God, guns and goobers

Barack Obama in 2008:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Paduca, Kentucky, in 2014:

In an effort its spokesman has described as “outreach to rednecks,” the Kentucky Baptist Convention is leading “Second Amendment Celebrations,” where churches around the state give away guns as door prizes to lure in nonbelievers in hopes of converting them to Christ.

As many as 1,000 people are expected at the next one, on Thursday at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah, where they will be given a free steak dinner and the chance to win one of 25 handguns, long guns and shotguns.

The goal is to “point people to Christ,” the church says in a flier. Chuck McAlister, an ex-pastor, master storyteller and former Outdoor Channel hunting show host who presides at the events as the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s team leader for evangelism, said 1,678 men made “professions of faith” at about 50 such events last year, most of them in Kentucky.

My wife read the above news story to me from the Courier-Journal on Sunday as I sat on the couch in our living room in Louisville. I thought she was kidding. I mean, what kind of sick mind could come up with Jesus and guns in the same coherent thought?

OK, I was mistaken. Jesus and guns are perfectly normal. As He said in Matthew 5:9

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

How was I to know he was talking about this?


The Colt Peacemaker (Single Action Army) is a single action revolver. It was designed for the U.S. cavalry by Colt and adopted in 1873, and it was perhaps the most prolific pistol in the Wild West.

Box-office killers

This alleges to be a list of the actors who have killed the most people in the movies (via MovieBodyCounts.com):


I suspect it’s pretty accurate, but I find it interesting that there are no women on the list. In particular, I’m amazed that Chloe Grace Moretz didn’t make the cut.

(Don’t click the following video if you’re squeamish.)

That’s from the movie “Kick Ass.” I count 15 kills in that scene. That’s in less than two minutes. And those aren’t the only people she killed in that movie. There are a lot more before this and a lot more after.

Then consider in addition to “Kick Ass,” she was in “Kick Ass II,” which had another high body count. And she was a vampire in “Let Me In.” More recently, she was “Carrie” in the latest remake of the Steven King novel. Remember the prom? Bodies galore there. I suspect she was involved in other killings somewhere in her filmography.

But she’s still a kid. Only 16. She’ll make the list. Most likely sooner rather than later.

Newtown: It’s been a year

We haven’t done enough. Since the Newtown massacre, a year ago yesterday, states have passed 39 laws with tighter restrictions on guns and have passed 70 laws that loosened restrictions.

Since Newtown, we’ve had the Navy Yard shootings, not far from where I live.

And this story ran this morning:

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) – The teenage gunman who badly wounded a fellow student then shot himself to death at a suburban Denver high school apparently acted in retaliation for discipline he received months ago from the school’s debate club coach, the county sheriff said on Saturday.

The pump-action shotgun and multiple rounds of ammunition used by the suspect, Karl Pierson, in Friday’s shooting were legally purchased from local retailers, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said. He said Pierson bought the shotgun on December 6 and the ammunition the morning of the shooting.

Pierson, a senior remembered by classmates as studious yet argumentative – and described by some as socially awkward – was 18 when he made the purchases, the minimum age for buying a shotgun or other types of rifles in Colorado.

The sheriff’s comments at an afternoon news conference shed new light on circumstances of a shooting that unfolded in less than a minute and a half and marked the latest of more than two dozen spasms of gun violence to shake U.S. school campuses this year.

We’re not going to do anything to stop this. Some of us will wring our hands and say “tut, tut” the next time it happens. Some of us will mourn the family members who die in these shootings.

And some of us will say that this shows we need more guns to protect ourselves. This third group represents the people who have been winning the gun debate. So far.







After Newtown


Can’t even say this is something to think about when the next horrific mass shooting happens. Because since Newtown, we’ve had the Navy Yard, just a few blocks from where I live.

The gun lobby wins again. It will always win.


The horrors of childhood in Syria

We can’t conceive of the real-life nightmares children face in other parts of the world. These Syrian children were almost blown up. I would have been catatonic. They just see it as another day of surviving.


The Oswald assassination: Nov. 24, 1963

Fifty years ago today, I saw this live on television:

I think about it today and realize this was the first time I saw what today would be immediately identified as a terrorist being led to jail by police. And it was the first time I witnessed a murder.
Years pass, and you read things that say that when the Dallas police charged Lee Harvey Oswald with the murder of the president, they said it was because of a communist plot to overthrow the government. That was noted on a PBS “Frontline” report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

NARRATOR: Less than one hour after the President was pronounced dead, police had arrested a suspect. Lee Harvey Oswald was a 24-year-old former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union. Only weeks earlier he had visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies.

JAMES P. HOSTY, FBI: The original complaint that the police department filed on Lee Oswald, around midnight on the 22nd of November, said that Lee Oswald did, “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy, assassinate President John F. Kennedy.”

NARRATOR: That night, as Air Force One brought John Kennedy’s body home to Washington, the new president was afraid that Oswald’s apparent communist connections could spark an international crisis. President Johnson ordered the district attorney to drop any reference to a communist conspiracy.

Pres. LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: This is a sad time for all people.

Mr. HOSTY: Johnson was fearful that if this had gotten out, it would inflame public opinion and could possibly lead to World War III. This is exactly how World War I began, with an assassination.

This fear of World War III does make sense. The Cuban Missile Crisis was just a year earlier. In October 1962, people were convinced there was going to be a nuclear war. America’s right wing, led by members of the the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted to invade Cuba.

The other thing that strikes me about the day is how totally incompetent the Dallas police were. Here’s a longer TV feed of the Oswald shooting.

No one checks ID. No one keeps people away from the transfer of the most hated man in America. And when he’s shot, the police just let reporters walk into the crime scene. It looks like anyone could walk in. Strike that. Jack Ruby, a strip club owner with mob connections and a gun did walk in and killed Oswald.

There was a “Prairie Home Companion” on recently broadcast from Dallas. One of the jokes was something along the lines of: “Here in Dallas, gun control is when you hold a gun real steady before you fire.”

In Dallas in 2013, that got a huge laugh. But all I could think when I heard the line was that in Dallas in 1963, a president was murdered. And in Dallas in 1963, the murderer of a president was murdered on national television.

Dallas was out of control.

Memories of history

Pew took a poll asking people if they remember where they were when certain major historical events happened. The requirement for memory was the person had to be eight or older when it happened.


I wasn’t around for Pearl Harbor, but I remember the nine other events. The ones with the higher percentages are the ones I remember the most. (Via the International Business Times.)

Pictures from an assassination

When President John F. Kennedy was killed 50 years ago today, it didn’t happen on live TV. If something like that happened today, there would be thousands of videos taken on smart phones and uploaded on YouTube within minutes.

But people did film the assassination. Home movies. Polaroids. Snaps from Kodak Brownies. It was an overwhelmingly documented event in American history. But the video above from the New York Times by noted documentarian Errol Morris reveals that the video evidence was pretty much ignored by law enforcement on Nov. 22 and the days, the weeks, the months, the years thereafter.

The day John Kennedy died

It was 50 years ago today. This is how America found out about it from CBS:

And here’s what we saw on NBC:

Meanwhile, here are two hours on ABC.

I’ve seen the Cronkite clip before. NBC and ABC are new to me. I was in school at the time. Third grade. Someone talked to our teacher, then she said, “The president has been shot.” The girl in front of me asked: “Is he dead?”

No answer. We were sent home. It was a Friday. Just like it is today. I was eight years old, and I still remember that day and the days that followed.