It’s only human nature to want to take action after such a harrowing traumatic event. To do something, anything, to protect our kids. And make sure that Newtown never ever happens again. Here. There. Anywhere.
But while the rest of the nation grieves, familiar opponents on the gun issue are focused more on making sure their groups’ messages don’t get trampled in the anticipated tsunami of sorrow. So they preemptively are trying to drown out each other with battalions of bellicose bullhorns, and it doesn’t matter that they can’t hear each other because neither side is listening anyway.
That’s the crossroads at which we find ourselves. Again. The intersection of guns, guns and more guns. Too many. Too few. Too big. Too small. Too scary looking. Waiting periods. Background checks. Magazine sizes. Access. Transportation. Construction. Registration. Who decides and who abides.
All the old buzz phrases are dusted off. “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” “Increased gun control means aiming better.” “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Actually, it’s those darn bullets that puncture the skin and bones, Making holes for the blood to leak out of way too fast.
The National Rifle Association is busy pumping out press releases arguing that if the teachers had been armed, this tragedy could have been averted. Yeah, there you go. That’s what we need — more guns in schools. The major problem with school shootings? Schools. There’s your answer, boys. Want to cut down on school shootings, get rid of the schools. A solution many states are busy implementing as we speak.
Besides, why just arm the teachers? Aren’t we forgetting about our kids? Surely they have the right to defend themselves. The only question is where do you draw the line? Middle school? Fourth grade? Does the Second Amendment guarantee the rights of Toting Toddlers? Should kid-proof trigger guards be illegal? Maybe get Fisher Price to equip classrooms with plastic Day-Glo under-desk holsters.
The left also is once again questioning whether military-type assault weapons have a place in today’s society. To which the right vehemently argues semantics. “Semi-automatic rifles aren’t assault weapons and the left obviously has no experience with guns or they wouldn’t mislabel them and their ignorance on the subject disqualifies them to comment or have any opinion whatsoever.” This is what’s known in gun control circles as the “neener neener” argument.
It’s an argument that totally misses the point. Doesn’t matter what you call them — semi-automatic rifles, military-type horizontal handheld ordnance, futuristic flintlocks, agitation resolvers, magic wands, disputatious caramelized pump-action fruit rolls — stick a feather in their muzzle and call them macaroni if you want.
The basic problem is, the only reason to own a macaroni that can fire hundreds of pieces of lead faster than the speed of sound in mere seconds is to kill people. Yes, of course they can be used as legitimate hunting rifles. You also can use a flame thrower to light a cigarette. If you think about it, a hand grenade will signal the end of recess. Need to cut some butter, just pull out the trusty old chainsaw. Of course, be prepared for it to get a little messy around Muffin Time. And right now, we’re smack in the middle of an especially messy Muffin Time.
Will Durst is a political comic and syndicated columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org