ghost bikes

You know how you scan the news headlines and something catches your eye? Back in June, this caught mine:

Bicyclist dies in Calhoun County crash

It caught my attention because I’m a bicyclist, and because years ago I lived in Calhoun County, Iowa while I was working as a counselor in a prison for women. It’s a fairly small connection, but it was enough to get me to glance at the article.

Shawn Gosch, 47, of Onawa was riding west on Iowa Highway 7 west of Manson when a station wagon struck him from behind shortly after 8:30 a.m. Friday, the Iowa State Patrol said in a news release. Gosch was pronounced dead at Pocahontas Community Hospital.

I’ve ridden that road. Classic Iowa highway — flat, straight, moderately good shoulder, not terribly busy. It’s a pretty good cycling road unless the wind is in your face.

Salina, Kansas

Salina, Kansas

The article said Gosch was riding with a friend, who was also injured; the driver struck Gosch from behind, hurling him and his bike into the other cyclist.

Eric Meyer, 30, of Lake View was the driver of the station wagon. Meyer told authorities he tried to pass the bicyclists, but was unable to get around them…Iowa State Patrol Lt. Kelly Hindman said he did not expect charges to be filed, although the results of the investigation could change that.

Unable to get around them? How difficult could it be to get around a pair of cyclists riding in single file on a straight highway? They were riding west at 8:30 in the morning, so the sun wouldn’t have been in the driver’s eyes. And how could charges NOT be filed? I mean, this guy killed somebody. As a criminal defense investigator I worked cases in which people who’d done a lot less were charged with negligent homicide. I’m thinking hitting a cyclist from behind with a station wagon is pretty damned negligent.

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn, NY

Eventually, the State decided to press three charges against Meyer. Nothing serious, though. Unsafe passing, failure to wear a seat belt, and failure to provide proof of insurance. That’s it. One guy is dead, another guy is injured, and the driver gets charged with unsafe passing. He didn’t pass at all. He failed to pass. He hit the fucking guy. Lawdy.

Equally disturbing is the response to this news report. Many of the comments were hostile. They were dominated by complaints about cyclists slowing down traffic and suggestions that bicycles be banned from the roads. It was as if drivers were blaming the cyclist for being on the road.

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

That was back in June — but I tend to let a thought bounce around in my brain for a long time. As far as I can tell, there have been four Iowa cyclists killed by motor vehicles so far this year. That’s one every other month. Those are the ones who are killed; who knows how many suffer non-fatal injuries? And this is in Iowa, which is a bicycle-friendly state. If it’s this bad in Iowa, how bad can it be in the rest of the United States?

Brookline, MA

Brookline, MA

Pretty damned bad, is how bad. According to the most recent data (2012) there are about 700 bicycle-versus-motor vehicle fatalities a year. Let’s say two a week. More than 50,000 are injured. Most of the fatal accidents (around 40%, according to a recent report by League of American Bicyclists) involve cyclists being struck from behind. Very few of the fatalities result in a criminal charge. When a criminal charge IS brought against the driver, it’s most often for some sort of traffic offense.

According to a news release by the Taylor County attorney, bicyclist Gerald Williams of Lenox was struck by a vehicle driven by Jessica M. Brown and killed. The car was damaged bad enough that it couldn’t be driven. Brown reported that she thought she hit a deer. A day later, the body of Williams was found in the ditch. Brown was convicted of failure to stop at an assured clear distance on Jan. 3. She was ordered to pay a fine of $500, a statutory surcharge of $175 and court costs in the amount of $60.

That’s a total of US$735 for killing a bicyclist. Well, no — for failure to stop at an assured clear distance. Whatever the hell that means. If you ever want to kill somebody and get away with it, your best bet is to hit them from behind with a car. The odds of picking up a felony charge are slight. Of course, you may have to pay a stiff traffic fine.

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA

These deaths aren’t murders, of course. They’re just accidents. Accidents for the most part caused by either negligence or recklessness. But here’s the thing: if you’re driving your car and you crash into another car and kill somebody, you’ll likely be charged with negligent homicide. If you kill a pedestrian, same thing. But for some reason, crashing into a bicyclist on a public road is only a traffic offense. Somebody please explain that to me.

There are lots of cycling organizations out there lobbying for stiffer punishments and more consistent enforcement of existing laws, but they’re not getting much attention or traction. It’s not that I want to see people punished; it’s that I’d like to see some equity of treatment. I’d like to see the deaths of cyclists treated as seriously as the deaths of drivers and pedestrians.

