It just seems like the same old tape gets replayed every year or two. We are given some horrible event involving a firearm and a lunatic and which winds up with innocents forfeiting their lives for the “price of freedom” to buy, own and use virtually any kind of gun one chooses to possess.
I have been reading the articles: all the comments of “multi-round drum magazines” which the shooter in Colorado could have had; his use of bulletproof clothing; how much worse it could have been; how he purchased several guns in a short period of time and hundreds of rounds of ammunition over the internet - all entirely legally. It's getting so that these events are occurring so frequently I can tick them off on my fingers, they are still so fresh in my memory: Thurston High School, Columbine High School, Gabby Giffords, Reagan, the Kennedys, James Brady, John Lennon, Dr George Tiller...on and on and on.
In America, reason in these matters is invariably trumped by demagoguery, the blurring of issues, the outright lies which, repeated over and over again, become as truth to millions of my countrymen. It is the same with universal healthcare; with global climate change; with bankers who gamble with their depositors' savings; with poisoned tap water which catches fire from gas seeping up from hydro-fracked wells. The truth or falsity of virtually every important issue we face in 21st century America is impossibly deadlocked by those most vested in the business of it; by who wins and who loses in the great game of America: money. When you have money, you have power in this country. And when you have power you can determine political outcomes.
And so we can reliably presume that in the board rooms and marketing departments of companies like Colt Industries, Sturm-Ruger, Glock, Winchester Repeating Arms, and Remington Arms they are working overtime to once more bring to the public the entirely specious argument that people kill people. Not their guns. Not their ammunition. Mr. LaPierre and his like can be reliably depended upon to produce some statement absolving guns from being in any way whatsoever a cause of these and other killings. And they will be featured on cable channels and broadcast media everywhere.
And we can also presume that senators and congressmen are deftly fashioning public statements deploring violence on one hand, and on the other steering clear of the obvious for fear of upsetting their constituents who have been bamboozled in the last 20 years from being a clear minority to a majority who think stricter controls on firearms are uncalled for, thanks to relentless advertising by organizations like the National Rifle Association and their corporate benefactors.
Indeed, the two men running for the presidency have been deafeningly silent on this whole issue, even in the face of this most recent tragedy in Colorado. It is the same phenomenon as the argument over whether or not humanity is fouling its own nest. Once, a majority of us signed on to the pronouncements of the scientific community that global warming is at least partially caused by human activity. Thanks to the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, Shell, the coal industry and their like, that majority has evaporated.
The fact of it all is that our leaders have become the lead. What we have is 535 members of Congress with their wetted fingers in the air, testing whether what position on an issue will gain or lose them votes. No one in Washington DC is willing to say the right thing if it involves jeopardizing their job. In politics, as in war, truth is the first victim and retention of power is the first goal. In Washington there are no more Profiles in Courage. The concept of the citizen-politician is as outmoded as rotary dial telephones. Once you are elected to an office in Washington, you stay in Washington. And, generally, you get quite rich.
So here we are, once more, mourning the loss of 12 young citizens who did absolutely nothing to cause the loss of their chance at life. The candles will be lit, the columns of pundits and photos of grieving mothers published, public officials will display their sadness and outrage, and a few people will march for a few days demanding something be done. But it will be for naught. Like the tides, emotions will ebb and we will return to trying to just survive. America seems, to this writer, to be unable or unwilling to face the unvarnished truth – on the issue of gun control or anything else.
We will continue sacrificing our children, our leaders, our wives and husbands, even the guy who runs the night shift at the local 7-11, for the “freedom to keep and bear arms.” Maybe some future generation of Americans will get it right but right now, truthfully, I despair.