Burch: End of the world as we know it?

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Does 12-21-2012 herald the end of mankind, perhaps due to sheer idiocy, following the dodo to extinction? Did ancient Mayans travel through the spirit world to peer into the increasingly irrational minds of their future descendants, and conclude that human evolution was a dead end?

I would like to believe that human beings can still rise above the various dysfunctions created by our inability (or unwillingness) to rely on facts and use our powers of reason to solve vexing problems rationally. But the Mayans may have been right, and it even seems that I may have become something of a prophet myself, if only by studying facts and using logic to predict the inevitable.

In my previous article I made the following observation about right-wing conservatives who insist on the unlimited right to bear arms: “Now they want guns in parks, parking lots and universities. And they’re not satisfied with Colts and Magnums. In American bigger is better. So the next logical steps, so to speak, will probably be assault weapons in high schools, grade schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, Sunday schools and maternity wards.”

Now 20 young Sandy Hook Elementary students, all age six or seven, lie dead, along with six educators, at least three of whom courageously placed their bodies in danger to shield their young charges. Perhaps their courage is only matched by the stupidity of the NRA and its political minions, who refuse to accept the fact that flooding a nation with assault weapons and ammo is something only dodos — not an intelligent species — would do.

I am utterly horrified to have been made to seem like a prophet, so quickly. But none of us can change the past, so now the question becomes whether we are doomed to keep repeating the errors of the past, because we obstinately refuse to learn from them, or whether we can finally begin to use our big brains to save our children and their teachers from needless carnage and death.

Will the Tennessee state legislature now act to protect our children? It seems quite possible that conservatives will just adamantly dig in their heels, insisting that “guns don’t kill people” and that nothing can be done but hand out weapons to teachers in the hope that they can take out would-be-serial-killers without accidentally shooting their own students (something that is nowhere near as easy as the Rambos would like us to believe).

I have no doubt that dodo-like Tennessee politicians will soon be echoing the “wisdumb” of Louis Gohmert, a Texas representative who said that if the school’s principal had been armed, she might have been able to prevent some or all of the mayhem: “I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office locked up and so when she heard gunshots ... she takes his head off before he can hurt those kids.”

The head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence begs to differ. “There are 40 people behind me who would love to respond to that,” Brady president Dan Gross said at a press conference. “It’s insane ... Think about what that’s saying. It’s saying the only answer to violence is more violence. The only answer to guns is more guns.”

Gross said that more weapons would only make events like the one at Sandy Hook worse, as innocent people are caught in a withering crossfire. He also said, “I would hope the representative is held responsible for irresponsible statements like that.”

Are Tennessee’s assault-gun-loving Holy Rollers saints or sinners? I think Oscar Wilde may have been right when he said that the only sin is stupidity.



Note: After I wrote the first draft of this article, the right-wingers made me seem like a prophet again, because Tennessee lawmakers are, indeed, pushing ahead with “guns in trunks” legislation, and are also talking about arming teachers, professors and school administrators. According to John Harris, the executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, “Our principal goal is to remove all statutory and regulatory restrictions of firearms possession.” (Not some, but all.)

And this Monday the state’s dodo-in-chief, Gov. Bill Haslam, said that legislators should not change Tennessee’s gun control laws. Why? Guns are big business in Tennessee and the NRA is scheduled to bring around 48,000 visitors to Nashville for its 2015 convention, so perhaps money talks louder than children’s and teachers’ lives. No other industrialized nation has near as many mass murders and other acts of gun-related violence as the United States, so there is solid evidence that what we have here is an aberration, not anything inevitable. One may perhaps teach old dogs new tricks, but old dodos seem to be allergic to progress.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Michael Burch

192 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 12:14

Well Mike you have written another well thought article and the right wing fringe will go berserk and prove you to be a prophet again. I can hear them now spouting off silly argument as why teachers should carry weapons in school, while there should never be any guns in the classroom.

Now doesn't that sound like something a paranoia mind would say? They can't understand that having a gun is not the answer to their fears. That shooting their way out at a noon shootout only happens in a Western. In their crazy frenzy to find the silver bullet, they will overlook mental health, because that is not the cowboy way.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 12:39

It is Friday and I'm still here.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 1:56

Something everyone should read, before they vote in the next election:


By: Ask01 on 12/21/12 at 4:45

Fear not, Captain Nemo.

