The Whole Shooting Match

    Let’s hope the president was just being cynical when he tossed in video games and movies as perhaps energizing America’s gun nut culture. Pop culture does not incite mindless violence. Simple-minded adulation? Yes. Boy bands prove that.

    Fads that draw double takes such as severe serial tattooing and Marquis de Sade piercing? Certainly. Just in case carnival midways run short of, oh, geeks.

    But the force behind lapses into updates of the Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”? Uh, no.

   Who doesn’t share disappointment that the otherwise coolly wired Barack Obama resorted to an unplugged parent’s copout reasoning? If he already hasn’t, the nation’s biggest Kahuna probably ought have kicked himself for mimicking some square dad suggesting an inanity he himself likely eye-rolled throughout his own chilliest the most years.

     For those old enough (sigh!) or aware of America’s habit of heaping hot blame for societal ills on the least responsible, least defensible scapegoats, this latest bit of soul-gnashing, solution divining should recall the same self-flagellation which robbed 1950s era comic books of their jolt. Then, the malady threatening the country’s very fiber consisted of juveniles whose antisocial antics veered sharply from the strict comportment and behavior which had shoehorned and stifled their own elders at the same age.

      A man, a clever charlatan named Frederick Wertham, managed bamboozling frightened adults by confirming their own worst unsupportable fears. In age rife with flimsy accusations (Red Scares, fluoridation) equivalent to GOD’S HONEST TRUTH, Wertham’s death-knell screed, Seduction of the Innocent, gulled an almost too complicit audience. Something was screwing up America’s upcoming generation. Or so their elders believed. Garishly colored lurid pictures chronicling abject parables must’ve been the cause. 

    So how did Grimm’s Fairy Tales ever become esteemed literature?

    Why am I not surprised the teens then who read the Walking Dead of their day, seeing them as little beyond entertainment, and later became parents themselves, never reflected on the past hysteria and applied what they experienced to current reality and misperception?

     Astute as he is, President Obama knows flashy pixels and celluloid, like comic books, don’t compel shooting savagery. Were that the case Americans’ random instances of mindless mass killing would crowd our days instead of erupt with out of the blue infrequency. Given these outbursts retain their power to horrify and elicit searing though brief public soul searching, they haven’t become routine news items. Routine American news items.

     The aforementioned modern diversions circulate worldwide. Crazed gamers and bored alienated young males just aren’t our domestic phenomenon. Yet the United States is the only market which commonly endures outbreaks of newschopper video slaughter.

     No doubt foreign nations have plenty of disaffected loners. Just as doubtlessly these losers also have urges towards wanton life-taking. Though unlike our mad dog killers, benefiting from a misread and misinterpreted Second Amendment, their outlets are restricted.   

      Most other sovereign states keep their citizens disarmed. Whether from public safety or insurrection prevention may be debated. What can’t be challenged are their substantially fewer incidents of gun mayhem.

      Many nations have organizations similar to America’s National Rifle Association. The NRA is not unique. However, these foreign groups remain truer to their original founding. Social clubs that instill respect and discipline while honing skills with arms. A happy cohesion born from sharing alike interests.

      But the NRA, a much earlier NRA, had a greater purpose. Not only did it sponsor gun safety and shooting prowess, but at one time the association also promoted conservation. Which made sense.

      Shouldn’t hunters be among the most fervid conservationalists? After all, if the terrain is denuded or polluted into unsustainability doesn’t such degraded environment reduce game? Moreover, other than provide sustenance, a certain level of hunting can burnish marksman mettle.

      Not a hunter myself, I do understand the attraction behind stalking some magnificent beast. Done correctly, performed with proper reverence, hunters may reach a sort of sanctification through single clean shots.

     That is a long way from owning weapons whose sole purpose is to intimidate, maim and kill people. Who hunts using an assault rifle? Only those riflemen seeking two-legged prey who beg for mercy. 
    When father and his brothers were boys they hunted. For food, not trophies.

    Raised in the 1920s and 30s, it’s not presumptuous to say they would’ve seen felling an animal for some souvenir value as wasteful. Of time. Of effort. Both could’ve been applied better towards worthwhile pursuits. 

    Their guns remained behind in the South once all migrated north. No use for guns in suburbia. Hunting for dinner here meant roaming nearby supermarket or deli aisles. 

    Nor was there need to carry for protection. Never had been. Despite reaching adulthood during the leanest conditions imaginable, personal safety threats were negligible. Similar to today except those Americans hadn’t been swamped by incessant fearmongering.

    Finally, father and his brothers never missed owning guns. From experience they believed the devices weren’t worth the attention or vigilance demanded.

     Under its current direction the NRA comes across as unhinged. The megaphone of big dumb guys with guns. A description clearly unbefitting much of its membership.

      Listening to NRA leadership, the uninitiated might believe the association advocates a devil-may-care stance regarding what kind of weapons breathing civilians may legally possess. Its position is unfettered ownership of whatever recoils.

     Anyone should be able to possess anything firing projectiles. And all should be allowed entry everywhere. Always in the name of deterrence, even if zero threat exists.

     By the way in vast swaths of the United States crazy people have every absolute right to own guns. The NRA favors that. The NRA favors that!? Sane people don’t.

     Most Americans correctly have qualms with such broad-based inclusion. The likelihood of calamity is too great.

    Guns in bars? Even the certifiably deranged should have access to weapons? Implements best advised for military adventures ought to be permitted for display and itchy trigger finger use in our safe precincts as those in the world’s most lawless regions?

    Really. Is America’s worst imaginable domestic address any way comparable to Mogadishu? Aleppo? FARC controlled areas of Colombia?  

    Nonetheless the NRA has hijacked the sensible gun control argument. Who wants to be plugged while retrieving a quart of milk from the deli because some strapped weakling felt “disrespected” when other shoppers failed appreciating the cold power throbbing in his secret hot place? Now, discharging heavy unlimited calibers anywhere at any time is a right enshrined in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

    Well, one of them pesky parchments few Americans understand, and fewer have ever read, though often blithely misquote.

    Whenever fearful patriots decry what they perceive as the nation’s decline, none ever points to the dissolution of civics classes. The true insidious enemy of our Republic’s future.

    Ignorance. Something the NRA bolsters with its every bellow.

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