Sunday, October 4, 2015

Guns Again? Ho-hum.

Please don't think me flip, or accuse me of taking advantage of a terrible tragedy, but conservatives are tremendously fortunate that Pope Francis left the United States before the unconscionable, probably preventable, if we had some background check laws, shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon late last week. I can only imagine that the Pope would take the gun lobby to task for being as anti-life as the anti-choice crowd, further muddying every attempt by both right and left to shoehorn Francis into their tidy ideological boots. Even his misguided meeting, and subsequent Vatican public relations fiasco, with Kentucky's favorite law-breaker, Kim Davis wouldn't have been able to calm the right wing if he was here for the massacre.

And here we are, again, having this same conversation about guns and how the only answer is to arm all students and faculty in every school in the country. That is folly. Madness. An invitation to more tragedies. But it passes for considered, thoughtful policy in one corner of American politics. I live in the most crowded, anxious, tense corridor in the country and most of the people I know and come in contact with would not even think of carrying a gun, much less buy one for their college-aged children, yet people who live in the rural, more remote regions are armed to the hilt, convinced that this president (This President) is bent on taking away the gun that's protecting their family against...what?

Really. Please tell me what's so frightening? It doesn't make sense to me.

There will be no legislation anytime soon, what with John Boehner gone and a far more conservative leadership about to take the helm of the House. And even if a Democrat is elected president in 2016, Republicans will have at least the House, if not the Senate, in which to thwart any attempt at reasonable laws that might prevent a future tragedy.

Yes, we certainly have a mental health problem in this country, but we also have a gun problem. Mentally ill people without guns don't pose the same threat as those with them. But listening to the right, you'd get the idea that they are two completely different issues at all times; an empty middle in the right's Venn Diagram.

So when Jeb Bush flicks away the shooting last week as "stuff happens," and he's supposed to be a bit more moderate than others in the race, it sends an unambiguous message that the Republican Party doesn't value life as much as it says it does. It's a tremendously callous thing to say from someone who's supposed to be the smart brother. The other candidates have been silent.

I don't know which is worse.

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