Friday, December 21, 2012

Guns again

This morning, at a deeply peculiar press conference in Washington, D.C., the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association had the nerve to call for all American schools to be protected by armed guards. A shifty-looking little man in his mid-sixties, he made a valiant but completely hopeless attempt to argue in the face of all possible reason, and certainly against all available statistics, that this would be the best way to protect children from gun violence. This absurd suggestion is made, moreover, while the people of Newtown, Connecticut, are still burying their dead children. Apparently, it was all the fault of the media. He refused to answer questions, and with baffling meekness the ladies and gentlemen of the press looked on, surely, one presumes, in disbelief. All further comment is superfluous, other than that the bizarre idea that more guns and not fewer is a viable solution to the enduring American love affair with gun slaughter was obviously plucked from a realm of such total disengagement from reality that one wonders whether the person or persons responsible are not completely deranged. I am told there are currently 98,817 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States, and some tens of thousands of private schools also. What sane parent would ever find reassurance knowing that there was at least one man with a gun strutting up and down the busy corridors of each and all of them? It is hard enough these days for police departments to find adequate recruits, and the prospect of a corps of 100,000 trigger-happy volunteers (arthritic retirees with dodgy bifocals and galloping diabetes, for example) is too creepy to contemplate. One had hoped for sensible proposals, to which prospect the association appeared to allude earlier in the week. However I suppose they are so beholden to the sinister multi-billion-dollar armaments trade that they simply could not escape from its control even if they wanted to, and they obviously do not. What a desperately sad way to approach the feast of Christmas in this great but strange and sometimes inexplicable country.

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