But amid all the bullshit, there’s one group — a small, rather informal group — paying their respects to the dead. Ghost Bikes.

ghost bike 1

The Ghost Bike project was started in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, apparently after Patrick Van Der Tuin witnessed a fatal car-bike accident. He took a cheap-ass bike, painted it white, stuck a hand-painted sign on it (Cyclist Struck Here), and placed it at the location of the accident. When he saw the effect it had, he and some friends began to do the same thing at other locations where bike-car accidents had occurred in St. Louis.

Now there are more that 600 ghost bikes all over the world. That’s a lot of ghost bikes. But not nearly enough. Not nearly enough. Most people — even most cyclists — have never heard about ghost bikes. Even if they see them along the road, they don’t know what they are. To my knowledge, there are no ghost bikes in Iowa.

I may have to do something about that.

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you can’t make an omelet without…

Years ago, when I was a working P.I., I had a client who was wanted on a drug charge. When the police went to pick him up, he barricaded himself in his house and told the officers he was armed with a fully automatic Ingram MAC-10. The police wisely backed off and implemented a Full Gary Oldman. “Bring me everyone.”

Almost the entire local police force arrived, surrounded the house, evacuated the neighbors, and waited patiently for my client to decide what he was going to do next. What he did next was fire off a few rounds on semi-auto, after which he realized he’d totally fucked himself and he surrendered.

There wasn’t any real investigating to do in the case; the guy was blatantly guilty. But a good defense lawyer will grasp at almost any straw, even if it’s only useful in sentencing. So I was sent to test the weapon and determine if it was completely operational. In other words, to see if actually was fully automatic. Which meant I’d get to shoot it.

I did, and it was. It was the ugliest gun I’ve ever seen — just a foot-long slab of black metal, with a strap attached near the barrel. The strap was necessary to keep the barrel down while firing; otherwise the recoil would force the barrel up and you’d be shooting sky. The police allowed me to fire off two 30 round magazines — which maybe took a total of five or six seconds. The stubby little bastard could fire just over a thousand rounds a minute. That’s 1000 9mm bullets in 60 seconds. Do the math. Even holding the strap, I found it difficult to control the barrel.

Why am I telling you this? Because on Monday a shooting instructor at an Arizona firing range allowed a nine-year-old girl to fire a similar weapon — and Uzi — on full auto.

Let me repeat that. A shooting instructor — a military veteran with lots of experience with firearms — having watched a nine-year-old girl fire one 9mm round on semi-auto, decided to allow her to fire the weapon on full auto. She lost control of the weapon. The instructor took a round to the head. Killed him.

Nine. The girl is nine years old. Her parents, of course, were recording it with their phone. (The video, released by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, stops before the instructor is shot.)

Just an accident. No charges will be filed. These things happen. Sure, a few lives were destroyed. The shooting instructor. His family. The poor girl. Her family. But hey, what can you do? Nobody to blame, nobody is at fault. Second Amendment, and all that. Nothing left to say, really.

What a stupid fucking country this is.

uncomfortable confessional crap

You know, you get so used to your life that sometimes you fail to recognize how odd it is. Or how odd it seems to other people.

I was reminded of this recently. It was a pretty ordinary situation; I was with a friend in a dimly-lit hallway and there was a bit of light peeking out from beneath a closed door. I must have hesitated a bit before opening the door. Well, no, I know I hesitated a moment. I always do.

“What was that about?” my friend asked.

“What was what about?”

“That pause before you opened the door.”

pause a moment

I don’t talk about myself very often. I don’t really spend much time thinking about myself. I’m not very self-reflective. I’ve lived with myself my entire life, so there’s nothing really new there for me to learn. I’m aware that other people don’t hesitate before opening a door that has a light shining underneath it — but it doesn’t occur to me that it’s odd that I do it.

But when somebody else notices it, you sort of have to explain. And how do you do that? How do you tell somebody that when you approach a door in a dimly-lit hallway — a door with a light shining underneath it — that you hesitate because you always remember opening a similar door with a similar light and finding a dead guy hanging from a pipe? How do you do that without sounding all dramatic?

Because it’s really not dramatic. There’s just a moment — and seriously, it’s just a very brief moment — when you have to suppress an old spark of fear. I know I’m not going to open that door and see a dead guy hanging from a pipe. But my brain always says “Okay, prepare yourself for something horrible, then open the door.” And I open it and everything is okay.

