Monday, March 10, 2014

Lunatics There and Here

On Sunday voters in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea went to the polls in droves. In fact, according to the Korean Central News Agency, the turnout was close to 100%. Up for grabs were the 687 seats in the Supreme People's Assembly. MSN reports this is the first election held in North Korea since Kim Jong-un began running the place.

Of course the process in the DPRK is a tad different than it is in the U.S. or Britain, or France, or just about any place else for that matter. There isn't a campaign season per se. In fact there isn't even a campaign. That is because there is only one name on each ballot and voters have two choices: Yes, or No.

It is unclear what happens if the nays outnumber the yeas in a given district. Mainly because everyone always votes yes, for personal and, no doubt, safety reasons. Indeed, better to go with the flow, than end up scavenging some weeds to spice up a cup of watery rice soup in a God forsaken work camp for twenty or so years.

Kim's name was on the ballot in the Mount Paektu district. It is the home of the tallest peak in the nation and what many Koreans, on both sides of the DMZ, believe to be the ancestral home of the Korean people. It is also considered a holy place. According to his bio, Kim's father, Kim Jong-il was born there, although there are some scurrilous rumors he actually made his first appearance on the planet in an eastern Russian outpost.

Be that as it may, the KCNA was proud to report Kim the younger received 100% of the votes cast in the district, a margin of victory way beyond the wildest dreams of any American politician. A statement released to the world media read, "This is an expression of all the service personnel and people's absolute support and profound trust in Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un as they single mindedly remain loyal to him."

Yes, it would appear you don't need the help of something as mundane as a Super-Pac, when you have the secret police on your side and you're willing to use them. One can only wonder if there were a few bumper stickers floating around that said something like, "Vote for Kim and no one gets hurt."

Meanwhile, here in the states, Adam Lanza's father, Peter did an interview with New Yorker writer, Andrew Solomon. For those of you who don't remember--which apparently is a number far larger than any of us should be comfortable with--Adam was the demented geek who killed 26 babies and teachers in Newtown, CT 15 months ago. Prior to making that deadly trip he shot and killed his mother. Then, before he could be arrested, he blew his own brains out in the elementary school he had so brutally invaded.

Solomon spoke on The Today Show this morning and described Peter Lanza as a decent man who is terribly haunted by the violence, terror, and grief wrought by his kid. According to Solomon, "I think they (his parents) had no sense Adam was dangerous." He went on to say when Peter Lanza taught his son to drive he believed Adam was the, "safest, most cautious, rule following person I ever met."

Well, maybe at age 16, however the NBC report noted Peter Lanza had not seen his son in two years and had received emails from his ex-wife telling him to stay away from Newtown. Solomon speculates Nancy Lanza was, "too focused on a good day for Adam, rather than a good life." In other words she was reacting to his behavior day to day and instead of seeking long term help was doing everything she could to hide his ongoing meltdown, even from his father. As we all know, she also owned guns--lots and lots of guns. And--she thought they'd help her son learn responsibility and give him focus.

In what might be a key to how this nightmare came about, Solomon spoke about Adam Lanza's diagnosed condition which was a form of autism known as Asperger Syndrome. It is a disorder which doesn't lead to deadly behavior. But--because of it--both parents knew he could act exceedingly strange at times and, significantly, they never looked beyond it to consider something more serious and potentially dangerous, such as schizophrenia, could be wrong with their son. If the autism masked the real cause of the madness it did it well, because not one psychiatrist or M.D. who examined Adam Lanza over the years considered him capable of violence.

Peter Lanza said he refuses to mourn the death of his son. He told Solomon there isn't an hour go by during the day he doesn't think about the carnage at Newtown and how he wishes he could go back in time to fix what went wrong.

In the end he told his interviewer, "I wish Adam had never been born."

He'll get no argument there.

sic vita est


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