Last week, police arrested Gary Drake for brandishing a shotgun at his neighbor, who was teaching his seven-year-old daughter how to ride a bicycle at the time. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. According to the father, Drake began yelling at him from the porch and, when dismissed, said, “If you don’t like my advice, get off the street.” He went inside and returned with a Remington 870, which he pointed at the father, threatening to kill him. Be sure to read down to the last sentence of the story: “Charging documents state that Drake admitted to drinking all day, but he denied that it influenced his actions.”
Last night brought shining victory to the even more conservative alternative to the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney: Rick Santorum has won Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. That last one doesn’t really count, since it was a non-binding primary that does not award delegates for the national convention. The first two can be dismissed, too, because those states are evidently full of people who think Rick Santorum should be president. But the altar/alter boy cannot be stopped, and he vowed to take his campaign all the way to this summer’s convention in Tampa and, eventually, make it illegal for women to wear pants.
When I was a kid, I used to love reading Cal Thomas. For those of you who did not grow up with the Des Moines Register, your premiere newspaper for stories about pie and dogs that saved their owners from fires through barking, Thomas is a syndicated political columnist who combines the confidence of a small-town minister with the intellectual curiosity of a small-town minister. As near as I can tell, he hasn’t been right about anything in 30 years, and a surprising number of his columns begin with dictionary definitions, but I couldn’t stop reading him. At the risk of oversimplifying my fascination, getting angry at Cal Thomas made life feel important. Some perverse quadrant of my fourteen year-old brain knew that the baffled, sputtering indignation I experienced trying to follow a Cal Thomas argument expanded the sum total of my consciousness.* As a series of girlfriends would later remind me, the more you feel, the more you are alive—even if that feeling is bitter, frustrated anger. Today is Friday, and soon the weekend will enfold us in its boozy, maybe-trying-to-tell-us-something-and-maybe-just-being-affectionate arms. It will demand from us a new, more vibrant mode of living, and as usual five days of drudgerous toil will have deadened us until we feel somehow unequal to the task. As a palliative—by which I mean an irritant—Combat! blog offers a collection of links to things that enrage us, whether by their ignorance, their audacity, or their audacious ignorance. Sure, they’re horrifying, but we can’t look away. What separates us from the animals, after all, if not our love of lingering upon what separates us from the animals?