Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The eye of the Needle

Perhaps I suffer from a lack of imagination, because I simply can't imagine a fitting fate for Pat Robertson. It could be, of course, that there isn't one.  Pat, you'll recall, unless you share the short term memory defect such people like to call Conservative Politics has a habit of supporting criminal dictators and other monsters in Africa .  One thing I can't imagine either is the prospect of  this "Christian" entering anything resembling heaven any more than I can imagine the rock of Gibralter being extruded through the unlubricated eye of a sewing needle -- even a very big one -- and I'm not talking about his wealth, which some have estimated to be close to a billion dollars.

It's where he got that wealth that matters and although much of it comes from preying on elderly widows and other people who can't afford it, the lion's share, or should I say the jackal's share comes from dirty dealings in gold and blood diamonds financed by those contributions from sad old ladies who think the bastard is going to help them by intervening with God and curing their ailments.  That money of course has gone to purchase airliners to assist his mining enterprises with Mobuto Sese Seko and Charles Taylor and God knows what other cannibalistic demons, to extract blood diamonds and gold with slave labor and spend it on increasing his wealth and power, in the name of the almighty dollar, amen.  Of course some has gone to politicians who have seen to it that he's so far avoided the cage in Guantanamo with his name on it and the red hot poker up his ass that features regularly in my speculations about justice and Pat Robertson.  The IRS gives the extreme right a hard time?  Really? By allowing him to pay his debt with contributions to his own charity that uses it to steal even more?  What obscenity can I use to express my contempt here?  You tell me.

But I digress. This piece of shit, who of course has his own TV network, regularly uses it to damn his critics, to disparage the unfortunate and instill a sense of hatred in his followers in Jesus' name amen. His current mission is to run a " full-scale exposé" on some unnamed web entity: a “nasty group” that's all about “embarrassing conservatives.”  Once again my imagination fails to construct any hypothetical means to embarrass such unrepentant evil; the kind of  'nastiness' that can chide women for complaining about unfaithful spouses because it's their own fault.  Why even bother to mention the slavery, genocide, rape, mutilation, wholesale theft, deception and suffering that give him his tax-free income along with a microphone with which to complain that it isn't enough and that someone dares to complain.

Only in America.  Only in a country saturated in blind faith, trained from infancy to swoon with love and respect for any fork-tailed fraud can such a thing occur. I can't possibly list his crimes here, there's no scale big enough to weigh his sins and apparently there's no way to control the way he sponges millions from shacks and trailer parks and retirement homes to buy race horses and bribe politicians and undermine truth and goodness and decency.

But whose fault is it really?  The country that supports his crimes with donations, that gives him special tax status, that whimpers and cringes at his threats, that turns on his detractors like rabid vermin, that insults any noble notion of divinity that might still exist?  Who else? where else but the USA, it's brains, its moral conscience, its heart and soul eaten full of holes by false faith and greed
and cowardice -- its very damnation purchased with its greed for personal salvation.

But exposé away Pat.  Sooner or later that glass cathedral will shatter, your stink will stop the noses and empty the stomachs of  the nation and I hope it happens while you're still alive and able to suffer even just a tiny bit for a tiny fraction of what you've done.  Or so I pray.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kneel where our loves are sleeping

Someone said "happy Memorial Day" to me yesterday evening as she was loading up her FUV after a day out on the water.  Honestly.  What with all the wailing and gnashing and lachrymose warrior worship going on in the media, you'd think she'd have more sense, but for most working people in a country that gets less vacation time than any other free country, it's just another three day weekend.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

I'll bet your newspaper says almost exactly that this morning and like most of what you read in the papers it's sort of true. Of course the truth is a matter of perspective and depends on how you define "our nation."  The holiday may have originated in the Confederate South.

The sheet music for Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" But Decoration day was officially established by decorating Union graves at Arlington in 1868.  By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states but the South wasn't going to memorialize no damn Yankees and although since WWI when it was modified to include US troops, it began to be noticed in the South,  States like Florida have their own day for honoring the fallen in that War of Northern Aggression.

