OK, today's topic: guns but nothing new to say about it. The same old same old. Another graveyard filled, this one in Colorado, and always the same old same old.
The early line as always was, it's too soon after the event to talk about what might be an appropriate response. That "too soon" always magically flips over at some point to become "too late." Then everybody forgets about it till the next event.
And in the interval between too soon and too late, the media distract from the pertinent question of what to do about it by running around saying that what everyone involved in the matter wants to know is why. Au contraire. Not everyone wants to know why. Nobody wants to know why. There is no why. The why is how idiot pundits amuse themselves and free advertising for quack shrinks.
There might be one why worth asking here. Why does this have to keep happening? Why do we do nothing as a people, as a nation, to keep it from happening again and again? Why do we pretend that the same old same old (too early, too late, why) is an adequate response and not an unconscionable moral evasion? (I know, I know that's three whys, not one.)
As long as the matter is left in charge of bought-and-paid-for politicians, the only response you're going to get is on the order of the FEMA response to Katrina. Lame, in other words. There's not going to be any debate on the gun problem. There's not going to be any real attempt at defining the gun problem. There's only going to be nonsense.
The prevailing same old same old will continue to be that there's not a gun problem. There's no elephant in the parlor. And the next psycho clown with orange hair can proceed with every confidence that he can perk right along toward his wacko scheme's fulfillment.
Even when one of their own is targeted, the bought-and-paid-fors will give the ambulatory remains a big round of applause, but you don't have to wonder for long whose side they're really on. They'll pat Gabby on what's left of her head, then go and cash the check from Wayne.
Even when it's their own kahuna, peerless leader, sainted even, when he gets in the crosshairs and winds up rassling copper-jacketed Mr. Grim, the paralyzing ambivalence obtains, sets the narrative on auto-blah blah blah blah blah, and the implicated gat stays on the market, the bought stay bought (maybe with a little supplementary encouragement), and America hunkers down, turns up its collar against the cold inevitability of what and where and who next.
That time the ruint head they patted belonged to one Jim Brady, and they actually humored him briefly, but then too the same old same old resumed, too soon, too late, and why, setting the stage for the gun-slain little girls stacked like cordwood outside the Jonesboro schoolhouse.
Here's something I wonder about. If the 9/11 terrists hadn't been furriners — if they'd been regular old home-grown dues-paying members of the Cold Dead Hand, don't you just know that the aftermath argument of the bought-and-paid–fors would have been the too-soon, too-late, and why rigamarole, followed by this from hq: "Well, the Founding Fathers obviously looked with approval on using boxcutters to jack flying machines and crash them into large buildings, with considerable 'collateral damage,' or else they wouldn't have implied it so strongly in the Second Amendment."
I'm thinking the best hope for meaningful action on the gun problem might lie with the Supreme Court. If it can rule that a corporation is a person — and it did rule that — then it would be no great stretch for it to rule that a gun is a person.
I've known lots of guns that had considerable more personality than a lot of the corporations I've known. At 13, I had a Red Ryder BB gun that was about a thousand times more personable than Exxon. And I'm guessing that every gun I've ever owned had more of recognizable personhood about it than a human fetus a couple of seconds after conception.
That would suggest, according to Supreme Court logic, that guns have more constitutional personhood than, say, discount merchandising superstores; that they're more nearly human, and therefore more nearly qualified to vote — in consideration of which fact, who among us would be surprised to learn that Congressman Griffin has been off somewhere caging guns that have been adjudged to have Democratic leanings or ethnocentric sympathies?
If a gun is a person, then it's firing off a round of ammo could and probably should be construed as that ersatz but constitutionally umbrellaed "person's" speech. The First Amendment guarantees free speech for guns, Walmart, and natural-born American citizens. The free exercise of religion would extend to guns also, so they wouldn't have to wait for some bloviator packer to take them into church. The freedom to peaceably assemble might not liberate them completely, however, from Some Assembly Required.
Justice Scalia indicated over the weekend that he has further observations to make in this area. Don't know about you but I can hardly wait.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.
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