I Got A lot, But I Got Nothing


GORDONVILLE — As of today, there have been 233 mass shootings in this so-called land of the free and home of the brave.

Not all told. Just in 2022.

As of tonight, the president, Joe Biden, will make a national address on the issue that seems to have gotten worse once people have crawled out of their post-COVID holes with shorter fuses.

As of tomorrow, and the next day and night, the numbers will rise. And, sadly, Biden’s words will ring hollow.

And be debunked as mocked by the far right.

He will be scoffed at by politicians who have it in their power to start us on a path to change by taking baby steps to keeping our babies — and all of us — more safe.

The most tragic aspect of all this is that they refuse to budge despite the fact that 80-90 percent of Americans — Americans from both sides of the aisle — support some form of gun control legislation beyond the flawed laws that already exist.

It is tragically ironic that these same politicians (mostly Republican, but not all) are vehemently pro-life on the divisive abortion issue, even when the majority of Americans (right, left and center) support a woman’s right to choose.

It would help if Democrats, the world’s worst at self-labeling, didn’t allow the “pro-abortion” tag to stick (it’s pro-choice, period).

But that’s another argument for another time, other than that the irony is that the same politicians who are vehement about protecting the rights of a fetus are just as firm about allowing all sorts of loopholes for our children’s lives, among others, to be easy targets in places like Uvelde, Texas and Newtown, Conn.

They square dance and two-step around the core issue that even the smallest changes could net big results.

Some resort to saying it wouldn’t matter.

Hey, maybe not, but why not try?

And where is the American “can-do” spirit?

These are the people who claim they want to Make America Great Again, which is impossible with this American crisis.

We put a man on the friggin’ moon, right?

We can’t do this? Really?

This American nightmare points to ultimate attempts at solutions that shape the new American Dream.

The problem within the problem is that these NRA errand boys (and girls) like to parse out then double down on quick fixes that are rhetorical and proven to be nonsensical.

They will bring up mental health, when Republicans are the ones who consistently vote against mental health funding (statistics show that most with mental health issues are not violent).

Beyond that, is there really a way to police against someone who has stopped taking his medication? Can you spot this person? They are all not walking around with tin foil on their heads.

And what about those who go temporarily insane, meaning they woke up not intending to go on a shooting spree but snapped and immediately regretted it (probably to the point of taking their own life).

With major holes in those arguments, they turn to the old fallback about armed security.

They say that “a good guy with a good stops a bad guy with a gun.”

To quote Uncle Junior from The Sopranos: “What, are we making a Western here?”

The reality is that John Wayne with a Colt-45 doesn’t stand a chance against a well-armed kid on a mission with a military-style rifle, extra artillery and body armor.

And, I’m constrained to point out that the supermarket in Buffalo had an armed ex-guard.

He shot the assailant, but it didn’t penetrate the body armor. The assailant shot the security guard, a former police officer, and the security guard died.

I’m fine with armed guards at schools. I’m fine with metal detectors.

A lot of schools, especially in inner cities, already have them,

But where does it stop?

Are we putting security guards at every preschool? Every private school? Every alternative school? Every tech school? Every beauty academy? Every community college?

What about at after-school facilities?

That’s a whole lot of armed guards, and it raises serious issues about the ability — and sanity — of those being entrusted to protect the schools.

Example: Now we are into summer, which means summer camp season.

Now what?

Let me spin you a little yarn from my overnight camp days.

Back when I was a lad at Camp Arthur, they staged a test case at the teen camp (Beker), when some actors were paid to enter dressed as Neo-Nazis (armed with were not loaded weapons).

It was Jewish camp, of which they are still many, making them prime targets.

There was some rock-throwing and cursing before staffers quickly settled it down and it was then turned into a teachable moment, with the actors still in character.

The point is that these pretend Neo-Nazis pretty much walked onto the wooded Jewish camp and into the teen village.

There are camps all across America that will be hosting children, our children, all summer.

Bible camps. Dance Camps. Sports Camps. Camps for underprivileged kids. Camps for kids with physical and mental challenges.

And there are more day camps to count.

Are we arming the counselors, many of which are teens themselves?

The whole thought sends chills down my spine.

The scenes of carnage run from coast to coast, up and down. The motivations are out of racial hate (most recently Buffalo) and from generally troubled teens (Uvalde), etc.

A simple start would be to raise the age from buying a gun from 18 to 21.

I think of myself at 18 and at 21, and I was like two different people.

All you have to do is see the songs I was writing, and books I was reading, at each age.

And, at 18, I liked bimbos. By 21, I went for smart girls.

But, looking back, I really didn’t know much at 21, either. The brain doesn’t fully develop until between the ages of 24 and 30.

If you are a politician doing the NRA’s bidding, your brain still hasn’t developed.

Sooner or later, with national opinion swelling on this, their days are eventually numbered.

Unfortunately, we still have to live with them and their rhetoric and fatally flawed logic.

They will tell you that “guns don’t kill.”

They are right.

They will say it’s “people” who kill, and that they need to be stopped by the “good guys” with guns in some sort of Modern Day shootouts in the Town Square.

That would be nice, at least in a Ted Cruz wet dream,

The fact — and we all know it (even them) — is that is people with guns who kill.

Work to take away the guns from those who shouldn’t have them, and there are laundry lists of methods to try, and I like our chances to move the needle out of the danger zone.

And, no, I don’t mean doing door to door to and collecting guns from “responsible gun owners.”

I’d like to peel away at the onion and redefine what a “responsible gun owner” really is, given that the number of suicides by firearm and other shootings in the home (heat of the moment domestic disputes and “accidental” shootings between, say, a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old sibling) dwarfs the number of phantom bogeymen picking out your house for a home invasion (most are “inside jobs’ and not random).

But, to quote the band Foreigner, this is an “urgent emergency,” so the onion can wait.

What destroys me here is that none of this is new. At all. I have been a broken record on it for years. I still remember dropping Sofia at school after Newtown. She was in Kindergarten. Those victims were in first grade.

I told her I loved her that day. And I still do every morning.

I would’ve expected substantive change after what was the worst schooling shooting in our sordid history.

After our second worst, nothing has changed.

What angers me is that, during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, this issue was swept under the rug. Whole debates, whether within the primary season or the presidential battles, would come and go without gun violence as a topic.

It was like it was mutually agreed upon not to talk about it. It was like it was taboo.

We heard a lot about other stuff — like what type of people can use which bathrooms in public places and about school prayer and some contrived war on Christmas — but not every single one of us being moving targets every single day on the streets.

I could on forever here, but I’m weary over my somethings on the topic equally nothing.

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