I believe as the NRA gun enthusiasts (and outright nutcases) abandon any semblance of reasonable thought, forsaking even the merest spirit of compromise, becoming even more radical, they will set themselves up for a backlash of unimagined proportions.

With the memory of slaughtered children fresh in their minds, even noncommittal, middle of the road types will lash out forcing politicians, finally more fearful of the electorate than special interests, to actually act in the public interest.

The resulting legislation will likely be far more restrictive than anything I would have proposed, but the gun factions wouldn't give in, leaving only themselves to blame.

After all, only a week has passed since Newtown parents were sending their darling children off to school for what they never could have thought was the last time. Every parent, (well, those who don't keep a loaded gun under their pillow) is still feeling the horror of last Friday.

I could always be wrong Captain, but time will tell.

By: Ask01 on 12/21/12 at 5:48

I neglected to mention one thought previously. (Actually, it was time to awaken the rest of the family and help get lunches prepared for the coming day, so this board took a backseat.)

Much has been made of the belief America pays little attention to the many other children, young lives cut short, who are murdered daily.

The major difference in Newtown I believe, is not so much a community of white, affluent, upper class was attacked, but the horrifying number of young lives snuffed out in one instant, in this, a supposedly a "safe" school in a "safe" community.

This did not involve scattered killings in questionable neighborhoods, and the killer was not some two or three time loser, hopped up on bad drugs and cheap booze.

This was a horrific wake up call that they were not insulated from the dangers they only read about or hear on the evening news.

If congress refuses to act on laws increasing scrutiny of the eligibility and mental state of gun buyers, and restricting the sale of certain types of weapons never intended for public use, they should release all their bodyguards, dismantle security controls, and allow weapons in the chambers. After all, they could arm themselves and be responsible for their own safety.

We'd have comprehensive gun control and mental health reform in a half hour.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 6:02

Yep, still here. Mayans are like Karl Rove...bad predictions.

I still have yet to hear from someone who can defend having military assault weapons for private use.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 6:39

gdiafante - There is no excuse. Wonder how many of those congress people, bought & paid for by gun lobbiest have assault weapons tucked away at home?

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 6:43

I don't know, bfra. One argument I've heard is that people need assault weapons to defend themselves against the government. I didn't realize an AK-47 could defend against drones, tanks, missiles....

If that's a serious concern, they're going to need more firepower. So why not legalizing those cold war era nukes for home use? Git r done.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 6:49

So that means we have more than the troll that thinks that way? LOL

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 6:52

And I do mean LOL on that! It is hard to believe that anyone actually thinks our own Government is going to turn on us. But, then that goes back to the mental part of the debate.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 6:55

Just think of yogi and his irrationality regarding martial law. These people really believe that.

Yes, they're nuts.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 6:57

He also said if Obama got re-elected it would be the end of the USA. Well, we are still here!

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 6:58


Why do you think our founders rebelled from their "Lord", the King of England? Why do you think they used guns to gain their (our) freedoms for their new nation? Why do you think they thought about putting the 2nd Amendment in the Constitution when they thought of it? To authorize killers to have guns? I've never known of a criminal to live by the laws.

Our founds were tired of being ruled by their masters. They were tired of paying taxes to their master and not getting any benefits from their money.

If you and your fellow anti-gunners have a desire to return to slavery under Obama as your master, maybe you should consider returning to your ancestor's nation and returning to Great Brittan.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 7:06

Yeah, the key is "when they thought of it". Actually, the Bill of Rights were a condition of the states ratifying the Constitution, they were not originally in there. And there were originally 12, not 10.

And, if you really want to dive into it, the second amendment was their answer to a standing army, which we didn't have at that time, and they really didn't want.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Notice the comma's and how the thought originates establishing that a militia is the purpose of the entire statement. We no longer have a militia, we have a standing army.

Now, before the f**tard thinks I'm saying repeal the amendment, I'm not. I'm saying it was established with the intent to maintain a well-armed militia, nothing more. It has since morphed into something else.

But you'd be hard pressed to find any writings or thoughts from the founders that could justify the need for civilians to have military style weapons. Do you really think they thought every citizen had a right to artillery? Laugable.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 7:09

If you and your fellow anti-gunners have a desire to return to slavery under Obama as your master, maybe you should consider returning to your ancestor's nation and returning to Great Brittan.

Absurdist nonsense.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 7:11

Perfect example of why people like the old troll (mental wise) should not be allowed to own any kind of gun.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:19

Thanks for the link, bfra.

