Stricter Mug Laws—It’s Not Too Late

Here’s a passage from Catch-22, Joseph Heller’s celebrated, funny novel about World War II:

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

We’ve all heard the term. I thought of it yesterday when the NRA, in the face of President Obama’s desire to enforce stricter gun laws, claimed that more money should be directed toward mental health issues instead. I’ll come back to that.

First you should know that January is National Hot Tea Month. I mention that only because recently I was doing a little post-holiday cleanup when I realized that I had more mugs than I could reasonably store—only one of them at a time filled with hot tea.

There’s a mug with Shakespeare on it, one with Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, several Jackson Brownes, four of a different ilk in vibrant colors with their own infusers, one with a strainer on top through which one drinks the brewing tea, a new hand-painted ceramic mug that holds roughly 55 gallons (I think), and several more of varying sizes, shapes, colors, volumes, and compositions.

I counted twenty-three, including one with the Cheshire Cat on it—the cat disappears and the grin remains when hot water is added. I didn’t count tea kettles, teapots, tea balls, tea cozies, or the insulated containers I fill with tea when I leave the house.

I was tempted to line everything up and take a picture, but then I thought, anyone who knows I collect tea mugs will think I’m crazy and a photo would merely prove it. Or maybe all collectors are crazy. Should I even be allowed to collect mugs, given my mental state?

It’s all well and good for gun collectors to be irresponsible: faulty guns can’t scald you or stain your nice white shirt (at least not with tea), but mugs require more responsible behavior. Thus I shall, from now on, submit to a thorough background check every time I buy another mug, even if I attend a mug show and buy from an unlicensed mug dealer. This way, with all my mugs registered, if one is stolen and used in the commission of a crime, I won’t be responsible, since we all know that mugs don’t kill people…uh…please don’t make me say it.)

Here’s the best part: once you admit you’d have to be crazy to collect mugs, then that disallows you from future purchases. And if you try to claim you’re no longer crazy and want to add mugs to your collection, that would only support the argument that you are indeed still crazy and can’t have any more. Catch-22…sort of.

It may be difficult for responsible mug collectors to convince “responsible” gun collectors to follow suit, but Hot Tea Month seems like a good time to begin.


A Well Regulated Militia (on Opposite Day)

There’s an armed rebellion going on right now. It’s not occurring in Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria, or any of the other garden spots where we like to send our young men to fight unwinnable wars. Nope this one’s right here at home—in Oregon.

Sometimes we get the wrong idea about that state. We hear about Portland and automatically assume that its progressiveness is indicative of the entire state to the east. It’s not—there are areas of Oregon so remote that time can’t even find them…which brings us to the current standoff.

It began in 2001 when Dwight Hammond and his son Steven began setting fires. They did so, they claimed, to protect their property from wildfires and invasive plants. (Setting back-burn fires is often used by firefighters to protect homes and property.) But the Hammonds’ little strategy also burned 140 acres of public land, following by two years another escapade that also consumed government territory. The Hammonds were convicted of arson in 2012, served time, and paid a large fine—close to $400,000.

This is where it gets hairy. After their release a federal judge determined that they had been imprisoned for short a time in custody, something relating to a 1996 anti-domestic terrorism law. That’s pretty much where we are today.

The Hammonds, despite their propensity to play with matches, have served their time. I don’t claim they’re the good guys here, but by comparison to the people who have decided to assist them, they just may be. Last Saturday night an armed group took control of an empty building in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and their goals have little to do with the support of the Hammonds. (In fact the Hammonds have already stated they don’t want help from this militia or anyone else.)

The leader of this band of armed protesters is Ammon Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy, he of the 2014 Nevada standoff that came about when federal agents ordered him to stop grazing his cattle on public land. Cliven became the darling of Fox News and a lot of tea-party aficionados—at least until he suggested that African-Americans were better off as slaves. (Time has probably been unable to find Cliven Bundy also.)

