rights exist, they should only exist for women and men who have joined the United States military, and/or people who are reservists or who are in the Guard.

    Interestingly, the whole lynch-pin of the “guns guns guns – and ammo too!” crowd seems to be an abiding MIStrust of the United States, and specifically the United States military. It really strikes me as a clear and direct bow to rebellion and anarchy. This is nothing new, I suppose (see: Civil War – America); but it is interesting how concocted and preposterous the whole gun-fetish thing really is.

    Afterall, and just for the record: if the US military somehow decided that – to hell with it – we’re rolling tanks in the streets and overthrowing the elected government just how long will a bunch of old white guys with beer guts and young white guys who’ve never had sex with anyone or anything other than their hand, and meth-addled backwoods morons last? But of course, what am I thinkin’? If the military overthrew a Democrat, then Rush and Sean and Fox News and Glenn Beck would all immediately become toadys for the new President-for-life, and the whole calculus would go ass-over-tea kettle, and people like us would populate the re-education camps….but we digress!

    2075 chars

  57. alex said on July 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Off topic for a sec, but who’s the actress looking through the window pane in the “Kiki” video? I’m thinking it’s a scene from Valley of the Dolls or something late ’60s-ish.

    174 chars

  58. paddyo' said on July 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks, Deborah, you’re right. Brain freeze … I must mave momentarily blacked out. Or was it a whiteout?

    BTW, surprised that the Telegraph listing didn’t include Red Lake, MN in 2005, where a 16-year-old boy killed his grand-dad and grand-dad’s girlfriend, then seven at his high school before killing himself. This was on the rez, in winter, which made it all the more heartbreaking — and dreary for all, including those of us who had to trek up there to cover the mess. Yes, it was instantly called “the latest Columbine” . . .

    542 chars

  59. Kirk said on July 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Alex, that woman looks like someone who was in more than one Russ Meyer movie.

    How about Cynthia Myers?

    106 chars

  60. nancy said on July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I must be going blind. I thought that was Raquel Welch in “Myra Breckinridge.”

    78 chars

  61. Kirk said on July 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Or maybe it is Raquel.

    22 chars

  62. MarkH said on July 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    If it’s a Russ Meyer movie, you’re most likely thinking of Edy Williams, whom he eventually married.


    Quite the filmography up until the last 16 years, I’d say.

    201 chars

  63. coozledad said on July 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Block’s plan is the obverse of what I had planned at the post office in the event Kenneth “I collect military issue 45 caliber handguns and I’ve been on psych meds ever since I was discharged” Palmer decided to shoot the place up.
    To paraphrase Mr. Block:
    “I want to get down on my knees. You know the curvature between my ass cheeks? That’s where my mind is going to be. I’m going to be on those knees and my hands with my mind doing everything it can to get my ass out that door, and I move out into the parking lot where I have a clear shot and running until my head drops out of my ass and hits the ground because I have run until I can’t run anymore.”

    661 chars

  64. Dexter said on July 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    When we took our high school trip to New York City and Washington, we were warned, with good reason, of the horrible danger of the city, and were told to never wander off alone, that sort of thing. We were told to never get near any river because if we fell in we would have to go into quarantine at a hospital until we got the cooties out of our systems.
    Flash forward forty-five years and New York is nearly crime free compared to Chicago and other majors. Who woulda thunk it? Oh, there are still enough weirdos to make The Post a lively paper, but chances are slim you’d get mugged in Central Park in the day time anymore. By extreme contrast, an e-buddy told me it’s very dangerous to go strolling in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco these days. Things change.

    838 chars

  65. brian stouder said on July 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Say – I just watched the Goat Years mini-movie, and I must say – I’m out of sorts!

    What a film! I shall not spoil it, nor discuss it in any of its (altogether enthralling) particulars, except to say that if you watch that movie, by the end of the twelfth minute, it will be all you’re thinking about.

    A very nice palate cleanser, indeed.

    edit: Pilot Joe – sincerely – you sir are ahead of the curve. I really didn’t think much of the article you pointed to a day and a half ago, with regard to the snippet on ABC News where they were in error. But indeed, you immediately grasped that that event would be the lynch-pin of the rightward response to the slaughter at the movie theater in Colorado.

    I’m not being sarcastic – after reading your post, and then the article, I dismissed the whole thing as silly; and yet – Sean Hannity and Uncle Rush and everyone in the Fox-den News nation locked onto that one moment as the gold-standard moment that proves EXACTLY what the “lame-stream media” REALLY believes.

    This is a genuine “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” moment for me; that whole deal simply didn’t (and still doesn’t) mean anything to me (other than that humans reporting breaking news will mis-speak), but you spotted it immediately.

    Really – this is why I value the conversation here; we really do have plugged-in people who understand different portions of our social and political spectrum, and discuss it here.

    1438 chars

  66. David C. said on July 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    RIP Sally Ride


    137 chars

  67. MarkH said on July 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks, David, had not seen that about Sally. I tried to follow her closely from her first shuttle mission, as we are almost the exact same age, and she was such an inspiration. Very accomplished outside space travel as well. RIP.

