This Unholy Mess

If the Ten Commandments don’t really do it for you but you can’t quite stomach Dr. Phil either, then why not dip your mental big toe into This Unholy Mess? I can sound as authoritative as Oprah, as enthusiastic as Joel Osteen, and as esoteric as Ron Hubbard—and I can do it all without the terrible burden of wealth and notoriety that might risk infusing my writing with a bit of legitimacy. Much of what you will find on the blog is political, if only because I am a fan of tragi-comedy; but there are plenty of offensive religious and social topics to disturb just about anyone with a reasonably closed mind, a slight chip on his shoulder, and a desire to confront people belligerently from the safety of a computer keyboard. Enjoy!

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Here we are again. Another horrible school shooting, and in Texas, too, a state that’s had more than its share. Everyone is shocked and saddened, of course, not just by the frequency of these tragedies but also by the lack of preventive action by our leaders. So who has the big idea, the solution to this terrible scourge? I’ll tell you who: Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas. In a May 18th statement, he demonstrated the kind of dynamism and original thinking that make us all proud not to be Dan Patrick. In perfectly simple-minded English, he explained how to avoid school shootings in the future, steering well clear of any actually viable ideas currently being called for by substantial majorities of Americans, ideas like comprehensive background checks, closing the gun show loophole, funding more complete school counseling programs, or studying ways to reduce gun violence. His idea? Designing schools with fewer entrances. Sheer genius. It’s a notion that has security experts and school officials slapping their foreheads. In disbelief? Frustration? Hard to say. But with only a few entrances, Patrick points out, schools can eliminate the unrealistically costly step of arming absolutely everyone, and implement the kind of effective surveillance and security that will foil the efforts of the increasing numbers of enraged and alienated teenagers bent on carrying out mass murder. The only problem with Mr. Patrick’s plan, as I see it, is that it doesn’t go far enough. Since it’s apparently useless to talk to Texas officials about the ready availability of military grade weapons, about bump stocks or large-capacity magazines, or the three hundred million guns already rattling around in this country, we obviously should be talking about other, even more creative modifications to school buildings. Modifications that Mr. Patrick would certainly endorse as perfect for stymieing just about any shooter. Once we have limited the school to two or three entrances, as he suggests, how about moving on to the issue of hallways, which today offer shooters far too many target opportunities? What we need are zig-zag corridors, ones that will interrupt the shooter’s line of sight. Ideally, they will be only 30” wide, offering the double benefit of reducing visible targets and restricting the shooter’s movements. Then, for even greater security, schools will be...   Read more

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