|Renny Cushing, Anti Violence Advocate|
Welcome to America, where summer gives way to Fall, baseball finishes and football begins, mowing lawns yields to raking leaves to shoveling driveways and some maniac with guns mows down a score of school kids. Just part of the American tapestry now.
Just now part of what is predictable in American life. Kids on a playground, kids in a classroom or a library or a cafeteria, and some, slightly older, usually white male appears and pulls out a gun and starts shooting.
Afterward, the news media swarm and photographers take pictures of people hugging and the local police get on camera and mouth some formulaic stuff about the shooter was found dead and the investigation is ongoing and President Obama fumes about the long list of events which no other country in the developed world has. Of course, in Africa, Mexico, the Middle East people are killed violently every day--it's hardly news.
At the hospital we have always had certain "codes" which come over the PA system to alert doctors and nurses and members of various cardiac or resuscitation teams--code blue in the ER, means cardiac arrest team is needed. We now have a code black, "Active Shooter." I'm not saying I've ever heard that code come across the PA, but the very fact we have that now says something.
I have no solutions. I wish I could believe it would be effective to pass laws but we are talking about deviant behavior here. The argument that our current system puts guns within easy reach of mad men is the animating idea about gun control.
I'd love to believe this would be effective, but much as I hate to agree with the National Rifle Association, I doubt any law restricting access to guns will help much, if the episodes we all remember are any guide. Most often it's been semi automatic hand guns, not AK15 attack rifles, and the guns are the street guns which any reader of George V. Higgins (The Friends of Eddie Coyle) or viewers of "The Wire" will know has no impact on availability of guns to crazies. As Chris Rock once suggested, the most effective ploy might be limiting or taxing heavily the bullets.
My father-in-law, a lifetime member of the NRA but a man who used guns to hunt not to strut, once noted there are already so many millions of guns out there in the USA you could stop sales tomorrow and there would be hardly a pause in the use of guns. Guns are not like cars--they don't age out. And the number now cited is 1/3 of American homes have a gun. I was talking with some friends in Hampton, saying that number, 1/3 of all homes, has got to be wrong. Where do they get such a number and one, piped up, "Oh, I believe it. We have guns in our house." And this is a liberal Democrat. Her husband owns guns.
It's getting so you can't tell the liberals from the conservatives.
Mad Dog himself finds he is not as liberal as he thought. Doubting that gun laws are the answer on one hand, and now a crack has appeared in his attitude toward immigration, despite the presence of the Donald, who should be pushing everyone into massive sympathy for immigrants.
BUT...there was a piece on NPR this morning about Texas being sued because illegal immigrants who have come across the Rio Grande and had their babies in Texas and Texas towns refused to issue birth certificates to the kids, so now the babies are stateless.
One of the plantiffs, who refuses to give her name because she is undocumented, but she is part of the lawsuit against Texas, complains that she cannot enroll her baby in Medicaide or in school because there is no birth certificate. Am I the only one thinking--Wait, this woman feels offended because the state of Texas refuses to pay for her child's medical care and education, although the entire family is in Texas illegally?
Have I just stroked out and turned into Paul LePage or am I beginning to see that even our most wacko crazies might have a point? How crazy does the world have to become when Mad Dog finds himself gravitating toward Paul LePage.
Please tell me this is all just a bad dream.