The School Shooting

Andy writes:

Not to pressure you into becoming a reactionary blogger, but I’m curious
hat you’re thoughts are on the latest school shooting. These things really hit home to me because I remember not too long ago being an geeky high school student alternating between anger and depression. I’m afraid to say it but I feel really sorry for the shooters. I wish I could have told them how pathetic those adults saying “High School is the best time of your life” are. The worst part is, our politicans and most the the teachers come from the cool kid sections of the class. They’ll never understand the problem.

Come to think it it, the current administration treats the world a lot like a high school. I don’t actually believe Bush thinks drilling in the arctic is a good idea. He’s just doing it because he thinks it’s funny pissing geeky liberals off. Maybe it’s the cynical HS survivor talking in me but I bet a significant number of people voted for him because they think hurting little countries in the face of protests is funny. I guess the sad truth is bullies never grow up, we just move away from them.

The only thing that surprises me about school shootings is that they don’t happen every day. Everything about the modern American high school from the jail-like architecture and security checkpoints to the rigid insistence upon following useless textbooks to the cult of the jock is engineered to oppress. And the oppression falls heaviest on the smartest, most bookish kids–who are the most capable of planning mayhem on a large scale.

Aside from what Andy wrote, I wonder: Is bullying learned? Or is it hardwired in our ape brains?

Schiavo Mail

Wait until my cartoons start coming out tomorrow. Until then, here’s an email sampler:

From Steve:

If the media were truly Liberal, the papers would be calling her “brain-dead” instead of “brain-damaged”.

Like I said, wait until my cartoons start coming out…

Tim sets the record straight:

I’m sure you’ll probably be deluged with emails on
this point but in your latest blog you ask “Should Terry be allowed to die?” and state that “The video released by the family does seem to show her reacting to her surroundings.” But Schiavo’s cerebral cortex has been completely destroyed and replaced by spinal fluid. The cerebral cortex is involved in complex brain functions including memory, perceptual awareness, “thinking”, language and consciousness.
There is simply no way for her to be responding to anything around her, and doctors have been quite certain of this for many years now. As for the videosof her supposedly responding to her surroundings,those short clips allegedly omit hours ofunresponsiveness. Whatever noises or movements shemakes are completely random–again, EEG scans of her brain show zero electrical activity in the cerebralcortex. Whoever Terry was is no longer around, and what’s more, she’s never coming back. This is not speculation, it is medical fact.
PS. I enjoy your work tremendously– keep it up.

Andy is, according to everything I’ve read, correct.

Bill brings up an interesting point. The politics of distraction through the personal story are at work here:

It shows how much better conservatives are at getting there issues out then us liberals like you say in “Wake up you’re liberal”. Where’s our collective outrage over Bush’s bankrupcy plan.

Norman proves it’s grandstanding by comparing the action on the Schiavo case with the inaction on the PATRIOT Act (and let’s not forget the August 8, 2001 memo warning Bush of impending Al Qaeda attacks on US soil):

There are some odd complexities about the Schiavo case. Apparently, there is evidence that Ms. Schiavo had been abused, possibly severely, and that could have been the cause, or a cause, of her current condition. If true, although tragic, it is still a matter for law enforcement and the courts.

The thing that pisses me off about the Schiavo case is that Congress has become involved. In meddling with this case, The Pugs have finally made clear that their true role is political theater, not government. They don’t have time to read the patriot act before passing it, and thus our civil liberties into history, but they suddenly have all the time in the world to deal with a case
that is better left to state and local authorities. Yet, the fake president rouseshimself from his fake ranch and his fake brush clearing with fake urgency to take the stage for fake politics, telling a flatlined country to fake off.

(Another) Ted points out that Bush’s pro-life cred ain’t all it’s cracked up to be:

Why are more people not talking about the Texas law that Bush signed while governor in 1999? Under that law, physicians and a hospital ethics committee can decide to remove the feeding tubes of an adult in a vegetative state –even OVER the objections of guardians and relatives. (The law was amended in 2003 to include minors and pediatric patients.) Why hasn’t the case of Wanda Hudson — who recently fought (and lost) to keep her infant son on life support — more publicized?
Astonishing how Bush and Delay can passionately rail against euthanasia and assisted suicide while an infant in Texas just had his tubes pulled out because his mother couldn’t afford to keep him alive. There are other cases pending in Texas. Anyone interested in reading about the bill can just do a google search for “Wanda Hudson and Texas law.” The case was covered in Texas newspapers, but I’ve heard very little of it in the mainstream media. Apparently, neocons are on the side of life so long as the state doesn’t have to pay the bills. What more proof does one need of the shameless hypocrisy of Delay and Bush?

As does Joe:

I concur completely with your thoughts on Terry Schiavo. By all accounts it’s a tragic situation, with both sides needlessly villified. As a parent I can absolutely understand the parents feelings. What disgusts me is the bushmen exploiting the situation as cynically as the way they exploited 9/11. It astounds me how the sanctity of life does not exten to Iraqis in the bushmen’s world view.
I read of the death of a 5 month old baby, Sun Hudson. He was terminally ill and his mother wanted him kept alive but she was too poor to pay for his care. Under the Texas Futile Care law (Signed in 1998 by the Governor of Texas. Whatever became of that guy ? Helluva cheerleader in High School). The poor child might as well have been an Iraqi for all the bushmen cared about him. Here’s a link in case you’re interested. .
Great cartoon.

And FOR Sean kicks it through the goalposts and out the stadium:

I appreciate your calm and thoughtful words on the Terry Schiavo case in today’s blog entry. What gripes me more than almost anything in this affair is how the Republicans in Congress have latched onto this issue because, as they say, it advances the “culture of life”. Ugh! I wish some daring Democrat had attached a rider to “Terry’s Bill” to also outlaw the Federal Death Penalty. I would love to have seen the right-wingers argue that!

(You also know that if it had been revealed that Terry had ever had an abortion, they’d all have packed up and gone home a long time ago).

And the irony of ironies is that when the Repugs finish refashioning this country to their liking, there will be no more cases like Terry. What has paid for her medical care this past 15 years? A million dollar settlement of a malpractice case; the Repugs want to put caps on those kinds of judgments. And how is her continuing care being paid for now? Medicare, another program that the Repugs want to gut.
Flaming hypocrites!

That’s very true. If Generalissimo El Busho and his minions get the tort reform they want, poor Ms. Schiavo would be limited to maximum damages of $250,000…hardly enough to sustain 15 years of the level of 24-hour care she had been receiving.

The irony is, those who want to let Terry Schiavo die–which was, according to the spouse who is in a position to know, her desire in this situation–care more about her than those who want her live.

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