An Unkind Flush
By R. D. Flavin


     With the recent Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard shooting, I'm reminded that in the French Deck (“52” with Jokers removed) playing card game of no-draw or “stud” poker, a flush is beaten by a full house and four-of-a-kind.  Sure, a straight flush tops these hands, a royal straight flush triumphs over all challenges, and a gun-in-hand ends the game and everyone loses.  Discarding metaphor and allegory, bringing a gun to the table always terminates sporting entertainment, unless of course if death and/or the threat of death are somehow a desired end-game.  It's an unkind flush to dismiss ongoing discussions of gun background checks because the crazy killer played a lot of violent video-games.  Marksmanship contests are possible gateways to murder, yet the choice remains for the individual to opt out of playing and recognize when gaming with life becomes immoral and criminal.  Guns aren't toys of death, but rather tools for killing.

     Our English word 'sin', especially when translating Christian scripture, is most often understood as an “Oops, my bad” error or mistake – the verb hamartia (Ancient Greek: ἁμαρτία), also “miss the mark” hamartēmata, and hamartano (see:Rosenmeyer, Thomas G. 1950. “The Verb Hamartano in Homer.” The Classical Weekly. 43, 14: 211-214).  Using an archaic archery/gaming term to describe divinely determined oops laws and commandments manifests itself in Hebrew scripture through transgression and a duty to follow through with atonement and sacrifice, which was later transformed in Christianity to acknowledging regret and asking Ἰησοῦς - Iēsous - Yehoshua - Yeshua (“Jesus”) for forgiveness.  Any discussions of sin and sinning belong to armchair moralists and soap-box preachers – mass murderers are condemned or excused by ethicists and the criminal courts.  Background checks to purchase and play violent video-games are an idealistically narrow option, but then one would think a mental evaluation would be of immediate assistance to gauge the legitimacy of purchasing of a tool for killing.  One would think, however America is flush with NRA and gun-maker money (greedily accepted by the amateur Constitutional lawyers and politicians), and average sheeple listen to the shepherd with the biggest dog.  Yeah, it often does come down to money and the gun industry (the little brother of the military-industrial complex) is really great at marketing and advertising.  Wicked too great...

An Unkind Flush (i.e., a high-card no-pair hand) of U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy.

     The developing crisis in Syria seems to change daily with new facts and political posturing and propaganda. Russia claims it wasn't Assad (or his brother) that authorized the deployment of sarin gas on a civilian population, but rather rebel forces (whether Free Syrian Army or Al-Qaeda jihadists isn't specified).  But international players will behave such as there's money to be made in war, near-war, prolonged conflict, conflict, and good ol' fashioned weapons hoarding.  Russia's recent sale of a long-distance missile defense system to Iran is less about regional favors and more about cash or trade.  Our initial plan to bomb Syria has been dealt a most unkind flush.  It seems support from our allies is mired in lack of commitment and past oops.

     Remember when Saddam Hussein built his Canadian-designed “supergun” cannons with material supplied by the United Kingdom (and France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland)?  Yeah, that was an international "my bad" event that was greed-based rather than a statement of ethics.  Germany has admitted to selling 110 tons of hydrogen fluoride and ammonium hydrogen fluoride between 2002 and 2006, which are components of sarin gas, to Syria, yet claims there's no evidence Syria used the chemicals to make the deadly nerve gas.  As far as further shipments to Syria between 2006 and 2011, ...Germany's looking into it.  And, in another WTF development, the United Kingdom has admitted to granting export licenses for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride (other potential sarin gas ingredients) in 2012, ...and they hope there was a non-military application of the fluorides, adding another “looking into it” weasel.  I hate to be a pessimist, but I'd guess other prominent E.U. members also made recent chemical side-deals with Syria and we haven't yet learned of such.  Gee, and here we thought that Assad got all his chemical weapons from Hussein's hidden caches...

     Extending the flush, America's Dune mentality surfaced after 1992's Energy Policy Act (102nd Congress H.R.776.ENR) which mandated only 1.6 U.S. gallons used per flush.  Due to the recent flooding of many Colorado Front Range communities, water and sewage facilities temporarily shut down and “Do Not Flush” orders were given.  Sure, I survived the imposed “shelter in place” order last April as Boston looked for the Marathon bombers (I went to a nearby gas station for snacks and cigs at 6:30 am), but I don't think I'd do well with a “Do Not Flush” order.  Go ahead, suspend my internet for a few days, but don't mess with my toilet.  I haven't pooed outside for many years and I'd really really like it to stay that way.  Unless of course I'm vacation camping and it's the right way to do the doodoo.

     We've been in a post-color period for some time now with green being representative of our pursuit of (or indifference to) to money and mammon.  Whether we kiss or sit on flushed cheeks increasingly seems to be opportunistic rather than effort-earned.  It may take a village to raise a kid, but it takes high-stakes networking to produce a rich snob.  We support diversity, yet decry disparity.  Right; cake and eat-it-too with ice cream and fav toppings for the “fortunate ones” and hedonists.  It's sad that we refer to vows of poverty as eclectic and cool experiments, though our poor and disenfranchised are regarded with scorn, ridicule, and increasingly more difficult survival choices.  Congress's latest stab at food stamps to save a few bucks is not being fiscally responsible so much as ...just plain mean.

     Most games and contests have winners and losers.  Personal aside: I've never been into sports that can end in a tie.  With gaming there's always bluffing and pysch maneuvers, something that the military and politicians have picked up on. As we play the cards we're dealt, we explain luck or the lack thereof as chance.  Deterrents work sometimes – hey, it's been nearly seventy years since we last dropped an atomic weapon!  Expanded background checks for guns and a longer waiting period seem the right thing to do, but apparently the sheeple secretly want to take out the shepherd.  Our current “bluffing” to bomb Syria better be based on a changing end-game or an absence of one and not some behind-the-curtain foolery.  As far as Coloradans are concerned, I hope they get their outhouses in order soon.  It's good to flush every now and then.

Plunger in hand,


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