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.
Once we start from that premise and understand that capital punishment rests on a foundation of muck created by men, there’s nothing more that needs to be said. It is legal only because they say that it’s legal. It is legal because of citizens, who ought to be repulsed by shameless lawmakers, who use “tough on crime” to secure votes, permit that. It behooves our electorate to inform ourselves of the history surrounding the subject.
The fact of its immorality means that capital punishment cannot ever be justified and constitutionally acceptable. Running back and forth to the United States Supreme Court, to collectively ponder whether a particular case meets the test, the artificial standard, of “cruel and unusual punishment” is redundant and ridiculous. Being so because the actions of the State create circumstances of suffering that make it cruel and unusual.
But capital punishment extends further in its obscenity, corrupting each individual who facilitates the killing, from the judge who claims she’s only following the law, to the governor whose bloody hand approves the evil, all the way down to the brute that seeks the vein to administer the poison. Each participant, at every stage, makes a personal decision to kill the particular human being. There’s no excuse. Nothing decent can be found in what you chose to do. Stop the barbarity.
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.