Here’s the thing: there’s not one of us who hasn’t thought at one time or another that our government has overstepped. Perhaps some of us have even protested—waved signs, carried placards, pasted bumper stickers, maybe even chanted offensive slogans. But it’s the fact that these people in Oregon are armed that makes me a little queasy, especially at a time when the legitimate authorities face such close scrutiny. We have just undergone a year of protests—in Missouri, New York, Maryland, elsewhere. There has been property damage and there have been injuries, but there have come about changes too—many of them the results of these protests. Now try to imagine any possible positive results from protesters in Baltimore striding down the streets with assault rifles. (Sacking and burning a CVS would be the least of our problems.)

This militia in Oregon has not issued demands, has not spoken in specifics; in short, they’re an amorphous group of discontented citizens who don’t know what they’re doing. Many of the local citizens are on record naming them as armed trouble-makers. Seems right.

But that word armed—that’s the difference. No one is going to pay any attention to what they say, only to what they’re carrying. And if nobody gets shot in this latest skirmish in the Bundys’ war against the U.S. Government, it will be a most pleasant and surprising outcome.

Catching Up, Saudi Style

We all let things get ahead of us at times, or we get behind them. I’m never quite sure of how best to describe it, but one way or another, we have to play catch-up.

In football when a team gets behind by three touchdowns, it has to play catch-up.

A grand-slam home run in baseball often has the other team playing catch-up.

In tennis if you lose the first two sets…well, you get the point.

Apparently even countries fall behind. America has remunerated women unfairly for centuries, now it’s playing catch-up by trying to equalize salaries and maybe remove the glass ceiling. Minorities too—catch-up—pretty much the same scenario.

Once we understand that, I think we can be less critical of Saudi Arabia which celebrated the new year by executing 47 people. Apparently 46 were militants with links to Al Qaeda and one was a Shiite cleric. It’s at times like this that I wish I were a little more conversant with what happens in those Middle Eastern countries and why. If I did I’d have a better handle on why Dubai went forward with its legendary New Year’s Eve fireworks exhibition while a few blocks away the biggest fire ever caused by a non-bovine destroyed a luxury hotel.

When questioned about those 47 executions, though, Saudi officials claimed they were carried out as a deterrent. Most observers claim this is hogwash—that the executions were designed to make sure that dissidents kept their dissident opinions to their dissident selves. As I said, I wish I were a little more conversant….

Four of the executions were carried out by firing squads; the rest were beheadings. And unlike most executions that are held in the nation’s public squares, the Happy New Year killings were carried out inside prisons, thereby not distracting citizens from the far less gory but equally entertaining Rose Parade.

Now Iran is angry. Iran, you’ll remember, is the country with whom we just signed a nuclear deal. It’s also a Shiite country and doesn’t take kindly to its clerics being dispatched on January 1 or any other day. Of course this cleric was involved in a pro-democracy group also—maybe a reason why America (a democracy) shouldn’t turn a blind eye either. Believe me, if these killings were were attributable to Islamic State, we’d be outraged: the chicken hawks would be screaming for more “boots on the ground.”

Saudi Arabia finds such comparisons to ISIS quite odious, claiming that the Saudis have rules! The punishments are for serious infractions committed by seriously bad guys! ISIS, they remind us, has no rules; it’s important to have rules! (My exclamation points added.)

But back to catching up: the Saudi government actually executed 157 people last year—about a week’s worth in Texas. And only 90 in 2014. So why 47 in one day? Saudi officials claim it’s not a change in policy, but simply a reaction to a backlog of death sentences that had built up under the previous king.

Catching up.

It’s never easy, is it?




New Year’s Greetings…

…to Tonya and Ethan Couch, just regular folks from east Texas. Ethan who was 16 two years ago got drunk and plowed his car into a gathering of pedestrians, killing four of them and injuring nine, two seriously. His punishment? Ten years of probation—rich people get smart attorneys and smart attorneys concoct “affluenza” arguments. Everyone was angry, even angrier early this month when Young Ethan and his mother—from whom he apparently “caught” affluenza—fled to Mexico. A few days back they were caught and people felt Ethan would finally get what’s coming to him. He won’t. All he did was violate probation: his punishment will probably be more probation. His mother, however, could do time, and that might make us feel better. But even though nobody asked me, I’d feel better if she could trade places with the mother of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot by police while waving a toy gun in a public park. We have two legal systems—I’d like to see her involved in the other.

