I’m not big on ideology. I’ve known communists and Ayn Randers, and both live in closed systems that are substitutes for really having to think.
The communists are pretty much limited to a few websites these days, and I don’t get the sense that middle-class teenage boys still read The Fountainhead as often as they did.
But this nation is still in grave peril from one ideology that costs us thousands of lives every year.
I am talking about Second Amendment absolutists, which is a fancy name for gun nuts. These people believe the right of anyone to own a military-style killing machine is far more important than preventing the slaughter of tiny children.
That’s not an exaggeration; look at how they reacted after the elementary school massacre in Connecticut. This insanity is holding us all hostage, and those under its spell are threatening to make the situation worse.
For an example of how we’ve come to accept this nuttiness as normal, look to today’s Detroit News, which reports that the Republicans who control our legislature think we need to get rid of all training requirements for concealed weapons. They are itching to pass other bills that would allow anyone to take concealed pistols into day care centers, bars and hospitals.
Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt, a man who wants to be Michigan’s next attorney general, thinks this would be a great idea. He told the newspaper that he doesn’t think gun laws are a good idea because the bad guys wouldn’t obey them.
And then Leonard added “and that is why I have stayed so focused on dealing with our broken mental health system.”
Now that’s fascinating.
Why have I never met a psychiatrist who thought giving mentally ill people easier access to weapons of mass destruction could help fix our mental health system? Perhaps because mental health professionals are seldom bankrolled by the National Rifle Association.
Actually, the point of this story was not how crazy this all is. It was that our lawmakers are annoyed because they need to wait a decent interval after the mass murder in Las Vegas before passing what they call their “constitutional carry” package that would do all the things I mentioned earlier, plus allowing you to take a concealed weapon to your college dorm, the church confessional, or let a frustrated and drunken gambler take one to a casino.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, is also frustrated.
“It seems like every time we get at a place where we can move some of these things, some sort of incident happens that gives people pause, so we’re gonna pause.”
People are so rude these days. After all, you’d think the guy who murdered 59 people in Vegas could have been more sensitive to our legislature.
State Senator Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, thinks we’d all be safer if guns were hidden in every classroom. “It’d be a big deterrent,” for the bad guys, he said. He seems to have missed the fact that school shooters never expect to come out alive.
There may be some tiny hope that Governor Snyder will veto this insanity when it reaches his desk, but you can’t count on that. You can, however, let him and your lawmakers know how you feel. Personally, I feel I’d like to live.
Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s Senior Political Analyst. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.