Like our president, I get tired of reaching this podium for the expressed purpose of addressing another senseless tragedy. I am also confounded by those who look to make sense of such nihilism. Even worse, to me, is the political hay that is being made even as I sit in front of my keyboard about guns and Islam and gay rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness my fellow Americans. Get behind those words writ large by Mister Jefferson. Stop trying to ban this weapon or that religion and start supporting the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Why not get a little jump-start on our Fourth of July Sale-A-Bration this year?
Possibly because the death of fifty men and women doesn't get anybody in the mood to buy a mattress or wave a flag, unless it is out of defiance. Defiance of all those things that make events like the murder of those fifty and the wounding of another fifty-three more part of our nation's continuing attempt to resolve conflicts at the end of a gun. Remember that the same president who comes to that podium with furrowed brow and patience waning is the same guy ordering the drone strikes in the Middle East. I know: Apples and Oranges. But the stories we are reading about the young couple who hoped to be married will now be buried together, or the letter from a mom to the survivors in Orlando that included an apology: "Sorry that our tragedy here in Sandy Hook wasn't enough to save your loved ones.:
All this talk about the killer's job being "the worst in American History" doesn't take into account moments like the collapse of the World Trade Centers. Or the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Omar Mateen will have to stand in line behind Timothy McVeigh on the line to get into hell. What is less clear is what the waiting period will be for those FBI agents who may have kicked the hornet's nest in Timothy's head when they killed seventy-six members of the Branch Davidian sect.
So what amounts to polite discourse in our society is now being meted out at a frightening rate with semi-automatic weapons, and I can't help but think of the old George Carlin bit where he plays a disc jockey telling his audience that the holiday weekend's highway death toll is down from last year, "You're not trying!" he admonishes his audience. Because that is where we live: the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the super-sized. Go big or go home. Everything in moderation is for countries that can't afford the payments. Can you imagine how long it would take to strangle fifty people?
On second hand, don't. Hug someone you love. Kiss them on the head. Agree with them. Go out and pursue happiness. In a big way.