Life in the Laugh Lane: Surrounded by lunatics

Well, it’s finally happened. I may end up in Canada yet. The more I read the newspaper (The Times, The Ledger is fine), or listen to that verbal valium we call National Public Radio (NPR), the more the unavoidable truth emerges. Not only are we surrounded by lunatics, but they seem to be breeding faster than ever and now may outnumber the American reality-based community.

Even after the shooting tragedies in Connecticut, Colorado and Virginia, about half of Americans do not support any restrictions on the sale of automatic weapons, exploding-armor piercing bullets, or high-capacity ammunition clips. To be clear, this is not about gun ownership, or handguns (a fight for another day), but whether ordinary citizens need weapons of war. How precisely would the argument go?

“Hi, I’m Bill. I think it would be a good idea, given that there are lots of crazy people out there, to restrict sales on guns that can shoot many, many bullets in a very short time, or shoot bullets that are specifically designed to pierce bulletproof vests. If I promise that this has nothing to do with ordinary rifles or handguns, but really only has to do with not selling weapons of mass destruction to any idiot who comes to a gun fair, would you agree with this idea?”

“No, I don’t agree.”

“For goodness sake, why not?”

“I like to hunt.”

“So you’re not a very skilled hunter then. You need an AK-47 firing a hail of bullets, hundreds per second, to bring down a ferocious, bulletproof vest-wearing deer? When you play softball, do you use hand grenades to make sure your path to second base is unimpeded? What hunting sportsman needs an automatic weapon? That’s not a sport, that’s blood lust. That’s literally shooting fish in a barrel, but doing it with as many bullets as possible in as short a time frame as possible.”

“Well, I’m also nervous about the government taking over.”

“What on earth are you talking about? By the way, you dropped your Social Security check. Here, I’ll pick it up for you. Now, you were saying something about the government?”

“Yes, the Second Amendment says we have the right to defend ourselves, you know, to stand up for our rights.”

“So if for the sake of argument we imagine a scenario wherein it is the ‘people’ versus the U.S. government, your weapon of choice against the combined might of the United States Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps is a gun, and the difference between winning and losing against the strongest, most advanced military the world has ever known is whether you can shoot six or 100 bullets before reloading?”

“When you say it like that, it sounds silly, but the point is we don’t want the government putting limits on what we can do or not do in our life.”

“Dude, where have you been? That battle has been fought and lost a long time ago. Various levels of government have rules about where to smoke, where to drink alcohol, whether you should wear a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet. Hell, New York City has a law saying what type of fat they can use to make a donut and will soon have a law on how big your cup of soda can be.”

“That’s my point, we should’ve stood up to all that.”

“With armor piercing bullets and automatic weapons?”

“If necessary, yes.”

“How about trying to influence what government does by voting or writing silly columns in your local newspaper?”

“Well, I don’t know anyone who cares what a humor columnist says, and I don’t vote.”

“Why not?”

“That’s how they get your name to give you jury duty and put you on an organ donor list.”

“That’s it, I’m done. Check please.”

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  • margarita man

    “What on earth are you talking about? By the way, you dropped your Social Security check. Here, I’ll pick it up for you. Now, you were saying something about the government?”

    Gee, thanks, Mr. Rifkin. You tought me something. I always thought Social Security was funded by FICA taxes withheld from my paycheck. But I guess it is just a generous gift of the government. Perhaps you could get a faculty position JJHS!

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