We again have sorry events that captured the news cycle and are emblematic of what we seem to stand for. And icons that shill for this, Joe Paterno for college football, and Charlton Heston (aka John Charles Carter) for a moron’s right to deliver unspeakable evil and harm from a gun barrel.
As to Paterno, I contend that looking the other way is shameful, particularly when the reasons for doing so were ignominious and venal. Paterno is a creep for placing football above pederasty, which puts him squarely with the mealy-mouthed priests (or rabbis, ministers or imams) that violated innocent young people in the pursuit of their own perverse satisfactions.
Football is not salvation, nor is it a moral compass. At bottom, it’s an advertising vehicle for snacks and beer and an entertainment for those requiring passive and vicarious pleasure. And that’s all it should be. There is nothing wrong with this but if you wish to acquire the life lessons to constitute a moral compass, as those paying to get an education at institutions that ostensibly prepare them for a rich, full, and productive life – exalting football uber alles ain’t the answer.
Neither is Charlton Heston. Imagine for a moment Charlton Heston being required by a just God to deliver eulogies at funerals of Columbine, Tech, or Aurora victims. What do you suppose he’d say? “Serves you right for not being armed?” Or would a just God have performed justly, giving CH a Sandy Weill moment by forcing him to say something like, “you know, I was wrong”.
There’ll be those reading this who can go no further since a brain spasm to invoke the argument that guns don’t kill people will have fully taken hold. My friends, guns do kill people. Lots of them. Everyday. Take guns away from Columbine, Tech and Aurora shooters, and they ain’t shooters anymore. How would they then act out their desperate fantasies? A bomb? Poison? Maybe. But recognize that such incidents are rare because it takes much more planning and organization to perpetrate such acts, and because those modalities are very tightly controlled.
I’d guess the argument for gun rights is Constitutional or opposition to government intrusion. But no Constitutional reasoning supports the massacres that a wrong-headed reliance on the 2nd Amendment has produced. I challenge the many Constitutional scholars who read this paper and this letter to furnish a factual predicate and arguments to support a slaughter of innocents. Even Scalia recognizes limits on guns, but don’t let that stop you.
As to government intrusion, I challenge those of you willing to set aside hypocrisy long enough to explain why it is a government intrusion to regulate strictly something that takes so many innocent lives when you’re perfectly willing to take away happiness from same sex couples or the freedom that permits women to decide on conception or childbearing.
Will I convince anyone with this effort? Sure I will. And I may persuade someone to speak out if they would have otherwise been silent. Or perhaps persuade the otherwise closed-minded to read Tuchman’s The March of Folly or Diamond’s Collapse, books which articulate the social dangers better than I could ever hope to. So I will have contributed, in some small way.
The Plains, Virginia