Atlanta Pop Festival – a 1970 flashback

My wife and I watched a tribute on PBS to Jimi Hendrix which was subtitled “The Electric Church.” Hendrix was the headliner at the second Atlanta Pop Festival in a small rural town south of Atlanta called Byron (population about 5,000). He played in front of an estimated 400,000 people over the 4th of July weekend in 1970. He would be dead in two months, so this was his last big fanfare.

The documentary type show interviewed people who helped pull this concert together. It was after Woodstock, the tragic event at Altamont and the first Atlanta event which barely broke even. Outside of seeing Hendrix perform which is always amazing, the behind the scene stories made the documentary. Plus, it is the first lengthy footage I have ever seen of Hendrix being interviewed, as he was reticent to do interviews.

Here are a few interesting take aways:

-Hendrix’s voice on civil rights was heeded because he made it less political and more about moving forward. He equated his innovative music with our need to innovate a better world.

-Byron was very unprepared to host the event, which was held at a speedway. For example, there was so much traffic, people parked on the shoulders of I-75 and walked to Byron to make the concert.

-Well-known Georgia governor Lester Maddox, who did not back away from his bigoted actions and rants, declared the event a disaster area. That only led to more people coming to see what it was all about.

-The event included the Allman Brothers, who are from nearby Macon, Bob Seger, Grand Funk Railroad, Procol Harem, Rare Earth, B.B. King, John Sebastian, among many others.

-Byron was powered by a rural co-op, so there was insufficient electricity to power the concert at all times. So, at night, only the performers on stage were lit up and poorly so at that. The roadies had to set-up the instruments and amps in the dark with flash-lights as the power was shut off until the act came on. And, the audience was in the dark, with a sea of lighters lighting the way.

-People from Byron who did not want the event, still came to see what was going on. Think Woodstock with all manner of clothing and not-so-much clothing. It was a must see even for the nay-sayers.

-Hendrix played at 12:30 am on the night/ early morning of the 3rd and 4th. He noted he could not see the crowd very well. What is interesting is when he played Woodstock, they were so far behind on scheduling, Hendrix only played to 40,000 people on Monday morning not the hundreds of thousands there over the weekend.

-Not unlike the event film only recently discovered and released about a Harlem music festival around the same time, the footage of the Atlanta Pop Festival was kept in a barn for thirty years. Note, I was unaware of this festival until the documentary.

Byron has a personal meaning to me as I went to university in Atlanta and would drive home down I-75. Byron is a speed trap and I found out the hard way back in the late 1970s. They wanted payment of the ticket then, but I did not have enough money and they would not take credit cards or checks. So, I left my watch as collateral and said I would be coming back through in two days and pay the ticket, which I did.

So, my event at the end of the decade was less unusual than Hendrix’s at the beginning.


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The debt – letter to the editor

The following letter was published in my local paper on Sunday. I made it necessarily brief to meet their 150 words limit. Please feel free to adapt and use.

If my Republican friends are so concerned about the debt, why did they do nothing to address it when they had the White House and majorities in both parties in 2017-18? In fact, they passed a tax bill that increased the debt by about $2 trillion. Democrats have been better at addressing the debt, but are far from laudatory in their efforts.

Per the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget we need both spending cuts and tax increases to solve the problem, otherwise the math will not work. If a politician tells you otherwise, they are misrepresenting the facts, full stop.

Note one of my pet peeves is political groups that complain about things, but did not offer solutions when they had the baton. It is easy to point fingers and blame other folks. It is much harder to get up off our tush and do something about it. It matters not the party or group. Failure to make decisions and making bad decisions have a life beyond the term of the entity that was in charge.

This Elvis is an acquired taste, but well worth it – an encore performance

I wrote the following post about ten years ago after my wife and I saw Elvis Costello in concert. Last night, I saw a PBS special which showed Costello performing with Burt Bacharach, who he wrote fifteen or so songs with. Bacharach died earlier this month.

If you ever get a chance to see Elvis Costello in concert, please give him a shot as you won’t regret it. He has an abundance of well crafted, sometimes bizarre songs, that are very entertaining both for the music and lyrics.

When we saw him two years ago, he had this large spinning wheel of his play list of some 40 or so songs and he invited someone from the audience to do the spinning. On occasion, he would correct the spin, as he did not want to play his encore too soon. But, his small band, provides quite a big, pulsating sound and you will leave the concert spent.

