The Guns-Everywhere Law Comes

This essay first appeared on Huffington Post

Some of my favorite people live in Georgia. Old friends, family, two gorgeous pre-teen granddaughters, some greatly beloved others. As far as I know none of them are currently packing heat — but it does look like everybody else in Georgia will be doing so if they choose, as soon as Gov. Nathan Deal signs the Guns Everywhere law recently passed by the Legislature.

Is this the new reality for American weaponry?

Photo Courtesy: Steve LaBadessa/ZUMA Press

Probably so. Those who hold the Second Amendment holy have a ferocity unmatched by all the peaceable kingdoms of the world combined. This writer, a peaceable Pollyanna if there ever were one, posted an essay suggesting stricter gun control laws might not be all bad several years ago on a news aggregate website. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Threats were made. So taking on the Georgia guns-everywhere legislation has little appeal.

Pieces of it, though, do invite consideration. The following is offered purely as food for thought.

For example, the law will not necessarily mean the worshipers in the pew behind you have brought along their AK-somethings — unless your church or synagogue “opts in.” Having sat on a few governing boards of religious organizations, this writer can only imagine the discussions ahead. They are not likely to focus on What Would Jesus Do. One appropriate comment did come from Episcopal spokesman Dan Plummer, who was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story as saying that allowing guns in churches was “bad theology.”

At kids’ schools? Why not. Schools will be authorized to arm their staff members. This assumes that staff members will be quicker on the trigger than recent school shooters, and hopefully will shoot the shooters rather than innocent others. Still…

If you want to hang out in a gun-free bar, no problem. Just find one that has opted out and posts a No-Guns-Here sign. Otherwise, the law is fine with your carrying a loaded Glock into a crowded bar, you are just not supposed to drink alcohol. This law, therefore, will be easy for all those teetotalers who like to go to bars.

Best news of all, for the 75.9 million people who go through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport every year, there will probably be a stranger packing a loaded gun nearby in case you need one. He or she is not supposed to go past the security people, but if it happens — and you know, gun-carriers can be forgetful — it’s only a misdemeanor.

None of this is to imply that the Georgia law is a bad thing! Please, NRA and gun enthusiasts don’t come after me again.

The Brady Campaign is still at work in Georgia.

Shingles… and everything else

just a friendly reminder : san francisco (2012)
just a friendly reminder : san francisco (2012) (Photo credit: torbakhopper)

Distress and despair keep happening on the planet – bombs at wonderful marathons, Congress caving to the NRA, children starving in Greece and neighbors continuing to maim and kill one another in various terrible, nonsensical wars. But if you come down with shingles, the ultimate horror of geezerhood, it’s hard to focus on anybody but your pitiful self.

Being now near the end (we think) of the period in which they said “it’ll get worse before it gets better,” I feel qualified – enabled might be a better word – to comment on shingles.

First, it’s every bit as horrid as everyone said. Get the shots if you’re over whatever age they shoot you for. I actually think I had the shots, and still got it forheavenssakes.

Second, if you’re tempted to take the super-pain meds (Norco, in my case,) watch it. I downed a Norco pill after apparently not having eaten enough to cushion it, wound up in the ER until 2 AM trying to stop the nausea and get a little fluid back into the system. People take those opiate drugs for FUN?

Third, if it’s on your forehead, as is my lovely case, just be prepared to go around like Scarface in the Dick Tracy strip (you have to be a geezer to remember Dick Tracy) for the duration. People either look aghast and get out of your way or offer sympathy in excess. Which brings us to:

Four: Be grateful. People bring you pasta and tulips because you seem so pitiful, which you indeed are. But you can still run (or walk) in the sunshine and you never had to watch your children starve and you aren’t in the smack middle of a stupid and terrible war.

You live long enough, you get Stuff.

Guns, Guys & NRA Hidey-Holes

NRA (Photo credit: the|G|™)

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun,” says Wayne LaPierre, “is a good guy with a gun.” This seems to be the favorite statement of NRA members, fans and boosters everywhere. Those who utter it are usually white men draped in American flags, camouflage shirts or flag-themed outfits, and they assume we know they are the Good Guys. I’m not so sure.

LaPierre, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association, responded (a week later) to the tragedy of the Newtown school shootings with the recommendation that we put armed teachers and staff in all schools along with armed guards; the answer to gun violence being, as always, more guns.  In short, everyone with a legally purchased gun is a good guy, ready to stop the bad guy. Seriously?

I wonder if these guys ever read Alice in Wonderland? The part about the rabbit hole?

Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, despite the unspeakably terrible thing he did, may not have been a bad guy. A sick guy, troubled guy and ultimately terribly dangerous guy indeed, but who knows if he was a bad guy? What we do know is that he had easy access to a variety of guns.

One of the best assessments of the craziness of LaPierre and some NRA members is in a recent New York Times editorial aptly titled The NRA Crawls from its Hidey Hole. “(W)e were stunned” said The Times, “by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.”

Perhaps LaPierre and the NRA will have the decency to go back into their hidey hole while the country has a rational conversation about how to protect innocent children. But I’m not holding my breath.