Category Archives: Gun Control

Cope With No Hope

Vigil

Cope With No Hope

Another long night, another slain teen

Take a sneak peek, as the dawn bleeds

Splash of cold water, read the tweets

News, views – more prayers for peace

By dusk a vigil, let the cycle repeat

Darkness descends, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Up for air, come pastor and the priest

How many of these have they seen?

Hear what you want, not what you need

Sing a song, prayers for peace

From all this, who will take heed?

Maybe one day we all can break free

Until that day comes, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Now it’s less than a week later

Pick up the local newspaper

Story is gone, never to be followed

Back to the zoo and its baby cougars

Those with jobs, head back to work

Once numb, how much can it hurt?

The root cause, never gets learned

On and on and on, the fire just burns

 

All that is said cannot be believed

Like blaming it all on the police

Is it the poverty or the money?

The money we all think we need

Take it past these prayers for peace

Prayers end when you hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

-Gordon Glantz

 

 

 

First Cut Is The Deepest

Pence

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – A vice presidential candidate walks into a barbershop …

If this sounds like the start of a bad joke, you are picking up on the right scent.

Such was the scene recently in Norristown, when GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, was paired up on an awkward blind date in the inner sanctum of any black community – the barbershop.

Followed by CNN cameras – not like there were any surreal floods or forest fires going on, so why not? – the barber in question had to quell chuckles from the cheap seats as he had to fight through the layers of Brylcreem to kinda sorta cut and style hair that was, literally and figuratively, as white as you could get.

When the dog-and-pony haircut came to its merciful end, the CNN crew accidentally stumbled upon actually “news.”

Turned out the barber was not quite sure who Pence even was, having to ask his name, and then being somewhat taken aback when he learned he was on the same ticket with a candidate who secured his nomination by stoking racial prejudice in what we hope is a vocal minority of mostly angry white males who started demanding their country back a split-second after Barack Obama was elected the first president of color in 2008.

Spin Central tried to sell us that Pence was chosen for the bottom half the GOP ticket to make it look respectable.

Good luck with that.

The choice of Pence as VP wannabe, as exhibited by his track record, was merely an act of doubling down on the Make America Great (i.e. White) Again platform that bullied its away to the nomination.

Pence’s addition to the ticket only underscores the Molotov cocktail of ignorance and arrogance that is a self-imploding campaign that is sagging in the polls against a flawed, and beatable, candidate in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The barber is not alone in not really knowing Pence.

Criticize him for that if you must, but why should he bother?

The nation has become so turned off by partisan politics that exist and subsist by and for the special interests and big corporations, that it is not too hard to tune it all out.

Fortunately, the information still exists for any who seek it. We may not know what goes on behind closed doors in Mike Pence’s world, but we know the basics from his actions.

For all those like the barber, who don’t really know who he is, considering the following a PSA (public service announcement) from GNN (Gordonville News Network).

Pence is the governor of Indiana. Nothing wrong with that, at least at face value. For those of us who have been there, the people are quite nice – well, up to a point.

John Mellencamp is a native son, as is Larry Bird.

But Indiana is also home to some of the most ridiculously soft gun laws in the country. When they talk about loopholes, put the Hoosier state’s logo on the poster (believe it or not, blind people can even own guns there).

The GOP presidential nominee is touting himself as a “law and order” candidate who will end violence – mostly in America’s urban kill zones (conservative code for where non-whites run amok) – about 12.2 seconds after stepping into office. The city often cited in these disjointed diatribes is Chicago, and it always mentioned how the Windy City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but still has a mounting body count.

What isn’t mentioned? An estimated twenty percent of the guns used on the streets of Chicago are purchased in nearby Indiana, where Pence is the governor and vice presidential candidate on ticket vowing to save Chicago from its evil ways.

For that many guns — one in five –to come from just one outside state is downright obnoxious.

The blind shooters is only the tip of the gun-nut iceberg that is the Hoosier state. In 2014, Pence spurned state school organizations and signed a bill to allow guns to be allowed in cars on school property. He recruited the NRA to train the National Guard on concealed carry techniques (even when the National Guard questioned why they were being trained by a private agency, as if they couldn’t connect the dots there).

He also signed a bill in which lawsuits against gun manufacturers in Indiana – and sellers of ammunition and firearms – became almost impossible. It also retroactively terminated a lawsuit from the mostly-black city of Gary, Ind., where one would guess he would not be welcomed in many barbershops.

But what did he care? It was designed for the gun industry to view Indiana as gun-dealer friendly. He surely got his cut.