Many southern states retain an additional separate memorial day of their own in fact: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee, but of late and after so many wars with so little behind them but lies and aggression Memorial Day is part of our growing martial spirit, our obsession with "warfighters" being the sole guardians of what we call Freedom whether they died carpet bombing civilians or facing suicidal attacks by Kamikaze pilots.

April 26 seems to have passed me by unnoticed here in Florida, although there were a few more confederate battle flags than usual.  The last weekend in May is more about beer and the Indy 500 and Department store sales and of course NASCAR and those in turn are about advertising and consumerism, but we continue with the beery crocodile tears and newspaper encomiums to everyone who ever wore a uniform.  It's become too much like another of those "We're number one" holidays we use against the more circumspect and thoughtful or our fellows as we build new stage sets for our history and look forward to more wars for our warriors instead of  considering the real costs of war and who pays it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God's bloody cleaver

"The only reasons we killed this man ... is because Muslims are dying daily,"

said the man, holding a bloody cleaver and standing over the body of a British soldier hacked to pieces.  Muslims are dying.  Actually everyone is, even Atheists, but being part of the Middle Eastern religious tradition, followers of one prophet or another see themselves as different; as special to the point where they'll murder their own to prevent the "dishonor" of disobedience and they'll sure as hell kill you for not recognizing your goddamn specialness, you infidel!

There's something we have to realize: that Christian, Jew or Muslim, there is a thread running through our history and our 'scripture' that execrates deviation, heresy and all forms of non-conformity and puts all wisdom in the past, but right now, the people who are cutting off hands and heads and genitalia identify themselves as Muslim, whether or not other Muslims tell you that this isn't what their religion is about.  Perhaps they're right and perhaps the Inquisition was an aberration too, but this is now and for the most part the bombers, the hijackers, the kidnappers, the decapitators are talking about the God revealed by Mohammad  -- a God like all Gods who silently watches and does nothing unless we do it in his name.  Every Faith is a potential weapon.  Every one.

So the World Trade towers were blown to hell because we were "bothering" Muslims.  Perhaps we were, but then it doesn't take much, does it?  It doesn't take much when just walking on their "holy" sand without believing their holy horseshit is enough to get you killed and your family too.

So the Boston bomber wrote that this was all because we infidels were killing them  -- Muslims were dying, never mind why and never matter that for the most part it's because they've been killing us. We did far, far worse to the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan, yet they've pretty much eschewed violent revenge and it's a better world for it.  Religion doesn't compromise, doesn't allow experience to teach anything unless the experience appears in a myth from long ago, religion never forgets or forgives and so the quest for disgusting levels of retribution becomes part of the faith itself and it never ends.
 "This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth," said the meat cleaver of God. "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone."

Prime Minister James Cameron seems concerned that the reaction will include reprisals against innocent Muslims and stressed that these crazed killers were betraying Islam, but as I said, any religion is capable of producing such madmen and not very good at suppressing extremists and particularly when martyrdom is a cornerstone of the faith, particularly when God sits idly by as though he were impotent and the faithful see the need to get their hands bloody on his behalf, lest people doubt his "almighty" power.

 Is there really any way to leave them alone?  Will they ignore us if we ignore them?  Can they afford not to sell themselves as victims?  I think not.  I think that to risk having the faithful realizing that the poverty and ignorance in Islamic countries has much to do with Islam itself is unacceptable.  They have to blame it on the west.  When I hear that they'll never stop fighting, I believe it and I believe Cameron when he says the British will never give in either.  There simply isn't any way to do that, because when religion is involved, it's always a battle till the death.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just do it!

Perhaps Fred Phelps Jr. is getting slow, or perhaps he has to type with one hand because he's so exited at God's wrath being inflicted on Moore, Oklahoma.  The very thought of little children being crushed or torn to pieces as they scream in terror must excite him past the point of self control. It took him hours to inform us that this disaster was the result of Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant’s public support for gay basketball player Jason Collins.  God works in mysterious ways, but there's nothing mysterious about Fred unless you're interested in the chemistry of foul smells.

