Calhoun’s Cannons for July 21, 12,
We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.
It’s all Hollywood now, nothing but damned sequels. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Luby’s cafeteria in Texas (23 people were taken out there. You forgot that one, didn’t you?), Congresswoman Giffords, Ft. Hood, now Aurora, Colorado, a mass shooting at a Batman premier. Here we go again. Another damned summer sequel!
Same assault weapons, same high-fire, large magazine cop-killer handguns, same angry crazy guy, same dead people, same floor awash in blood and bullets, same ritual of faux cries of shock and outrage, same 24/7 cathartic TV coverage (great for the ratings!). And always the same hack dialogue, the sad-faced pols asking us to pray for the families of all the dead people, the excited, shocky survivors declaring how grateful they are that God was looking out for them, at least.
Then comes the braying calls for better gun control and the same old questions: Why do we allow the country to be awash in weapons of war? Of course, there’s never a serious answer to that question, but it has to be asked. Like in old war movies you just know the guy who pulls out a photo of his family will be the next to die. It’s a cliché but it just has to be in the script.
Yes, it’s all a hackneyed formula, but the AK-47 question is needed to segue to the NRA and its wholly owned Congresspeople who trot on stage to declaim their battle cry: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This is followed by talk-radio voices from the heartland who declare that if all those people attending that Batman movie had been carrying weapons of their own, the shooter would have been taken out in a matter of seconds, which is even more blood fantasy: The Hollywood vision of a theatre filled with highly trained snipers, our very own American Leatherstockings, who can shoot the eye out of a squirrel in a tree on a hill six miles away and do that even in a dark theatre filled with tear-gas and chaos. That’s a fantasy script that regularly plays out in the heads of so many out of shape, middle-aged American males who have been watching too many Liam Neeson movies.
Yes, Folks, it’s another episode of The All-American Komic Kabuki Theatre of Blood with a script as preordained as a Noh theatre piece. It never changes. It’s all damned sequels now. But we never get tired of the reruns. Not Americans. Like little children who want Mommy to read the same story over and over and over again, we can’t get enough of this particular story --big guns, lots of big guns, we love those, and the Rambo, Bruce Willis, Falling Down, Yippee-ki-yi Guy who doles out rough justice to all those people who’ve done us wrong, we love that guy! He’s our contemporary Deerslayer, once described by that sniffy Englishman, D.H. Lawrence, as “A man who keeps his moral integrity hard and intact. An isolate, almost selfless, stoic, enduring man, who lives by death, by killing, but is pure white.” Yep, that’s our secret inner vision: Every man armed, out there on the edge of the Indian-infested wilderness, stoic, a killer. Give us AK-47s or give us death!
And the violence. We love that, too. We need that killing like a coke-head needs that spoon up his nose, then another and another, we just can’t get enough. We’re a culture filled with anger, paranoia and fear, addicted to the pornography of violence, living on the rage and adrenaline. Faster pussycat, kill-kill!
In a sane world, this state of affairs would cause despair in a normal person. Or prompt serious evaluation of the culture. Or even an intervention. But despair and questions and interventions only function if there’s hope that things can change. Since things will never change here, despair is pointless. So are questions. And things will never change because the sad truth is this: Americans love their guns more than they love their children, more than they love their friends and neighbors, more than they love their fellow citizens, more than they love even themselves.
Since that’s the case, the only sane response is laughter. Silly us. We’ve turned ourselves into a bloody rerun of a bad movie that’s now on a constant replay loop. Whack-a-Mole and we’re the moles. Of course, in a sane world, America would be declared insane and locked up in a mental hospital to keep her from doing harm to herself and others and be given treatment to restore her to health. Sadly, that isn’t about to happen, because we do not live in a sane world.
So, grab your car keys. I hear there’s a gun sale at Wal-Mart. Time to stock up.