Burch: End of the world as we know it?

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Does 12-21-2012 herald the end of mankind, perhaps due to sheer idiocy, following the dodo to extinction? Did ancient Mayans travel through the spirit world to peer into the increasingly irrational minds of their future descendants, and conclude that human evolution was a dead end?

I would like to believe that human beings can still rise above the various dysfunctions created by our inability (or unwillingness) to rely on facts and use our powers of reason to solve vexing problems rationally. But the Mayans may have been right, and it even seems that I may have become something of a prophet myself, if only by studying facts and using logic to predict the inevitable.

In my previous article I made the following observation about right-wing conservatives who insist on the unlimited right to bear arms: “Now they want guns in parks, parking lots and universities. And they’re not satisfied with Colts and Magnums. In American bigger is better. So the next logical steps, so to speak, will probably be assault weapons in high schools, grade schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, Sunday schools and maternity wards.”

Now 20 young Sandy Hook Elementary students, all age six or seven, lie dead, along with six educators, at least three of whom courageously placed their bodies in danger to shield their young charges. Perhaps their courage is only matched by the stupidity of the NRA and its political minions, who refuse to accept the fact that flooding a nation with assault weapons and ammo is something only dodos — not an intelligent species — would do.

I am utterly horrified to have been made to seem like a prophet, so quickly. But none of us can change the past, so now the question becomes whether we are doomed to keep repeating the errors of the past, because we obstinately refuse to learn from them, or whether we can finally begin to use our big brains to save our children and their teachers from needless carnage and death.

Will the Tennessee state legislature now act to protect our children? It seems quite possible that conservatives will just adamantly dig in their heels, insisting that “guns don’t kill people” and that nothing can be done but hand out weapons to teachers in the hope that they can take out would-be-serial-killers without accidentally shooting their own students (something that is nowhere near as easy as the Rambos would like us to believe).

I have no doubt that dodo-like Tennessee politicians will soon be echoing the “wisdumb” of Louis Gohmert, a Texas representative who said that if the school’s principal had been armed, she might have been able to prevent some or all of the mayhem: “I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office locked up and so when she heard gunshots ... she takes his head off before he can hurt those kids.”

The head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence begs to differ. “There are 40 people behind me who would love to respond to that,” Brady president Dan Gross said at a press conference. “It’s insane ... Think about what that’s saying. It’s saying the only answer to violence is more violence. The only answer to guns is more guns.”

Gross said that more weapons would only make events like the one at Sandy Hook worse, as innocent people are caught in a withering crossfire. He also said, “I would hope the representative is held responsible for irresponsible statements like that.”

Are Tennessee’s assault-gun-loving Holy Rollers saints or sinners? I think Oscar Wilde may have been right when he said that the only sin is stupidity.



Note: After I wrote the first draft of this article, the right-wingers made me seem like a prophet again, because Tennessee lawmakers are, indeed, pushing ahead with “guns in trunks” legislation, and are also talking about arming teachers, professors and school administrators. According to John Harris, the executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, “Our principal goal is to remove all statutory and regulatory restrictions of firearms possession.” (Not some, but all.)

And this Monday the state’s dodo-in-chief, Gov. Bill Haslam, said that legislators should not change Tennessee’s gun control laws. Why? Guns are big business in Tennessee and the NRA is scheduled to bring around 48,000 visitors to Nashville for its 2015 convention, so perhaps money talks louder than children’s and teachers’ lives. No other industrialized nation has near as many mass murders and other acts of gun-related violence as the United States, so there is solid evidence that what we have here is an aberration, not anything inevitable. One may perhaps teach old dogs new tricks, but old dodos seem to be allergic to progress.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Michael Burch

192 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:47

Even if you ignore him, his crazy comments ruins every topic, everyday.

By: Moonglow1 on 12/21/12 at 8:48

Moonglow1: Yogi is a poster boy for a ban on assault rifles and need for mental health care.

He suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, and schizoaffective disorder.

His "brain?" Is a jumbled mess.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:53

Meanwhile back at the funny farm, yogi forgetting that he had disguised himself as a pool table, racked his on balls.

What A Dumb ASS!!! LOL

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 8:53

Ok, I called Havens of Hope in Smithville, relatively close. They said that someone closer to him, family, would have to take charge unless he made specific threats to himself or someone else.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:54

g - Try Carthage, that is much closer.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:56

g - Plus he has basically threatened posters on this board, with his gun.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:58

The idea that the 2nd amendment exists so that the armed population can rise up and revolt against the elected government is pure heresy.....but it's a time-honored heresy....it's what drove the Southern gun-owners into the militant secessionist mode.