But there's light at the end of the drain and maybe a suggestion for people like Fred with more demons than synapses in their skulls. Dominique Venner is billed in the press as a right-wing historian, although some may prefer to call him a hate-filled pervert obsessed with other people's sexual preferences,  or an ultra nationalist militiaman because of his past involvement with a paramilitary Secret Army Organisation which fought against France giving up colonial rights in Algeria. A gay hating enemy of human rights and freedom, in short. Mr. Venner walked into Notre Dame de Paris Monday, placed a letter on the altar and then blew his brains out with an illegally owned pistol.

The famous Cathedral has been the site of many demonstrations and protests over the issue of gay marriage which became legal last week. Catholic conservative Venner certainly made his point to the horror of the tour groups present and one has to wonder about the dedication of lesser nobles like Phelps for not martyring himself for his ridiculous cause.  I presume God has to wonder too.

So what about it Fred?  I mean you don't need to go to Paris or even to bloody up someone elses Church, you've got one of your own. Take your dad along, make it a father and son thing, or take the whole flock along, but Just do it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nothing political here

Move right along

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie "the actor" Sutton is famously but falsely said to have replied: "that's where the money is."  Perhaps the IRS has been thinking along the same lines by targeting groups using words like "patriot" and agitating against "how the government is run" and about the debt. Far Right think tanks and agitators tend to have rich supporters.

According to some, Jewish groups as well have been selected for special handling, whether pro-Israel or purely religious.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps  it's all political, a claim which was and is the standard Republican answer for any charges against Nixon.

The comparison with Richard Nixon and his enemies list is inescapable although we certainly don't have audio tapes of President Obama telling Jimmy Graham that we need to go after the Jews who are "ruining the country."  Even for long term and relentless Nixon defenders, the opportunity to suggest impeachment, to demand impeachment now is so irresistible that it seems at long last to be acceptable for perennial supporters to remind us of Tricky Dick's tricks even though the dismissal of such charges as political is maintained.

We know Nixon was behind a "weaponized" IRS, but do we have a smoking tape of Obama?  I doubt it but that difference will be forgotten. It happened under his watch and that's enough.   Claims that the IRS is independent won't matter. Questions about whether the IRS was politically motivated to take down Al Capone won't arise nor did anyone accuse President Hoover of such things.

Of course there have been so many ridiculous claims against Barack Obama of  impeachable 'high crimes' already that the demands of the self-righteous Right don't quite have the desired effect on the unconverted and those who catalog Republican transgressions.  Still, people like Smugster George sWill aren't going to let it go and the attack on possible 2016 candidates will be joined by increasingly nasal and polyphonic choruses of  Sic Semper Tyrannis. 

sWill, wearing his outrage costume on ABC's This Week, tells us " all hell" would have broken loose had Bush used the IRS against progressives and his poker face never twitches as he forgets about the political assassination of Valerie Plame and other scandals to voluminous to list.  And of course that Bush might in fact be guilty of the same thing isn't quite obscured by the standard props of  Gerogewillian pomposity.

But the level of 'truthiness' in charges against several presidents, including Bill Clinton for using IRS harassment in retaliation against personal lawsuits is significant and of course it's scary.  Anyone who has been through an audit knows that,  and Obama has no choice to make an open investigation rather than to invoke Executive Privilege as his predecessor was wont to do.  But regardless of  who the Special Prosecutor might be and regardless of evidence or lack thereof, I can already smell the stink of  American politics once again.

Terrorist without a cause

No, this one does not star James Dean chewing on the scenery as he wails "You're tearing me apart" but it's tearing us all apart. I'm starting to think there's a national competition going on and I'm getting tired of saying "not again!"

