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: Mike Burch on 12/21/12 at 1:02

The right-wingers seem to have only one play in their playbook: practice bigotry and injustice, and then if anyone complains, pound them into submission or kill them. The game plan has led to unwinnable wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the war zones have moved to our schools, because the right-wingers demand the right to bear arms without restriction.

The question is whether sane, reasonable people will do anything about it.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:04

Blanket - He probably can't even see whoever he is going to shoot, but he will have his see-n-eye dog go on point.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:15

Mike - When I joined NRA some 20+ years ago, we didn't have all these current problems so much. They do have some interesting articles in their magazine, but they also have some ads that I object to, which my objections are always sent. Other than my original fee, I have never donated to the NRA & don't plan on attending their convention. I am totally against assault weapons other than police & military. So I guess I am not one of their desirable members, money wise.

By: dargent7 on 12/21/12 at 1:25

Chardonnay city....Kendall Jackson, eg., is only $10.95 here.
In Nashville, it's $17.95.
The list is endless. Safeway has everything on sale, 30% less than Tenn.
However, a DUI in Nashville, costs $280.00.
In California? $12,000.
Somethings are more expensive here.
Hookers are about the same, thank God.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:31

d7 - I have always found most everything in CA is more expensive than here, except all of the little novelty areas I like to frequent in San Diego. Some of the small towns up in the Sierras are not too bad.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 1:45

Wine, manicures and pedicures cost a lot less than TN. And so does produce!

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:48

I can understand why produce would cost less due to the climate. However, when my daughter lived in the Sierra, she couldn't grow tomatoes, because the growing season wasn't long enough.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/21/12 at 2:07

Now that's a cryin' shame!

By: brrrrk on 12/21/12 at 2:34

Blair County Shooting: 4 Dead And 3 Pennsylvania Troopers Injured


By: brrrrk on 12/21/12 at 4:38

'They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them. 'And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!' cried the Spirit, stretching out his hand towards the city. 'Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!'

By: budlight on 12/21/12 at 4:53

Mr. Burch, I have just one question: The secret service carries fully automatic machine guns; you know the kind that kill many people at once. They surround the president (any and all presidents) and their respective family. Please tell me this: Why is his (or her some day) family more deserving of the top of the line security than other families, including mine and yours.

The right to bear arms should stay. BUT the right to buy arms should be made extremely difficult for instance by having the person who wants to buy the LEGAL firearm pay a substantial fee for a criminal and psychological check. Then the person should have to wait at least 7 to 10 days for the firearm.

And we could go on and on with restrictions and rules and laws. BUT the bottom line is this: If a person (or group of persons) wants to kill one person -- or many people -- he or she - or they - will find a way even if there are absolutely no guns available.

So can you tell me this: (and please a logical answer): If all the guns are gone, can you guarantee there will be no more mass murders in the future? Can you guarantee that no one will ever be harmed again?

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 4:59

Abolish the 2nd amendment; before it abolishes us all.

By: budlight on 12/21/12 at 5:05

Burch said "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.”

Mr. Burch, in retrospect, what would you, as a prophet have done if you were faced with what she was faced with?

What exactly do you think a person should do? I personally think and believe that in NO CASE EVER would I try to charge forward towards someone holding gun. But of course, I can only surmise what I would do because I have never faced a gun like she did.

I did however run face to gun barrel with a Ruger pointed at my head at the Autumn Woods apartments in Antioch when I worked for the Census. I am blessed that the guy did not pull the trigger. Suffice it to say that if I had a carry permit and had a gun on me, it would not have helped because he had, as they say "the drop on me".

In the principal's case, she acted on sheer "mamma bear protecting cubs" instinct. And she is a hero, but a dead hero. The only way her death will not be in vain, if if the next principal facing that situation has a REAL means of protection and self-defense.

BE PREPARED is the Boy Scout and Girl Scout motto. I remember once when my friend in DC was "almost" trapped in an elevator with a guy known as the Georgetown Rapist. She kept crying over and over to the cops who came "Oh my God, I never thought it could happen to me".

Finally I had to actually slap her (not too hard) and say "Susan, that was your first mistake; you have to always think that if someone can think of something that will harm people, there is a likelihood it can happen to you -- so BE PREPARED"

Have a Blessed Christmas.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 6:17


I'd say it looks like that young woman was apparently an "instant reacter" rather than one with a "let's see" attitude going after that young man as she did. I also understand the other women reacted to protect the children the best as they could.

