Ever since the Tuscon shootings, there has been the usual flood of talk about who or what to blame it on. First, the local sheriff said it was all the hate talk, and when people began to think, well who are the haters, somehow neither Obama nor Rachel Maddow leapt to mind, but Glenn Beck who calls anyone who disagrees with him a traitor did. So did Rush and Sean Hannity and all those right wing paranoid semi schizoprhenics who stay out of institutions by making millions on the radio.
And Sarah Palin of the cross hairs ads felt compelled to defend herself because even if nobody mentioned her by name initially, it was one of those "You know who you are moments."
And then there was the backlash, from sources like Jon Stewart, who pointed out that just because you share some characteristics with Hitler (anger, hyperbole) that doesn't make you a Nazi.
But, of course, there was a reason so many people in so many locations thought, "That nut had thoughts fed him by the nuts on the radio. He's just acting, taking the next step you might take if you think the Democrats are traitors who want to control you, your bank account, your mind. Defend your country, yourself, be a hero.
But the most satisfying discussion I've seen of all this, the reasons for mass killings out of the blue, comes from the song writer Cheryl Wheeler, who I'm only now just discovering. She does not account for the Oklahoma City bombing or for the suicide bombers or the 911 maniacs in this song, but she covers a lot of ground including Tuscon and Columbine.
If It Were Up to Me
- Words and Lyrics by:
- Cheryl Wheeler
- Maybe it's the movies, maybe it's the books
- Maybe it's the bullets, maybe it's the real crooks
- Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the parents
- Maybe it's the colors everybody's wearin
- Maybe it's the President, maybe it's the last one
- Maybe it's the one before that, what he done
- Maybe it's the high schools, maybe it's the teachers
- Maybe it's the tattooed children in the bleachers
- Maybe it's the Bible, maybe it's the lack
- Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the crack
- Maybe it's the hairdos, maybe it's the TV
- Maybe it's the cigarettes, maybe it's the family
- Maybe it's the fast food, maybe it's the news
- Maybe it's divorce, maybe it's abuse
- Maybe it's the lawyers, maybe it's the prisons
- Maybe it's the Senators, maybe it's the system
- Maybe it's the fathers, maybe it's the sons
- Maybe it's the sisters, maybe it's the moms
- Maybe it's the radio, maybe it's road rage
- Maybe El Nino, or UV rays
- Maybe it's the army, maybe it's the liquor
- Maybe it's the papers, maybe the militia
- Maybe it's the athletes, maybe it's the ads
- Maybe it's the sports fans, maybe it's a fad
- Maybe it's the magazines, maybe it's the internet
- Maybe it's the lottery, maybe it's the immigrants
- Maybe it's taxes, big business
- Maybe it's the KKK and the skinheads
- Maybe it's the communists, maybe it's the Catholics
- Maybe it's the hippies, maybe it's the addicts
- Maybe it's the art, maybe it's the sex
- Maybe it's the homeless, maybe it's the banks
- Maybe it's the clearcut, maybe it's the ozone
- Maybe it's the chemicals, maybe it's the car phones
- Maybe it's the fertilizer, maybe it's the nose rings
- Maybe it's the end, but I know one thing.
- If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns.
- (P) October 1, 1997
- Penrod And Higgins Music / Amachrist Music
- ACF Music Group
- International Copyright Reserved
Not that I really think we can take away all the guns. As my father-in-law, a life time member of the NRA, a lifelong hunter and outdoorsman, often said, you could outlaw the sale of guns tomorrow and there are already so many millions of guns out there in America, it would have about as much impact as daming the Potomac River as it flows into the Atlantic. Sea levels would not drop; gun violence levels would not drop.
So it goes beyond the theoretical--practically, there is little we can do about the presence of guns now.
(But, just for the record, how crazy are Rush/Glenn/Sean/Boehner the whole self righteous right bleating about the Second Amendment and how it guarantees every individual American when, if you read the Second Amendment it begins and ends with "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." That's all folks. It says guns are for the members of a militia (because in the eighteenth century there were no arsenals or ammo dumps--every militiaman kept his gun at home.
So how do the Atillas get from there to every citizen has a guaranteed right to keep an AK 47 or a howitzer or a Derringer in his home and on his person for whatever purpose he may choose? Talk about mental contortions--the Supreme court went through contortions which would put those Mongolian contortionists in Circe De Soleil to shame.)
Stay tuned. There is more coming in this space from Cheryl Wheeler. Actually, I have not made more than a few steps down the road of FDR, Gail Collins, Paul Krugman. These folks have something to say.
They have taken up the torch of Richard Hofstadter, Walter Lippmann and voices from the mid twentieth century.
It's nice to think we have brains bubbling up thoughts. I mean, there hasn't been all that much good music since Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, for my money. It's nice to know, if we don't have music, we have writers.