19 people shot at a parade in New Orleans, with 3 suspected perpetrators as yet to be apprehended. Why?  Is it some bizarre political statement only they can understand?  I can only guess, but the notion that we have a lunatic fringe competing for their share of obsessive media coverage is tempting. If there are indeed three men involved, we have to rule out mental illness as we usually think of it although we can't avoid the question of what kind of sanity could prompt such acts of random violence.

New Orleans is a violent, crime ridden city with a police force that has been accused of incompetence, corruption and its own acts of violence, but one has to ask why New York is a vastly safer city; Miami, El Paso  -- all of which prove that ethnic diversity has nothing to do with it and suggests strongly that strong gun laws have little to do with it.

I simply don't know, but this, once again, isn't crime for profit, it isn't about gangs or gangsters or their territorial disputes.  I can only ask myself why people compete, why people are willing to court death, even seek it just so CNN can have another huge boost in ratings.


And speaking of ratings, why is it that we've been carpet bombed with coverage of this incident as though it were an indicator of increasing violence, yet New Orleans' 193 homicides in 2012 are seven fewer than in 2011 and the slowdown has continued at least through March of this year.  We saw and heard little about  the January drive-by shooting of five people after a Martin Luther King Jr Day parade, or the four wounded in a shooting after an argument in the French Quarter just before Mardi Gras. Suspects are in custody for those crimes, which seem gang related.  Perhaps the Mother's day shooting is too. Are the media suggesting that gang related crimes could be caused by gangs and reduced by somehow getting rid of them?  I don't think so.

Police have named 19 year old Akein Scott as the first suspect and have released video of him, according to The Guardian. It's hard for a rational mind to understand why some gang might perpetrate such a crime, but this may be another lesson in how gangsters and the culture of gangsterism eats away at civilization and perhaps how our culture of  prohibition, our failure to deal with poverty and lack of education nourishes the criminal culture in America.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What, will these hands ne'er be clean?

There's a lesson to be learned from the trial of Guatemala's former dictator Efrian Rios Montt, ‘a man of great personal integrity . . . totally dedicated to democracy’ said Ronald Reagan, surprised upon visiting him in Honduras that Central America was composed of several countries. But few Americans will care or will even be aware that at long last he's been found guilty of genocide and war crimes.

The things that went on in Guatemala  were gruesome, horrifying and heart-breaking but I don't have the stomach to relate even part of it.  You can read about it here and if you do, if you can tear yourself away from Boston Bomber stories, School shooting stories' da scores' and Cleveland sex slaves long enough, perhaps you'll take a further moment to meditate and perhaps agonize over the part our country, always howling about freedom as if we invented it, played in yet another sordid and brutal horror.

Yes, Rios Montt is a monster like so many Latin American monsters in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere, all of whom were supported by the Land of the Free and even placed in power by violent  US assistance.  Rios Montt whose  squads were supported and advised by and trained by the Reagan administration, wasn't a Communist you see and that's what counts and so it didn't matter that he raped, tortured, brutalized attempted to murder an entire ethnicity because they were better off dead than Red. better off dead than getting in the way of  the very few and very rich. Red of course means looking for some hero to improve life from the hopeless, unchanging, grinding, disease ridden, starvation and poverty Central American Kleptocracy needs in order to provide a most excellent life for people like Rios Montt and his generals.

The 86 year old and frail monster has now been sentenced to 80 years in jail, although he claims he never got his hands dirty or bloody, as though that were grounds for clemency or forgiveness.

Who amongst us, the champions of freedom, has clean hands?  Kindly old avuncular Ron is dead, but he's still the hero who made the sun come up in America. His own Himmler, Ollie North continues to be admired and listened to and frankly my dear, America doesn't give a damn about any of the things we did in the name of protecting American Corporate imperialism from land reform or about how much innocent blood was soaked into foreign soil to do it.

