Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence of the lambs

This was bad.  This was so bad, Rupert Murdoch has called for a ban on assault weapons.  It remains to be seen which of his minions will get in line, and which will accuse him of joining the Obama conspiracy to disarm America and sell us into UN slavery.  I. Do. Not. Care.

Friday afternoon I turned on the local CBS affiliate to watch Jeopardy!  Instead I saw pictures of a suburban elementary school, children being led away with their eyes closed, and a graphic reporting that more than twenty people had been shot inside.  Beneath that was a crawl about two Memphis police officers being shot, one fatally, and the dead officer a mother of four.  At first I thought it was one story.  Try processing this when you have expected to eat a sandwich and watch an innocuous game show.  ("I'll take the Second Amendment for two hundred, please, Alex.")  It should come more easily, after so much slaughter.  But this was bad.  Little ones, none older than seven.  Little white caskets where the Christmas presents ought to be.  Teachers who died trying to save them.  The brain shuts down. 

It wiped everything else off the screen:  last week's eruption of violence at an Oregon mall (the gun jammed, apparently, only -- only two dead.)    The persecution and character assassination of Susan Rice by the cowards McCain and Graham.  The suicide of a nurse pranked by a couple of radio "comedians."  The love life of General Petraeus.  The endless game of chicken being played by alleged adults charged with working out the tax code.  And let's not forget the abuse hurled at Bob Costas for daring to suggest that gun violence ought to be discussed as seriously as the Heisman Trophy or the hockey strike.  When the President's silence is deafening, we rely on sports commentators to speak truth to madness.

I don't entirely blame Obama.  His mere re-election drove the tinfoil hat community to binge-shop for guns and ammo and call for secession from a country they no longer recognize.  If he follows up on a call for "meaningful" action, the owners of assault weapons may decide they have nothing to lose.  The gun lobby will maintain that it's really a mental health issue.  The people who believe in logic, bless them, will point to the deranged man who ran amok in a school in China; many were stabbed but no one died.  "Guns kill people.  He didn't have a gun."  "Guns make you free.  The Chinese are not free because..."  As Huck would say, I been here before.  May I go now?

And grief sifts down on a New England town, falling alike upon the living and the dead.


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