A brawl followed by an outbreak of brawls erupted Sunday morning in the small insular world of politics;–it started on Meet the Press when Wayne LaPierre of the NRA said, ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun‘ — David Gregory nodded politely, said, ‘That might work,’ then added, ‘But don’t you agree banning thirty bullet clips in semi-automatic rifles might do some good too?’
At first blush LaPierre’s suggestion — putting policemen in elementary schools — sounded shocking. But, if you stop and think about it, for over 200 years we’ve been doing pretty much just that — sending ‘a good guy with a gun’ to stop villains from George III to Tojo.
Anyhow, Gregory had LaPierre in a tight spot — arguing a twenty-year-old holding a Bushmaster wasn’t more deadly than a twenty year old holding a machete was going to be a tall order. So, instead, LaPierre started explaining what to do to stop the dark forces (which he described as ‘madness and culture’) that had turned Adam Lanza into a matricide. When he finished Gregory shot back, But what about banning thirty bullet clips?
By noon there was hardly a network talk show without a brawl.
Now, overall, Democrats and Republicans didn’t really disagree much. Republicans said creating more mental health programs made more sense than banning thirty bullet clips, and Democrats were more than happy to create more government programs. Democrats and Republicans didn’t disagree much about ‘culture’ either — almost everyone said violent video games were villains.
But the brawling didn’t shed much light at all on one question: When Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School, why wasn’t there a tiny voice of conscience whispering in his ear, Stop. These are children.
With the light they have to see with in their small insular world, the politicians have decided video games and missing government programs are the answer — that’s their antidote to the dark powers that destroyed Adam Lanza’s conscience.
Years ago, back home in Virginia, my grandmother had a cousin who was a bootlegger. One night his wife caught him red-handed with another woman and threw him out of the house then called the sheriff and told him where her philandering husband had hidden his still. The bootlegger had landed in a fix, so one Sunday morning he went to the local parson to unburden himself and said, Ole’ temptation just got to whispering in my ear and my brains flew right out the window.
The country parson chewed that over awhile and said, I’d say what was whispering in your ear was a lot meaner than temptation and what flew out the window was your conscience not your brains. A fellow in a mess like you’re in ought to be ready to try prayer.