Go on worrying about how dangerous it is to live in America, how expensive to fuel your three SUVs and how high your taxes are. There's a one in more than a million chance of some psycho shooting you after all and that Asian, Middle Eastern, central and South American blood isn't on your hands. You're not some bleeding-heart Liberal anyway.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Benghazi Desperation Ploy

Benghazi, Benghazi!  Is this the new Rebel Yell, or the cry of some demented parrot?  Or maybe it's the desperate attempt to find some new tail to pin on the Donkey, now that the Birther Bullshit and so many of the previous attempts have failed or backfired for all but the most ardent of the crooks and liars called Republicans.

Benghazi, Benghazi! it may continue to hound Hillary Clinton if she makes the attempt to be the 2016 Democratic presidential Candidate says Democratic pollster and author Doug Schoen. " “Look, the hearing today [Wed, May 8] raises more questions about what happened, why a force was not sent in to try to rescue the ambassador and his colleagues.”

Could it be that Republicans can be considered complicit since they voted against beefing up security, voted to cut security?  Hey, can we blame the Republicans for anything, what with their long term sterling record of success in all things?   Hell no because the appeal to ignorance, forgetfulness and neurotic hatred of all things not GOP always works. Failure is success. Truth is in the definition.

“We still have unanswered questions about what the president knew, when he knew it, what he was doing,” says Schoen. “So, we are really still in the middle of a drama that’s playing itself out.”
Is farce a kind of drama? Are these "unanswered questions"  scripted by the same creative minds that gave us unanswered questions about Obama's birth certificate, about whether he murdered his grandmother, about his terrorist affiliations?  Nothing was said by the GOP or their Friends at Fox about what the president knew and all that when we went to war with Iraq or what he knew before Sept 11, 2001.

The Benghazi gambit hasn't really affected the real world that I can see, Obama was handily re-elected despite Fox News' round the clock Banghazithon before the last election, despite Fox &  Friends host Eric Bolling's claim that  Obama “went gambling in Las Vegas when he could have been saving our people in Benghazi.”  Even Geraldo Rivera, that paragon of journalistic integrity, seems to have choked on that steaming turd and called Bolling a liar before his audio was cut off in the interest of fairness and balance.
Benghazi, Benghazi, we haven't heard the last of it and we won't any time soon as the national memory fades and the fake history is implanted. The hypocrisy won't be noticed by those who have forgotten about Reagan, the Marines and Lebanon or by those who still desperately need to hide the real Obama behind a claim of weakness, made of straw.


Seems that Dick Cheney thinks Congress should subpoena Hillary Clinton all over again to get "more answers."   You know, sometimes words fail me. Hey, let's bring up Whitewater again.  You never know -- we might get more answers in time for 2016. Will we ever get answers about Cheney's  crimes - you know the kind of thing he used "executive privilege" to hide behind? 

"Fine and dandy. Let us first subpoena Mr. Cheney to testify about 9/11, Iraq, torture and the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame."

Says Paul Abrams, but of course we won't, the public having long lost interest in such ancient history or is so entrenched in Denialism and caught up in fake controversies about a non-existent crime wave and other media obsessions. Besides it's not criminal when they do it.  Never has been, never will be.


Sunday, May 05, 2013

Say hello to the correction

You know, markets are self-correcting to some extent, maybe not enough that we don't have to inspect meat or test drugs or set safety standards for airplanes, but maybe enough that dangerous products, unappealing products and frankly annoying things like the lies and propaganda and bigotry that Clear Channel produces and airs on about 600 radio stations in the US aren't doing well in the market any more. Perhaps it's that people are getting tired of the slander and quasi-treasonous, excremental and septic opinions of Rush Limbaugh, or perhaps it's the effect the boycotts, the petitions and various activist campaigns are having on investors.  Booya!

Clear Channel's latest earning report shows even worse declines than they did a year ago.  Sponsors are being deluged with angry invective and over 2,600 companies have pulled their ads.  Say hello to the correction.

