Monday, July 23, 2012

posers, guns and money

"we drive while texting and smoking and
drinking and applying eye liner. we're
the people who should be packing heat?"
the national rifle association says it's a civil rights organization.

it says it defends america's second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

the national rifle association is full of big, fat liars.

what they really defend is the unfettered ability of weapons manufacturers to make piles of money flooding america with arms and ammunition. the nra will not rest until it has put a gun in the cold, dead hand of every american killed in a frenzy of constitutionally protected gunfire.

it's what the founders would've wanted, after all.

funny thing about that second amendment. it doesn't say every american has a right to an arsenal. no, what it says is this:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

back in the day, see, when the framers were farmers and farmers were fighters, there existed the real possibility that the british or the native americans or, oh-i-don't-know, the jamaican bobsled team, might try to squash the nascent nation and its annoying declarations about "freedom" and "self-governance" and "no taxation without representation." there was big money at stake, and no lot of ignorant colonists were going to disrupt the flow of cash back to the royal treasury!

so, given the times and the context and the disorganized state of the states, it made perfect sense that the populace should be armed and ready to fire wildly, make a lot of noise, and generally run around in confusion. kind of like today's hunters.

in order to form a more perfect union, then, it was agreed that your garden variety colonist would be encouraged, indeed expected, to keep a musket and balls and powder. in the event of an actual emergency, they would be instructed where to assemble, which direction to face, and at which red coat to shoot.

two hundred and fifty years later, times have changed. yes, really! america is the proud owner of the most powerful military in the history of history. we have enough guns and explosives to render the world uninhabitable many times over. we spend more on high-tech weapons of mass destruction than the next 20 nations combined (and most of those countries are u.s. allies). because this is true, there is zero case to be made~~none~~for a civilian militia as described in the constitution. and if there were, it would be called...wait for it...the national guard!

which brings us back to the second amendment...

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, etcetera, etcetera. a well regulated militia. even if you could make the case, with a straight face, that every american is responsible enough to be trusted with an ak-47 with armor-piercing ordnance in a high-volume magazine (you can't make that case, but let's just say you could), you would also be required to argue, second amendment-wise, that these armed disparates constitute a well regulated militia.

you can't make that case, either. i mean, let's face it, most of us can't figure out a television with two remotes. we can't, generally, safely handle uncooked poultry. and we can't, collectively, keep from shooting ourselves and each other with guns (over 30,000 u.s. gun deaths per year, in case you wonder).

anyone who tells you different is selling something. in this case, it's the nra, and they're selling america death while hiding behind the flag. wiping away crocodile tears with one hand after every fresh massacre, madly punching keys at the atm with the other.

our elected officials, meanwhile, piously send prayers to the victims and their loved ones, while simultaneously promising the gun lobby nothing will be done to curtail the flood of arms or the river of blood.

there's big money at stake, after all, and no lot of ignorant constituents will disrupt the flow of cash back to the corporate treasury.


did that sound bitter? it felt bitter coming out of my fingertips. i'm tired of the killings, which are entirely predictable and increasingly too close to home. i grew up about ten minutes away from where the shootings took place in aurora, co. which means not far from the site of the shootings at columbine. we live not far from the cafe racer, where five people recently were killed, and right up the hill from where two teens were shot last week.

i'm tired of the louis gohmerts and russell pierces and "american family associations" of the world telling people that the wanton killings in the land can be blamed on too few guns and too little jesus. too few guns and too little jesus. right. because jesus clearly would be preaching the gospel of the .357 magnum. note to louis and russell and family folks: fuck you. no, seriously. your faux christianity and mewling obeisance to the gun lords makes you no better than the psychos pulling the triggers.


there's no end to this post. no neat, tidy wrap-up. because the latest tragedy will result in no meaningful action whatsoever. because our legislators are inert, we will all go back to our collective televisions and wait for the next inevitable atrocity. after which we will have this conversation all over again. and so on and so on.

we americans are well regulated, that much is certain. but not in the way we imagine. not at all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

upside down, right side up, and somewhere in between

i had a good weekend.

no, i had a bad weekend.

no, come to think of it, i had a great weekend.

backstory. the weekend was full of mostly not-blog-worthy activities. i ran. we walked the dogs. we loaded up at the farmer's market. but, you know, we always do those things.

we watched the mariners shut out the rangers. seven-zip. that hardly ever happens. we attended a ridiculously good concert, lyle lovett at chateau ste. michelle. that was noteworthy.

oh, and for awhile i thought a friend was dying.

then i found out he's not.

the dying part was devastating. i mean, obviously. i cried like a child. i mentally composed a blog post that made me cry more. i was crushed.

later that evening it turned out that i had completely jumped to conclusions on the basis of very incomplete information. and viola! he's not dying. yay!

that's where things get odd. there was no "yay!" moment. once the good news was conveyed, i quickly folded it into my world view, and went busily on. without missing a beat. the turnabout was almost comical.

only after many hours did it hit me what had happened.

the ordeal was a product of my imagination, but still, as far as i knew it was completely real. my reaction reflected just how important this person is to me. what's unreal is how quickly i recovered when the bad news turned into good news. he's not dying? okay, cool, hey what's for dinner?

in less than 24 hours, i experienced a stunning, even miraculous turnaround. in a few blinks of an eye, untimely death turned back into life. whiplash-like i went from full-on grieving as usual.

where was my equal-but-opposite emotional reaction? nowhere to be found.

somewhere between death and life i was cheated out of a jolt of joy. or a rush of relief. even a bolus of endorphins would have been acceptable. but i got {crickets}.

i suppose i know why. once i got the homerun, i took my eye off the ball. i didn't take time to acknowledge and celebrate something actually worth celebrating. the most important event of the last hundred weekends was brushed past in favor of what? trifles.

this is, however, a teachable moment~~and i am willing student. the lesson for me is this: there will be plenty of times life will turn us upside down and shake us. if we're going to give the times of grief their due, we better give equal time to the yay moments as well.

while we have the chance.

"You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day." ~~archie graham, field of dreams