Category Archives: Politics

The Worst Curse Word In Politics Is …

iowa

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Pardon my French, but I going to use a bad word.

It’s a four-letter word, actually.

And it sums up our seriously flawed national election process that generally leaves us choosing between the lesser of two perceived evils (actually, there really was one this past time around).

Ready?

Here it is: Iowa.

In and of its self, Iowa is a harmless Midwestern state – bordered by six others – with a population that ranks it 31st (under 1 percent of the national population).

Despite an impressively high per capita rate of six minor league hockey teams, Iowa’s population ranks below Puerto Rico (which should be a state and isn’t, despite having no minor league hockey teams).

To put it into perspective, at 3.2 million people, the Philadelphia metropolitan region is nearly twice its size.

And yet, in a political process that is already poisoned by special interest dollars, Iowa is the flashpoint state.

Its caucuses come first, meaning those SuperPAC dollars are disproportionately dumped into it so that candidates can get the desired outcome – a win or a solid enough showing – that there is a slingshot effect for another smaller state, New Hampshire, that is also not really reflective of the face of the American electorate.

On top of all this, Iowa does not hold primaries, where votes are cast and counted. It’s a caucus. And it would be nice if the mainstream media spent less time salivating over the latest polls that show the flavor-of-the-month underdog – i.e. Pete Buttigieg – on top and more on just what a caucus even is (and if it is a fair process).

That aside, just in terms of the batting order, giving Iowa this much importance – particularly in what could be the most important election of our lifetimes – is something that should have been noticed and rectified a long time ago.

I would postulate that it is just as dangerous – and maybe even more – than keeping the arcane Electoral College intact.

This isn’t the first time I have written about this major hitch in our get-a-long, and it won’t be the last.

There are other stones in my show, in terms of the process. I personally have an issue with currently elected politicians short-changing their own constituency to run for president. If you want to run, resign or wait until your term is up. At the very least, a senator should not run as a junior senator from a state unless the senior one gives it his or her blessing.

But that aside, starting off with Iowa, and heavily weighing its importance based on the results, is how and why we are where we are today.

While some who agree would say the primaries should be held in one day, I’m not so sure that is the healthiest way to handle it, either.

My plan, which is not new to you my loyal flock of readers, is to roll the primaries (not caucuses) in the order they came into the Union, and in larger blocks – with more time in between.

That would mean a whole lot of campaigning in what are the 13 original colonies. While that creates a geographical imbalance, it would be more representative of our populace from the standpoint of diversity and ethnicity (if you find any Jews or Italians in heavily Protestant – and evangelical — Iowa, send up a flare).

Those results will provide a much clearer picture of who is or is not a legitimate candidate, as opposed to an underdog that Iowa voters get a buzz out of propping up because, well, it makes them seem more relevant than they really are.

If candidates are unable to campaign in 13 original states from the outset, they probably should not have been candidates in the first place, right?

And if they get swept away by that first day, bowing out would make more sense than not doing well in Iowa and/or New Hampshire (excuse me while I yawn).

The next group of primaries would be: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

That would be followed by another big day: Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine and Missouri.

Still no Iowa? Nope, still no Iowa.

It is a more accurate sense, from a cross-section of America, of where the pulse of the electorate is – as opposed to where the media and fat cat donors want it to be.

Iowa? Admitted as a state in 1846, it would get to go in the next group of those admitted before the Civil War.

That means it would join Michigan, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, California, Oregon and Kansas. Some bigger states in there, and they may not think that to be fair.

How do you think the rest of us feel when we turn on the idiot box each day and hear “Iowa, Iowa, Iowa” while the country, literally, burns to the ground?

This column appeared in The Times Herald on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.

Bracing for Civil War 2.0

BattleOfChancellorsvilleReenactment

By GORDOON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — If the gauntlet had not already been laid down for the American Civil War 2.0, recent events have inched us closer.

Let us count the ways:

-Impeachment: The hearings kicked off Wednesday, with the Union (Democrats) and Confederacy (Republicans) painting two entirely different portraits about what your president (not mine) said to the Ukrainian president during a phone call.