Friday, May 03, 2013

God-nuttery and the war on truth, decency and morality

There are times I think that a society with too much religion is like a society that leaves loaded guns all over for kids and idiots and lunatics to create mayhem with.  Our founding fathers may even have thought it was worse but certainly, following the story of a five year old killing his two year old sibling with a rifle casually left in the corner with a story of a physically more adult Godnut blaming Hitler's atrocities on the European Age of Reason has to make one take notice. 

Yes, reason is the enemy if you're a Godnut. Martin Luther is famous for calling reason "that damned whore" and he may have had as much to do with the violent, murderous anti-Semitism as the Roman Catholic Church he rebelled against.  It's hard for an honest person to ignore this and blame irrational and murderous hatred in countries like Germany on Vernunft or Reason. An honest person.  No, Reason isn't the whore, she's the one telling you to stay out of the whorehouse.

But all things are possible with God, more indeed than are possible with automatic weapons and together -- well, watch out.

For irrational Godridden harpies like Penny Nance, CEO of the Christian activist group Concerned Women for America  is the kind of Rasputinoid advisor Fox News and people like to dress up and present to the public as though the stench of the charnel pit didn't pervade every phrase, the problem today is too much reason, too much science, too much empiricism lurking behind our decisions and behind the way we treat our fellow humans. Instead we ought to be concerned with what peremptory proclamations religious leaders make.   You see, all's fair in the war on reason, on a rational view of morality, on science, on honesty, on decency itself because it challenges the right of that scaly ecclesiastical abomination with its bowels full of god to squat on civilization like a defecating toad.

When Charlotte, NC Mayor, Anthony Foxx proclaimed a day of reason as well as a day of prayer, he was advocating moral relativism, says Ms. Nance with dubious authority, which is what the Vermin of the Lord call any view of human behavior not taken from their ever shifting and baseless Biblico/Political cesspool.

"You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust… Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation.”

And yes, the Dark Ages and the Inquisition were a paradise compared to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, weren't they?  And God's hand, God's lash, God's glowing poker, God's swords and God's executioners and torturers and immolators of the innocent.  Liar, liar, liar. Democracy itself could only have arisen with the forced  removal of religious authority and its racks and stakes and dungeons and exterminations, and that rise was fought with hellfire and sulfur and gunpowder. Be morally certain -- absolutely certain of this: Penny Nance is not a friend of  the facts, nor is she advocating freedom or Democracy. She's not -- and by putting her cosmetically plastered, meretriciously dressed and coiffed self on the air, neither is Fox News.  Penny Nance and the carrion eating fly larvae that constitute Concerned Women for America and the hidden obsceneties who finance her thrive on the corruption and dissolution of virtually all that is good and honest and humane -- all that all the generations before us have fought and died for and dreamed of creating for their descendants and my hefty vocabulary of obscenity and blasphemy aren't adequate to the kind of malediction they deserve. Odiamus te, maledicimus te, et blashpemamus Nomen tuum in seculum, et in seculum seculi, Amen.

“You know, G. K. Chesterton said that the Doctrine of Original Sin is the only one which we have 3,000 years of empirical evidence to back up. Clearly, we need faith as a component and it’s just silly for us to say otherwise.”

Empirical evidence!  Picture me as the radio reporter at the Hindenburg crash:  "Oh the dishonesty!"   Oh the obscenity, oh the insanity.  If there are 3,000 years of empirical evidence -- and there are and thousands more -- it screams that faith is the enemy and if Luther was right and reason is the greatest enemy of faith, then faith is the enemy of humanity.  That means you and me and the United States of America.

Would Fox have mocked Galileo and the host of others?  Presented "empirical evidence of their base reason and objectivity? Would the Concerned Women have agreed with Luther that

"This fool [Copernicus] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us  that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."  -- Martin Luther, "Works," 

Of course, and every philosopher from Bentham, Locke, Hume -- silly Einstein to ludicrous Feynman to risible Heisenberg and they still persist in pumping the proudly ignorant and  imbecile audience with lies and deceptions and breathing vampirical life into some obscene homunculus made from shit and calling it 'empirical evidence.'

