TONIGHT IS CHRISTMAS EVE. WHAT folksy character comes to mind? That rotund jolly guy, of course, who seems to be everywhere, relentlessly dashing through the night spreading joy to celebrate his big daytomorrow.

No, I’m not talking about Parks and Recreation Commission chair Phil Brock, who is a Christmas birthday boy. But like other 12/25 birthers, he’s probably hoping to receive even one or two birthday presents in the avalanche of gifting that otherwise occurs that day.

Who else has had to endure this parental procreational miscalculational denial of birthday largess? Brock’s in pretty good company: Little Richard, Humphrey Bogart, Annie Lennox, Sir Isaac Newton, Cab Calloway, Rod Serling, Sissy Spacek, Jimmy Buffet, Conrad Hilton, Karl Rove. (OK, Karl Rove is not good company. Bah. And yes, humbug.)

Oh yeah, and there’s that other guy; he’s pretty famous. Jesus. Though most scholars agree he wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th.

Jesus, of Nazareth. Also referred to in scripture as Emmanuel. But beyond the name, he acquired quite a long collection of titles over the centuries. Prophet. Christ. Lord. Light of the World. Lamb of God. King of the Jews. Son of God. Son of Man. Son of David. Son of a gun, there are a lot of them.

Right around 200, we know, thanks to the dedication, or OCD if you will, of one Alexander Cruden, an 18th century London bookseller who pored over his Bible six hours a day, every single day, for two years, finding and listing them. (And even then, turns out, he missed three.) “Cruden’s Concordance” was published in 1737 and has not been out of print since. Top that, Jacqueline Susann.

I appreciate my readers, so I’ll warn you: if you only want to read a feel good piece on Christmas eve, stop here. But I do think this is entirely in the spirit.

In pondering Christmas the other day, one of those 200 titles popped into my head: Prince of Peace. It wedged its way into my sad thoughts of all the families who, unlike most of us at this “happiest time of the year,” are dreading the holidays because they’ve lost someone suddenly to gun violence.

The missing chair at the festive dinner table. The memories of holidays past. The attempts to feel joy for what you have, drowned by the tears for what you’ve lost. I can only imagine their state of mind, but I can’t really. It’s an incomprehensible reality for those who go through it, and will until they die. I’ve heard them speak of it and it’s just so sad. So unnecessary, this mountain of pain. And I’ve had it.

You hear some Christians talk with fervor about “our Christian nation.” A few days ago Pat Robertson, on his influential “700 Club” TV show (running since 1966, around the world and in 96 percent of US homes), came right out and called for ditching the Constitution and going with the Bible as the law of the land.

So I’m having trouble reconciling a “Christian nation,” full of so-called followers of the Prince of Peace, who are fine with the wholesale slaughter of our innocents and not-so-innocents, by gunfire. For profit. I’ve thought it was crazy since I was a kid, but now we’re drowning in blood. I started writing about it in this column in August of 2013, and several times since. What were disturbing incidents then have now become a relentless procession of almost daily tales of unarmed citizens, mostly black, male and young, being gunned down (or strangled or beaten to death) by police. And now, even policemen are no longer safe, from the lethally mentally unbalanced. (A tip of the hat to Ronald Reagan, who closed the mental facilities.) Because guns are everywhere in America.

If Pat Robertson can cross the line of compromise, of making nice with the other side, so can I. So I say forget background checks and other band-aids. Just ban them. All handguns and automatic weapons. No, destroy them. There are millions out there, waiting to be an instrument of destruction, because that’s all these guns are for, is to kill people. Period.

Yes – confiscate them, throw them in a pile and melt them and let us dance around the fire celebrating fathers and sons not lost, mothers who get to see their children grow up. Let the mentally ill walk up and punch you in the nose, and that’s the end of it. No funerals.

I’m just literally sick to death of it, and from what I know, so would be the Prince of Peace. That Second Amendment? (Robertson would have to switch to “Thou shalt not kill,” wouldn’t he?) You’re only reading half of it if that’s your justification, and keep in mind it was written by brave men who defeated the mighty British army with muskets and could never even conceive of automatic weapons, especially available to all. You need your guns to defend your family against the bad guys? If guns are illegal, as they are in most sane nations, only a small fraction of those bad guys will have them. I know you can’t comprehend that, but try. Check world statistics. And besides, when it comes to a shoot out, that bad guy’s got it all over you, for skill, motivation and cold blood. You’re just as likely to shoot your own kid in the Wild West scenario you favor. You’re not James Bond.

The bottom line: no matter what argument you make, you are being manipulated by the arms manufacturers and their lobbyists the NRA, because they make obscene profits. They are sacrificing our families for their profit. Look around. This is only allowed to happen in America. It is insane, and I pray, to the Prince of Peace, that we all come to our senses and throw the rascals out.

It’s possible all these caring, horrified good citizens who are now taking to the streets to peacefully demonstrate will put two and two together and see that our problem is much larger than overreaching police officers. You can’t give peace a chance when everyone is armed to the teeth.

To quote a wise possum, we have met the enemy, and it is us.


“It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.” Jean Baudrillard.


CHARLES ANDREWS has lived in Santa Monica for almost 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. You can reach him at


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