The other thing that can prevent this from leading to a bloodbath that will spill over into the streets is that all of us – left, right and center – just don’t have the same attention spans from when the same thing happened with Richard Nixon in the early 1970s or even Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

These proceedings will drag on for weeks, if not months, providing enough lead time for diversionary tactics – ranging from childish 3 a.m. tweets to creating new and inventive instabilities overseas – that will draw the mainstream media away from both the impeachment hearings and who currently leads in the Iowa polls.

The “base” will refuse to believe any evidence that their president did anything wrong. At the least, they will just convince themselves – via the mastery of false equivalencies and believing conspiracy theories – that it was nothing different than what anyone else has done in the back rooms of the West Wing.

They said that about Nixon, too. And, well, we know how that turned out.

The whole election of your president (not mine) was a sign of the times, revealing we were ripe for a Civil War. No qualifications were required, as only venom toward outgoing president Barack Obama – and the use of code words and hot-button topics like immigration – were enough to capture the imagination of those who didn’t want to be bothered with the gory details involved in sorting out fact from fiction.

He has done 1,000 things that cry out “Impeach Me, Hard” – kind of like those “Kick Me Hard” signs we would put on someone’s back in middle school – and this is just No. 1,001.

Whether it does the trick or not is irrelevant.

There are those who see this, and those who don’t want to see it. In the middle, we have a portion of the country – the same portion that will likely decide the next election – who may just want to take the time to understand the US Constitution and whether or not he breached the document he swore to uphold above his own personal interest.

-Sandy Hook Revisited: There may be no more hot-button topic in this brewing war between the states than gun control (yet another school shooting in suburban Los Angeles Thursday morning).

It is said that if nothing changed after the horrific mass shooting of 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, it was never going to happen.

And nothing has.

However, what seemed to be a Hail Mary pass, a lawsuit against Remington Arms Co., the maker of the weapon used by the shooter in the Sandy Hook massacre worked its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And the high court, despite having an extra vote from the right, allowed the families to move forward with the suit, the essence of which states that Remington was at fault because its marketing targeted “vulnerable young men” – i.e. losers – with its phallic symbols thinly disguised as weaponry.

At face value, there is some merit against the lawsuit, as it could create a slippery slope. However, as is the case in the impeachment situation, the devil lives in the details.

The reality is that most of the country, even gun-owning members of the NRA, are for some form of gun control.

Still, the startling fact is that three percent of Americans own half of the country’s estimated 265 million guns, and they are likely not those with any interest in any form of gun control legislation.

This case will be worth watching. The NRA’s deep pockets haven’t stopped its momentum yet, even when going to the right-leaning Supreme Court, the ruling of which will not only will likely open the door to more lawsuits from victims of gun crimes.

If that happens, there will be backlash from those who don’t get the fact that no one is physically coming for their guns in a conspiratorial attempt to trash their rights under the Second Amendment.

-Colin Kaepernick Workout – While it should be a sports story, it is anything but when Kaepernick’s name is involved.

Your president (not mine) infamously called on NFL owners to “fire” (wrong terminology, as players are released or waived, depending on their contract verbiage) any athlete who didn’t stand at attention during the national anthem before games.

Kaepernick, who began kneeling for the anthem in protest, has been out the NFL for almost three full seasons now.

While it is ironic that many of those who insist of their rights under the arcane and misinterpreted Second Amendment are unwavering in denying Kaepernick his right of free speech under the First Amendment, it is also fair to say that Kaepernick was getting more mileage out of being martyr than trying to make a comeback as a rusty quarterback.

The whole saga took a shocking turn this past week when Kaepernick tweeted out that he would be holding a surprise, open workout for NFL executives.

Initial indications were that just one team out of 32, the Dallas Cowboys, would attend the workout via a “team official” who could be nothing more than a low-level scout.

Whether Kaepernick throws another NFL pass, a tight spiral goes into the great divide. If he isn’t signed, he becomes even more of a martyr for the cause. If he is given a chance, others – the Confederates – will be up in arms.

