I loved Bob Herbert’s op-ed in today’s NYT. Here’s an excerpt:
The slaughter of college students — or anyone else — has never served as a deterrent to the gun fetishists. They want guns on campuses, in bars and taverns and churches, in parks and in the workplace, in cars and in the home. Ammunition everywhere — the deadlier, the better. A couple of years ago, a state legislator in Arizona, Karen Johnson, argued that adults needed to be able to carry guns in all schools, from elementary on up. “I feel like our kindergartners are sitting there like sitting ducks,” she said.
Can we get a grip?
The contention of those who would like college kids and just about everybody else to be armed to the teeth is that the good guys can shoot back whenever the bad guys show up to do harm. An important study published in 2009 by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine estimated that people in possession of a gun at the time of an assault were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during the assault than someone in a comparable situation without a gun.
“On average,” the researchers said, “guns did not seem to protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. Although successful defensive gun uses can and do occur, the findings of this study do not support the perception that such successes are likely.”
One of the the portions of last night’s speech that had a huge impact on me:
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.
I am guilty of the bolded far more often than I’d like to admit.
Watch Obama’s speech or read the full transcript here.
I’ll admit that some Bright Eyes stuff is a little too wacky for me, but when they’re good, they’re so damn good. “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)” is a favorite of mine. Even though it’s a kind of horribly sad little song, it’s so intense and awesome that I like to listen to it no matter what mood I’m in. Like today, I’m all chipper because Kathleen and I DID YOGA THIS MORNING BEFORE WORK (be amazed), but this song still sounds great:
Now I do as I please, and I lie through my teeth Someone might get hurt, but it won’t be me Should probably feel cheap, but I just feel free And a little bit empty
No, it isn’t so hard to get close to me There’ll be no arguments, we’ll always agree And I’ll try to be kind when I ask you to leave We’ll both take it easy
As I’ve discussed briefly here, I’m (with some hypocritical exceptions, no doubt) a firm believer that people should do what makes them happy — short of murdering strangers, etc. — and that the people who hate them for doing what they want to do and loving what they want to love should probably find other ways to occupy their time. It made me happy to learn that Jordan Reid agrees, and to read her kickass post on the topic (spurred, not surprisingly, by a holier-than-thou commenter). An excerpt:
When it comes to fashion, to literature, to art, to music, you love what you love; there are no absolutes. But the best way that these people have to make themselves feel awesome is to make sure that you know that your opinions are wrong. They make you feel scared to say that hey, you kinda like Hootie and the Blowfish, or that you think that rockabilly hairstyles are pretty cool, or that you enjoy reading paperback thrillers sometimes, because they’re going to laugh at you, and mock you, and otherwise shut you down. They’re going to tell you that your taste is terrible, that your job is unimportant, that your ideas aren’t good enough, that you chose the wrong life partner or house or diet or freaking dinner plate pattern.
And that is a crappy thing to do.
If you don’t read Jordan’s blog, Ramshackle Glam, you should start now. It’s one of the best — and certainly the most aesthetically pleasing — out there.
I’ve always liked that one song Josh Groban sings that makes me cry, but I never thought much about the guy until I saw this video. Now I’m completely and totally in love with him. Watch out, Katherine Heigl! [Ed Note: Oops, that’s Josh Kelley. So, er, just watch out, Josh Groban!]