A Shot in the Dark

Not the modern day Billy the Kid shootist in Orlando, the Keystone Cops on Capitol Hill–or is that Capital Hill? An NRA accounting shows it all: from a mid-six figure graft to Thom Tillis’s $4.4 million support, including our Senate Majority leader who is presently standing in the way of the government’s functioning, Mitch McConnell’s $1.3 million. Many of those Senators voted to allow terrorist suspects to gain a license to kill–I mean, allowed them to buy military grade automatic weapons. (See http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/thoughts_and_prayers_video_20160616.)  Perhaps the greatest purveyor of arms in the world, The DOD, is now supplying arms to internal US distributors? Though, I think the NRA is more akin to a pusher: “But the pusher don’t care / Ah, if you live or if you die. . .Oh but the pusher is a monster / Good God, he’s not a natural man. . .Lord, he’ll leave your, he’ll leave your mind to scream. . . .God damn the pusher man.” (The Pusher, Steppenwolf–because it doesn’t matter what a pusher sells, he’s a monster).

Our lawmakers rally round the flag of the insane and the felons and the suspected terrorists, so torn and abused the Stars and Stripes of Fort McHenry look newly sewn and hot off the needle of Betsy Ross.

Same old same old.

Nothing will get better, no solution will be found, as long as our Lawmakers and The People keep blaming the individual when, in fact, the problem is sociocultural. America likes guns. America likes blowing people away. America believes that if you kill the problem, you got no problem–our pop culture, TV and movies, show this. Hell!–even our heroes are violent and destructive, as violent and destructive and conscienceless as our villains.

There is no such thing as blind justice in this country, but there is gun justice–and it is blind, so everything’s cool. Blind rage. Blind to responsibility. Blind to results. In truth, the Blind Man is here with 43 states allowing concealed weapons with a permit and–the love of every gun-totin’ cowboy–eight states that allow concealed carry without a permit: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. Ironically, though, these eight states have relatively few mass shootings: 0-10 between 1986 and 2016. Most of the shootings happen on the East Coast while Hawai’i, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, New Hampshire and peninsular Michigan do not engage in mass shootings.

As long as the pushers and the distributors are making money and spending money–it takes money to make money–you can bet your life there’ll be no solution and that old off-key merry-go-round will keep on turning just like Tina Turner’s Big Wheel and Robert Krumb’s cartoon Keep on Truckin’–which came from the singing of Blind Boy Fuller.

Oh, yeah. And people will keep on dying in numbers. Can’t forget them. The innocent bystanders. The nation’s collateral damage.

Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe got it right when they asked, “What’s the matter with the mill?” Answer: “It done broke down.”

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The Realm of the Hungry

She was a widow, a lady mourning for her lost husband. She cut off her hair, her dress lay loose about her bony shoulders. Perhaps she has grieved too long. She cared little about herself. Or her two children. They were fed. Housed in old clothing. Silent, sullen.

The world couldn’t go on like this. Not forever. For forever is time and time is movement. No part of life is still. Even the mold growing on the stagnant water is movement.

So, it came to pass that the village headman’s son came of age. He was handsome and very well-built. Accomplished. Robust. Desirable. All the girls in the village drooled over him. Giggled, pranced and primped for him.

Despairing of her long mourning, the widow thought she should put it away. So, she said to herself, “I’m tired of mourning. The village asks too much of me, grieving the rest of my life. Caring for children is burdensome. Widow’s weeds aren’t a life. Perhaps, if I paint myself red, the young man will take me as his.”

She went down by the river. The snow and ice made bathing difficult. But she broke through the surface crust and washed away the signs of mourning. Washed off the dirt. By evening, she had painted herself red. She decked herself out so the boy would be taken by her. He would have no one but this bright painted lady. With his father’s good graces he wed the red woman, a widow no more, and her children grew cold and hungry left alone. How sad. How sad to be abandoned.

The little girl took her brother’s hand and together went to grandma’s house. Grandma was poor and had little, what did an old person need? Death couldn’t be held off forever. Yet she welcomed her two grandchildren. They were family, after all, and family should be as one.

“Where has mother gone?” asked the little girl, wiping tears.

Grandma sighed, rocked, fed the fire. “I suspect,” she said, “your mother painted her face. Don’t try to find her. The headman’s son has wed her. She’ll not want to be burdened by you two children now she has found happiness.”

The old woman was right. Old people are often burdened by wisdom and the need to speak of it. Sometimes silence is best, words are hurtful.

Down by the river, near a healed hole in the ice, the bereft daughter found the filth her mother had washed off. A second hole, too, was filthy. A third was clean but the ice around was stained crimson red.

So, it was as grandma said.

What could the little lost girl do?

The girl went to the village headman’s lodging and opened the door and there sat her mother at her wedding feast and enjoying the son. The girl walked up to her red-painted mother. She hurled the filth in her mother’s face and said, “Take that! You have forsaken us, your two children, the memory of your husband.”

At once the mother-bride became a hideous and crabbed and bent old woman.

The house was in an uproar. The groom’s father raged. The son did not put away the love for his once red-painted now ugly bride. He believed that his love for her would cure her and she would become young and beautiful again. Love makes the world go around.

Devotion is touching.

But this did not stop him from having the girl and the boy bound and brought to him.

Judgment demanded payment.

“You have defiled this good place, now we must move. You will be left here to die to pay for your sins and cleanse this polluted ground,” he said.

“No,” said the old hag mother. “Take them back to their old lodging. I will take care of them there.” She yanked the crying children to their feet and shoved them to the door. “There is a hidden keep of meat,” she lisped to the little dears, “and and flint for a fire. When I come to stab you, I shall cut your bonds.” And she kicked them out.

The people departed the village for undefiled ground, the ugly old woman took a spear and went to take care of the children. Shadows cast through the window showed her stabbing the little ones over and again. The ground and the walls grew dark, the stain spread beyond the house.

The children were not heard from again. Grandma died.

The ugly old painted lady and her young husband lived a long, prosperous life of love.