Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

King of the sorry hill

There can be only one motivation for the ethic Wayne LaPierre laid out on behalf of the NRA yesterday, and that is the deep-seeded fear that someone, someday is going to enter my personal space armed, and if I'm going to take him out before he takes me or my kids, I'm going to have to have clips that give me more firepower than he has.  What we really need in our gun cabinets, he might have said, is personal grenade-launchers or armed drones because the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with one that's bigger.  How about a tank in every garage?

Who will that intruder--or those intruders--be? Why criminals.  Or foreign agents. Or domestic Nazis. Or communists.  Or Islamic extremists. Or maybe my neighbors, when Mayan prophecies come to pass and there's no more fresh water in town than the tank I buried in my family bunker.  Then, I'll need an assault rifle--maybe two or three or four--to hold my neighbors off and keep my family alive.  Some might call that paranoia.  Some might call it lunacy.

He never mentioned sport, did he?  It never arose.  Only death arose.

What I don't understand is why anyone should have an instrument of death that allows the shooter to empty eleven bullets into the body of a six-year-old and then turn the gun on his or her classmates without reloading.   

What Mr. LaPierre clearly demonstrated yesterday was that the motivating force beneath the NRA's position is the fear that a gun-toting enemy lurks out there somewhere, a brute whose treachery can be stopped only if I arm myself to the teeth.  Fear.  

I went hunting this fall and loved it. Out here where we now live now, the time may come when I actually shoot a deer, something I certainly never opposed but never really took the time to try. I was born in Wisconsin, where the only passion greater than the Packers is the deer opener. I loved hunting and trapping as a kid, consider my childhood years idyllic for its glorious early morning forays into the wilderness of lakeshore woods and lazy rivers.  

But wherefore this armed obsession?  Other countries have equal shares of mental illness, vile video games, bloody movies. Other countries suffer from a divorce culture. We're not alone in our sins. But no country comes anywhere near the United States of America in gun deaths. When it comes to body count, we're the king of the sorry hill. 

LaPierre's response to the massacre of the innocents at Newtown would have been silly if it wasn't so horrifying. Where would this good guy with a gun stand on the campus of the college where I taught? Which dorm? During a basketball game, would he be stationed in the bleachers?--and if so, if he's in the gym, who's going to hold down the library? Maybe sidearms should be issued during freshmen initiation so everyone packs one. Hand them out with iPads.  

And who's going to protect churches on Sunday mornings? Should every congregation have its own?  Who's going to be at the high school for football games?--should both schools bring their own heat? 

Where should we position him or her during the Sunday School Christmas program, pray tell? At the door?  Which one? They're could come in from anywhere, you know.

We're nuts.  And the reaction from any Republican--save Chris Christie--is less deafening than deplorable. 

I can't believe my neighbors in this county, people who voted the Republican ticket more devotedly than almost any county in America, can countenance the dangerous idiocy of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.  

What we need is more guns?  We already own half the world's arsenal. 

This morning I wrote Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Steve King, but I can't imagine I'll hear a thing from either of them.  Go to the issues they list on their websites--there's nothing about gun control.  Type the phrase into their search engines. You'll find absolutely nothing, as if Newtown didn't happen.  

You want to know why?  The answer is easy.  They're scared to death of the NRA--you know, the people with guns.  

How's that for irony?


Anonymous said...

Would you go deer hunting if the deer were able to shoot back? I doubt it. SOme schools in the country have armed their teachers with guns. I doubt very much they'll have a problem. I don't own any gun, but feel it is a freedom that we must keep. I am for getting rid of all AR's. I see no need for them whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

AND.....maybe more emphasis on mental health problems in this country wouldn't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

