America is a great place to drive across if you have a fast car and stay away from the Interstates and run up the backroads.
That was me yesterday, scuttling past the boarded-up shacks and deserted service stations along Route 62 that skirts around the massive Twenty Nine Palms Marine Corps base up to the may-as-well-be a ghost town of Amboy.
At Amboy I rolled onto one of the few remaining stretches of Route 66, that once-great trans-continental road to salvation that bought the poor and windblown out of the slums and dust-bowls of the east in search of a better life.
[caption id="attachment_7941" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Route 66 ruin. Essex, CA."]
If any of the 3,000 or so five-acre homesteaders that settled in places like Amboy or Wonder Valley or anywhere else in the Morongo Valley during the late 1930s stuck around they didn't leave much behind there is little sign of productive life there nowadays.
You can buy an acre of land here for about the price of a pack of cigarettes.
[caption id="attachment_7940" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Road Runner Restaurant"]
I'm tracking my way through the American south-western deserts - in part because I've not been in this neck of the woods before - but also because I want to escape the hell that is my hometown of Darwin during the tail-end of the build-up season. I plan to get back home just as the first of the monsoon systems roll down from the equator early in the New Year.
[caption id="attachment_7944" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Ruins, Route 66, near Essex, CA."]
Apart from viewing the wreckage littered along the road and enjoying the big skies the other pleasure I take in these long drives is grazing through the seemingly endless selection of radio stations. Usually - depending on what region of the country you are in - this gives you a snapshot of some corner of the American mind.
Rolling out of Twenty Nine Palms yesterday I had the white-trash country of KXCM on 96.3 FM broadcasting out of Joshua Tree to ease me into my run until that ran out of reach and watts somewhere near Sheep Hole Summit. I hit the seek button and soon landed on an unidentified station that was running the redneck topics de jour
of liberals and gun control.
This guest had picked up in what was an emerging theme in the emerging redneck revolt against a pending liberal takeover - that America's youth were drugged to the eyeballs with "psycho-tropic" drugs.
Jack: This is whats gonna happen, they attempted to neuter boys, they’ve doped them up and then you create little psychopaths. [with psychotropic drugs]
Caller Eric wondered about the role of Hitler in the gun-control debate.
Eric: Why did Hitler not tackle Switzerland? Because every house has a gun.
John: Well, von Ribbentrop, the foreign minister for the Reich was approached by Hitler who said “I’m thinking that we should take Switzerland.” And the Reich Minister said “No, my Fuehrer, that will not work.” And he said “What, Switzerland has an army?” To which von Ribbentrop replied “Sir, Switzerland is an army.”
Jack: ... It is the reason that Israel is still alive today, it is an armed society. I mean for crying out loud a lot of their teachers have their fully automatic assault rifles over their shoulder when they go on a field trip.
The discussion returned to the theme of liberals, mental illness, drugs and the imminent threats they pose to the USA.
Caller Eric: As they should ... these people are just out of control. We will absolutely as a nation, die, if they go ahead and we aren’t smart enough to rein ‘em in.
Jack: Excellent point Eric. Thanks for your call ... a lot of these murderers, these psychopaths, have had a long history of taking psychotropic drugs. I’m not talking about the 1960’s hallucinogens.
John: it is all part of an educational culture in the government schools. They have produced Adam Lanza. he was their product.
Coming up on the salt-fields (American Chloride
) of Bristol Dry Lake the seek button got me John Gibson's show
on Fox News Radio where "The trouble begins...NOW! John's (sic) all over the big stories, and he's not backing down. Dissent is encouraged!
John had taken his angry pills that morning and, in what was a recurring theme, directed his anger at the mentally ill - or at least those that take anti-depressants or are schizophrenic.
John Gibson: Red-flag everybody taking Zoloft and say they can’t have a gun.
Guest: That’s for depression. What if somebody is schizophrenic? Should they be red-flagged?
John Gibson: I think they should be incarcerated. They should be in a mental institution. They shouldn’t be out among us. I mean this guy Ian Stawicki. Went to the Cafe Racer espresso cafe in Seattle ... A barista wanted him to leave because he’d been in the day before and been rude and asked him to leave. He went over to a table and brooded for a few minutes. He got up, pulled out a gun.
Shot five people ... What’s he doing out? Why isn’t he locked up? Why is he able to go into the coffee shop in the first place? Never mind the fact that he’s got a gun - he shouldn’t have a gun, he shouldn’t be able to walk into the coffee shop. Fewer guns, more mental institutions ... I’m talking about an actual solution.
Lock up the nut-jobs!
An "actual solution" of a "final" one? Lock up the nutjobs indeed.
An hour or so later I was on Highway 95 running north to Las Vegas. Highway 95 runs arrow straight through some of the bleakest country I've ever passed through.
