Friday, October 2, 2015

Bang, Bang, Hug, Hug, Shrug, Shrug

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.


  1. Say it ain't so Mad Dog, say it ain't so...they've finally gotten to you-slipped you a mickey--next thing we know you'll be endorsing The Donald ...Not that you don't have a point-gun control laws very well may not result in the miraculous cure some gun control proponents suggest, there are already too many guns in circulation for that...but couldn't we work at making things better-or at the very least preventing the gun death toll from rising through saner gun laws..that surely seems doable..

    As for the Texas illegal immigrants looking for services for their children-it goes back to that age old problem, do we punish the children for the actions of the parents--are you suggesting Gov LePage, oops, I mean Mad Dog, that these babies should not receive healthcare or be allowed to go to school..I can understand the good citizenry's frustration-but none of our most vexing problems are easily solved-it's why they remain our most vexing..So come on Mad Dog snap out of it...

  2. Maud,

    Okay, I guess it was a "stop me before I kill again" moment.
    When you're right, you're right and you're right.

    But it did seem a bit like that old definition of "Chutzpah"--the man who kills both his parents and begs mercy from the judge because he is now an orpha-- the point being, you brought this on yourself, and now you ask me to forgive you? The parents game the system and hold up the babies for sympathy. You sure see that in Europe with Gypsy street beggars, who hold up their babies in one hand to you as you walk by and hold out the other hand for a donation.
    Yes, it makes you feel guilty as hell, and you give, but you think, as a matter of policy, do we want to create a system which is going to be gamed this way?

    Your larger point is what I have to remember: Can you blame the mother for wanting something better for her children? Isn't that why most people packed up from Ireland, Poland, Italy, Greece, and headed here?

    Mad Dog