The purpose of the amendment is gone....we don't have a need for a "well-regulated militia"...we now have a large, well-equipped army, navy and air force providing the national security.....those gun-nuts who use the 2nd amendment as cover for their insanity present a national security threat...the amendment is counter-productive and must be abolished. Totally.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 9:03

Lo and behold, bfra,

We agree on something else. Your comment on your 7:38 post says congress has quit representing us. If you are too young to have noticed it decades ago, they've taken the attitude they are our parents instead of our children.

Congress was designed and developed by our founders to represent us: We the people. They began representing the industries decades ago when the industries executives started handing out money to them. I'll repeat, why should anyone in congress spend millions to make $145,000? a year?

I never vote for one more than twice and usually only once.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 9:10

Th 2nd amendment was supposed to provide national security; it ended up sparking the Great Secession and now it has resulted in a wave of mass-murders....enough is enough...the 2nd amendment has to be totally abolished....it's a dangerous anachronism and a national disgrace.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 9:12

I believe the intent of the 2nd amendment was so the states would be able, legally, to maintain their own militia, versus the Feds. Well that militia is now the National Guard and we do have a standing army, navy and air force.

I'm not ready to repeal the amendment but I see no rational argument for civilians to possess military grade weapons. And, as I'm mentioned several times, no one has given me a good explanation for that argument either.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 9:19

And the Southern state militia took up arms against the USA....end of rationale for the Second amendment.....the amendment should have been struck down while the South was not in the Congress.....it would have been possible to do that at the time....but not today, the confederates are back, buggering the US Congress, once again....keeping the faith with a lost cause.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 9:21

It didn't spark the Civil War, loner. The 19th century was a different time and place. Security was much more of an issue, as was survival. You'd be hard pressed to say that gun ownership wasn't justified, regardless of militia.

The South was limited to using their own private arms or those found on the battlefield. Most of the fun manufacturing was in the North. So it seems the 2nd amendment was an advantage to both, for different reasons.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 9:22

s/h/b gun manufacturing

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 9:26

Loner, that's exactly what the amendment was intended to do. Arm a militia. Remember, our founding was an act of rebellion. The founders knew this and included that specific amendment. It functioned as it was intended.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 9:31

Sorry Loner, but anyone that wants to totally do away with guns, IMO is just as unrealistic as the ones that don't want the 2nd amendment changed or a ban on assault weapons.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 9:35

Well, Gd, we just disagree. But I am not the only person who correlates the Great Secession with the second amendment.

Here, for example, is a modern threat of secession; using the 2nd amendment as the rationale:

In a joint resolution from the Montana leaders, including Congressman Denny Rehberg, they caution that should the Supreme Court decide to change the U.S. interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and allow those rights to apply only collectively, it would violate the contract under which Montana entered the union as a state.



If and when states secede, they should never be readmitted whole into the union....any state that secedes should be readmitted as a territory, whose future boundaries will be decided by the Congress.

The US should throw Montana out of the union. We could break the discontented state of Montana down into 3 or four territories....that would bugger their white supremacist asses for good.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 9:37

Loner - IMO we don't have a Congress now that is capable of making those decisions.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 9:38

Facts are facts, Loner. Either I'm right or wrong, or y'all are right or wrong. You can keep posting you're right and I'm wrong arguments, and I'm going to keep posting I'm right and y'all are wrong. I believe we'll see whose right and whose wrong pretty soon, OK?

By: Mike Burch on 12/21/12 at 9:41


Thanks for the comments, as always. There is an excellent book called "The Science of Fear" that explains why the US has so many self-created problems. Fear sells. Politicians and businesses create fear and use fear for their own gain. Too many Americans are like sheep and lemmings, believing whatever they are told. So we have a public that keeps electing self-professed "saviors" when they're the people putting us in danger with their irrational beliefs.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 9:44

Mile - You are absolutely right!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 9:44

Mike, I believe that fear propoganda is what perpetuates the violence.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 9:49

Actually, Loner, Montana wouldn't be that far off. That was Lincoln's argument too. The states, when ratifying the Constitution, entered a pact based on certain criteria, one was the bill of rights. Montana would have a better legal standing because they would be responding to a change in the Constitution itself that repealed a fundamental right that has been understood for 200 years.

