Thingish Things

New York Times Ed Page Crosses Dangerous Line  

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Dec• 01•17

456464324-the-new-york-times-building-is-seen-on-october-1-2014.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeIf I were a reporter at The New York Times — and they include many of the world’s best — I’d be piping mad right now. Because its editorial page just tarnished each and every section of a 166-year-old brand, at least to this long-time reader.

The Gray Lady’s editorial slant is no secret. Its opinion page is famously liberal. But the decision by editorial editors Wednesday to enter into direct political marketing crossed an important ethical line that was once considered a trench. It reflects badly on the whole news organization.

After editorializing against passage of a Republican Senate tax cut proposal in Washington — fair game — editors took to Twitter to urge 650,000 @nytopinion followers to call specific senators and tell them to vote “no” on Wednesday’s procedural vote to move the bill forward. It listed each of the senators’ Washington and district telephone numbers.

That’s what political action committees do — not iconic newspapers. Not heretofore.

Editorial pages right, left and center appropriately weigh in on the political playing field every day. What The Times did Wednesday was enter the game itself. It stepped onto the field as a player for the first time.

Four possible rationales for the Times’s decision come to mind, none of which would justify the move: 

  1. Donald Trump: This is no time for convention; Trump and his agenda must be stopped at all cost;
  2. Me-too-ism: The line between journalism and political advocacy has already been crossed. Look at Breitbart or Fox News’s Sean Hannity. We need to provide equally effective counterbalance to these right-wing crazies;
  3. Technology permits it: We’ve been urging readers to support or oppose one thing or another on our editorial page since 1851. Why can’t we use modern tools to more effectively persuade them to take action?;  
  4. Economics: Our digital subscriber growth has gone through the roof since Trump was elected. Riling our anti-Trump readership base is an economic growth model.

Whatever the rationale, the decision will set dangerous precedent across the news industry, if not urgently retracted. News organizations following suit could quickly, if unwarily, slide into the realm of special interest entities. No matter how opinionated a news organization may be, that’s a very different animal.

I’ve been a New York Times subscriber for the past three decades. But I haven’t cracked its editorial page in years. Reading the Times’s daily editorial, as a political conservative, is nearly as pointless as it is irritating. I pretty much know what it’s going to say.

I read the Times because of what’s on its other pages — great reporting. No newspaper in the world can match the Times in breadth, scope or in international resources. I don’t always love its political coverage. Much of it is slanted in my opinion…an increasing amount I would argue. But it demands attention and respect because of the work put into the product.

The editorial page just put that in jeopardy. Its decision effectively rebrands the Gray Lady as a political organism rather than a news gathering organization, inviting cynicism into every word it produces. That’s a direction in which the Times has admittedly been moving, but Wednesday’s action made it official in a dramatic and counterproductive way.

The New York Times is an institution not because of its ivory tower polemicizing, but  because of its shoe-leather reporting. Someone there seems to have forgotten that.

It should rethink its decision for its readers, and especially for its writers. They both deserve better.





Talking to Mr. Castro

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Dec• 17•14

When I heard on Wednesday that the President of the United States had spoken on the phone with Cuban president Raul Castro, at considerable length, I couldn’t help thinking about Mrs. Cabella.  


Raul Castro, center. with his brother Fidel and Che Gueverra, circa 1959

That’s not her real name, but it will have to suffice as a substitute. Mrs. Cabella has been gone almost 20 years now, and it would feel wrong to use her family name without her permission.  

I met Mrs. Cabella in the summer of 1988 when I was working as a constituent aide for Manhattan state senator Roy M. Goodman. She came into the office with a tenant issue, and, as luck would have it, it was my turn to take the next constituent walk-in.  

The best way to describe Mrs. Cabella is that she looked like a little old lady, which is just what she was. She was in her late 80’s and couldn’t have weighed more than 90 pounds. She wore red lipstick and heels, and she clutched a pocketbook tightly. She wore dark colors, and her hair was pulled neatly back in a bun.