Now, while we know more about this guy with an A grade from the NRA, let’s look at how he came into our orbit in the county seat.

After losing bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, the historically homophobic Pence built his brand with one of those slanted talk-conservative radio shows — the creatively named “Mike Pence Show” – where pro-gun rhetoric is like a stretching exercise before yoga class.

He billed himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” which is kind of like being a Dead Head on hashish.

Pence was elected to the House in 2000, sweeping in on the coattails of George W. Bush’s stolen win over Al Gore in the presidential election and the fact that his perpetually gerrymandered district was vacated when the incumbent ran for governor.

Pence stayed in the House until 2012, earning a battlefield promotion to Republican Conference Chairman (a thrown bone after losing to John Boehner by a country mile for Republican minority leader).

Pence then ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 (the outgoing GOP governor was “term-limited,” so it was not that much of a bold move to walk away from his Tea Party friends in D.C.).

To be fair, Pence made himself fairly visible as a “values” Republican while in the House.

As such, his views are out there. You need not be a political junkie to shoot his poison into your veins.

And these “values” would likely not make him welcome in too many black barbershops — let alone Mexican restaurants (opposed birthright citizenship) or places where women dare think to do anything but cook and clean and bring their husbands martinis (strongly advocated defunding planned parenthood).

If the Tea Party had the guts to set the rest of the GOP free from bondage and form their own party, Pence would be right there with Sarah Palin as a leader.

Consider the following:

-Pence declared that “freedom won today” when the Supreme Court took the people out of the political process with its Citizen’s United ruling in 2010.

-He voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007 because a hike from $5.15 to $7.25 would “hurt the working poor.”

-He was all in, from the jump, on Bush’s war of folly in Iraq that created thousands of American casualties, with a disproportionate number being black or Hispanic, and opposed withdrawal.

-As the GOP stance on immigration mysteriously softens, consider that Pence – as far back as 2006 – proudly put forward an immigration policy he dubbed “No Amnesty Immigration Reform.” Right on cue, he didn’t need more than a split-second to vote down the DREAM act to give children of undocumented workers non-immigration status.

Had enough?

We’ll send you away with these fun facts:

-He denies climate change, as he is still waiting on the facts not presented by 99 percent of scientists (whisper: he also claims that the full effects of tobacco use are not yet known).

-He opposes embryonic stem cell research, claiming those breakthroughs are “obsolete.”

-He believes in evolution.

Impressed when he showed up for a photo opp recently in Louisiana after horrific flooding, were we? Consider that he wanted to limit funding for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005.

So, people, that’s Mike Pence.

And the first time he ever went against his own party’s playbook may have been when he walked into a black barbershop in Norristown.

And the barber didn’t know his name.

That was a well-deserved slap in the face.

 

A Vow From The Chair

Dems For Bono

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

GORDONVILLE — It has been more than three decades of political awareness than stood before a mirror, with a picture of Bobby Kennedy behind me, and made the following vow:

I, Gordon Glantz, take you the Democratic party, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

And I have, more or less, stayed true to these ideals. When I send in a play from the sidelines, it was from the Liberal playbook.

My first presidential election was 1984, and I voted for Walter Mondale. I have never voted for a Republican for president.

Yes, that means I voted for Barack Obama twice. And, while I don’t agree with everything he has done, I would do it again.

Because I can’t, I’m “all in” for Bernie Sanders. If his long-shot bid fails, I have no choice but to go with Hillary Clinton over anyone currently in the GOP field.

Sorry if some of you find that as a turnoff, but I believe honesty is the best policy. When you are not in a vicious cycle of telling lies to get out of the lies you told before, your days are easy and your nights are not as sleepless.

While we are being honest. I will admit that I was as bloodthirsty for revenge as any red-blooded American after 9/11. I remember how unified we all were — at least for the blink of an eye — and even commented that it was a “good thing we have a Texan in the White House.”

Because he blew it, leaving the country more divided, I believe that “ersatz Texan” — George W. Bush — is the worst president of my lifetime.

Not even close.

Some told me I would get more conservative after the birth of my daughter, Sofia, in 2007. Turns out, the opposite was true.

Because my baby girl will be one day be a young woman and a lady, gender equity is is an important issue to me.

Because I want to leave her — and her children and children’s children — with a better planet, I have become increasingly aware of the environment.

And whether or not you believe climate change/global warming is a human-made or some strange natural phenomenon, it should not change the idea that we can work together to do something about it “in the now” by simply recycling and eating less meat and carpooling and using public transportation in lieu of driving.

