Gun Insanity Continues; Warriors Advance; Norman Embarrasses
It happens everywhere. In red states. Blue states. Cities. Rural areas. Grocery stores, shopping malls, churches, schools, movie theaters, night clubs, music festivals, massage parlors, workplaces.
In Buffalo. Sacramento. Milwaukee. El Paso. Duluth. Small towns in South Carolina. Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
There is no escape from gun violence in the United States. It is our national plague. Our national disgrace.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 202 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year. 16,068 Americans have died from gun violence in just four and a half months. Another 13,231 have been injured by gunshots.
Several of these mass murders, including Saturday's in Buffalo and previous massacres in a Wal-Mart in El Paso, a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a church in South Carolina, have been racially-motivated hate crimes.
The bigotry, hatred and fear fomented by Fox News provocateur Tucker Carlson and a number of right-wing politicians—with their dire warnings of “replacement” of white Americans by Blacks, Latinos and Jews—has spawned a deadly sub-species of white supremacists with AR-15s.
I've written about this many times before. No other country has this problem. Racism and mental illness exist everywhere. But no other country in the world allows weapons of war to be more accessible than cold medications.
Ninety percent of Americans favor universal background checks. A solid majority wants to ban automatic weapons. But the spineless cowards in Washington D.C. do nothing other than offer their thoughts and prayers.
Every day that goes by without common sense gun reform is a day when more needless deaths will occur.
Shame on us.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Looney's Tune: Klay Thompson's 30 points were huge, but for my money the key to the Warriors' series-clinching game 6 win over Memphis was the under-appreciated Kevon Looney.
The Chronicle's Scott Ostler and the Athletic’s Tim Kawakami had advised the Warriors to go with their all-small lineup (Thompson, Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green) against the Grizzlies in game 6, but I suggested to my wife over breakfast at Bernardus in Carmel Valley (on a getaway anniversary gift from our lovely daughters) that the Warriors would start the 6-9 Looney.
They needed more bulk to counter Memphis' 6-11 tandem of Jaren Jackson and Stephen Adams. Looney not only would provide some much-needed size, but he had the boxing out and rebounding skills to give the Warriors a shot in what promised to be a very physical game.
Well, Looney did start, and boy, did he deliver! He grabbed 22 rebounds to pace his team to a 70-44 edge on the boards and also dished several assists.
Turnover Epidemic: Now the Warriors move on to face surprising Dallas in the Western Conference Finals, beginning Wednesday night. I like their chances, but they'll need to cut down on the silly turnovers that plagued them throughout the Memphis and Denver series.
It's a team-wide epidemic at this point, but the biggest culprits are Curry's carelessness, with his over-the-head throwbacks and cross-court passes off the dribble, Green trying too hard to thread the needle and make the "great" pass, and Poole dribbling too much in traffic.
It's enough to leave you screaming at the TV, which I did several times Friday night.
This week's candidate for Worst Person in the World? Golfer Greg Norman. Norman, who's been shamelessly promoting the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf league, was asked by reporters about human rights atrocities in Saudi, including the murder and dismemberment of reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
His response: "Look, we've all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."
This is the same Greg Norman who has a history of going wherever the money is. Back in the 1980s, he played in tournaments in South Africa under the apartheid regime.
So Norman joins fellow golfer Phil Mickelson in the morally bankrupt wing of the PGA. Mickelson was planning to play in the LIV tour and defended it thusly: "We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA tour operates."
The fallout has been heavy. Since uttering those words, Mickelson has lost a number of major sponsors, dropped out of the Masters, and dropped out of the PGA Championship.
Maybe Norman will do us all a favor and just drop out of sight.