Mrs. Cabella was at once charming and cautious. There was a sparkle and a wariness to her eyes, large brown ones, that didn’t miss anything. Laid out on the the table before us were the notes and documentation for her one-bedroom, rent controlled apartment on Central Park South, which, she pointedly told me, was all that she had. I can still see in my mind her elegant handwriting on those notes. I also remember how fearful she was of losing that apartment over a technicality, which she was was bringing to my attention that day.  

By marvelous coincidence I knew her landlord. I had been a preferred waiter to him a few years before at a Westchester restaurant, and I was the banquet captain at his daughter’s wedding.  That seemed to count for something, because when I called him he said, “I’ll look out for  her, Billy,” and the matter was done.  He was an honorable man, an old school Italian-American, and his word was his bond. But I couldn’t quite convince Mrs. Cabella of that over the course of her many visits that followed. Or so I thought.

In time, it became increasingly clear to me and to others that, perhaps, Mrs. Cabella was coming to the senator’s office more to see me than out of any continued worry about her place. There was ribbing in the office about that, but I didn’t care.  Mrs. Cabella and I had become friends and would remain so until her passing about a decade later.

During that time, she opened up to me about her story, gradually. Her grandfather and father had worked hard to open a small sugar plantation outside of Havana.  It grew larger with time and toil, and by the time Mrs. Cabella entered the world, it was one of the larger sugar plantations in Cuba.

My wife and I once visited Mrs. Cabella in her small apartment, and hanging on its walls were two beautiful oil paintings, one a full formal portrait of her in her teens, and the other a smaller painting of the Cabella home.  She was even more beautiful than the home, which is to say something.  

In 1958, Mrs. Cabella moved to Washington to work at the Cuban embassy as a secretary. She and her father thought it would be good for her to experience America for a few years before returning home.  But one morning, shortly after New Year’s Day 1959, men came to the embassy and ordered everyone out.  The Batista regime had been overthrown, and the Castro’s were now in charge.

Ms. Cabella never saw her home or her father again. She never told me what happened to him — she would not — but she did say what happened to their estate: Raul Castro expropriated it. The future president, who oversaw the kidnapping of 10 Americans during the Revolution, and execution squads after it was won, moved himself into the Cabella plantation in the name of Los Pobres.

People will argue about the moral and political wisdom of President Obama’s decision to embrace Mr. Raul’s Cuba. I’m not going to go there right now.  All I can say is that I wish we had waited until the full stench of Mr. Castro had exited Mrs. Cabella’s home, which will be a very long time from now. 



Must Watch New York Video — Pass It On

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 06•14

The word deplorable should be saved for special occasions.  The interaction captured in the video below constitutes one of them. It publicly reveals the way in which Andrew Cuomo and his campaign team have treated his Democratic Primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, a respected and amiable Fordham University professor. Mr. Cuomo’s behavior has been, yes, deplorable. 

It’s bad enough that Andrew Cuomo is refusing to debate Professor Teachout — he won’t debate her at all — but neither will he utter her name. That’s right; Andrew Cuomo has not once mentioned Prof. Teachout’s name, even after being challenged to do so.

Now, captured here on video, we see the lengths to which Cuomo will go to dismiss Ms. Teachout at a parade. Professor Teachout simply wanted to say “hello.”  The jostling and back turnings all belong to members of Mr. Cuomo’s staff. Mr. Cuomo was later quoted in the press saying he didn’t know Prof. Teachout was at the parade, a preposterous suggestion proven false by this video.

New Yorkers off all political persuasions need to know who’s sitting in their governor’s mansion. This video is more instructive than any television ad, editorial, or news release.  It speaks to the true inner character of this governor in a profound and disturbing way. His behavior — his sheer meanness– is simply intolerable.

Democratic  voters should remember this video at the polls on Tuesday. 

embedded by Embedded Video








BREAKING: Governor of New York Vanishes

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 25•14

Disassociated Press–July 25…
New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo, 56, is missing.  The Empire State’s 56th governor disappeared sometime late Tuesday. He has not been heard from or seen since.


Mr. Cuomo (left) with Lt. Governor candidate Kathy Hochul. Tragically, Ms. Hochul went missing last month.

“This is unheard of — a governor going missing like this,” said a neighbor of  Mr. Cuomo’s in the tony Westchester Town of New Castle. “People don’t just disappear like that.  If this could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.”

