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Bowling for Newtown

Seriously, what can I say or type that I haven’t already said or typed? One of my friends told me, “I know what you’ll be posting on Facebook tonight.” I said I don’t think so. I have talked about gun violence until I have nothing left to say. But there is something special about this shooting in Connecticut. Children. 27 people died; 20 of them children. Bowling for Newtown. Before Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine, I was a trauma surgeon in Shreveport, Louisiana. Before I was a trauma surgeon, I was a resident in Shreveport. Almost every night, we would admit one or two, sometimes five or 10, victims of violence. The majority of the Americans whom we admitted were young men between the ages of 16 and 30. Back then, I went to schools, churches, old folks homes. I talked to anyone who would listen, extolling the terrible price of gun violence in the United States. The majority of the time I was preaching to the choir.

Bowling for Newtown. Back in 2002, Michael Moore released his documentary, Bowling for Columbine. In his documentary, which was, I grant you, over the top, he clearly and accurately pointed out that Americans are in love with guns. Growing up in Dallas, you would figure I would completely understand America’s love affair with guns. But no. I was clueless. It wasn’t until I went to Monroe, Louisiana in the late 1980s that I truly understood the passion that many Americans have for guns. A number of the physicians in Monroe would arrange their call schedule so that they could be off the first weekend of deer season. I’m not talking about one or two physicians. I’m talking about 20 – 30% of the physicians. A nurse, whose boyfriend gave her a gun for her birthday, actually broke down into tears because she was so happy. Yep, I checked. She was actually happy that her boyfriend cared enough to give her a gun for her birthday.

When I started my blog about six years ago, I was amazed and appalled at the Virginia Tech shooting. I had this blog and I was able to post my thoughts, day after day. I even have a category on my blog which is still titled Virginia Tech Shooting. Soon, it dawned on me that I couldn’t keep starting a new category every time there was a mass shooting. Let’s just take a moment and think about the mass shootings you can remember, just over the last couple of years – there was that Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. There was that shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. (Oh, don’t forget the previous mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.) There was that Army base shooting at Fort Bragg. There was that other Army base shooting at Fort Hood. There was that biology professor in Huntsville, Alabama (Amy Bishop). There was that mall shooting in Portland, Oregon. There was that other mall shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was yet another mall shooting which left three dead in Northwest Indiana. There was a mall shooting in Richmond. I was recently thinking about the mall shooting in Missouri. The bottom line is that if you Google something generic like mall shootings you can get over 237 million results. Mass shootings have become commonplace in United States. (Mother Jones has put together a guide to all mass shootings in the last 30 years. According to Mother Jones, there have been 62 mass shootings over that time.) Whether it is a US Congresswoman who was shot by a man with a mental illness (don’t forget that a little nine-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, was shot dead during this shooting spree) or a deranged NFL football star who shot his fiancée and then himself. Gun violence is a part of the United States.

All the arguments for and against gun control have been made. They been made by people who are smarter and dumber than me. The bottom line is nothing that I can say or do is going to change this problem. Change in this country is going to have to come from gun owners. It’s gonna have to come from an organization like the NRA. I wish that people like me could make a difference in this terrible situation, but we can’t. It is my understanding that peace activists are gathering at the White House trying to urge President Barack Obama to do something. Unfortunately, they are gathering in the wrong place. They need to be gathering at the house of The Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what legislation President Barack Obama proposes, the vast majority of the Democrats are in favor of some sort of legislation to control gun violence. It is the Republicans who’ve embraced the laissez-faire attitude towards guns and gun violence. (Let me be clear. Republicans don’t mind putting you in jail after you’ve killed people. They simply don’t want to restrict your right to own a gun before you’ve killed anybody.)

So sad. 20 children dead. Bowling for Newtown.

By |2013-11-03T18:19:33-04:00December 14th, 2012|Domestic Issues, Mass Shooting|3 Comments

NFL Week Seven – predictions and thoughts

Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers

Washington Redskins versus Carolina Panthers – The Washington Redskins have made a change at quarterback. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. John Beck is in as quarterback. For the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton is playing fairly well in spite of last week’s performance. He has more interceptions than touchdowns passes. I do like the way he plays, but he has to tighten that up. I’m going with the Carolina Panthers in this one.

Seattle Seahawks versus Cleveland Browns – Seattle is playing pretty good defense, especially their front seven. Peyton Hillis, for the Cleveland Browns, has been bothered by his hamstring. I’m leaning towards the Seahawks.

