Winter Waxing Moon of the Cold Month
Cameras and inks and papers, oh, my! Then, new glasses and seven bags of groceries. We’ve been gone and the larder was bare of important items like milk, turkey slices for the dogs, veggies and fruit, bread and bagels. Now it’s not bare.
JPII is on a fast-track for sainthood. Just like today. Fast foods and fast saints. Just can’t wait, can we?
JPII’s successor, the German Shepherd, has taken on major moral issues recently, like, the right name for your kid. No weird ones. He’s also cranked up the heat, already at record highs set by JPII, on theologians teaching at Catholic schools, gays at mass and those pesky liberation theologians. Whoever said the divine right of kings is dead? It lives on in its last bastion, Vatican City. (pic. Yikes!)
The whole Gifford/Tucson shooting controversy. We have rule of law and one of those rules is no prior restraint. This means that we cannot stop someone from committing a crime until they’ve actually committed it. This gives us big trouble with at least two categories of persons: pedophiles and psychotics, especially paranoid psychotics. We know the probability of their offending is high, but until they act out there’s nothing we can do. Anyone who has dealt with the seriously mentally ill knows the difficult line walked in their care and treatment, a line between limiting freedoms and giving the individual a realistic chance at living in community.
Does this mean that the gaseous explosions protected as free speech had no affect on Loughner? I doubt it. Some peoples minds are more porous than others, more open to outside influence. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which a paranoid psychotic decides that Rush Limbaugh actually knows what he’s talking about, that Sarah Palin is a respectable political figure. O.K. Maybe only a paranoid psychotic would think either of those things, but it only confirms my point. His actions did not exist in a vacuum. Neither did lynchings in the rural south nor do gay hate crimes in many (most?) parts of our country.
Can we or should we stop Limbaugh, George Beck, Sarah Palin, the tea party gas bags from using inflammatory rhetoric? Regrettably, no. Part of the idea of free speech is that discerning citizens will tell the demagogue from the statesman, the propagandist from a public servant. It does appear that discernment may well be at an all time low in the current US, but it’s not the first time. Those of us with other views must speak, too. And act.