Note: just before publication the news came out that Andrew Breitbart had died of “natural causes.” (That young? Hmmm… there’s some untold story there.) Now I could say something nasty and self serving, but it’s tragic when someone dies young, especially when they have a wife and kids. So let’s just say that when you read my comment about those who complain about “victimization,” well now you know who one of the folks was I was thinking of when I typed that.
I grew up in a gun culture. I went hunting before I was legal: going out with my father to watch. Small game, mostly. For Christmas, when I was 12, I got a double barrel 12 gauge. Don’t worry: it couldn’t be shot: a collector’s piece. A retired gunsmith in Kingston, NY, made it: one of 12.
I was taught to use every part of any kill and really didn’t kill much at all. I was out there mostly for the woods. Spending the day, silent, in a remote Adirondack deer stand was a religious experience.
Gun safety was word one in the house. Went through an NRA gun safety course: they used to be pretty good. Can’t say much about them today, I only hope they are as good as they were, at least when it comes to those courses. I know they aren’t in other ways. I was a member for quite a while and only left when it was obvious the NRA had become a political lobby disguising itself as a gun lobby.
I tell you all this to make you understand where I am coming from. I’m not much for banning guns. Oh, if it would work I would at least understand the desire, even the need. But you start with a nation with a long; deeply embedded, gun culture and the fact that even prisoners have made guns, then maybe you’ll understand my comment: “Don’t think it would ever work.” In fact, like most bans when the genie has long escaped the bottle, or Pandora’s box lost its top long ago, my guess it would be counter productive. Now keeping track of ammunition, though tagants… that’s not a bad idea as long as the gun owner it’s traced back to isn’t automatically assumed guilty. That’s a damn big caveat.
The sad news out of Chardon, Ohio hit me hard. I travel through Chardon every year on my way to a few of my regular Ohio shows. It’s a cute little town: not quite as authentic as Canal Fulton, far less pretentious than Chagrin Falls. More on the nice, friendly upscale side… not snobby, side: unlike how Chagrin can be, less rustic/”old tyme”-y like Canal is.
Odd, and a bit sad, how towns you are fleetingly familiar with can affect the emotions far more than some place you’ve never seen.
It’s unclear yet why the boy, and he is still “a boy,” opened up with a .22 on the students. So far all we have, or at least the public has, is that his father had a history of violence and was banned from visiting him and the home where he grew up.
But there are several questions we can ask, like, “Why do we think: even teach, that violence will solve our problems?” Oh, I know, society teaches that… through the use of war, the death penalty, and repressing protesters to the point where if you happen to be just passing through the area you might get your head beaten.
TV is the biggest cheerleader of all. Have you notice how many times when someone is killed the drift of the show, the movie, is that everyone accepts that justice was served? No repercussions, few questions. The killer never has to defend his act, live with his own actions no matter how justified and society seems to collectively applaud, or at least shrug. Even when bodies are left behind the action just seems to move on and nobody says, “Hey, wait a damn minute. We found this body and your fingerprints are all over the place, you dropped your wallet with your ID and everyone knows both of you had a rather nasty attitude about each other. Exactly what happened here?”
Talk about a vast misrepresentation of reality. Even after the most justifiable of homicides there are usually repercussions… if only years of mental anguish.
One of the big reasons “absolutely no limitations” are demanded by gun rights advocates is “protect us from the government.” Yet my father, gun fan he was, told us if the government comes for you, put your gun down and go with them. Always seemed logical to me, except under the worst, most revolutionary, scenarios. The government has tanks, atom bombs, missiles and an endless supply of money and people to convince you to go with them. If you don’t they can make damn sure it no longer matters if you do, because if you resist there will be no more “you.” If you resist people will use that as evidence that you were guilty… period… end of discussion. Even if they’re absolutely wrong. Plus, working within the system, as best one can, is more likely to work and less likely to turn you into not much more than a blood smear. Note: I said “more likely,” not “likely.”
But times have changed. Far too many in the gun community now push the meme’ that guns may be the best answer when the authorities come a knocking, or when you think you need to defend yourself, or just teach an important lesson. Think of the bumper stickers and all the statements by pols and pundits: “I’m just reloading,” “lock and load.” There’s was a time when you got in trouble in school, generally, you’re in trouble at home too. When the neighbor calls and says you did something wrong coming home was not pleasant. That’s been changing. Now it’s more likely to be, “How dare you even suggest my kid…”
And children; social sponges that they are, are responding. I can’t recall one damn story about a student shooting other students, teachers, being in the news. In my family that would have been the talk of the table for months. Schoolhouse doors were unlocked: no gun detector in sight, because doing something like that was unthinkable. Now seems such shootings are in the news a lot. Columbine was a wake up call: like a Gatling gun aimed at America’s heart. It’s not just some nut in college tower in Texas picking off students and teachers. Yes, times have changed.
The way we treat each other is having obvious consequences.
The way we raise our children: how we teach them to respond to adversity, is having consequences.
The examples we set for our children is having obvious consequences.
As a boy I was bullied for about two years: back then adults considered the bullies to be villains in these sometimes not so “mini” dramas. These days I read adults not only claim nothing can be done, but defend bullying as some right of passage… even blame the bullied. “He must have done something to encourage this.” Some on the Right push the meme’ that the Left is into “victimization.” I do agree it can be a problem in America: whereas the concept is pushed that the victim is somehow always to blame, and even if not “not to blame,” well, “nothing should be done about it.”
Anyone ever notice how people who bitch the loudest and the most about “victimization” are always the biggest drama queens when it comes to claiming they’re the victims?
Understanding how the bullied feel isn’t hard for me. In my case I was so severely beaten; so many times my bike was smashed, my books and papers tossed to the wind… one morning before I hopped on my Schwinn to ride to school I went up to my brother Ted’s room and grabbed a pellet pistol, loaded it, and tucked it into my pants. But when I started to cross the property line I stopped and thought, “This is wrong.” I turned around, went into the house, and put it back.
Kids aren’t stopping at the property line anymore. And they’re not choosing pellet pistols.
If, in America, we just simply allow our children to be bullies as if it’s some acceptable right of passage…
…insist it’s OK to feed them the premise that violence will solve all their problems over and over again…
And if adults: intentionally or not, continue to cheer them on, or to ignore the obvious signs…
I fear we are a broken nation… broken beyond repair.
And at least one child in Chardon is brain dead because too much of America only starts to give a damn after the bullets fly.
Murder in Ohio
Written by Lilith Raymour
Murder in Ohio
Neil Young sings
It never stops
When will we stop killing
to stop the killing
to stop the madness
to stop the misbehavior
to stop the bullies
to stop the traitors
to stop the opinion
to stop belief
or lack of belief
It never stops
And until we stop
It never will
Violence is a form of societal suicide
That cures NO ills
Empties the mind
Murders the soul
all rights reserved
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved