Saturday, July 9, 2016


I chew on my asiago bagel, sip coffee. Five cops killed in Dallas.  Hm. The coffee should be hotter.  Into the microwave for thirty seconds.  There. Better, but the bagel could stand butter.  Seven cops injured, shot by a former military guy with a large chip on his shoulders.  Wish I had strawberry jam, or even peanut butter.  The shooter died too.

This is, what?; the nth mass killings in a few months? I have lost my capacity to be horrified. Large black headline announcing mayhem, woundings, the deaths of adults and children here or in some Middle Eastern hell-hole, they no longer have an impact. I glance, I sip, I chew.

I no longer follow the story to the jump page because they’re all the same stories. Someone has an issue, and a semi-automatic rifle probably purchased legally from a smiling semi-automatic salesman who promised this was the best weapon available for home defense. Or for hunting wild pig in Mississippi, varmints in Texas, and alligators in Florida.  The smiling salesman assuredly did not tell his potential customer that this was also the ideal weapon to gun down gays, cops, people in Bible class, kids in schools, adults meeting in California courthouses, or shoppers and shop-keepers.

The entire front page of today’s Washington Post deals with this latest shooting. I can forecast with a high degree of accuracy that the following will happen over the next few twenty-four hours:

1.       Congress will be in recess, though several Democratic and Republican members of that body will decry the violence in today’s society.

2.       There will be outcry.  There is always outcry.

3.       The President Will Say Something.

4.       The National Rifle Association and other gun lobbies will tell us that mentally unstable people should not be allowed to buy guns.  Essentially, they are telling us to license mentally unstable people, not firearms.

5.       I will get a telephone call from my sister in France who will ask how I am. She worries that her little brother lives in a gun-crazy society.

6.       My brother-in-law will get on the phone very briefly to say the entire world is going to hell in a handbasket and he’s glad he’ll be dead soon.

7.       The presidential candidates will mouth the necessary platitudes but not add a serious call for gun control to their election platform.

8.       A new gun shop will open in my area.  Three have opened in 24 months, the last on a main street next to an elementary school.

9.       No new laws restricting the purchase of semi-automatic weapons will be passed because semi-automatic weapons are protected by the second amendment and having one—or several—is a freedom of speech right.

10.   The media will give us a psychological profile of the killer and decide that he was wronged by society. Or perhaps, that he was not wronged by society, it’s hard to tell.

11.   Another mass shooting will take place within two weeks.

12.   See  1. above.

Actually, this is no longer primarily an issue of guns. I think it’s an entitlement problem.

Killing people has always been allowed in certain cases. We sanction and encourage the right and the duty to engage in murder at times of war, and in self-defense, protection of home, property and family. We are also allowed to kill people who have been found guilty of death-penalty crimes.

But entitlement is a strange thing and hard to define. Most mass killers have a great deal of self-entitlement. It is often encouraged tacitly by their families, their environment, by the websites they call up daily, by others whom propound racism and vigilantism, or any of the isms prevalent today. Mass murders, in the minds of killers, makes sense. It is effective; it gathers long-lasting publicity for a cause they are entitled to endorse.  In short, it works. It’s successful. It is, essentially, all-American.

Or, for that matter, all-French, all-Syrian, all-Swedish.

I’m not sure where to go from there.  I don’t know how to resurrect my sense of outrage, nor, if I could do so, what purpose it would serve.   I do know I’ll keep drinking coffee and I’ll not buy a gun.





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