And then there are the nuances of the scenario. If he signs but sits behind a starter who is not a standout, there will be cries of discrimination. If he kneels again during the national anthem, there could be protests at stadiums. If he doesn’t, the Confederacy will declare a moral victory and the Union will see a sellout to the man.

Controversial (and, fingers crossed, viral) Music Video – A bit of shameless self-promotion here, folks. A video of a Gordonville, U.S.A. song “Angry White Male” was released, via Facebook watch party, on Nov. 16 (World Unity Day) and remains available for viewing.

The images of how far we have devolved, with so-called patriots using symbols of those our forefathers fought against to save our union and democracy, are not pretty.

But they were necessary to convey the brevity of the song, which can be found on YouTube and at the Gordonville, U.S.A. Facebook page (give a brother a “like” while you are there).

I would say enjoy, but that’s not the intent.

This column initially ran in Times Herald on Nov. 17, 2019.

Hocus Pocus Messes With Our Focus

McDonalds-arch

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – There are several books I could sit down and write tomorrow: “Memoirs of a Street Hockey Legend,” “The World’s Greatest Air Guitarist” and “I Was Once a Heartthrob (In Fifth Grade).”

Another would be “Adventures in Fast Food.”

Yeah, I could fill a great portion of it up just with what I ordered going through the drive-thru windows and what I actually found in my bag, and my cup, when I got home.

Just the other day, some sort of road block because of a fire or car accident sent me so close to an unnamed place that I could smell the burritos.

On the ride home, I went for the cup holder in the center console and found it practically empty. There was lemonade, but not in the cup. A hole in the bottom of it had the lemonade bursting through the levees of the center console like it was Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

While I deployed hand towels as my National Guard, soaking up the damage, I immediately called the night crew and demanded to speak to the manager. He told me what they all do (Page 1 of their playbook). He said come back and he’ll make it up to me (albeit up to $10).

I went back two days later – around lunch time – and had to wait an inordinate amount of time just to get my free heartburn on.

And that was a good outcome, relatively speaking.

There have been numerous times where Manager X tells me to come back at a future time to have it “made it up to me,” and I return to find there is no Manager X anymore. His/her replacement, Manager Y, will reluctantly instruct Assistant Manager Z to take care of it.

It is what it is.

And it isn’t much.

The managers come and go, but the fast food joints remain.

Kind of like … leaders of terrorist groups.

They get hunted and killed – and the mainstream media swoons – and the threat is no less than it was the day before.

Sometimes, it’s worse.

Take, for example, this mockery of a sham that we woke up to a week ago today.

I checked my phone to see if Sofia’s softball tournament was called due to rain.

As suspected, it was.

I also caught a pre-dawn glimpse of the headlines and saw that your president (not mine), saying he would have a “big announcement” at 9 a.m.

Knowing a resignation — in the midst of an ongoing mountain of scandal — would be too much to hope for, I went back to bed only imaging who was going to be thrown under the bus after sunrise.

The “big announcement” came straight from an old bag of tricks made popular by an equally ineffective Republican president, George W. Bush.

The so-called big announcement was that some ISIS leader – after the ISIS hornet’s nest has poked back to life by a recent spate of flawed foreign policy in the first place – was killed overnight.

I’m not even going to bother to Google the dude’s name for a cut and paste here.

He’s ISIS leader X, only to be replaced by ISIS leader Y.

Towel Head

They come and go, often killed by our special operations forces — or often their own from the inside (like a coup from Assistant Manager Z).

And the terrorism – like the fast-food heartburn – remains.

I vowed not to bring myself to watch the 9 a.m. “I’m The Greatest” speech that pales in comparison to those of Ali.

The dreaded mainstream media already figured it out (we all knew an overnight mass shooting at Texas A&M, or California wildfires, would not spur him to the podium at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning).

But I did check it around 9:01 last Sunday and stopped watching by 9:02.

I’d seen enough gloating.

Ironically, when my president (not yours), Barack Obama, pulled the trigger on an operation to kill Osama bin Laden, he was accused for “doing a touchdown dance.”

Knowing the lack of attention span for your president (not mine), I sounded an all-clear at 10 a.m. and went back to the news networks for analysis.

