That was then. Maybe into my mid-30s or so. Then Columbine happened, and steadily, regularly, depressingly regularly, gun violence blooms all over the country. Sometimes it's laced with anti-religious bigotry, sometimes with mental illness, sometimes with the mere desire to cause mayhem. Every time, it becomes political very fast.
Usually, there is a Left Wing World response along the lines of "Why can't we do anything? Something? Even something small? Is this finally enough?" That last question was largely replaced--after Newtown--with sad resignation, as expressed by Jon Stewart on Thursday night, that we won't do Jack shit, because there is no political will. [Story continues below]
In Right Wing World, the response is even more predictable. Go check out FreeRepublic.com or any other right-wing outpost on the internet, even the comments section of generally non-partisan news sites. Instantly--before the facts were known--there were charges of the perp probably being a Muslim, or black, foreign in some way at least. Likely a liberal atheist. When he turned out to be white, obviously race-inspired, probably very conservative, then it was a mental health issue, anti-ADD drugs, bad parenting. And--as always--the real problem is that there are not enough guns out there to fight all the guns out there, and it's really the liberal gun-grabbers' fault because they didn't allow open carry in the shooting site. And as always, someone will suggest it was all a false flag, or a planted patsy, a fake-out to inspire "gun grabbing."
Any whisper of discussion, no matter how gentle, about "is there anything that can be done to minimize these sorts of attacks?" is met with furious, profanity-laced, frothing, white-hot, paranoid rage from the right. It doesn't matter the circumstances. It doesn't matter how the guns were gotten, what type of guns or ammo were involved, whether hidden good-guy sentries with guns would have been helpful or not, the gun fetishists (and let's face it, the guns have been fetishized) come out--excuse the expression--guns ablazing.
If you take out the horror, shock and despair over the actual gun violence that has just happened (again), I'm still left with deep embarrassment that our country reacts this way. That the left is utterly impotent on this issue, and that the right can be so schizophrenic, as Jon Stewart pointed out: Islamic Terrorism must be met with a quick, furious and out-of-scale response. Gun violence? [Shrug] What can you do?
TV Jon Stewart declares no jokes in passionate Charleston commentary on The Daily Show
Jon Stewart began Thursday night’s edition of The Daily Show with an emotional, joke-free commentary about racism and gun violence in America following the shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday. . .
Read more at: Entertainment Weekly