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Halloween has arrived two months too late... but boy has it arrived with a vengeance!

Dear readers, before I continue on with this column, let me just unburden myself of what is easily the most frightening mental image to have come across my brain ever since I found out that Ann Coulter had once been asked to pose for "Playboy."

Imagine Charles Krauthammer's face. Imagine that face with the odd, sharply-pointed upper lip. Imagine that visage of a smug zombie that has been sucking lemons for the last two election cycles. Got that in your head?

You say you feel ill? Okay, good. Now imagine that face, that Krauthammer face, leaning towards you while trying to muster a ghastly rictus of something that is supposed to resemble sympathy. Imagine those weird snapping turtle lips parting to say: "Tell me, how are you feeling today?"

Because, believe it or not, I found out that Charles Krauthammer used to be a psychiatrist.

No, seriously! Isn't that horrifying?!!!

Step across the saffron noodle to read more.... if you dare! Mwahahahahaha

In Charles Krauthammer's article on the Newtown massacre, Ol' Mr. Sauerkraut has revealed himself to be- if anything- full of surprises.

I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault-weapons ban in 1994.
Wait, what? Seriously? That's a surprisingly sane point of view coming from a right-wing columnist and commentator. Who are you and what have you done with Ol' Sauerkraut?
The problem was: It didn’t work.
Oh, okay. There he is. We're back on track.
The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry, and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.
Actually Mr. Sauerkraut the Second Amendment already instructs our government towards the disarming of untrained citizenry quite effectively. Let me read aloud that sainted clause of our Constitution back to you:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
That's right, you've got to be part of a militia- a WELL-REGULATED militia- in order to own that cute little bang-bang thang that rips through muscle, flesh, and bone. That cute little bang-bang thang is only to be given to a well-regulated militia dedicated to the security of a free state.... in other words, a police force.

Here's what you've got to do in order to become a police officer in my state:

1) Get a high school diploma or GED

2) Take 60 semester hours in criminal justice or a related field

3) Pass a written and oral exam, including a psychological exam

4) Pass obstacle course trainings and physical tests

5) Have a clean criminal and background check

6) Have perfect equanimity, even if your life is threatened

7) Continue to pass psychological and drug tests at regularly scheduled intervals throughout your career.

That's a lot, isn't it! Those are just the BASIC requirements for becoming a police officer too!

Here's the thing my dear ol' Sauerkraut, bleeding heart liberal that I am I'm still willing to have private citizens carry guns if I know that they've already gone through all that above training. Imagine if any prospective gun owner had to go through police training (the classes, the physical tests, the oral and written exams, the psychological clearances and all that) before getting a gun. That actually would make me rest easier at night.

The thing that DOESN'T make me rest easier is seeing all those "open carry" gun nuts swagger around with a couple of handguns nestled between their belts and belly flab. I mean, come on! What is with "open carry" proponents and massive pot bellies?! Every dude I see carrying a handgun openly and talking about the "lib'rals tryin' t'take uhway mah guns" seems to be packing about seventy pounds of extra fat along with his heat. Here's the thing. If your life is comfortable enough to allow you to grow a belly like that, you don't need a gun. Your life is full of barbecue and beer, not bad guys trying to attack you or hungry bears prowling around your log cabin. Even if a street thug does try to get the drop on you chances are his reflexes are good enough that he'll already have his own gun to your head before you have a chance to draw yours. If you don't have a gun, all a mugger gets is your cash. If you do have a gun, that mugger not only gets your cash but also your gun. Congratulations dude, there is now another gun on the street thanks to your dedication to "open carry."

Of course I know that there are exceptions. The native Yupik and Aleut populations in northern Alaska need guns because they depend on hunting and fishing to support their way of life. Transporting goods to grocery stories up in that area is so difficult that the food is horrendously expensive. A quart of milk costs ten dollars in Northern Alaska, so oftentimes impoverished persons living in the villages up there depend on hunting just to eat. They need guns. Even persons in lower parts of Alaska need guns simply because large game (bears, moose, etc.) tend to wander into residential areas and can be dangerous.

Also there are ranchers in Texas, Oklahoma, and many of the large plains states who need guns simply to protect herds from coyotes. There can be exceptions here. Nevertheless, for the rest of us tubby schlubs who have jobs as accountants or realtors and want guns just to fulfill our doomsday prepper fantasies.... I say that a police training course and a full tray of exams with psych screenings are on the menu. Anyone can take these exams too. After all, the right of someone to join a well-regulated militia should not be infringed.

