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Leonard Pitts provides a reminder about gun violence well-suited for Easter morning.

In the King James Bible, in the book of Matthew, the rabbi — Jesus — is quoted as saying, “Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

When I was a kid, that always confused me. I wondered why children were commanded to suffer. But, as later translations confirm, the word was used in its old English sense, meaning: to permit or allow. Let the children come to me, He is saying, for they are the essence of grace. Love the children.

Two thousand years later, a singer named Marvin Gaye turned that command into a stark plea: Save the children.

As a nation, as a people, we have failed at both.

Nearly 100,000 people will be shot this year according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Seventeen thousand will be younger than 19. So almost 5,000 kids have been shot since the Newtown massacre in December, the one that was supposed make us finally get serious about gun violence.

More punditry behind door number only...

A big chunk of the New York Times editorial page is given over to conservative fiscal fantasy — fantasy in which all our current problems are the results of that damned FDR and his henchmen, toddies, lickspittles, and minions. If there was a paragraph worth pulling from it, I'd do so... But there's not.  It's not just bad economics and revisionist history, it's boring.

Ross Douthat says that conservatives were right to be worried about gay marriage.

Since Frum warned that gay marriage could advance only at traditional wedlock’s expense, the marriage rate has been falling faster, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has been rising faster, and the substitution of cohabitation for marriage has markedly increased. Underlying these trends is a steady shift in values: Americans are less likely to see children as important to marriage and less likely to see marriage as important to childbearing (the generation gap on gay marriage shows up on unwed parenting as well) than even in the very recent past.
See, gay people, your marriage is so bad, it caused time traveling robots to go back and preemptively kill non-gay marriage. Douthat may be wildly illogical, but at least his arm waving won't substitute for Nytol.

Maureen Dowd mulls one twisty bit at the center of the arguments in the Supreme Court.

Gays might not win because they’ve already won?

That was the moronic oxymoron at the heart of the Supreme Court debate on same-sex marriage. ...

On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts played Karl Rove, musing not about moral imperatives but political momentum.

“You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you?” he asked Roberta Kaplan, the New York lawyer representing Edie Windsor, the captivating 83-year-old who argued that she would not have been socked with a whopping estate tax bill if her spouse had been named Theo instead of Thea.

Note to C.J. Roberts: it's not as if politics around the issue of gay marriage is a new thing. The GOP has been using the issue to drag voters to the polls for years. Decades. That never seemed to bother you. What's upsetting you is that it's become a losing issue for the right.

Matthew Hutson looks at the conflict between doing what's right, and doing the right thing.

Moral quandaries often pit concerns about principles against concerns about practical consequences. Should we ban assault rifles and large sodas, restricting people’s liberties for the sake of physical health and safety? Should we allow drone killings or torture, if violating one person’s rights could save a thousand lives?

We like to believe that the principled side of the equation is rooted in deep, reasoned conviction. But a growing wealth of research shows that those values often prove to be finicky, inconsistent intuitions, swayed by ethically irrelevant factors. What you say now you might disagree with in five minutes. And such wavering has implications for both public policy and our personal lives.

It's a fairly short piece, and probably nothing you haven't heard before, but it's worth reading just as a reminder of how few decisions are really clear cut.

David Leonhardt explores a very simple idea for getting more poor kids into college — give them more information about colleges.

Among a control group of low-income students with SAT scores good enough to attend top colleges — but who did not receive the information packets — only 30 percent gained admission to a college matching their academic qualifications. Among a similar group of students who did receive a packet, 54 percent gained admission, according to the researchers, Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Sarah E. Turner of the University of Virginia.
Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress look at another factor that correlates with mass shootings. It's not just particular rifles or large ammo magazines. It's race.
Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.

But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room. ...

When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings.

But women and girls with mental health issues are not picking up semiautomatic weapons and shooting schoolchildren. Immigrants with mental health issues are not committing mass shootings in malls and movie theaters. Latinos with mental health issues are not continually killing groups of strangers.

This is your "boy, do parts of this make me uncomfortable, but..." Read It All pick of the morning.

Dana Milbank declares gun reform season closed.

“Don’t get squishy,” President Obama told members of Congress.

But they already have.

“Now is the time,” the president said.

But the time was actually three months ago. ...

There is no pleasure in I-told-you-sos on such a wrenching issue, but failure of the gun proposals was easy to predict. Three days after the Newtown shooting, when Obama was talking about action in “the coming weeks,” I argued against the White House’s slow walk: “In the case of gun control, a pattern has become persistent: A tragedy sparks an outcry for common-sense gun laws and gun groups are set back on their heels, but by the time Congress gets around to taking action, the National Rifle Association has regained its legislative stranglehold.”

So, move along nation. Nothing more to see here. We'll just have to wait for the next senseless massacre. Or maybe the one after that. And remember: it's Obama's fault congress hasn't passed anything.

Doyle McManus looks at the likely outcome from the week's wrangling at the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court decides the two gay marriage cases it heard last week the way most court watchers believe it will, expect legal and political chaos.

The court seems ready to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while ruling quite narrowly on California's Proposition 8, allowing a lower-court decision to stand. Such an outcome would make gay marriage legal in California without deciding whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional. ...

This kind of legal patchwork virtually guarantees that politicians in states that don't recognize gay marriage will be debating and legislating the issue for years, making for an even more confusing situation. The ensuing chaos could harm more than just gay couples; the Republican Party stands to lose too.

There are a lot of cases where I'd cheer an outcome damaging to the GOP. This isn't one of them. Against all odds, I wish the Roberts court would show some damn backbone and stop trying to weasel out of its responsibility to uphold justice.

Michael Slezak says you might want to check the manufacturer's label on those fairy circles.

It seems the culprit behind the mysterious "fairy circles" of the Namib desert has been under our noses all along.

The fairy circles are discs of barren sand several metres across, surrounded by lush grasses that stand out against the sparse vegetation. Since the 1960s, theories about their origin have been raised and quickly shot down. A study in 2004 seemed to rule out the three leading theories: radioactive soil, toxic debris left by plants, and termites.

Hint: one of these things just got ruled back in.

In a break with the normal layout for this column, I want to close out by going back to the Leonard Pitts piece at the top of the stack.

This year as every year, foes of abortion publicly mourn the loss of babies who could have been. But they — we — remain silent on the loss of babies who actually were, who died because we could not get our act together, because ours is a nation that does not simply enable private gun ownership, but that worships and fetishizes it to the point where sensible restriction — even sensible conversation — seems impossible.

As a result, we are a nation where what happened to Jonylah and Antonio has become grimly, sadly . . . routine. That fact alone starkly illustrates the insanity to which we have devolved, and the challenge that faces faith this Easter week.

If you haven't read the rest of this column, now would be a good time.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 09:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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