On Our Attitude to Gun Violence
Now that America’s children have shown us the way out of the amoral morass that we call government, and have assured us that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is ten times smaller than the toys in the closet, the honorable action expected of adults is instinctively clear.
An educated electorate would have the compassion and courage to draw the teeth of the gun lobby and privately owned politicians, at the national and state level.
Dare I defy the logic of experience and hold my breath?
I watch our political leaders float proposals that would make a comedian weep with envy. For brevity, I’ll make just three observations.
A school is neither a fortress nor a prison. It must be safer than a home. Our children are owed the good memories of study, comraderie and play. They should not have to live in a state of terror, with a policeman present and school counselors fired.
A bar, an open air concert, a classroom -are not fish barrels or caged hunting reserves. Think of the horror. This is preventable sociopathic behavior allowed by an apathetic government.
Isolating school massacres from other community violence is misguided. Perhaps ignorant. Yes, military weapons have no place in civilized society. But have we asked ourselves, why are Americans killing themselves, their families and others in record numbers ? This level of violence is peculiarly American. We don’t have to tolerate it just because people want to get elected. We do have to find out why.
By Leyland A. King
July 7, 2017
No need be alarmed or outraged about the title. It really doesn’t matter anymore whether one chooses to be Democrat, Republican, or apathetic; religious zealot or palpably patriotic. It is too late! The hated Washington big government is no more, and the welfare queen has flown. Yes, the government we dismantled. No, we suffocated it. Fact is, it rotted away in plain sight while we called each other vile names and ignored the vile stench of decades-long institutional decay.
Now we can run the government as a business. A family enterprise. Hooray! It is a person with free speech and all the rights and privileges of a citizen, unconstrained by irritants like the constitution, regulations and such. Who needs voting rights anyway, Justice Scalia almost said. Free the Corporate citizen. They already have their own armies. They, in some countries, are called warlords.
Surely, we all heard of the contented frog slow-poached in a pot; about the jealous, happy frogs that prayed for a king to rule over them. The apt, belated comment might well be, they should have known. But there must be a parable somewhere, concerning the day the poor convened a meeting for super-rich men to, by the goodness of heart, discuss being kind to the poor. I can’t find one fitting, but Jonathan Swift’s satirical letter to the British, inquiring how they preferred Irish babies cooked, with what spices and accompanying dressings served, is as close as I got.
Now, like North Korean citizens ruled by a smart cookie, we’ll smile and cheer on sight of Trump, Paul Ryan, Betsie DeVos and so many, many others. Don’t ever stop cheering.
Senator Paul Ryan, a Shrinking Man
Dear Senator Ryan, I remember when you were an indistinct politician until the spotlight shone on you in the lead-up to your selection as running mate to Gov Romney. As the media promoted you, I said to myself , this guy seems to be someone passionate about our country, likeable, reasonable and would probably work with both parties. Though I do not share your political views I respected you and expected much of you. Then a few things happened, I learned more about you and you seemed to diminish in stature like a banquet ice-carving that could not see the event through. I now remember you for two actions, Sen. Ryan, both of which were choices you made for paltry gain. The first was when you espoused your view about “inner city” people not willing to work and relying on welfare. Nothing new there. Africans have always been depreciated that way. It gets votes. You went through the ritual of apology after claiming you were misunderstood. I knew better as did most people. Today, I watched as you needlessly harangued a senior public servant John Koskinen at an unnecessary hearing. You all but inferred criminality. The kind of people who would see your behavior and celebrate that, I would not wish to share the street with. Today, I saw you for what you truly are: a heartless, disrespectful, egotistical little man whose only care in life is to bully and insult others for whatever miniscule gain you can eke out of the disparate-power-interaction. Frankly, I am disgusted with you and the way you use your office. A public apology is owed Mr.Koskinen.