|Ben Stein uses his right hand to indicate "aleph naught" and his|
left hand to indicate "c," definitively proving once and for all
that something knowable and singular does exist between aleph
naught and c: Ben Stein
As Clan 'Puter sat scarfing down our breakfast of egg tacos**, orange juice, coffee and watermelon yesterday morning, we basked in the warm glow of the one remaining cathode ray tube based television on the planet, dutifully allowing Mrs. 'Puter to watch her beloved show without interruption or complaint.***
Ben Stein came on to give his commentary, and 'Puter was lulled into complacency by Mr. Stein's trademark monotonous drone. 'Puter's ears pricked up, however, when he realized Mr. Stein was discussing gun control. Mr. Stein was not just discussing gun control, but excoriating it as a doomed-to-failure fool's errand. Here's Mr. Stein's commentary in its entirety, as 'Puter couldn't find an extraneous word or misplaced thought to edit. Read the whole thing, and you can watch Mr. Stein deliver the commentary here:
Let's start with a few facts about guns and shootings and deaths.'Puter loves the heck out of this commentary because it speaks the truth. Banning guns increases crime. Gun laws shouldn't be the same in a rural community as in urban areas. Second Amendment rights are subject to reasonable restrictions. An outright ban on guns is not reasonable. Guns for all with no restrictions is not reasonable. He doesn't know where the balance between freedom and restriction thereof is, but he knows he hasn't seen it yet.
Lately, there have been far too many shootings of innocent people by crazy people. We can go back to Virginia Tech or Tucson, Ariz., or look just recently to Aurora, Colo., and to Wisconsin and the Sikh Temple.
Too many crazy, homicidal people have lethal weapons. And you might say there should be very strict gun control - and for crazy people, there should be.
On the other hand, you might look at this little set of facts.
In Sandpoint, North Idaho, where I live for most of the summer, it's extremely easy to buy a gun. You can buy them at stores and at gun shows, or just at yard sales. Yet there are almost no gun deaths in Bonner County, Idaho.
The last ones of note in North Idaho were done by the FBI at Ruby Ridge, and that's a different story.
On the other hand, in my beloved Los Angeles, where I live most of the year, there's extremely strict gun control. It's a real project to buy a gun.
Here, we have gang shootings and death by guns on a terrifying scale. In my native city of Washington, D.C., the same goes: Strict gun control and lots of shootings.
The same goes for Chicago. Strict gun control and a lot of killing.
Obviously, Sandpoint, Idaho, is a very much calmer place than Chicago, and I'm not saying that people in Chicago should be allowed to just tote guns in their cars the way many can, and do, in North Idaho.
But my point is that there is nothing easy or simple about the relationship between gun control and crime. If a man had started shooting in a crowd in North Idaho, probably several men in the crowd would have shot him down immediately. Maybe a woman, too.
I'm not for vigilante law enforcement. But I am also not for government disarming everyone but criminals.
I have never understood the flaw in the argument that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. And, of course, there are already laws against murder.
The whole problem of guns and killings is complex, and saying "gun control," or being angry at the NRA simply does not get us very far.
I wish I had a better solution, but I don't, and as far as I know neither does anyone else.
Wonderful, Mr. Stein. Kudos to you, and the producers, directors and editors at CBS Sunday Morning for airing your commentary.
*'Puter is similarly intolerant of interruption during the weekly Sunday evening British Premier League Review Show on the Fox Soccer Channel. Even if you hate soccer, you should give it a watch. It's just game highlights from every league match in a given week, with some limited commentary, for an hour. It's short attention span soccer, which makes it palatable to most Americans.
**Yes, egg tacos. 'Puter gets the small, soft taco wrappers, warms them on the stove top in a small pan with a little butter until they're toasty. 'Puter removes the wrappers to a plate, adding whatever cheese his family requests, and places the plate in a warm oven. 'Puter then fries an egg or two (over hard), adds it to the wrapper along with whatever breakfast meat or coldcut is on hand (usually scrapple or bacon), folds the tacos into their familiar shape and serves. Serve with salsa, Tabasco, sour cream, green onions or whatever else suits your fancy, like Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce. NOM NOM NOM.
***'Puter, Jr. made the mistake of getting into a brawl with Spawn one morning during CBS Sunday Morning. Mrs. 'Puter grabbed each child by the scruff of his neck and tossed them outside into the snow, locking the door behind them. She settled back down and watched the remaining 15 minutes of the show in silence, ignoring the pounding on the door. Mrs. 'Puter did leave the garage open for the children, which contained their boots and snow clothes. Mrs. 'Puter is too merciful.