As I’ve written many times before here, this is a blog devoted to imbecility, comic exaggeration, and healthy doses of self-deprecation. After a 30+ year career in which I pretended to be a mild-mannered adult with serious aspirations, I now enjoy displaying my actual and true persona of being a total goof. I know I accomplished exactly what I intend when I hear my lovely wife reading a recently published post, shaking her head, and saying in a whispered giggle, “Oh, no, not again.”
Life’s moments interrupt all too often, though. Events around us sometimes force me to break from the self-parody I like to create here, and I am compelled to take note of the utter madness which engulfs our world. Usually another blogger so eloquently captures how I feel that I have no compunction to add my voice. Sometimes they don’t even have to say much at all to express the same shock and sadness I feel within the fiber of my soul.
I look at the tragic events in San Bernardino yesterday and can’t help but worry that we’re now in what will constitute a new normal. I’m not even speaking of this country’s infatuation with guns (I’ll get to that in a moment). What I’m referring to more generally is this insistence of the gun lobby, and those politicians who spinelessly parrot on its behalf, to rhetorically obfuscate from any centered discussion which addresses the issue of gun violence in an honest manner. Let’s be clear here: the evasive and euphemistic arguments that are immediately put forth after a tragedy are designed to divert and change the subject. Even Ripley would have a hard time believing them.
Yes, absolutely, we should look closer at the mentally ill, though it should be noted that efforts to significantly address this problem through funding of programs for it are routinely torpedoed at both federal and state levels. I am in total agreement that mental illness is a factor in crime statistics. But just as conservatives are fond of aping the “I am not a scientist” admonition at the onset of any discussion about global warming, so too is their predilection to immediately raise mental illness when a call for gun control is raised. It is rote, programmed, and isolating. And it needs to stop. Sensible gun owners and defenders of the second amendment (and I know they’re out there) need to stand up to the NRA, talk radio commentators, and Fox News talking heads to finally push back at the unspoken prohibition of even sitting down with gun control advocates to talk. They shouldn’t be immediately blacklisted and ostracized as they routinely are.
I am not a gun owner, nor will I ever be. I am not interested in hunting, and I’m also not living in a rural community where owning one is essential to protect oneself from the dangers that lurk out in nature. Yet, I do appreciate and respect those citizens who lawfully own guns for such purposes. And, yes, I understand and acknowledge other citizens who safely keep guns to protect their homes and loved ones. I get that. Likewise, I also look askance at my fellow liberals who advocate banning all guns from private ownership. I find such views extreme, impractical, and unconstitutional.
But for the love of God, can anyone explain to me how assault rifles and similar weapons possibly fit into any of the above? How is owning one even a defensible proposition? It blows my mind to see elected and allegedly responsible officials in government defending such guns especially when police officers in their own communities will beg to differ.
We cannot accept this new normal. We cannot allow the NRA to continue to stranglehold common sense and subvert all rational talk. How many more Sandy Hook and San Bernardino-type tragedies will it take to collectively wake us up to the irrationality of our dysfunctional deliberations?
Until next time…