Contrary to the lay of our polarized political landscape, cold blooded murder can't be painted with a red- or blue-dipped brush.
When a man like Ian Stawicki, someone with a history of assault, mental illness and permission to carry a concealed handgun, saunters into a bohemian coffee house in Seattle—one from which he'd been ejected several times for his threatening behavior—and empties his weapons into every carbon-based organism within point-blank range, it's difficult to view his savagery through a constitutional prism.
Why, then, must our society's epidemic of handgun-inspired slaughter be eternally politicized? Why do we endlessly debate in the Op/Ed columns and talk radio while we wonder if maybe we or our children will be the next winners of this anti-lottery while shopping for iPod cables at Target.
Like Groundhog Day, we wait for the next time when we will again stand in gape-mouthed horror at another Columbine or Virginia Tech or four-year-old who found something under Mom and Dad's bed and decided to try it out.
But nothing changes.
People are dying because of America's gun laws. When our founding patriarchs jotted out the framework of the Bill of Rights on a rough parchment cocktail napkin, they decided it might behoove them to be able to form a quick local militia or two.
All it took for Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin was a peak down the bar at a group of obnoxious Redcoats downing Jagermeister shots and trying to get the bar maid to freak dance with them.
In those days, the state-of-the-art military equalizer was the musket. All a soldier had to do to pop a cap in some punk's ass was open the cartridge, push the striker forward and pour a small amount of powder into the flash pan, push the frissen back, hold the weapon muzzle-up, pour in the rest of the powder, insert a lead ball, wad the barrel, remove the ramrod and place it in the storage pipe, raise the musket to firing position, pull back the hammer, aim and fire.
Wow, I can't believe it's already lunch time. On average, reloading and firing an eighteenth century musket took fifteen seconds.
Now, let's request a little assistance from Doc Brown of the Back to the Future trilogy and insert Tom and Ben into the DeLorean for a trip to 2012 and place them on stools at the bar of Seattle's Café Racer.
If someone had walked in carrying a musket, even if it had been previously loaded, he would surely have been rushed by the bar's patrons upon hoisting the heavy firearm. Instead, our two forefathers' last breaths would have been spent witnessing the savage capabilities of futuristic handguns, each of which were easily concealed for optimum surprise.
Is that really what they had in mind?
I'm not proposing to rid society of all firearms. But how about if we start with the handguns?
Look, I have a family and I understand the necessity for protecting them and our home against invaders with bad intentions. But how about using a rifle? Is it really necessary to play Miami Vice by replacing your Pillow Pet with a Luger, when a shotgun serves your purposes fairly decisively?
Last I checked, "NRA" didn't stand for "National Nine-Millimeter Glock Association."
People get really angry about this. They think Barack Obama wants to personally knock on their door and ask for all their firearms, and yeah, go ahead and throw in your awesome Supersoaker squirt gun while you're at it.
That's not going to happen. As much as folks like Terrible Ted Nugent want you to believe it, no one is assaulting your right to assault people who assault you.
So Ted, just relax, but not enough that your Derringer falls out of that place where they'll never find it.