Instead, I saw your vice president (not mine), among others, being interviewed.

“Both America, and the world, are safer today” became the mantra.

No, America and the world are not safer today.

Someone else, whose name we can’t pronounce – and whose name we need not even commit to memory – will rise up in his place, just like managers in fast food joints, and they are only going to be more dangerous.

This column appeared in The Times Herald on Nov. 3, 2019

Bullying Knows No Bounds

Fuckface

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Let’s Move!

Remember that one?

Don’t strain your brains, people. It didn’t happen in the last 12 ½ seconds. Allow me to refresh your memories (and no, I’m talking about the classic song by The Cars).

That was the moniker of the initiative taken by former First Lady Michelle Obama to, basically, get kids to eat better and exercise more. Although she was slated to become a civilian after her husband’s two terms in office, the end goal of “Let’s Move!” was to reduce childhood obesity to 5 percent by 2030.

It was benign, and universal, enough.

No matter your creed, let alone political leaning, it seemed like something everybody could get behind.

Even those who immediately “wanted their country back” a split second after her husband was elected.

The wimpy Democrats rarely, if ever, criticized Laura Bush’s reading initiative (and it’s not like there weren’t chances, given her husband was not exactly coming across as the second coming of Socrates).

Yet, a core of Republicans, that same bitter-to-the-core group that helped elect your president (not mine), wouldn’t let the “Let’s Move!” thing go.

That brings us to the current First Lady, the one we all know by her first name of Melania.

A former “model,” and an immigrant, is somehow beloved by the same core group who stresses family values and hate on immigrants.

This is the same core group that ripped Mrs. Obama for wearing sleeveless dresses and consider Melania “classy” by comparison.

When Melania said her initiative as First Lady was anti-bullying, particularly on the Internet, the irony was not lost on most of us with functioning brain cells.

Nonetheless, it was a righteous cause – even it was not an original idea – so we wimpy liberals continued to leave it alone.

Well, after her husband’s constant online bullying went a step too far recently, as he mocked and taunted Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on the heels of her stirring speed to world leaders at the United Nations, this liberal with a heart more hardened than bleeding is not going to let it ride.

The rest of you can put on your Earth shoes and fantasize about some impeachment that Pres. Teflon will somehow wiggle out of. Good luck with that one.

I’ll focus on the continued, and unchecked, bullying that flies so much in the face of his wife’s campaign.

Thunberg’s impassioned plea on the issue she knows inside-out and upside-down concluded with the following: “You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Your president (not mine), who pretends to deny climate change in deference to industrial polluters – just like he turns a blind eye to gun violence in deference to the NRA – could have taken the high road.

There were 1,001 different ways he could have done so while not agreeing with Thunberg.

But that’s not how bullies roll.

Instead, he took to Twitter: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

While not as below the belt as he can go, the sarcastic mockery while trolling a teen is, well, a bit disturbing.

Even by his non-standards.

When leaders behave like this, others follow.

Thunberg was mocked on the state-sponsored network, Fox, when a guest commentator, a putz named Michael Knowles, called her “mentally ill” in a clear reference to her having Asberger’s syndrome (highest level on the autism scale).

Knowles continued his assault, saying, “She is mentally ill. She has autism. She has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has selective mutism. She had depression.”

While Fox shamed him into an apology, he continued ripping her on whatever smear site he writes for. Whatever he wrote there, in his own little bottomless pit, isn’t worth repeating.

Other pundits, while not going that far, have said that Thunberg is a pawn for mysterious forces on the far left.

What’s really going on here? No one can counter the scientific evidence, and the passion Thunberg brings in explaining the urgency of climate change, so she gets mocked and bullied instead.

This is what it has come down to when leaders, like your president (not mine), refuse lead.

It would seem our First Lady needs to go back to the drawing board with her stated agenda, and it starts on the home front. Meanwhile, with the “house on fire,” as Thunberg accurately states, the next move is clear.

Let’s Move!

This Column appeared in The Times Herald on Sept. 29, 2019.

