Friday, April 10, 2015

Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him . . .

Before NBC showed the gunning down of Walter Scott in North Charleston, SC the anchor, Lester Holt, warned the viewers that what they were going to show might be hard to watch. Indeed it was hard to watch an unarmed, frightened man, shot in the back as he fled from an encounter with a policeman who had repeatedly tazzed him. But it has become necessary for us to see such violence. Without seeing such incidents we may never be roused to do anything about the daily injustices minorities and the poor in this country endure.

But it was ironic to see, on the same TV channel, an advertisement for an upcoming show in which the only clips shown were those of gun violence, all of it far more graphic (although admittedly fictional) than the shooting of Walter Scott. The only reason Walter Scott’s shooting was more disturbing than the fictionalized mayhem advertised later is that I knew that Walter Scott would never get up again from that grassy boulevard to go home to loved ones as the actors in the NBC drama would.

And now, this weekend, politicians, I presume from both parties as well as independents, are flocking to Tennessee for the annual gun-lovers convention of the National Rifle Association, selling their souls to assure their mess of political porridge for the next four years. No firearm is too lethal, too dangerous, too ubiquitous, too easily concealed, or too often involved in heinous crimes and murders to warrant their disapproval. Thankfully the President, always the target of gun lovers, but especially so on this annual celebration of mayhem, is out of the country this weekend.

As we ponder why we are such a violent society (those who do ponder the question) we might consider how much our society loves the gun, an instrument whose primary purpose – one could argue only purpose – is to kill. It would be sad enough if its main function was to give mankind a greater advantage over his animal enemies but that is not the case; the main point of fire arms is to make mankind more lethal in his encounters with his fellow man.

Ah, Uncle Cain, look what you started.

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