Armed and dangerous litterbugs and vandals

Does this story really describe a “culture clash” as the headline indicates?

It isn’t so much a culture clash between gun owners and the rest of us who enjoy the outdoors, it’s a story about some nitwits that we would call something else in an urban setting: vandals.

Shooting trees and leaving bullet-riddled trash in the forests and mountains?

Shooting a couch? How much skill does that take?

Those aren’t responsible recreational shooters. They’re armed and dangerous litterbugs.

Reminder: Your right to free speech doesn’t mean anyone has to listen

It is best exercised when you have something worth saying.

Someone is wearing those “boots on the ground”

The term “boots on the ground” is popular among the politicians and talking heads who increasingly and disturbingly adopt military-sounding lingo while discussing our participation in deadly violence around the world.

Its four syllables (and worse, the lazy acronym you can see on Twitter) make it shorter than the more precise and honest “America’s sons and daughters” who wear the boots that some are so eager to put on the ground.

If you want to send your fellow citizens off to kill and be killed on your behalf, say it clearly.

Chickenhawk nation? A discussion we need to have

The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.

So begins a compelling, intelligent conversation* in The Atlantic.

Reading James Fallows’ analysis, follow-up essays, and the responses from military veterans and others will take some time, but it will be well spent.

Here’s a link.


* The term “intelligent discussion” does not apply to most of the comments. Don’t waste your precious time there.

First published on MediumJanuary 18, 2015.

Football players in their own, real words, from ‘The Cauldron’

Just when I’ve lost interest in pro football, at least until the Broncos’ next season opener, I stumble across The Cauldron and a couple of thoughtful pieces written by NFL players.

I’m interested again.

My own football career ended after my second year in high school as a practice squad blocking dummy who rarely played in games, but I’ve always been a fan. An Iowa Hawkeyes fan since elementary school, when I listened to the late Jim Zabel call their games, mostly disappointing losses, on the radio.

I cheered for the Bears, the Vikings, the Packers, the Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, all the Midwestern teams that surrounded us there in pro-deprived Iowa. Irrationally, I know, I detested the Cowboys, and I never understood why my sister Kathie did not.

Broncomania is contagious, as I learned when we moved to Colorado a few years ago. Tim Tebow was the QB when I saw my first Broncos game in person, courtesy of my daughter, Sarah. (A loss to the dreaded Patriots.) Then along came Peyton Manning, with passing glory and ultimate frustration.

I don’t recall a player saying anything very real or revealing in all those years. They said the routine press conference stuff or goofed in commercials and that seemed about it. I knew them only from sportswriter critiques, won-loss records, individual stats, injury reports, highlight-reel hits and catches, movies, and shocking headlines and stories about their misdeeds, both real and rumored.

I suspected, of course, on the rare occasions that I thought about them at all as real people, that there was more to them than skill and brutal collisions and lots of money.

The two pieces that got my attention are about how they live in and cope with the always-on glare of social media. DeAngelo Williams and Golden Tate explain it quite nicely.

You Better Check Yourselves, Players

Silence Isn’t Golden


Originally published on MediumJanuary 17, 2015.