Eighteen Years Gone: Here We Are

Sepy 11

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — I always resented what seemed like immediate parlor games of everyone sharing – usually on social threads – their boring yarns about how they were in the middle of this, that or the other thing when they heard about what was the worst attack on American soil.

Doing so 2-3 years after Sept. 11, 2001 — especially when the act led to a disingenuous rationale for a war in Iraq that quickly revealed itself as coming from Page 1 of the Vietnam playbook made these personal remembrances seem trivial.

I had what I thought was a more pertinent question: Where are you now?

But some time has since elapsed, and maybe it’s time to flip the script.

This past week, we commemorated 18 years since 9/11.

And Sofia is old enough – and intrigued by events that occurred more than five minutes ago – to share our own experiences, just like my father did with me about the JFK assassination (Oswald didn’t act alone, if at all, but that’s another column for another day) and the Japanese army (they acted alone) bombing Pearl Harbor.

I don’t know what makes me the final arbiter of when it is time to suddenly change lanes on the discussion. I just felt like it was too soon before and not so much now.

Where was I that day? I was just getting out of the shower in the Center City apartment I shared with my future wife (then fiancé). She worked in Wilmington at the time, and called with the news of a plane striking one of the twin towers. I had the TV on, but was pre-conditioned not to get too involved with the trivialities of Good Morning America, when it was clear something else was going on.

First reaction? It was terrorism, clearly, but it could be passed off as some sort of accident from air traffic control to avoid public panic (just like blaming the JFK assassination on a lone nut). But, after the second plane hit, which I watched as it happened, it was clear was going on. The whole nation could be under attack.

As the crime-beat reporter for The Times Herald, I drove into work that day while many others were scrambling to make it home from their jobs.

For all I knew, the nation could have been under total assault and this was only the start of it. But, like many Americans, I defined myself by my job back in those pre-Sofia years.

I was told by the editor at the time that I was a free agent, meaning stops at police stations to comb through blotter were out. The rest of it is a blur. I believe I had four or five bylines in the Sept. 12 edition, although I only recall two – from a bomb scare called into the Plymouth Township Community Center and from talking to congregants who came to pray at one of the historically black churches in Norristown.

I remember the sense of unity between a lot of scared people of all walks of life. While I was not a fan of the president who I thought stole the election, I felt he then had the nation in the palm of his hand.

Who knew how much he would blow it?

Eighteen years later, we are more divided than ever.

A new psychology emerged – a sort of acceptable narcissism — wherein we were inundated with a spate of reality television.

And the ultimate sociopath, who seemed to find a resting spot on reality TV after failing as a mogul, was elected as president.

The real patriotism we all felt in the aftermath of Sept. 11 has been subverted and perverted into a game of who is more patriotic than who, based on superficialities.

Mass shootings are now so commonplace that we aren’t even phased by them anymore.

Children drink water with lead in it, and we shrug it off.

Eighteen years later, that’s where we are.

Maybe that’s why it suddenly seems better to remember where we were, and get back to that place of temporary unity amid fear and chaos.

This column ran in The Times Herald on Sept.  15, 2019.

Let It Be (And Other Thoughts)

No Wood

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — It’s been a long time, perhaps too long.

Let’s press reset with another installment of “What Is And What Should Never Be” (named in honor of the Led Zeppelin Song).

If you don’t recall how it works, it won’t take long to catch on.

And we’re off:

What Is: We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, providing a chance to relive all the music and magic that took place (without getting caught in the rain and mud, let alone having to sleep outside). One of the most amazing aspects about the festival – beyond featuring a lineup of classic acts (The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, etc.) that can only be duplicated by those who turned down invites (The Doors, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel) – is that it was as peaceful as advertised. There were two deaths – one from an insulin injection gone wrong and one when an attendee sleeping in a nearby field was run over by a tractor – and two births.