Investigators are flummoxed.  Mr. Cuomo reportedly arrived home Tuesday night with his state police escort, but did not emerge from his home Wednesday morning.  A search of his house, including his recently finished basement, turned up nothing.  Local officials went to far as to dredge the pond in front of Mr. Cuomo’s home. That turned up nothing but a decayed baseball bat, which showed no evidence of recent use.

“This is a genuine mystery,” said chief investigator Hyde Andrews. “To think, while I was still in bed reading The New York Times Tuesday morning, the governor was vanishing.  I may spend the rest of my life regretting my inaction.”

A missing governor is not unprecedented.  Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford went briefly missing several years ago. Members of his staff at the time said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  It turned out that the governor was in South America visiting a friend.

It is not known whether Mr. Cuomo has any friends in South America.

Lt. Governor Robert Duffy has temporarily assumed Mr. Cuomo’s responsibilities as New York’s chief executive. Under New York’s Constitution, Mr. Duffy will be sworn in as the state’s  57th governor on Monday if Mr. Cuomo is not located.

Wanted: Elected Agitators

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 22•14

JIMMYSTEWARTThere’s a great scene in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” where, after having insulted his daughter Zuzu’s schoolteacher for sending her home in winter in an unbuttoned coat, Jimmy Stewart gets on the phone with the teacher’s irate husband. The man promptly gives him an earful. “Oh yeah …,” Stewart replies, moving the phone a few inches from his face in preparation to blow, “ … well let me tell you what I really think of your wife.”

That’s pretty much how I feel after a dustup last week with some former colleagues in the State Senate, whom I took to task for what I believe is their lack of vision and backbone. But I suppose that instinct has to be suppressed for now, because in my day job I speak for other people. Besides, Stewart ended up on his back at a local watering hole later in the film after running across that very same husband’s right hand.

But words like “catharsis” wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a very real human need every now and then to put it all out there, to stop being polite and to say what you really think about things. It’s rarely pretty.

I get the sense that just under the surface of the American body politic an extraordinary catharsis is building. I can hear it brewing every day. Whenever the subjects of Washington or Albany come up — for political consultants they come up a lot — people’s faces change. What used to be an eye-roll has turned into real anger, bordering on rage. I genuinely worry about it.

Two politically cathartic movements already have emerged in America, the tea party movement and Occupy Wall Street. The tea party is still growing, as far as I can tell. Occupy Wall Street burned itself out. But it left behind a new and powerful movement of committed leftists.

Both reflect the powerlessness ordinary people feel over their ability to improve their lot in life or to halt the downward spiral of their nation. Both express anger and frustration with political and business elites who appear oblivious to what’s going on in mainstreet America. As long as campaign contributions keep coming in and the stock market keeps going up, those people seem happy.

But despite their successes, neither the tea party nor Occupy Wall Street have moved the dial in any measurable way in this country, and so the cauldron boils a little hotter each day. The credit card bills still come in with 29 percent interest rates; college costs continue to outpace inflation; property taxes keep rising, as do gas and food prices; and politicians continue arguing over nonsense like, in New York, whether to ban e-cigarettes indoors or exterminate mute swans. In Washington, it’s the 24/7 blame game.

What people don’t see within legislatures or corporate board rooms are the Jerry Maguire’s — the insiders speaking the truth, bucking the system and challenging the powers that be. It’s no wonder people feel abandoned.

My favorite line from Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign was his promise to be “that grain of sand to the oyster.” It captures exactly what is needed in American legislatures today. There is a time for cooperation and a time for agitation. To get to the former, we need much more of the latter.

Moved to Newsday

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 01•14

Newsday_logoTheBlackberryAlarmclock has effectively moved to Newsday and AM New York, where the editors have been kind and brave enough to let me spout off twice a week. 

Columns are available here

Huge thanks for your indulgence over the past few years. Will return to this page when they have had enough of me. 

Best ’til then, 



Feminism on Trial in Albany

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 10•13

pow_1109_01-03“Last January I walked down the aisle…not to get married, but to take the oath of office as a woman and a member of the United…States…Congress!”

