“We build a fire in a powder magazine, then double the fire department to put it out. We inflame wild beasts with the smell of blood, and then innocently wonder at the wave of brutal appetite that sweeps the land as a consequence.” — Mark Twain
BANG, YOU’RE DEAD
I was as enraged as anyone after learning of yesterday’s madness in Connecticut.
I took to Facebook and ranted:
— and —
America, with its psycho-sexual fixation on guns, is indeed deranged.
That said, a sociologist and criminologist from Northeastern University named Jack Levin appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday afternoon to put yesterday’s horror in perspective.
“The truth is,” Levin said, “there’s still about 20 mass killings every year in this country, and that has been true for decades.”
In other words, things aren’t getting worse.
Which is scant consolation to the parents who lost kids in Sandy Hook.
Wait, there’s more. Funnyman Aaron Freeman points out this fascinating set of statistics:
◗ US population, 1990: 248,709.873 — 23,440 homicides.
◗ US population, 2011: 311,591,917 — 14,612 homicides
“We are,” Freeman writes, “moving in the right direction.”
PEOPLE ONLY ACT WHEN FACED WITH CRISIS?
Politico Ray Hanania points out this example of how mightily weird our species is:
◗ One guy tries to use a shoe bomb on an airplane — Now every air travel passenger must remove her or his shoes before reaching the gate.
◗ Some 31 lunatics have committed school shootings since Columbine — No changes have been instituted.
Whew! I Feel Safer Now.
Yesterday morning, Kevin Sears, the Toastmaster General of Bloomington, and I mused on the inevitable movie about Jerry Sanduski, Joe Paterno, and the Penn State scandal. Here’s what we agreed upon:
Gary Busey will play Sanduski
Al Pacino will play Paterno
That’s all you need to know.
THE LAST MEN IN THE MOON
Precisely 40 years ago today, Gene Cernan, Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, and Ron Evans departed lunar orbit and began their quarter-million mile trip back to Earth.
Cernan and Schmidt were the last human beings to walk on the moon.
Jack Schmidt On The Moon
Their mission, Apollo 17, originally was planned to be the third-to-last lunar trip but budget cutbacks forced NASA to cancel Apollos 18 and 19.
The two astronauts in the Lunar Module that descended to the moon’s surface from the Command Module spent a little more than three days on the Earth’s natural satellite. Their craft landed in the Taurus-Littrow lunar valley. The two walked on the moon for a total of 23 hours.
Schmidt was a geologist who’d go on to serve as United States Senator from New Mexico. Cernan was a Navy jet pilot before joining NASA. Both men are still alive and are approaching the age of 80.
Cernan & Schmidt On The Trip Back To Earth
Before he left the moon, Cernan carved the initials of his daughter on a lunar boulder.
One of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard.