25 April 2007: Violence: Beat Goes On

Beat goes on with violence

There is an insanity abounding that, scary enough, makes sense to some. Last week, when crazed gunman Cho Seung-Hui took 32 innocent lives, he, as is tradition, used a legally-purchased firearm. That fact hardly raised an eyebrow on those who deliberately misread the Second Amendment. George Bush falls into that category with his “sucked-to-be-you” comment at Virginia Tech: “They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Bummer, dude. Wished I had donned my full body armor before heading off to chem class.

Across the globe, Iraq experienced another bloody day at the market with 186 more souls, who didn’t have the advantage of a John McCain-type military escort and bullet-proof vest, paying the price of Bush’s liberation.

About the same time, five Supreme Court activist judges/clerics pronounced the first of several anticipated moves in aborting Roe v. Wade by providing cover to misogynist legislators who desire to control women, even to deny pregnant women the ultimate right of self-protection and preservation.

No male can possibly know what a woman goes through when it comes to making the decision to continue or end her pregnancy. Lawmakers and justices who insist on reading the Constitution as a 21st century Old Testament, replete with prohibitions on women, gays, and diners at Red Lobster, would admit to that except that hypocrisy prevents them from doing so. I suspect, though, a woman doesn’t show up at a clinic on a whim and say, “I had thought a massage, but I’ll do the abortion, instead.”

Somehow, it is a life to be protected while in the womb, but not so deserving once outside. Cho should have been prevented from purchasing a gun due to being depressed, angry, psychotic, and a potential mass killer. The system failed, but we can make it right. We can start with an honest reading of the Second Amendment being provisional; then, implement the recommendations of the Brady Commission. The gun purveyors are right: Guns don’t kill. Bullets do, and semi-automatics and magazine clips help the killer be ever the more efficient.

Words, like bullets, can hurt and kill—it’s called hate speech. Parents, teachers, coaches, and other adult mentors reprimand kids when they call others names, then see it undone by hate-mongers like Ann Coulter. After calling John Edwards a “faggot” in violation of proper comportment and the Fifth and Eighth Commandments, she got a most un-Christian, titillating response from the conservative, ostensibly Christian, crowd.

As an ACLU card-carrying member, I do not believe laws should be enacted to prevent shockers such as Imus and Limbaugh and Savage and wannabes like Coulter who make big bucks demeaning women, blacks, immigrants, gays, and every other disempowered group, from making obnoxious statements. Nor, do I advocate cutting out their tongues.

When they begin to rant or bluster, one can challenge them about the size of their manhood. The more the bluster, the tinier it must be. “Compensating,” as Freud might say. The problem is that would be sort of name-calling, not Christian-like. But when dragged into the gutter, it’s tough to walk that high road, to turn the other cheek. Still, perhaps not—someone has to be the adult, to act in a Christian manner, even non-Christians, especially when so many that lay claim to following Christ’s teachings continue to be an embarrassment to him.

Many are upset with NBC—which had earlier done right by firing Imus—and other media outlets for posting the horrific pictures of Cho the gunman. There are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, it may engender copycats and it pours acid on already raw wounds. On the other, the pictures painfully rip off the veneer of the dark side of American culture.

It’s time to be honest about ourselves: We are one kick-ass nation. We love violence. We love watching others get whacked—think football replays and reality TV. It’s about shock and awe, man!

A gun is a phallic symbol—since I can’t take you with my fists or my stubby, I’ll get something that makes me more “m-ah-nly.” That’s what Cho did and that is essentially what the NRA defends and it’s what Bush is doing in Iraq.

It is time for a major societal shift in consciousness, to begin looking at all issues, especially guns, in an enlightened manner. There are glimmers of hope in that regard: the shift in public opinion with regard to the environment, energy independence, and Bush’s War on Iraq. The question before us: Will the Virginia Tech mass killings do what Columbine murders did not—take on the NRA and enact reasonable gun control laws?

With the Grand Old Guard entrenched in the White House potentially for 21 more months, it will be tough. For them it will be as Sonny Bono, erstwhile hippy and later reconstructed Republican, sang, “The beat goes on, the beat goes on / Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain / La de da de de, la de da de da.”

RIP: Or, as Kurt Vonnegut might have said, “So it goes.”

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