Atlanta Falcons versus Detroit Lions – Last week, I said that Atlanta had to win. I’m going to say the same thing this week. I thought that Detroit’s front seven were playing pretty well on defense, but the San Francisco 49ers’ Frank Gore gashed them for a ton of yards. I look for the Atlanta Falcons to try to do the same. They have to get the running game on track. Detroit? I have no idea what happened last Sunday. They simply didn’t play a good game. Where were all the touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson? It didn’t happen. I think Atlanta will try to pound the ball and will be relatively successful. I’m leaning towards the Atlanta Falcons.

Denver Broncos versus Miami Dolphins – This game would be a snoozer, except… Tim Tebow. Everybody’s been fixated on Tim Tebow for the last two weeks. All I know is that running quarterbacks have modest success in this league. Michael Vick began to have a lot of success once he started throwing accurately down the field. Randall Cunningham had modest success because he was a streaky quarterback who could get on a hot streak. Unless Tim Tebow begins to accurately deliver the ball on time, he will only have modest success in this league. I won’t even go into how many college athletes were extremely exciting in college only to have mediocre careers in the NFL. Neither of these teams really do anything particularly well. I look for Miami to try to get their running game back on track. This game is a toss-up.

San Diego Chargers versus New York Jets – In my opinion, this game is all about the Jets. It is all about the fact that the Jets can’t run the ball and they can’t stop the run very well. Last year they had Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis on the defensive line. Both of these great defensive players have left the Jets. The Jets are 11th in total defense and they are ranked 28th in stopping the run. The Chargers should be able to run and throw the football. They’re going to put up 25-30 points. I just don’t see how the Jets are going to be able to keep pace.

Chicago Bears versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I don’t know what to expect from the Chicago Bears. Their defense has kind of been up and down. Sometimes Jay Cutler looks like an elite quarterback and sometimes he doesn’t. One thing I have noticed is that Matt Forte is running the ball pretty well. On the other side of the ball, Josh Freeman was mediocre to awful two weeks ago, but played pretty well last week. I’m throwing this came into the toss-up bowl. This one might be fun to watch, as I suspect it’s going to be well played and hard-hitting.

Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans – So what happened to the Tennessee Titans? Compared to just two weeks ago, Matt Hasselbeck seems to be a little less hot. His passer rating still makes him the sixth best quarterback in the league, which is not too shabby. Can somebody tell me what’s up with Chris Johnson? Currently, he’s rushed for 250 yards. He is behind James Starks and Felix Jones. Felix Jones has been hurt for two games this year. Starks is on a pass first team and shares carries with Ryan Grant. Come on. Michael Vick has run for 120 yards more than Chris Johnson. For the Houston Texans, Adrian Foster is running well. Matt Schaub is doing okay. I think the Houston Texans will find a way to win this one, but it should be close. (more…)

By |2011-10-22T22:00:08-04:00October 22nd, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL Week Seven – predictions and thoughts

NFL: Week One

With a huge dispute in the off-season (lockout and players suing owners, etc.) and a shortened preseason, I’m not sure how anybody can intelligently predict who’s going to win or lose in week one. The one thing that we saw with New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers was that the defense was not up to speed. Sure, you had two great quarterbacks who were going to sack the defense anyway, but these defenses did not seem ready to play. With that being said, here are my picks for week one.

Dallas Cowboys versus New York Jets – I’m a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. I think the Dallas Cowboys have a lot of questions on their offensive line. Can Tony Romo step up and play error-free football? Can the Dallas receivers step up and dominate games? Can the revamped and more athletic Dallas offensive line dominate? Because of all these questions I have to give the edge in this game to the running attack of the New York Jets.

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Baltimore Ravens – I’m sorry, the edge in this game has to go to Ben Roethlisberger. As usual, I think he’s going to find a way to get this done.

Atlanta Falcons versus Chicago Bears – is the Chicago offense with Jay Cutler going to live up to its potential? Can Jay Cutler play error-free football? Can the Atlanta Falcons become the dominating team that we thought they would be at the end of last year? Are the Atlanta Falcons going to be an elite team in the NFC? I’m giving the edge in this game to the Atlanta Falcons. I think that Matt Ryan is ready for prime time.

