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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Baseball. Hot dogs. Apple pie. Mass Murder. It's time for us to recognize that in our "exceptional" society murder at the hands of a firearm is apparently accepted as part of daily life.

The Second Amendment crowd has been holding its fire for now, although they will surely point out the weapons used by Adam Lanza to perpetrate his evil at the Sandy Hook Elementary School were legally purchased by his mother, no doubt for her own protection -- until he turned a weapon on her.

And we will also inevitably hear that "guns don't kill people. People kill people." But it does not take much effort to blow a hole in that rationalization.

Since their invention in China, firearms have known one purpose, as weapons. Knives can be used to open things or to cut food. Axes can be used to chop wood to generate warmth. Guns were not invented to crack open nuts and I doubt they are widely used for that purpose today.

Our exceptional society is the only one in the world where these weapons of minimal to moderate destruction are as easily available as baseballs, hot dogs and chewing gum. Ours is also the only society where absolutists have taken an incredibly narrow reading of the 2nd Amendment to place the right of gun ownership over a child's right to go to school without fearing for their safety.

Our exceptional society takes greater offense at the discussion of the role of the gun in the murder-suicide of a football player and his girlfriend than it does to the discussion of the on-field violence that may ultimately prove to be a factor in Jovan Belcher's hideous act.

And our exceptional society -- where four presidents were assassinated and an icon of the right was seriously wounded by guns -- has allowed itself to be cowed into inaction by a well-financed lobby that operates with non-lethal intimidation using cash and the ballot box.

Yes, murder and evil are as old as the planet and there will always be people who think nothing of taking the lives of others. But what is unprecedented is ease with which weapons are available, particularly those that serve no purpose other than killing.

There are sadly no profiles of courage here, left or right. If recent history is any judge, we will hand our heads in shock, weeping at the particular savagery of this crime, then move on until the next time.

And there will be a next time is as sure as the sun will rise in the morning. Unless the Mayans are right and we all pay for the the lack of humanity of the few.

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