There comes a time when stupidity simply must be punished. Anyone that gives an automatic weapon to a child should not be surprised to find himself dead. Although the child will suffer, she has no fault. Adults forced or lured her into being fascinated with guns. Just like they do with religion.
This incident provides one more lesson in the need for stricter gun laws…which will never happen. The daily death toll has not moved urge to change, so nothing will. I am sure that the NRA and its enablers will find a “plausible” excuse for this senseless (even if deserved) death in Arizona.
Americans are known for the delusion that everything about their country is divinely ordered and that every aspect of the country and life in the country are superior to everything else in the work, but the English are not far behind in the delusion department.
Case in point: the CEO of London’s Heathrow Airport thinks that its the best in the world. I’ve bee to third world airports the function better and I prefer. In a P.R. puff piece on BBC, he made such absurd comments as
(We have the) “best baggage system in Europe/one of best in world”
(Heathrow has) “two world class terminals”.
Why was he speaking to the press? The baggage system broke down last week, with many people still not having received luggage after 5 days. He blamed a computer glitch and the need to sort baggage by hand.
If you ask me, this guy must not have traveled to other countries or in and out of his own airport. I have always found Heathrow to be one of worst. Arrival and depart is bad enough, but transferring terminals is a disaster. Terminal 5 gives priority to shops and not passenger flow. Lines are long and slow-moving for check-in and security. The word efficiency does not come to mind…ever.
Here’s an interesting question, posed in the headline of a Guardian column:
If America is the world's greatest power, why the infantile politics?
I noticed this very disturbing headline:
“4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work”
I have noticed decline each time I have visited the United States over the past decades, but did not realize that things had reached such a low point. Poverty is the United States, a country touted as the Land of milk and honey and the dream destination of many unwitting foreigners, is more disturbing than what I observe in Asia. In most countries, people are not fooled into believing what are basically lies. I often wondered how anyone could expect a nation to prosper that turned manufacturing jobs into fast food jobs. Someone must make money to buy all those burgers, tacos, and pizza.
One constantly hears about supremacy and “We’re Number 1”, but it seems that the country leads only in growing income inequality. People are suffering, because too many got rich by moving jobs overseas.
Although someone has noticed, nothing will change...
"Obama Says Income Gap Is Fraying U.S. Social Fabric"
...because Republicans and lobbyists will do everything to thwart him.
After I drafted the above, I watched the movie, The Candidate. This was supposed to be a comedy, but I found too much reality to make my laugh. The parody was based upon sad realities of the American system, making this film a tragedy...
Before I get to the word, I want to point out that I am a nice person. Many might be surprised to learn this, but it’s true. I offer as evidence the photo below.
Although I receive no praise, thanks, or recognition, I spend my hard-earned money to help the less-fortunate. In winter, grocery stores sell such seed-filled balls (as well as bags of seeds) as seen in the photo to feed small birds. The small size prevents larger birds from pigging the food. I do not have to do this, but I want to. What more proof do you need of my niceness?
Irregardless, the photo leads to the German word. The little bird in the photo is a common bird in Germany: Die Meise. This is known as the titmouse in the United States, because the English version is considered to be vulgar. The name is seldom, if ever, heard in polite circles, but is commonly used without embarrassment by ornithologists. Also, Americans tend to be prudish,but English people do not have a problem calling a bird a tit. I have a friend that uses this word the way an American would use bird-brained, but that has nothing to do with the German word...or my nice character.
Some quotes with disturbing facts from a New Yorker article about life in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave:
“Six million people are under correctional supervision in the U.S.—more than were in Stalin’s gulags.”
“...American prisoners, huge numbers of whom are serving sentences much longer than those given for similar crimes anywhere else in the civilized world...”
“Texas alone has sentenced more than four hundred teen-agers to life imprisonment.”
“More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives.”
“In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then.”
“In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.”
“Blacks are now incarcerated seven times as often as whites.”
“If mass incarceration is considered as a system of social control—specifically, racial control—then the system is a fantastic success.”
“Northern impersonality and Southern revenge converge on a common American theme: a growing number of American prisons are now contracted out as for-profit businesses to for-profit companies.”
“Brecht could hardly have imagined such....a capitalist enterprise that feeds on the misery of man trying as hard as it can to be sure that nothing is done to decrease that misery.”
I have been guilty of tending to cynicism. I can’t help but to call ‘em as I see ‘em. For me, a spade is a shovel, to dig your hole deeper; a club a blunt instrument to beat a dead horse; a diamond a piece of hard glass to tempt gullible people (mostly female, that most vicious of the species); but, a heart is something to have for the less-fortunate, the abused, and the underdogs amongst us.
With this in mind, I thought today about the difference between Germans and Americans, both fine examples of the species, even if each has evolved in different directions. Eons from now, paleontologists examine fossil evidence will notice variations in bone structure and teeth, both with evidence of different nutrition.
In general, Germans enjoy an excellent quality of life, but constantly complain. They know that life cannot become better for them, because of rigid social structures. Only lottery players hope for more, even if they know that they are dreaming. This is the only tax that anyone gladly pays.
In the United States, where streets are reputed to be paved with gold bricks life keeps becoming worse for the majority. Word about actual road conditions has not reached all foreign lands, and citizens do not understand that tax money is needed to improve all non-golden streets. Average living standards are declining, and the middle class is shrinking. Only the number of people sinking below the poverty level increases. Nevertheless, the American Dream is alive and kicking, with belief thriving unabated. Most seem to foolishly blame themselves or bad luck for dire circumstances and believe that the system and the Constitution allows life to become better, if only....
Unlike Germans, few Americans complain--except about the Government, regardless of the party in office. They know that improvement is just over the horizon and down the Yellow Brick Road...
_ To accompany the subject of the American Dream, here is the American Nightmare:
I found this to be surprising, startling, and unacceptable. But, who am I?
I may not be the smartest human roaming the planet, but I do observe what is happening within my field of vision and have been for years.
I have often used the euphemism “the country in which I was born” when commenting on aspects of the United States that disturb me. I have noticed a decline in the quality of life for the majority, a destruction of the middle class, and a growth of militarism/guns/fear.
An article in a recent issue of Vanity Fair touches on this subject and points out a major factor causing these changes. It deals with the papers of the eminent George F. Kennan and his confirmation of what I have observed.
I’m not sure if it’s gratifying or terrifying that such an august figure commented on the same issues during his long lifetime in government service. He points out the rise of certain negative aspects of current American life and the decline for the majority. He was an insider, even having a hand in some of the decisions, many of which he later regretted. I was/am an outsider, and he articulates the problem (with no solution) much better and with more credibility. I noticed blurred contours emerging into sharp contrasts over time. I am happy to have lived during a time when life in the United States seemed to have been good. Now, the American Dream is an illusion, a hype, and impossible to achieve...except for the wealthy. I see parallels to Dickensian England emerging in a land that was supposed to be “better”...which is sad. It did not have to be this way. Unfortunately, following the upcoming presidential election, things could deteriorate further.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.