The Sometime Impossibility of Restraint

“Look, I realize I’m dead and it’s only through you that I have any voice at the moment, and it’s really not my place, or even plausible, for me to get worked up about things that happen more than a decade after my death, but goddamn it,” said the skeleton, as worked up as I’d seen him in a while.  

Far be it from me, dad, to deprive you of your posthumous right to speak.

“All right, then, put the words in my mouth,” said the skeleton grimly.  

“Another maniac legally buys a powerful assault weapon and enough bullets to kill hundreds of people, if all goes well for the sick fuck.  American exceptionalism, it’s every fucking enraged, murderous, suicidal American coward’s right, unless he has a felony conviction or a clear and convincing history of mental health issues that will allow a given state to make it hard for him to get an assault rifle, to have as many assault weapons and clips of deadly ammo as he can afford.

“You know the Second Amendment, that speaks of the federal government not infringing on the right of the States to have well-regulated militias, has been interpreted by unappealable right-wing geniuses to mean every individual American can have any weaponry their sick little hearts desire, with no regulation by the government that gives them that right.

“Let’s go to the text, you play the right wing Supreme Court justice and interpret the plain language of the Second Amendment:  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. [1]

“I had to laugh, but it was not a pleasant laugh, when I heard the FBI director talk about the need for a deep, transparent inquiry into the motivations of this sick piece of shit– I’m sure it will be as transparent as it will be deep.  No investigation is necessary, and it burns me in my grave to listen to the same dumb show, the same mindless theatrics, the same mind rotting falsely complicated bullshit, dancing around the only point worth making, the one that’s shooting American people directly in the face every day, literally.  

“Why did this maniac go into a gay club and kill as many people as he could before his suicide by police?  What possible motive could a man who insists he is not a homosexual have for going into a place where homosexuals gather and murdering as many as he can?  It is certainly a perplexing question, eh, mass media?  Eh, pundits and politicians?   Why, oh why, would an, admittedly, angry but otherwise perfectly normal American guy with no criminal record or history of mental illness go into a gay club and start spraying death in every direction?  A real head scratcher.

“Let’s look at his ideology for clues to his possible motivation and what the larger meaning of this could be for all of us, shall we? It’s imponderably mysterious, after all.  Hmmmm, Muslim name, could be a terrorist, we are at war with Terror, after all.  Look, right before he left home to kill he signed up to friend ISIS on facebook.  Aha!!!!  

“No.  You don’t need any investigation whatsoever.  What you need to do is what Australia did after a particular gun massacre that was the last straw.  What we should have done immediately after that sick fuck in Connecticut shot his mother in the face, ‘thanks for the gun, mom, love you!‘ and trotted off dressed like Sylvester Stallone as Rambo to murder as many five year-olds as he could with his new toy.  That mass shooting was probably five or six hundred mass shootings ago.   When is it enough carnage?  Do what any country that is not homicidally insane does:  take away the fucking guns, make it hard for the average terrified law-abiding moron to buy all the murder weapons he feels he needs.  You want to hunt deer, go right ahead, buy any hunting rifle you want, you get a few shots, one at a time, and kill all the deer you want, if that’s your sick pleasure.  

“‘Guns don’t kill people,’ the NRA keeps insisting, ‘the wrong people with guns kill people.  It’s not the guns themselves.  The guns are fine, the guns are moral, peaceful, wonderful.  It’s bad people with guns, you see, which is why we need every good person to purchase and strap on as much weaponry as their cowardly little bodies can carry, and bandoliers of ammo, to make sure heroic good people are armed to the teeth to kill the bad people before they can misuse their wonderful new morally neutral guns.  If every kindergarten teacher in the country had top notch guns, and wore them fully loaded at all times, far fewer of their infinitely precious little charges would be slaughtered by bad people misusing their guns every year,’

 “No, Elie, what we need to do is line up the CEOs of the NRA and their entire army of well-paid lobbyists, put them in front of a high wall, with a firing squad of freedom loving gun nuts armed to the teeth with assault rifles, full clips of hollow point cop killer bullets, with guns to their heads to force them to shoot, and make a red and black Jackson Pollock on the wall behind those fucking death-profiteering monsters, paint Guernica in their inhuman fucking blood…”

 Look, dad, obviously I share your horror, your outrage, but don’t get worked up like that.

 “Or what? I’m going to bust a blood vessel? You may have noticed, I’m a fucking skeleton. What’s going to happen to me beyond this?   I can finally speak my mind, thanks to that ingenious apology to my son as I was dying. Heh, I knew I’d get some long-lasting benefit from that apology,”   the skeleton laughed, coughed once, and then went into a coughing fit.

 Look, obviously, I agree.   We need to literally kill those who insist they’ll shoot you in the fucking face if you try to take the billions upon billions of dollars they make every year from selling fear and death.  Being shot in the face with a gun is the only language they understand.

 “No, truly, literally. I know we employ a certain amount of hyperbole in our family, but what you are saying is literally true. What did that rabid, smirking Charlton Heston say about his right to his guns?   ‘You’ll pry this gun out of my cold dead hand’.   Fine, fair enough, let’s do it.  Done, that was easy.   Next!

 “I used to love that intro to Gunsmoke, Pop’s favorite show. ‘There is just one way to handle the killers and spoilers, and that’s with the U.S. Marshal… and Gunsmoke!’

“Your fierce Sekhnet is not against torture as long as it’s used only on deserving torturees.  Our list would have guys like Dick Cheney, that chuckling, criminally insane Rumsfeld, John Yoo.  I’m not against a good massacre either, as long as you’re killing the killers and the spoilers,” said the skeleton.

Got that out of your system, dad?  

“No,” said the skeleton, “but it helped a tiny bit.  Jesus, I wish I had a fucking gun right now, I’m telling you….”


[1] In Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016), the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier rulings that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” and that its protection is not limited to “only those weapons useful in warfare”.[15]

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