Back in 2006 thru the spring of 2008 I was sidelined with an ulcer on my tailbone during what I refer to as My Unfortunate Incarceration. I’ve alluded to it a few times here, so I’ll spare y’all a rehash. During that period…especially when I was homebound in my apartment for about a year…people would run into my father & sister and say “Tell Sam we’re praying for him!!”, and it would drive me absolutely nuts. I was quite lonely during that time, and I must admit that instead of drawing closer to God I became kind of angry at Him. I told my family that I wished those people would stop praying for a little while and instead pick up a phone to call me or drop by for a visit because I had plenty of free time. So…in an admittedly odd way…I understand where people are coming from when they criticize President Trump & others for expressing their sympathies either in a speech or press conference, or even on social media. I get it. It can sometimes feel like empty sentiment. “Thoughts & prayers” aren’t going to bring back those 17 students & teachers that were tragically murdered at a Florida high school, nor are they going to restore life to those killed in other mass shootings in recent years.
We’ve all been on both sides of this scenario at funerals. A loved one dies, family & friends gather, and folks say things to the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased like “My condolences” or “I’m sorry for your loss”. People say those things partially because social protocol dictates that is what they are supposed to say. Perhaps one would like to offer further comfort but just can’t find the words. Or maybe…just maybe…an individual really is aggrieved and truly sorry for that family’s loss. It may be unknown exactly what that person is truly feeling inside…and really, who are we to judge?? We also have no way of knowing how those words affect the grief-stricken family. Some may be soothed and find solace in such support, while others might consider it meaningless drivel. There is no way to really know that part of the equation either, but we offer our sympathies anyway.
It is human nature in times of tragedy to ask “What could have been done to prevent this from happening??”. In the aftermath of situations like what recently occurred in Parkland, FL people make a plea to “do something”. “Thoughts & prayers” aren’t enough for some…they demand tangible action, which is reasonable. However, there are a few issues that cannot be circumvented.
First of all, demands to “do something” in the wake of such unspeakable calamities are undeniably emotional, which I suppose makes sense. However, emotional decisions are rarely intelligent ones. In my experience whenever I rush into something without thinking it thru it usually ends up backfiring terribly, so I have had to learn to slow my roll. Now I know what you’re thinking…there have been more than enough mass shootings over a long enough period of time that some kind of action is overdue. Okay…I might not completely agree with that train of thought, but I get it. However, the past is the past. There is nothing anyone can do about perceived mistakes or failures after previous mass shootings, so let’s start fresh. I still believe it is proper to proceed with…if not caution, then wisdom.
Secondly, many of those who are demanding for Congress & other entities to “do something” lack specific suggestions, and some that do go further offer ideas that aren’t palatable to most Americans. Both sides of this coin are in abundance on television & social media, especially from self-absorbed & hypocritical celebrity types whose rambling adds nothing of substance to the conversation. Look, I don’t know the IQ of any given actor or athlete, and though their educational background is easily researched I’m not sure that means too much. I’ve known people who barely graduated high school who were profound thinkers and college graduates who are dumber than a box of rocks. However, the inescapable reality that such individuals refuse to accept is that we do not care about their “insight” on sociopolitical issues. My employer pays me to come to work and do a specific job. They wouldn’t be interested in me going around to other departments offering my opinion on the value of fellow employees or suggestions about how to streamline duties that I’ve never been trained to perform. I am expected to stay in my lane and that’s what I do. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions, just that no one gives a damn about them…nor should they. Likewise, we want actors to entertain us in movies & TV shows, singers to write & sing great songs, and athletes to perform to the full extent of their abilities on the field/court/track. These folks do not help their cause when their emotional appeals are of the intellectually vacant & decidedly unspecific variety, and it really bites them in the rear when their ideas boil down to more gun laws and a thinly veiled desire for The Second Amendment to be modified or abolished.
Whenever this debate arises (which is admittedly all too often) I am amazed at the total lack of respect for America’s Founding Fathers. Some basketball player who has never even sniffed a college campus or a third rate actress whose talent plateaus with vagina jokes thinks they are smarter than John Adams?? Thomas Jefferson?? Benjamin Franklin?? Alexander Hamilton?? Seriously?!?!?? Get over yourselves!! The constant refrain goes something like this: “The Founding Fathers could not have foreseen AR-15s or other high powered rifles. They were talking about muskets.” Well okay…they couldn’t have fathomed television or The Internet either, but no one is talking about eradicating The First Amendment. I think we need to stop shortchanging the deep thought process of the tremendously intelligent men who helped birth this great nation. The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. It isn’t even about home invasion. Heck, if you really want to dig deep it isn’t even about guns. Allow me to refresh your memory. The Second Amendment states that “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” It’s about tyranny!! America exists because people successfully escaped a tyrannical government. The framers of The Constitution wanted to protect the citizenry from facing such oppression ever again, and one of the ways that is done is to limit governmental power. Sadly we live at a point in history when far too many are willing to give up control of nearly every aspect of their lives to the government, and once that Pandora’s Box is open it becomes difficult to regain lost freedom. At any rate, folks get caught up in the language of the amendment, opining that a “well-regulated militia” means that only the military should have guns, and “the security of a free state” is up to law enforcement & the military…but that is wrong. That last part is unmistakable…”the right of the people to keep & bear arms”. “The people” is you, me, and anyone else who chooses to be a responsible gun owner.
For the sake of readability let’s take a break and pick this discourse back up tomorrow.