That 12-year-old boy’s name was Tamir Rice, and the toy gun he was waving was actually a pellet gun that looked for all the world like a real weapon. Most experts claim that no one could have discerned the difference from twenty feet away, and though a police officer who might have been familiar with guns could have been more aware, this is more a tragedy than a murder. I understand the outrage in Cleveland and elsewhere, but I don’t know how we avoid these kinds of situations—unless we’re rich and white. I cannot imagine two policeman pulling up to a young, nicely dressed white man in an affluent neighborhood and simply shooting him. Ethan Couch waving a pellet gun on the grounds of Anderson Private School would probably have earned him a stern talking to, despite his previous run-ins with the law, with alcohol, with authority. Two legal systems—two justice systems.

…to Martin Shkreli, well as Mr. Potter says in It’s A Wonderful Life, “Happy New Year to you…in jail!” Shkreli as you know is the clever businessman who jacked up the prices of some drugs 5000%. The price of a dose of the drug Daraprim (an HIV medication) increased from $13.50 to $750 per pill overnight. Weeks later when Shkreli was arrested for securities fraud, he seemed unrepentant, claiming he was playing the Wall St. game with everyone else. What he should have said was that he was playing the pharmaceutical game—drug companies have been Shkrelizing us forever. They’re just smart enough to do it more slowly and less conspicuously. All those good feelings we had when Shkreli got his comeuppance should be tempered a bit by the fact that although someone as intemperate and venal as Shkreli isn’t in bed with Congress, the pharmaceutical outfits continue to be.

But let’s end the year on a high note—Steve Harvey did eventually crown the correct Miss Universe.

So there’s that.


No holiday for fear and bigotry

On Sunday a 24-year-old woman drove her car, it seems deliberately, into a crowd of people on a sidewalk in Las Vegas. She killed one and injured 32 others, many seriously. Her name is Lakeisha Holloway and she will probably face murder charges. The fate of the three-year-old daughter, a passenger in the car at the time, is unknown.

Lakeisha Holloway’s life before Sunday was such a checkered compilation of highs and lows that it’s surprising (1) she has survived this long and (2) that she hasn’t turned out better. If you read what we know of her biography you will learn that in 2012 she received an award for mentoring high school students, but that three years later she and her daughter were trying to survive in a 1996 Oldsmobile which she drove from parking area to parking area seeking out new “homes.” She may have had a falling out with the father of that child. She may have snapped. We don’t know. Her face betrays a lifetime of misery, yet she’s only 24.

I am not defending her. And I’m certainly not excusing what she did, whatever her plight. But as sad as this story is, at Christmas or any other time, it has been made sadder by the idiots and fools who have fabricated their own subplot—one that involves Ms. Holloway screaming Allah Ahckbar as she mowed down her victims. (Allah Ahckbar is apparently the bogot’s translation of Allahu Akbar which means God is Greater—an opinion I choose not to contest at this point.)

The tragedy of this story ripples out so far that it doesn’t need lies to make it more compelling. We know that a woman is dead. We know that her name was Jessica Valenzuela, that she was the stay-at-home mother of three young daughters, that she and her husband had recently celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary. Some will claim that she deserves more words than I have given her, and maybe in most people’s opinions, more words than I’ve already given to Ms. Holloway. I won’t argue that, but as Scrooge learns in A Christmas Carol, who deserves more words or more of anything is not ours to decide.

There’s no lesson here. There’s no Christmas reclamation or shiny ending. There’s nothing but desolation and loss. But in this new political climate of fear and bigotry, it would be reassuring if, for a few days anyway, the bigots and haters might allow a little empathy to influence their thoughts—if they could at least admit that Ms. Holloway was not a political extremist but merely a disconsolate American who had reached the end of her tether and could find no one to pull her back. And could they also admit (and could we?) that a kind word that day might actually have produced that Christmas reclamation and shiny ending for her and her child? Lakeisha Holloway could just as easily have been a modern-day George Bailey—instead of the woman who will spend this Christmas—and perhaps all her Christmases to come—behind bars.



