More Mass Murder of Children in the US (plus Tweets)

Seventeen children are dead in Florida and Trump tweets that it’s the FBI’s fault because they were too busy trying to find evidence he was colluding with Russia during the election campaign. WTF is wrong with this man?

He went to Florida and met with the families of two of the victims for 35 minutes. Then he had a photo op with some of the first responders (which took longer), then he went to play golf at Mar-a-lago. Maybe no one else wanted to meet him and he was doing the right thing by not subjecting any others to his presence. If no one else wanted a presidential visit, it’s no surprise.

The US federal government continue to fail their citizens when it comes to gun safety, whichever party is in power. While the Democratic party is better on this issue than the Republicans, there are enough Democratic representatives that vote with the Republicans on this issue that it means nothing ever changes.

Every time someone suggests something that could help, opponents say that it wouldn’t stop ALL shootings and therefore it’s a waste of time.

For goodness sake! NOTHING will stop ALL shootings, but if it stops even one child from being murdered, surely that’s good?

There are things that are legal in the US in relation to guns that boggle the minds of those of us in the rest of the world. Rules vary state by state, but some examples are:

  • there do not have to be background checks for all sales;
  • people do not have to report it to the police if a gun is lost or stolen;
  • guns do not have to be stored securely, even if there are children in the house;
  • you’re allowed to keep guns loaded at all times;
  • gun owners who get a criminal conviction do not have their guns taken off them (except in California);
  • people on the no-fly list are allowed to buy guns.
  • doctors are not allowed to ask the parents of child patients about guns in the house;
  • the CDC are not funded to investigate deaths where guns are involved.


Most of us blame the prevalence of guns in the US for the problem of gun deaths there. But, it’s not the only issue. The other is the intersection of money and politics. To run for office, especially state or national office, it takes huge amounts of money and politicians want all they can get. The NRA and other gun rights groups spend a lot of money supporting politicians. If politicians don’t vote the way those groups want, they lose a lot of financial support.

In New Zealand, one of the biggest sponsors of sports at all levels used to be tobacco companies. When that was made illegal, the government created a fund called SmokeFree. One of the things it did in the first few years while sporting organisations were searching for new sources of sponsorship was to financially support those who lost tobacco company money.

Perhaps gun safety groups could consider doing something like that. They could donate to political campaigns that refused to accept money from gun rights groups. At the same time, they could rate politicians in the same way that gun rights groups do now, except that the ratings would be for promoting gun safety.

Thoughts and prayers don’t cut it. It’s action that’s required, and it’s time politicians did something about the number of people dying unnecessarily in their country because a few people imagine the government is coming to get them one day.

Meme: Paul Ryan quote anti-gun safety


Healthcare Tweets

I’m putting these two tweets first because the issue is too important, and I don’t want anyone to miss them. They could also be in the Human Rights or Religious Tweets sections of course.
(Via Ann German.)



Political Tweets

Yes, I know it’s an exaggeration, but I think it’s funny!


During the Obama Administration, the GOP would not approve tax cuts because they might increase the deficit. Now that they include cuts for the rich, and will increase the deficit, they’re all for them.


There are a lot of details to look out for in this cartoon by Michael D’Antuono.


A few facts on the situation of the US Embassy in London.


I guess they’re the “right sort of people?”
(Via Ann German.)


Jacob Zuma has resigned as president of South Africa. His approval rating was at an all time low (25%, and that was last year), and commentators say it’s only the historic popularity of the ANC that keeps it from dropping further. Onward and upwards South Africa with Cyril Ramaphosa!

🎶 Give me hope Ramaphosa … 🎶


Mueller Time Tweets

Good read.
(Via Ann German.)


Although I’m not yet convinced that Trump personally colluded with the Russians, I do think others, lead by Paul Manafort, did. This may uncover that.
(Via Ann German.)


It’s called “gaslighting” and I’m glad Trump’s latest attempt at it is being exposed.
(Via Ann German.)


Bears repeating …
(Via Ann German.)


