The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

Groundhog Day is a movie in which Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again
There were a few moments of irony during Vice President Kamala Harris’s appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, this morning. The Vice President paused in the midst of the ceremony, in order to make a few brief remarks about a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. A shooting that left eight dead and several wounded. In the end the shooter killed himself, because, well, why go off script? That’s what usually happens, I guess. Hard to keep track these days isn’t it?
Why the irony? Because Japan has almost 0 (zero, ZERO, Z-E-R-O) gun deaths per year while American deaths get tallied up at pinball machine rates. Follow the link to see the comparison. One can only imagine what Prime Minister Suga and his retinue are saying behind closed doors about America shooting itself to death and not wanting to do a damn thing about it.

Now, the National Rifle Association; damn near every Republican legislator, and many Democratic legislators; and a fair portion of the gun owning public will say that Japan’s gun laws are draconian.
Purchasing a gun in Japan requires passing a written exam, and scoring at least 95% accuracy in a shooting range test. (Seems reasonable to me. I mean you don’t want somebody accidentally shooting the neighbor’s dog – or the neighbor. It’s kind of like having to prove that you won’t ricochet your car off of people and other cars before you can get behind the wheel.)
Gun purchasers in Japan must also go through a mental health evaluation, performed at a hospital, and will have a comprehensive background check done by the government. Only shotguns and rifles can be purchased. The class and exam must be retaken every three years.
I can hear the harrumphs from gun rights advocates already.

  1. Unconstitutional.
  2. Gun laws won’t do any good.
  3. Japan has had mass killings. In 2019 three people were stabbed to death in Ibaraki Prefecture. Might just as well outlaw knives or make people take competency tests in knife skills. (Don’t laugh, I’ve heard that sort of “reasoning.”).

I’m going to go into sacrilegious territory here and say that the Constitution is a bit of a problem.
You know, it isn’t as if the Constitution is a perfect document. The framers knew that at some point it would need to be tinkered with, hence the notion of amendments.
For example, remember the Volstead Act, (The Eighteenth Amendment)? That’s the one that kicked off prohibition – no more booze. Well, that got remedied 13 years later, when America decided it wanted a drink, and the Volstead Act was repealed. Everybody, well, almost everybody, raised a glass in celebration. So yes, there are Constitutional flubs and they can be remedied.

Overhauling the Second Amendment though? That would be more heinous than taking a knee during the National Anthem. The Second Amendment is sacrosanct. Shit holds more sway than the Ten Commandments; certainly more sway than that troublesome Sixth Commandment. You know, that deal about thou shalt not kill.
But for sheer, unadulterated, shit house futility, I’ll go with number 2, above – laws won’t do any good. There are literally too many guns in circulation and we are beyond the point of doing or wanting to do anything meaningful in America about gun violence.
We either don’t have the resolve or legislators don’t have the guts or the gun lobby is just too powerful or a combination of the three. Or maybe we just aren’t as civilized or as responsible as we’d like to make ourselves out to be.
The proof that nothing will EVER be done came after Sandy Hook, when 20 elementary school children were mowed down and the best we could do was thoughts and prayers and the worst, the most reprehensible, we could do was a conspiracy theory.
Looking for proof that we’re not serious? America can’t even make bump stocks illegal. A bump stock is a device which essentially turns a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
Remember the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 in which the shooter used weapons equipped with bump stocks? Listen to the audio, sometime. Sounds like a scene out of Saving Private Ryan.

When we heard the news about the Indianapolis shooting I turned to my wife and said,
“I have the solution to all of this. I know how American gun violence can come to an end. Here’s what we do. We repeal all the gun laws, such as they are; every single-dingle gun law. Then we let everyone have a gun and a mountain of bullets. Then after we’ve all killed each other, some sane group, like the Japanese, can move in, bury the bodies, clean up the mess, melt down the guns and start over.”
Yes it sounds morbid and it sounds cruel and it is way, way over the top, but, you have to admit, it is thinking out of the box.
Got a better idea? Let’s hear it. I’m all ears.
Meanwhile the flag over the White House is at half staff – again. The way we’re going, the poor guy moving that flag around is going to get carpal tunnel. I say, just save him the trouble and keep it at half staff.

Does this piece seem a bit irreverent? Well, it was meant to be. I’m certainly not mocking the dead or the loved ones left behind.

I’m being contemptuous of the gun lobby, the Second Amendment fanatics, the gun nuts, the cowardice of legislators who are afraid of the gun lobby, and the greed; all of the obscene bullshit that perpetuates America’s gun Groundhog Day.

Do you know what’s going to happen next?
I do. It’s as if it’s scripted.
In no particular order.
Thoughts and prayers.
Calls for gun legislation.
Push back that it’s too soon to politicize.
Outrage from the left.
Guns don’t kill people blather.
Joe Biden is going to take your guns, blather.
A surge in gun sales.
Another shooting.
Repeat as necessary.

18 thoughts on “Groundhog Day in Gun Land

  1. I agree with you 100%.

    1. Paulie says:

      Hello Marie,
      Now all we need to do is to get some congressmen and senators to a agree; not even 100%. It would be progress if they could agree 25%.

  2. mistermuse says:

    A great title, but a truly sad commentary on America.

    1. Paulie says:

      One of those rare occasions when the title was the easiest part.

  3. One of the main reasons why the rapid gun owners won’t give them up is because they identify with them. Which is to say they identify as gun owners and that’s one step away from identifying as the gun itself. Take away the gun, take away the man. Or woman. Now, why someone wants to identify as a killing machine leads to an interesting discussion…

    1. Paulie says:

      Excellent point Michael.