His biggest hit is one of his more straightforward songs – “Alison.” His words of lament and haunting name of Alison make this a powerful song that resonates with many:

I’m not going to get too sentimental
like those other sticky valentines,
’cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving some body.
I only know it isn’t mine.
Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

A more fun song is called “(The Angels want to wear my) Red Shoes” which is about angels getting bored and wanting to paint the town again.

Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused.
But since their wings have got rusted,
you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

One of my favorites of his is “Brilliant Mistake” which is looking back with regrets over what the title implies. Here is a neat sampling of his wordsmithing:

Now I try hard not to become hysterical
But I’m not sure if I am laughing or crying
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
 And watch this hurtin’ feeling disappear
Like it was common sense

Costello has penned some interesting songs that are quite clever in how he hides some true meaning. “Oliver’s Army” is usually on a short list of his great songs as he comes down against war, by starting out so simply:

Don’t start me talking I could talk all night
My mind goes sleepwalking
While I’m putting the world to right

Some other great songs that I enjoy include: “Man Out of Time” about a bigwig who no longer is such, “New Lace Sleeves,” “Everyday I Write the Book,” and “Watching the Detectives” which is played as the soundtrack for the PBS show “History Detectives.” Yet, I want to close with my favorite three Costello songs, one which he did not write.

My third favorite is his best concert song, “Pump It Up,” which he usually does after a softer song to get the crowd rolling. The words here pale in comparison to the beat, but it is a very catchy tune:

I’ve been on tenterhooks, ending in dirty looks,
list’ning to the Muzak, thinking ’bout this ‘n’ that.
She said that’s that. I don’t wanna chitter-chat.
Turn it down a little bit, or turn it down flat.

Pump it up when you don’t really need it.
Pump it up until you can feel it.

My second favorite is “Radio Radio” about how kids blindly follow what they are being told on the radio. He wants them to think for themselves. Here are a few lyrics:

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don’t give you any choice
’cause they think that it’s treason.
So you had better do as you are told.
You better listen to the radio.

However, my favorite of his songs is one he did not write; it was written by Nick Lowe, a British songwriter – “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding.” I wrote a post early last year with this title as my theme, which can be viewed with the attached link: https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/whats-so-funny-about-peace-love-and-understanding/. I won’t belabor this song, as its meaning is clear in the title. Lowe’s writing and Costello’s singing address squarely what is wrong about talking about peace not war? What is wrong about talking of love not hate? What is so wrong with trying to understand our differences, not use them to divide?

I will grant you, Elvis Costello is an acquired taste. But, listen to the music first, then listen to the words. You won’t regret it. And, please forgive me if I did not list your favorite Costello song. There are many to choose from.

Playing both ends against the middle – a reprise from 2014

I wrote the following post about nine years ago, so long ago I reference a post written by an old friend named Hugh who has passed on. I hope the link still works. The thrust of this piece is funders are not stupid, so they fund both sides, one more than the other, just to hedge their bets.

This has always been a problem, but with the vast sums of money that it takes for a US politician to get elected, large industry groups end up supporting both sides and play the ends against the middle. When you tack on the monied lobbyist influence and reasonable, even-handed legislation does not stand a chance. The end result is we are closer to oligarchy in this country approaching the days of the Robber Barons, which Teddy Roosevelt adamantly fought. Roosevelt was against corporate funding whatsoever, but now with recent court decisions, companies are given freedoms to control elections and elected officials.

If you look at the largest and most influential industry in America, the fossil fuel industry, it is easy to see why we still debate over man’s influence over climate change and that fracking should be viewed as perfectly safe because the pretty and earnest spokeswoman tells it is so on the excellently crafted commercial. I have said this before, but they are not my words – the fossil fuel industry pretty much owns the Republican Party in the United States. Oh, I am sure we could argue degrees of influence, but there should be little debate that the fossil fuel industry can get the attention of the GOP.

The sad part of the equation is they also fund Democrats, as well. While they would prefer the Republicans to win, because of the canned legislation ready to be enacted for their betterment through organizations like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, if the Democrats win, they have that base covered. Coupling that with a heavy lobbying effort and these legislators don’t stand a chance. While the President has espoused moving the ball forward on addressing climate change and has done some good things, we have been fracking like there is no tomorrow, which is an intended pun.

