Monday, November 13, 2017

To err always on the side of the maniac

We are told by the gun lobby's echo chamber (the Republican Party) that great numbers of armed civilians make this world a safer place. Tell that to police in Thornton, Colo.

They had responded to the scene of yet another mass shooting – three people dead in a Walmart check-out line. When it all came down, a few shoppers pulled their guns, though the shooter walked calmly out of the store and drove away.

Police said that the presence of people wielding firearms "absolutely" slowed their ascertaining, via surveillance video, who the assailant was. In fact, it took five hours.

Ah, but . . . Ack, ack.

Days later, President Trump got to parrot the NRA "good guy with a gun" line when a civilian wounded the Sutherland Springs, Texas, mass killer, who ultimately killed himself.

As much as one would applaud the "good guy," Trump's advice is irresponsible -- a trait that is frightfully par for his course.

We don't want civilians pursuing gunmen, no more so than we would want them poking around crime scenes. That's why we hire police.

What people – the vast majority of us – urge is that everything possible be done to keep firearms out of maniacs' hands. They also urge that the man on the street, whatever his state of sanity, not have the killing capacity of, say, your average Marine storming a bunker.

Meanwhile, the Siamese Trigger Twins – the NRA and GOP -- do everything possible to prevent any sane response to gun carnage.

They are absolutely content to let sick people kill in bunches. Their approach to guns is consumerist alone. It's all about convenience for customers. They tell the targets to "get small," while ducking and dodging, and sending "thoughts and prayers" via Twitter.

They are the ones who have gotten small.

This is a recording: "Now is not the time to talk gun issues when so many have just died." So thoughtful. So reverent. Such a dodge.

The military didn't do its job of alerting the FBI about Devin Kelley's domestic violence. But the FBI is in no position to do its job regardless. Reports since the Sutherland Springs massacre indicate how the background check process is so hopelessly underfunded and understaffed. It's a joke, and it's exactly what we get when the NRA serves as our shadow government.

Understand, if a licensed gun dealer had denied Kelley his firearms, he would have purchased the same online or from a garage dealer or a gun show, and the gun-lobby puppets on Capitol Hill wouldn't do a thing about it.

Notice how little has transpired since even the NRA and its lawmaking marionettes called for a ban of the bump stocks that made it so effortless for a shooter to mow down waves of victims in Las Vegas.

Notice that one of the first pieces of legislation signed by President Bump Stock was one that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns.

Notice also that the NRA is pushing legislation to ease restrictions on gun silencers and the purchase of armor-piercing bullets, all necessary to defend the home and to plunk cans and sage grouse.

 We can see now why the man who shot up the church in Texas had a massive military-style arsenal and magazines capable of holding more than 400 rounds of ammo.

The NRA expects results, because in Congress' customer-friendly approach to instruments of death, the maniac is always right.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

 

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