Human Rights Tweets

Another brave woman in Iran. The government has miscalculated. The arrest of the girl waving her white hijab in the air has encouraged and inspired other women. They created a martyr.


The attitude of the men in the Trump Administration towards the issue of spousal abuse is appalling. Here are some tweets I posted about the issue:



Record numbers of women are seeking help from Emily’s List in their bid for political office.


I’ve posted this before, but it’s so cool, here we go again …
(Via Ann German.)


Gun Safety Tweets: Florida Murders

Student Emma Gonzalez said in her speech something I’ve said over and over again when I’ve written about this issue:

… this is not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife!

(Via Ann German.)


No kidding! (See my tweet below)
(Via Ann German.)


Unbelievable! I suggested in a tweet to Ann German that those opposing better gun safety measures might start calling Parkland a false flag operation. If it happened, I certainly didn’t expect it to be this quickly, but she found this!


Gun Safety Tweets: General

Time to reprise this Mike Lukovich cartoon from 2012.


The original idea of the 2nd Amendment was that there would be no standing army and citizens would provide that function. Given that a large proportion of gun owners want their guns because they imagine they’ll be useful when the liberals in government move against them, I suspect they’re not interested in fighting for them.



Note that this was Re-tweeted 90 times, faved 70 times, and responded to 1.3 thousand times. I suspect most of the responses were similar to what I think: Un-effing-believable! And on the day of the Florida murders too!
(Via Ann German.)


Even worse, kids as young as seven are selling tickets in the raffle! This is absolutely appalling! I don’t get how this disgraceful situation can even be legal. SMH
(Via Ann German.)


Religion Tweets

I reckon if I was a believer I could make a case that this is what’s really happening …


Just sayin’ …


I posted this last time there was a school shooting, and I’ll post it next time too …


Fun Tweets

Let’s get on to some less serious stuff. Most of you have probably already seen this. I know I have. (The first time was on Fox News!!!) But it never gets old …
(Via Ann German.)


Valentine’s Day Tweets

All this stuff came up long after the day was over in New Zealand, but some are still nice to see. This one actually looks like the pic was taken in New Zealand. I even feel like I recognize the background (Mt Pirongia from the south-east – almost). There was a rumour the Obamas were coming here. Perhaps it’s true?


Scenic Tweets

How cool is this! Another one for the bucket list …


Reptile Tweets

It’s throat moves!

Marine Tweets

Wow! Amazing! Beautiful! What do you need a god for when there are things like this in the real world?


Creepy-Crawlies Tweets

An excellent chart about Aussie spiders …
(Via Ann German.)


Other Animals Tweets

I never tire of the baby elephants tweets.


So now you know!
(Via Jerry Coyne.)


As @CharlesPPierce pointed out when he shared this tweet, “We all need emergency wombats.”
(Via Ann German.)


Bird Tweets

This is a wonderful story! Rescues are always cool, especially when there’s a parent and child involved.


Time to check the kakapo on the predator-free island of Whenua Hou again!




Dog Tweets

Awww! And so well behaved!


Cat Tweets

You can train a cat after all!


I wouldn’t mind finding these cuties in my jeans!


A cat family …


Don’t stop until the right number of kisses are given!


Did you ever see anything so gorgeous!!!


Or this?!


You get tired. You stop.


These snow leopard cubs are both cute AND gorgeous!
(Via Ann German.)



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49 Responses to “More Mass Murder of Children in the US (plus Tweets)”

  1. rickflick says:

    The effect of the gun lobby is not just money, although that’s an important factor. The NRA will run campaign ads against any candidate they feel does not vote their way. They can gin up fear among constituents in many districts just by telling them candidate X wants to take away your guns. The farmers and hunters in most districts become one issue voters and can defeat the candidate. Since they know they can be hurt by the NRA, many are just going to try to work with them and stay in the background in order to get elected or stay elected.