In fact, with Republicans in Congress bashing the EPA efforts, someone high up in the Administration has on more than one occasion asked the EPA to cool their jets. This is one reason EPA Director Lisa Jackson resigned in December 2012 shortly after a report on fracking water poisoning in Pennsylvania was released that was watered down in the headlines. Since no one reads anything any more, people went with the headlines which were less forthcoming about the problematic results. I guess she was hoping someone would have her back in this hard fight. I am likely over-simplifying the reasons, but she was a frustrated camper when she left.

I could have easily picked on another industry group, such as the NRA. There is a reason that goes beyond Republican obstinance that works against getting some legitimate and wanted legislation done. But, the key takeaway is funders can play both ends against the middle in a fight no one knows is going on outside of government halls. In the case of the fossil fuel industry with connections and money, they are a formidable power to reckon with. So, this more than anything is why the EPA is a target. They stand in the way of the industry making decisions where the environmental impact is not highlighted as much as it needs to be. Other environmental groups have had to become more active to lend their voice to the understaffed and under supported EPA. If you hear “we should do away with the EPA” at a cocktail party, you should ask the person, “do you really mean that?”

So, the heavy lifting is going to fall on us citizens. We have to be better informed. We have to ask more questions about why people are advocating something that does not feel right. We cannot rely on party politics to dictate what we do. We need to get our information from reputable and multiple sources. There are too many so-called news sources and pundits that are giving out misinformation and disinformation, or at best spin-doctored news. If you are watching a news source that mentions Benghazi more than half a dozen times, you are not watching a reputable news source.

Let’s keep these folks honest. We have our work cut out for us.

Also, please check out my friend Hugh Curtler’s post on “Corporate Persons” from this morning. http://hughcurtler.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/corporate-persons/

“Verdant canopy of lies” – resume inflation is growing

Jack Shafer of Politico wrote the following opinion piece earlier this week that should concern each of us called “Opinion | The George Santos Caucus Is Growing – Resume inflation on Capitol Hill is getting out of hand.” Here is the first few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

“The verdant canopy of lies tended by Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) requires no summary here. They’re so thick and leafy that they now block the sun from the forest floor. But he’s not the only freshman member who struggles when self-reporting. According to a recent Washington Post investigation, Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) can’t keep her ethnicity straight, claims to have grown up destitute and neglected when she didn’t, and appears to have incorrectly portrayed herself as the victim of a home invasion. (Luna has contested the Post story and won one correction and a clarification.) Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) has claimed to be an economist (he’s not), re-rendered his minor position as a reserve sheriff’s deputy into a career as a crime-fighter cracking down on sex trafficking, and inflated his participation in non-degree classes at Vanderbilt and Dartmouth into claims of having attended their graduate schools.”

Resume inflation is not a new thing and has been going on for years. But, now it is far easier to check whether a person is embellishing their resume or flat out pulling a “Santos.” The young congressman has been so over the top with his “canopy of lies” that he may be removed from Congress by his own Republican constituents. He is facing an ethics investigation at long last after the Speaker realized the Santos problem would not go away. Yet, it should have never gotten this far. The leaders of his party should have loudly cried foul and not placed Santos on two committees.

We deserve better than this. We already know many politicians cannot be trusted to tell us the truth more than they do not, but lying about who you are and what you have accomplished to such a degree is just simply not right. There is a reason why some politicians want to squeeze out the press and restrict what books you can read. They want to make it easier to lie to our faces.

Everyone has told white lies and untruths over the lives. To say they have not would cause a question. Some have told only a bare minimum and felt bad out them when they do, while others approach the same level of lying of certain politicians whose names evoke whether they are being deceitful when mentioned. Santos is in a master class of resume inflation.

To be frank, an investigation is warranted and if found culpable, action should be taken against Santos. At the bare minimum, he should be censured and be prevented from serving on any committees. Just because he can represent his district does not mean the rest of our country should be exposed to such deceitful governance. Yet, if culpable, then he should not be seated in my view. The lawsuit members of his own party in his district are pursuing to have him removed is interesting.

