Calhoun's Cannons for April 15, 2013
O.K. Now this is getting funny. The earnest, grieving parents of shot-to-pieces kids -- 20 of 'em at Sandy Hook. The pontificating pols declaring that we must do something to stem this culture of violence. The pro-gun Congressmen and Senators hiding under their desks when the grieving parents come to call to ask them to support legislation that would ban the type of guns that shot their children to pieces. The media turning this all into some kind of horse race in order to goose their ratings.
All for naught. Whatever legislation that had been reasonably tough to begin with has already been gutted before it could even be debated -- no military style weapons ban, no high capacity magazine bans. And what is now left -- increased registration requirements --- is being watered down even as I write. And by the time the Senate finishes having it's debate -- if that even happens since several Republicans have vowed to filibuster it -- whatever bill survives being gummed to death, will arrive a weak, poor thing.
Which will be then turned over to the tender mercies of the Republican controlled House of Representatives, an august body wholly owned by the NRA, where it will be shot to pieces by amendments.
In short, Congress will do the least it can possibly do on the matter while quietly, behind the scenes, the NRA sits, like Penelope at her loom, weaving in legislative loopholes and booby-trapping whatever bill survives. Nothing will escape their tender ministrations. After all, their job is to do everything they can to make sure that more guns get into more hands. "Limit" or "restrict" are not in the NRA's vocabulary.
Yet, nationwide, the furious debate rages on as if people actually think that this time -- surely, this time --something meaningful about gun control will be done. That 20 dead kids was finally some kind of tipping point. Wasn't it? Wouldn't twenty dead kids finally be enough?
Well, no. Clearly, twenty wasn't the magic number. And that's where it starts getting funny. For some bizarre reason, Americans think of themselves as decent, law-abiding people who love their children and want to live in decent, safe communities where their kids don't get blown away while going to school. In addition, they also have this quaint notion that they live in a country governed by and for the people. And that their earnest, sincere, heart-felt efforts will result in their elected representative voting for some kind of sane, reasonable policy regarding guns.
Yet, at the same time, this national debate has brought into focus the undeniable fact that these same Americans truly, deeply, passionately love their guns. The bigger the better. The more lethal it is, the faster it sells. The country is awash in guns, a gun for every day of the week and two on Sunday. Even people who've been shot in the head, like Congresswoman Gifford, will still go on TV to declare that having pieces of their skull blown away has not in any way diminished their love of guns.
And the sound of those two deeply felt passions colliding is the sound of a Whoopie cushion exploding. Risible and ridiculous: An endless Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch played out with real dead kids and real bullets. But this one will have no happy ending. Except for the NRA and its master: The gun manufacturers of America. For them, happy days are always here again.