No to Yes…again


When I first heard the Yes album Close to the Edge back in the seventies, I was astounded. I had grown up with rock ‘n’ roll and its usual chord progressions: C, Am, F, and G. I had even played in a band where we got a good amount of usage out of those four chords. (Full disclosure: we once recorded a song in B♭, I guess to be annoying. It worked: nobody bought it.) But hearing a group like Yes drift easily from time signature to time signature and symphonic sound to symphonic sound, I began to realize that there was a lot more to pop music than I had imagined before, and that the market for sophisticated and complex song patterns was out there. Unlike my B♭endeavor, people loved “I’ve Seen All Good People/Your Move,” that little symphony in two movements, and made “Roundabout” a big hit. And when MTV magically appeared in the eighties, Yes responded with “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “Final Eyes.” They had weathered the storm of the pretty young visual bands and gone right on with their music.

Of the five original members, only guitarist Steve Howe remains active, and even he is only “original” in the sense that he came aboard in 1971 before the band achieved any measure of fame. Bassist Chris Squire who appeared on every Yes release, passed away this year. In many ways he was the heart and soul of the band, though people still think highly of long-time percussionist Alan White and that singer with the high voice Jon Anderson. When Squire died this past June, people lamented the fact that he hadn’t lived long enough to see his band enshrined in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Some claimed that out of respect for Squire, perhaps this was the year the committee would choose not to pass them by as they have done every year.

Yesterday the new inductees were announced: Yes was not among them.

I have no kick against these new inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, NWA, and Steve Miller. I still find myself inexplicably humming “My Woman from Tokyo” (or is that To-Kay-Oh?) an awful lot. And I don’t think Yes should have been inducted merely as a sympathy nod. I just think the committee screwed up, and has done so for such a long time that it has become easy for them. Of course like all halls of fame, the people selected will not be everyone’s choice. I just wanted to register a quiet complaint and let it be known that on my next trip to Cleveland, I will avoid the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at all cost. And I do go to Cleveland. (The last time, I believe, was 1961.)

As a more positive approach, I plan to spend the day listening to Yes music on Spotify. If we all do that today, some bean counter somewhere will notice…and maybe next year….

Fifty million deaths later…

One of my literacy students asked me last night if I thought Donald Trump could win the presidency. I said no—not because he’s a buffoon and a fearmonger and doesn’t understand anything about foreign or domestic policies or the principles on which his country was founded—though those would certainly be reasons enough. But I told him that Mr. Trump was making promises that directly contradicted the Constitution and that none of them would ever be realized.

I’ve rethought that. Here’s a little timeline that should give everyone pause:

February 1933—The Reichstag building—seat of the German government—burns to the ground. It’s arson. The Nazis blame the Communists and Hitler uses the crisis to frighten the German people and assume absolute power. History has shown it was Hitler’s Nazis who burned down the building.

Fall, 1933—Jews are forbidden from owning land, participating in the arts, editing newspaper.

1934—Jews are no longer allowed to have health insurance, to participate in labor unions, to achieve legal qualifications.

1935—Nazis allow forced abortions to prevent women from passing on hereditary diseases.

1937—Jews are banned from teaching positions (unless they are teaching other Jews). They can no longer be accountants or dentists. They are denied tax reductions and child allowances.

April 26, 1938—Jews must register wealth and property.

June 14, 1938—Jewish-owned businesses must register.

July 23, 1938—Hitler orders all Jews over the age of 15 to apply for identity cards which must be shown on demand to any policeman.

August 11, 1938—Nazis destroy the synagogue in Nuremberg.

August 17, 1938—Nazis require Jewish women to add Sarah and men to add Israel to their names on all legal documents including passports.

1939—Jews in Germany lose practically all rights of citizens, regardless of the fact that they were German citizens and had lived there from birth. They could not own radios, could not attend German schools, could not be on the street after 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. in the summer. Der Sturmer, a Nazi newspaper printed the following about the Jewish population of Poland: “The Jewish people ought to be exterminated root and branch. Then the plague of pests would have disappeared in Poland at one stroke.”