I must have heard that line 500 times during the summer and autumn of 1994.

It was delivered by then freshman congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at every debate and Manhattan subway whistle stop in her first House re-election campaign, and it always drew applause.

I secretly hated it — as I clapped, obligatorily, each time she used it.  I was working for Maloney’s challenger, a talented liberal Republican Council Member named Charles Millard, and the overuse of Maloney’s chromosome card, as we called it, seemed cheap.  She expected — and received — credit just because of her gender, although I suppose we would have used it too if Millard had been baptised a Charlene instead of a Charlie.

I disliked Maloney’s smart mailpiece even more, the one later picked up by other campaigns, which featured a cover photo showing five sets of legs, four in charcoal gray suit trousers and one in a bright red skirt.  It read something along the lines of, “Who would you trust to fight for women?” Pure genius.

Since that time, Congresswoman Maloney has enjoyed a good run; she’s built a career positioning herself as a clarion female voice in a cacophony of Washington baritones. In 2008, she penned a book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting Any Easier—and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters.

During the 2012 election season, Maloney became a short-lived YouTube sensation by ridiculing an all-male House panel gathered to discuss birth control by demanding to know, “Where are the women? When I look at this panel, I don’t see one single woman representing the tens of millions of women across the country…”, she said.

It’s all the more disappointing, then, that Congresswoman Maloney has remained silent when her feminist voice is most needed in New York.  State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should be forced to step down after repeatedly protecting male colleagues who sexually assaulted junior female staff members, but Maloney’s conviction seems to peter out when it’s the bad actions of a political colleague she needs to address. Maloney even joined a standing ovation for Silver at a Democratic National Convention breakfast for New York delegates after the sex harrassment coverup story first broke. 

Where are the women?, indeed.   

Where is New York’s junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand?  I somehow found myself on her email list and I get bombarded with notes from her all the time demanding proper treatment of women. But not a peep from her on Shelly Silver.

Just this month, On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Gillibrand blasted sexual harassment and assaults in the military: “What we have here is a crisis,” she said.  “This is a cultural problem from top to bottom.”

Is the senator sure she wasn’t referring to Albany?

State Senator Liz Kruger from Manhattan, a respected feminist in her own right, attended a news conference in Albany Monday to criticize Senate leaders for not voting on a women’s bill that, among other things, would supposedly stop sexual harassment “in all workplaces,” presumably including the state legislature.

When given the opportunity by reporters at the news conference to join the call for Silver’s resignation, she balked, too.  That’s up to the members of the Assembly she said, which is exactly the talking point feminist groups have been sticking to. And what of those members, particularly female democrats in the Assembly? All but one have apparently caught Spring laryngitis.

The Maloneys, Gillibrands and Kruegers of the world have an extraordinary opportunity right now to show bravery — and to prove that their years of feminist remonstrances have been genuine, not electioneering stunts.  But if they continue to do nothing, they will be causing irreparable harm to a cause they have long purported to lead.

It’s gut check time.


Thoughts for the GOP

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 28•13

O’Reilly: How the Republican Party can rebrand itself

January 25, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY /

Chairman of the Republican National Convention Reince Priebus

Daniel Boone was asked, near the end of his life, if he had ever been lost in his travels.

“No, I can’t say I was ever lost,” the American frontiersman replied, “but I was bewildered once for three days.”

Good ol’ Daniel Boone kept things in perspective.

It’s good to see thatRepublican National Committee chairmanReince Priebus has similar sensibilities. He’s admitted to some bewilderment from the 2012 elections, but never to being lost. And with that firm mindset, the former Wisconsin attorney is convening the 168-member RNC in Charlotte, N.C., this week to discuss a rebranding of their party.

It’s been a long time coming. The Party of Lincoln — a party steeped in the notion of equal rights under the law and the transcendence of the individual over the collective — has become a party of exclusionary “angry white men” in the eyes of millions. That’s an existential threat in a nation where “minority” births now outweigh white births and where 51 percent of the population is female.

Priebus has tapped some sharp minds — Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas and Glenn McCall — to help him in his effort, which is now formally known as “The Growth and Opportunity Project.” The nation should wish them well, because we all benefit from a healthy two-party system.

