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Gun rights advocates say there are 2.5 million defensive gun uses a year. That’s 6,849 times a day. That’s how they justify ignoring the mass shootings of children.

To give their numbers context, let’s look at crime statistics:

In 2016, the FBI recorded 95,730 rapes. That’s 262 rapes a day.

The bureau recorded 17,250 murders. That’s about 47 murders per day.

There were 332,198 robberies nationwide in 2016. That’s 910 per day.

There were 803,007 aggravated assaults in 2016. That’s 2,200 per day.

If you add all these up, gun owners claimed to have stopped almost twice as many of the biggest crimes the FBI recorded actually happening in 2016. And if you consider that only about a third of American households have guns, you must come to the conclusion that the overwhelming amount of U.S. crime is actually being perpetuated against gun owners–in such vast amounts that if I were them, I would be afraid to leave the house.

There’s an easy way to avoid that paradox: They can admit their numbers are fraudulent. They are, in fact, 20 years old and based on a phone survey of Floridians whose stories were not externally validated by the study’s author. The reason gun owners tout these figures is a miscible concoction of fear, folk wisdom, peer approval and inherent trust in family members. In other words, the same qualities Bernie Madoff preyed upon.

If this were an insurance scam, it would work the same way: The unethical salesperson exaggerates the risk of failure, sells you a product that is actually riskier, then tells you to share that risk with others by telling them to buy it too. The problem with gun rights advocates, even if their hearts are in the right place, is that they have asked non-gun-owning two thirds of Americans to share risk that the unethical salesperson has laden them with (the heightened risk of getting shot), and help them participate in a demonstrable fraud.

Incidentally, there is a real number of defensive gun uses, and there’s little reason to believe it’s much higher than toddlers shooting themselves. It is easily canceled out by murders many times over. There are common sense physics reasons that guns are very limited as defensive weapons, but if you can’t understand that, I doubt you read this far. And if that’s the case, you’ll never know that the monster at the end of this story was you.

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From the adit holes come breathing

Gold dust from the mountain seething

And Indians laboring with summary pants

Hoist the gold into totemic mill stamps

And with 70 beats per minute, the cams blast.

It’s ancient Mercury whose water kisses

The narrow isthmus on its way to sea;

 

There the natives seldom see a sun

That hasn’t drunk from river San Juan

A vision eating ancient manioc

Upon the Pacific Zion where their kings

Once flocked, decked with cotton and straw

Root crops were the staple foods

Mandioca, tapioca and Mazamorra

And as this dream unfurled in dust

Like palpitant coffee in a sunlight colored rust

Mercury with shoes on backward

Buried his seed in woman-pregnant meanders

Illuminated the fish like Maundy Thursday candles

And spread the dream like straw in a totem’s ears

 

Gold and mercury marry and divorce

To be caught in black nets perforce

Spills to the ground its silver seed for reuse

And makes for Babylon pregnant dreams

Of eating manioc by the Pacific seam once more

Mercury that brings us visions

Of cassava on a fructifying shore

Under dirty gossan caps, meteoric water and large axe handles

The light of the Indian candles finds

A new and smiling seem once more.

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Glenn Beck recently went to CNN to ask the musical question: What are we doing to do about the resurgent racist right?

We’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to ask the question, “Is every Trump supporter racist?” The answer is no. The more important thing is that they are disengaged, unserious, incurious, did not understand the economic forces underlying their problems, and were easily distracted because of their low threshold for boredom. These qualities allowed them to be easily used by Trump, whose tactics are old and familiar to any person who’s taken one history class. And their disengagement will allow them to be used again by a small but dedicated group of ACTUAL racists to rise to levels of power not seen in this country since the 1920s. Trumpites’ unfocused anger was the problem until last week. Their inertia will be the problem now. They’ll say, “This racism talk doesn’t apply to me” without acknowledging that they unleashed and empowered white nationalists and that, if they think of themselves as good people, they are many times more obligated to call out racists in their own ranks than they realize.

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My friend: I’m lonely.

Me: I hear you, man.

My friend: So I’m giving $500 a month to a stripper. She says she loves me.

Me: Aw, man! That’s horrible. She’s taking advantage of you, using the oldest trick in the book.

My friend: You look down at me!

The End

This, in its entirety, is my short play, “Listening to a Trump Supporter.”

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–*Trump managed to cobble together a unique coalition of voters: the not bright, and the far dumber than not bright.

–*Americans with nothing to lose but low unemployment, a rising stock market and rising wages and health care coverage decided to roll the dice on a tax cut that might get them a new 16 inch television.

–*Middle-class white Americans made it loud and clear that they are tired of nobody listening to them mistakenly blame their problems on immigrants.

–*Americans are tired of the elites looking down at them … so here, elites, this tax cut should teach you a thing or two.

–*Americans in the middle class with stagnant wages are hurting. But rather than a minimum wage increase, they’d really just like permission to use the “N-word” again.

–*Everybody needs somebody to harass and victimize and look down on, and Obama had given middle class whites nobody to do that to.

–*Middle class whites are concerned about the ways skyrocketing debt is going to affect their kids. That’s why they elected a guy mostly known for putting up giant buildings with enormous debt attached to them.

–*The whole, “watch me get drunk and vote for this guy” crowd is bigger than we thought.

–*The Washington and New York government and media establishments are out of touch because they spend too much time reading and analyzing and thinking.