It should be noted here that the nominal beginning of World War II had not yet occurred. By the time the war was over, the Nazi regime had murdered some 19 million civilians and prisoners of war. Another 30 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of the half-decade of warfare.

Now I don’t know if Hitler wore a red baseball cap that said Make Germany Great Again—I don’t know if Hitler even liked baseball. But I know this: if you had told the rest of the world—and even most of the German people—that one man would destroy a continent, initiate a horrifying catalog of oppressive and draconian laws, and bypass every legal and constitutional stricture designed to prevent that very thing, they wouldn’t have believed you. But believe this: in a climate of fear and panic, it can happen. Jews, Muslims, Christians—the victims change over time, but the principle doesn’t.

November 2015—Donald Trump floats the idea of a Muslim database. When someone asks how that’s different from the Nazi’s registering of the Jews in the 1930s, he says “You tell me.

December 8, 2015—Donald Trump calls for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. He says “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine.”

I could be wrong, but I think I know why.


What If It Were Parakeets?

Yes, parakeets.

What if the right to own parakeets was guaranteed by the Second Amendment?

And what if we all knew that parakeets were menacing and dangerous—only useful when employed by the most well-trained and responsible parakeet wranglers? Would we allow parakeets to be sold randomly to people on the terrorist watch list? To people with serious mental illnesses? To people who already own an entire aviary full of parakeets and want more?

Or would we just say no—you can’t have any more. You have enough parakeets, and besides…no, there is no besides…you just can’t. Now get out!

See how easy that would be? Why shouldn’t we do the same for guns?

Unfortunately, I think one of the reasons we can’t (or won’t) is…and please correct me if I’m wrong…people who love guns often own guns. We wouldn’t fear the parakeet owners unleashing their birds on us, but people with guns—when we say” Now get out!”—they might just shoot us.

So instead of being overrun by parakeets, we’re stuck with this massive proliferation of weapons. Darn that Second Amendment. Of course assault rifle owners and automatic weapons aficionados are forever citing its importance, but they don’t really care about the Constitution. It’s nothing more than a talking point. I remember an old NRA bumper sticker: I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Sad that any human being would think that way. Even sadder, though, that we have an incredible and disheartening number of cold dead hands these days:

  • In 209 out of 336 days this year, at least one shooting left four or more people injured or dead.
  • A total of 462 people have died and 1,314 have been wounded in such mass attacks in this one year.
  • Since January, there have been at least 354 such cases in about 220 cities in 47 states.

This is December 3, the 337th day of the year. We are averaging more than one mass shooting a day. That’s a lot of cold dead hands.

Already the pro-gun folks are reminding us that pipe bombs were used in San Bernardino, so we can’t blame guns.

As if we’re idiots. Those numbers I cited above? Those are shootings.

Then again, if we keep holding moments of silence, on-site vigils, and well-attended memorial services and think that’s going to change anything, then maybe we are idiots—exactly the kinds of people who shouldn’t own guns.

Unfortunately, we’re exactly the kind of people who do.

Addendum: I blogged this before I read the comments that a frustrated and angry Senator Chris Murphy made yesterday. If I had read them first, I wouldn’t have had to write this. (12/4/15)


Bozo in a Baseball Cap—Sign Here

I would officially like to volunteer to be registered for that new American database.

No, I’m not a Muslim—really not much of any religion—but as I get older I’m hardly allowed to sign up for anything anymore. I can’t register to vote; I can’t register for the draft; I don’t register for road races anymore, and registering my car every few years is a costly bore.

Last spring my wife and I did travel to Florida and I did register at a hotel, but I didn’t really sign a register—I just handed the nice man a credit card and scribbled my name on something where I guess I promised to pay it off someday. And I probably will. If I don’t I suppose I’ll go to prison, but I don’t think I’ll have to register for that either.

