Graves Registry: It could never happen here and other delusions | Opinion


I suppose that it is only human nature to take some comfort in the odds. What are the chances that you are going to be struck by lightning? What are the chances that the IRS will audit you? What are the chances that the plane you are riding in will develop engine trouble? What are the odds that someone noticed that it took an extra putt on the seventh green?

What are the chances of a mass shooting in a nice little town like this?

We hear that last one a lot lately given the fact that we live in a country where there are an estimated two mass shootings every day. That’s every day, folks. The axiom of living in America has taken on a whole new meaning, from being blessed to being lucky. We have become numb to the slaughter and that is just exactly what the people who profit so generously from them want us to be. Numb.

It is very easy to pin all that is wrong on Republican dysfunction because they make themselves such obvious targets. Attention at any circus is usually focused on the clowns.

In at least one recent instance that has ominous reverberations, however, the Democrats in the center ring can help themselves to a fair-sized portion of blame.

Democrats could have put the good of this country before their devotion to juvenile, petty gamesmanship. Knowing the desolate field from which the Republicans were eventually going to disgorge a candidate for speaker, they should have swallowed their partisan pride and conceded that Tom Emmer was probably the best they were going to get. At the very least, Emmer was grounded in enough reality to refuse the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. At the very most, Donald Trump hated him.

Instead, the country was gifted with Mike Johnson from the not terribly progressive state of Louisiana. I know you said to yourself when Johnson finally emerged from the fray, “He is better than Steve Scalise and, God knows, anyone is better than Jim Jordan.” I’m not so sure. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one who thinks you are the devil.

But Mr. Johnson, we are assured, is a “nice guy.” He drips Christian sanctimony while doing the bidding of a man facing 91 felony charges. How you reconcile the two only the most devout evangelical would know. Johnson may look a little like Clark Kent, but he did his gosh-darndest to overturn the 2020 election and he remains a big fan of the star of a popular new reality program called “Real Defendants of New York.”

He was joined by a gaggle of smiling GOP compatriots at the first post-speaker press conference. (Prompting an obvious question: Does Elise Stefanik use a teeth whitener?) The cheery mood was disrupted when a reporter asked about Johnson’s part in the attempted overthrow of the government. The entire pack surrounding him transformed into something reminiscent of the mob in “The Ox-Box Incident.”

The pig-headed Democrats wouldn’t bite the bullet, so now the rest of us will have to go on dodging them.

Eighteen more innocent lives were sacrificed on this nation’s blood-spattered altar of “freedom” in Lewiston, Maine on Oct. 25. Despite prophesies of impending peril from windy fear mongers, more gun proliferation is not the answer.

Neither is blaming the vagaries of the human heart, which is the quasi-mystical excuse offered by Johnson, who seems to be living proof that ideological dinosaurs still walk the earth, as if we needed more evidence after the late and unlamented Mike Pence.

The mass killer in Maine was a military-trained U.S. Army reservist and firearms instructor who had previously come to the attention of law enforcement after he made threats against his fellow soldiers. He was committed to a mental health facility last summer.

Despite all these warning signals and the fact that Maine has a so-called “yellow flag” law that allows guns to be removed from people who are deemed a threat, he still had access to Rambo-type assault rifles.

If mental health is the dodge that Republicans are going to continue to use to avoid passing substantive gun control legislation, it would be difficult to find a better example of why it doesn’t work!

Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who garnered an A+ rating from the NRA, was really sorry that he voted against legislation that would have banned assault weapons. He told his constituents in Lewiston that he hoped they would “forgive him,” especially with reelection looming in the near future. I hope they remember.

Sen. Susan Collins told a press conference, “The yellow flag law should have been triggered” (a bad word choice of Trumpian dimensions) and that the mass murderer “should have been separated from his weapons. This will be looked at very closely.”

I am sure that is a big comfort for the families of the 18 dead, but at least she didn’t say she would get back to them as to how she feels about it.

Be very wary of the Republican version of nice guys. Mike Johnson totally refused to admit that a major part of the problem is the availability of military grade weaponry to people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a slingshot. His human heart excuse is, at least, very clear evidence of the delusionary thinking that the country is going to be subjected to with this guy at the helm in the House.

If it is the human heart that is at fault then the solution, I guess, is a combination of theology and cardiology? Reverence and Medicare?

People are dying every day, so give us a break, Mr. Johnson, and keep your archaic old time religion spiel to yourself. Whoever you have to answer to in your notion of a Great Hereafter might just ask why you didn’t do any more about it than offer gooey platitudes.

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