I was a medic in the military. For most of my military career I was assigned to a large medical center, in a unit called Special Functions. I was part of a team that responded primarily to respiratory and cardiac emergencies. Most of what we did took place within the medical center; cardiac arrests, respiratory arrests, that sort of thing. But sometimes we’d be sent out on ambulance runs.

I don’t recall what sparked this particular run; somebody must have assumed there was a living person in some sort of respiratory distress. But there wasn’t. We responded to a hotel where somebody from the base worked part-time on a maintenance crew. The hotel staff directed us to the basement. Some sort of heating and air-conditioning facility.

So…dimly-lit hallway, light shining out from under the door.

The guy had been dead for a few days. All the bodily fluids had drained to his extremities, so his arms and legs were bloated and dark purple. His neck had stretched about a foot, so his feet were almost touching the floor. We were afraid that if we cut him down, the impact would cause his bloated feet to explode, so another medic and I had to support him while a third cut the — I don’t recall if it was a rope or a belt or a cord. Whatever he’d hung himself with. And, of course, there was the stink of putrefaction.

The whole event was pretty ghastly, but really it was just one of a number of ghastly things I’ve seen or done. I won’t say you get used to ghastly stuff, but you do become sort of inured to it. There have been other experiences that gave me nightmares for years, but that wasn’t one of them.

And yet I still flash on the image when I’m in a dimly-lit hallway and I see light under a doorway. To me, it’s not a big deal. Explaining it to somebody, though, is sort of embarrassing. Not because of what happened, but because of the way they look at you.

My friend said “You should talk about that stuff. You should write about it. Maybe you’ll get over it. Put it behind you.” So I said I would, because that was the easiest thing to say.

But here’s the thing: why would I want to put it behind me? Ugly things happen. They happen to everybody. I don’t want to forget them. I don’t mind that the memory of ugly things sometimes cause some minor disruption in my life. Ugly things are supposed to cause some disruption.

I know now what I should have said to my friend: “I still open the door. I always open the door. I’ll keep opening the door.” Because as long as you can open the door, that’s really all that matters.

my morning, interrupted

So I’m sitting here, right? It’s 9:30 on a Saturday morning, I’m drinking a cup of cold brew, looking out the window at drizzly-cloudy day, getting ready to read my students’ work. And the doorbell rings.

Guy in a suit. Young guy, white, earnest glasses, unsmiling. Right, Jehovah’s Witness. I open the door, he mutters something, hands me a pamphlet, and turns away. I didn’t even get a chance to say ‘Good morning.’ Not much of a witness — but hey, it’s 9:30 on a Saturday morning and it’s drizzly-cloudy. Who can blame him for wanting to finish his chores and go find a dry place where he can get a cup of…do Jehovah’s Witnesses drink coffee?

JW

Where can we find answers to life’s big questions? The pamphlet seems to suggest we can find them on our smartphone. Android phone, by the looks of it. Sorry, Siri. But what ARE life’s big questions? They’re listed on the back. Which of these big questions concerns you most? They’re not the questions I would have asked. Which is maybe one of the many reasons I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness.

What is the meaning of life?

Is God to blame for our suffering?

What happens when you die?

I’m a tad disturbed by the way the last two questions are phrased. Is God to blame for OUR suffering, and what happens when YOU die. Our suffering, your death. They don’t want to come right out and say ‘Dude, we know what’s going to happen when WE die, but you? Different story, bud.’

I don’t know…all I wanted was a cup of cold brew coffee, a few minutes to scan the news, then get my homework out of the way. Now I’m faced with these three questions. Fucking doorbell. Never should have answered the door. Never get out of the boat (no idea why Apocalypse Now popped into my brain).

Okay…meaning of life. I don’t know. Not very concerned about it. Eat well, get to know some interesting people, be curious, help other folks when you can. That ought to do it.

Is God to blame for our suffering? I don’t know. I don’t believe in god. But sure, why not? If you’re going to go to all the fuss and bother of believing in god, you might as well give him something to do. Shoulder the blame–that ought to keep him busy. And everybody who claims to speak for god, let’s hand them a share of the blame too. And let’s give a portion to all those young guys who ring doorbells at 9:30 on a Saturday morning — they sure as hell added to my suffering.

