“A little late, gentlemen”

As the United States continues to slide into fascism, I have been rereading Hannah Arendt’s book “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” concerning the 1961 trial in Jerusalem of a war criminal who expressed himself in cliches, was an ambitious braggart, an egregious liar, an ignorant sociopath, someone attracted to and utterly at the service of men of power. We have many of these creatures living among us today. It could happen here. It is happening here.

In Arendt’s discussion of how ordinary Germans made themselves accomplices in something so monstrous as the Holocaust, she touches on the coup attempt that almost ended Hitler’s regime. Arendt quotes from German novelist Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, who himself died in a concentration camp on the eve of the collapse of the Third Reich. In his “Diary of a Man in Despair” Reck-Malleczewen writes of those who participated in the dictatorship who could have stopped Hitler early on — but only thought of it too late to save their nation.

I swear, he was talking to the Republican Senators of 2020:

“A little late, gentlemen, you who made this archdestroyer of [the nation] and ran after him, as long as everything seemed to be going well; you who […] without hesitation swore every oath demanded of you and reduced yourselves to the despicable flunkies of this criminal […] Now, when the bankruptcy can no longer be concealed, they betray the house that went broke, in order to establish a political alibi for themselves — the same men who have betrayed everything that was in the way of their claim to power.”

Gun crazy

MGM Resorts International just agreed to a $800 million settlement with victims of the October 2017 mass shooting at its Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock killed an unimaginable 58 people one block away at street level in a crowd of 22,000 enjoying an evening of country music.

Lawyers claimed the hotel was negligent in permitting the shooter to bring in twenty bags of luggage containing weapons and ammunition to a pair of rooms on the 32nd floor.

The hotel may very well have been negligent to a degree — though it could be argued that high rollers, entertainers and their retinue often roll into town with plenty of luggage.

But — in choosing a casino with deep pockets to pay off the victims — those who might have prevented the carnage (besides the shooter) once again eluded responsibility:

  • the National Rifle Association, which fights gun control tooth and nail;
  • Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, a friend of the NRA, who nixed state gun control legislation
  • the Nevada legislature, which has created the most lax gun registration laws in the nation
  • and, finally, the people of the benighted state of Nevada: