Aired December 22, 2012 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iRX8beuhkU
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of December 23rd, 2012.
Anything can be a weapon. A scissor. A tire iron. A baseball bat. If I hit you in the face with a hardcover copy of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” your head will spurt like a fountain. If I drop two pennies off the roof of the Empire State Building, whoever is walking below will lose their cents. You don’t need a gun to hurt someone.
No, I’m not spoiling the plot of the next “Final Destination” movie; I’m offering the motto of the National Rifle Association, the N.R.A. Why ban guns, they say, when they’re just one kind of weapon? Two radio hosts killed a woman by making her drink too much water. Do we ban faucets? Another pair of deejays helped kill a woman by making believe they were the royal family. Do we ban phone calls?
That is the logic the N.R.A. uses to defend guns. Crazy people will always find ways to kill, sometimes with box-cutters on an airplane, sometimes with a loaded gas tank and a 1.2 blood-alcohol level. Guns don’t kill people, they say; people kill people.
The problem as I see it, is that people kill people…with guns. Adam Lanza did not walk into Sandy Hook Elementary School carrying a sharpened broom handle. He didn’t fire off a hundred rounds of ping-pong balls. He had his mother’s guns – three of them. And the N.R.A. says the blame is hers. She should have kept them locked up, safely stored, away from her child. But her child was 20 years old. Which means back when Adam Lanza was sane – presumably – and he turned 18, he was old enough to be shown where the guns were and how to use them. He could have gone to Walmart and gotten his own guns.
And the other cry of the N.R.A. whenever there’s a massacre – which is every couple of weeks in this fakakteh country – well, if one of the good guys had a gun, this wouldn’t have happened. Or the carnage would have been less, because the teacher, or the movie-theater usher, or the flight attendant could whip out a .45 and blast the psycho before he starts running a tally in double digits.
There is some logic to this, if all these pistol-packing good Samaritans have amazing aim, have recent and constant practice, and happen to be just at the wrong place at the right time. I admit, there are times I would love to carry a gun. I also admit that in a dangerous, do-or-die situation, I would reach for the gun, my hand would slip, and I’d shoot myself right in the balls. Just because everyone can own a gun doesn’t mean everyone should own a gun.
What makes me mad about the N.R.A. is their absolute inability to compromise. The Democrats say, “We don’t want to ban guns. We want sensible gun control.” The N.R.A. says, “You can’t ban guns.” The Democrats say, “No, listen. We don’t want to ban guns. We just want more background checks and the banning of semi-automatic weapons.” The N.R.A. says, “You can’t ban guns.” Right-wing Republicans are like autistic children; you can’t reason with them, all you can do is hope to distract them with something shiny.
The second Amendment of the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791. It was created so that people could hunt for food, defend themselves and mainly to protect the former colonies from foreign invasion. If it seems a little silly in 2012 to worry about British redcoats wanting to sleep in your garage, it wasn’t quite so hilarious in late 2001, when you didn’t know when or where the next turban was gonna drop.
So I am not one of those people who thinks only police and the military should have guns. They’re already in power, they don’t need more firepower. It’s perfectly understandable why a rural farmer would want a shotgun, or a Jew carrying merchandise in the diamond district might need a pistol, or a schvartz NFL player in a nightclub might want three colts, a glock and a snub-nose .38. But none of those people needs an AK-47. Nobody needs to fire two dozen uninterrupted rounds unless you’re making swiss cheese and you’re really pressed for time.
Is it opportunistic of people who are pro-gun control to use a national tragedy for political gain? Sure, just as when Ernest Borgnine died, I lobbied Congress to release the entire “McHale’s Navy” series on Blue-Ray. It was just the right thing to do.
Sensible gun control is also the right thing to do, and it’s a lot smarter than banning midnight movies, elementary schools and high-school cafeterias. Although, banning high-school cafeteria food . . . not the worst idea.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
(c) 2012 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.