First, my lilac out back has blossomed. The sweet scent will be wafting into the kitchen for at least a week.
Now for the rant. It'll be nothing new to any of you, I'm sure. It won't be the first time you've heard it from others, and it won't be the last. Next week it'll happen again, and the week after. Probably a year from now it'll be even worse.
Yesterday a young man with a gun walked into a high school in Portland Oregon and opened fire, killing a student and wounding a teacher, then was either killed or or killed himself. A few days before this a young man walked into a university in Seattle and started shooting a shotgun, killing one student and wounding two others. He was captured, a rarity in these cases.
Since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school there have been almost 40 other shootings in schools, most of them K-12. This number is only at schools, there have been far more that don't include schools....malls, public buildings, on and on. The US has the highest rate of gun deaths per capita in the 'industrialized' world, exceeded only by places like Somalia. The US rate per 100,000 is 3.9. The UK is 0.3.
When we look back the months since Sandy Hook we see a lessening of public reaction with each incident. The US was in a mild state of shock for a week after Sandy Hook, with much public debate about guns. The shooting in Seattle barely made the news outside the Pacific Northwest, and was absent from the news after 2 days.
Which brings us to the National Rifle Association (NRA). They morphed from a hunting-based organization that talked about conservation into a lobby and supporter of the gun industry in the 1970's, and have been wildly successful in stifling debate about guns and deflecting the issue from guns to a variety of other issues. They, with Supreme Court justice Anthony Scalia's help, have made the 2nd amendment into a holy-of-holy biblical commandment. There isn't a politician of national importance that will go up against them about any aspect of gun control, however minor.
A week or so ago a spokesperson for the NRA made a statement that called the Texas 'open carry' loonies "weird". This small venture into rationality was quickly reversed by the NRA with a statement that said "We support the right of any citizen to carry a gun anywhere."
One would think in any right-minded society this group would be relegated to the dust bin of history. Not in the US, here we read it and move on. No comment from any politician.
A year ago a columnist for a gun magazine wrote that "high-capacity assault rifles have no place in hunting." Under pressure from the NRA he was quickly and publicly fired. He also got death threats, as have most public officials that have the temerity to suggest any minor alteration to gun laws, like background checks.
The NRA is directly responsible for these gun deaths by quelling any discussion about gun control, in any meaningful venue.
I could go on and on; the spinning of the 2nd amendment by the Supreme Court, the political parties unwillingness or inability to address the issue, on and on. But what's the point? The motherfuckers have won. We're screwed.
Coming soon to a cafe near you: guys with assault rifles walking in and proclaiming their right to brandish guns trumps your worries about your families, and the grieving of parents and families everywhere.