Voter outreach technology will constitute the lion’s share of the discussion in Charlotte– the Democratic Party has a strong competitive edge in that category — but it’s the content of what is being delivered to those voters that matters most. And Republican messaging in the last few presidential cycles has been pretty stinky.

There are a lot smarter people than me meeting in Charlotte, but just for fun, here are a half dozen thoughts I am willing southward. One or two may actually be worth considering.

1. Speak the truth, regardless of political consideration.

Republicans need to be talking about things that ring true in people’s hearts, even if that means angering political allies.

Take business. Americans rightly feel shortchanged by the way a lot of companies are being run today. The GOP needs to acknowledge that.

Yes, Republicans believe in free markets and limited regulation, but that doesn’t mean they should be muzzled when usurious business practices are uncovered. Where in the Republican platform, for example, does it say its members need to defend 29-percent-plus interest rates on credit cards?

2. Seize the Reform Mantle

A new Gallup poll finds that 75 percent of Americans now support term limits in Congress. What an opportunity.

Republican candidates — all Republican candidates — should pledge to voluntarily limit the number of terms they will serve. Republicans should also pledge to abolish pensions for political office holders. That should reshuffle the deck.

3. Return to the party’s core convictions

The Republican Party was founded on the core premise of equal opportunity under the law (not equal outcomes, asPresident Barack Obama seems to believe.) That principle, which led to the abolishment of slavery, should logically extend to the right of gays and lesbians to marry under government contract. Religious institutions are free to maintain traditional views. At a minimum, the GOP should take a big tent approach on this issue.

On the abortion issue, too, the party should maintain a big tent. Libertarian pro-choicers should feel welcome in the party, and pro-lifers should be confident that science and ever-improving 3-D ultrasound technology will ultimately swell their ranks.

4. Double down against public employee union abuse

There is a clear structural imbalance between the salaries and benefit packages of public and private employees. Private-sector taxpayers are losing out in the exchange, and there are a lot more of them. Pounding away at this imbalance is a political winner.

5. Educate young voters

The generation coming of age today is being called “Generation Screwed” for good reason. The nation’s debt will hurt them more than anyone. Republicans should be speaking about this at every college campus in America.

6. Don’t panic

A half million or so votes in the right states would have put Mitt Romney in office.

This column originally appeared at Newsday. 


The Dreamer President

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 21•13

O’Reilly: Barack Obama: the dreamer president

January 22, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as the presidential

Barack Obama is feeling his mojo.

He’s never sounded more like himself than he did Monday; and he’s never looked more presidential.

It wasn’t the graying hair around his temples or the seasoned confidence of a president entering his second term, although those things helped. It was the words of his speech. They fit him like a Savile Row dinner jacket.

Make no mistake about it, our 44th president has found his ideological groove.

For liberals in this country that’s a wonderful thing. And I couldn’t help feeling happy for friends of that persuasion as I watched the president’s 20-minute address, held outside the Capitol Building on a cold, crisp Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Because this is the speech they’ve waited for — the one they’ve felt cheated out of — since two Kennedys and a King were felled by bullets two generations ago. This was progressivism on proud display, coming from a man with the power to deliver it.

This Barack Obama is believable, too. The one who remained silent on guns, opposed gay marriage and punted on the illegal immigration issue was phony. This Obama is better — for liberals, conservatives and everyone in between. We now have a president in the Oval Office with a clear and consistent vision, whether we like that vision or not.

But even as the president was planting the flag of progressivism on the Capitol steps, he was ensuring the rebound of conservatism in America.

It was made clear when he touched — ever so briefly — on reform of our entitlement programs, which are on a certain pathto bankruptcy. “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” he said.

In other words, don’t expect entitlement reform from me.

In that moment, Obama made it clear that tackling federal debt will not be a priority of his presidency; that mess will be left to successors. History may not forgive him for that.

If current spending estimates are correct, this president will double our national debt in eight short years, from $10 to $20 trillion. That debt — a quarter of which will be on the head of President George W. Bush — may critically hamper job growth and the economic competitiveness of this and future generations. It may also doom the very social safety net for which so many American liberals cheered yesterday.