And don’t get me started on holding the oil industry and other major polluters accountable.

While my liberal playbook — and a few viewings of “Bowling For Columbine” — always had me advocating for stricter gun control, it got more personal after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The young victims were around the same age as Sofia, and I have been passionate about strict gun control ever since.

While I would never own a gun, that doesn’t mean I want to go door to door and take guns away from sane and responsible gun owners. I merely want them taken away from those who have no right being in the same hemisphere with firearms, and I refuse believe it is impossible to work toward that goal — just like it always was, and remains, possible to make the roads safer with better-made vehicles and ongoing enhanced enforcement for evolving scourges likes distracted driving.

Like climate change/global warming, my mind is boggled about gun control being a political wedge issue.

However, I don’t believe in absolutes. That would make me closed-minded, and therefore not a true liberal (look up the definition).

On the local level, I have voted for nearly as many Republicans as Democrats,a nd I have done so with no regrets. That includes Sam Katz when he ran for mayor of my hometown of Philadelphia, which I believe would have been better off had he won in 1999.

It certainly would have been a safer place  to live and work, which my wife does.

This brings us to the subject of law enforcement. Since residing in Montgomery County, I have voted for the best person for the job — regardless of party affiliation — for the offices of district attorney and sheriff.

And, as it turns out, my choices have always been Republican.

I was proud to pull the lever for Eileen Whalon Behr, who I knew well from my hitch as the crime reporter for the Times Herald, and I was even more stoked to see Russell J. Bono come out of a short retirement from the Norristown Police Department to take her place.

I worked closely with Russell while I was covering the crime beat, as he was in the final phase of his career with the NPD, that being the chief during that time. We developed a mutual respect and a friendship that transcended our political differences (such as the Second Amendment).

When I was promoted to managing editor, he was one of the first people I called, and he gave me a vote of confidence.

When he retired, I gladly penned a column and a story about his career.

When my own journalism career came to an end, he was one of the first people I reached out to and he was again beyond supportive.

Those are times you don’t you don’t forget, because you find who your friends are.

When he decided to run to retain the office, I put aside party affiliation — as everyone should when it comes to enforcing the law — and asked what I could do to help.

I don’t know all that much about the opponent. Frankly, I don’t need to know much because Russell J. Bono — as a lawman and not a lawyer — is the right man for the job.

As a career lawman, he is an artisan of his craft. What always amazed about him, despite his years on the job, is that he was never jaded enough not feel sincere compassion for innocent victims

That is why I have gladly accepted the position of Chairman of the Democrats for Bono committee.

Whether you are a fellow Democrat, an independent or an on-the-fence Republican, I ask for your support.

The End of the ‘Silent Night’

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By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — Sofia is a playing an angel in her school’s Christmas pageant. Always the performer, she turned our home into a playhouse, and has used the pending occasion to practice the song and dance routine repeatedly.

But it wasn’t until the other night – as she was singing “Silent Night” and busting ballet moves in her angel outfit, complete with wings and halo – that a bitter irony struck me.

The pageant practically coincides with the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 26 people dead.

Twenty of those victims were first-graders huddled together in a corner of their classroom.

Sofia is now in first grade herself.

Sorry if it hits home, but it hits home.

Just like the parents of those once-living angels who never saw 2013’s Christmas, or Hanukkah, I drive her to school each morning and make sure to say “I love you” and get a goodbye kiss before she exits. And my day isn’t complete until she is back in my car, safe and sound, and begins telling me about the happenings of her day with her teen-like verbiage oddly coupled with a baby voice.

And when Sofia and her fellow angels sing “Silent Night,” it will be hard not to think of those other angels from Newtown and the sentiment that they will “sleep in heavenly peace.”

There will be commemorations all across America on Saturday’s marking point of the nation’s 31st – yes, 31st – school shooting since Columbine in 1999, and many will include moments of silence for the victims.

But the silence on gun control – and the powerful stranglehold that the NRA maintains on our weapon-entranced culture – should have ended a year ago.

If that wasn’t the definitive line in the sand, a call to begin fighting back, then what is?

Yes, there had been mass shootings before that begged for change.

But Newtown – maybe because of the time, place and age of victims – seemed to have “last straw” stamped on its ugly face.

The clock had struck midnight in America.

The time seemed right to stay vigilant through the darkness and celebrate a new dawn.

