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March 14, 2000

"He's willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda," says Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, about President Clinton.

Of all the cynical statements I've ever heard, this is the last bit of evidence I need to convince me that the NRA is an evil entity. How dare this man say such a thing about the President of the United States, or any other person, when it is the NRA that accepts killing, promotes it even, as long as its members get to have access to any kind of gun at any time, with no restrictions that might, coincidentally, keep guns out of the hands of people who might use them to kill and maim each other, or leave them lying around for children to use.

The most obstructionist group in the recent history of this country thwarts the will of the majority by buying off politicians, and they use this kind of character assassination against the ones they can't buy.

They cannot possibly believe that the framers of the Constitution wanted them to have the right to own as many weapons, with as much destructive capacity, as they can acquire, with no licensing, no checks on ability to use the weapons, and no inquiry into mental stability. They can't believe this, but they have to argue it, because anything short of total unrestricted access might keep one more person from being able to blow his neighbor's head off. By mistake, of course.

I'd like to formally apologize for any part I might have had in:

  • the Crusades
  • the Inquisition
  • the burden on poor people for encouraging them to have more children than they can provide for
  • the excess taxes paid by wage earners so that institutions promoting certain beliefs can build expensive monuments to themselves tax-free
  • the inadvertent molestation of children by wayward priests
  • the wholesale indiscriminate consignment of homosexuals to eternal damnation
  • the relegation of women to subservient roles in all endeavors.

The Pope and I take it back.

To improve ratings, the NBA tried to require coaches to wear microphones during televised games, and they fined two teams whose coaches refused. I see some problems with this. First, the relationship between a coach and his players depends on mutual confidence, and if communication is hindered by this kind of artificial impediment, the quality of play will deteriorate. And second, the quality of play has already deteriorated so much that it's a wonder they get any ratings at all. No fundamentals, no defense, no excitement. If the only thing left to sell is the sound of the coach's voice, then the league has bigger problems than they know.

(Update: I see now that the league has backed off this new policy, at least temporarily.)

As a lifelong opponent of capital punishment, I have to say that there are plenty of anti-death penalty activists who are cowards and hypocrites. These are the ones who show up to demonstrate against the executions at San Quentin when the prisoner is mentally challenged, or might be innocent, or is a victim of sorts himself. They are vocal and visible when an articulate, photogenic person is being put to death by the state.

But they stayed away from tonight's extravaganza, because defending the life of a loser like Darrell Rich, who admitted killing three women and a little girl, and raping five other women, would be risky. It might hurt the cause.

If you're against capital punishment, you have to be against executing this guy just as much as the convicts who play well on TV. But according to the reports on tonight's news, advocates who ordinarily can't get enough camera time on execution night are staying away in droves, because it wouldn't look good to their cause to appear to oppose the killing of Darrell Rich. That's hypocrisy. And it stands in stark contrast to those few believers who did show up tonight. Bravo for them.

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