“The Wall” Mistake At The Southern Border

Good morning! While I was scrounging around this morning looking for something interesting to post on www.calamitypolitics.com I came across this Adam Ruines Everything video. I think it should be mandatory pre-Trump rally watching for all rally attendees. I know, however, the only people who will watch it already want less “wall” talk and more thoughtful policy discussion. Take a few minutes and watch Adam ‘ruins everything’ about the Trump wall delusion-D.S. Mitchell

What Happened At Columbine


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a piece I wrote about the Columbine tragedy. It turned out a bit different than I thought it was going to, but I think it works. It basically centers on the difficulty of really knowing the past with so many factors and interests involved, and ends with a counter-factual. A counter-factual is a sort of intellectual game we historians do to better understand what actually happened. We go through the facts and find a factor, usually a small one, that plausibly could have changed everything; presuming everything else stayed the same.

My factor was the fact that both of the attackers were under the legal age to buy the kind of guns they used and had to get them through an illegal “straw purchase.” In this case, meaning through a third-party, someone who got them at a gun show from unlicensed sellers. Had this not happened they would have been left with their primary bomb plot which if successful would have been the second largest domestic bomb attack after Oklahoma City. We, however, know that the large bombs completely failed and the homemade pipe-bombs were ineffective, all of the deaths coming from gunshots. No guns, no dead and what is seen as the first-mass shooting becomes an embarrassing fuck-up. I have also linked some song ideas- T.K. McNeil


What Really Happened At Columbine

By T. K. McNeil

When Are Facts, Really Facts?

Recording history accurately is a tricky business at best. Particularly when there is a degree of shock and trauma involved in the events. Passion, stress and the now known unreliability of eye-witness reports make accuracy difficult if not impossible to piece together.  Furthermore, human memory can lead to things being a matter of record that turn out not to be true. The only reason we have a good idea of what happened on 9/11 is that there is video. But to this day, there are theorists who believe there were explosives inside the towers that were the real cause of the towers collapse.

What happened At Columbine

COLUMBINE High School, Littleton, CO. The day after the massacre, Columbine High School students gather outside their school to pray and place flowers on the ground. (Photo by Zed Nelson)

Though such reports are baseless the “real story (the accepted story)” may be blended truth with myth and mythology. In several cases the same victim was, reported dead, twice or more.  But, how many were never found? Questions, questions, questions, an endless stream of questions. A similar situation from around this same point in history is the infamous Columbine school massacre. History to those too young to remember it, but all too clear to those who were old enough to believe they know what happened at Littleton, Colorado that day. The sad fact is, almost everything people think they know about what happened that terrible day in 1999 is faulty, if not outright false.

Doomed To Repeat It

Some might question why it matters if we get everything right. After all, what happened at Columbine did happen nearly twenty years ago. What happened at Columbine is still important because there is solid evidence that this single event sparked the American cultural phenomena of mass shootings. Not only figuratively in terms of being the first, but literally, in that it is known to have at least partly influenced later shooters. The Sandy Hook shooter for example, is known to have been involved in Columbine related threads. Why this was not a red flag for the police is anyone’s guess. Particularly when there are teenagers such as the YouTuber SeptikSiren, now being suspended from school under suspicion of being potential terrorists for re-tweeting Columbine memes.

Lies and Misconceptions

Columbine shooters

Columbine shooters Harris and Klebold

Some of the misconceptions about what happened at Columbine are small. The shooters liked Goth and Heavy Metal music. The real point, and a fact that was used to feed into a bigger lie was that Klebold and Harris were outsiders, loners, weirdos linked to a group called “The Trench Coat Mafia.”  This is not true. The confusion stemmed in part from the fact that this group and the shooters liked similar bands and dressed in a similar way.

Random Acts

Knowing that they did not belong to the Trench Coat Mafia undercuts many of the assumptions about the victims. What happened at Columbine was basically a random shooting. Eric Harris was a keen athlete and they were not targeting jocks. They were not known to be white supremacists and were not targeting blacks. They were not into witchcraft, a common rumor about the Trench Coat Mafia, and were not actively targeting Christians. Which is the root of one of the biggest bits of propaganda around the shooting.

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Science has found no drug alternatives to opioids

Science has found no drugs that work as alternatives to opioids as the U.S. faces 3 decade opioid crisis

Habits, Addictions & Alternatives To Opioids

Definitions: *Opiate and opioid are often used interchangeably although that interchange of usage is not precisely accurate. The following would be more correct:

Opiate: A drug (such as morphine, codeine or heroin) containing or derived from opium or the opium poppy, used to alleviate pain, or induce sleep or euphoria.

Opioid: A synthetic or semi-synthetic drug producing an opium-like effect, often prescribed for the alleviation of moderate to severe pain; a prescription painkiller in the opiate class.

By D. S. Mitchell and T.K. McNeil

Balancing Act

Caffeine is considered a "safe" drug

Caffeine is considered a “safe” drug

With drugs, even those considered alternatives to opioids, there is always a risk. Even a “safe” drug such as caffeine.  Caffeine is regularly consumed by children, and has had documented negative effects. The same goes for nicotine, deemed for the most part “safe” except when smoked by children. Some of those effects include paranoia, muscle spasms and heart arrhythmia’s. The question becomes how much of a risk is there; and are the positive effects worth the negative risks?


It was in Mesopotamia over 3,500 years ago that farmers in the Southwestern section of the region began extracting the seeds from opium poppies and ingesting them for pain, digestive disorders, sleep and a blissful euphoria. The once wild poppy soon was cultivated for its medicinal properties and its use spread across the world.  With no alternatives to opioids, addiction accompanied the spread of opium.

Painkillers Are Controversial

One of the more complicated areas of medicine has been in painkillers. Historically, everything from alcohol administered by mouth, to ether administered by inhalation has been used to reduce or block pain. Particularly in the context of surgery. The surgical suite has limited ability to use alternatives to opioids.

Take Home Medication

Doctor writes prescription

Doctors write prescriptions and keep writing them when they know opioids are addictive 

Prescription painkiller addiction was long a silent addiction. Over the last two decades, prescription painkiller addiction has become the most common and the most deadly addiction(s) in America. Prescription drug addiction deaths have far outpaced “street drugs” like heroin in overdose deaths in the United States. It has become so serious it is being called a “crisis,” “epidemic” and a “national emergency.”  We, as a nation, have to find alternatives to opioids.

Opium Chemistry

One of the most common and successful drugs used for pain-relief is opium. As previously noted, Opium and its related drugs are called opiates while synthetic versions are called opioids. These medications are some of the most effective painkillers on the planet but also the most addictive. Doctors have looked for alternatives to opioids because of these addictive properties.


Sadly, they are also incredibly addictive. It is most effective in the clinical setting for acute, short-term pain. Unfortunately, these medications have moved from the clinical setting to the doctor’s prescription pad and the street chemist’s lab. The unparalleled success of such medications has led to an alarming spike in abuse.  With abuse has come an increase in overdoses leading to unprecedented death counts leading to the search for alternatives to opioids.

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