Tomorrow marks two weeks since the shooting rampage in Arizona which left six dead and fourteen wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The good news is that her progress has been so dramatic that today she was moved to a rehab center in Houston.
Surprisingly, some people are critical of the continuing coverage. My friend Sheila is furious as she thinks the media exploited the whole affair. Sheila’s outspoken on the issue. Actually, she’s outspoken on every issue.
As Sheila rants I occasionally suggest that she should “stop sitting on the fence and take a stance.” This usually gets a laugh, which I take as a good sign.
At the risk of drawing Sheila’s ire, I note the recent wave of gun violence here in Southern California. Tuesday, at Gardena High School, a 17-year-old 10th grader brought a gun to class in his backpack. (Can you say “trouble?”?)
Sure enough, as the boy set the backpack down, the gun discharged sending two students to the hospital. One, a 15-year-old girl, is in critical condition. (Guns aren’t the problem, backpacks are?)
On Wednesday there were two more shootings on local high school campuses. One was in Bell and the other in Woodland Hills where a cop was shot in the chest. Fortunately a bullet proof vest saved his life. (Given the events at Tucson, at political rallies in the future common attire might include bullet proof vests.)
Nationwide, an average of eight teenagers a day die from gun violence. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising since there are a mere 200,000,000 guns estimated to be in U.S. households. (If the country was a retail store it could be called, “Guns R Us.”).
The 2nd Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Judging by the number of guns, our country has become one giant militia.
Not to sound patronizing but some of my best friends own guns. One owns five. And he’s a liberal lawyer in a rent-controlled apartment. This, as opposed to a Tea Bagger in a trailer. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Tea Party or trailers. (Though it would be nice if the Tea Partiers who angrily hold signs defending the constitution could spell “constitution.”)
What frightens me is our insatiable love affair with guns. That, and how easy it is for a mentally ill person to get obtain one.
I don’t pretend to have answers but I do have questions. Jared Loughner was so clearly disturbed that one Walmart refused to sell him ammunition. How did he get it? He just went to another Walmart. Jared is psycho but resourceful.
I’m mindful that the NRA, the Supreme Court, and a majority of Americans favor gun ownership. Even after the Tucson tragedy, public opinion polls showed that most Americans were against more gun control. (And meanwhile sales of the Glock 9 mm doubled!)
Paradoxically, gun ownership is favored by some on the radical left. They see it as a means to prevent governmental tyranny. They point out that Hitler was a strong gun control advocate. They also note that if the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had owned guns, the outcome might have been very different. (On that subject, I highly recommend the DVD, Defiance.)
Guns I get, but why are assault weapons, or 31 bullet magazine clips, legal? The answer, of course, is money. The gun business is big bucks. The NRA has a ton of dough and, as Godfather Don Corleone might have said, has Congress in their hip pocket.
The NRA is so powerful that they’ve defeated laws all across the country that would restrict a person from buying more than one hand gun a month. Other than a drug kingpin or your average Para-military organization, who in their right mind needs more than one gun a month?
Actually, the NRA wants everyone over the age of 21 to be able to be able to buy an unlimited number of guns and cites the 2nd Amendment. Following that logic, I say why stop with semi-automatics or assault weapons? Why not proclaim the right to bear a bazooka? Ta da!
I can picture the President of the NRA at their national convention whipping up the minions by shouting, “It’s our constitutional right to own a bazooka!”
Or maybe he would defiantly raise his fists into the air, “You can have my bazooka when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.” (Given the size of the average bazooka, I don’t imagine a dead guy’s grip could be too tight anyway.)
Well, that it folks for this week. As Jared Loughner said on a voice mail to a friend only hours before his murderous rampage, “Peace out.”
If he’s not on the firing range, Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.