Bob Schwartz

Shootings Are Not Normal

Shepard Fairey

I published my first post about the National Rifle Association in the wake of Sandy Hook—more than five years ago. I wrote:

The dead can’t vote, and in the case of the children killed today at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they weren’t old enough anyway. So we have to speak for them and vote for them. Today is the day.

That began a string of posts about guns and the NRA, the most recent one following the massacre in Las Vegas. The killings just keeps on happening.

The mayhem from today’s shooting at a high school in Florida is being assessed. It is news and will be for a while. Republicans shilling for the NRA will explain the problem, which won’t involve guns. Soon, we will move on. The injured will more or less heal, the dead will still be dead, their loved ones will mourn.

Guns are one of the ways that America is “exceptional” in the world. Despite the patriotic pride that some take in this exceptionalism, it is nothing to be proud of. Shootings are not normal.

And the dead still can’t vote.

Trump and His Fixers

Donald Trump and Roy Cohn

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen today says that he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket. It was, he claims, not Trump money or campaign money.

This puts the spotlight on the role of the “fixer”. Fixers come in two varieties.

There are lawyers who use every means, this side of the law, but questionably this side of morals and ethics, to help clients clean up messes. See, for example, the movie Michael Clayton starring George Clooney.

Then there are fixers who leave law, morals and ethics behind. Winston Wolfe (“The Wolf”) in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is the perfect example. “I’m Winston Wolfe. I solve problems,” he says. His immediate problem is quickly cleaning up a car in which there has been a very messy murder.

Trump’s mentor as a young businessman was Roy Cohn, one of the most infamous and unscrupulous lawyer/fixers of his time. Trump has found lawyers and non-lawyers willing to clean up his messes, like Michael Cohen. But he’s never found anyone who can measure up to Cohn, who was one of a kind.

Trump’s hero as a mature businessman—and as president—is Vladimir Putin. Putin’s fixers make Roy Cohn look like a choir boy. There is literally nothing that Putin won’t ask his global network of fixers to do for him, and nothing they won’t do. Fear, loyalty and money are great motivators.

Trump would love to bring Roy Cohn back as his ultimate fixer. That’s not possible. Trump would also love to get the help of Putin’s fixers. Apparently, he already has.


St. Rafqa’s Knit Haiku

For my beautiful and beloved knitter

St. Rafqa’s Knit Haiku

Who needs the arrows
of Valentine when we knit
with Rafqa’s needles

Note: I went looking for the Catholic patron saint of knitters—there’s usually an official or unofficial saint for everything—only to discover that there is no consensus about knitting. Suggestions include Saints Fiachra/Fiacre, Rafqa/Rebecca, Dymphna, Lucy, Ursula, Sebastian or Blaise. The idea was to connect the arrows of St. Valentine to the needles of St. Whoever. The haiku idea comes from having found the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible as a gift for a knitter. All in all, a pretty long explanation for a pretty obscure poem. Happy Valentine’s Day.