Ask01, it would not surprise me at all if when the smoke clears, that the NRA and there cronies and puppets in Washington, we’ll keep things as it. They will never do the right thing and insist that there be some reasonable gun legislation and mental health care to deter anything like Newtown.

I’ m not asking for a cure all bill, because there is none. Only a more secure line of thinking, which I don’t expect will occur in Washington. There are too many fearful lawmakers live there and there are too many constitutes will demand that their second amendment rights come first over human life.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 7:24

Don't you think it's time to flush that race factor down the commode, Ask01? I believe the only ones using the race issue today are the ones using it for their personal benefit. You know, like free this and free that.

Slavery was wrong from the beginning and we've been paying for that mistake it ever since. And your Democrat man LBJ "opened the door" on it wider.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:28

Paranoia runs deep in the minds of cowardly people and you should never underestimates the powers of evil that is the mind of a paranoia soul. They see things that are not there and hear thing that have not been said.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:35

Out of the mouth of a paranoia of a coward, comes the word of fear.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 7:36


How would gun control have been in effect on the Newtown murder of those children, or any other murder incidents in the past? The young man stole the guns from his mother, with whom he lived. Blame her if you wish, but she owned them legally? I don't know the bottom line and neither do any of you.

We've had gun control ever since guns have been in the USA, and not one damn criminal has went by those laws.

Will criminals become law abiding citizens to commit their crimes if guns are place under control to law abiding citizens?

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 7:38

We need people in Congress that represent the voters that put them there, not cater to the all mighty dollar. Where to find the biggest & most selfish crooks? Congress

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:40

Rambling rants comes from the mouth of cowardly men and angry thought gives way to an itchy trigger finger.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 7:41

Gun control & a ban on assault weapons are 2 different issues!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 7:51

If we really think about it the world ends every day and a new one takes its place. Change takes takes the place of old and conservatives don’t like change.

Keep the guns and defend against change.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 7:52

Well, yogi, the Bushmaster .223 was one of the weapons that was included in the 1994 assault weapon ban. So, if that ban was still in place, the mother wouldn't have been able to have it. That weapon was used in the killings where one child was shot eleven times.

Now, that ban also covered high-capacity magazines, which the shooter used as he came in the school with over a hundred rounds.

That gun in particular has been used before in mass shootings...at the Oregon Mall, Aurora, the DC Sniper...

So, in summary, had there been a ban in effect, Adam Lanza would not have had the opportunity to take it from the mother. Is that enough for your tiny little mind?

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 7:55

Good morning, Nashville.

Another great missive from Mike Burch... thanks, Mike.

Doomsday is probably going to come as a man-made disaster, not a natural one. Mankind's obsession with the supernatural, God and an afterlife is the hamartia, the tragic flaw, of our species.

We now have a traumatized Jewish theocracy in the middle of "Muslim country", loaded with nuclear weapons and at least one Islamic country with a nuclear arsenal. It is only a matter of time before nuclear holy war decimates the human population on this planet.

An assault rifle will not be of any help, once the nuclear exchange begins....the well- armed and the unarmed will both be incinerated in the conflagration of the believers.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:00

I think the phrase “law abiding citizen” is over used and missed use by the far right. Come to think about it, I bet these same people, cheat on their taxes and sample grapes at the supermarket without paying. Go over the speed limit and run red lights. They park in Handicap Parking and laugh in people’s faces as they rush to catch the closeing elevator door. Yet they are “law abiding.”

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:02

The Bushmaster rifle skirted around the law....by making the weapon look less militarized, it was able to beat the ban; hence its popularity with the nut-jobs....President Bush is the namesake for this terrorist weapon?

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:08

Good morning Loner: How are things in Atlanta? Are you being spoiled with some GOOD Southern hospitality?

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 8:08

It's a commercial version of a military weapon. The caliber is light but when combined with the high-capacity magazine, it becomes militarized. That's the problem.

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why civilians need a military grade weapon with those magazines.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 8:12

Time will tell, bfra. I hope you're a strong communist so you won't feel like you've just had the hell knocked out of you when he makes his move.

First, based on your argument he was eligible for the office even though two other men under the same situation wasn't tells me you are strong Obama supporters.

Second, reading his autobiography and looking into his past through other sources tells me he was born in a communist family, raised as a communist and mentored communism by a well known member (Frank Marshall Davis) of the Communist Party USA for 8 years

Fourth, it also tell me he was raised as a Muslim because father and step-father were strong members of the Islam faith (why did he wear that clothing if he wasn't?).

