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1000’s of Leads

Island Life

As I sat down to this internets box this morning I came upon a headline in the lineup of what counts as news stories on my ATT or Yahoo home page among the many that reside there with their own amazing headlines like, you know, “the Best Frog Jumping Contests in Every State” or “ the Six Foods You Should Eat Today and Not Tomorrow”. Generally speaking, any story that is based around a list of any kind does not really have anything to do with news as far as I’m concerned, since it involves some sort of subjective judgment on the part of a writer (or writers- although it is beyond me why it would take more than one ) as to a choice I would never otherwise have considered making. I realize that this type of story is there not to inform, but to cause the time-wasting incredulous amongst us to click on such a story just to see what it is that is being claimed to pass as journalism in these modern times, and to be informed by information with little or no actual value.

As it is, I also look at these infoblurbs as a kind of test, the likes of which I am constantly puzzling over regarding their purpose. I would like to believe that they are there to at least partly comfort us with the thought that there is indeed nothing more important going on in the world than finding out about the latest discovery of a 1970’s Dodge Charger in a barn about to be razed to make way for yet another Walmart somewhere out there in the heartland. It could be said that the stories are simply a distraction. It would seem though that their real purpose is to delegitimize whatever real stories might be found above or below them in the list, what with a complete lack of a newspaper “fold” or page 8 or 12 location that would normally delineate where stories of less import are generally found, or banished to.  If I were to detect the most minute hint of a wink or a smile in one of these stories, like say the recounting of a list of amusement park rides requiring the most down time for cleaning between runs, then I might be tempted to take a look, but they very rarely seem to show any signs of even an attempt at humor. And then this morning I came upon this headline near the top of the pictorial dropdown which stated (and I am not kidding): “Apple is remaking a series from the ‘80’s in push for original content.” They outdid themselves on that one, since I was laughing without even having to think about reading the article.

But I seem to have drifted from my original intent for this piece, which originally had to do with the title of an article about the shooting in Las Vegas and how, in spite of the fact that authorities had acted upon following a multitude of leads regarding this case, they still were no closer to understanding why this particular individual went off his rocker and spent days assembling an arsenal in a suite on an upper floor in a Vegas hotel so that he could do a random, proverbial, fish-in-a-barrel shooting in the apparent hopes that he would kill a bunch of people by raining down lead projectiles fired from weapons capable now of uninterrupted fire made possible by a legally produced attachment which could circumvent the original weapon’s legal, semi-automatic capability.

What struck me the other night, while watching the waning coverage of this horrible event succumb to a return, at least on MSNBC, to the non-stop breaking news coming out of Washington, D.C. regarding the equally confounding psychodrama surrounding the current occupant of the White House who I continue to refer to as 45*, is that it would seem that even if any of the leads had shown a reason for this deranged slaughter in Las Vegas, they wouldn’t have prevented it, even if they had known of it in advance. I say this because at the moment, we have a president who is defiling the name and position of that office with nearly everything he says and does. While his errant and erratic actions are being reported on and talked about on a daily basis with incredulity and disdain by journalists, analysts, politicians and doctors, in spite of all this factual and credible evidence, this fucking moron is allowed to unendingly embarrass the country and bring the world ever closer to a nuclear confrontation than we’ve ever been, and all without a check or a balance in sight of reining in this lunacy. If the system cannot stop a madman who is setting off all the alarms and running all the red flags up the poles for all to see, then why should we expect a gambler who apparently was good at not tipping his hand to have revealed his intentions through the discovery and study of what he left behind in its wake? While the purpose served by the Las Vegas slaughter may remain a mystery, it seems fairly clear that something along those same lines could easily happen again whether we learn the why of this one or not. It was mentioned somewhere in the shooting coverage that if the laws governing the purchase of semi-automatic rifles had been the same as those for handguns, any number of red flags would have appeared around the shooter’s name, if of course the guns had been bought legally. Combined with this lack of oversight in the regulation of sales of high kill capacity weaponry, the recent congressional repeal of the law restricting the purchase of guns by the mentally ill compounds the possibility that a rifle rampage like this might occur again, and could turn any future search for leads as to why a mass shooting has occurred into yet another exercise in head scratching futility. And would the discovery of some sort of clue as to any rationale behind some future, heinous act make it any more palatable or understandable?

On the other hand, with the regrettable actions of the human dumpster fire in the oval office, we have seen daily evidence of him being unfit to serve in this office in any capacity. Within the first year of 45* sliding into the presidency with the aid of Russian hacking and social media manipulation, we not only have nightly documentation of his basic lack of skills in all things presidential, there are also a growing number of non-fiction books with titles like Insane Clown President, Trump is F*cking Crazy, Unbelievable: a Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History, and the Dangerous Case of Donald Trump- 27 Mental Health Experts Assess a President, all written by mainstream journalists and mental health professionals. These are warning signs, and from emoluments clause violations to impeachment proceedings to the 25th amendment and the ability to remove an impaired so-called president, it would seem that there are enough tools in the Constitutional belt of Congress to make the orange embarrassment go away. Of course there are the politics and the optics that stigmatize and paralyze any attempt at removing a president, even one who is more obviously than apparently acting outside the boundaries of the office. It is, after all, much easier to do nothing. But with each day it is becoming much harder to say that even with all the leads, we had no idea he was capable of that, whatever that may turn out to be.