    • Yes, good point. Something I didn’t think of because I’ve never had to watch one! Advertising to counter such messages is difficult too because they require people to engage more than than just repeat a slogan like MAGA. They often don’t even know what that means – it just sounds good.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        The students who survived the massacre have turned their rage into a powerful movement for gun control that is going national. They want change and they want it now. They aren’t beholden to any political ideology or entity; they don’t give a damn about what the president or the Republicans or the NRA wants. They want responsible action from the adults who make such a big deal about being in charge of this country but who do jack. I’m in awe of their courage and eloquence, and I’m hoping this will be a game changer. These young high school students put the SJW snowflakes to shame.

        And I loved the cartoon about the good Christians all raptured into the great cloaca mundi or anus mundi.

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          And, best of all, those kids will soon be VOTERS!!!


          • j.a.m. says:

            Let no ghastly tragedy go to waste when there’s partisan hay to be made.

          • Linda Calhoun says:


            That is unbelievably cold.

            These kids have just experienced a horrible, life-changing event. To suggest that their involvement in finding a solution is nothing more than “partisan hay” to me illustrates a complete lack of empathy and understanding.

            Plus, to think that they shouldn’t get involved in the political process and exercise their right to participate when they see that the system displays no motivation for finding any solutions is ridiculous. Maybe if your side had more to offer than just screeching about “They’re going to take your guns away” you wouldn’t be facing the opposition you’re about to encounter.

            We can’t keep everyone from speeding or driving drunk, so therefore we shouldn’t have traffic laws, right?

            I hope these kids start a wave. I hope every one of them registers to vote, votes in every election, and gets involved in the political process beyond that.

            Bravo to them all!!


          • They’re an amazing bunch, and ara not yet tainted by the cynicism of their elders. It doesn’t seem impossible to them, which it does to older campaigners, and that might be what makes the difference.

          • Yes, jam, Linda is right. You have just pushed your luck too far. These children just watched 17 of their classmates and teachers die in front of them because of the lack of action by politicians on both sides. I did not make this a partisan post – you did with your comment. That’s it for you. When I get to my other computer you will find you’re no longer able to comment. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from now on though.

        • Mark R. says:

          “anus mundi” Ha. Thanks for the LOL!

  2. nicky says:

    Yet, there is a clear and well established correlation between the numbers of guns in circulation and the number of gun deaths. A simple truth that US politicians try to contort themselves out of.
    There are a few (mild) outliers, such as Switzerland with a relatively high number of guns and relatively low number of gun deaths, but then, in Switzerland the wide spread possession of guns is in the context of a very well regulated militia, i.e. the Swiss Army.

    • nicky says:

      Talking about well regulated militia, in those times most armies were professional armies, mercenaries. (btw, the Swiss were notorious mercenaries)
      A well regulated militia was probably something like a citizen’s army. I think (please correct me if I’m wrong) that a drafted army, were serving in the army was a civil duty, only came after the French Revolution.

      • It’s the other way around. Professional armies were rare once upon a time. In places like England and France from Anglo-Saxon times, the nobnobles had an obligation to fight for the king. When the call went out, the nobles would get men together from their estate and march to join the king. There were never any battles at harvest time because peasants were busy. The nobles had the responsibility of arming, feeding etc their own troops. In Scotland men would run from the castle with the fiery cross across a route so all would see it, and that was a summons to the castle to fight. The cross was then planted in the foreyard of the castle. (It became something different and awful in the US.) There were laws requiring all men between certain ages to practice their battle skills, such as archery, each Sunday afternoon. For a while playing golf was made illegal in Scotland because people were playing that instead of archery. Even at the time of the Spanish Armada, the English army was tiny. Most of those who fought ended up not being paid and the wounded mostly died of dysentery because the ships they were kept on were in such poor condition. Uniforms were rare too, except for a few elite troops.

        It was only later that professional armies came about. The US model was more in line with the older model. Leading citizens brought men from their district to make up and fight for the Citizens army. They usually had to make sure those men were armed, fed etc. Each group had colours pinned to their clothes to identify their origin. Prisoners, as they had in Europe, were identified by wearing their coat or jacket inside out. (Turncoats.)

