I was walking the Schnauzers in the woods this morning when I saw a flash of wings in a distant tree. An enormous, perfectly camouflaged hawk broke cover. I immediately called my tiny terriers to heel. A thought occurred: what if the raptor had swooped down on one of my dogs? What could I have done? Yell? Wave my arms? Throw my phone at it? Nothing much. Thanks to Rhode Island’s reticence to allow its citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, I wasn’t carrying. And even if I had been, could you imagine the shit storm that would have followed an armed Schnauzer defense? I can. And it makes me angry—especially in the wake of the Safeway Massacre . . .
In the immediate aftermath of Jared Lee Loughner’s heinous crime, without a shred of supporting evidence, the mainstream media and left-wing blogs immediately blamed right-wing rhetoric for inspiring the killer. When that didn’t pan out, these media mavens and political agitators switched gears. They focused their attention on the fact that Lougher purchased his Glock 19 legally and opened fire with a high-capacity magazine.
The underlying media meme: no matter how you look at it, society is an un-indicted co-conspirator in the OK-I-guess-we-can-admit-it-now senseless slaughter. We should have done something to prevent Loughner’s rampage. Whether that means muzzling right wing rabble rousers of jailing high-capacity magazine owners for eleven years. Doesn’t matter. Something must be done!
Conservatives and gun rights groups countered the culpability accusation with a simple argument: it wazzunt me. As for the legality of extra-lethal high-capacity handgun magazines, they said “What difference would that have made?”—even though, of course, it would have made a difference. In other words, the gun-owning right played defense.
It was—and remains—a deeply flawed strategy. Think of it this way: what if Loughner had been a right wing gunloon?
While the Arizona spree killer was more interested in Drowning Pool than immersing himself in Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, what if Loughner had been a Dittohead? An impressionable nutcase who listened to conservative agit-prop and decided to pop a pol? What would the right wing, church-going gun-clingers say then?
They could say the same thing they should have said this time: man up. Lock-up the loonies and shoot the evil ones as and when they need shooting. They could also suggest that every right-thinking (so to speak) American should learn how to use a gun and carry one to protect themselves, their families and society from mass murderers and violent criminals. That way we won’t become a nation of wimps and, thus, sheep.
Witness the fact that no one in the audience for the Gabrielle Giffords get-together was armed. This in a state where you don’t even need a concealed carry permit. Don’t give me that “they were Democrats” routine. Giffords was pro-gun rights. And there isn’t a law that says you can’t carry a gun within 1000-feet of a federal politician or high-level pencil pusher. Not yet.
The fact that this idea of a gun-free exclusion zone around our elected officials saw the light of day, that a politician would suggest that we should surrender our Second Amendment rights when we’re three football fields away from someone living on the public’s dime, indicates that we’re in real danger of becoming a nation of wimps.
Mind you, not all of us cut from the same cloth. Check this from the Phoenix-based news gatherers at azcentral.com:
The Nov. 15 home invasion began at about 9:30 p.m., said Lauro Castro.
“My wife was watching television and I was resting in the bedroom,” Castro said. “I heard my wife hollering, and didn’t know two men had pushed open the kitchen window and come in.”
Tears came to Castro’s eyes as he explained, “They hurt my wife, hit her hard, knocked her down, and then one was on me, tying me up, a scarf around my legs, telephone cords around my hands.”
Castro said he wasn’t frightened for himself.
“I’ve been through much worse,” he said, motioning to the wall beside him.
On the wall was a photo of Castro, taken about 60 years ago, as an infantry sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Next to the photo hung a framed Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded or killed in action, and a Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest decoration awarded for valor in the face of the enemy.
“I saw combat and had to deal with wounds from a hand grenade,” he said. “So what those two guys did to me was nothing. But their hurting my wife, that was terrible.”
No wimp there. So, whose going to tell this guy that he can’t have a Glock 17 with a 30-round magazine? That he shouldn’t have had a Glock 17 with a 30-round magazine? Not me. Men and women like Mr. Castro are the people who kept this country free. They deserve full and unfettered access to appropriate tools of self-defense. Like, I dunno, guns.
