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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.Albert Einstein

I don’t know if Einstein actually said that, but I’m confident he believed it. In any scientific experiment, consistently providing the same string of inputs generates a consistently identical set of outputs. The same is true of ordinary human endeavors.

On the morning of November 6, 2017 the agencies investigating our most recent mass murder, this in Sutherland Springs, Texas, held a press briefing which included comments from a woman who lives in that horribly assaulted town. She said that what we – all of us – can do is to pray for the survivors and to support them with money donations to either of a couple of funds just established in support of the people in that community.

I’m not an expert on the subject of whether prayers offered by people around the country will provide help to the brutalized survivors. Surely, we like to think that they will. We have an innate need to help others who are suffering, so praying will at the very least serve that, as well as help to deal with this assault on our collective sense of loss of safety in the world.

What she did not address is anything that might help the next sanctuary full of church goers, or the next audience at a movie theater or concert, or the next group of children walking home from school in a dangerous inner city neighborhood, or the people on a popular bike and jogging path in a city, or the next holiday lunch gathering of coworkers, or people enjoying a nightclub, or college students walking across campus, or workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, or kids at a suburban high school, or a schoolroom full of first graders.

If we fail to change anything, we are assured of the same outcomes over and over. We’d be insane to expect anything different. We’ve seen this movie, we’ve lived it and thousands have died from it. We know it will never end unless we do something different.

The immediate defensive crouch assumed by the obstructionists to taking action is that there is no perfect solution to our self-inflicted savagery and no one thing will make all the difference.

It’s time to stop hiding behind that excuse for inaction.

The Onion puts light on our self-induced helplessness here.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we’re on a path to continually fail to make things better. It’s my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That’s the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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6 Responses to Einstein
  1. Amy Tucker Reply

    In response to a question about sensible gun laws, Texas Attorney General Paxton said that we need to figure out how schools and parishes can learn to protect themselves. Yeah, that’s the solution. It’s OK to allow nut jobs access to guns as long as we teach everybody how to protect themselves. I wonder how this guy would feel if one of those nut jobs shot up his kids’ school. They probably should have trained his children better, right? Nice job comforting your community, Paxton. (I think I’ve picked up some of my father’s snarkiness …)

  2. Allan Shuman Reply

    As scary as the helplessness were the many voices that suggested that if the people of the church were armed, the massacre wouldn’t have occurred. Scary, because in a limited sense that may be true, but it leaves people oblivious to the fact that it underscores the cultural orientation that fosters this method (i.e., the mass slaughter) of problem resolution.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply


      The culture of Wild West cowboy remedies for conflict resolution is at the core of the issue. That, plus if the shooter had not been able to acquire firearms there would have been no need for good guys with guns.

      There’s no hanging firearms access exclusively on the Air Force for their screw up; I haven’t heard but am willing to bet that the shooter bought from gun show dealers where background checks aren’t required. All that’s necessary in those venues to walk out with a gun is cash. So, even if the Air Force had done their reporting properly, the killer would have had all the same weaponry. A requirement for universal background checks plus proper reporting by the Air Force could have prevented that.

      The NRA fiercely opposes universal background checks, trigger locks, high-tech gun activation safety tools and other measures specifically because they see any method to increase safety as a step onto the slippery slope of limiting profits for the armament manufacturers. Another way to say that is that the profit of the industry is more important than the lives of the 26 people who died in the Sutherland Springs, TX massacre, the suffering of the wounded and the lifelong grief of all the survivors.

      • dominickpalella Reply

        Jack, it is irrelevant if “the NRA fiercely opposes universal background checks”. It does not make laws for us to obey, nor threaten the lives of politicians if they refuse their handouts. Only members of Congress and other government legislators are responsible for the increasing mass murder gun violence we have today. This is simply because voters are not demanding that their representatives actually represent their interests, instead of those giving them large donations. Unfortunately, they don’t know what to do and keep voting in elections expecting different results.

        In the end, those who vote are responsible for electing anti-social politicians to rule over them and produce or ignore legislation that creates hazards to their safety, health and financial well-being. Voters continue to elect people without any accountability to them AFTER THEY TAKE OFFICE. While more are protesting in between elections, they seem to be unaware that politicians have no obligation to listen or respond to them, although this can’t be more apparent from any poll taken on public opinion. I don’t know whether to call this insane, or being completely ignorant of how our political system works.

        I continue to present a very simple plan to have representatives accountable to their constituents on my web site. Regrettably, years of political propaganda indoctrination by our politicians and their corporate handlers has been very effective in preserving the subservient role that voters accept in our political system. A good example of the Stockholm syndrome.


  3. dominick palella Reply

    The NRA has instructed their political lackeys to back off again from representing the wishes of their constituents. The American public continues to accept their submissive roles limiting participation in the democratic process to elections, and protesting on the way to the next ones they are allowed to vote in.

    Unfortunately, there are more people today taking political action that is a waste of their time, money and energy. Regardless of how smart, informed or educated they are, they continue to act against their own interests because they have been propaganda indoctrinated to be politically stupid and follow activists who are equally brainwashed to propose reform tactics that belong in the 19th century.