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Happy Halloween

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006 1:03 PM

A blessed Samhain to those who hold the day sacred.

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A Bay Area teenager was shot and killed by a friend while they were playing with a handgun. Naturally, those involved said they didn't realize the gun, a .22 revolver, was loaded.

Guns are not toys, they are weapons. You should always consider a gun as being loaded, unless you have personally unloaded it and cleared the chamber. Which only makes it an unloaded gun; it is still not a toy.

Authorities have yet to decide whether the teenager who fired the shot will be charged with a crime.

The White House is asking that Sen. John Kerry apologize for a remark the Massachusetts lawmaker made while appearing at a campaign event for California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

Kerry had remarked, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Republicans are painting that as disrespectful to the men and women in our country's armed forces, and to those who have lost their lives fighting in Iraq.

Kerry says he was speaking about President Bush, who, "... misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it."

The Senator also had a few choice words for White House Spokesman Tony Snow, "I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium." (Despite an Ivy-League education, Snow never served in the military.)

Unfortunately, Kerry's point is confused at best. Do we construe the failings of domestic and foreign policy as the result of stupidity? Incompetence? Deliberate malice? And is the assertion that smarter men don't get mired in wars of aggression?

At the same time, the White House and Republicans are trotting out the same, tired with-us-or-against-us lines � a snare that Kerry seems to step in on a regular basis.

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