The question that should be asked is “how can you trust a person who has lied to this extent? Yet, in our tribal politics “our liars are better than your truth tellers.” In Santos’ party it goes further than that “our liars are better than our truth tellers.” And, that is an embarrassingly scary thought. We need the truth. We need to know who you are if you want our vote.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/02/23/george-santos-caucus-elections-00084048

Thursday theatrics

Here are just a bit of theatrics on this fine Thursday. The following summary and $2.25 will get you a cup of coffee. So, use them for a laugh rather than set policy.

Vladimir Putin is beating on his chest about creating a bigger war with nuclear weapons when he has trouble fighting successfully the one he is in. Further, his budget cannot afford much more fighting. How do we react to such chest beating? Do we laugh or worry? Probably a little bit of both.

Just to make sure we are paying attention, Kim Jung Un in North Korea is rattling his saber again with his nuclear weapons. Like with Putin, do we laugh or worry? In this case we should worry as it is akin to the old caution of beware of a monkey with a hand grenade. It is a monkey, but it is a hand grenade.

Here we have a former president who wants to be president again who is on record as saying what good are nuclear weapons if you don’t use them? Given that Donald Trump is about to be charged with election tampering, seditious actions, retaining classified documents and other possible crimes after his company was fined for tax fraud, we should have some concerns

We have bigger problems in the world that we need to deal with. The people in these three countries have bigger problems than assuaging the egos of these individuals. Yet, it is sad that each of these people use the word nuclear weapon as if it is a toy. I think that says a lot about their nature.

Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – The Five D’s (a second reprise)

The following post was written almost nine years ago, before the former president walked down the escalator to announce his candidacy. He showed how to manipulate these five D’s, but his albatross was he could not control the one guy at the toggle. So, he often gets in his own way and the way of his helpers.

The five D’s. As a now 55-year-old man, I have witnessed over time the aggressively managed handling of criticism whether it is in politics or in big business. In my view, the defense could be summed up in the following order – Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – where you keep drawing lines in the sand as you retreat. With each D and line drawn, you want to see if that will stave off the criticism.

The fossil fuel and petro-chemical industries have been deploying these tactics for decades, as what they do for a living is not easy and has a history of impacting the health and welfare of humans and the environment. When you add money on top of these approaches, it takes an Erin Brockovich to make any headway against them. Yet, what people fail to realize is these five D’s are an aggressive risk management strategy.

But, the approach is definitely not limited to big business. Vladimir Putin is probably the best games player around. He knows your weaknesses and hot buttons, so he has and continues to use these approaches. In the US, politicians value and pay dearly for spin doctors like Karl Rove, who in essence are paid liars. Their job is perfume any pig that comes their client’s way. However, most politicians who have won more than one election become increasingly artful in these defense tactics – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Obama and the Bushes – all could be considered good at these approaches. With Nixon, the lies caught up with him as he taped himself. He only resigned once the courts ordered him to release the tapes that showed he was not only paranoid, but ran a burglary and disinformation ring out of the White House.

First, when criticism is made against what you do or have done, you deny it aggressively. That is absolutely not true will be words usually spoken. Note, with false claims, denial does not mean the accuser is correct as that is part of the defense strategy under discredit. Putin claims that Ukraine is fascist, but you really cannot call Ukraine fascist if they are trying to have democratic elections. The toxic fracking slickwater is not getting into people’s water supply, is a good example of denial. The NSA is not spying on Americans is another one.

Second, when the denial ceases to work, the discredit strategy begins. Sometimes, the discrediting comes with the denial. The Putin example is a good one. The global warming is a hoax is a prime example, where the fossil fuel industry through its public relations engine wanted to paint Al Gore and all of his imperfections as the reason why global warming was not happening. He lives in large mansion and is using this as a publicity stunt. Name calling or branding people comes part and parcel. Using terms like Hitler, Apartheid or Stalin to paint something you dislike is a common tactic. I have often been called an Environmentalist, which I am, but the term is used to smear me because it is meant to construe that I do not care about jobs. The fact that there are tens of thousands of jobs in solar energy in my own state and they are growing in number, seems to get overlooked as unimportant.

Third, if denials and discrediting don’t work, disinform. This probably frustrates me most, as it is a very common tactic on partisan news shows, to spin the truth, overlook the issues or just lie. I tell people often and write on this blog and emails for people to stop watching Fox news and its counterpart, MSNBC. Your are better off watching no news as the spins can be so severe that you are not informed –  you have been propagandized. The real truths include: Global warming is not a hoax. Fracking is not perfectly safe. Creationism is not science. Voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Business is not inherently bad, but needs governance. Protecting our environment costs us less in the long run. While there are a few abusers, people on food stamps are not gaming the system.