        Large, professional, uniformed armies are a modern phenomenon. The uniform is partly because of the need to identify your enemy from a distance, but also about instilling pride and comraderie. In reality, men mostly fight for each other, not the “greater” reasons politicians spout.

        • nicky says:

          Thank you for the correction. ☺

          • nicky says:

            Since talking Swiss I was reminded of the defeat (and death) of Charles the Bold by a Swiss mercenary army at the battle of Nancy in 1477. And I thought of Roman Soldiers, who also were professionals. I unduly hypothesized and generalised from there.

          • Your assumptions were perfectly reasonable. iirc, because it’s not a period I know a lot about, the Roman legions were like national service, but it went on for a really long time – like 20 or 30 years or something. Then the former soldier was granted land in the conquered provinces to farm. It was how they spread themselves out and held onto what they got.

            Mostly it was only when they got to be big empires that they began to get professional armies because they needed them to hold on. Europe reverted to being mostly citizen armies once the Roman Empire fell.

            A lot of what everyone thinks they know about medieval wars etc is coloured by movies that get the details really wrong. I can’t watch most “historical” movies etc because of the inaccuracies. It’s too annoying, and probably I’m too pedantic as well!

        • nicky says:

          Yes, it is an interesting subject.
          Some very belligerent tribes had neither drafted nor mercenary soldiers, it was their whole being. Thinking of Mongols (or Arabs during/after Mohammed?), not to mention the Samurai. During the ’80 year war’ of ‘the Seven Provinces’ and the Spanish, the Spanish soldiers were fighting for a pay and the spoils, we would call them mercenaries nowadays, while the Dutch were a kind of civic militia. Those Medieval knights were professional soldiers too (but what about their infantry? were they paid? drafted? or what?). The ‘Battle of the Golden Spurs” was clearly a civic militia (on the Flemish side), where an all foot soldier militia defeated the mounted French knights. When William conquered Britain, his soldiers were professionals.
          I cannot think the US Founding Fathers were not thinking of the Golden Spurs or the 80 year war, among other things, of course. The American Revolution was ‘civic militia driven’ itself.
          I would love to hear some comments from a military historian.

          • Medieval knights were professionals in the sense that they trained to fight from the age of seven, but they weren’t paid. They had to have their demesne or whatever to support them. They drafted men to go with them from their demesne when they got the call from the king, but those men weren’t paid. A peasant’s lease agreement with the landlord included owing a certain number of days of service a year. Mostly these were done by working the landlord’s farmland for him, but some years it was military service as well. Following the Black Death when there were less people available to work the land, peasants were able to negotiate better deals and go to where they got the best deals. This was made illegal, but continued to happen as the peasants had the power. No peasants, no income. Cash only (no service requirements) rents were introduced, peasants moved around etc.

            Crusading armies weren’t paid. They’d been promised if they died they’d go straight to heaven, all sins forgiven, including those committed on the way. As they moved through Europe to the Holy Land they lived off the land and were a scourge. Wealthy crusaders paid, but the rest stole what they needed. Jewish communities in particular were frequently sacked and many of their inhabitants murdered in crusader zeal. They were God’s army, so it was all okay.

            I can’t comment on most of what you say – as is obvious, the military is not an area I know a lot about.

  3. j.a.m. says:

    “More Mass Murder of Children” — I thought this post was going to be about the one supremely rich and powerful lobby (That Must Not Be Named) that’s responsible for nearly a million child deaths per annum. According to the logic of this post, saving even one life justifies restricting the rights of all.

    • nicky says:

      If you want to call a fetus a child you might just as well call it a granny.

    • Mark R. says:

      Your logic is flawed; Heather’s is not. A high school student is not a fetus; sad that you can’t wrap your head around that simplicity.

