Just when did gauche become acceptable, so long is it’s done in a suave, cool way?
The standard reaction to one’s own success used to be matter of fact. When football players scored a touchdown, they handed the ball to the referee and ran to the bench. Somewhere along the line, it became acceptable to spike the football. Then dances and shuffles and summersaults and back-airs, dunking over the goal post and jumping into the stands. Hey guy, why celebrate doing what you get paid to do?
The same thing in politics. I’m not sure when it happened, but I don’t think Ike, or JFK, or LBJ would get up in front of a huge crowd and cameras and put on a show as if to say: look how great I am!! Yay, me. George HW Bush avoided the limelight of the 1991 ticker-tape parade after the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) in the “Canyon of Heroes” in Manhattan, allowing the glory to fall on Norman Schwartzkopf and Colin Powell, as well as the war veterans.
But I think it was about that time that “spiking the football” became acceptable for politicians, at least for presidents and those with presidential aspirations. At the 1988 Republican convention, Bush Sr doled out chum for the sharks when he crowed: “Read my lips: No – new – taxes!”
His son, George W Bush, as president infamously landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf in 2003, announcing “Mission Accomplished.”
Bush Sr. did in fact end up raising taxes and Bush Jr.’s mission was nowhere near accomplished. Football spikers deserve a come-uppance.
President Obama has “spiked the football” twice in Colorado, my home state. First, the pre-spike. Obama audaciously made his nomination acceptance speech, at the conclusion of the Democratic Party’s 2008 convention, in Denver’s Mile High Stadium while standing on a magnificent stage with Greek columns. Immediately after his inauguration in 2009, he returned to Denver to sign his so-called “stimulus” legislation that his super-majority of Democrats had rammed through congress in just a few days. Was there really a need to fly halfway across the country and spend millions of dollars for security and rev up AirForce-1?
It was football spiking. He announced at the signing that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%, and down below 6% by 2012. Within a year unemployment was up to 10%; currently in 2013 it is still well above 6%, at 7.7%. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including discouraged workers and the rate is still at 9%.
President Obama returned to Denver to spike again last week. This time to praise Colorado lawmakers -– all Democrats, no Republicans; Colorado having turned from Red to Blue – for responding to his plea and passing gun control legislation. Most controversial is the legal limitation of magazine clips to 15 rounds.
Colorado has recently gone through two horrible shootings: one a mass shooting in a movie theatre in the summer of 2012, and the other the recent assassination of the State Corrections chief, Tom Clements. Let’s take a look at those.
James Holmes murdered 12 and injured 58 at a theatre in the Century 16 movie complex in Aurora, CO. At the time he was a disturbed recent-dropout from the University of Colorado’s (Denver) Neuroscience PhD program. He had been in treatment by a university psychiatrist, Dr Lynne Fenton. Recently released court documents show that Holmes “had threatened and intimidated her” and made “homicidal statements.” He sent her sketches that were eerily similar to what happened over a month later at the theater. As was her legal requirement, Dr Fenton reported this to the University campus police. Nothing further was done. That bears repeating: Nothing further was done. At least by the University and its police security staff. Holmes, on the other hand, did plenty, including selecting a site for his rampage that was the only theatre complex within many miles of his Aurora residence that advertised itself as a gun-free zone.
What if the 15-round clip-limit had been in effect? There would have been no effect. A person well-experienced with his weapons can swap out a clip for a fresh 15 in about a second, or less.
Tom Clements, the head of Colorado’s prison system, was cruelly assassinated in the doorway of his home in Monument, just north of Colorado Springs, when he answered the door the night of March 19. The murderer, Evan Ebel, had recently been released from prison, where he served time for, among other things, armed robbery. Shortly before the assassination, Eben murdered a pizza delivery man Nate Leon – a husband and father of three who was trying to make a few extra dollars – so that he could steal his Dominoes’ uniform for use as a disguise.
In prison, Ebel had become involved with 211, a white supremacist gang. Inexplicably, and in an apparent screw up of hideous proportions, Ebel was freed in error – four years early – in a state clerical error. Nor was he released to a half-way house, as is standard in Colorado for such parolees. Just freed with an ankle bracelet, which he somehow removed – a fact that went un-noticed for at least four days. This bears repeating: Eben was incorrectly let out four years early, and without any transition or traceability.
Or maybe not inexplicable – curiously, Ebel’s father and family are close friends with Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper.
Meanwhile, two persons of interest in the case – possible accomplices – are on the lam here in Colorado. They likely drove the vehicle and helped plan the assassination as a Supremacist “statement.” They are considered armed and dangerous. But I’m not worried: I feel so much safer now that background checks are so much more thorough, gun buyers must pay for these checks themselves, and citizens’ clips are limited to 15-rounds (Note: one of these persons, James Lohr, has recently been apprehended in Colorado Springs).
Speaking of white supremacists and assassinations. In Texas’ Kaufman County near southeast Dallas, long known to lie along a major drug distribution pathway (I-20), two county prosecutors (and the wife of one) have been assassinated this year by white supremacists. In a new twist, this appears to be a case of Supremacists working with and for the Mexican Drug Cartel, bringing Mexican-style drug warfare to the US by targeting the law enforcement officials who are the most strident and effective in fighting drug trafficking.
In the case of the Colorado shootings, the state has blood on its hands. The state did not follow basic procedure to protect the public from homicidal killers. Regarding the theater shootings: expect lawsuits against the state. In the case of the assassination of Clements, there should be a special prosecutor investigating the connections between him, the assassin, the assassin’s father and the governor – but there won’t be. It’s a good-old-boy buddy-buddy system here in Colorado, with a single party in firm control of every branch of government.
What to do? Instead of clamping down on process that could’ve stopped these murders, … oh! I know … let’s pass more gun control laws. Sadly, there is no gun control law that can affect this type of brutality, such as it is closely tied to mental illness, gangs and drug cartels. It’s only more laws that, in many cases, cannot be enforced. Governor Hickenlooper even effectively admitted this last week.
And the White Supremicist-Mexican Drug Cartel nexus? Well, if you want to find out who illegally sold weapons to these killers you can start with the United States Government, its ATF and Department of Justice: Operation Fast and Furious. Our federal government has blood on its hands. Again there is no investigation. [Under Bush, Jr., the same jokers ran Operation Wide Receiver, which was nearly the same as Fast and Furious – with similar miserable and despicable results. Inexplicably, it was revived and renamed in the Obama Administration]. Of course, I’m not saying Wide Receiver or Fast and Furious weapons were used in any of these crimes, but we do know that several hundred weapons were sent to these vermin, and some have been used in heinous murders.
The moral of the story. There is none. Maybe it’s that there are no morals anymore. Maybe it is that we should always start out by assuming that political grand standers and ball spikers are really gauche, shallow charlatans, and – like a magician – are trying to get our attention away from what is really going on.
Until next time: keep the fight.
Joe Girard © 2013