Once again a country that experiences more violent gun deaths than any other country on Earth has been shocked by a maliciously motivated madman with a gun. The talk all week from the various electronic chatterboxes has been guns, their control, their abuse, the somehow sacred right to possess them…guns.
In a darkly funny piece written in the bleak light of the Arizona murders Elayne Boosler relates her experience with writing and speaking her views about guns, gun control and the NRA and includes a couple dozen responses to her essays and twitter posts on the subject.
Her columns and tweets were in favor of controlling guns, they were measured, reasonable and since she is a comedian with a flair for writing humor they were funny, and like the best humor, there was an element of tragedy or darkness woven into their fabric.
“My belief is that guns are too easy to get in America. My belief is that the NRA has bought much of our congress, to the point that guns are actually the only unregulated consumer product in America. Think about that. It’s stunning. Rather than “exploiting a terrible situation,” I say these things again now because when else are people on either side really listening? It’s like those year-round Christmas stores, they don’t do much business in July.
I also say these things not as a pundit, a liberal, a democrat, a “lefty”, a comic, or anything but a citizen; a registered Independent who voted for Nader, and who tries to stay informed. We all have the right to post opinions. There, those were mine.
Because I have said this, I have been attacked on radio, twitter, and conservative blogs around the country.“
From: “Yuo Cant Take Away My Gun Rites, Idiott“ Elayne Boosler
I’ve been writing and reading on the net for years and there is little that shakes me, but the twitter responses she received were as bad as anything I’ve seen. A collection of filth and insult mixed with threats of mayhem and death, written in ungrammatical pidgin, the rabid, foam at the mouth, knuckle dragging style of the early internet neanderthal. This stuff curled my hair and I did time in the Marines.
I’m sure there are many gun advocates who are reasonable and responsible people but I’m also sure that none of the responses she received were written by those particular people. The fact that her responders are so well armed with weapons while so disarmed mentally is… alarming.
Then an email from the Miami Herald alerted me to another gun related post by columnist James Burnett in which he argued that “We can keep our guns and our safety all at once” if only we have a strong program of gun safety classes.
I’m not sure that gun safety classes will dissuade the Jared Loughnors, or the others with criminal intent among us to stand down from their crazed or evil pursuits and holster their sidearms.
After all Loughnor seemed to be pretty adept with his handgun, as was the Virginia Tech shooter and many of the other heavily armed maniacs that continue, at an alarming rate, to bounce up in our midst like insane jack in the boxes.
Sending them to school for safety tips might not be the most effective way to keep them from shooting us dead in the street just because we are there. In this crowd firearm safety is seldom the foremost concern, in fact, if they are pointing their muzzles safely down range it’s only because there are more targets there.
As I finished reading the Herald piece my TV was on, tuned to cable news and I watched as a coffin containing the body of little Christine Taylor, the nine year old girl brutally murdered in the Arizona shootings, was carried across my screen. I put this essay away for a couple of hours and tried to turn my mind to other things.
Later in the afternoon I checked the email and found a breaking story at MSNBC regarding another awful story, ” Gun fair organizer acquitted in boy’s death” read the headline.
A doctor, an emergency room physician, took his two sons ages 8 and 11 to a “machine gun expo.”
From the AP:
Jurors heard testimony over seven days during the trial of Edward Fleury, the former police chief in Pelham, Mass. His company co-sponsored the machine gun expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club where Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., fired a 9 mm micro Uzi submachine gun that kicked back and shot him in the head. The boy’s father, emergency room Dr. Charles Bizilj, recorded a graphic video of the accident that was shown to the jury.
If you read the article, unless you are among the folks posting tweets to Elayne Boosler as above, you’ll be horrified, as I was.
What sort of person hands a machine gun to an 8 year old boy, then attempts to film him as he displays his machismo to the onlookers. What kind of people organize such an event where young children are allowed to fire machine guns under the ostensible supervision of an unlicensed, uncertified 15 year old boy, as a safety officer.
From the organizer’s defense attorney Rosemary Curran Scapicchio:
… there were several layers of protection at the fair, beginning with a waiver everyone at the event signed acknowledging the risks, including death, and absolving anyone of liability if something bad happened.
They were concerned with safety, there were layers of protection, they signed waivers, they had layers of protection… protection from criminal liability, safety from prosecution, but no protection for an innocent and excited 8 year old boy, who wanted to show how grown up he was, to show that he was a man, a macho man, with a machine gun. Daddy look at me.
What sort of people are these, what sort of laws are they making, what kind of country are they building where they strap on a side arm to swagger down to Starbucks for a latte in the morning?
Edward Fleury was acquitted, Christopher Bizilj, age 8 is dead.