Thursday, March 29, 2012

It That Too Much To Ask?

Some people “say it so well” that you can’t improve it much. Gail Collins, in her New York Times piece entitled, “MoreGuns, Fewer Hoodies,” makes the argument, with her usual good sense and subtle humor, that the nation has gone crazy for guns and that those who should be treating the madness – our legislators – are running scared from the American Rifle Association and all the unthinking dupes who parrot their paranoid assertions. The argument runs that without a citizenry, armed to the teeth with every imaginable form of firearm, we will be overrun by hoodlums wearing gray hoodies and carrying Skittles and iced tea home from the local convenience store. A frightening prospect indeed.

Isn’t it interesting that those supporting the shooter in Florida argue that their man had the right to shoot a young boy acting – if he did indeed act at all against Zimmerman – with nothing but his fists, in self-defense, against an unknown man who had been trailing him threateningly, but that the young boy had no right to “stand his ground” against an armed man who accosted him? The logic seems to get more twisted the farther south one goes. It must be related to the greater centrifugal force nearer the equator.

But Wisconsin cannot boast. Under our shiny new “Castle Law,” we too can shoot, with impunity, intruders hiding on our porches. Warn your kids that there is another reason not to play hide-and-seek in the neighborhood after dark – or in broad daylight for that matter. Another reason for them to stay inside playing their harmless “shoot-em-up” video games. (I’m aware that the young man killed on the porch of a Slinger, Wisconsin residence was not playing hide-an-seek, and had no business being there, but the crime for which his gave his life was not significantly more serious than a kid’s game.)

Collins’ concern, expressed in her NYT piece today, is that federal legislation is being promoted to allow those holding gun permits from states like Florida – or others that don’t even require a written permit – to carry their loaded guns into every state of the union and to legally use them there, presumably under the rules that apply in their home state. Collins’ final plaintive words catch the despair of the dwindling band of defenders of civility in our gun totin’ culture: “. . . personally, I’m worn down from arguing. . .” She says, “Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?” (Emphasis added.)

Of course, those who “come here” to Wisconsin, could expand our right to defend our “castle” to include a right to “stand our ground” on a junk-laden back porch, or our front lawn, or on the playground of the local elementary school. A pistol on every hip and a shooting on every block! Nirvana is coming to a neighborhood near you.

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