Tears For Right Wing Fear
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
When the President of the United States of America cries on national TV, that's a pretty good sign the nation is not having a good day.
And just in case the "Neener Neener"-Obama Can Do No Right faction of the nation tries to make hay out of this, the president's tears yesterday were not John Boehner crocodile tears but those of a fellow parent who'd been devastated by the news of, by far, the worst elementary school shooting in all of American history. And that's how we ought to present this: Not, as the New York Times and others are labeling it, as "the second-worst school shooting" but the worst elementary school shooting in history, period.
And perhaps the MSM could be forgiven for taking a pass on this one since they studiously refuse to join the too-long-delayed gun control dialogue aside from forgettable op-eds in the editorial section. As illustration of this, the MSM, true to form, got wrong the name of the Newtown, Connecticut shooter who'd murdered 27, including 20 small children. To ramp up the silliness factor, while openly speculating he may have been the parent of one of the children, they also listed his age at 20.
To set the biographical facts straight, his name was Adam Lanza, not Ryan, and he had no children at that school or any others.
With hideous timing typical of Republicans, on the same day as yesterday's shooting, the Michigan state senate approved a measure that would allow concealed permits for, among other people, teachers who may want to pack heat in schools.
The problem with that, of course, is the three guns (Sig Sauer and Glock handguns plus a .223 Bushmaster M4 carbine, a semi-automatic assault rifle commonly used by our troops in Afghanistan) that Adam Lanza used to murder 27 innocents were owned by his mother, Nancy, who'd allegedly worked at the Sandy Hook school. As a warmup, Lanza murdered his own mother before marching to the elementary school and began his own impersonation of Anders Breivik.
And what's missing from both sides of the one-sided debate about gun control is the motivation(s) of these gunmen and is there a possibility they could be inspired by or competing with one another?
One would have to be a basement-dwelling, shopping cart-pushing conspiracy theorist to even suggest these men that have slaughtered dozens upon dozens of innocents personally knew each other through a secret website or were part of the MK ULTRA program. But this is the age of digital media, of increasingly endemic social networking sites in which many of us know what our friends had for dinner and what movie they watched last night. Lanza, who'd had the courtesy to eventually commit suicide, had a Facebook page. Radcliffe Haughton, the Brookfield mall shooter in Wisconsin, had a Linkedin page and Anders Breivik, at the very least, knew about Atlas Shrugged's Pam Gellar, who put up a letter by Breivik only to hastily take it down after the Norway massacre. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter from 2007, sent a package to NBC news mentioning Harris and Klebold, the Columbine shooters.
So is it really beyond the realm of possibility that these social maladroits at the very least knew of each other if not each other personally and are involved in some collectively lone competition to outdo one another?
We'll likely never know unless one survives and spills the beans. Breivik and James Moore, the Aurora, CO theater shooter, are rarities among these 2012 spree killers in that they survived. Most, like Lanza, turn their guns on themselves or commit suicide-by-cop before they can be questioned. Whatever their motives, whether idiosyncratic or shared, one fact is screamingly obvious: The answer to preventing these often random and wanton slaughters is not more guns, as the NRA and the right wingers who pimp for them would tell you, it's less.
Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, hours after the Aurora theater shooting, refloated the increasingly silly hypothesis (aside from the one blaming the shootings on bans on school prayer) that if more people in that theater had been packing heat that maybe the casualties could've been reduced. Let's set aside for a minute the absurdity of random people pulling out their guns and aiming at a black-clad man in a dark theater with children in attendance and apply that "hypothesis" to an even more chilling scenario: Teachers pulling handguns out of their desk drawers and aiming at a gunman with many, many more children in attendance.
The president's tears at his presser yesterday were appreciated by those of us who know he was speaking not as our president but as a parent of two children himself. But Mr. Obama needs to back up those tears by entering the angels' side of the debate on gun control that he'd studiously avoided during his first term.