The president, who had not done anything but “try to take your guns away” in his first term, laid down the gauntlet with 23 executive actions, including the CDC doing an about-face on a short-sighted act of Congress calling on the Centers for Disease Control to cease and desist putting the scourge of gun violence under its objective microscope.

The result? Nothing.

Once again – against the will of “we the people” (91 percent of voters support background checks on prospective gun owners, according to a Quinnipiac poll) – those inside the beltway, who are protected by secret service agents, decided to place it on the back-burner and dare to look parents in the eye.

What was a cursory baby step toward sane gun control was shot down by our leaders in Washington, D.C. in a cruel-and-calculated way that more or less exceeded what happened in Newtown, Conn.

People still can’t believe something like that can happen in an upscale New England town.

I still can’t believe something like what happened in response could happen in Congress.

The current year has been just as bloody. Lowlights include 13 being gunned down in a D.C. Navy Yard in September and six school employees at a Santa Monica Junior College in June.

What does or doesn’t make headlines and lead the nation news broadcasts on a given day is an inexact science. Let us not forget six killed in July in Hialeah, Fla. in July or five in Manchester, Ill. (by the nephew of the local mayor) in April or the spree in upstate New York by a 64-year-old who took six lives.

It would be safe to say that the full year since last Dec. 14 has been a silent night.

A long, cold and sleepless one.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,” said Martin Luther King., Jr.

To heed these words, we need to begin standing together and making a noise so loud that our elected leaders will realize that they will be out of work if they choose not to listen.

Newtown has jarred some modicum of progress. Individual states, some which previously had pathetic gun laws, have enacted measures. But without top-down legislation, it’s too shoddy. It’s no surprise that there is a correlation between higher rates of gun deaths and those assigned failing grades by the Law Center to Prevent Violence.

In a clash of titans, the NFL seems to be willing to butt heads with the NRA, as it has refused to accept pro-gun blood money to run ads promoting firearm ownership for the sake of self-protection.

The American Association of Pediatricians, in a recent survey, supported legislative action.

There has been the formation of grassroots groups, several of which I follow on Facebook and repost – much to the annoyance of my gun-toting friends – on my page.

This is a great first step, but these groups – with the exception of the NFL — remain mice fighting gorillas.

All the logical arguments to work toward gun control meet with responses ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and from the ignorant to the arrogant.

Common right-wing retort:  It is more about addressing mental health than guns.

OK, honestly – and I don’t mean to sound harsh — how do we police every person with issues who may have skipped his meds, let alone all those who go temporarily insane and act on impulse with a gun close at hand.

Here’s a classic: It is impossible to do anything about it.

So … that means do nothing?

That means Nelson Mandela, who said, “it’s always impossible until it’s done,” had it wrong but you “defenders of freedom” – in your infinite wisdom — have it right?

And they like this one: Cars kill more people than guns do, and you don’t want to ban all cars, do ya?

First of all, while my utopian world would be gun-free, no one is talking about banning guns. We are advocating dialing it down a notch from it being the Wild West of yore in the 21st century.

There are, as there should be, a litany of safeguards against the type of driving that takes lives. On top of that, measures are taken to keep safe vehicles on the road. Law enforcement is empowered to make the roads safer.

And, secondly, there are thousands upon thousands of vehicles on the road each day. A miniscule percentage of drivers are looking to do harm, as stupid as they are at times. It’s not apples to apples.

So how do you like them apples?

And they might counter: I am a responsible gun owner. Why should I be penalized?

If you are a responsible gun owner, you won’t be penalized under any of the proposed baby steps toward saving babies.

And there is this old standby: It’s the law. It’s in the Second Amendment. It’s what the founding fathers wanted.

The founding fathers came from a different place and time when they advocated gun ownership. If they could see what is going on in their name, they would be heartbroken.

If they wouldn’t be, they are no one I care to admire.

According to USA Today, there have been more than 200 mass killings (four or more victims) since 2006, which is an average of one every two weeks.  That is a conservative estimate, as the exact number is curiously underreported by the FBI (considered 61 percent accurate).

The same article revealed that a third of the victims are under the age of 18.

In the last year, since the unspeakable tragedy at Newtown, 194 children (defined as being under the age of 12) have been killed by guns, according to MotherJones.com.

And the average age per victim was 6, same as Sofia.

Our country leads the world with this dubious distinction, and that rate is four times that of Canada, which is second. It is a rate 65 times greater than Britain or Germany.

In keeping with the holiday season, let’s put it another way.

That’s a whole lot of angels prevented – via a silent night – from sleeping in heavenly peace.

