The prolific cartoonist Gary Larson of ‘The Far Side’ fame has created thousands of great cartoons. I keep several of his cartoon books stacked in my downstairs powder room for seated guests and for those occasions when I myself choose to spend some time in that room. Many of the cartoons are funny because they’re ridiculous, but one cartoon in particular to which I often return is funny yet sad because it’s true!

The funny/sad cartoon depicts what appears to be a traditional circus clown, bald dome, wild sprouts of wooly hair around the ears, bulbous nose, mis-matching, wildly patterned balloon pants supported by garish suspenders and overly large, toe-swollen shoes. The clown is on the customer side of the counter at Bob’s Gun Shop as ‘Bob,’ pot-bellied, tattooed, toothpick-sucking Bob, stands on the owner’s side of the counter. The caption to this picture reads, “Laugh at me, will they?”

Oddly enough, I see many issues raised by this funny cartoon that ought to have remained funny only, rather than being both funny and sad. All of the issues that the cartoon raises for me have to do with a certain amount of mental health and admittedly some expectation of a degree of conformity.

What’s this? Me?!? A rebel in my own mind, thinking that a degree of conformity is a good thing? Well, yes, but perhaps not in the way most people understand conformity. Dress as outlandishly as you like, non-conformists, have your own divergent views and express them openly. You enrich our world. Even become angry if your purposely foolish appearance evokes laughter and derision. But when you consider doing harm to people because they have laughed at you, someone needs to report you to the police and you may need some controlled-environment mental counselling too.

Similarly, Islamic adherents need to report those among themselves that become convinced that their road to heaven lies in slaying infidels. I know that the idea of slaying infidels is a fundamental belief among certain branches of Islam (not many). The string of logic for such deluded folks goes like this:
1 – The penalty for insulting Islam is death.
2 – There are many ways of insulting Islam, including simply not believing in Islam.
3 – Ergo: If you don’t believe in (their brand of) Islam you must die.

This way of thinking is as delusional as any mental case I can conjure. That is why those who have the ears and position to hear this kind of talk must help to protect themselves by turning in the dangerous delusionals among them.

At the moment of this writing, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been cleared of any need to pay a further penalty in the case of the under-inflated footballs. I do not wish to review the arguments regarding the justice or injustice of the case. The case has been decided. But I look at some of the expressions of absolute fury by some of those who are incensed by the outcome, and I fear for Brady’s well-being. What nut-job out there might take it upon himself to deliver vigilante justice to satisfy a deluded lynch-mob mentality? Will we see our first mid-field assassination due to a conspiracy of crazies? I hope not, but the idea is not as far-fetched as I’d like it to be either. This is another case where those who retain some sanity should report the plotters they overhear so that we can all get on with enjoying the violence of football without being treated to the violence of mis-guided wrath.

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