One thing that always occurs to me when there is a mass shooting is that they often don't seem to be fundamentally different from suicide bombings. In both types of events, the perpetuator usually ends up killing and wounding a lot of people, and the perpetuator almost always end up getting themselves killed, by getting themselves blown up, shooting themselves, or getting shot by cops. And yet, suicide bombings are invariably described as terrorist acts while mass shootings are treated as 'merely' very tragic events (well, except perhaps if the shooter is Muslim). The one fundamental difference between a mass shooting and a suicide bombing seems to be that there might be less property damage from the former, even if in practice there might be different proportions of motives.
Not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but the different perceptions have been bugging me ...
Glenn Greenwald mentions rumblings against Iran with the MOP (massive ordnance penetrator, a huge multiton bomb that could be used to strike hardened underground nuclear facilities. However, what caught my attention was not the politics about the situation, but rather the bomb itself.
Think about it: it's a bomb that weighs over ten kilotons, presumably with an explosive more powerful than TNT. Now recall that the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were equivalent to blasts of 13 and 21 kilotons of TNT, respectively. The MOP may as well be a nuclear bomb, just a really heavy one and lacking radioactivity. Imagine the MOP being used with little hesitation because it is a conventional warhead, but prompting a nuclear response because someone else might consider its powerful blast to be little different from having used a small tactical nuclear warhead ...
It is pretty well known that at gun shows in the United States there are often less than strict background checks when guns are sold (as in, none at all), and I was reminded about it when the New York City mayor prompted undercover video tapings of such transactions to argue for stricter gun control. Opposition to gun control is a favorite canard for those of right-wing political beliefs, but so is a vehement reaction to illegal immigration.
This makes me wonder: for those who are both adamantly opposed to any gun control and want draconian measures enforced against illegal immigrants, would I get to see their heads explode when they're asked about an illegal immigrant trying to buy a gun at a gun show without any background checks?
Via Greg Laden's Blog, this is what happens when corporate bureaucrats get between people and healthcare right now in the United States:
An apathetic government bureaucrat might not be ideal, but this has got to be better than the way it currently is in the United States, where a corporate bureaucrat wants to deny you healthcare even after you have paid health insurance premiums for years. And this is assuming that a corporate bureaucrat allows you to get health insurance in the first place.
If you get it, then spread the video! In the words of Greg Laden:
Please copy this video onto your blog if you are a blogger. Otherwise, pass it around. WE WANT THIS TO GO VIRAL!!!
It's no surprise that politics make people say contradictory things in the same breath, but it feels like the cognitive dissonance is reaching epidemic levels these days. Or maybe I'm just suffering Golden Age syndrome. Here are some recent weird stuff said by people that gave me pause:
- Torture is illegal. We will not prosecute any high-level official from previous administration (who sanctioned torture).
- I hate socialized medicine. Leave my (government-run, socialized) Medicare alone.
- I don't want no bureaucrat determining my healthcare. Leave the current system (where bureaucrats determine my healthcare) alone.
- The healthcare bill encourages living wills (through an amendment proposed by a Republican, where I could easily say to not disconnect the machines until I'm really, really dead), so it is a secret plot by Democrats to kill old people.
- We should not encourage development of alternative energy because people want cheap energy. Remember the pain of $4 per gallon (non-alternative, carbon-emitting) oil?
- Socialism is bad for quality food production. Monsanto (a huge agricultural corporation) is an example of such socialism.
- I made a huge mistake. But I should be forgiven and not resign, since God (who turns people into salt pillars for taking a peek, kicks out people because they took a bite out of a fruit, and burns people for eternity) is so forgiving.
- I'm quitting. It's because I'm not a quitter.
- We need Hispanic votes. I will vote against a Hispanic candidate because I have to blow out a minor comment all out of proportion.
- Why does he not show his birth certificate (which he already did last year) to me (whose birth certificate the public has never seen)?