Ready, Aim … Fired

Image

 

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

 GORDONVILLE — We of the GCP – Gun Control Patrol – have a new martyr.

It could, should and would be a victim of a mass shooting — the events that have become so commonplace that they are barely mentioned on the nightly news anymore.

Or a victim of knee-jerk gun violence, like the black woman recently shot to death in Detroit for having the temerity to knock on a white person’s door for help after being involved in a car crash.

Or the toddlers who shoot themselves with the loaded guns kept their homes of their “responsible” caregivers,

But that pain is too recent and raw for all you Joe and Joanne Duh-Plumbers to wrap your mitts around.

So, as public service, we numb it up and dumb it down.

Enter Dick Metcalf, a man’s man seemingly born with a gun in his hand.

His curious case is an example of everything that has gone haywire in what should be a logical debate on the issue. We are left with a band aid to put on the figurative wound that is runaway gun violence, circa 2013.

Guns and Ammo Magazine, which bills itself the “world’s most widely read firearms magazine,” seemed to have turned a corner toward common sense when it printed an editorial – “Let’s Talk Limits” — by Metcalf, a contributing editor.

In the editorial, Metcalf wrote: “Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. … The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. …  All U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly.”

And if the magazine’s power trust was OK with those words, which are far from radical and merely mirror what the vast majority of Americans think and feel, they should have foreseen — and been prepared — to handle the inevitable storm from readers when the December edition rolled out.

Instead, the bosses – namely editor Jim Bequette — buckled. The much-maligned Second Amendment trumped the more sacred First Amendment.

In response to backlash described as “immense,” particularly from the bastion of utter stupidity known as social media — the place where the tail wags the dog in the world of mass communications — Bequette folded like a house of cards.

He posted a hasty apology to readers threatening to pull their subscriptions faster than they pull the trigger on an unsuspecting deer during hunting season.

“Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career … but his association with ‘Guns & Ammo’ has officially ended,” wrote Bequette .

Setting himself up for Weasel of the Year honors, Bequette added: “In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, ‘Guns & Ammo’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either.”

Like, duh?

Your magazine represents a readership imbedded in a subculture in which six percent of Americans are hunters.

Bequette, who was going to vacate his post on Jan. 1 anyway, then announced that he would be hastening his departure.

Bye.

Who looks like the hero? I suppose Metcalf, but remember he was still a shill for this same pro-gun stance anyway. He just had some sort of burst of logic, which cost him his gig.

While magazines differ from newspapers, in that they are niche publications catering to readers paying for certain wants and needs, the real loser here is the First Amendment.

You know, the pesky one that guarantees free speech, including that of the press, as well as freedom of religion. Revolutionary in its time — unlike the Second Amendment, which merely mirrored some 17th century English law — is it also protected the right to peaceably assemble.

And there was one about petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

 

We of the GCP have plenty of those.

Thousands upon thousands per year.

Enough that the Second Amendment should get a second look.

Dick Metcalf saw the light and put it into words.

Instead, he was shot down.

You may call it the price of doing business.

I call it a crime.

 

 

 

Bad Medicine – On The House

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By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Mananging2Edit

GORDONVILLE – And in Switzerland … the government is voting on whether to give every citizen $2,800 a month in guaranteed income.

Go ahead and yodel.

I’ll wait.

Key word there, for all you anti-immigration types, is “citizen.”

Sounds like enough motivation to get on the path to citizenship.

But we are talking about a government that is not dysfunctional. Switzerland, after all, is ranked in the top 10 in happiness and in several key economic areas.

The reality is that our alleged democracy — from which Switzerland strays a bit with a federalized yin and yang that gets more democratic on the local levels, where it really matters – features “leaders” who let we the people suffer while they can’t agree on the time of day.

Even with Swiss Army watches.

Can you handle more?

Good.

Time for some more bad medicine (Don’t worry. The pills are on the house here in Gordonville, where we have single-payer, socialized medicine.).

What Is: There is a lot of vitriol out there, blaming President Barack Obama for the shutdown.

And What Should Never Be: Straying from the point.

Only the House, not the president, has the power to shut down the government.

And that is what happened here.

They are the ones who put people out of work and kept World War II veterans from their monument in Washington, D.C.

The haters will point to Obama’s 37 percent approval rating.

Let us point to the 28 percent approval rating of the Republicans that have conspired to block him at every turn since Day Uno (yes, the bastardized Spanish is intended to annoy).

That is one percentage point more than those of who believe Sasquatch — slave name Bigfoot – might be a for-real dude.

