How many more murders?


From time to time, I am sucked into a black hole where I find myself binge-watching shows I have no business enjoying. A few days ago, for instance, I finished watching the fourth and final season of Rush — a popular Australian TV police drama focused around Melbourne’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Right after, I began counting the life-hours I had lost.

While “far-fetched” and “dopey” don’t begin to describe this series, I realized that what captivated me most about the show was its noticeable lack of violence, at least of the sort to which we Americans have become accustomed.

Sure. There were the requisite carjackings, explosions, knifings, dirty bombings, and more — you know, the kind of fare that no longer makes you flinch when you watch these barbarisms on American TV.

Still, I was struck by how peaceable and gun-averse the Australian police in this show were — even when in the gravest of dangers. I was struck, too, by how they did everything they could to de-escalate a situation and to subdue a criminal by using such non-lethal weapons as tasers, bean bag rounds, and pepper spray before they resorted to using guns with real bullets.

The pacifism reflected in this TV series is no surprise, though, when you consider the strict national gun control laws passed by former Prime Minister John Howard after the 1996 Tasmania massacre that left 35 people dead and 23 wounded. Such laws seem unlikely in this country, however, given the power of the NRA and the strength of its influence over Republicans in Congress. Why, we can’t even get Congress to ban terrorists on law enforcement watch lists from buying guns despite this weekend’s Orlando killing spree, in which a known IS sympathizer who had been questioned several times by the FBI murdered 49 beautiful souls and wounded 53 others.

Children now being raised in Australia will not even have a frame of reference for the kind of violence we in the United States have come to accept as a given: Since the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy, where 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 as well as 6 school staff members were murdered, there have been 998 mass shootings. What more has to happen, I wonder, before we can remove from power those who condone gun violence and who do everything they can to block commonsensical gun control laws?

Deadliest mass shootings in the U.S.



“Well anyway


the dead

are dead”

hushed but

busted wide

with want

that Jim

still begging

for one

last go

and Francie

so starved

she’s throwing

down fries

just minutes

before closing

those eyes

of hers

and the

dog’s ball

was buried

last fall

but what

a shedder

she was

that pup

this one

time gobbling

up chocolates

with franks

poor girl

nearly died

then but

didn’t so


the sun

it’s white

the wind

it’s up

the bits

of straw

skitter across

granite and

grass these

rose petals

dying, yes,

but still

so fragrant



“Periods of mass madness”

Jihadi John

“There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness…often [coincide] with geological cataclysms, climatic change, and similar phenomena….” ∼ from In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky (1949)