So the question comes up again: Should all teachers be armed? I would agree they should. I believe those have proven it justified. I believe their actions show they would have reacted to get the children in a safe position before the got their gun. But to keep a gun under lock and key is no better than it not being there.

I obviously don't know about the children in school today, especially those 6 and 7 years old, but how many children have you ever known the "sneaked in" a teacher's desk?

Later grades? Look at each age bracket differently. Better yet, learn the children.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:15

The second most stupid question come from bud. The highest office in the land and you ask why! You give more evidence of just how stupid the fringe right is.

bud, living under the bridge as you do you don't deserve Secret Service protection. Any more ridiculous questions from under the bridge?

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 10:59


It is your right and privilege to own a gun or not. Can you identify one gun that killed someone; that is unless it was dropped. But then, it was also a humans fault in the way they handled it. That is, unless a dog was playing with it. But then, it would be the dog's fault, wouldn't it?

If you are a veteran, you're the only one I've ever been told by they was an anti-gunner.

The deaths of those children was, and still is, horrible, but other mass murders have not received near the "publicity" as this one.

I hope your local criminals don't learn how easy it would be to come in your home. Would you welcome them in and ask what they wanted, or politely ask them to leave?

By: Mike Burch on 12/22/12 at 1:15


The secret service, FBI, SWAT teams, SEALS, etc., are all trained in the use of firearms. Most ordinary civilians aren't. While it may not seem "fair" that professionals can have access to weapons, it is also true that ordinary civilians cannot play in the NFL or sing in opera theaters.

By: Mike Burch on 12/22/12 at 1:18


No one can guarantee that there will never be another shooting. But so what? No one can guarantee that no one will ever die in a traffic accident. That doesn't keep us from having all sorts of laws about who can drive, and keeping people who are blind from driving motor vehicles.

The idea that perfection being impossible means nothing can be done is madness. We have all sorts of laws that don't result in perfection, but that help reduce unnecessary suffering and death.

By: Mike Burch on 12/22/12 at 1:26

This is how a gun nut "thinks" (I use the term loosely):

If anyone ever dies of cancer, it makes no sense to try to treat cancer, so just let everyone die. Gun nuts refuse to accept the simple fact that reasonable actions can save many lives, even if they can't save all lives.

A gun nut says, "It is useless to accept the fact that other nations have tighter gun control and fewer gun-related deaths. If we can't save 100% of the victims, there is no point in trying to save anyone. We might as well stop treating cancer, and stop having driver's licenses. Just let everyone die, rather than trying to reduce the number of deaths."

For a gun nut, it's a zero-sum game. Just let all the children die, rather than trying to save as many children as possible.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 7:15


As you should know, facts are facts. Gun control will not stop murder by gun. If someone wants to kill someone, even in a mass murder situation, the lack of a gun will not stop them, but someone with a gun just might. It has been proven many times before but it doesn't seem to be good enough free advertisement for the "news" media.

You state the common gun owner isn't as trained as a cop. What about the veterans going to school at Va.Tech.? Do you think they weren't trained well enough to use a gun?

I don't know how they train the young persons of today but I do know how I was trained when I went in service in January 1948. You didn't "graduate" until you made a minimum score. Fortunately, with my fathers training 10 years before I went in service I didn't have to "go to school" for "extra class".

Only law abiding citizens will be affected by obdurate gun laws, criminals will not.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 7:22

La Pierre wants to put 90,000 George Zimmermans in the nation's classrooms....that's 90,000 cop-wannabes packing heat in the nation's classrooms....90,000 gun enthusiasts working as volunteer armed guards in school settings sounds like a recipe for a national bloodbath. LaPierre is either joking or he's totally nuts.....he did not appear to be joking.

The NRA and the other factions in the gun lobby are living in a fantasy world of delusion and wishful thinking.

It's time to put the gun lobby on the US list of terrorist organizations....these gun-worshipers are nuttier and more dangerous than the militant Zionists, Islamists and born-agains.

The general population's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should trump the claimed rights of the addled gun-worshipers. The 2nd amendment must be totally struck down.

Round up the guns....save the children.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 7:34

The Grand Old Party is now the party of gun nuts, millionaire tax cheats, robber barons, environmental scofflaws, sweat-shop advocates, union-busters, homophobes, white supremacists, Jesus freaks and slackjawed secessionists.....collectively, that's a large group...but not the majority....it's time to take back the country.....the rest of us outnumber these GOP A-holes.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 7:53


I'm sure you've heard about that Mall in Oregon on Tuesday. Do you know who stopped the man from firing? It was a 22 year old young man shopping at the mall with a girl friend. Since there wasn't an officer or armed security guard present, how many would have been killed if that young man hadn't took it on his own to stop it? I'm glad we'll never know.

