I’ve been on the road and busy to boot. Combined with a Curmudgeonly personality and a history of TV avoidance I can find myself downright disconnected… which is just how I like it.
Unfortunately something evil went down Friday and I couldn’t avoid it. I heard the news when I made the mistake of switching on the radio. (I’d been happily listening to my MP3 player.) I was looking for a weather report and instead found out that some sick bastard shot his mother, a bunch of kids, and some adults. It cast a pall over the formerly cheerful truck cab. Asshole! I’d only reconnected with the news for ten minutes and was faced with this… this… abomination? I flipped the radio back off.
Tragedy. No kid deserves to be shot. Even as I wrapped my mind around it I knew that political gamesmanship would commence soon. (Nothing is too ugly to become a political tool anymore.) As usual, I’d be on the shit end of it. I like my gun rights. Invariably this horror would be used to hammer me and my ilk.
Surely there would first be a period of mourning? Nobody is such a monster that they’d jump on it right away. Also I really needed a weather report. The road conditions were looking dicey. I turned on the radio again. Two minutes had passed since I’d heard the news.
No weather report. Instead some airhead was blathering about the need to eliminate guns. Imagine that! Hours after the incident and two minutes after I’d first heard about it.
Like the tide follows the moon there is always someone who’ll exploit misery. “In light of this horrible tragedy it is obvious that all Americans must submit to precisely what I’ve always wanted.”
I flipped the radio off again. It was too much. Capitalizing on the death of innocents more or less immediately. Who thinks like that?
I never got the weather report. I just kept driving.
The next day, Saturday, got even creepier. Every station on the radio was playing with it like death was a theme park. They even interviewed the coroner and discussed the autopsy. Someone, presumably a grown adult who should know better, asked “What did it feel like?” To get shot to death? Who asks a question like that?
Worse yet, I was driving through Chicago. Chicago is the home planet of gun control and various other forms of political control. Chicago also has terrible traffic. I inched along while a herd of talking heads paraded through my speakers with the unanimous theory that ignorant rednecks and their guns were clearly the cause of all misery. I myself have never shot anybody and I like owning guns. There is no room for me in Chicago. I wished I was home with my family.
By Sunday I’d given up on even the merest hint of the radio. My MP3 player is earning it’s keep.
By Monday I picked up the free newspaper at the hotel room lobby. The headline said “Gun control nearing tipping point”. It took less than 72 hours to go from a tragedy to that headline.
I suppose I’m not surprised but I’m saddened. Not all tragedies are lessons. Not all evil is a chance to start a crusade. There is a time when one might do well to pause and reflect before starting the next political battle. (Both parties should know this.) Our nation is getting pretty darned good at turning on each other; an unwise reaction to sorrow.