Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – March 23, 2012

Ever since Africans were brought to the shores of North America, African Americans have been murder victims. The killers have been slave owners, Klansmen, Confederate soldiers, police officers, prison guards and other African Americans. But the murder of Trayvon Martin is also another sign of the gun madness in this country that threatens to kill us all. Meanwhile Saint Santorum reminds us that a stopped clock is right twice a day as he comments on the Romney campaign. And finally, Dartmouth College is in the news for all the right reasons.

Gun Crazy

The sad and tragic story of the murder of Trayvon Martin is national news. It is right to focus on the clear signs of racial profiling that led to the death of an innocent seventeen year old young man who deserved a better future than what was delivered to him at the hands of a wannabe cop with a gun. It is certainly right to focus on the inexcusable conduct of the local police who did not arrest or even question Trayvon Martin’s killer.

It is also right to question how long the howling pro-gun lobby is going to be allowed to ransack every aspect of public safety in the name of the sanctity of the Second Amendment as they interpret it? Because the killer of Trayvon Martin is free today, and may never suffer any state penalties, because the Florida State Legislature in a moment of mob madness passed the “Stand Your Ground” which promotes the concept of self defense to include preemptive aggression.

There are certainly rational approaches to the concept of gun ownership. Banning guns from this country is impossible. Empowering untrained civilians to legally track down anyone they deem to be “suspicious” is insane and an invitation to mass mayhem. Legalizing the purchase of military weapons and armor piercing ammunition has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with killing.

As long as this country worships at the altar of the gun, Trayvon Martin will not be the last sacrifice on that altar.

All Hail the Stopped Clock

Saint Rick Santorum or Saint Santorum for short, in commenting on the Romney campaign proved that a stopped clock can be right twice a day. He urged Republicans to consider that, if Mitt Romney was the nominee, they might as well vote for Barack Obama.

I never thought that I would agree but one can only hope that the remaining sane members of the G.O.Tea Party listen to Saint Santorum and do indeed vote for President Obama.

A Great Day for Dartmouth College

As an alumnus of Dartmouth College I am going to take a point of personal privilege to note that today President Obama nominated Dr. Jim Yong Kim to be the new president of the World Bank. Dr. Kim, by the way, is the president of Dartmouth College.

A winner of a MacArthur Foundation grant and the one of the founders of the internationally acclaimed Partners in Health, Dr. Kim is a brilliant choice for this challenging position. I have had the opportunity to meet and listen to Dr. Kim and he is not only brilliant, he is a modern polymath who is brilliant in so many different iterations.

Congratulations to Dr. Kim and congratulations to President Obama on his brilliant selection.

Have a great weekend