Put it this way, if the government repealed the 1st amendment, would you think states would have the right to end the union because of it?

The South rebelled because of a threat...there was no change to the Constitution. Their rebellion was not justified nor was it legal. Lincoln cited Jackson and Jefferson in his justification to keep the union together.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 10:11

How about quoting me on my "threat", bfra. You're as full of BS are your partners on this site.

Since you claim you're a life long member of the NRA, I presume you have a weapon. Why, what kind, just to look at it... maybe hang it on the wall as a picture?

And, Loner, you call me stupid and a racist. Name one time I've mentioned Barack Obama's race on this issue. Didn't think so. But race was the only reason any of you voted for him because you didn't, and still don't, know anything about him.

Don't any of you wonder why he's so secretive on his identity? I used to think most of you was smarter than that but it looks like I was wrong because you're still backing a man when you have no idea who he is.

And no, he isn't entitled to that office with a foreign father because he is a black man but the other two men weren't eligible because the were white men with foreign born fathers.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 10:16

Um...yogi, you mention his race all the time. Especially pointing out the you don't consider him black because he had a white mother.

You're a pathological liar.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 10:21

g - Among so many other vile things that people don't want anything to do with.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:26

A racist never see himself as a racist. If someone points it out, the paranoia old fart says that it is someone else. Not he!!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:26

g, I have prove him a lair and a coward.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 10:27

BS, gdiafante,

I've only mentioned his race in answer to "your" arguments. I expect I'm less of a racist than any of you. Why? Because I'm not one. Why do you all keep bring his race up? Let's keep the issue on his legal qualification for that office.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 10:29

It's called deflection, yogi. You've already been proven a liar so you then, like a five year old, start deflecting those accusations to your accusers. Laughable.

You are a dream case study for any competent psychologist.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:30

You just proved both of my 10:26 posts yogi.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:34

I think Darwin, would have considered yogi as a dead end branch in the human tree. Maybe a failed attempt to become human.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 10:35

gdiafante hit the nail on the head - just like a 5 yr. old yelling "you too".

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 10:35

Darwin would have put yogi in a sanitarium for study. Then, perhaps, written a book about de-evolution.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:37

We wait while yogi has his diaper changed.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 10:38

Or used a specimen to try to prove man did come from apes. But then, I have seen apes that acted more sane than yogi.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 10:44

De-evolution, that was the big word I was looking for. lol

Just think parts of humanity is not getting better, but becoming a sub-species. A yogi-homo-dumb-dumb-ass’icus.

Wonder if he will go look that up?

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 11:10


I am surprise that no one has played this today.

By: brrrrk on 12/21/12 at 11:48

"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.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 11:48

4 Dead, 3 State Troopers Injured in Blair County Shooting


By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 11:51

I'm a liar and coward, dumba$$? Why, because you didn't show up at the truck stop like you said you would? I was there, where was you? I didn't think you being scared to be there would make me a liar.

Had you heard all of those "knock the hell out of you" schemes? Only if you swing first. I never start a fight, I just finish them.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 11:53

Do you know who had armed guards in their schools? Columbine.


By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 12:17

pathological liar posts another one

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 12:21

Blanket - It would be hard to say if armed guards would be of any help. The killers always seem to be on a self destruct mission, like they are ready to die and just want to see how many they can take with them. Every incident like this is horrible, but 6 & 7 year olds is the most horrible so far.

By: dargent7 on 12/21/12 at 12:31

I think because I'm in CA now, our World Ends 2 hours later than Nashville's.
So, I can watch the East coast and the South blow up all the while sipping my prized Chardonnay.
For two more hours. Which is nice.

By: dargent7 on 12/21/12 at 12:40

Please tell me "yogi's " 11:51 post was done while he was drunk.
He now wants to meet other posters at truck stops for a rumble?
At 82?
"I just finish them (the fights)...."
TCP HAS to ban this nut-case. Enough is enough.
I long for the more sane days when "serr8'd" actually made sense.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 12:50

Watch out, dargent. He'll run you down with his Hoveround and beat you with his cane!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 12:51

Then he'll suffocate you with his dirty Depends!

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:00

Double LOL Blanket - You really have his #!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 1:02

bfra, the sad thing is it's probably not too far from the truth.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:02

d7 - You are really in the land of Chardonnay. Enjoy!