Las Vegas - 10/2/2017
Somewhere along my ride in this country in which I grew up protected, it was derailed by some pernicious fascination with “me before you.” Division. Disunion. Discord. Perpetual Disagreement.
I am hollowed out by the mounting loss of life that will climb inevitably from the inexplicable and yet unexplainable rampage in Las Vegas by a man within months of my own age. Is this how we shall all end?
Shall we once again start the old dance of dithering again? What happened? Who was he? How did he get access? Was he unstable? Should we all stop and pray? It was evil, wasn’t it? Have we let another with all the indicators and warnings get access to weapons of mass human destruction? Have we once again overlooked our own responsibility to monitor ourselves for the indeterminable mental fractures to which we are all of us susceptible?
In Washington, our Congress is currently “hearing” (pun intended) the “Hearing Protection Act.” That is, an act to allow owners of arms to purchase additional accessories to “suppress” or “moderate” the sound produced by the explosion heard after the discharge of a bullet from a weapon, be it pistol or long – gun (think rifle or AK47). A similar movement has been underway in the Illinois General Assembly.
Rationale? The use of a silencer on a gun or long rifle will prevent the kind or hearing damage that President Theodore Roosevelt found discomforting when he hunted or took target practice. In fact, it might even prove medically beneficial to those who are enjoying the nation’s Second Amendment’s expansion in the last twenty years. And, as you might have expected, The National Rifle Association has been pushing and paying hard for this legalization. As in their earlier advocacy of allowing the mentally ill access to purchase weapons as a safety to prevent them from illegally acquiring weapons (are you following that?), silencers will prevent hunters who use powerful semi automatics like Bushmasters and AK47’s for hunting deer or checking into the Mandalay Bay from going deaf after using their constitutionally sanctioned instruments.
In fact, the use of a “suppressor” will reduce the sound of a round’s exit from the barrel of a rifle or AR15 enough to lower it 30 or so decibels. In the middle of a concert, or a movie, or a loud gathering – well, that’s just enough to reduce in time the awareness of what is exactly happening. And, let’s not forget that the likely culprit – a .308 Hotshot Winchester round designed to tunnel through a bullet vest – for the nearly twenty rifles a poor deranged man had accumulated in a hotel room cost nearly $2 a round. This took not only a commitment to all our darker angels but also a merciless and meticulous plan to invest in the death of so many unfortunate and undeserving souls.
So, we’ll dance some more around the center of our own immolation, twirl about the questions of gun control – but we’ll all settle for the silent prayer and the heartless condolences. And we’ll wait…
Until we can be tearful partners in our national dance again.
In Washington, Sarah Huckabee Sanders reminds us all it is way too early to bring up discussions of gun control. We need to find the facts first. We need to mourn and respect the fallen.
The President offers his prayers and concerns. Not much else, except that we’ve “seen pure evil.” As if we hadn’t seen all variations already.
There’s a significant point in Shirley Jackson’s metaphorically poignant short story “The Lottery,” where the village people draw each year to see who they will stone to death in order to be safe, each and all of them, for the following year, “The people had done it so many times that they only half listened…most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around…”
Listen. Are they playing “Sandy Hook?”
Shall you lead…or shall I?