A little more "crap" I've read about facts about armed citizens. False reporting? I don't know, do you?

1 - In 1982, Kennesaw GA passed an ordinance that required all heads of household have at least one gun in their home and the burglary rate immediately dropped 89%. I wonder why.

Ten years after that law was passed the burglary rate was still down 72% less than it was in 1981. I guess too many ignorant new young criminals have entered the scene.

2 -A 1996 U. of Chicago study concluded that states that passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%. Wouldn't one tenth of one percent be worth such laws? One hundred percent would be the best if you was the victim.

3 - According to the Nat'l. Safety Council: With guns being used 2.5 million times a year in self defense against criminals, firearms are actually used more than 80 times more often to protect lives, rather than take lives. Which "team" is the winner?

4 - A 1979 Justice Dept. study entitled "Rape Victimization in American Cities" concluded that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, only 32% were actually actually committed and when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually committed. Should all women go unarmed? Not my wife or daughters.

5 - Another Justice Dept. study found 47%^ of felons agreed that "criminals are more concerned about meeting an armed victim that they are about running the police." They can run faster than the obese police.

And last but not least - Armed citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as the police do every year in this country (1527 to 606). Why do you hear so little about it?

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 7:53

The 2nd amendment need to stay, just as our Forefathers intended. A ban needs to be put on Assault weapons & a limit on ammo, Nationwide.

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 7:56

But crazy old kooks like the one that commented at 7:53 definitely need to be mentally tested every few years before affording gun ownership.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 7:57

Again, our idiot troll did not cite his sources....he knows how to cut/paste and he knows what a link looks like....plagiarism like this should be cause for loss of posting privileges, IMO.

Yogiman is the face of the Republican Party....slackjawed, tired and moribund....he's one of yours, Ben Dover....a soul mate?

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:04

The original purpose of the 2nd amendment was for national defense, by way of state militia....that idea backfired in 1861.

We now have the Pentagon, so the original purpose for the dubious amendment is long gone.

A-holes like our idiot troll are actually free to amass deadly arsenals in America....there is something fundamentally wrong with that...the 2nd amendment must be struck down and all the guns rounded up and melted down.

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 8:15

Loner - I disagree & a total ban would not solve any problems. It definitely would put the honest people & legal gun owners at a disavantage or in more danger. The unqualified (like our local troll) & criminals would still get guns.

I base my opinion of the local being disqualified from owning a gun on his rant & insane comments on this board. Nobody could be sane & post that BS.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:20

I used to support the 2nd amendment concept....I no longer do.....I have evolved beyond that mindset....it's NRA propaganda, regurgitated by millions of idiots....on this issue, we should emulate our favorite nation on planet earth: Israel....there is no right to keep and bear arms there, it is a hard-earned privilege.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:25

In the US, driving a motor vehicle is a hard-earned privilege, because motor vehicles can cause harm...but owning an arsenal of deadly firearms is considered a basic inalienable right, even though the purpose of a gun is to kill....that's is lunacy, no other way to look at it.....the loonies are running the asylum.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 8:29

Loner the idiots defended, he can't cut and paste if the only source comes from his dark and paranoia p brain.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:33

Too many "law-abiding" gun owners are snapping....too many weapons are being stolen from these folks and when the "law-biding" gun nuts die, their guns often fall into the wrong hands.

Stopping the manufacture of new firearms will not do a thing to rid the nation of the 300 million guns already out there...a national gun round-up is the only way to do that.

Yeah, I hit the tipping point too.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 8:40

I don't think that total ban is needed. There are real reason to own a gun. My reason is home defense, but I don't carry one with me, because if someone was to shoot me they would do it to there advantage and not mine.

I am against this rush to get assault weapons Now or any other time. There are only two reason why you would need any; one to defend the country or attacked the country.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:41

Yogi used figures and stats w/o citing the sources....he's not just a mean and disgusting jerk, he's a thief....defend him if you like....I think he has abused the posting privileges here...there is no right to post.....no right to ruin a posting community.

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 8:45

Loner - If he cited the source, everybody would see that he only uses garbage sites that offer no documentation to back up the info.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 8:48

Loner I think if the government was to do anything like that, it would start a war. Guns need to be restricted to sane mines and anyone that can't prove their mental state needs not to have one. The answer is in the middle of what is being debated.

