By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Nothing — outside of a Dallas Cowboys fan living in the Delaware Valley — is more annoying than a single-issue voter.
If that’s all you got, stay home. Please.
You need to have a lot of core issues, and be able to articulate the wherefores and whys – whether or not I concur – when asked to explain yourself.
As those who have waged war with me on Social Media know, I am not afraid to do so.
When it comes to issues, and prioritizing them, I’m an open book.
There is education, health care, environment, clear paths to citizenship for productive immigrants and a type of peace in the Middle East that means Israel isn’t obliterated in the process.
On most of those – and others (reforming the election system, from campaign finance reform to the way the primary/caucus schedule is laid out) – I am well left of center.
On others – like denying climate change equating to denying the earth is round – I am aligned with my man, Bernie Sanders, particularly on education and health care as human rights in a nation as plentiful as ours.
Only time I go astray is with the punishment fitting crimes like rape and child abuse (not to be confused with inherent injustices in the justice system with the “drug war”) and with supporting Israel (although those settlements are a bit unsettling when I consider long-range positive outcomes).
And on just about every issue, in general, I’ll meet you in the middle somewhat or be willing to agree to disagree and walk away on a handshake after a battle well-fought.
But not when it comes to my No. 1 issue.
And it’s No. 1 with a bullet.
There’s a hint even someone who thought Hillary Clinton was the lesser of two evils would get.
It’s gun Control.
You will never get me to agree to disagree.
And you will never get me to throw up my hands and say nothing more can be done about it.
And while we are sifting through the carnage from Sunday night’s mass killing (“mass shooting” is too tame), neither should you.
It has been said that if the horror at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012 didn’t do it, if didn’t change the stingiest of minds, nothing will.
It hit home for me because my prized possession — and .600 hitter in Fall Ball softball, Sofia — was roughly the same age at that time. I’ll never forget what it felt like dropping her off at school the next day and taking comfort in seeing police cars on the school lot.
This one at an a outdoor country concert hits home, too. I am a lifelong concert-goer, and the Tom Petty tragedy only reinforces my resolve to see all my heroes — and share them with Sofia — while we can.
The sad truth that the deaths of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook only sent more people toward buying firearms, not less.
Probably of the same in the wake of Vegas.
Seems that what should make our hearts soft, turns them hard. What should make us find solutions, only leaves us creating more problems.
That’s kind of how and why we ended up with this slopstorm in the White House now, is it not?
But that doesn’t mean we give up trying.
Just sitting back and letting it all be is about as un-American as it gets, even for conditional patriots determined to make America “great again” (I’m still wondering when it was “great” to begin with).
How is that makey-greaty thing looking for you now?
If you still support America being the Wild West after all this, you are clearly a sub-human.
I don’t want to hear about banning cars because they kill, too. That’s just insanely inane.
Don’t tell me about the laws that are already on the books being sufficient, because they clearly are not.
We are as able to properly enforce them as I am of dunking a basketball (I’m 5-10 with a vertical leap of a half-inch) in the face of LeBron James.
Yes, some of the laws on the books, in theory, may give what equate to good lip service to generic concerns.
But we don’t need lips. We need teeth.
And doing the biting, with backing from our legislators, need to be the law enforcement personnel we are told we need to genuflect in front of with no questions asked.
I respect what they do, but they also knew what they were signing on for, which was to be soldiers on the home front.
And their country needs them.
Now more than ever, and just as much — if not more — than the troops in trouble spots like Afghanistan.
No one is going to convince anyone with opened eyes that our society is wired to be drug-obsessed because it helps lock up black and brown males at rates that dwarf those of freckled-faced kids named Biff in the frat house.
Therefore, we have drug task force teams – and their sting operations – from small municipalities to large cities.
It’s a noble effort, but don’t be deceived. I used to report on a lot of these in my newspaper days. There would be press conferences where the confiscated contraband would be laid out on a table, and most of it would be enough marijuana to have kept Bob Marley and the Wailers and Grateful Dead feeling mellow for several tours.
There might be a gun or two that were inadvertently gathered during the arrest of the largely “of-color” ring-leaders (who were usually just middle men taking the fall for someone else), but that’s it.
How about we legalize the marijuana – and include prostitution (another waste of law enforcement manpower) in that legislation – and focus all our efforts on undercover firearms stings?
Not saying they don’t happen, because they do.
Just not enough.
Needs to be a priority.
Priority No. 1.
And it’s dangerous work, going deep into the world of black market firearms wheeling and dealing, but it’s really the only way.
We can play verbal ping-pong over the validity of gun shows and how much closing loopholes would or would not do (my feeling is anything is worth a try). The truth is that the kind of firearms that most of these monsters acquire are done so through nefariously illegal means.
The Vegas shooter seemingly acquired most of his arsenal legally, and in the light of day, even while his mental state may have been visible to any arms dealer who gave a shit.
But we can find a way to regulate that a bit more going forward, while still letting hunters shoot Bambi, but the black market is still there.
Cut off the source, via undercover policing, and we may see a light at the end of the tunnel with a lot of these planned mass mayhem shootings – and gang violence on urban streets.
I’m not advocating disarming law-abiding gun owners, but I would like to define just what that means. It’s certainly not the gun owner with the gun loaded under their pillow.
Until he opened fire Sunday night, Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, was likely a law-abiding gun owner – at least by the very loosey-goosey definition – and now he is the lone-nut triggerman in the worst mass killing by shooting in modern American history (probably a lot of Native Americans were wiped out in one horrific stampede of the white man in the now fabled days of yore that made our culture one tied to the gun, with Wounded Knee coming readily to mind).
At present, authorities are stumped about his motivation. He was filthy rich, he was A-political, had no FBI file (although his father did) and not really a loser with the ladies.
My initial gut instinct was that he lost big at the casinos, but apparently he was winning, big-time, before going out in an inglorious blaze of infamy.
The argument about it being all about mental health goes out the window, too. Clearly, he was not in his right mind at the time, but he was not diagnosed as being criminally insane. He clearly had some internal bomb ticking inside, but he still had his wits enough to meticulously plan this out.
In a nation where you can get your hands on multiple military-style firearms and ammo as easily as a milkshake and a burger, we should be more worried – much more worried – about the guy who looks like an average Joe who can snap and go temporarily insane.
That is any of us. Just this past Saturday, I can into it a bit too much with the coach of the opposing softball team (although it was nothing YouTube viral-worthy). I have never fired a gun in my life (and only held one once), but who knows who I was dealing with, right?
The way our country is now, we simply can’t trust than we can will this ongoing horror show away.
We need to peel away at the onion, wiping away the tears it causes, and get to core of the issue. The Second Amendment is clearly so misinterpreted that it’s unfathomable to believe our elected misleaders – from both sides of the aisle – are more concerned with keeping the NRA placated than the health and well-being of their constituents.
Maybe because they are so much in a bubble, they don’t realize how easy it is to get a gun right now.
Heck, we had a garage sale this past weekend (before the softball game and aforementioned incident) and several older men – probably around the same age as this waste of human plasma – asked if we were selling any firearms or ammo.
And the fact that they asked tells me that they are able to circumvent a lot legalities by going to garage sales and flea markets.
They were so cavalier about it that they must find plenty while scavenging around on weekends.
And yeah, 999 out of 100,000 might just be collectors who get their jollies by diddling around with guns once their ED sets in, but what about the one – the one who snaps one day and sets up a sniper’s nest above a concert (or any larger gathering) and tries to top Paddock’s kill number.
Don’t kid yourself.
Not a question of if.
Just a question of when.
Not comfortable with that, either?
Maybe you need to check your priorities.