I had planned to write some more about my trip.
But as has so often been the case this year and last-I woke up to yet another incident of domestic terrorism. The worst mass shooting yet in America. Yet another disgusting commentary on America’s inability to better itself as a nation. Once again, it’s time to point out the blatant evidence of our failings as a nation:
Of course, even the biggest Pollyanna’s among American citizenry know that nothing will be done. Mr. C. Pierce explains why:
On July 4, 1854, William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist firebrand, burned a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America at a gathering of anti-slavery activists in Framingham Grove in Massachusetts. Garrison called the document, “a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell.” Almost 100 years later, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, writing in dissent in the case of Terminiello v. City of Chicago, opined rather famously:
“The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”
Both of these men have been proven wrong, most recently by the events Sunday night in Las Vegas, when a 64-year old man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 people gathered for a country music concert. At this writing on Monday morning, 50 people were dead and several hundred wounded. (Editor’s note: As of 11:42 a.m., 58 people are dead and 515 wounded.) The number of the dead almost assuredly will rise. This makes Paddock’s unfortunate exercise of his Second Amendment freedoms the deadliest mass shooting in history. This makes Paddock’s unfortunate exercise of his Second Amendment freedoms the 273rd mass shooting in the United States this year………
We hear serious arguments about all the other parts of the Bill of Rights: that the First Amendment has limits on what T-shirts high-school students (“Bong Hits 4 Jesus!”) can wear; that the Fourth Amendment has limits that allow wiretaps without warrants; that the Fifth Amendment has limits that allow drug-testing without cause; that the Sixth Amendment has limits that allows the states to poison convicts to death. But only with the Second Amendment do we hear the argument that the only tolerable limit on its exercise is that there are no limits. Only with the Second Amendment do we hear that the price of freedom is the occasional Stephen Paddock, locked away in his own madness on the 32nd floor of a luxury hotel and casino, deciding coolly whose brains he will blow out next a few blocks away in the 273rd such unfortunate exercise of Second Amendment rights this year.
After all, America is an “exceptional” nation, correct? ( Please see figure (1) above).
I was working on a rather long post, during my trip, a post about how disappointing, now at the long side of the journey-about how much the future for the country of my birth has ended up disappointing me, and many, many others. What’s especially frustrating is that it never had to be this disappointing or be this much of a failure. Arguments supporting my disappointment can be found here, here, here, and here.
A far better man than the current occupant of the White House showed us the despair we have every right to feel:
The people who needed to listen to that conversation didn’t. And so 2017 dawned with a madman about enter the White House. Who later has proven himself every bit as bad as I said he would be.
Nothing ever changes.
We have become a nation that accepts the blood sacrifice of our children as an ineffable part of our constitutional order, one of those things you have to tolerate, like pornography and the occasional acquittal of an unpopular defendant, in order to live in a free society. Better that one Stephen Paddock go free than a hundred law-abiding gun owners wait a week before buying an Uzi. This is a vision of the nation that has been sold to us by a generation of politicians who talk brave and act gutless, and by the carny shills in the employ of the industries of death. Better that one Stephen Paddock go free than a hundred law-abiding gun owners wait a week before buying an Uzi. We are all walking blood sacrifices waiting to happen.
Disgust isn’t enough.
Sorrow isn’t enough.
Nothing is enough because, if Newtown wasn’t enough, then how can Las Vegas be enough? And if Las Vegas isn’t enough, then how can anything be enough?
God help us all.
Rest the clock and start the countdown till the next big shooting.
Oh and spare me the bullshit commentary about Chicago or elsewhere. It misses the point. Like so many things, the US has the ability to be better. It willfully chooses not to. I have a right and an obligation to be angry about it.
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