I thought President Obama gave a decent speech: measured, mature, mostly realistic. I also thought: Many of us are going to miss "No Drama Obama." The number of minds changed: probably zero. So it goes in our Cold Civil War.
The elephant in the Oval Office was Saudi Arabia. Its funding of Wahhabi ideology across the world — and whose practice as a nation with stoning, beheading, etc. resembles an ISIL* (ISIS, Daesh) gone legit — is a huge factor in the rise of radical, militant Islamist terror. Remember 9/11?
This is not the only disconnect in our ongoing strange days, where the cavalcade of domestic massacres was interrupted by the San Bernardino shooting. That one was committed by Muslims at least one of whom had pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Whatever that means.
Liberals reacted by calling for "gun safety" laws. Those won't happen until liberals win commanding congressional majorities, change the composition of the Supreme Court, and perhaps repeal the Second Amendment. Most Americans want their firearms.
Conservatives outdid each other in crazy led by the GOP presidential front-runner's demand that all Muslim immigration be halted. This would presumably include Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, a beacon of moderate Islam, and a critical strategic partner of the United States.
Wealthy Republican John Sydney McCain III and his mini-me Lindsey Graham penned "How to Defeat ISIS Now, Not 'Ultimately'" in the Wall Street Journal. Not surprisingly, it called for the same break-things-and-kill-people methods that helped create the Islamic State in the first place. They never mention Saudi Arabia.
The most original piece came from Timothy Egan at the New York Times, who is no right-winger. He wrote:
Too much of the most deadly, inexplicable violence in the world today is committed in the name of this religion, and its strain of radical Islam. The shooters are people like Farook, kneeling at prayer in the back of the mosque, kindly and devout. Oh, we never suspected a thing, the imam says. The explanation is tiresome, and increasingly implausible.
Why do they hate us?
Our "freedom"? Miniskirts, women exercising their reproductive freedom, gay marriage, Caitlyn Jenner, lack of prayer in schools, tolerance, the "War on Christmas"? Oh, wait, that's the American right wing.
The roots of murderous Islamic extremism are far more complex than a Fox "News" segment. Some big ones are our invasions of Muslim lands and indiscriminate killing of Muslims, as well as tacitly backing Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and, simply for the sake of cheap gasoline, the House of Saud.
One reader wrote that San Bernardino was "the last straw":
Our ineffective governments can't, won't protect us. As of this moment, I will open carry, 357 magnum. AR-15 in the truck.
I would quote the outlaw in the original True Grit, "I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man." And most gun-toting 'Mericans wouldn't fare as well as John Wayne in a movie.
Years ago, when I was a paramedic, I was invited by some cop friends to a combat shooting course. Even before starting, you ran in place for two minutes to get your adrenaline kicked up to what you'd face in a real-life situation. Then move through the course toting a .357 magnum, where "bad guys" and "innocent civilians" suddenly popped up in windows and doors. A quick decision had to be made or you were "dead" or had blasted a civilian. Although I was a crack shot in the calm conditions of a conventional range, I didn't do well on this one. And a real-life human wasn't shooting back at me.
So things may degenerate enough in this country that we're back to the Wild West, or at least our idealized version. It won't turn out well. But these are crazy times for a large segment of the country, magical thinking abounds.
As far as "our governments can't, won't protect us," how much further down the road to a police state would you have us go? And we're pretty far in Der Homeland. Presumably it would include confiscation of guns, including those of white males, the largest cohort of massacre shooters.
Secession? Not with our militarized police and enormous military. If a potent segment of the armed forces went rogue, however, things would get really interesting. Or will that have to wait until President Trump or President Cruz gets the nuclear codes?
*ISIL or Daesh are probably more accurate, as the "state" has spread all through the historic Levant and into Iraq.