Remembering

The bells rang throughout the area here last Tuesday at 10:10 a.m., the time shots were fired outside a Safeway store in Tucson where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords was meeting with constituents. It was an ugly welcome to Arizona two years ago.

And here we sit two years later with nothing changed -- except the ongoing carnage.
What is the matter with us as a society?

Aurora. Newtown. A Sikh temple in Wisconsin. A shopping mall in Oregon.

Just Google mass shootings in the United States and see what you get for results. No place is safe -- not work, not shopping, not at schools or universities, not at churches -- nowhere.

If you go with the idea that all of these shootings were done by crazies, which is a reasonable supposition, then how do we keep high-powered, large magazine weapons away from the crazies?

The NRA would have you believe that if everybody were armed the good guys will shoot the bad guys and these killings will be stopped in their tracks. Are they kidding? Should we as a society expect that everywhere we go we are among armed fellow citizens or armed ourselves so that everywhere is "protected" by a good guy with a gun?

Even out here in Arizona the cowboys were supposed to check their guns at the saloon door (although the law now allows you to take your guns into bars if you have a concealed weapons permit and the bar doesn't have signs banning it).

It still leaves us with the problem of how to keep the guns out of the hands of people who obviously shouldn't have them -- and it's apparently easy for them to get guns because they seem to keep finding them.

The NRA's old saw "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" tries to take the guns out of the equation, but if people kill people, how do we stop people from killing people in mass shootings with the guns the NRA so zealously protects?

At a bare minimum background checks whenever and wherever guns are sold should be a given -- there shouldn't be the gun show loophole. Being able to walk in, buy a gun and just walk out shouldn't be the norm at shows.

We do need a national discussion of gun violence but how do you get beyond the intractable

problem of keeping guns out of the hands of the less than rational? It's a quandary that we will be hard pressed to work our way out of.

What a deal!
So America's big banks reach an agreement with the federal government that they wrongfully foreclosed on millions of homeowners and it will cost them a grand total of -- wait a minute, just a minute -- $8.5 billion dollars.

In their whole profit picture, a drop in the bucket.

There are about 3.8 million homeowners affected and their payback will be a few hundred dollars up to $125,000.

The agreement means the banks won't have any further huge liabilities. Basically it was a ($8.5 billion) get out of jail free card.

In the meantime, homeowners get a little relief despite the devastating impact on those who lost their homes because of shenanigans by their banks.

Doesn't seem quite right, does it?

Alabama makes the point
Although not much of a sports fan overall, I'd have to have been living in a cave not to be aware of the BCS title game between Notre Dame and The Crimson Tide of Alabama.

Or for that matter the feeling among many in the sports writing class that the Southeastern Conference is the dominate conference in college football.

Any suggestion that Midwest football was back in top playing form with the rise of the Fighting Irish was dispelled almost in an instance by the Tide.

To say they steamrolled the Irish defense would be an understatement as they easily racked up points to take their third national title in four years.

And now they are already looking forward to next year! Top conference? Gotta be the SEC.

Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at kendallstanley@charter.net.
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