Mass Shootings

How did we turn into a can’t do nation?

Or to put it another way, if Democrats suddenly embraced gun ownership would Republicans renounce it?

I don’t own a gun and never would. Primarily for two reasons: 1. I’d end up shooting a friend or relative knocking on the door or prowling around the house in the dark, innocently. 2. I’d probably shoot myself. My hold on reality is very thin. I think about this back pain I had…I remember telling everybody if there was a gun in the house, I’d probably shoot myself. Thank god there was not.

Now I grew up in the dark ages. When you walked to school in kindergarten and the term “playdate” had yet to be coined. We came home from school, even walking in the rain, and then we’d get on our bikes and go to a friend’s house, or the baseball field… As a matter of fact, we rarely stayed home, my mother wouldn’t tolerate it. And we couldn’t watch TV during the day… My mother was a woman of action, she wanted us to grab hold of the world and go for a ride.

As for all the bad things that can happen to a child… She never thought of them. And if we brought them up she pooh-poohed them. And I never had a key to the front door my entire life, we moved into that house when I was six months old and my mother didn’t move out for half a century, literally.


Well, let me go a bit further. My mother wasn’t uptight about what I read or saw. Movie ratings appeared when I was still living at home, and the only issue with an R-rated movie was sneaking in. And if I wanted to go into New York to see a concert… I was stunned when I went to college and found kids so sheltered. Or people who didn’t go to their first concert until they were in high school. I went so early I can’t remember what I saw. Music was a family tradition, I remember being brought to Young People’s concerts at the same time I entered school. Then again, I was brought up in a family where culture was more important than money. And what money we had was spent on food, travel and cultural events. We all crammed into a split-level house, with really only one bathroom, living conditions even poor people wouldn’t accept today.

And I know that time marches on, that there is progress. I accept that now people live in giant houses, lease new cars and fly on a whim, to even see a concert, but socially… Bring back the sixties!

Oh, don’t be literal, talking about oppression and discrimination. Then again, being a Jew could be even worse today. Back then people only said things, now they take action. There weren’t shootings in synagogues in the old days.

And parents… God, it’s a big bad world out there, and you’ve got to learn how to navigate it at some point. In Japan they send kids on errands alone before they are even old enough to go to school. In the U.S. kids call their parents not only when they’re in college, but even when they’re out, assuming they’re not living at home, to ask such questions as to how to do their laundry, or to muse over their personal problems. My mother never wanted to hear about my inner life. My father was good in a crisis. But my parents weren’t my best friends, no one’s parents were. And when we left the nest… Our parents would be shocked at some of the stuff we did. As for books and learning…

Is this how far we’ve come, books are going to threaten your kid? Never mind that new schoolbook in Florida that mentions Rosa Parks, but does not include that she was Black. We’re going backwards. It’s supposed to be the information age, and now we’re keeping information from kids? Who have so much access at their fingertips?

I mean they make all these companies put child controls in their hardware and software… Who uses this stuff? And it’s not easy to figure out to begin with! What are you protecting your kid from? Information on sex, so they’ll get pregnant the first time out? What is this retrograde movement really about? I know we’re never going back to the sixties, but that does not mean some of the sixties values can’t be embraced. But a bunch of people want us to go back to the fifties!

And let’s not even mention white nationalism.

It’s not like this country hasn’t been in crisis previously. What comes to mind is the airplane hijackings of yore. Everybody threw their hands in the air and said nothing could be done as planes were diverted to Cuba on a regular basis, kind of like school shootings today. What did the country do?

Well, if you’re young, you’re not going to believe this but…you used to go to the airport and walk straight to the gate, uninterrupted. And when you got off the plane your family or friends would show up to greet you, right at the gate! But now we’ve got the TSA, metal detectors. And the amazing thing is they detect stuff. Never mind the celebrities caught with guns, regular people possess them even more. And how do we know this? Because the TSA catches them.

Security at airports is a big pain in the rear end. But there are no more hijackings.

So when it comes to gun control…

What kind of bizarre world do we live in that there are originalists on the Supreme Court. What would the framers of the Constitution think of today? That’d be like asking what Mozart thinks of Megan Thee Stallion, he couldn’t even imagine it, fathom it. We never did get flying cars, but we got a hell of a lot of stuff we could never imagine. We got phones on our wrists, but we also got the ability to text anybody anywhere. To do our business online, without low-skilled help screwing up the details. It’s a wonderful world when it comes to technology, which by the way no one in D.C. can understand, everybody’s inured to the past. But even if the Second Amendment was written with standing up to the government in mind, do you really think any of those old blokes would have the same position today? A bunch of yahoos with firearms standing up to drones and nuclear weapons and… It’d be like that old movie, Bambi Meets Godzilla, and if you haven’t seen it, take a peek, it’s very short:

Life doesn’t go backward. We don’t go from gasoline automobiles back to horses and carriages. We evolve. To believe we can jet back to the past is to put one’s head in the sand. How come we can’t agree on this? We can’t seem to agree on anything! Not even facts!

So when you go to the airport you’re inconvenienced. You have to budget extra time, it’s a big hassle, but we’re much safer for it. But when it comes to guns, we must be hands-off. Huh?

Now I know that you can argue gun ownership is a constitutional right, whereas airplane access is not, but… We sacrificed for safety with air travel, why can’t we do the same with guns?

