In the doing of this blog I attempt to stay off the bandwagon of each new headline because generally, in the freshness of whatever the moment is, so many others are much more eloquent than me. Generally I require some time and distance to toss enough nouns and verbs into a focused salad of my own angst. Also, not too long ago I composed something about our national preoccupation with anger and the violence borne of it often through the use of firearms. I cautioned myself about the dangers of repetition. Anyway, after careful consideration the piece I had been working on will have to incubate in the hard drive of my computer a bit longer as this missive jumps its place in line onto The Ledge.
In the wake of Las Vegas, the question wafting in the vapors of endless mantras of “too soon, too soon” had taken the shape of a serious mass in no small part due to the persistence of late night comedians. It made a certain kind of sense in this tone deaf world that the seriousness of the situation was given the credence it deserves by the people who generally make fun of our buffoonery and our buffoons. But the other side of the comic mask is tragedy and our clowns are perhaps much more enlightened than too many of the rest of us. It is no wonder that for years our best takes on current events have been shows that brand themselves as fake news. Their outrage is fresh but the question isn’t new. It is as salient and obvious than ever: when is the right time to discuss a cure for this gun sickness of ours?
So in this case I too will jump on the bandwagon because now is the perfect time and the more voices the louder the question resonates. It is the perfect time because the hard cold reality of too easy access to too dangerous weaponry is staring us all right in the face- right now. We have all been through this enough times to appreciate the reality of what happens (perhaps more exactly what doesn’t happen) when time kneads all this into a bothersome, vague memory for everyone but the victims and their families and once again politicians take cover behind the protective shells of the their corporate sponsors, ignoring the health and general welfare of their constituencies. In time it will once again become “safe” to debate and likely pass legislation to accessorize firearms with silencers so that all of this killing won’t be so noisy and bothersome. They say “now is not the time” to discuss this and “now is not the time, to politicize this”, although, that never stopped them when the killer could be linked to Islam.
They talk about how their hearts and prayers are with the victims. That is all very well and good in a greeting card kind of way, but not one prayer or one beat of their collective hearts is going to bring back lost loved ones to families. And contrary to the thinking of our current president, meeting with victims of any type of tragedy should never be described as “wonderful”. All this wonderful sentiment has no meaning beyond the moment. Meaning can only be found through long term, serious action. Courageous legislation and education are required if the next sentence in this dialogue is to have any meaning at all. Of course even the most stringent legislation will not eliminate all potential for similar tragedies, but it can and will greatly decrease the amount of carnage we have become way too accustomed to and sadly, way too inured to. The second amendment is not under fire, we are. The second amendment does not need to be eliminated but it does need some tightening and better definition.
The investigation has not yet pinpointed a reason, ideological, religious or otherwise charting the course to Stephen Paddock’s brutal assault at the Mandalay Hotel. And frankly at this point I don’t care what the reasons are for some maniac’s decision to vaporize scores of innocent people. Of course we have to concern ourselves with the scourge of various strains of maniacal ideologies. Al Qaida and ISIS are obvious threats to us but also to the rest of the world. Racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and various other forms of ideological bigotry and hate in the manifestations of the Klan and Neo-Nazism are also a decided threat to our ideals of “domestic tranquility”. But those ism’s are being dealt with on a daily basis by law enforcement agencies and national intelligence. There is nothing in the brutality of Oct. 1st to obscure the only real commonalities between this most senseless of scores of senseless killings and all the others, now visited upon Americans on the average of once a day . We are left finally with nothing to hide the real truth of this savagery, 23 guns, countless bullets, 58 bodies and 500 wounded.
The reality is that we are all Las Vegas, just as we were all Orlando, and we were all Newtown and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and too, too many etceteras, to even begin to keep track of.
Now is the perfect time for this conversation, before the next perfect time presents itself.