Waddaya think Sauerkraut, that sound good?

It is simply crazy for a country as modern, industrial, advanced and now crowded as the United States to carry on its frontier infatuation with guns. Yes, we are a young country, but the frontier has been closed for 100 years. In 1992, there were 13,220 handgun murders in the United States. Canada (an equally young country, one might note) had 128; Britain, 33.
Holy crap.

Holy crap.

That's .... that's Charles Krauthammer.

Believe it or not, that's Charles Krauthammer's quote up there. It's from an article he wrote for the Washington Post back in 1996.

Charles Krauthammer supports a full and complete gun ban. I'd never thought I'd see the day when I'd be to the right of Charles Krauthammer. I say citizens can own guns as long as they go through the same rigorous training that our police officers do. Krauthammer says, basically, no guns at all. Nope. None. Uh-uh.

Is this the beginning of the GOP break-up? Is the line starting to dissolve? Is the party that's been doubling-down and tripling-down on insane policies for the last ten years actually beginning to start forming individual opinions? Is the sun starting to rise on that psychotic old elephant once more? Is this what it took for the Republicans to finally grow a conscience? Not the deaths of over 50,000 children in the Iraq war (Ol' Sauerkraut has always supported that.) but the deaths of 20 children in Connecticut?

The editor of the National Review has already shown some surprisingly compassionate views towards protecting the mentally ill in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Rich still voiced support of gun ownership so it's a little surprising to see Krauthammer break even more by voicing apparently long-held anti-gun beliefs as well as supporting greater care for the mentally-ill and homeless in this country.

Still, Ol' Sauerkraut knows the political affiliation of the guys who sign his paycheck, so while continuing to voice objections to guns Krauthammer simultaneously maintains that gun control laws are ineffective.

Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker.
But within literally a paragraph Sauerkraut states another statistic that renders the above statistic nonsensical.
The irony is that over the last 30 years, the U.S. homicide rate has declined by 50 percent. Gun murders as well. We’re living not through an epidemic of gun violence but through a historic decline.
So, in other words, gun control IS effective? Hooboy, even I am getting confused by the GOP's current schizophrenia. Watch Krauthammer continue to ascend to the heights of cold, clear, sanity.
Why do you think we have so many homeless? Destitution? Poverty has declined since the 1950s. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on.
Leaving aside that indirect- and undeserved- swipe at the ACLU in the above quote Krauthammer has a point. Far tighter gun control laws combined with greater government control over the commitment of the insane would lead to a more peaceful, better society. I mean.....

Dammit.

Look Krauthammer, you gotta give me something here man. I'm trying to write this diary in order to show what witless bastards conservatives are and here you are talking about the sensibility of gun bans and the necessity of ensuring government health care to the mentally ill and all this stuff that is giving me damn little material to play with here. I mean, can't you say SOMETHING kooky and stupid? Cut me a break here man, c'mon.

We live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence. Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence. And we profess shock when a small cadre of unstable, deeply deranged, dangerously isolated young men go out and enact the overlearned narrative.
Aaaaaah, yeah, That's better. There's the warm bathwater of conservative crazy that my confused brain has been craving.

Let's leave aside the fact that the link between video games and real-life violence is very much unproven. Let's leave aside the fact that violence has been a part of children's entertainment since the Three Stooges or, hell, since Hansel and Gretal shoved that old woman into the oven. I mean, have you read the original tales that the Brothers Grimm put in their famous collection? It'll give you more shivers than the thought of Dr. Krauthammer, Psychiatrist.

Let's leave aside all that in favor of one simple truth: a columnist who so breezily supported the invasion of Iraq without first considering the evidence of weapons of mass destruction or indeed of ANY need that the war to be worth the inevitable mass civilian slaughter that would follow the mobilization of US forces... is a columnist who has no moral ground to stand on when disapprovingly talking about people being "desensitized" to violence. Remember: computer pixels cannot feel pain. Iraqi civilians... bleed just like the rest of us. They bleed just like the 20 children in Connecticut did.

That is why no post-George W. Bush conservative, no matter how sane his or her opinions are concerning gun control and mental health care, can really be taken seriously when addressing mass murder.

Sorry about that, Ol' Sauerkraut. Merry Christmas anyway.

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