      And 15-20% of all pregnancies in the US end in accidental miscarriages. So roughly 4 million pregnancies occur per annum, so that makes 600,000-800,000 “natural abortions”. Oh what to do; god kills so many! Perhaps if you get your sick wish and SCOTUS makes it illegal again, we can fill up US prisons even more! Super! I don’t know if in your sick world women who miscarriage have to go to prison for man-slaughter, but perhaps the men in power can pray on it.

      See how dumb your argument is when you show all the facts? I know you can’t, but the majority see right through you.

      • If miscarriage is illegal, and a woman who is pregnant against her wishes miscarries, it is the man who impregnated her that should be imprisoned as without his actions, the pregnancy cannot and would not exist. If there is any danger of it being the man who is imprisoned rather than the woman, miscarriage will not be made illegal.

        • Mark R. says:

          Man, what a shitty situation that would be. Reminds me of the fetus-fanatics who want pregnancies from rape victims to be carried to term. How sick is that? Only religion can twist a brain into that type of cruel decision making.

          Maybe one day in the US, women will actually be able to write and pass and repeal legislation that specifically affects them, instead of the present reality where men write legislation for them.

          • Linda Calhoun says:

            And, in the cases where the forced-birthers succeed, the rapist gets visitation rights.

            How sick is that?


  4. Jenny Haniver says:

    Can someone please identify the snake that’s drinking water?

    • Mark R. says:

      I think it’s difficult with just the head; this snake may have a pattern, but can’t be sure. From its eyes I can tell it’s not venomous (in general, venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, non-venomous have round). Also it looks to have smooth rather than keeled scales. I know this doesn’t narrow it down much, but doing a quick google search, I couldn’t find an image that looked similar.

      It’s a cool looking snake; I love the yellowish ochre color.

      It’s one for Greg Meyer the local Herp on WEIT.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        Whatever it is, it is, as you observe, a cool looking snake.

      • ratabago says:

        If I had to take a wild stab in the dark I would say this is very probably a king cobra, one of the elapid snakes, all of which have round pupils.

        Pupil shape seems to mostly be about hunting style, with a strong positive correlation between ambush hunting and vertical pupils: into the adaptive significance of vertical pupil shape
        in snakes,

        • Jenny Haniver says:

          I think you nailed it. It’s gotta be a king cobra. Looking at this image “Close up of a king cobra head”, everything comports – eye, head shape, placement of scales.

        • Mark R. says:

          Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Good call!

          Coral snakes, also highly poisonous also have round pupils.

          Yes, ambush hunting. I think the vertical pupils are found predominantly in the viper family.

          • Jenny Haniver says:

            I was growing rather confused trying to sort out this snake eye business, then I came across this website, which though it’s written for the lay person, lays out the sometimes seemingly contradictory info concisely (at least for me), and cites the article that “ratbago” links to above. Then, as PCC(E) might say, as a lagniappe it throws in another anomaly: vine snakes of genus Ahaetulla, which have horizontal pupils with “a complex keyhole shape.”

          • ratabago says:

            @Jenny Haniver, nice webpage.

          • Mark R. says:

            Thanks for the link. Exceptions are the rules of evolution.

          • darrelle says:

            The information at the website Jenny Haniver linked to corresponds well with that study on pupil variations in vertebrates that Jerry wrote an article about on WEIT some time ago, Why do animal species vary so much in the shape of pupils in their eyes?

            “It turns out that having a vertical slit in low light gives ambush predators an advantage in calculating the distance to a prey item. (Remember, these predators must accurately gauge the distance to a prey item before they strike.) The calculations suggest that a vertical slit is better at maximizing the blur of objects that aren’t in focus. That is, it helps the predator gauge the distance to a prey by seeing which aspects of the landscape are blurred and which are not. The vertical pupil also aids in stereopsis: the comparison of images from different eyes that is also used to judge distance to prey.[Jerry describing the paper.]

            “That said, the advantage of having a vertical slit, for complicated optical reasons, diminishes as the eye gets higher off the ground. So the authors made and tested a prediction made from theoretical considerations:[Jerry describing the paper.]