I cannot describe this trip better than the anonymous author of The Truth Burns
There is a long stretch of highway in the American West where one is encouraged to think about wars and their names and all the men and women who have died for those wars and those titles. Driving east out of Hawthorne, NV is a harrowing experience ... The entire stretch of highway is a memorial to the veterans of America’s various wars ... Driving the highway seems a bit like walking through a mine field. Though Highway 95 provides a flat, straight passage, the sheer volume of explosive mounds expanding in both directions keeps drivers alert with their hands gripped tightly at ten and two. The desert outside of Hawthorne is not of course dotted with explosive anti-personnel devices. Not technically. The massive underground armory caches however are patiently, if passively, waiting to be detonated, controlled or otherwise. As far as the eye can see in every direction are 12 foot mounds – entryways into underground storage bunkers, housing everything from dynamite to the highly classified unknown. This is an armory of the U.S. Government.
We swerve back on the pavement frantically just in time to see the final sign erect and firm, freshly planted – the screws still shiny and clean.
Dedicated to the Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism ... Now our hands are back, firmly on the steering at ten and two and our chin is thrust forward at twelve, high noon. The floorboard is dented where the accelerator pedal has been very nearly stomped through. We drive with a mission to see how this will end. What is next on this long highway and where, by the way, does this weapons depot end?
But another war was still being fought on the airwaves. This time the seek button gives me Rusty Humphries
Congressman Richardson: What we can’t do is allow us to continue to take a passive approach ... We owe it to our children and our educators to ensure that we have the ability to respond in every school with lethal force in an event of such a shooting in the future.
Rusty Humphries: I love it ... my plan is to allow teachers to voluntarily take training. They would receive a gun, they would receive extra money for doing so. They would carry concealed weapons.
Nobody would know.
Heck, not even the principal would know what teachers are armed. And then you go in to a school with intent to kill and you don’t know if one teacher has a gun, no teachers have a gun or fifty teachers have a gun. And that way, who knows how many countless peoples lives would be saved?
Rusty then called up his "good friend
" Oliver North, who was promoting his new work of fiction, "Heroes Proved
" which Publisher's Weekly
described as "clichéd
" and riddled with "predictability and inattention to detail
Rusty identified the real enemy - Democrats - right from the get-go.
Rusty Humphries: So, first of all there are a bunch of Democrats that have really changed their minds and now they are against ... and its time to just pile up our guns in a fire and just burn ‘em.
Oliver North: Well, look, I’m a big believer in the Second Amendment of the Constitution and I don’t think we’re gonna change that. What I think has changed is that a lot of Democrats that got elected with the help of the National Rifle Association have now betrayed - for a politically expedient stand - something that has enormous emotional content.
Rusty Humphries: And unfortunately these Senators and Congressmen who have changed their minds are proving once again that Democrats can’t be trusted.
Oliver North: Well, they gave their word and now of course they - if you want to do something that is politically expedient - jump on that bandwagon.
North had also picked up on the "lets blame the mentally ill
" theme - and that Americans need more God in the schools.
Oliver North: If you look back at the long, sad history of mass murder ... there are a couple of common factors. People who are - what we used to consider - mentally unstable. People who have not fit within the societal norm. People who have access to means of killing people ... What has to change is the behaviour of human beings. I look at what has happened in our schools since 1960. I look at whats happened - we drove God out of the schools, we drove prayer out of the schools.
A I drove through the outskirts of Las Vegas the seek button gave me up Roger Hedgecock
, who was very angry indeed, particularly about "emasculated young men
" and that "eastern liberal
", Republican Mayor of New York city, Michael Bloomberg, who earlier that day had called for stricter gun controls.
Roger Hedgeccok: Now what would that be, exactly, Mayor Bloomberg? If you are talking about people who are young men, who are having mental difficulties - to say the least - who are prescribed drugs that their body then reacts to in a way that ... what is it that you want to do about them. Because whether they pick up a gun or a knife ... Well Mayor Bloomberg, are we gonna get after the emasculated young men on drugs that you liberals have produced in this society. And I demand a plan!
Roger tied himself in more than a few philosophical and factual knots, though not to worry, it is all the fault of the government, the political elites and the media.
Roger Hedgecock: Somehow the presence of a gun amongst us is the evil. Not the shooter, but the gun he used ... how about the drugs we are giving our kids because we think that instead of dealing with problems we can give them - you know - Prozac or what have you.
How about facing those issues rather than than taking away my constitutional right to a gun.
Can I just get to the bottom line? You know why the political elites and the media mouthpieces and their phalanx of people - you know why they're saying what they are saying today blaming the gun?
There is only one answer to that question. It doesn’t have anything to do with the kids, it doesn’t have anything to do with the shooter, it doesn’t have anything to do with what went on in this or any other case.
It has to do with taking guns away from people who might oppose the government ... The purpose of the second Amendment is to make sure you are sufficiently armed to resist tyranny.
This is the way the power of government is now going to be applied. To crack down on guns and ammunition even before we get to law. Oppression will come in the form of the government working its pressure through the regulatory system that we’ve allowed to build up in this country.
People know where this is going ... buy your guns and ammo now while you can.
Thank whatever God I believe in that I found my hotel and could end this particular kind of torture. It was a lovely drive for all the piss and blather coming through the speakers.