I can go crazy here, like the people who believe the techies will solve climate change and not to worry about the problem and say… Why can’t techies put force fields around schools, disallowing guns to come in? Even better, why can’t they make guns unable to fire when you leave your house, or when other human beings are within sight. God, we have GPS in our phones that can track tiny items down to the inch, but we can’t apply it to guns?

And who says “arms” means all guns? Why can’t I have a bazooka? Or drive around with a ramming pole on my car? I mean what guns should we be able to possess? I mean you need an assault rifle because..?

And don’t tell me that there are all these assault rifles already out there. So many people who commit gun crimes buy their wares not long before they commit their violations. When you make access harder, you reduce the problem.

And why not incentivize people to give up their guns? I’d pay taxes for that. Kind of like cash for clunkers during the 2008 recession. Not only will we give you your money back, you can get a ticket to see Taylor Swift! Yes, come with a gun and we will allow you in to see Drake, or the Eagles… Sure, Ted Nugent wouldn’t participate, but most musical acts would. They’d play for free to get guns off the street. There are solutions, not only if you think outside the box, but if you think at all!

But I must admit, as much as we try to shame the right, this is the right not only elected representatives are scared of, but even the media. Last night on Tucker Carlson they said the cause of the Nashville shooting was Antifa, I kid you not. If Antifa is so big and powerful, how come I’ve never met a single member? I’m a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, no one has ever approached me, no one has ever owned their membership. As for the woke… Okay, some kids being schooled on mommy and daddy’s money are playing with their rights and identities at college. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, experiment? What I’m saying here is if you think every Democrat is woke, you’re asleep. Sure, there are issues of pronouns and trans and…doesn’t this boil down to freedom? How come we have freedom to own guns but not to be trans? I mean really, which is more dangerous to society?

Small cadres have impact way out of proportion to their constituencies. As for speakers being booted from colleges… Have you ever investigated any deeper? In many cases, these speakers not only have truly heinous views, they’re invited so there will be a protest, so there will be a conflagration, so the rational students will be incensed, so news will be made. Let’s see, would you let an antisemite speak at your synagogue? A white nationalist at a church dominated by Black members? Dig beneath the surface, but everything is a talking point these days, there can’t be agreement, there must be war.

And then we have the Democrats in Congress saying nothing can be done, and telling AOC to tone it down. God, these old men need to be woken up. Everybody has drunk the kool-aid, can’t think outside the box. We lived through that in music, the revolution came and streaming dominates, even though the “Billboard” chart still counts physical disproportionately. Morgan Wallen’s number one album? It sold 12,500 copies last week. But it did have 256 million streams. Hell, I guess it’s like our government, where the minority has undue influence and power.

So, let’s start with people who believe in solutions. Who don’t say their hands are tied. Who keep agitating for change and won’t shut up. If you keep talking, you reach people. Then again, we’ve got an ex-President telling us there will be death and destruction if we challenge him and the status quo.

Why is everybody afraid to stand up?

Well, my generation, the free range kids, turned out to love money more than everything. Possessions. Lifestyle. They’ve eclipsed the arts. But scratch a boomer doctor and you’ll find in many instances they wish they were a musician.

As for changing the law… Maybe we don’t even start there. We start with public campaigns. Not only anti-gun, but… Neighborhood Watch could delineate who in the neighborhood owns a gun. And incentivize them to get rid of it as per above. How about a little more sunlight on gun ownership? If you live out in the prairie or mountains, where animals can get you, sure, you can own a gun. But not an AK-47. And electronics won’t allow you to shoot it in the city.

But we’re moving in the other direction, with open carry.

It’s like everybody has lost their senses. I mean if you believe what that nitwit Marjorie Taylor Greene says, if you believe in QAnon… Maybe we do that first, have a campaign to inform the populace of truth, no law is involved there. Shame Netflix into giving you airtime, get Spielberg involved. I mean entertainment has so many tools, why can’t they be employed?

As for those saying “my gun, my life”… Let’s incentivize them to all live on Ted Nugent’s ranch. Go where the other gun nuts live. Let them shoot each other. I mean as many people seem to have been involved in mass shootings as got Covid. Oh, of course that’s untrue. But even the “Wall Street Journal,” the right wing paper of record, said masks and vaccines saved lives, even Trump is pro-vaccine, but once again, everybody’s defaulting to the lowest common denominator, playing to the uneducated yahoos. Imagine if the rest of life were that way. Everything had to be dumbed-down to the lowest and slowest, that we had to live by their rules, however dumb. That’s what’s going on in politics today.

So, I’ll leave you with this question… How come we can’t come up with solutions? Hearing no while kids get shot up gets old, and if you think thoughts and prayers are going to save you, do anything for you, you must believe there’s a little man in the sky who knows everything you do, whether you’ve been naughty or nice…and in truth, religion is fading in America, but we’re still ruled by the ancient telling us that babies should not be killed, and if it ruins the mother’s life and if the baby grows up in poverty, it doesn’t make a difference.

Some of this stuff is irrational on the surface.

But we keep being told nothing can be done.

They build whole cities in China seemingly overnight, but we can’t even build one high-speed rail line in California.

How about a plan?

Then again, the Republicans refuse to proffer a budget.

Oh, don’t both sides me. Trying to win by not playing is a fool’s errand. It doesn’t work in sports and ultimately it doesn’t work in politics. Where else can you survive constantly saying no? Life is about risk-taking, America used to be about throwing the long ball, moonshots, but now we can’t even get out of our own way.

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