And yet, who was it that introduced moral relativism to antique Christianity?  Didn't Paul "set us free" from absolutist moral law anyway?  Wasn't it Jesus who opined about refraining from absolute judgement?  

Look, these gods, these idols, these human voices chanting from hollow scrolls have slaughtered and oppressed more people than crooks and madmen with guns alone and it's time we recognize it while there's time to save our culture and way of life. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

My First Rifle

Years ago, I read The Adventures of Bobby Orde by Stuart Edward White.  I suppose that few young people have heard of him these days, but his stories about late 19th and early 20th century America were part of my youth and have something to do with my love of the outdoors and what they used, somewhat euphemistically, to call the Pioneer Spirit: woodcraft, love of nature, the urge to preserve and enjoy it and ability to get along away from civilization and its expensive comforts. 

Bobby Orde grew up near a logging camp in Michigan and winning a shooting contest brought him a Flobert Rifle; an inexpensive single shot .22 rifle made for boys as a "first rifle."  Of course, this being a story and being a story from an era when that Pioneer Spirit was very much alive in a rapidly urbanizing America, Bobby learns, through owning it to be a man, to take responsibility for his actions regardless of the consequences.  Indeed, learning to use a firearm responsibly is still a rite of passage in some parts.  Yes, those parts still exist even if invisible to the Urban majority for whom making a fire in the rain isn't a vital skill.

People still collect the Flobert, cheap thing though it was when new and they still spruce up and restore the Ithaca 49; First Rifle to a subsequent generation. I bought one in 1963 for 18 bucks at a Hamilton, New York hardware store. Those manufacturers are gone and too many kids are too absorbed in iPods and X boxes and cellular phones today to venture out into the real world of planet earth -- but not all of them.  Some still have nostalgic parents, some families live to hunt and fish and enjoy the wilderness and still try to instill that outdoorsman's "Pioneer Spirit" in their kids. A good part of our largest state feed their families with a rifle. Watch Swamp People and see where your alligator Guccis come from.
So anyway, let me introduce you to Crickett rifles -- they're meant for kids, but smaller adults buy them. They even come in pink, for the girls.  "My First Rifle" reads the website.  For people in the vast empty spaces of America and yes they still exist, that first rifle is still an experience, just like the first bicycle, the first fishing pole, and to each of those there is a time and a place.  Cumberland County may be the place, but the time is hardly appropriate for a 4 year old. A year after being given a Crickett rifle, he shot his two year old sister with it.  She died soon afterward.

The family didn't know the gun was loaded, said the Lexington Herald-Leader  Perhaps you've heard that said before. They were used to leaving it in the corner. “Just one of those crazy accidents,” said the Cumberland County Coroner.  I call it reckless endangerment. I call it involuntary manslaughter.  I call it the end of a family, the beginning of a lifetime of shame and anguish. This isn't the story of someone learning to take responsibility, it's the story of  stupidity, irresponsibility and negligence.  The shooting will be treated as "an accident" but it wasn't.  Leaving a loaded, unlocked gun where a toddler can get it is criminal in many states and so it should be. Having guns in a house where there are children is questionable, even when they are locked up. Not teaching your kid never to aim a gun at anyone, is unforgivable -- teaching them to never assume it's unloaded, never to pick it up and hold it anywhere but at a shooting range with adults present. . . well I don't have to continue, and how much can you rely on a 4 or 5 year old to understand the danger anyway?

Background checks aren't going to prevent things like this, nor waiting periods nor registration nor magazine restrictions. Kids getting at legally owned family guns have been the cause of  recent acts of mayhem at Columbine and Sandy Hook and elsewhere.  The only way these artifacts of stupidity can be addressed is through education or elimination.  There is no way to eliminate guns and there is no responsible agency to promote education, now that the NRA has become an anti-government militia. So perhaps the people who talk about individual responsibility Vs. Government regulation can come up with an answer since teaching such things is what My First Gun is all about?