So although I agree that registering a religious or ethnic segment of U.S citizenry—or any group other than maybe criminals, pedophiles, and robo-callers—serves only to epitomize ignorance, bigotry, and fear-mongering, hey, it’s all some of us have. And since there will probably be a windshield sticker and maybe an ID badge of some sort—can you blame me for wanting to belong?

But, as luck would have it, as soon as someone in a red baseball cap wants to make America great again by turning one citizen against another, some meddlesome politicians have to ruin it:

  • Jeb Bush, for instance: “…you talk about registering people — that’s just wrong.”
  • And Chris Christie: “the establishment of a national registry based on religion will do nothing to keep us safer.”
  • And playing both sides just in case, Ted Cruz claims to be “a big fan of Donald Trump’s, but [not] of government registries.”

So it appears that it’s just Donald Trump and I holding out, and even he and his red cap are backing off. He has even claimed he didn’t understand the question about a Muslim registry. I’d like to think he’s telling the truth, but a failure to understand the question never stopped him before.

I guess Ben Carson might be an ally. Of course he’s still campaigning to get a crucifix atop of every mosque, but once he gets past that, I’m sure he and his band of evangelical zealots will find a moral method of persecuting Syrian refugees and anyone else not as American as he is. Maybe some sort of registration will be part of that, but until he establishes his position, here I remain, unregistered.


No, I won’t give in, but I now I understand why so many people own weapons: at least they can register something.


Show us your crucifix, then you can come in.

If this weren’t all coming down along party lines, I could accept the fact that some governors want to accept Syrian refugees and others don’t. But that’s not the way it’s happening: the Democrats (all but one) say yes and the Republicans say no. Lock step. Like always.

The irony here is that the governors can squawk all they want—they still can’t close their borders. The victims, then, will be the refugees themselves who, although they are allowed to reside in a given state, will face hostility, alienation, and probably—if the last few days are any indication—harassment and abuse. And it will be, if not government sanctioned, at least government winked at. (Let’s go shoot up a mosque—it’s the American way.)

In 1927 two anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were put to death for the murder of a guard and a paymaster during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, seven years earlier. In truth they didn’t rob anybody. They couldn’t have been there. But they were foreigners with disturbing political views, and as such were easy marks. Make no mistake—they were radicals, part of a larger group that had been implicated in several criminal acts, but the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti remains a prime example of ethnic prejudice in this country. There are other:

The 1919 deportation of “Reds.”

The trial of the “Scottsboro Boys.”

The internment of Americans with Japanese heritage in the forties.

Eisenhower’s insensitively named “Operation Wetback.”

America has a long and rich history of abusing “the different.” But we also have a long and rich history of accepting them. The key word in the term Syrian refugees should not be Syrian, and we should realize that. So should some of the Republican presidential candidates:

  • Chris Christie would keep out all Syrians, even orphan children. (He is good at blocking bridges.)
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former presidential candidate will utilize all lawful means to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the state.
  • John Kasich, who often sounds like the one voice of reason on the debate stage,wrote to the president on Monday asking him to stop sending Syrians to Ohio…as if President Obama owns a fleet of Fed-Ex trucks that he’s loading behind the White House.
  • And in what is far and away the most astonishingly stupid solution yet, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz want to allow only Christian Syrians into the United States because they couldn’t possibly pose a threat. I guess all that Constitutional stuff about religion didn’t take, or they never had a history course, or they forgot that Timothy McVeigh was raised a Catholic.

These politicians represent an ignorant nativism that serves as ongoing recruiting posters for ISIS. They pander to the worst in all of us and they seize upon our fears at a time when we’re most vulnerable. I understand the worry—nobody could view last weekend’s events in Paris and feel the least bit secure, but can we at least make a distinction between refugees and psychopaths? If we can use that as a starting point, maybe we can understand that we have less to fear from Syrian orphans than we do from our home-grown terrorists like McVeigh, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, James Holmes, Dylann Roof, the Baltimore snipers (Muhammad and Malvo) and a whole catalog of others.

You want to stop ISIS? You cut their legs out from under them by giving its adherents less fuel for their hatred, not more.