            ‘We evaluated this prediction by examining the relationship between eye height in these animals and the probability that they have a vertically elongated pupil. There is indeed a striking correlation among frontal-eyed, ambush predators between eye height and the probability of having such a pupil. Among the 65 frontal-eyed, ambush predators in our database, 44 have vertical pupils and 19 have circular. Of those with vertical pupils, 82% have shoulder heights less than 42 cm. Of those with circular pupils, only 17% are shorter than 42 cm.

            Nearly all birds have circular pupils. The relationship between height and pupil shape offers a potential explanation. A near and foreshortened ground plane is not a prominent part of birds’ visual environment. The only birds known to have a slit pupil (and it is vertically elongated) are skimmers [Rynchopidae]. . .'”[Jerry quoting from the paper.]

          • nicky says:

            @ Jennifer, nice article, but I have two remarks.
            1- The idea that venomous snakes have elliptical pupils probably did not originate in the US, but more probably in Europe, since all venomous snakes there are vipers, with a vertical pupil. The other snakes in Europe are non-venomous colubridae, such as the Natrix natrix (grass snake) or the Natrix tessellata (dice snake), which all have round pupils. No coral snakes in Europe.
            2- The vine snake aka twig snake Thelothornis , also a colubrid, but with that peculiar pupil, are considered extremely dangerous. I would not go on “bites do not typically produce serious medical symptoms in humans.”, that is simply wrong, they are highly venomous. Like the Boomslang venom it is haematotoxic and slow acting (days). Although the snake is not aggressive at all and bites are rare, there is no anti-venom, and fatalities have occurred.

      • nicky says:

        I advise you to forget about your round pupil rule of the thumb when approaching snakes: cobras and the related black mamba (Africa’s most feared venomous snake) have round pupils, as has the not very closely related boomslang.
        The heuristic possibly originated in Europe where (AFAIK) all venomous snakes are vipers/adders, which have a vertical pupil.

        • nicky says:

          And note, vipers -vertically pupilled- are very much ground dwelling ambush predators, they do not climb at all, while cobras and mambas often venture in the arboreal realm (not to mention the ‘boomslang’, litt. ‘tree snake’). Darelle is spot on.
          Horizontal pupils are mostly found in animals heavily preyed upon, larger visual field, as is speculated.
          I concur that the drinking snake probably is a cobra, possibly a king cobra indeed. Mark, what flowers do you want on your grave? 😆😆

    • nwalsh says:

      I believe it’s a J.A.M.

      • Mark R. says:

        Yup…and good riddance to that addled individual. Thanks Heather for finally purging your site of that troll! I’m sure I speak for the majority here that he had it a long time coming.

        • Claudia Baker says:

          You definitely speak for me. I got a stomach ache every time I saw those initials. Such a miserable S.O.B. I will love this site even more now that I don’t have to endure those raving lunatic comments.

        • nicky says:

          I kind of pity him, always so negative and callous. I often asked myself, why doesn’t he get a life? Did his wife leave him? Is he the proverbial basement-of-his-parents lurker? Maybe some other hardship? Maybe in real life he’s different and he’s just trolling, some people make trolling a kind of hobby.
          Nevertheless a good riddance. Opposing opinions are to be encouraged, but should be argued, something he rarely, if ever, did.

  5. BigBillK says:

    I marvel that anything in the US got accomplished on the Thursday after the shooting, what with all the National R(Homicide) Association members completely distracted by their orgiastic pleasures from the news. 17 orgasms in succession would be quite distracting.

  6. Pliny the in Between says:

    If we could just get a cartridge to gestate in an assault rifle’s receiver, we could call it a womb and then the Republicans would probably be all over regulation.

  7. nicky says:

    That AR-15 raffle is a spoof, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

    I like the parallel between the rapture cartoon and the Portugese ‘hole waterfall’. Pure chance? Or is there a higher power overseeing it all after all? 😆

    That sleeping kitten is a clear case of cat-alepsy!

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