    230 chars

  68. brian stouder said on July 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Wow. Pancreatic cancer.

    The passing of Sally Ride is one of those things that just sort of takes my breath away; she’s one of those personages that resides in my mind as always young, always smiling, a living embodiment of achievement.

    When an icon like the man from Wapakoneta passes away, it will be sad, but in a different way. He’s a master of the universe, and one the very best of a previous generation. One one can imagine him leaving this earth and going into the heavens; but she’s the new generation; she represents the best of us.

    554 chars

  69. Sherri said on July 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Sally Ride was an inspiration to me, too; I was a physics major in college when she went up in the shuttle.

    107 chars

  70. LAMary said on July 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Sally Ride was so cool. She also had a perfect name.

    Between the Penn State news and the Aurora shootings I’m getting to the point where I really have no tolerance for “guy stuff.” Football and guns are two things that we need to support and preserve at all costs because they’re American and they are guy stuff. to do otherwise would be unconstitutional and wussy.

    368 chars

  71. Bowditch said on July 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Blunt, characteristically eloquent commentary from Bill Moyers

    199 chars

  72. Jolene said on July 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    My thought, too, LAMary. Sally Ride’s name was perfect for an astronaut. There are some videos of her answering questions on the WH blog.

    269 chars

  73. baldheadeddork said on July 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised by the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State. Suspending the program for a year or two would have just given fuel to those looking to turn Paterno into a martyr. They need to destroy the culture that made the coverup possible, and if this doesn’t do it nothing will.

    The loss of scholarships and ban on post-season play is immense. Losing scholarships doesn’t just mean that Penn State will only get fifteen top recruits every year instead of 25. They’re going to be lucky to get fifteen third-tier recruits because the rest of the team is going to be so weak that no top-tier or second-tier player would even think of signing with them. It’s going to be 2018 before they can even think of having a competitive team. When they do get the scholarships back they’re going to be rebuilding from scratch, which is the only cure for this madness.

    More things to be happy about in this announcement, from ESPN’s reporting: “(I)f Penn State players decide they don’t want to play football but remain in school, their scholarships will be honored until they complete their degrees.” Bravo.

    About Aurora…I wrote on my FB page over the weekend that the only thing remarkable about this shooting is that it happened in one place. Twelve homicides with guns is a third of the average on any given day in the US, statistically speaking as many people were shot and killed today while you were at work.

    What depresses me most is our unwillingness to even start an informed conversation on our gun laws. Do CCW laws prevent crime? The crime statistics tend to run in the other direction. States with the strictest gun law usually have property and crime rates significantly below states with liberal CCW laws, and states that have liberalized CCW laws in the last decade have not seen a disproportionate drop in either property or violent crime. (Poverty remains the bellwether for crime rates. Tell me how many people live under the poverty line, tell me the unemployment rate for males under 30, and I can tell you if there is a lot of crime where you live. The gun laws are irrelevant.)

    But when I brought this up a friend responded, “You must have mistaken me for someone who wanted to wanted to have a gun control debate.” I didn’t say anything about it, but even trying to inject something into the discussion that wasn’t NRA dogma meant that this had to be about banning guns. You can see the same damn thing here, Pilot Joe immediately jumps to the conclusion that this is about taking guns away from lawful citizens. It’s fucking insane.

    2581 chars

  74. JWfromNJ said on July 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Newsroom question. ACN Morning show female host – Lester Freemon’s girlfriend?? The one with Bieber Fever

    105 chars

  75. baldheadeddork said on July 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Don’t think so. Clip is at the link below, the voice is very different.


    179 chars

  76. Deborah said on July 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    All this talk about gun control right here, right now has me a bit worried. I can’t believe I’m writing this, it’s so against my nature, but I’m afraid we can’t take our eyes off the ball of winning this election. I can almost see the big bolt of lightning coming down from the almighty for saying this, but I ca’t help it I worry. There is plenty of time to talk about all of this and DO something about it after we elect Obama for a second term. There are so many things wrong with the right wing agenda with guns right up there don’t get me wrong. But there’s also global warming, the debt, choice, war (Iran), healthcare, bigotry, gay rights etc etc. Guns are right up there, no question, but let’s concentrate on first things first. Get this guy re-elected and then we can start knocking the pins down. We’ve got some major evil to overcome. Let’s be smart about it.

    871 chars

  77. brian stouder said on July 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Deborah –


    20 chars

  78. nancy said on July 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Nope, that’s not Shardene. I’m sure.

    36 chars

  79. Danny said on July 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Joe buddy, did you see the story about the plane that landed on one of our local freeways (I-15) Sunday night?

    110 chars

  80. Sherri said on July 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    According to IMDB, the female morning show host was played by Merle Dandridge. Shardene was played by Wendy Grantham.

    117 chars

  81. brian stouder said on July 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    One for Joe:


    You’ve got to see the video link; it runs for about 2 minutes, with a nice pay-off at the end.

    Short version: A C-17 pilot had an oopsie moment in Florida

    285 chars

  82. Joe K said on July 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Saw it Brian and the one on i5. Waiting in fort Wayne to go to n.h. Commercial. I hate the airlines.

    100 chars