Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just What The Hell Is Going On?

I have been going back and forth over how much or how little to write about the horrible events in Connecticut. My reaction has been similar to that during the days after 9/11, and I don't say that lightly. Just as on that day, I keep going back to the same thought, "how could anyone do that?" Maybe the event is too much for a blog post, but I do need to say something about the political reaction, such as it has been.

We are being ruled by fools on both sides of the aisle.

Within an hour of the true scale of that maniac's rampage becoming clear, you began to hear talk about how we would need to Do Something about guns. Those poor children, and the brave handful of women who sacrificed their lives to save so many others, were lying still where they died, and here came Michael Bloomburg, who should rightly be concerned about what's going on in the Five Boroughs, and no further, intoning that "we" must get guns off the street. The words of this former alleged Republican have been repeated ad nauseum, so much so that it is clear that liberal politicians and their media allies saw this awful tragedy - just imagine the last panicked seconds of those children's lives - as a once-in-a-decade chance to "win" a political argument they lost years ago.

Michael Bloomberg? Diane Feinstein? Michael Moore? Everyone on CNN & MSNBC? Go to Hell. Please.

And, they're the compassionate ones, don't you know.

Banning guns may have a certain visceral appeal, especially with its biblical incantations of beating swords into plowshares, but that's not going to solve anything. For one thing, gun bans are unconstitutional. For another, facts and experience tell us that gun bans ultimately result in more guns deaths, not fewer. And, finally, there is not a law you could draft respecting guns that would have stopped that monster from carrying out his evil deeds.

Of course, the fact that liberals can't ban guns doesn't mean they can't do the next best thing, which  it to wave the bloody shirt in the face of those conservative politicians reckless enough to go on cable TV to be hectored about the 2nd Amendment, as if the NRA relishes mass killings.

That doesn't mean the right hasn't had its own moments of jack-assery. You know what's just as pointless as calling for banning guns? How about calls to censor violent movies and video games? That's just as unconstitutional as banning guns, and about as effective. Same with calls to bring back school prayer.

You know what I haven't heard from any of our conservative "leaders?" An idea of how to deal with the actual problems that you readily identify as common to all of these mass shootings:
1. a troubled loner who was obviously a ticking time bomb, and whose dangerous proclivities were undoubtedly well known to those around him, but who could not get him off the streets.  
2. readily available guns that they practically picked up off of the floor  
3. a "soft target" filled with defenseless victims
We knew all of this before last Friday, but everyone's acting like the sun just rose in the East for the first time.

Now I know House Republicans have been very busy watching John Boehner tramp up to the White House to "negotiate," but, in the meantime, don't they have jobs? Aren't they, like, legislators? Hasn't Congress been known to produce legislation on occasion?

Say what you will about Dianne Feinstein, but 48 hours after the massacre began, she was in front of a microphone with draft legislation ready to go. Do you think she and her staff wrote this stuff in a fever pitch on Saturday? Of course not! They had it sitting in a drawer somewhere, ready to go for just this moment when the public could perhaps be railroaded into supporting gun restrictions it would otherwise oppose.

You get the feeling Republicans have draft legislation sitting in a drawer (or on a hard drive)? Me neither.

Where's the federal law making a parent criminally negligent when they leave a god-damned weapon lying around the house, and their kid uses it to kill someone?

Where's the federal concealed-carry legislation?

Where's federal equivalent of the Tarasoff rule?

And where's the federal law making it a lot easier to institutionalize people with dangerous, violent psychoses?

(that last one, btw, would pass with wide majorities while the ostensibly "common sense" guns bans will languish in committee. Let liberals explain why the likes of Seung Cho should be able to just wander the world until they decide it's time to go out in a blaze of infamy.)

Where is all this proposed legislation? You got me. All I see are Republican politicians like Louis Golmert auditioning for the James Watt Memorial Clueless Right-Wing Gaffe Award by, say, going on teevee and saying we should "arm the teachers." Maybe we should, but wouldn't it be better to try and actually pass laws that could address the very real gaps in our laws? And, Rep. Golmert, with all due respect, isn't that your job?

The Adam Lanzas of the world have civil rights that allow them the freedom to plot, and carry out, mass murder. I guarantee that somewhere in Connecticut there is a psychologist who knew exactly what was wrong with his patient and didn't or couldn't do anything about it. Lanza's civil rights trumped the right those children had to be able to go to school and then come home alive. Society has bent over backwards for Adam Lanza and his ilk, offering them freedom where, 50 years ago, they would have been institutionalized. In coddling Lanza, society utterly failed to do anything for those beautiful children, and the women who tried desperately to save them. Arm the teachers? Sure, but why not get the nation's Adam Lanzas - their neighbors and teachers know who they are, more or less - off the streets?

But no, the dread "right wing" would rather gas on about Call of Duty II or school prayer, in between stuttering defenses of the 2nd Amendment under the kleig lights of the cable shows that constitute our god-forsaken public forum.

We've had school shootings before, but this one is historically awful.

Liberals think we must surrender our constitutional rights, and leave ourselves defenseless.

Republicans are willing to defend the 2nd Amendment, but are otherwise cowering in the usual defensive crouch, offering platitudes.

No one wants to take the lead and say what the majority of Americans are thinking: we have been too lenient for too long with the disturbed young men who walk our streets.

As I said, we are being ruled by damn fools.

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