Roy Exum: My Last Potpourri For 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

With just one day left in 2012, I find my desk is heavily burdened with notes, quotes and other devilment I feel compelled to share. So as you venture out today to gather a new wall calendar, some black-eyed peas (for luck) and a New Year’s Eve lottery ticket, here’s my last jumble of potpourri until next year:

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CHICAGO JUST RECORDED the city’s 500th homicide of the year. While there are those who blame the easy access to guns, it should be noted that Chicago has – already in place – the toughest gun laws in the nation. One expert on inner-city crime, Lance Williams, told the Christian Science Monitor, “Guns are definitely a problem; gangs, absolutely not,” he said.

“These are kids who, over the last 10 years or so, have been extremely marginalized, and this is their response to that marginalization. They feel stuck with a lot of rage. They can clearly see people in other neighborhoods making a lot of progress and being mobile, but they feel stuck in their communities and feel afraid. And because they have easy access to guns, it’s a form of desperation.”

Here’s a merciless statistic: of the 500 victims of homicide in Chicago this year, 76 percent were black and another 16 percent were Hispanic.

* * *

THE DAY AFTER President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to head a task force to come up with concrete proposals to curb gun violence on Dec. 19, gun sales skyrocketed across America. The reason is that law-abiding citizens are fearful the government will soon make it very difficult to legally buy firearms.

Sales of semi-automatic assault rifles have depleted stocks and some stores have a waiting list of six months to a year. Consumers are buying – and hoarding – large amounts of ammunition and the FBI has thus far done 16.8 million background checks this year through November. That’s up 2 percent over last year. December will no doubt be a record-setting month.

Just for the record, in 1995 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms estimated there were 223 million firearms in the United States. That’s 89 guns per every 100 citizens and today it is estimated that 34 percent of adults in the United States personally own a gun. A further breakdown shows that 47 percent of us live in households where there are guns, that 46 percent of adult men, and 23 percent of adult women carry them.

* * *

THERE IS A FUN comparison that shows, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are approximately 700,000 doctors in the United States. Accidental deaths caused by doctors per year are 120,000. That makes accidental deaths per physician about 17.14 percent.

Now, let’s say there are 80 million guns in the United States, according to the FBI. The number of accidental deaths attributed to guns is 1,500. That’s a percentage of 0.001875.

The point: everybody has a doctor – not everyone has a gun. (Oh, c’mon … that’s funny!)

* * *

DID YOU SEE where Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, upon whose shoulders the national championship may ride when the Crimson Tide faces Notre Dame on Jan. 7, is dating the reigning Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb. Nothing wrong with that except Katherine attends arch-rival Auburn. Both laugh about it and Katherine has no trouble yelling, “Roll Tide!”

Incidentally, if you are an Alabama fan and want to make your heart beat fast, turn the speakers up on your computer and watch a new video. There are no words but the soundtrack is glorious. The video:

Also, the T-shirt war between Notre Dame and Alabama is really heating up. The first version read, “Catholics Versus Cousins”  but now comes, “Golden Domers versus Mobile Homers.”

* * *

A FUN BOWL GAME bet you can use during the many games this coming week is this: The team with the fewest turnovers nearly always wins. Seriously, the guys at studied 245 games over the past five years where two SEC teams played one another and – guess what? -- teams that finished 2-plus or better in a game’s turnovers went 86-15 for a winning percentage of 85.1%.

* * *

THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN is reporting that a “dairy cliff” could cause milk price to nearly double, going $6 to $8 a gallon, if Congress fails to pass a new Farm Bill, which expires on Monday. THE USDA actually controls prices and said the increases would come slowly, but surely I don’t know what I’d do without a cold glass of milk.

* * *

DOMINIQUE WILKINS, the former University of Georgia and Atlanta Hawks basketball player, was among those who just responded to an invitation from the New York Times to memorialize a person who died this year. Dan Roundfield, who also starred with the Hawks, drowned in Aruba in August as he saved the life of his wife in rough seas and here is what Dominique wrote with a picture he sent to the newspaper:

“This image captures one of the great NBA players of the last 35 years, Dan Roundfield. When one looks at this image, they instinctively think of Dan the Atlanta Hawks player, the tenacious defender and the NBA All-Star. He was certainly all of those things, but for those of us who knew him, we look at this image and think of Dan the selfless leader, the husband, the father and the fearless teammate and friend. Dan lost his life this year at the age of 59 saving his wife of 37 years from drowning on the beaches of Aruba while on a family vacation.

“In his last moments, as he himself was fighting for his life, Dan fearlessly lived and died for his family, which is all he ever really wanted. So, yes, Dan Roundfield was a tremendous athlete who elevated basketball in the city of Atlanta, but what is even more tremendous is the imprint he made on all of us, his teammates, and on the lives of his wife, his two sons and his grandchildren.”

* * *

A NEW STUDY of animal protection laws in the United States reveals Tennessee is 12th, Georgia is 36th and Alabama is 43rd. Kentucky is the absolute worst. The study was conducted by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The top five states for animal welfare are Illinois, Maine, California, Michigan and Oregon.

* * *

“IT WAS NEW YEAR’S EVE in Dublin when dear, blessed Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living. As the clock struck – the bartender was almost crushed to death.

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