Dear Mr. President: please define “meaningful.”
Last Friday, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in which 20 children and six adults were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, you spoke some eloquent, passionate words.
“These neighbors are our neighbors,” you said, “and these children are our children, and we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this – regardless of politics.”
Since then I’ve heard that word “meaningful” 200 times if I’ve heard it once.
There is talk of having a “meaningful conversation” about gun control. There is talk of having lawmakers pass “meaningful” gun-control laws.
I just want to know what “meaningful” means. Does it mean that all aspects, all sides of these mass shootings will be discussed?
I don’t think it will, because while Democrats are running around talking about gun control, and Republicans are running around talking about mental illness, everybody’s ignoring the 10-ton elephant in the room.
OK, so it’s more like a 50-ton whale lying dead on the nation’s front lawn, stinking up the joint. But we all choose to cover our noses and make a beeline for the air freshener, rather than get the darned thing off the lawn.
And just what is the 10-ton elephant or 50-ton dead whale in this analogy? Why, gender of course.
How come no one’s saying it? Hasn’t anyone noticed that, in all the recent mass shootings, the perpetrators have been MALE?
I’ll be even more specific: most of them have been white males. Yes, in recent years a couple of Asian American guys have tried to horn in on the white guys’ near-monopoly on mass murder.
And John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sure as heck weren’t white. Neither was Colin Ferguson, the notorious nut job that murdered six people and wounded 19 others on a Long Island Railroad train in 1993.
But white males taking rifles and/or handguns to commit mass murders seems to be the rule, not the exception.
Come now, what was the first thought that ran through your mind after those theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., this past summer? What was the first thing that ran through your mind when you heard that yet another nut job had shot up the school in Newtown, Conn.?
I’m not bashful about sharing what my thoughts were.
“Why don’t they just give us this white guy’s name, run his picture and be done with it?”
Yes, I said it. I have a reputation for not giving violent black criminals any slack, so much so that I’ve gotten the Uncle Tom/sellout routine for it.
But here’s what my detractors don’t and have never considered: I don’t cut violent white criminals any slack either. Violent criminals are violent criminals. They all belong in the same prison.
In fact, if we could build a huge toilet, I wouldn’t mind dumping all the country’s violent criminals in it and flushing them all down the commode.
Not practical, of course, and there are Eighth Amendment issues involved.
If the profile of America’s gun-toting mass murderers happens to be young, white, male and mentally ill, then that’s precisely what I’ll write.
But the gender issue is more critical than the race one. I’m not saying there haven’t been women that have killed more than one person, but those are usually mothers that, for some reason, snapped and murdered their own children.
Please correct me if I’m wrong about this: has there ever been an instance of a woman taking a rifle or handgun and then murdering six, 10, 20 people that she doesn’t even know?
If it’s happened, it’s rare. It’s almost always a guy, so much so that we have to wonder if the combination of firearms and testosterone is, at best, a dicey one indeed.
So a “meaningful” conversation about guns, or some “meaningful” action to prevent tragedies like Newtown, would have to be this:
Pass a law allowing only women to own guns. Ban guys from having guns at all.
There are, at least, 300 million firearms in America. We can’t get rid of them all. But at least we can pass a law that says only members of the gender that has some sense can own them.
What a difference one letter in a word can make. America doesn’t have a “gun” problem. It has a “guy” problem.