photo: Borderland Beat
"My first love was a 22, nice and slim; tucked in my Chucker boots what a priceless gem." -- "Toolz of the Trade," Smif n Wessun
This has the feeling of one of those events that will forever hang with us. Many may never forget where they were or what they were doing when they first heard about it. It's a feeling roused by the realization that for hours after this event, literally every person with whom I had even the briefest of contact asked the same question: "Did you hear about the shooting?"
Indeed, there have been few occasions that I can recall such an intensely unified reaction of shock to an act of gun violence involving some yahoo going "postal." It's as if in the hours after the event, the grimy, sulphuric presence of gunpowder residue continued to hang over the nation.
Somehow I don't recall this level of passion in the post carnage reactions and analysis of any of the recent mass shootings. Not after the Fort Hood killings in Texas or the Sikh Temple massacre in Milwaukee. And not after the Gabby Giffords shooting in Toledo or the "joker" theater rampage in Colorado. That series of recent gun massacres resulted in a combined total of 38 Americans dead and 105 injured 105.
I also don't recall in the previous events, an atmosphere of such deflated sorrow that in this case caused so many otherwise hardened law enforcement officials, experienced journalists, seasoned first responders, veteran politicians, and even presidents to become so uncontrollably teary-eyed.
There seems little doubt that this event is palpably different. It has a 911-like surrealism to it. But can it illicit the same degree of serendipity to become -- as is alleged of 9-11 -- the day that "changed everything?" Indeed after the latest in an epic stream of gun-related atrocities, the question for many has to be: will it make a difference?
Here we are. Once again. This time it's Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people are gunned down; twenty of them children, virtually all of them first graders.
And in its wake, the anticipated shrill of demands for tighter gun control will erupt which will bring in response, the trite but clever non-sequitur: "Guns don't kill; people kill."
However, if one of these "people" fiends with the desire to head out and kill masses of other people this person might consider using a bomb -- especially if he wants to get the job done quickly. A bomb can be acquired, but they're illegal, so it's rather risky. So, to swiftly kill a whole bunch of people, perhaps the best legal alternative is a gun. And no matter how large or what caliber gun he desires, there is somewhere in America where he can obtain it legally.
But what's more relevant than the freedom to own and carry guns is the fact that guns kill precisely because "people" own and carry them. Thus what matters is what a gun can do, not what "people" can and cannot depending upon whether or not they are packing one. What it boils down to is that if "people" want to kill a whole lot of other people -- regardless of whether they want to get it done quickly or take their damn time -- there's a legally-obtainable device specifically designed for that purpose. Beyond that, the device is useless.
It's called a gun. And while there's little doubt that people will continue to kill even if laws restricting gun ownership were as tough as those that outlaw bomb ownership, the pool of available killing devices would likely be significantly diminished.
So when it comes to children being slaughtered by bullets discharged by any of the millions of legally-obtained guns in which our nation swims, I can't possibly blame poor parenting; mental or emotional instability; television violence; Tupac Shakur; the stock market; MTV; BET; PEDs; anti-Semitism, racism, too much Red Bull, religion, the Mayan calendar, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, or Hostess Twinkies.