I just can’t listen to any more of it.
I’m home today, catching up on paperwork, yard work, and home construction chores that I’ve been putting off for too long. When I’m home — unless I’m writing — I almost always have the radio on with NPR (specifically NWPR) tuned in. I get the news from Morning Edition; listen to news analysis and opinions and learn about new books on The Diane Rehm Show; get more of the same from On Point, Here & Now, PRI’s The World, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, and Marketplace; and learn interesting scientific things on Science Friday. If I’m up early enough, I hear BBC World Service, which offers an interesting perspective on current events throughout the world and if I’m still tuned in late in the evening (at home or in my car), I listen to q from CBC. On weekends, if I’m tuned in, I really enjoy Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and a bunch of other entertaining and/or humorous shows, many of which I also listen to on podcasts so I don’t miss them. (I actually listen to quite a few NPR podcasts, but that’s a whole different blog post.)
NPR, which they say leans left politically, gives me a solid basis of information for me to form my own opinions. Because yes: I am one of the few Americans who can tell the difference between fact and opinion. And I’m among the group of even fewer Americans who actually cares.
But today things are different.
The Orlando shooting happened early yesterday morning, and it’s all over the news today. It’s the same old collection of politician and religious leader “thoughts and prayers,” ultra liberals demanding all guns be banned, ultra conservatives trying to place blame on Muslims, crazy Christians praising the killer for murdering gays, et cetera, ad nauseam. There’s a constant rehashing of what’s known and what’s suspected as the media and public try to figure out whether it should be labeled as terrorism or a hate crime.
As if it really matters.
50 innocent people were killed on Sunday morning and many others seriously injured by a man who apparently had only two guns on him. How does that even happen? How is it that we’re legally allowed to buy guns capable of killing that many people in that short a time?
And who cares whether this was jihad or he was Muslim or white or a citizen or hated to see men kissing. Who fucking cares?
The fact is, he was on an FBI watch list but because our laws don’t prohibit possible terrorists from buying guns, he was able to do so. That’s a fact. There’s no opinion there. He was on a watch list. Period. He was able to legally buy guns that he then used to kill 50 people. Period.
Am I the only person who sees a problem with this?
And the American people are powerless to make the killings stop. Why? Because the NRA buys more politicians than we can ever hope to. And those politicians kill any bill that would limit firearms sales.
Because back in 1791, after fighting a war to get our independence — a war that depended, in great part, on a citizen militia — the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted and it said:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Apparently, many people seem to think these 27 words mean that any American has the right to own any kind of weapon for any reason.
I don’t think automatic assault rifles used to kill 50 people in a bar is what our founding fathers had in mind.
But it doesn’t really matter what I think. I don’t have enough money to buy members of the Congress and Senate. The NRA does. And it gets that money from people who apparently think it’s okay to arm anyone with any weapon they like.
Because Second Amendment.
So the radio is off at the Flying M Aerie today. I simply can’t bear to listen to the news I’m powerless to do anything about.
It didn’t start that way. I listened to about 10 minutes of Morning Edition before I’d had enough and turned it off. I’ve got my aviation radio on instead. I can hear the few planes and helicopters call in as they land or take off from the airport 3 miles from my home.
Silence for the 50 people who will never speak again.
And the thousands of people killed in senseless gun violence in this country before them.