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Next Post is a web site where you can make your own poster, without worrying about the shotgun-wielding Library Of Congress police swooping down on your humble abode. Alternatively, you can simply rate or buy someone else’s design. So this image doesn’t originate from any “official” source. It’s not a statement from the amiable folks at SMVM or the “Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight But Then Neither Can the FBI” Hutaree. It’s a statement cobbled together anonymously and uploaded onto the site—where someone grabbed it and sent it along the viral highway. It’s not a particularly striking image per se. The out-of-focus gun barrel is almost as hard on the eyes as every website ever built using white text on a black background. And, once again, there’s no central focal point. Or symmetry. The photographer was trying to do that light side / dark side deal—and failed. So, blah. The real punch is in the punchline. To quote the late (but still timely) Warren Zevon, it ain’t that pretty at all.

Personally, I hate it when hate makes things personal. Dismissing liberals—indeed, suggesting that they need to be shot point blank by a revolver—is the worst kind of playing your Rickenbacker. I mean, appealing to your base. The kind that alienates those occupying the strategically vital middle ground, and emboldens your opposition.

See? We’re not the ones with hate in our hearts and intolerance in our Smith & Wesson. It’s those religion and gun-clinging Conservatives! They’re the ones who should be shot! Er, imprisoned. OK then, de-gunned. At the least.

Imagine this poster with the word “Conservatives” instead of “Liberals.” Kinda weird how that works. Or doesn’t. Liberals are generally thought of as touchy-feely We Are the World peace-out types—despite the hate-filled invective they spew all over the Tea Party and its small government pals in the Republican Party.

Conservatives are generally thought of as tough bastards—the kind of people who might secretly want to shoot liberals with a revolver and be done with it—despite their endless rants about the rule of law (which they regularly break) and morality (which they personally trample upon).

It’s a shame that these American political stereotypes are so monolithic. And I deeply regret the fact that there’s so much hate on both sides of the political spectrum. But the bit that I find really annoying: the rudeness with which the far right and far left treat anyone who isn’t towing the party line.

I played exacly one round of the drinking game [I invented] called Bill O’ Reilly Interruptus. One shot for every sentence he doesn’t let his “guest” finish; two shots for every time he makes a comment after he promises to give a “guest” the last word. I was drunk before the first commercial.

Rachel Maddow doesn’t get up close and personal with her antagonists; she mocks and reviles them from afar. The game was called Scoff and Scarf: every time she scoffs, you have to scarf a chocolate. I nearly died of sugar shock.

This Is “The Only View You Need To See.” Oy vey. BOTH sides of the gun control debate (such as it is) need to re-view their positions. As I’ve said before, there is plenty of common ground. Both groups are against violent crime. Mayors Against Illegal Guns? Who’s for them, exactly?

Can’t the left and the right come together on punishing criminals who use guns, and crack down on illegal gun purchases? Yes they can! And yes they do! America’s judicial system has been ratcheting up the sentences on crimes involving firearms. It’s police have been chasing black market gun dealers for years. And not without success. With success, in fact.

What’s not helpful: insults and threats. Powerful? Yes. Disturbing? Of course. But brutal images that teach us nothing, that simply reaffirm sharply drawn battle lines, are worth less than the paper they’re printed on. Even when they’re not. On paper. That is.

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