Cincinnati Bengals versus Cleveland Browns – these are two teams that are in transition. Cleveland has a new coach. They also have an extremely young quarterback, Colt McCoy. I’m not sure he’s ready. I have no idea what to expect from the Cincinnati Bengals. Can Carson Palmer Andy Dalton play football like he did four or five years ago? I’m giving a slight edge in this game to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Indianapolis Colts versus Houston Texans – all that needs to be said in this game is that there will be no Peyton Manning. This was going to be a huge opportunity for the Houston Texans to take a step forward. Arian Foster, though, has just been scratched from the game because of a bad hamstring. This is a huge advantage for the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. I’m giving a slight edge to the Indianapolis Colts because for some reason Houston seems to find a way to lose games.

Tennessee Titans versus the Jacksonville Jaguars – I don’t know what to expect from either of these teams. Matt Hasselbeck is playing for the Titans. Luke McCown is starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seriously? Anybody will tell you that they know how these teams are going to play is blowing wind up your skirt. Toss-up.

Buffalo Bills versus Kansas City Chiefs – the Kansas City Chiefs should run all over the Buffalo Bills. I don’t think that this game is going to be close.

Philadelphia Eagles versus St. Louis Rams – Michael Vick has just signed a huge contract. The Philadelphia Eagles have a ton of speed in their wide receivers. Yet, the weakness of the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense is their offensive line. Will Michael Vick have enough time to find his speedy receivers? I still think that the St. Louis Rams are our team in transition. I suspect they will shock a few people this year. I’m not sure that they’re going to shock the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m giving the edge to the Eagles.

Detroit Lions versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – is Matthew Stafford for real? Can he stay healthy? Josh Freeman looked very good at the end of last year. I think that Tampa Bay is going to play some solid football this year. I have no idea what to expect out of the Detroit Lions. I’m leaning towards the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Afternoon games

Carolina Panthers versus Arizona Cardinals – it is hard for me to feel sorry for multimillionaires but I really felt sorry for Larry Fitzgerald last year. He may be the best receiver in the league and had absolutely no one to throw to him all of last year. Now he has Kevin Kolb. Kevin is finally given an opportunity to be a starting quarterback. Can he get the job done? I still think that Arizona has some questions on defense. Losing Steve Breaston on offense is going to hurt. I have no idea what the Carolina Panthers are going to serve up. Cam Newton is making his debut at quarterback. If he is able to stay healthy I think that he’ll make some noise in the league. I’m giving a slight edge in this game to the Arizona Cardinals.

Minnesota Vikings versus San Diego Chargers – can San Diego finally live up to their potential? They have a solid defense. They have an explosive offense. Their special teams have been suspect. Philip Rivers has been one of the top quarterbacks the last three years. In my opinion, their window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is quickly closing. They have to get it done this year. Norv Turner knows this. I think that the Vikings will play some solid football. I am hopeful that Donovan McNabb has a good year. I think that his game is well-suited for the Minnesota Vikings. I look for San Diego to roll in this game.

Seattle Seahawks versus San Francisco 49ers – who knows? Both of these teams are in transition. New/young coaches. Unknown/shaky quarterbacks. Toss-up.

New York Giants versus Washington Redskins – I’m sorry, but I’m not buying into Rex Grossman. The Chicago Bears poured their heart and soul into Rex Grossman only to have him let them down. I think the Redskins are going to play some solid football this year. I have a lot of questions about the New York Giants. When the Giants were a dominant team, three or four years ago, they had a tremendous defensive pass rush. They had one of the top defenses in the league. They’re going to need to have that again if they’re going to make a run at the Super Bowl. I’m giving a slight edge in this game to New York Giants.

Monday Night Football

New England Patriots versus Miami Dolphins – the New England Patriots are very much aware that they have dominated the regular season only to collapse in the postseason. Tom Brady does not have that many more years in him. If they’re going to go back to the Super Bowl and win, they’re going to have to make a move now. I have no idea what to expect from Miami Dolphins. I’m giving the edge in this game to the Patriots.

Oakland Raiders versus Denver Broncos – this was one of the most heated rivalries in all of football. But that was a very long time ago. Neither of these teams have really competed for a Super Bowl in a lon,g long time. I’m not sure what to expect from the Denver Broncos. I’m not sure the Tim Tebow is a viable quarterback in this league. Kyle Orton started off last year as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but then faded badly. I’m looking for Jason Campbell to really step up and be a leader for the Raiders. Their offense is suited for his deep ball. I think they have a tremendous rushing game. I look for the Raiders to run all over the Broncos to victory.

It’s going to take several weeks for me to be able figure out where teams are. To say that these predictions are no more than guesses would be an understatement. Enjoy the games. Have a safe September 11!!!

By |2011-09-11T12:22:13-04:00September 11th, 2011|Sports|Comments Off on NFL: Week One
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