And What Should Never Be: Attempts to mark the anniversary with a reboot. A 50th anniversary try failed miserably, but at least the plug was pulled to avoid the type of chaos that occurred at the 25th anniversary attempt (although the Philly-area band Huffamoose, featuring some real talented guys I’ve worked with, played the first day – before it went haywire on the second). That should serve notice to anyone wanting to make a 55th, 60th, 75th or 100th. It was a once in a lifetime event. It was a historical event. History naturally repeats itself anyway – often tragically – so we need not spur it along because we can’t think outside the box. In my mind, there was another Woodstock. It was Live Aid in 1985. I was there, at old JFK Stadium. It was my Woodstock. I’m good, thanks.

Iowa

What Is: In the landscape of our country still struggling to reach its potential greatness, consider Iowa as Exhibit A.

And What Should Never Be: Iowa wielding the political power that it currently does in the flawed political system that ultimately leaves voters from the other 49 states – and the District of Columbia, which somehow isn’t its own state – holding their noses in voting booths and feeling like they are voting for the lesser of two evils. Consider Steve King, the Iowa Congressman, who has uttered so many hateful and absurd pronouncements that they are not worth repeating. Do we really want a state whose voters elected this sad individual to disproportionately control to fate of America the way it does?

colin_kaepernick_jan_rtr_img

What Is: As soon as Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost for 6-8 weeks, which equates to a few weeks of the regular season, the chirping began for the Eagles to sign exiled Colin Kaepernick began. It only increased when the No. 3 quarterback, Cody Kessler, went down for the count with a concussion and the Eagles coaxed 40-year-old Josh McCown out of a short-lived retirement.

And What Should Never Be: Sorry. Not the case. This was a football move, period. To paraphrase “The Godfather” (greatest movie of all time), this is business and not personal. A commitment to Kaepernick would have been complicated. Other teams – most notably, Seattle in 2017 – have kicked those tires. His reported contract demands were unrealistic (immediate chance to start, at starter’s pay). In a league with a fixed salary cap, and considering the pending media circus, the choice against becomes more vivid. I have my own personal feelings on Kaepernick, and where he was and is coming from, but it wouldn’t be fair to put them out there with any proof. Let’s just say, as both an Eagles’ fan and a bleeding heart liberal (i.e. snowflake) who supported his right to protest under the First Amendment, I’m fine with how it went down. If Sudfeld were out for the season, different conversation. He’s not, so drop it.

Bibi

What Is: Israel banned two U.S. Congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from visiting the West Bank, sparking such outrage on the left that Bernie Sanders – my Bernie Sanders, whose family fled the same Nazi persecution that help lead to the formation of Israel – called for an end to U.S. aid there.

 

And What Should Never Be: Hopping, skipping and jumping to the facts here. While it was wrong to not let elected officials visit, it’s also wrong to sweep with one broad brush about Israel. These are the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (a graduate of Cheltenham High School right here in Montgomery County). Known as “Bibi,” he was elected by a narrow margin, with his Likud party eking out the more moderate Blue And White party of Benny Gantz. Sound familiar? It should. They are almost as polarized there about their leader, also working on his third marriage while operating under corruption charges, as we are with ours here. Just like many of us don’t want to be judged by the actions of your president (not mine) many there feel the same about their prime minister. When detractors quickly seek to punish “all Israelis,” I can’t help but think some other bells are going off in their heads.

Looop

What Is: John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, dropped out of a crowded Democratic presidential race that most average citizens didn’t even know he was in.

And What Should Never Be: I like to make fun of John Hickenlooper because, well, his name is John Hickenlooper. Worse yet, he actually looks like someone whose name is John Hickenlooper. However, to his credit, he did the right thing here. Not only is the herd thinned by one, but he is now going to run for a senate seat currently occupied by a vulnerable Republican. All he needs is a nickname. Go get ‘em, “Loop.”

This column appeared in Time Times Herald on Aug. 25

No Retreat, No Surrender

GunArt2

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – So now your president (not mine) is willing to do something about gun control?

He’ll knock on Mitch McConnell’s turtle shell, see if he pokes that obtuse face out, and will let us know.

Then, maybe if they get a permission slip from the NRA, they’ll consider some background check language to file under “Red Flag” legislation.

While it’s a start, and you can never run down a start, I think we all know it’s not going to be sufficient.