–*Americans don’t like political dynasties. Also they don’t like authoritarian populist regim….never mind. Americans don’t know what they like.

–* … or who they are.

–* … or what they stand for.

–*”Take that, college-educated people!”

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There’s a game that people like to play or scenario they like to imagine–you see it in movies–that somehow they could go back to 1932 in a time machine and stop Hitler.

Americans were just given a time machine. They went back. And they joined Hitler.

The things we do around the world–the business we do, the stocks we buy and sell, the loans we make and take, as well as the alliances we have built and sign up for–have worked according to a vast social pact, and a compromise and an understanding among peoples since the end of World War II. Those pacts were fragile. You shift one of them, you shift a lot of them. You screw up the valuation of one country’s bonds, and other countries’ bonds follow suit. You destroy faith in the Federal Reserve, it makes people lose faith in the currency.

The pacts we have made to make a society are fragile. The agreements we make with people around the world are fragile. The ways we deal with one another are fragile.

In a fit of pique, with everything to lose and very little to gain–and without even horrific conditions under which Germans lived in the 1920s–Americans in their narcissism and in the arrogance decided to tear those pacts and agreements up as if they were tissue paper.

The people who thought they were being heard finally are going to be those hurt most by this. In the immediate future, however, the most vulnerable among us–immigrants, people of color, transgender people–are going to feel personally threatened and insecure. Those immigrants are among the most productive members of our society, by the way. They are among the biggest launchers of start-up businesses. They pay taxes. They contribute to the consumer base. That’s another thing about the social pact we’ve just thrown away. We used superficial prejudices to feel better about not understanding the most profound things about our country, its economy and its culture.

You, the non-elite (for this is how you implicitly brand yourselves), have decided to get even with elites by giving them a tax break. You, the non-elite, have gotten even with the elite by giving them an overwhelming amount of power to ignore you.

And at last, you’ve been rewarded for not being curious: for ignoring history, economics, science. You had an outside force validate your know-nothingism for his own reasons. I understand. It gives you a short shot of self-esteem horribly lacking in your lives.

It will be short-lived. What’s wrong with you is going to continue to be wrong with you tomorrow. And other people will be harmed for no reason other than your wounded pride.

Good luck.

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Last night, Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton faced off with Republican Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis for the second debate ahead of the 2016 election. What were some of the highlights?

–*Trump told Evangelicals that, as lord, he would personally put Clinton in hell.

–*Trump upstaged Clinton several times by humping a chair while she did her speech, but that happens all the time in Shakespeare.

–*Trump held a pre-debate conference with several women who have accused Bill Clinton of lewd behavior or assault, showing his supporters that Trump himself is the accused rapist alleged rape survivors are most comfortable with.

–*A fly briefly flew onto Hillary Clinton’s nose during the debate, which I’m pretty sure is a fulfillment of some Biblical prophecy according to a guy in a trailer scratching his ball sack.

–*Actually, the fly, in choosing Hillary’s face, might have reasonably asked, “Which people in this debate are less likely to be breathing through their mouths?”

–*Clinton was put on the defensive about the way she used her e-mail server, Post-it Notes, thumb tacks, brads, index cards and No. 2 pencils.

–*Trump said that the recently discovered tape of him boasting about unwanted sexual advances was just locker room talk. The nation’s water cooler distributors hastily responded that water coolers are still a great place to discuss groping, grab-assing and unwanted massaging.

–*Hillary Clinton was born in 1947. Today, Syria is in ruins. We rest our case.

–*Trump supporters meekly asked him, “When are you going to become the qualified candidate I never asked you to be up until now?”

–*An important thing to remember when considering the nation’s crucial energy policy is that … Bill Clinton is a rapist … and where are the e-mails, Hillary? Thirty-three thousand emails!

–*You notice that the meaningless “socialism” talk suddenly disappeared? You don’t really think about it, but it’s kind of like your ear popped and all of a sudden life is a little nicer because that card has been overplayed. Ooo! That feels nice!

–*Trump said Muslims need to report things about other Muslims. But if you’re white and you report another white person, then we are really just living in a hellish police state.

–*Ken Bone doesn’t know if people are laughing at him or laughing with him.

–*America doesn’t know if they are laughing at Ken Bone or laughing with him.

–*Trump reminds audience that he dates 10s and Clinton’s husband has shown a disturbing propensity for sixes.

–*We all make mistakes and we are all forgiven. But as we forgive Donald Trump twice a week during this election cycle, we must remember that several years ago, Hillary Clinton lost 33,000 emails. C’mon, Hillary! Where are those emails?

–*Has anybody stopped to think that if Hillary Clinton suddenly lied and claimed that Vince Foster was actually alive–alive but that nobody would ever be able to find him or prove it–that this would pale in comparison to the lies regular Republicans regularly tell about her? Yes, that’s actually how big the lies about her are, when you put them in context. Yes! Really! The idea that she radioed from a helicopter and said “Let everybody in Benghazi die!” is a bigger lie than the idea that Vince Foster is running around right now, checking his phone and drinking wheatgrass shots in a villa with an ocean view. That’s how big you’re lying when you say Benghazi is a scandal.

–*Trump manages to avoid the one true thing he could say about Hillary Clinton: “Gee lady, if you had one fluid ounce of charisma, nobody would be actually considering a neo-fascist monster like me for a second.”

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