Fourth, if we are still in trouble, the next line in the sand is to diffuse. This is a measured  mea culpa which allows some concessions, but does so on your terms. You have already thought through beforehand what would be an acceptable position to come to, when the avalanche of truth gets too big. You have done some internal investigations and found there is some truth in what we are being accused of, so we will fix it. You are right, climate change is real, so we are going to focus on natural gas, as it burns cleaner than coal. The data breach is bigger than we first imagined, so we are doing the following. We are only getting Metadata and not listening to your phone calls and reading your emails.

Fifth, if this fails, then we need to defray. We need to settle claims as quickly and expeditiously as possible. We must avoid class action suits. We need to divide and conquer. Pay people a pretty penny, but limit the number of pennies and limit the number of hands. No one goes to jail. We just pay out of expenses what we have already accrued when the problem first reared its head. Or, let’s recall every car that has any minor defect now. This will be far cheaper than the potential lawsuit.

The five D’s. Next time criticism is flying toward someone or some entity, watch how the issue is handled. Usually, the higher the revenue stream potential, the more aggressive the defense. The truth is usually further away from the speaker with the most to gain financially. Not always, but often enough.

Tuesday troubles

I read where Turkey has experienced another earthquake on top of the tragic one several days ago. It shows how fragile life is and how the planet is indiscriminate on who is impacted by its rumblings.

With such tragedy, it makes me more perturbed by weak-minded tyrants and elected officials who feel the need to invade other countries. Putin has shown how fragile his ego is by not realizing he has harmed his own country by trying to take over land from another.

But, before the US gets too high and mighty, we should not forget we invaded Iraq under false pretenses. This was determined to be the case by a British commission that found British PM Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush at fault for deceiving the British people about invading Iraq.

To be frank, we are focusing on the wrong things. The two most significant long term concerns by the members of the World Economic Forum are the global water crisis and impact of climate change. The latter makes the former independent concern even more troubling hastening evaporation and threatening fresh water aquifers with rising sea levels. But, climate change also is cooking the chemicals left in the earth like a crockpot making them worse per ecologist and biologist Sandra Steingraber.

So, we need to tell so-called leaders to stand down and quit being so narrow-minded with their war games. Always remember the line from the movie “Troy.” “War is old men talking and young men dying.” That sums it up nicely. We have more important things to deal with.



Two movies about real heroes

Two historical movies caught our attention this past weekend about two different kinds of heroes. Or maybe I should say heroines, as both are women. The first is called “The Spy” and it is a recent movie about a Swedish and Norwegian film star named Sonja Wigert back in the 1930s who turned out to be a double agent working for the Swedes in World War II.

The second movie is called “Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story” which is about a human rights activist of that name who helped the impoverished throughout most of her life. The unusual title comes from a comment made by her sister-in-law who said her mother told her to be aware that you never know when you are entertaining an angel.

“The Spy” is in subtitles and stars Ingrid Bolsø Berdal. Wigert’s career was effectively ruined as she was seen as betraying her country’s needs in working with the Nazis, as she spoke German, Norwegian and English. Decades later, it was discovered that she was actually a spy working for her country and the allied effort, a fact she could not tell anyone, even after the war. Her efforts led to the capture of two Swedish nationals actually working on behalf of the Nazis and saving the life of a boyfriend who turned out to be a spy as well for an allied cause. In so doing, her boyfriend thought she was a Nazi spy, so he would not speak with her after that.

“The Dorothy Day Story” stars Moira Kelly with an added performance by Martin Sheen as a mentor. Day started out as a suffragette, but later evolved into helping the poor after seeing their plight through the eyes of nun played by Melinda Dillon (from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) and Sheen who played a street preacher. The movie starts and finishes with her consoling an inmate where she is serving a few days for being arrested for protesting, which happened often. But, her main cause was taken care of people giving them food, shelter and restoring their dignity. Her actions shamed the New York diocese of the Catholic Church into being better advocates, as she was often portrayed as too progressive for their purpose.

These movies are worth watching. Both women sacrificed a great deal for their causes, but took away the satisfaction of serving a greater good. If you cannot watch them, take a quick look at their Wikipedia profiles.