Liberals in America almost realized this moment when they elected Bill Clinton to office. But then he “triangulated” (remember that word?), stealing the Republican‘s fiscal reform mantle right from under their feet. Where Obama is showing himself a dreamer, Clinton proved to be a clever pragmatist. Pressed by a Republican Congress, he took care of the economic business at hand and balanced a budget for the first time in years.

That became Clinton’s enduring legacy, and it swayed millions of socially liberal Republicans to enroll as Democrats, which they remain today. Clinton showed them that a Democrat could be fiscally responsible.

If Obama the Dreamer pursues the promises he made yesterday — while ignoring the fiscal realities of our time — he may fulfill many people’s dreams, including those of a lot of Republicans.

This column was originally published by Newsday

Impure Thoughts on Guns

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 17•13

O’Reilly: Impure thoughts on guns from a Republican

January 18, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY

Gerald A. O'Reilly in training exercises for mountain

As a kid growing up in Manhattan, there was nothing I wanted more than a BB gun — the same one 9-year-old Ralphie pined for in “A Christmas Story”: The Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle — but I couldn’t get one. It wasn’t just the city’s gun laws I had to contend with. It was my father.

He’s a combat veteran — a decorated combat veteran — and there would be no guns in our home. It didn’t matter that a good half of the 45 cousins on my mother’s side lived in “the country” and had rifles, or that several aunts and uncles were accomplished hunters. Any gun I had would be limited to the cap variety.

My father fought in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy duringWorld War II, which suffered some of the highest casualty rates in the European theater. At 89, he’s the last survivor of his mortar company (85th Infantry, Company M), and after being wounded twice by Nazi artillery and seeing the horrors of what guns did to his friends and enemies in the Po Valley in winter and spring of 1945, he had seen enough of guns. (The last firearm my father handled was an Italian Beretta pistol stripped from a German officer. He traded it for something he could actually use as a returning junior at Notre Dame — a cashmere sports jacket that he still talks about.)

In time, my father’s sensibilities on firearms wore off on my siblings and me — or so I thought, although I did manage to take a shooting lesson or two some years back.

Shortly after moving out of the city in 2007, I heard words I never expected, and from the unlikeliest source — my wife. “I really think you should teach the girls how to shoot,” she said.

It didn’t have to be suggested twice. Within 24 hours, I found myself at a local gun shop looking up at an arsenal on a wall.

These were not the beautiful polished rifles I had seen hanging in the gun room of my grandparent’s house as a child. These looked like prop pieces for the filming of “Rambo, Part Nine.” I purchased two of the more modest rifles available.

If the gun shop was unsettling, the range was downright unnerving. The look of the weapons being fired there was menacing in the extreme. The vast majority, regardless of caliber, were modeled to look like military weapons. I felt embarrassed to be there. There is something deeply juvenileabout suburban men and women playing soldier.

None were fully automatic rifles, mind you. Civilians cannot own those in the United States; only law enforcement officers can. But these single-shot and semiautomatic weapons were made to look like people killers, not sportsmen rifles. And to me, there’s a big difference there.

The NRA correctly argues that changes being proposed to U.S.gun laws would be largely cosmetic. A rifle without a pistol grip or a flash suppressor is still a rifle, and two 10-shot ammunition clips pack as much firepower as a 20-round magazine, although the seconds it takes to swap out a clip could be lifesaving ones. I would argue, though, that cosmetic changes are exactly what is needed in U.S. gun culture.

Look at Bushmaster AR-15 sales following the Newtown massacre. That’s the weapon Adam Lanza used to slaughtertwo classrooms full of first graders. It sold out across America within days of the shooting.

There’s something deeply disturbing about that. Who on Earth would want to touch, much less own, the weapon that did that? And yet thousands of Americans apparently do.

That’s something that needs to be addressed.

I am a libertarian-leaning Republican. I get the arguments the gun lobby is making — the right to bear arms and the whole slippery slope argument. But I am my father’s son first, I suppose, and I just can’t understand American gun culture today.

Maybe it’s not new laws that we need. Maybe we all just need to grow up a little.

This column was originally published in Newsday