Why do I need a license to drive a car but none to carry a gun to church? We should require a license to carry our guns off our personal property. I don't have a license to drive an eighteen wheeler truck, do you? But I do have the right to do what I must do to get a license to own and drive a "Whatever". A license doesn't inhibit my freedoms, but it protects me and my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any research to back up your view that having guns in a country amounts to more violence? Check out Mexico, no guns allowed there. In the past 6 years, 60,000 killed, and over 25,000 missing. So, many of them had armed gunmen break into their homes any time of the day and often when they had a celebration and just gun them all down. They had no defense. That is a country that doesn't permit it citizens to own a gun. Many of the victims had nothing to do with drugs, some were just sitting in a restuarant that hadn't paid the protectors. If they couldn't pay the protection fees demanded of them they were made examples so that others would comply in fear. That is a lot more people than we have lost in the Iraq war, our neighbors killed with no protection against men with arms. I just read today that the police aren't even investigating the missing and that many of them aren't even on the official data base of missing. Gun free countries don't equal violence free. The same day that there was the killing of the children in the USA, in China a man assaulted 22 children with a knife. While they lived, I don't imgaine the next day was routine as usual. In Michigan, many years ago, a town north of Lansing was bombed by the janitor killing many children, and responders. Violence is in the heart of man. It is a heart issue, not a gun issue, not a license issue. That is not to say, we shouldn't be wise and regulate things, but I suspect that the church in Colorado was relieved that they did have a trained officer who was able to take out the killer before he slew many more.

Anonymous said...

If "Guns" is a heart issue, what is the US doing supporting massive wars all over the world? Who makes the guns the Mexicans use to control the sale of their drugs to the US. Do you all believe in the good ole 10 comandments? Woe, gone to meddling? How is "Love your neighbor" doing where you live?

Anonymous said...

I sit here wondering what your answer to the gun issue is? I feel your anger. You asked some questions, some I don't know how to answer well. 1) Guns, made of metal, are only useful in the hands of a shooter, for good or for evil. Whether it is used for good or evil is detirmined by ones heart and mind. The first murder done was with a stone. Murder, often the result of anger that grew into hate of a felt personal injustice, jealousy,greed, etc.. it is a heart issue in my opinion. 2) Murdering children, classmates, fellow employees, relatives, people in the process of a crime is different than a war with a country. God, who gave the 10 commandments to Moses, also led Joshua into battle and David etc.. There is a push for all kinds of new gun laws, but the killer of the firefighters broke a law already on the books as an ex- felon. He shouldn't have had a gun of any kind. It was the same kind as Adam L. used. How's those laws working out for you? Aren't laws made to be broken? I don't imagine had their been 100 or 1000 more laws that he would have made a different decision that day. I suspect that if we write a million new gun laws or even go house to house and take away all the guns we could find; I bet the president will still be guarded by armed gunmen and police will still have guns as well as evil men as in Mexico bent on greed of drugs we buy in our country. 3) Kind of ironic that this President, who is looking for more gun control, is the same one whose administration sold guns to Mexico where it is illegal to own guns. Feels a little hypocritical for them to want to disarm Americans while they arm Mexicans. 4) We have many towns with new Hispanice immigrants, legal and illegal to be sure, we could start being neighborly by making sure they get fair wages for the work they do, as well as inviting them over for dinner. We could spend the time to befriend them, help them learn English, help them adjust to a new climate. There are some new immigrants even coming to the midwest from Africa. I heard one community in a large city in Iowa has 70 different languages represented by new immigrants. We don't have to go far to be a neighbor. (Then some Random thoughts to add to the confusion:) I agree we need to do something to help stop mass killings. We should be asking why there are more mass murders today by young kids? Why are we not doing more to help people with mental illnesses? If commercials for the super bowl are so expensive, because 30 seconds can cause people to buy their products, then what does hours of violent DVD, games etc... do to minds of those who are entertained by violence. Why is that entertaining? If kids are spending hours playing violent games; how much time are they spending with their parents or being influenced by adults who are supposed to be preparing them for adulthood? If they are just sitting day in and day out, how do they develop good healthy lifestyle, work ethic, or even friendships that help them through tough times? If the poll was correct that 57% of people no longer consider themselves religious and that only 10% of the nation attend church regularly can we expect people to have morals stated in the 10 commandments if we are a country that leans more towards no absolute right or wrong? How can we expect good from a country that has lost its moral compass?