With more than 600 mass shootings under our collective belt so far this year, it is likely that the powers-that-be won’t recognize that the inherent problem of gun violence is, well, guns.
Misinterpreted readings of the Second Amendment have led to stubborn demands that no law or regulation be enacted that might keep an AR-15 style assault weapon out of the grubby hands of camo-clothed Bubbas playing soldier at Trump-inspired gatherings. They, of course, are the jack-booted players in a game of impotency—their images ludicrous, albeit discomforting, in their posturing before Confederate flags and swastikas.
The real gun violence comes generally in the hands of disturbed, young white males with easy access to weaponry—usually their fathers. Inadvertent patterns have emerged, each tied to a particular setting which shows its participants vulnerable and defenseless.
If Congress, that once passed an assault weapon ban in 1994 under President Clinton and that lapsed under the Bush-Cheney administration ten years later, won’t do anything about legislating gun control, there are other controls that would protect both life and the liberty to arm oneself to the teeth.
From Sandy Hook to Parkland to Uvalde, schools are the frequent targets of mass murderers. Nobody knows why, though it’s likely that the shooter might have had a bad experience in fourth-grade social studies. What’s needed, of course, is to get rid of those places where children once gained an education and suffered only the indignity of crouching beneath their desks in acts of self-preservation in the event of a nuclear attack from any one of our many enemies. Fortunately, most of our enemies don’t have nuclear weapons or, in the case of India, an air force to transport said weapons to any specific target.
The nationwide closure of schools would mean that children weren’t gathered in any single place, which would, of course, not be an attraction to those hoping to deprive others of life and liberty. Unencumbered by any lessons in math or reading, the kids would be free to gather in small clusters that would not attract the attention of mentally ill shooters.
This would make Republicans deliriously happy.
Number one, the under-educated have recently been willing to support the party that promises everything not considered to be socialistic and delivers tax breaks and deferments only to the 1-percent, which is, of course, socialistic in and of itself. Secondly, gun manufacturers would be free to profit without regard to any kind of regulation, including background checks and waiting periods. No longer would gun retailers have to distribute questionnaires to potential buyers that have as a true/false answer to: “Do you wish you could have killed your father before he killed your mother?”
Not all gun shops are inherently evil. The ones where I live cater to hunters. Those on the south side of Chicago or the east side of Cleveland? Not so much.
Owners and sellers of assault weapons represent cowardice and weakness stirring within their damaged hearts.
But enough about schools. Clearly, Walmart and other such outlets offering cheap goods from China have been frequent targets of the armed and deranged. Perhaps it is a reaction to the fashion statements made by some Walmart shoppers. But that shouldn’t matter. If we mandate the closure of such retail outlets, we might save scores of lives of innocent shoppers no longer exposed to gunfire.
Churches and synagogues have become something more than convenient places to assassinate those who believe in something different than a shooter. What more could that be? About fifty percent of the faithful are vulnerable to attack. The rest of us are vulnerable in other locations. Places of worship have to go; they must be closed.
Outdoor concert venues have drawn the ire of a handful of violent murderers worried that the music in a Las Vegas parking lot might not be the preferred choice. Kill the crowd, but don’t shoot the piano player.
There were nearly a half-million of us at Max Yasgur’s farm in the summer of 1969. Nobody died. There were no injuries. At least one woman brought a new life onto a troubled planet.
And it seems like we should close down all the bars and clubs and discos—places were people go to have a couple of drinks and dance the night away. Too often, the dance is interrupted by gun shots from those who believe the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t enjoy the rights of the rest of us. Imagine seeking solace in a place where it’s safe to hold hands with a lover and then be assaulted by a gun-wielding, homophobic maniac.
And there is little assurance of safety in the grocery stores, public parks and dog parks, and the summertime farmer’s markets.
There’s only one element that has changed everything about the lives being lived in today’s America: guns.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
Ham in Cider (Jambon braisé au cidre)
4 thick slices of smoked cooked ham
3 shallots, chopped and blanched
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup fresh cream
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Add the blanched shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the ham slices and slightly brown them on both sides.
Pour in the cider and leave to reduce slightly.
Add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve ham with sauce, boiled potatoes with parsley, peas and some crusty bread.