MERCI. MERCY.

1. It’s Monday, December 14, 2015.

2. People around here are uneasy about the unseasonably warm December. Is this a bargain with the devil of global warming?

I doubt it. There have been warm Decembers before. When I was 10, it was 72 degrees on Christmas Day. That was 1964, and it was so warm that I remember it 51 years later.

I’m just going to enjoy it. You should too. The way climate change manifests itself is through the violent changes in weather that seem more frequent. That can include big snowstorms, which we haven’t had yet. Thankfully.

3. I always like to think about who Time’s Person of the Year and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year will be. I was wrong both times, but I have no beef with either choice.

Last week, Time picked Angela Merkel for the distinction (reminder to the idiot Trump: it’s not an award), citing her steadiness in the face of Europe’s economic and refugee crises.

Today, it was announced that Serena Williams is SI’s Sportsperson of the Year. I was thinking Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, and I don’t think anyone can argue that he shouldn’t have been a candidate.

Here’s the thing: SI’s Sportsperson is an honor, because sportsperson implies not only triumph but also a certain level of doing things the right way. Working hard. Being a fierce competitor.

And being gracious in victory and being gracious in defeat. Even when that defeat is crushing – as was the case at Flushing Meadow, when Williams’ bid for tennis’ grand slam was thwarted by an unheralded Italian.

By all accounts, Serena Williams checked all the boxes. Big time. She is not only the best tennis player of this era, she may well be the best tennis player of all time. And she’s playing great at an age when tennis players are usually tired out. SI did OK.

4. Let’s hear it for the French for rejecting stupidity.

A month ago, a bunch of nut cases terrorized Paris, killing at least 130 people. Shortly after, in the first round of regional elections, a party with a strong anti-immigrant bent was the most successful, as people voted their fears instead of their hopes in the wake of the terror.

But in yesterday’s second round, the far-right National Front was shut out, winning not a single region. That was due in part to the idea that the country’s Socialists put country ahead of politics. They withdrew some of their candidates in favor of those in the conservative, but not crazy conservative, party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy. 

I’m not sure what lessons Americans, less than two weeks removed from the horror at San Bernardino, can take from the French. The U.S. will begin voting for a new president seven weeks from today when Iowans attend their party caucuses. While the Democrats appear to be coalescing behind Hillary Clinton, the Republicans are shifting from one fear monger, Donald Trump, to another, Ted Cruz.

Can Americans overcome their fears and vote their hopes? We’ll know soon enough.

5. Today is the third anniversary of what I still believe is the most disgraceful moment in American history in my lifetime.

That, of course, would be the slaying of 20 elementary school teachers and six teachers and other school staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

It is hard to fathom that 20 children, all around the age of six, would die a violent death in a classroom. It is harder to fathom that the American people, and their representatives in Washington, did absolutely nothing to make certain that it never happens again. The Congress refused to pass legislation that would limit access to weapons like the ones used to massacre kids.

Instead, a cetriolo from the National Rifle Association got on TV and said, out loud instead of suppressing it among the “thoughts” coursing the vegetation in his head, that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. In other words, teachers should keep one hand on a storybook and the other on a .22.

It should be an embarrassment to us and to this country. It should have never happened again. But, of course, similar events have happened innumerable times in unthinkable places – a Charleston church, an Oregon college, a San Bernardino holiday party.

Until we do something about the scourge of guns in this country, we have no business looking the victims’ families in the eye. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Alas, every time you see an NRA sticker on the back of some idiot’s truck, you know that way too many of us don’t give a damn.

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