How do you know who the good guys are? – a needed repeat

I wrote the following post about nine years ago. With the twice weekly mass shootings in the US, with Mississippi and Michigan being the latest sites of multiple gun deaths or injuries, on top of the daily killings around the country, this piece sadly and disappointingly still holds meaning and needs to be heeded.

A common refrain echoed in a couple of recent comments on blogs regarding gun deaths is the line from Wayne LaPierre of the NRA, who said “the only defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I have asked this rhetorical question before, but let me ask it again – “how do you know who the good guys are?” Just using a few examples as to why I pose this question, note the following.

There is a man on trial in Jacksonville, Florida who killed an African-American teen in a gas station because of an argument started over turning the volume of the radio down. There were several young men in the car and the alleged assailant’s wife was inside paying for items from the convenience store. No weapon was found in the car or at the scene from the African-American youth, yet the man said he saw a weapon. So, someone is dead over playing music too loudly. I would wager that people have come to his defense to say he was a good person.

A couple of months ago, a retired police officer shot a man in a theatre (who was with his wife) for talking on his cell phone. He apparently was speaking to the baby sitter while he and is wife were on a date. So, someone is dead over talking on a cellphone in a theatre. Like the above, the punishment does not fit the crime of talking in a theatre. I have already heard footage of how the retired police officer was such a good person.

Last year, George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch person, was acquitted of killing an unarmed African-American youth. What bothers me about this acquittal is Zimmerman was told not to follow this person by the 911 officer when he called 911 to report the person. Yet, he followed Trayvon Martin and now Martin is dead. People talk about what a good person Zimmerman was and how he was so vigilant on the neighborhood watch.

Then, there are the countless deaths that occur every day in America. Our significant gun death problem is not the result of horrible mass shootings. No, by far, our gun death problem happens everyday. People get in arguments at home, in restaurants, in bars, at games, at concerts, etc. and make impulsive decisions and a life is ended because a gun was present. Plus, the number of suicides increase because of impulsive decisions when depressed and easy access to a weapon. Then, you have the accidental shootings by minors who find a weapon. This past week, yet another occurred when a two-year old shot his seventeen month old sister.

There are two tests you can do to validate these kinds of deaths. First, look in any paper for about a week and count the number of gun deaths. Second, and more troubling, Google “six-year-old shoots four-year-old” and count the number and pages of stories over the last few years. I cite this statistic in earlier posts, but according to the Journal of Acute Trauma and Medicine, looking at the wealthiest 23 nations, for every 100 gun deaths, the US has 80 of them. For every 100 children and teen gun deaths, the US has 87 of them, with the remaining 22 countries totaling 13. I view this as a problem.

Gun deaths are due to a variety of factors – lack of civility, predisposition to act, drugs, mental health issues, poverty, entertainment violence, but make no mistake they are also about gun access. Guns do not kill people, that is true, but people with access to guns do. I am not advocating infringing on Second Amendment rights, although that argument is an overplayed hand that applies little this day and age. But, I am advocating what Americans have noted in surveys – we want elongated background checks and longer waiting periods. And, the police have long advocated the codification of bullets, so crimes can be solved more quickly. Finally, lock the guns away, preferably unloaded. Full stop.

But, it has to be more than this – we must deal with getting more civil with each other and not letting simple arguments lead to a death. We should also deal with these other issues, especially the mental health one, but lack of civility needs to be addressed. The other related issue is what I call a “predisposition to act.” From Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink,” he notes the story that Bruce Springsteen captured in his song “American Skin” (or sometimes referred to as 41 Shots). A man who did not understand English very well was shot 41 times trying to get his card out of his wallet. The police involved were confirmed to have a predisposition to act toward this person and fired their guns in haste. They also fired 41 times on one person.

Getting back to the three stories above, these good guys with guns were emboldened to act. They had a predisposition to do something that ended up with three people dead. Three people who need not have been killed for their so-called transgressions. Having access to a weapon will compound an impulsive or irresponsible judgment call. This is one reason why allowing guns in bars is about the most inane idea possible.” Morons in the News” on the various morning radio shows are filled with impulsive decisions that ended in death over stupid or drunk arguments. Guns, alcohol and testosterone are an unhealthy mix.

So, when someone next raises the comment about the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, ask the headline question above. How do you know who the good guys are?