In the spirit of not letting a good crisis go to waste, before all the facts in the Oregon college shootings were known or even before the bodies of the victims were cold, President Obama wasted no time chiming in and offering his two-cents worth of opinions, platitudes and down right untruths in his never ending advocacy of gun control and even hinted at possible executive action on the matter; not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Democratic candidates followed suit and their faithful followers in the main stream media provided convenient sounding boards for the plethora of disparate and sometimes absurd opinions.
The 26-year old shooter, Christopher Sean Mercer, a young man of mixed race, was a loner, lived with his mother and owned numerous guns; the disclosure of those facts elicited a collective Aha! from the self-appointed media psychiatric analysts pointing to them as obvious warning signs.
What is ignored is that there are many other young men who choose to be loners, live with their parents, own guns and do not go around shooting anyone. Crazy people do crazy things for reasons known only to themselves and if guns were not available to them, they would use knives, hatchets, machetes or any other instruments handy at the time, up to and including driving a car and plowing it into a crowd. There are many things about mental health that we do not know in spite of the self-congratulatory attitudes of the psychiatric industry. What we do know is that the Oregon college was a “gun free zone” and as other previous shootings have demonstrated, having a gun free zone is tantamount to hanging a banner saying “Come and shoot without worry” Another fact is that there was a lone security guard armed with a can of Mace; with all due respect, an unarmed security guard is not protection but just another potential victim. Would the presence of armed security have avoided the massacre? We won’t know, will we? The police, in most cases, arrive after the shooter has already committed suicide, just in time to pick up the bodies and clean up the mess.
And one last thought: nine people were shot in Oregon. How does that compare to the carnage in Chicago, a city with strict gun control laws, Obama’s hometown? Strange that he is always silent about that.
In an unfortunate incident in Afghanistan, US planes accidentally bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders near the city of Konduz, killing 22 persons, including doctors. Konduz was captured by Taliban fighters and the Afghan Security Forces were engaged in heavy fighting trying to recapture it. I has become clear that it was the Afghan forces that called in the raid and whether or not there were Taliban gunmen in the immediate vicinity is still debated. Bear in mind that Islamic fighters do not hesitate to use civilians as shields. US, NATO and Afghan authorities have promised a thorough investigation and Doctors Without Borders has called the incident a “war crime”. The moral of the story? Combat zones are indeed very dangerous places to be in. Proceed at your own risk.
In the department of Foot in Mouth, presumptive future Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s unbelievably stupid statement crediting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers decline to the actions of the Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, thus intimating that the committee was formed solely to damage Mrs Clinton politically, has not only tossed a lifeline to her, which she promptly took advantage of, but also undermined Trey Gowdy’s years of excellent work and raises questions about Mr McCarthy’s judgment. Politicians in high positions need to weigh their words very carefully, not just blurt out the first thought that comes into their minds to show how smart they are; what they usually succeed in doing is to reveal how foolish they are. Does that disqualify Mr McCarthy for the Speakership? Perhaps not, but it does prove that a second look at his opponents is merited.
Can anybody explain what is it that we are trying to accomplish in the Middle East and in Syria in particular? We are engaged in an aerial campaign against the ISIS savages as part of a reluctant “60 nation coalition”; however the campaign is hampered by rules of engagement so restrictive than when targets of opportunity present themselves, by the time all the back and forth communications between pilots and headquarters end, the opportunity vanishes. The lone exception last week was the first sortie conducted by the French into Syria, which completely obliterated an ISIS training camp and killed numerous ISIS fighters. We are, so we state, “degrading and eventually destroying” ISIS in Iraq while simultaneously trying to unseat Syrian dictator Bashir Assad, who is fighting ISIS, thereby indirectly aiding ISIS. We have spent millions arming and equipping the Syrian opposition to Assad, without really knowing who those people are, and the end result was a force of some 40 or 50 fighters (no, not 4000 or 5000) who infiltrated Syria and were promptly killed, captured or just disappeared; others just took the weapons and the training we provided and deserted to Al Qaida. The Pentagon finally admitted that the end result of the millions of dollars spent arming the Syrian opposition, is a force of 4 to 5 fighters; the figure was later revised to 9 or 10, which I guess is a 100% improvement.
Should we be surprised that we generate so little enthusiasm among our so-called friends? What have we done so far, except throw our allies under the bus and abandon them to their fate? That does not generate loyalty. Contrast this with Putin’s attitude when he finally intervened in Syria. His not so subtle message is “Assad is an SOB but he is our SOB and we will not abandon him” His seems to be the only clear position in the mess that is the whole region.
When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the UN, the State Department instructed that US delegate Samantha Powers be absent. Is it surprising that Netanyahu traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin and that the Iraqi government (what is left of it) is welcoming the Russian presence?
President Obama famously called ISIS “the JV squad” Apparently, it is “the JV squad” who sits in the Oval Office.
One last thought: there is no such thing as a “non-violent drug offense” That ounce of cocaine or whatever the drug of choice is, has a long trail going back to South America, Mexico or Southeast Asia and is a trail of blood, violence and murder. Let us remember the first principle of any market: as long as there is a demand, there will be a willing supplier and the enormous demand in this country fuels the supply. Those celebrities that we feel so sorry for after they destroy their lives or we feel so good about when they finally come out of rehab are also responsible for the hundred of thousands of deaths at the hands of the drug cartels; the war has finally spread into our borders, turning our southern border into a war zone that is largely ignored by the media, intent in portraying the endless lines of illegal border crossers as people “just looking to better themselves” and glossing over the drug traffickers. Those beautiful Hollywood types that glamorize drugs and make them look “hip” have blood on their hands.