I think a total ban is too far in one direction and having assault weapons is too far in the opposing direction. Like everything in life, moderation is a good position in life.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:49

Gun ownership needs to be limited to trained, tested and authorized personnel...re-tested every few years...when a licensed gun owner dies, his guns should be quickly confiscated by the police.

Again, a national gun round up is the only way to get the 300 million guns off the streets.

Any crime committed with the aid of a gun, should be a federal felony with mandatory jail time in a federal prison....no exceptions..

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 8:54

It was a joke Loner. I would never defend that perverted soul. He is an pedigree idiot.

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 8:55

A total gun roundup is more impossible than rounding up all of the illegal immigrants in the US.

By: budlight on 12/22/12 at 9:19

: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:15
The second most stupid question come from bud. The highest office in the land and you ask why! You give more evidence of just how stupid the fringe right is.

Maybe you think a "president" is more important than you are, but I don't. We are all "created equal" with rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". So in keeping with my "right to life", I think I should be allowed to defend myself as vigorously as any other person including a so-called leader of a country. "The highest office in the land is GOD".

Loner on 12/22/12 at 8:41
Yogi used figures and stats w/o citing the sources....he's not just a mean and disgusting jerk, he's a thief....defend him if you like....I think he has abused the posting privileges here...there is no right to post.....no right to ruin a posting community.

Yogi has as much right as you do, Loner. Get a life yourself. Stop picking on someone you don't even know. You people on this site are all " alike". You are all cloned from the same mean cow!

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 9:24

bud - Sorry to let your mini mind know, but you are not as important as the President! Plus, anybody that posts all the BS & garbage info on the board that yogi does, deserves every insult he gets. He can't offer a source because then everybody would know it is untrue. Your sagas aren't any better.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 10:29


As I've admitted before, I'm not a master in the use of a computer. I've tried to "forward" data like that I just posted but I couldn't with my source.

But I'm sure with your and your fellow posters' excellence one of you can track me down as a liar.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 12:14

Ignorance is in the eyes of the beholder, bfra. It's funny how you and your "buddies" make the comments you make about me when you don't even know what you're talking about.

Of course, that's not unusual being based on your ignorance. I'll take an IQ test with anyone of you egotistical imps on this site. You would probably beat me on computer but you would learn your own ignorance on the others subjects.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 12:25

Hey, you experts. Couldn't you read the names of the organizations I referred as the source of that data? You know, like the Kennesaw GA city council, Univ. of Chicago, National Safety Council and the Justice Dept.? Are you questioning them on their information?

I'm sure you would be very delighted to check me out by checking them out. Go at it.

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 12:42

Louder (excuse me, I meant Loner),

Excuse me but you are entitled to your personal opinions on any subject. So does everyone else. Even those like me you feel are inferior to your "knowledge". Or should I say lack of knowledge?

Looking back where I got that information, it was from //wedmail.dtccom.net/src/webmail.php and showing it being sent by fremanfighter@dune.com/

I'm sure with your superior computer knowledge you can find what I'm "lying" about.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 1:26

Ignorance is in the eyes of the beholder? You must have the biggest eyes of all yogi. Youare one ignorant dumb ass.

As spin your lies to Loner about not be a master of the computer, you a master of lies and being a general dumb ass.

yogi we have all found what you are lying about, you' just to stupid to what a dumb ass you are.

By: bfra on 12/22/12 at 2:27

Nemo - The dumbass doesn't know what a source is!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/12 at 2:49

The only source ,yogi understands are the sores in his head.

I hope you are having a good weekend. I am with my daughter in South Carolina til after Christmas

By: yogiman on 12/22/12 at 3:16

As before, I admit I'm a dumbass on computer, bfra. But I can't compare with you on you dumba$$ character with your comments on the other subject we've been on.

To be blunt, anyone who would accept someone as their president who refuses to prove his identity and you have no idea who in the hell he is, is a dumbass. And you can spell that in capital letters.

Anyone who will claim a man whose father was a British subject Kenyan is constitutionally eligible for that office because he was born in an American state but another man whose father was born in Mexico to American citizens and he was born in an American state isn't. Could it possibly be because he was born in a different US state? Gimma break, bfra.

Please explain why Obama was eligible but Romney wasn't. Romney showed his birth certificate, why do you think your man Barry still refuses to show his?

And don't mention that fake he's shown before.

By: Loner on 12/22/12 at 3:44

This site has been seriously degraded....it had a lot to offer, at one time, but those days are long gone.