Guns and the Supreme Court
Coincidentally, I was sketching out a column last week tying the 38 percent increase in Chicago murders to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that knocked out the city’s stringent anti-handgun ordinance. Was going to suggest that decision and its 2008 gun decision will some day rank with the Citizens United and Bush v. Gore as those most permanently destructive to our society. Dred Scott at least got cleaned up after a few decades
Then came Friday’s tragic news of a mass killing in Aurora, Colo., with 12 dead so far and the possibility of losing more among the 58 wounded in that movie house.
Yes, another depressed “loner,” another sicko whose motives we may come to learn because he’s still alive, rather than a lot of speculative psychologizing on dead shooters such as the pair of psychos who slaughtered their schoolmates in Columbine, not far away.
It happens again and again, to the point that we have almost become inured to the story line. Someone shoots up a campus—or perhaps a political meeting— anywhere from Arizona or Texas to suburban Chicago to the East Coast, replete with all the familiar police press conferences, interviews with victims’ families, then neighbors of the shooter and on and on.
Then the quiet lecture on gun control from the usual suspects, followed by total inaction at the local, state or federal level. The National Rifle Association, clearly the most powerful lobby in America—and unique to America—wins again.
Even before 2008, when the Roberts Court finally found that the Second Amendment gives each and every citizen the right to bear arms, regardless of whether he or she is part of a militia, the Democratic Party had literally given up on supporting any semblance of gun control. Its 2004 platform was the first to pay tribute to Second Amendment rights.
I have to admit I do not understand and cannot relate to the gun culture. I can understand hunting for food, but not for sport. I know a handyman in rural New York who kills a deer every fall, butchers and freezes the meat and provides food for his family through winter when work is scarce. But I was appalled by a recent photo showing a “disabled” Chicago policeman in Africa gloating over the corpse of a hippo he killed just for the fun of dropping a gigantic, if unthreatening, beast.
Call me an effete, snobbish liberal.
Handguns? Other than for a small clique of target shooters, they were made to kill people—and do. Multi-shot assault weapons? What possible use are they except to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time? And they do—again and again. Yet a significant majority of Americans do not even want those banned.
Roger Ebert recently noted that guns slaughter 9,484 fellow Americans each year while Australia, England, Germany and Canada combined have 468 such killings. Guns are our unique societal sickness.
Aurora Friday—your school or theater tomorrow. Thank Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy for abetting the crime.
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer.
image firearms enthusiasts preparing for assault on Navarone