Saturday, July 21, 2012

From today's newspapers (Saturday, July 21)

Headline in Portland (Maine) Press Herald (page 1): "Colorado shootings claim 12, wound 58". Synopsis of story:  "Shortly after midnight Friday, a gunman wearing a gas mask and black SWAT gear set off a gas canister and then opened fire inside a crowded theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and wounding nearly 60 others, authorities said."

Letter to the Editor of the Portland Press Herald:  "After shooting, NRA rushes to solicit gun right supports- At 10:27 a,m. Friday, the National Rifle Association telephoned me, soliciting protection of gun rights in the light of the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., earlier that morning.
  "Less than 12 hours after the gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, the NRA is out there to tell me the only right is to protect guns.
  "Many of those who received these macabre phone calls must be appalled. I certainly am.
(signed) The Rev. Dr. James M. Young, retired United Methodist pastor, Portland)"

Commentary:  This should tell you all you need to know about the NRA and their priorities.  When the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" come up against "Second Amendment" rights, you never have to wonder which side of the argument the NRA will come down on, swiftly, even ruthlessly. 

New York Times Crossword Puzzle, clue for 45 down:  "What a gun may be fired at?"  Answer: "Random".  Comments on this clue on the blog "Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle" ranged from this:
"r.alphbunker said...
There are plenty of ways to clue RANDOM without drawing attention to the violence that is plaguing the world today. "; to this:
"Bloggerevil doug said...
Yes, there was a horrible random shooting incident yesterday. Every term in a puzzle can cause someone personal pain or otherwise link to a bad mental place. They're just words in a crossword, so leave your sadness on Page 1 and forget about it when you arrive at the grid."; to this:
"AnonymousPete said...
Is there any way that cluing RANDOM with a reference to gun shots isn't totally tone deaf? None that I can imagine. Anyone know someone who's cancer has been cured by random gun shots? Has any good ever come from random gun shots? Certainly plenty of evil has. Even absent yesterday's horror, there's no way it should have been in there."; to this:
"Anonymousr.alphbunker said...
My guess is why 45D was clued as {What a gun may be fired at?} was because of the misdirection potential. A plausible answer would be TARGET. So from a purely crossword puzzle point of view it was a good clue.": to this:
"BloggerZ said...
Guns aren't often shot at random, although bullets often stop at random, so that clue is off. And with nearly 63,000 people dying from bullets last year, being bothered by 12 more seems, well, disingenuous. That Colorado, the state that experienced the Columbine tragedy, bans the registration of guns is... well I'm speechless."; and then to this:
"Bloggerjazzmanchgo said...
"Gratuitous reference to violence"? Wow . . .
. . . no, it's simply a well-worded crossword clue, written for folks who don't impose standards of ideological/emotional correctness on what's supposed to be an exercise in imaginative wordplay. . ."; to all of which I added this:
"Dirigonzo said...
I'm saving my comments on 45d for my own blog so as not to offend any sensibilities here."

So here is my commentary on the inclusion of that particular clue:  "random" shootings happen in the U.S. with alarming regularity; there are many contributing factors to the problem, including the relentless lobbying by the NRA (see above).  But it does seem to me that given the  myriad ways to suggest the term, the reference to firearms is unfortunate, even without the proximity to an horrific shooting reported on the same day as the puzzle appeared.  Surely the puzzle's constructor or it's editor, Will Shortz, could come up with a less macabre way to clue the word "random".

But really, can't we do something about the NRA?

1 comment:

  1. This is the most thoughtful commentary I've seen on the subject: