Three stories that have come up in recent weeks:
- Man wants to rename a mountain
- Teacher has kid arrested for not reciting the Pledge
- Handguns flaunted in Starbucks
When people have a view to impose on others, they rarely stop at the line where reasonable discourse turns into insanity. In fact, some of them already began on the far side of that line.
Here in Walnut Creek, there's a mountain. It's only 3,849 feet tall, but more of the Earth's surface can be seen from its summit than from any other peak besides Kilimanjaro. Thirty-five of California's 58 counties are visible from this mountaintop. It is a key survey point for much of California. And it's been called Mt. Diablo since as early as 1824, when San Francisco was little more than a Mexican military outpost of about 250 soldiers.
So of course a guy wants to rename it Mount Reagan. Actually, he doesn't much care what the new name would be. He just doesn't want to glorify Satan any more. Apparently, God told him to file the petition. Because, you know, God cares about this.
Meanwhile, in Maryland, a teacher had a 13-year-old girl removed from her classroom by school police when she refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Oh, the humanity! She must be a Communist, or a terrorist. I am surprised she didn't end up at Guantanamo, labeled an enemy combatant.
Three things really bother me about this: First, that this school has "school police." Either this is a really tough school and the school police probably have something better to do already, or it's an insanely rich hoity-toity school where parents are worried about things like, you know, free speech. I mean the exercise of free speech, and making sure it gets punished severely. Second, that the teacher broke state law and violated school policy by trying to force the student to stand and recite the pledge. Can we even call someone like that a teacher? What, exactly, is she trying to teach? And third, that some people actually think the teacher was doing the morally right thing. That is scary.
We return now to the shadow of Mt. Diablo, where some kooks think it's really important to strap on handguns when buying coffee. California has "open carry," which means that while it's illegal to carry a concealed handgun, it's not illegal to buckle one into your belt as long as it's not loaded. The ammunition can be handy, just not loaded in the weapon. For some reason, a group of people decided it was important to make everyone aware of this law by insisting on wearing their weapons when they got coffee. Because you never know when there might be a firefight at the half-and-half pitcher.
It reminds me of a joke I heard in middle school: Why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can.
So, why does a man insist on flaunting deadly weapons in wealthy suburban coffee joints? Apparently because he can't lick his balls.
We now return you to your regular programming of health care, global warming, foreclosures, the rotten economy, and Olympic medal counts.