Right, what’s next? Oh…what happens when you die? I don’t know. Does it matter? I mean, regardless of what happens you’re still going to do it. It’s not like it’s optional. I totally get the idea that a lot of folks believe that if you live your life a certain way, then after you’re dead you get to join god’s special club. Like if you practice the clarinet, maybe you’ll get to play with the marching band. Or maybe you’ll just piss away a lot of time playing the clarinet. I don’t know. Can’t get very concerned about it.

By the way, I did a Google image search of ‘god clarinet’ to find a visual to include in this post. So okay, I don’t know the meaning of life and I don’t know what happens when you die, but I think this has to figure into it somehow:

clarinet cries for mercy

Seriously, you ought to do that image search. Brilliant. And that earnest young man who rang my doorbell this morning? If not for him, I’d have never seen this. Maybe there really is a god and this is his plan.

Her plan.

One of those. Praise Jeebus.

a complicated densely-packed clusterfuck

A friend asked me why I hadn’t written anything about the clusterfuck taking place in Ferguson, Missouri. I’m a criminologist, after all — or used to be. I’ve taught undergrad courses in policing, in deviance, in criminological theory, and all that other criminal justice and sociological stuff. Surely, my friend said, I had to have thoughts and opinions about what’s going on in Ferguson.

Ferguson confrontation

And he’s right, I do have opinions and thoughts. But here’s the reason I haven’t written about them: it’s complicated. I don’t mean the reason is complicated; I mean the clusterfuck itself is complicated. In fact, it’s not one clusterfuck. It’s an entire cascade of clusterfucks, each of which is also complicated. Not complex, complicated.

Complexity is intrinsic; a system is complex if it involves a lot of moving parts, even at its most basic level. There’s nothing wrong with complexity. Complication, though, is extrinsic; a system is made complicated by external factors, by stuff that’s non-essential to the system. Complication is always fucked up. And what we have in Ferguson is a collision of several different complicated social systems.

ferguson looter

If you want to understand what’s happened in Ferguson — and I mean actually understand it, not just be outraged by it — then there’s a whole buttload of other related stuff you need to understand first. You need to understand police culture, and the notion of the operative assumption of guilt (which isn’t, in itself, a bad thing). You need to understand how three or four hundred years of legitimized violence by white folks against black folks has shaped the perspectives of both groups. You need to understand how gender shapes the police response to confrontation. You need to understand how four decades of federal grants to local law enforcement agencies militarized policing — accidentally at first, and then more deliberately. You need to understand how ‘fair housing’ laws essentially forced black families into working class ghetto neighborhoods, then routinely undermined actual attempts at home ownership — which perpetuated a semi-rootless culture more attached to a community than to home and family. You need to understand how television helped turn policing from an occupation grounded in community service and job security into one grounded in car chases and kicking ass. And you need to understand the terrible pleasure that comes from releasing fear through an act of violence.

ferguson tear gas

And after you begin to understand all that, you need to understand that each of these issues is related to all the other issues. All of them. This is a densely-packed clusterfuck. We’d like to believe it can be fixed. It can’t.

It can’t be fixed because it’s not a problem that’s reducible to its component parts. You can’t ‘fix’ any of these issues without fixing them all. It’s not a problem that can be solved; it can only be unraveled.

ferguson hands up

We may have seen the beginning of that unraveling last night. Missouri State Police took control of security in Ferguson. They got rid of the riot gear, got rid of the gas masks, got rid of the helmets, got rid of the fucking military vehicles. They wore their regular uniforms, they met the angry but peaceful demonstrators in the streets, and they stepped aside.

Will it last? Maybe. In Ferguson, probably. For a while. For a while. But don’t expect much. Because it’s complicated. It’s complicated and, obviously, not localized. The conditions that created the densely-packed clusterfuck of Ferguson exist all over this nation. It’s complicated. Complicated and self-perpetuating.

war on white folks

I have to say, I’m a little irritated about this. There’s a war on white folks taking place, and nobody even bothered to tell me about it. Nobody. As a white folk myself (I have photographs to prove it), this is pretty discouraging. I mean, c’mon…I’m white, for Pete’s sake. People are supposed to tell me these things.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) being all thoughtful about issues of race and stuff.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) being all thoughtful about issues of race and stuff.