      That identity is displayed in the form of t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, signs and the slogans they carry.

      There’s a machismo about it. That America was founded in war and that expansion was achieved to a great extent with the gun lends a sort of perverted patriotism and romanticism to the culture.

      On a lighter note, it’s good to see from your most recent post that you seem to have settled in after your move.


      1. Yes, and thank you. I’m now pretty close to you. We’re gonna have to figure out when to have that beer.

        1. Paulie says:

          Well, I am retired with a pretty open calendar. Ever heard of East Brother Brewing in Pt. Richmond?

          1. No, but I’d like to find out.

  4. The USA has a sick history in major ways: To name a few: Wiping out countless Indians. Slavery. Persistent racism. And its love affair with guns.

    1. Paulie says:

      Yeah, that is unfortunately, “just a few.” Healthcare, immigration, poverty, homelessness, corruption… just to name a few more. We could do something about some of these if we just had the will.

  5. Jane Fritz says:

    This U.S. gun “culture” is completely unfathomable to the rest of the world. Completely. President Biden says it’s an embarrassment to the country. It’s more appropriately a great shame on the country. You are 100% correct, Paulie, and yet that logic seems to carry no weight. Impossible to comprehend.

    1. Paulie says:

      I see no end to it. We had a chance to avoid this road but that was many decades ago.

      I clearly remember a conversation many years ago and mentioning that I could understand people wanting their rifles for hunting and target shooting, but if we weren’t careful those rights might be taken away. This was before things started to get out of hand. I was probably in high school or college at the time; that’s how long ago it was. That was our window of opportunity and the window was open for awhile.

      Things got out of hand and the window is closed. I don’t see any possible way of fixing this mess, even in the odd event of a super majority of Democrats in Congress and a liberal Supreme Court.

      For years now I’ve wished that the 2nd Amendment could be repealed or altered but that would take an amendment and you couldn’t find 4 states to ratify that amendment let alone 34. And any tinkering with the 2nd Amendment would result in a backlash that would make January 6th look like a street fair.

      In Chicago a 13 year old kid was shot because he allegedly had a gun. How does a 13 year old kid get a gun? How does a 17 year old kid get a gun and travel to another state in order to provide “security” against BLM protests?

      In an interview on CNN yesterday an Indianapolis Council Member said that in Indiana, “It’s easier to get a gun than it is to get a COVID shot.”

      I’d leave America if my wife would go but her roots are firmly cemented in the Bay Area.

      1. Jane Fritz says:

        It’s all beyond the pale. When nothing changed after Sandy Hook, the future was set, at least for our lifetime. The founding fathers had pistols and muskets, not automatic weapons. And now the world is being reminded that it’s US guns that are being sold throughout Central America, fuelling the calamity that has so many fleeing for the US border. The irony and the tragic consequences on top of tragic consequences available for all to see. And who wins? The people making and selling guns. Follow the money, as usual. 😥

        1. Paulie says:

          Jane, After reading your comment about Central America, I sat for a few minutes and started thinking about historical context. It’s easy to trace it back to Reagan. And then it’s easy to trace it back to JFK and then Stalin and then WWII and then WWI. Our problems with the right wing militias follow a similar path.
          I know it may sound like a reach but it certainly makes more sense than some of the other nonsense that’s being floated these days.

          1. Jane Fritz says:

            Whatever underlies it, I sure wish it would stop! 😥

  6. eden baylee says:

    Hi Paul, what a brutal news week. I’m so sorry for the latest mass shooting in your country. 😢

    It’s gotten to the point where I can’t read the stories anymore. I certainly don’t want to see the pictures, to be a voyeur to the grief of the families of the victims. I don’t want to see the killer’s face or know anything about his life. I don’t even want to know his name.

    And all the predictable reactions — all of which you’ve laid out so well, it all makes me want to spit blood.

    Somedays, I feel broken as a human being. I should be outraged, but each new headline of gun violence hardens me a little bit more. These killings have become normalized in the whole news cycle, and that’s not right.

    Like you, I want to think outside the box. I’ve told you my prison version of what I’d like to do to every card-carrying NRA member and all the gun advocates. It also involves a shootout, but of particular body parts.

    Ok, I’ll stop now. Reading your post cheered me up a little. At least you’re honest about what cannot be done because the will to do it is just not there.

    Perhaps, living in the US should come with an understanding that one might die from gun violence as easily as catching a cold, getting stuck in traffic, or going to a concert. Though, it would appear going to a concert might happen less frequently post-pandemic. I’m very sad I wrote that last line as an attempt at levity, knowing it’s probably true.


    1. Paulie says:

      Good afternoon Eden,
      Last night I watched Anderson Cooper briefly and was stunned to hear that in the span of one month we’ve had 45 mass shootings (mass shooting defined as at least 4 people getting shot). It’s jaw dropping.

      What’s more jaw dropping is that there seems to be absolutely no tipping point, no last straw, no top end number for Republicans and a segment of the gun owning public to say, “Hmm, maybe we have a problem here.”

      Depending on who the interested party is, they want their guns or they want their money (or both) and to hell with public safety.

      My sense (and I’m being diplomatic in saying “my sense”) is that the same people who are so concerned about their gun “rights” are the same people who don’t want to wear a fucking mask.

      After this latest round of shootings the reaction from part of the nation, the larger part, will be anger and we need to get something done, and from another, the smaller segment, the reaction will be, Biden’s coming for our guns, let’s buy more before he comes a knockin’.

      In America the tail literally wags the dog.

Would love to hear from you

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