Smoking Guns and Smoking Congressmen


If there is a single explanation to be made in the cases of the shootings at schools across the country, I think it involves a conflict in the shooters' minds, one that should exist in all our minds, between a world of ideals and the property of immorality necessary for social and economic survival in the modern American landscape.

Do I agree with these underaged "avengers"? Emphatically, NO! Do I think I understand? Yeah.

Every day I run into the same dilemma - How do I justify my faith that all humans are connected by their ability to empathize with their fellows, and sustain a society that, more often than not, is respectful of the needs of most of its members, while day after day, I trudge off to a job in Marketing?

Is it snobbery to make reference to Homer's Odyssey in a strategy meeting? And I'm not talking about something obscure, like Polyphemus (the Cyclops) or Odysseus' dog's name (Krimisos), all I did was mention how our Engineering department has us between the Scylla and Kharybdis! How was I supposed to know even this cliché was lost on my colleagues?

Okay, I admit Marketing is no ivory tower, but it saddens me how little aware people are of their culture's literature. Forget literature, just get acquainted with your culture!

I don't know how many of you gave out treats on Halloween. At my house, we get into it. The shameful thing we noticed this year, is how socially catatonic so many kids are - They stalk up to the porch (we keep a window open on the porch, light candles, and bring out the spooky Devil masks we picked up in Mexico. Then we sit there, making freakish Night of the Living Dead noises as the little monsters make their way up the candlelit walk), most of them saying nothing, stoically expecting their candy. A good third of them aren't even disguised, for Chrissakes!

I can only guess their parents have not been doing a decent job of educating them on what Halloween's about. Maybe they expect the schools to do that? Wake up, people, we're not giving our schools enough funding to teach languages and music! You think they're going to waste time on what's become a Marketing-dominated (there's that word again!) twenty-four-hour fat-and-carbo collect-a-thon?

Where does all of this end?

I wish I knew that, but I do know this - between hypocritical Congressmen who'll do business with inhuman sweatshop owners in China and Vietnam, locking out Cuba while they smoke contraband Cohiba Esplendidos in their Capitol Hill offices, and Stanford professors inflating grades so the Ivy Leaguers with their Ivy League parents don't endanger their Craftsman-style homes up along Skyline Drive in Redwood City, and Fortune 100 professionals absolutely ignorant of the basic writings of what so proudly they hail as their great Western Civilization, whatever reason there may be for any adolescent to cleave to a moral standard of any kind is all but bound to be discarded in the face of the overwhelming social superiority of hypocrisy.

And if some adolescent somewhere becomes painfully aware of this schism, and doesn't know what to do about it, where is she supposed to get help? What's he supposed to do? Maybe they go get Grandpa's 30-06 and blow away a bunch of jocks and self-righteous bible-thumpers. Maybe they play their entire Black Sabbath/Judas Priest/Marilyn Manson collections on the Sony 100-CD player Mom & Dad bought 'em for getting good grades last quarter, and then off themselves.

Maybe they just get pissed off and deal with it -- Contrary to what mass media would say, that's what most of us did.