Seriously, if it wasn’t for the courage of whistleblower Congressman Mo Brooks, I’d have gone about my daily white activities (getting my shoes polished, buying various foodstuffs I can eat with mayonnaise, lobbying Congress, etc.) totally unaware that Democrats were waging war against me (and other white folks too). Brooks (who, coincidentally, is white) revealed this information in an interview with white radio host Laura Ingraham:

“[T]he war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”

Oh man, that Obama. I should’ve known it was his fault. He’s not a white folk, by the way, even though he’s the president (how did that happen, anyway; seems pretty suspicious to me). But it’s pretty clear (to white folks at least)  Obama couldn’t possibly understand the plight of white folks in America. He can’t understand the pressure we’re under, trying to maintain some reasonable (and by ‘reasonable’ I mean ‘white’) standards of decency. I mean, sure, Obama plays at golf…but does anybody check his scorecard when he’s finished?

President Barack Obama (I think...maybe...close enough).

President Barack Obama (I think…maybe…close enough).

Congressman Brooks, he understands us. Us being the white folks the Democrats are making war against. Brooks isn’t just white, he’s also a lifelong Republican. And he’s from Alabama. You can’t get much whiter than that. Unless you’re from Idaho. Or maybe Alaska. Those places are pretty white, so like Brooks says, they don’t have any problems with race. Or sex, or greed, or envy. Or class either. None of those things that Obama is using to divide America. Also, Nebraska. And Kansas, I guess. They seem pretty normal too. And by ‘normal’ I mean…well, you know.

Anyway, white Congressman Brooks went on to say this:

“Democrats, they have to demagogue on this and try and turn it into a racial issue, which is an emotional issue, rather than a thoughtful issue. If it becomes a thoughtful issue, then we win and we win big. And they lose and they lose big.”

I’m not really sure what demagogue means, but it’s not English so I suspect it’s something perverse. The point being that those pesky Democrats ruin everything. Because they’re emotional and not thoughtful (even though many of them are white). If people would just be more thoughtful about race and less emotional about it, Republicans would win! In other words, if people (and by ‘people’ you know who I mean, right?) would just learn to be as thoughtful as white folks, then everything would be okay. You know, for white folks. Like it’s supposed to be. You know…before the war. Which Republicans didn’t start. Because they’re white.

Congressman Mo Brooks (left) watches a negro.

Congressman Mo Brooks (left) watches a negro.

But now there’s a war. So I guess I should get me a gun. Just in case an emotional Democrat tries to make me approve of gay people having buttsex in church. A church where they perform abortions.

 

2+2 = trout

Here they are. Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Louis Gohmert. Dumb and Dumber and Oh my god so fucking dumb you wouldn’t believe.

Their names and addresses are stitched into their collars.

Their names and addresses are stitched into their collars.

These are seriously ignorant people. Putting these three members of Congress together in one room creates an intelligence vacuum powerful enough to put others at risk of second hand stupidity. The collective ignorance of these three would displace more water than a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. They are so dense their brains are impervious to neutrinos.

And yeah, they have ‘opinions’ about the border crisis in Texas. You know…the border crisis? The one in which nearly sixty thousand children unaccompanied by adults have arrived at the border of Mexico and the United States–not to sneak into the U.S., but to turn themselves in to border agents in the hope of asylum? That border crisis. The kids are mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Until recently, they were mostly boys around 15 years old. Now they’re mostly girls, many of them as young as 13 years old.

Why are these kids (and let me just say that again, kids) coming to the United States? To escape the poverty and violence of their native lands.

Rep. Steve King (Iowa), unable to operate garden tools.

Rep. Steve King (R–Iowa), unable to operate garden tools.

Steve King, Republican from I’m-so-ashamed Iowa, who is so stupid he has trouble with a four piece jigsaw puzzle, recently said this about those kids at the border:

This is a man-caused disaster, and the man that caused it is Barack Obama with his DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, with his Morton Memos and the advertisement that has been such a huge magnet that have caused these families to give their daughters birth control pills and send them down a rape path all the way through Mexico, and it’s a death path on the death train.

A death path on the death train. What the fuck does that even mean? A death path on a dea…Jeebus, it hurts even to write it, it’s that fucking stupid. And parents giving their daughters birth control pills and sending them down a rape path? King is apparently unable to conceive of how terribly desperate these parents must be to send their kids north, or how hopeless the kids must be to willingly undertake that sort of trek.

But hey, it must be President Obama’s fault. Obviously these kids and their parents are familiar with Obama’s DOCA policy (which, tell the truth now, you probably haven’t even heard about). So what does this good Jeebus-loving Congressman want to do with those kids? Send them back, of course. To those same parents who gave them birth control pills and put them on that death train path thing.

