American Roulette

'We are living in a state of moral truce, armed to the teeth with ideas.’

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I Tricked This Baby Out

Hand over your email address to a political campaign, and typically all you can expect in return is an endless stream of solicitations for money.

But one supporter of Greg Brophy, a state senator who ran for governor in Colorado, got something else: a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle.

It was the top prize in “Greg Brophy’s Gun Club Giveaway,” an online contest last month in which people handed over personal information that is the currency of modern political campaigns — first and last names, email addresses and phone numbers — and in exchange, one lucky winner would get the gun.

“I tricked this baby out,” said Mr. Brophy, a Republican, boasting about how he had added all manner of accessories — extra grips, a backup sight and a strap so it could be slung effortlessly over the shoulder.

—Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times, “G.O.P. Discovers Useful Voter Outreach Tool: Gun Sweepstakes

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She Thought It Was An Actual Homeless Person

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes. Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t. “One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

—John Burnett, NPR, “Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community

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Carrying On Heedlessly Whether You Said Yes Or No

We sat up for several hours, drinking screwdrivers. There was a black-and-white movie on, something from the ’40s. [McCormick] had a fat little dog named Charles, who has since died, that he loved very much. Charles would drink your screwdriver, if you set it on the floor, and McCormick kept having to remind me to put my notepad or a book on top of the glass, so Charles couldn’t get to the drink. Now and then McCormick would pause and send me to locate a binder or folder. Mostly he talked, not tediously but spell-bindingly. His recall was encyclopedic, though he frequently cursed his memory, saying he had suffered a small stroke. Yet he roamed through years and names, stopping to ask if you had heard of some person, carrying on heedlessly whether you said yes or no.

—John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New York Times, “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie