Colleges and universities are soft targets for legislators; it doesn't take much moral courage for a Senator to beat up on a university that allows a predatory quarterback or arrogant frat boys to get away with horrible offenses against women. Shame on the university presidents who have looked the other way.
This week brought powerful reminders of what happens when a government fails its citizens. On Wednesday, as the nation continued to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's unnecessarily tragic destruction of a uniquely American city, the nation woke to yet another uniquely American tragedy, as two Roanoke-based news staffers -- reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward -- were gunned down on live television. It was the beginning of a news cycle we know all too well: shock, outrage, calls for sensible guns laws, and then, if past is prologue, nothing. Since the Newtown shootings in 2012, nearly 85,000 Americans have been killed by guns -- yet common sense gun legislation proposed at the time by President Obama continues to languish. On Thursday, the president called Katrina "a man-made disaster, a failure of government to look out for its own citizens." The same could be said of Roanoke.
"We're Number 1!" (We must be so proud...)
I have no doubt that some additional legislation, such as background checks, will help stem the tide of this endless gun violence. But the real answer is in repealing existing legislation -- the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Tightening security in theaters will ensure even fewer people go, and movie theaters will deteriorate more. It is an ineffective, knee jerk, band aid reaction to what is hopefully a passing copycat lunatic fad. However, theaters across the country are setting new security measures in stone.
Surely there are children who saw the screenshots from the cover of the New York Daily News, and are asking their parents tough questions this week. But their curiosity and questioning should not make us afraid.
As we mourn the dead and remember the innocent lives taken by Williams, we also need to be careful not to let one man's drastic actions allow us to ignore those who speak out about racism, homophobia, and other types of bigotry.
You'll find no shortage of articles, liberal and conservative, that claim gun sales are still booming, even after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. They rarely, if ever, cite gun sales statistics. They note membership in a gun group like the NRA. Or they'll list background check data.
The failure to implement even the most general or common sense reforms in the light of 800 mass shootings is an absolute refusal to lead on the part of Congress. It's a flat out disregard for the safety of American citizens. It's shameful political cowardice.
If the NRA had its way along with its political supporters, anybody who wants a gun would have a gun. No questions. No training. No taking of responsibility for actions resulting from the use of that gun. And if possible, let's blame the victim.
I always thought as long as I'm not reporting in a war-torn country, as long as I stay out of metropolitan areas, I'm safe aren't I? If Alison Parker -- who is my age and doing the same work I'm doing -- could be gunned down in broad daylight, then why should I feel safe?
This country has a fascination with guns and gun violence. From the sensationalism of firing weapons intended to kill others, to hoarding high-powered guns to create a false sense of power or protection, we have a love-affair with cold metal and the indifferent ammunition it can fire.
With the right to bear arms no matter the consequences firmly established in U.S. law and the psyche of our citizens, the NRA has to push new laws to stay viable and keep Congress and state legislatures firmly in its political pocket. One of the newer so-called gun rights the group has cooked up is campus carry.
Bernie Sanders' position on gun control is far more complex than these headlines suggest, however, even if his nuances lack a reasonable basis. Both Sanders' supporters and detractors need to be aware of these nuances before blindly praising or criticizing his politics.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked in 2005 Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" number 57 in the top 500 albums of all times. So it is fitting that Wonder announced, with great fanfare, the final leg of his "Songs in the Key of Life Performance" tour in the United States this fall.
Some of you are going to read this and think I'm a bully. Perhaps I am. Or maybe I am just a normal person who refuses to be offended by everything and anything. Maybe I am a person who thinks that life is too short to waste on ridiculous nonsense.