A prayer.
A prayer.

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief
Business men, they drink my wine
Plowman dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word
Hey, hey
No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late, hey
All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
Outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

“All Along the Watchtower” — Bob Dylan & Jimi Hendrix

Yesterday was a rough day in what has already been a year of rough days. We awoke to the never-ending beeping of the Associated Press i-Phone app. That’s the only app I let alert me. The news was horrible. Twenty dead. A mass shooting. Again. A little while later. The number grew to fifty. The day really and truly sucked. This song came into my head and wouldn’t let go. Dylan said it better than I ever could.

“Let us stop talking’ falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

Rest in peace. Fifty.

Prayers for the 53 wounded. For Orlando. For Florida. And, all the rest of us.



  1. Truly a sad day for humanity. Life has become so cheap. Evil is present and we must deal with it in our actions and in our prayers.


  2. Orlando is a shithole. It’s the only place anyone has ever tried to kill me and my whole family. This event only cements my negative opinion of it.

    If only we could move everyone out of the place, and just set some detonation charges to let the thing return to the bottom of the sea where it belongs. If only.


  3. Very sad day…the sooner we celebrate love in all its forms, the sooner we realize that hate is only an impotent gesture.


    1. Jimmy, you’re setting the bar impossibly high, and there’s no need to. We don’t need to have everyone approve of anyone else to get rid of this kind of violence. We’re in a Liberal polity: tolerance should be enough. Tolerance is part of our common culture, is one of our common commitments. I can’t think of a single time in our nation’s history when there has _ever_ been such universal acceptance, by the nation as a whole, for any sub-group. It’s likely that Oxytocin, the in-group chemical, is of such a (small) scale and such a kind that love diminishes the larger the community gets, and “celebrating” anything becomes vaguer and more vacuous the more remote the kind of thing celebrated is to oneself.

      So tolerance — tolerance is the only feasible goal. Engineering consent of others judgment or commanding their feelings one way or the other will fail, especially with the degree of social differentiation we have, where there will always be many groups one does not agree with or approve of, but which one must tolerate so long as they are law-abiding; set up a system in which everyone defends the _rights_ of others, and we have a shot.

      Tolerance is enough. It doesn’t require anyone to like anything, only to tolerate people different from oneself, and to defend their rights, and abstain from this kind of awfulness. I don’t like fundamentalist Pro…well, fundamentalist anything. I tolerate it. I am not interested in coercing the opinions of others to my side to “celebrate” what is public. Though I’m concerned, I’m much more concerned when I see people demanding that I approve of them, or disapprove of them. I should be free to form my own opinion, and to voice it, without fear of State interference. I would defend, however, to the end, the rights of fundamentalists to speak up in the public square, even if they get laughed at — which is perfectly fine, so long as no one violates their rights or otherwise treats them criminally. Same goes for all of us. Tolerance. We shouldn’t demand more, and to expect more is to court danger.

      People keep trying an approach that won’t ever catch, though, and so long as we are, we wrong not only gays, but tons of other minorities, and threaten to open up rifts between rather large groups of people. Tolerance, brother — not approval, celebration, or acceptance. Just tolerance. It’s really not a lot to ask — but it’s not an impossible ask. “Art of the possible” and all that.

      Ray, I apologize for chewing up your combox. I hate that shit like this shooting happens in the world, but it’s important that we look to feasible solutions: since the American polity already has one that’s worked well-enough (some awful failures granted), I thought I should name it. Given that we’ve dropped the ball on the low-threshold of tolerance before, it seems rather foolish to expect something higher, and dangerous to demand it.


      1. The only roasting we do around here is outdoor on the grill. I’m going to talk about tolerance and how I’m not sure how well it fits with the murders in Orlando. But, how it does fit with the general sate of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahahahahahah… It may be Thursday. There is something I just read by a Sandy Hook parent who lost her daughter. Her name, Ana Grace, just happens to be the name of our God daughter.


      3. If a personal choice, you’ll get no qualms from me. If a program suggested, you’ll be disappointed, and you might end up contributing to a kind of rhetorical discourse where the Amish end up lumped-in with the shooter.

        Tolerance is the American way, and the only way we can get such a large melting pot to work.


      4. Huh? I don’t think you understand the point at all. What you call tolerance barely comes into play in Orlando. That was the work of pure evil insanity. I’m not even sure how you bring that to a discussion of intolerance. Those killings were so far beyond that word that they become almost unthinkable.

        That said, I don’t have program. That’s way above my pay grade. However, I read a lot about faith and hope. “I hope we can get through this.” “We have to have faith.” As you well know, from the one book I know you read, “Faith without work is dead.” That’s what it takes. Work. Hard work. All the rest are just words. Words matter. But actions matter more.

        Tolerance? The American way? What country do you live in? This country is — and has been historically — one of the most intolerant places in the world. Just ask the Italian immigrants. The Jewish immigrants. The Black people who didn’t even want to come here. The Chinese. The Japanese… the list goes on forever.

        I wish that wasn’t so. Even my people. We were crammed in the Lower Eastside of New York, with everybody else from Eastern Europe. Sheesh, my grandfather was running away from the Czar.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Only a maniac would say that there was tolerance in Orlando! I wasn’t even trying to hint at it — it shows the opposite, unregulated disgust, unbridled by the minimum threshold of virtue. It was evil.

        I would love it if everyone could just affirm and love one another; I simply can’t hold my breath for that anymore. I’ll settle for teaching tolerance, something that, as I mentioned before, and as you’ve nicely inventoried, we’ve dropped the ball with as a nation many times. We keep getting better at it, though — most of the groups who have struggled with being tolerated in the 19th century have been, more or less, become integrated, and are at least tolerated — even if not affirmed. I have faith, and hope, that we’ll get to more civic peace than this.


      6. You understand the point, I think. Teaching tolerance would never, ever have helped the killer. No way. No how. He was beyond redemption. Coming from me that says a lot.

        Someday, it may happen that the world’s people become more tolerant of each other. But, my entire point and my only point is that it will never happen without putting some hard work into it. Every day. In some small way. It doesn’t matter what, because I think that tolerance is earned. Not just given.


      7. I often don’t understand the point at all, though, sadly. (Marriage has made that all too clear.) Apologies if my misunderstanding is chewing up combox space! Bowing out, but reading replies.


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