Fifth, it also tell me he went to a church for 20 years with a preacher who preached "God damn the USA.

Sixth, it also tells me his wife made the comment she hated the USA until he was "elected".

Shall I go on, or are you a fellow communist with him?

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:15


The only conclusion I have heard about this that makes sense is that they are preparing to make war against the government. Paranoia concept of fearful minds.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 8:15

And on your 6:57 post, bfra, he hasn't been "sworn in" yet. Let's see what happens, OK?
Many questions have been raised.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:20

Even if this were the last day on earth, our obsessed troll would still whine and moan the birther rant....what a pathetic creature he is....totally effin bonkers.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 8:22

You know, all someone has to do is print off all of yogi's posts and use them as evidence that he's delusional and likely a harm to himself or others. I'd say there's a 60/40 chance he could be institutionalized, if only temporarily so they could perform a mental status exam.

If only there were someone he knew that cared enough.

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 8:22


I understand you thinking I'm dumb, but since I also think you are dumb, I've been trying to re-educate you time and again. I just don't seem to be getting through.

But with my stupidity I'm still trying to figure out how a man can be elected president of the USA as the son of a British subject and teenage American mother.

Has there been any other person in US history who has refused to identify himself to prove he was eligible for that office? Not in my history books.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:28

Bfra, still in Atlanta...Southern hospitality exists...but not on the streets, roads and highways....I already got a horn-honking FU from three motorists in this lovely hell-hole of a city....but, other than that, it's fine.

By: Moonglow1 on 12/21/12 at 8:28

Moonglow1: Like every other Repub governor, Haslam is controlled by ALEC & The Koch agenda. Let's be clear: these people do not care about nor do they represent the people of TN. They represent greedy corporate interests and person's earning billions of dollars. So, the same with the NRA.

The NRA exists solely to increase gun sales for greedy corporations that make them. To achieve their goal they use the tactic of "The Second Amendment." Unfortunately, anything wrapped in the flag, God, and country is bought hook line and sinker by the ignorant masses whom cannot see through clear glass these days.

Like the perpetual Eric Canter sneer, the NRA and their greedy corporate backers are sneering at you the public.

People get a grip...More guns is not the answer.

Think about it: according to NRA-corporate logic, we should arm the mailman, the store clerk, and Santa Claus. What total bunk.

Stop the NRA and TN politicians now. How? Don't buy into their crap...vote smart\buy only what you need...you don't need an assault weapon

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 8:28

See what I mean. the 8:22 post indicates severe, ongoing psychosis. I think he could snap. This is a public health issue now. Nemo, where did you say he lives?

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 8:31


If you're intending to kill someone, or a group of people, what difference does it make what weapon you use; a Thompson sub-machine gun or a 22 caliber pistol? Can you out run a 22? I can't, and I'd like to be able to fire back when I see you pulling your gun.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:31

Yogi, your stupidity is understandable and thus forgivable ...your mean-spirited and racist attitude is not. You are a hater, Yogi, you enjoy wallowing in your own filthy delusions....like a human pig.

By: gdiafante on 12/21/12 at 8:33

Not knowing the difference between the damage a sub-machine gun and .22 caliber piston can inflict indicates either you're mental illness is preventing you from understanding the issue or you're just plain dumb.

My guess is both. But I still think you're a danger to yourself and others.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:34

By: yogiman on 12/21/12 at 8:22

I understand you thinking I'm dumb...

It is a fact that you are dumb.

Enough of my time wasted on a dumb troll.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:34

Gordonsville, Tn gdiafante. But even around there, they refer to him as "the crazy old man".

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:36

Gordonsville,Tn. He is known as the Village Idiot by all.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:40

When someone is shooting at trolls, the troll wants something to shoot over its shoulder while it is running cowardly away. Brave Heart it is not.

By: Loner on 12/21/12 at 8:40

The nut-job certainly lowered the quality and quantity of NCP posters...he drives new people away too....I cannot understand why the NCP allowed this single troll to do so much damage....maybe Yogi's senseless and hateful rants are the price of freedom?

I disagree, throw this A-hole out of the room; before he totally wrecks the place.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/21/12 at 8:44

Loner he only has power as long as you let him in. I never pay any attention to him until someone else bring him to my attention.

By: bfra on 12/21/12 at 8:45

Loner - That he very definitely did!