Granted, we don't burn people at the stake anymore, and we don't dig up dead people and eat them anymore, but still we often wonder whether the world has gone bonkers. Because, all too often, it's clear that our species is as twisted and stupid as ever.

Let us count the latest ways:

1. In Kentucky this week, a five-year-old boy shot and killed his two-year-old sister. Nothing new there, of course; in arsenal America, lots of kids go bang bang with unsecured household guns. But the Kentucky tyke did the deed with his own rifle. Which he received as a gift. When he was four.

Now, excuse me for thinking like a blue-state kind of guy, but I really do have to ask: What kind of genius buys a rifle and gifts it to a four-year-old?

Answer: The kind of genius who frequents the website of Keystone Sporting Arms, a Pennsylvania company that markets weapons specifically for children. Check out "Kids Corner." And it turns out, the Kentucky tyke owned a "Crickett," advertised on the site as "Crickett - My First Rifle." Isn't that sweet?

A local judge said that the fatal shooting was "unexpected." Let's just say that the boy's little sister died for Freedom.

2. Speaking of guns, Philadelphia Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon weighed in recently on the state of the union: "Today's day and age has gotten so crazy. Shoot man, Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything."

Obama wants to take our guns....Which only proves that you can have $50 million in your pocket, but a dime's worth of brains in your head.

3. In Washington, D.C., a U.S. Army sergeant who served his country in Iraq, and who, as a reservist, is prepared to defend his country again, was attacked because he's a Muslim.

Mohamed Salim, who drives a cab these days, had the misfortune of picking up Ed Dahlberg, a white guy bent on a midnight ramble. Early last Friday, Dahlberg - who has since been charged with misdemeanor assault - got in the cab and proceeded to critique Salim's status as a person. To wit:

"If you’re a Muslim, you’re a (expletive) jihadist. You are just as bad as the rest of them....Your Bible, your Torah, whatever the (expletive) it is, says you must kill Christians. If you're a (expletive) Muslim, flying jets into the World Trade Center, then (expletive) you! I will slice your (expletive) throat right now!"

Salim recorded all this on his phone; he'd turned it on as soon as Dahlberg started getting hostile. At the end of the video, Dahlberg lurches forward at the driver. Salim says, "Why are you punching me? Sir, why are you punching me?" Dahlberg replies, "You’re a (expletive) Muslim." Dahlberg exited the cab, and Salim stopped recording - but according to Salim, Dahlberg came back to the cab window and allegedly hit him again, fracturing his jaw.

Salim says, "Because I’m a Muslim, he treated me like a piece of trash. I love this country. I didn’t deserve this." As for Dahlberg, his lawyer lauds him as "a church-going person." At bare minimum, the lawyer might want to sign up his client for anger management.

4. In the Oklahoma legislature a few weeks back, Republican leader Dennis Johnson was discussing his experiences as a small business owner, when he offered this little treatise: "(Customers) might try to Jew me down on the price. That's fine. You know what? That's free market as well."

After he was informed that "Jew me down" was considered a slur on Jews, that the old phrase typecasts Jews as treacherous cheapskates, Johnson decided to make amends, sort of:

"I apologize to the Jews. They're good small businessmen as well." His colleagues laughed along with him.

You can decide for yourself whether Johnson was trumped on the stupidity scale by New Hampshire Republican Peter Hansen, who referred to women as "vaginas" (in an April listserv email, he referred to "children and vagina's," prompting a local political blogger to observe that, on the Titanic, the captain never said, "vagina's and children first") - or whether Johnson was trumped last month by Kansas county commissioner Jim Gile, who said at a hearing that they should hire an architect to fix a local building instead of "nigger-rigging it." (Laughter in the room. Gile said he meant no offense.)

5. Last, but surely not least, a new national poll reports this fascinating finding: Forty-four percent of Republicans - yes, folks, 44 percent - believe that "in the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties."

Hey, no wonder they said no to expanded background checks.

Better yet, before they sign up that sister-free Kentucky tyke and mount the barricades, perhaps they'd prefer to self-deport.

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