The wimpy response to crimes like this and the Loughner massacre: it’s a police failure. The cops should have done something. Again and again, every time bad people do bad things to good people, the media encourages citizens to wonder “where were the police?” Not “what could we do to protect ourselves?”
Read this story re: Robin Ribeiro. The Tennessee housewife waited 35 minutes for the po-po to arrive while a disturbed man sought and eventually found a way to get into her house. (A man she fought off with a vacuum cleaner.) According to the press report, police cutbacks are to blame—no doubt caused by evil Republicans who value a balanced budget over human life.
I’m not saying Ribeiro was a wimp. And I’m not saying that the media is responsible for creating a nation of wimps. But where did Ribeiro get the idea that she would be best off waiting 35 minutes for the cops? And the media sure seem to be leading us in the direction of collective wimpiness. Check this story from The Boston Globe . . .
All five state Parole Board members who were on the board at the time of the release of a convict who police said shot and killed a police officer in Woburn on Dec. 26 have resigned, Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday.
Officer John Maguire, 60, was killed during a botched jewelry counter robbery in Woburn on Dec. 26. Police say Dominic Cinelli, a paroled ex-con who had been serving three life sentences, shot and killed Maguire.
The initial outcry focused on Maguire’s “easy access” to an illegal gun. Isn’t that the problem? Not to put too fine a point on it, if you’re a wimp it is. Even when it isn’t. Check this post-shooting coverage from the Boston Globe:
“When the Parole Board saw him, he’d been extremely successful in the institution for a very, very long time, doing extremely well in the programs he was involved in,’’ she said. “I don’t know what happened to him over the weekend.’’
More than 4,000 people are released on parole each year.
In 2008, about 78 percent of parolees in Massachusetts completed parole supervision without reoffending or violating conditions, compared to the 49 percent national rate, according to federal and state statistics.
“This is a tragedy,’’ [prison program overseer Patricia] Garin said. “But it would compound the tragedy to step back on the successful parole practice that we have. It’s important not to judge the program by this one set of actions. As tragic as they are, it’s newsworthy because it is such a rarity.’’
To allow that thought to go unchallenged is the height of . . . of . . . I’m at a loss for words. This rat bastard took a human life. It’s newsworthy because we are not supposed to be a nation of wimps, susceptible to the sob stories and empty promises of a cold-blooded killer.
I don’t want to appear like a gun rights “extremist,” lest someone try and pin a misguided vigilante’s actions on the words I’m putting on this screen. But my indignation has been stoked by the outpouring of hand-wringing and self-flagellation surrounding the Lougher killing. Newsweek’s anti-American screed really turned my stomach:
Looking in from abroad, much of the world has historically been baffled by America’s gun laws. In no other country can a mentally unstable person access a Glock pistol as easily as suspected Arizona shooter Jared Loughner did. And in no other country is the number of people who own guns as high as in the United States, where there are 90 guns for every 100 people.
Shouldn’t the average American’s arsenal be a source of pride? Actually, the stat should be even higher. The 90-guns-to-every-100-Americans ratio is spread out across the entire population. Roughly half of Americans own guns and half don’t. Percentage-wise, very few carry. More and more people own and carry weapons. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not enough.
I could launch into the usual diatribe about how the right to keep and bear arms is the cornerstone of American freedom and democracy. When it comes to any right, it’s use it or lose it. But let’s go low-brow. Americans should carry firearms because anyone who doesn’t take personal responsibility for their own safety and security, and the safety and security of their loved ones, is a wimp. As Devo asked, are we not men? Apparently not.
On the positive side, evolution. People are only as “tooled-up” as they perceive the need to be. If Loughner-like attacks were a regular occurrence, you can bet your life that the number of people carrying guns in America would soar like that hawk wheeling over my dogs, looking for prey. A bird that reminded of a lesson my father—a proud American and labor camp survivor—-taught me.
There are only two types of animals: predator and prey. Anyone who trusts someone else to protect them from the former runs the risk of becoming the latter. That’s why we must never let that balance of gun ownership tip in the wrong direction, and become a nation of wimps.