And I think we all know that the next mass shooting after these laws go into effect will meet with a lot of “I told you so” remarks and smirks from the right.

The reality is that so much more would need to happen before the passage of time – five years, 10 years, etc. – shows a marked decrease in gun violence (mass shootings, street shootings, accidental shootings and suicides).

There are many facets to gun violence. It’s not a single-cause crisis, and there is no one magic-wand approach to making it vanish.

It’s a syndrome, with multiple causes.

And solutions.

We would be spraying Raid everywhere, except the hornet’s nest, without addressing the type of assault weapons used in Parkland, Vegas, Orlando, El Paso, Sandy Hook and so many other tragedies.

There was once a ban on these tools of destruction, and gun massacres (six or more deaths) dropped 43 percent. After it lapsed in 2004, under the George W. Bush administration, there has been a staggering 183 percent increase.

They like to say that the key to prevention is to turn every outpost in the country – from elementary schools to beauty schools, from supermarkets to dollar stores, from Little League fields to houses of worship – into armed fortresses.

Not that simple.

“I didn’t do anything because I thought police would think I was the shooter,” said an armed witness to the El Paso massacre.

Still, despite rather hollow willingness and passing-the-buck drills, we need to start someplace.

Those who are quick wrap body armor around the sugar daddy that is the gun lobby don’t want to go there, but any willingness to go somewhere that leads us out of nowhere is promising.

At least we are seemingly working past the “too soon to talk about (gun control)” and hollow “thoughts and prayers” mumbo jumbo.

Most of the country, as has been the case for a while, remains in favor of background checks. Democrats more than Republicans, but not by as much of a margin as you would think.

And there was this, in the wake of the recent shootings, from your president (not mine).

“Mental illness and hatred pulled the trigger. Not the gun.”

Actually, hatred did pull the trigger of the El Paso shooter, who was bent on shooting Mexicans after leaving behind a manifesto that was dipped in the DNA of the rhetoric of your president (not mine).

Your president (not mine) was not a welcomed guest in El Paso, and it showed when all eight hospitalized victims refused to meet with him.

He won’t own that, but he seems willing to move – after which he will likely shove it in the face of his 2020 presidential opponent.

It might be worth the tradeoff.

What are being called “Red Flag” laws could just be a trap serving as sort of a political flypaper. It should, by no means, lead to waving the white flag on legislation – the type that would have to come after a powerful left hook in 2020 – really needed for substantive change.

Taking ancillary causes (mental health, video games, Hollywood, etc.) and making them the core issue could be as dangerous, long-term, as doing nothing.

There are people called epidemiologists who are experts in studying, well, the science of epidemics in all forms based on statistics.

And that’s where we have been for far too long with gun violence.

How do you explain, for example, that women also have mental illness but 98 percent of those pulling the trigger in gun violence are men?

There are varied definitions of who is or isn’t mentally ill, although it is generally accepted that as much as five percent of the population have a condition that would require a psychiatrist (as opposed to a psychologist, counselor or member of the clergy).

Research shows that only 43 percent get help, and it is also noteworthy than an estimated 60 percent of American counties do not even have a psychiatrist.

The epidemiologists point out that people with mental conditions are, in fact, 3.6 percent more likely to exhibit some sort of violent behavior but are 23 times more likely to be victims of violence.

The FBI did a study in 2018, and it pointed more toward factors beyond being insane.

This is more about those who go temporarily insane, as the study pointed to financial stress and disputes/bullying at school and/or the workplace with co-workers. Substance abuse was also cited.

What happens when someone is infuriated?

They might go home and punch a wall. They might get their drink on at the local tavern. They might go the gym and pump a battleship’s worth of iron.

But, in the land of the gun, there are other realities.

Even though our mental health issues are not different than that seen in other countries, the difference is access to guns.

We have 400 million civilian-owned firearms, which breaks down to 120.5 per 100 residents (i.e. more than one per person).

That puts us first, with lovely Yemen (just under 53 percent per 100) a distant second.

This is what we call a real red flag.

This column first appeared in The Times Herald on Aug. 18, 2019.