Stupid stupid stupid. Speaking of which….

Representative Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Incredibly Stupid

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R–Texas), has his shoes labeled Right and Left, and his boots labeled Boots.

Louis Gohmert, Republican from Texas. The guy who thinks shoelaces are a commie conspiracy. Gohmert is the legislator who didn’t want the U.S. to provide funds to China to help preserve the habitat of certain rare species of wild cats and dogs because (and I swear, I’m not making this up) “[T]here is no assurance that if we did that, we wouldn’t end up with moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan. There is no way to assure that money will not be wasted.” That’s right, he didn’t want to save these rare animals because he thought Chinese folks might serve them with rice.

Gohmert has a long history of distrusting folks south of the Texas border. He’s the idiot who came up with the notion of ‘terror babies.’ You know…pregnant women being snuck into the U.S. by terrorists so their babies would be granted citizenship, after which they’d return to their terrorist home base where those babies would be “raised and coddled as future terrorists,” then “twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.” That’s some weapons grade stupidity, right there.

Louis Gohmert just ain’t buying that ‘escaping from violence’ line those thousands of kids are handing out. He knows those kids are totally lying their brown little asses off. He says those kids have been coached by their parents (remember those parents–the ones who gave them birth control pills before sending them down that rape path on the train). Here’s what Gohmert had to say about the situation:

Texas and the United States is being invaded, and we’re in danger, and I know you’ve heard a lot of people say ‘Well, they’re fleeing gang violence,’ Well, I guess it was Friday night, in the middle of the night, I’m talking to border patrol out there along the dirt road by the river–by the way, the same dirt road where I saw my first tarantula that wasn’t in captivity. But anyway, a Hispanic border patrolman was telling me that, you know, over ninety percent of the people they questioned in Spanish immediately say ‘We’re fleeing gang violence’ and he said ‘Man, I push back hard when they say that, I say ‘You may want to lie like that to somebody else, but you and I both know that it’s the gangs that are getting paid to bring you up here, so don’t tell me you’re fleeing gang violence when you’re being transported up here to the U.S. by gangs.’ And he said over ninety percent of the time they’ll say ‘Well, that’s true, but we were told to say that we were fleeing gang violence.’

So there you have it. Gohmert believes that if gangs transport children to the U.S. border, then obviously those kids can’t be escaping gang violence in their home country. I guess because he thinks it must be the same gang? Or else he’s so fucking stupid he can’t count to two. Seriously, who would you believe? Sixty thousand kids who’ve risked their lives to reach the U.S. border, and whose reports of gang violence are supported by news sources? Or an unnamed border patrol agent you met on the same dirt road where you saw a free-range tarantula?

Lawdy, so very very very stupid. Speaking of which….

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R--Minnesota), eats paste.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R–Minnesota), eats paste.

Michele Bachmann, Republican from Minnesota. She has a special bubbly kind of stupid. A stupid that initially seems perky, but on closer observation is a barely contained manic stupidity. It’s stupidity laced with paranoia. Her take on those kids at the border? Obviously, President Obama is bringing them here for medical experiments.

President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system. That’s more kids that you can see how – we can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a Ward of the state can’t say ‘no,’ a little kid can’t say ‘no’ if they’re a Ward of the state; so here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say ‘no.’ It’s sick.

You may have heard this line: That’s not only not right, it’s not even wrong. It was said by a physicist named Wolfgang Pauli after reading a paper that was so fundamentally flawed that it couldn’t be evaluated on a right-wrong metric.

Bachmann’s claim doesn’t just lead to a wrong conclusion. The premise of her claim aren’t even related to any possible conclusion. If 2+2=4 is correct, and 2+2=7 is wrong, then Bachmann is claiming 2+2=trout.

The problem with these three members of Congress isn’t just that they’re stupid; it’s that they combine their stupidity with mean-spiritedness. They see these kids as representing an existential threat to America–to their understanding of America. And so they want them sent away as quickly as possible. They don’t really care where the kids go, or what might happen to them when they get there–they just want them gone.

Each of these three idiots claim to be Christians. I’m not a Christian, but I’ve read the Bible and there’s some good stuff in there. Like this:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

And he took them up in his arms and blessed them. I like that. These guys keep saying the U.S. should base policy on biblical principles. Most of the time I think that’s a really bad idea. But I could get behind a policy that embraces the little children.