I've been shot at twice. When I was fourteen, I was on my
paper route on a sunny September Sunday afternoon in
I was a savvy kid. The shot felt like a ballpoint pen
stabbed about a quarter inch deep into my shoulder blade, and I was pretty sure
it was a high-powered BB rifle rather than one of the .22s I had practiced with
on a rifle range in sleepaway camp. As I raced down the block, another shot
soared to my left. I saw that a quick right-hand turn and another short, mad
dash would put me behind an apartment building and out of harm's way.
But then I did something that made sense to me and probably only to me. I stopped suddenly--a half dozen copies of the Sunday Daily News still in my satchel--looked up toward approximately where the shots originated, stared coldly, and with my free hand gave the sniper the middle finger. Another shot whistled by. I spun and disappeared behind the nearby building.
When I was a thirty-one year old borough engineer, I was
sent up to
Today I'm fifty and experience the terror and anger of being used for target practice every time I learn of an innocent man, woman or kindergartner shot, which is every day.
I don't give a damn about the Second Amendment. It is a
lethal, misinterpreted anachronism. It is a blight on American life. The Second
Amendment has been elevated to the status of a Commandment, while the real
Commandments have long since been discarded like the Second Amendment should
have been. Adultery? Check out ashleymadison.com. Coveting what is thy
neighbor's? Bank of America can foreclose on your home illegally, get caught,
and pay a five hundred dollar fine. Murder? Four thousand have been committed
But through it all, the Second Amendment remains intact. The Second Amendment towers above any Commandment or any other Amendment. It is the stem cell of all irrational fundamentalist beliefs in a nation full of mental backwoods and numb cul-de-sacs.
I have a simple message for the Mitch McConnells, Jeff Flakes, and Jim Inhofes who pollute the halls of Congress and the Neanderthals who put them there. You and the gun lobby that controls your bullet-sized minds have made the Constitution a suicide pact. Suicide is what I consider every time I hear your drivel about protection from tyranny by the government. If the government ever really wanted to seize your trailer and satellite dish, they could send a drone to vaporize you midway through American Chopper. They could send a team of SEALs under cover of night and dispatch you quickly to that great gun show in the sky. Ask Osama bin Laden.
Are they coming for your guns? No, they are not, and that's
a shame. I would love to see it, except for the fact that I really do not enjoy
bloodshed--even yours--and even though I am certain you would enjoy mine. Thing
is, you want them to come for your guns.
You would relish that
After a failure to launch in Congress, we are well past respectful debate. I have no respect for the obstructionists. You are interested in protecting the rights of random snipers who take out paperboys and borough engineers. You have oceans of blood on your hands and seek oceans more. You talk about teachers and first-graders and nurses and bus drivers and fast-food workers and Apple Store salespersons all packing heat to fulfill your sick OK-Corral-Call-of-Duty paradigm. You propose treating cancer with sugar and dioxin.
The more lethal and massacre-worthy the weapon, the more you have to have it. Plutonium-tipped bullets are not far off, and you will fight to someone else's death to ensure they are available on the internet in 30-round clips without a background check to schizophrenic psych ward escapees looking to settle a score at Toys R Us.
Sandy Hook served one purpose only--to underscore for future
historians how bloodthirsty early 21 st century
What would it take to really wake us up? Sadly, it could not be done. Say we had a baseball stadium full of three-year-olds. And say a disgruntled hedge fund executive entered from the centerfield gate with a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and got off a few dozen missiles killing around twenty thousand toddlers before finally being subdued by the grounds crew. Wayne LaPierre would propose Missile Interceptor Day at the ballpark. And we would listen.