Sounds crazy, but I actually had more belief his wandered around the forest – I saw him with my own eyes on that episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” – than I ever approved of the modern-day GOP.

And that goes back to before it was hijacked by the Tea Party.

What Is: Yawn … They are still playing baseball.

And What Should Never Be: Anyone caring.

I mean, if you live in those metropolitan areas with teams still involved, fine.

Here, in Philly, where the Phillies were pretty much caput when they went into the tank right after showing a pulse before the all-star break?

Nah.

I know none of our teams are much to write home about, but we have three others going.

We have college football and college hoops on the horizon.

I can understand loving baseball, even though I only like it as a friend, but I don’t get all these Philadelphia people getting so hyped up about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Seemed like there was more of a need for suicide watch hotlines in the Delaware Valley than the western part of the state, where they are rightfully more football-obsessed, when the Bucs got bucked from the field by St. Louis from the playoffs.

If the shoe were on the other foot, do you think anyone in the Pittsburgh area would be losing sleep over the Phillies?

What Is: One of the sad byproducts of the shutdown is that real issues, namely gun control, are not being addressed by our misleaders.

And What Should Never Be: The eye off the ball, kind of like it is when the Second Amendment is misunderstood.

There he goes again? Yep, there I go again.

This is one of those issues I won’t debate for the sake of it and walk away agreeing to disagree. I was always for gun control, but the massacre in Newtown, Conn. – which miraculously prompted GOP leaders with NRA monies in their war chests to suddenly to take note of black kids in Chicago and Baltimore – is where I drew the line.

Put this in your pipes and smoke it: We account for 5 percent of the world’s population but 80 percent of the deaths in the planet’s 23 richest countries.

Rich, despite our current recession/depression? Yes.

Morally bankrupt? Affirmative.

What Is: Many who call themselves “Christians” (said with a southern twang for effect) weigh down the GOP with “morals” issues.

And What Should Never Be: Conservative Christians.

I’m mean, they can be. It’s a free country. Just don’t be in my face.

The two concepts – Christianity and conservatism — just don’t equate.

It’s like that short dude from “Game of Thrones” trying to play center for the 76ers.

OK, they could probably use him down low. Bad analogy, but it’s early in the morning and I’m a night person.

You get the point.

It’s like stating that all men are created equal and then having to pass a Civil Rights Act to start to make it happen nearly 200 years later.

OK, that happened.

But you get me here.

How about this one? These conservative “Christians” are among those standing firm against Obamacare (also the Affordable Care Act for the ignorant among us).

Forget the supernatural stuff about dying and being resurrected. Take the historical Jesus and what he is purported to have represented.

Ask yourselves, did he heal for profit?

If the answer is no, you are “Christians” in name only.

What Is: A chap named Peter Baker has a book coming out claiming that George W. Bush, presidential disgrace that he was, had a tepid relationship with Dick Cheney that turned completely cold after Bush refused to pardon Scooter Libby (no one called “Scooter” should be pardoned, just on principle).

And What Should Never Be: Thinking anyone is all evil.

I guess Bush has some redeeming qualities after all, as Cheney is all evil.

If the book is accurate, that is.

Baker, a reporter for the New York Times, did work in Moscow. They could have brainwashed him and sent him back as a spy.

What Is: John McCain was quoted as saying his party, the GOP, has done the American people a “disservice.”

And What Should Never Be: Finding a GPS that helps you back to being yourself.

Once upon a time in America, I used to say that McCain would be that one Republican I would consider voting for as president.

I didn’t agree with everything (whisper: I don’t agree with everything Obama stands for, either), but he was a maverick.

And that label, while sounding cool – and American – is not something to be taken lightly.

Those were stripes he earned.

But then, after W. backstabbed McCain out of the way in the 2000 primary, he did himself a “disservice” once he got the chance to run for president in 2008.

He picked Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate, letting the Tea Party genie out of the bottle.

Now he is trying to stuff it back in.

It’s nice that he sees the errors of his ways, but once it’s out …

Good night, John Boy.

What Is: Haven’t heard much from Syria lately, have you?

What Should Never Be: Forgetting to knock wood.

Seems like the process of quelling the violence and eliminating chemical weapons, without putting one American in harm’s way, is working.

Give Obama some credit, or would you rather harp on the murky Benghazi scenario some more?

As for what happens in Syria, and these other Arab countries allegedly going through spring, I’m not overly interested.

Let’s say I’m neutral.

Like Switzerland.