Slow news day

Greetings from Huntsville, your latest source of American workplace shootings.

Pass the chicken.

There's nothing quite like waking up one morning to learn that your adopted hometown is the news event of the day. "Four men dead in workplace shooting; police say that the gunman is holed up in some..." ... unnamed apartment building that's apparently over on my side of town.

It was comforting to see that for at least one day out of the year, the Huntsville news stations actually had something to report on for a change. It was also comforting to see that the reports of the shooting were related in that same breathless tone of doom that marks every rain forecast or low restaurant health score. It would be much more of a compliment to say "they treated today's news like any other day's news" if they had any concept of how to treat a normal day's worth of news.

The stories change, but the tone never does: "Workplace Shooting, 4 Dead" is reported with the same note of urgency and horror as such obviously-filler topics as "Is Your Child's Drinking Water Safe?" More often than not, Jeff and I catch a 15-second teaser for the nightly local news, hear the topic, look at each other, shrug, and say, "Slow news day."

Of course, since we have the glory that is TiVo, we watched the first three minutes of the local news (yep, they're dead; yep, we've got shots of the traumatized family members; yep, we've got testimonials from survivors; now let's show recaps of the last few shootings in Huntsville that we've got film on so we can keep viewers tuned in), got the hint, and moved on.

Strangely enough, TiVo had an episode of the Daily Show. Even more strangely, one of the DS topics was about Smith & Wesson's decision to sell a .50-caliber revolver. Have I mentioned how glorious it is to have the freedom and liberty to pack a gun so large that if I decided to shoot someone with it, there wouldn't even be a body left to identify?

What, exactly, was the reason for making this gun available to the public? Something like "real men need more than a .24"? "Only pansies carry a .45"? Is there a single demonstrable reason for this gun to exist, except for the final pistol-topper in a my-penis-is-bigger-than-your-penis contest?

This is America. Bigger is better. I'm waiting for the ultimate super-sized package: a free .50-caliber with your next purchase of a Cadillac Escalade.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, I live in a planet where George Bush insists that we must go to war with Iraq because he says they are hiding weapons of mass destruction; meanwhile, North Korea shoots missiles into the sea.

Now, I don't know about you guys, but when did a missile get taken off the list of "weapons of mass destruction"? You know, light the fuse, it flies away, it comes down, and then goes boom on some heretofore-unsuspecting city? Cities, as you may have learned in your geography classes, tend to contain people and buildings and other very soft and appealingly squishy things that in war terms are known as "targets." Their eradication generally equates to "destruction," with the potential modifier 'mass' depending on the amount of actual destruction.

If North Korea has non-weapons-of-mass-destruction uses for its missiles, what would they be for, inviting Japan to a radioactive tea party?

Ah, yes. On this planet, potential Iraqi missiles are weapons of mass destruction that merit a war, but a real Korean missile really fired into a real ocean is something to be downplayed...and there's an actual need for a private citizen to own a .50-caliber weapon.

Now that's news.


Countries test surface-to-surface missiles all the time. We shoot ours at Vieques. The DPRK's missile wasn't something that could drop a nuke. A .50 cal revolver? Even this NRA member finds that ludicrous, in a "how the heck do you keep this thing on target?" way. I have a .45ACP, and I do good to hit the broad side of a barn with it. Of course, I also still maintain that a shotgun's better for home defense, but some guys need the penis-waving power. However, there's no real reason to bar the introduction of such a weapon to the market. Other firearms, sure ...

Geof: No offense, but BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! Yes, countries test surface-to-surface missiles all the time. However, most countries aren't run by crackpots who have said they'll restart their nuclear weapons development program and who've launched multi-stage missiles over not only their nearest neighbour, but the next country over. And the same goes for North Korea too (ba-dum-ching). Meanwhile Iraq's preparing to get the everloving crap beaten out of them because they won't destroy missiles that could possibly fly 50 miles farther than what the UN said they're allowed to have. And to carry what, the nuclear bomb that the inspectors say they didn't find any trace of? The chemical weapons the inspectors say they didn't find any trace of? Oh, short of a couple of empty canisters, which are the farthest thing from a smoking gun as you can get (well, a handful of daisies would probably be farther...). Sure, this North Korean missile might not have been capable of dropping a nuke, but you can still do a hell of a lot of damage with conventional weaponry. And consider the timing: a few hours before the inauguration of South Korea's new president. And don't forget Colin Powell was there, so it's not like the US was ignoring Korea at the time.

Oh, I still think that the DPRK's were trying to douse an already-inflamed situation with JP4. But I don't think it goes to the level of WMD. I find it reprehensible, really--both the actions and the general American response, although I think the US is right not to enter into bilateral talks with the DPRK. The ROK's have to be involved, at minimum.

Why haven't people realized that Iraq and North Korea are two totally different situations? If we attempted to go about them the same way, we'd get smacked. Iraq is a threat to the region, has been and always will be. Yet there is no strong power in the reigion (except Israeli but if they do anything they get hit by everyone) so America has to step in. Also, there's proof that Iraq has funded and trained Terrorists. Last time I checked, North Korea doesnt have those connections. North Korea also has one of the largest standing armies in the world, they WOULD be a threat to the United States - if they could get anywhere. Yes North Vietnam has weapons of mass destruction, they have for a long time, yes they are about to develop nuclear weapons, what else is new? THe entire situation there is not new, they've always been threatening and frankly they just want to get the US to the bargaining table. North Korea attack anyone wouldn't be in their best interest, they need food, not more mouths to feed. They need jobs, not more places to rebuild and very much not more enemies. Also you have South Korea, China, and Japan who could all basicly deal with or limit North Korea's intentions. Why do we have to get involved there? The majority of the arguments for not going to war with Iraq are just plain bullshit and make no sense. The majority of reasons for not getting involved (war wise) with North Korea make a hell of alot of sense. Iraq doesn't respond to anything but war, North Korea would respond if we just offered them a peice of paper and a food more pounds of food a month.