Every time New Years Day rolls around a little glimmer of optimism flickers deep inside for a few moments. Call me a closeted idealist, but even though an Orwellian class liar--a man who happens to be breathtakingly petty and cruelly vindictive is taking over the White House that wavering light still shined the other day.
As always though, it didn't take long for any sort of hope to be snuffed out. By this afternoon the evidence has become overwhelming that the year of our Lord, 2017 will be just as rotten and deadly, if not more so, than 2016.
Earlier today, Vox.com reported that on January 1, 2017, 210 Americans were shot, not in acts of terror, or war, but just because they could. 64 of them were killed and 146 wounded. 24 shootings occurred in both Chicago and Jacksonville, FL. There were seven acts of gun violence in New York City, six each in Baltimore and Buffalo, and five in Cleveland and Indianapolis.
That's right, nothing says happy new year in a free country quite like a never ending maelstrom of blazing guns.
As of this morning Vox reports there have more than 500 shootings nationwide. The number of dead has risen to 113, while 288 people have been wounded. Six of those killed were aged 11 and under and 28 were in their teens.
It would appear the whole, "If only more law abiding people have guns there will be less gun violence," line laid on us by the cranks at the NRA really isn't working out. Of course that isn't going to stop them from using it. We could lose a million fellow citizens a year to gun violence and those evil wankers would still claim more people need to carry guns.
It is a philosophy that flies in the face of not just science and statistics, but history. Let's see, just how did Wyatt Earp and other hard nosed lawmen of the old west curb gun play in places like Dodge City? Why, believe it, or not they enacted draconian gun control measures by making it illegal to carry firearms inside the city limits of their burgs. They enforced the restrictions with zeal and on occasion, a touch of police brutality. The trail hands and pistoleros might not have liked it, but they complied without whining to some federal court about constitutional rights. In the end, as a result of measures the modern NRA would howl to the moon about, murder rates plummeted.
Listen, if it was good enough for 'ol Wyatt it should be good enough for us.
Meanwhile, proving you don't necessarily need to have a gun in order to perpetrate savagery, Chicago police announced they will charge four teenagers in connection with the kidnapping and torture of a suburban man. The unidentified victim was reported missing late Monday night. He was found wandering around, dazed and bleeding on Tuesday.
This being the 21st century, one of the little beasts streamed 30 minutes of the unabashed sadistic brutality their captive was subjected to live on Facebook. The video was then--you guessed it--immediately uploaded to YouTube.
During the gruesome attack, which has been described as "barbaric behavior," by Black Lives Matter, the African American suspects called their victim, who was white, things like, "a goof ass white man," and added such bon mots as, "Fuck Donald Trump," and, "Fuck white people."
Police arrested the four on an unrelated assault hours after they had let the kidnapped man go. The cops were able to connect them to the initial crime because--hey--when you post images of your pals committing a felony on social media using your online account, it doesn't take a CSI lab to figure out who did it.
The accused are all 18 years old and presumably will be tried as adults. The victim has been described as having, "mental health challenges." The police are still trying to decide whether to classify the horror as a hate crime.
Yes, the prospects for a better year lasted slightly less than a day. Considering what has happened since and what is going to transpire soon, perhaps we should be thankful for even those scant few hours.
Indeed, these days it is best to take what we can get, no matter how fleeting.
sic vita est