Sunday July 29, 2012

RICHMOND

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there they go again.

Once again, we have a sick person or a monster killing a dozen innocents because he had the legal opportunity to purchase four weapons and thousands of bullets, including an automatic that could spray 60 deadly bullets before anybody could take a breath.

The National Rifle Associ ation has assumed such power in this country that our officials have to deal with them as if they were a semi-friendly nation in our midst that decides its own rules and programs without regard to how some of us feel about them. They occupy us just as we occupy Afghanistan.

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The slaughter in Colorado will once more cause the gun control people to tentatively flex their muscles in hopes of doing something to ameliorate this crazy situation but after much fervent discussion, the gun situation will remain the same.

There was a time in this country when people stocked guns to protect themselves from wild beasts and savages of various types. One bullet at a time.

Why people are now so berserk about owning automatic weapons of such diverse dimensions that they can kill hordes in the blink of an eye is, as the King of Siam put it, a puzzlement. They are not good for killing for meat because they would macerate the flesh of any animal. They are not good for home protection because they would knock your walls down as well as any intruder.

In World War II one of the biggest ambitions of the Ameri can foot soldier was to capture a Schmeisser, the German automatic weapon that had a magazine holding 36 bullets. These were expensive to manufacture and were distributed carefully. I saw only one of these in possession by an American and the GI got the biggest grin I ever saw on his face when anybody asked if they could see or hold it. The gun had a tendency to rise when being used so the wielder had to be careful.

Four years ago we had a case of a young boy at a gun show in Westfield trying to fire an automatic and it rose up and put a bullet in his head. He was there with an instructor and his father but nobody had thought to warn him of this danger. People kept asking why an 8-year-old boy was at a firing range in the first place just as they are asking why young children were at a midnight movie. There are no satisfactory answers no matter how many attempts are made.

A massacre like the one in Colorado and the several other times these things have occurred are almost inevitable when you consider how many deranged, sick people are walking among the millions of people who are incapable of committing such atrocities. Some happen in the cause of a country or a people or a religion and the rest happen because of some perverse function of the human brain.

What has been bothering me recently is how many times one of our explosive drones has wiped out a group of innocent civilians as we try to catch our enemies by surprise. What do we say to the Afghans or Pakistanis when one of our missiles hits a wedding party or a funeral or an ordinary house. We finally might say we are sorry even though that is only a formal protocol.

We might pay amends, so much a person, so much an adult, so much a child.

And the operator of the drone, so many thousands of miles away from the target? Does he just write it off as a bad day and go on to the next target?

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It seems we are helpless at present to curtail the sale and use of automatic weapons in this country to civilians. The president and the Congress don't want to annoy the NRA and its millions of voters who do what they are told. The candidate for president is in the same quandary.

This present debate will go on for a short while and then we will be at peace with each other until the next madman makes his move.

Don't blame Batman with his silly costume and unbreakable webs. There is something in the American psyche right now that calls for guns. Automatic guns. Unlimited guns. Innumerable guns. How about you?

Milton Bass is a regular Eagle
contributor.