While I often voice strong political opinions, occasionally I’m wrong. Okay, maybe a tad more than occasionally. In my family we used to discuss politics at the dinner table. (Yes, families actually ate dinner together.) And yet sometimes I’m shocked at my political naivet√©, not to mention my run on sentences.
Take for example in 2000 when George Bush was “selected” to be president by the Supreme Court. Two of the justices were appointed by Poppy Bush and a third justice’s son had been promised a job in the new Bush administration, but no conflict there. But it did lead to one of my more foolish political predictions.
Considering that W. had lost the popular vote, I naturally expected that he’d be a centrist president. After all on the campaign trail he described himself as a “uniter not a divider.” But soon Bush Jr. would divide the country to such a degree it rivaled the Vietnam and Civil War eras. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Meanwhile the damage Bush caused here at home and around the world, the economy, the environment, the loss of treasure and life … don’t get me started.
Another gross error on my less than astute political forecasting was after the almost unimaginable massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December 2012. Twenty innocent and precious 6-year-olds were slaughtered, along with three of their teachers, with an automatic weapon in the hands of a madman. (A cynic might say, “So what else is new?”)
Congressional hearings followed. I can vividly remember grieving parents testifying with great dignity through their tears pleading for more stringent background checks on firearms.
Amidst many dark days in recent American history, this was among the darkest. Out of this ghastly tragedy I was positive that reasonable gun regulations would be passed. After all, 90 percent of the country, and even 70 percent of the National Rifle Association membership, were in favor of more stringent background checks. Surely change would happen. (As my late father used to joke, “Don’t call me surely.”)
I seriously underestimated the NRA. They too grieved, but their answer was not fewer guns, but more. Their theory was that if the teachers at Sandy Hook had been armed, the children’s’ lives likely would have been saved. And Congress bought it. (Or were bought?)
So it was in June when there was a mass murder in a church in South Carolina that more guns logic surfaced again. If only the pastor had been armed the killer could have been stopped. Where does it end? During Sunday services a pastor will have a sawed-off shotgun hidden on the altar somewhere, just to be safe?
That was June. A month later another senseless murder spree. It seems like every month we have one. I definitely don’t have the answer but I don’t see any other advanced country in the entire world remotely beleaguered with this madness. Not that we have cornered the market on violent nut jobs. But we seemingly have a system that easily allows those wackos (real word “heartless murderers”) to gain access to weapons and ammunition.
Recently, in nearby Pacific Palisades, police were investigating the suspicious death of a resident and discovered inside his residence 1,200 guns and two tons of ammunition. (Now there’s somebody who really believed in the Second Amendment.) Fortunately, he died before he could make use of his one-man-army arsenal. The case is still being investigated so stay tuned. Or don’t, if those type of things keep you up at night.
That brings me to last week’s murders at the Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, La., where three died and nine were wounded. Consistent with “arm the good guys against the bad guys,” I have a thought. At the concession counter, in addition to Skittles, popcorn and Cokes, why not sell ammo? And, like at a bowling alley where you rent shoes, you could rent the gat of your choice just to feel comfortable while sitting back and enjoying your favorite flick.
Then, if some psycho rushes in front of the screen about to empty his Glock, he would get wasted so fast the audience would barely miss a beat of the movie. Of course, afterward when the crew with the brooms and dust bins clean up for the next showing, they might need a gurney. But the point is, one could enjoy the film without that nagging thought in the back of their mind, “Am I going to get blown away before the final credits?”
In Congress there are actually enough votes to pass issues like jobs, immigration reform and yes, background checks on guns. But one party won’t let these even get to the floor. Without naming names, all I’ll say is that this party is grand and old. (That said, occasionally I’m wrong. Okay, maybe a tad more than occasionally.)
Photo credit:Cary Shulman