I find December a curious month, not because of the Christmas holiday, but because it is a time for reflection. Something I found myself doing when listening to a news feed talking about the tenth anniversary of Sandy Hook.
Ten years have passed since that horrific event. Twenty kindergartners and first graders were slaughtered by a twenty-year-old with mental health issues, who entered the school with an AR-15 and committed mass murder.
Like many Americans, I wept that day for the parents who lost their babies to a senseless act.
When President Obama said that day was the darkest day of his presidency, I knew what he meant and understood the Sandy Hook parents’ pain. His words, as heartfelt as they were, couldn’t ease or erase the pain those parents felt about losing their babies. But, what was even more horrific was what Wayne LaPierre said, ‘the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.’
Surely what happened at Sandy Hook would be the catalyst that would move the hearts and minds of Congress to do something about the sale of semi-automatic weapons.
How could they not, I reasoned. But that concept was smashed on the rock of greed and profit, generating three consistent factors. Gun sales of the AR-15 increased, becoming the weapon of choice for these mass shootings, each of these mass shootings has specific characteristics, and the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun is eerily close to this Ferengi saying“the greatest problems in the world arise when one denies the power of greed,”
Perhaps introducing characters from Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine series may be out of step. Still, I believe the Ferengi and their Rules of Acquisition lay bare the overall intent of Wayne LaPierre’s callous statement about a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.
We have ample examples of the folly of his words, Stoneman Douglas, Tops Friendly Markets, and Uvalde. Lapierre’s version of a good guy was in each of these instances. Stoneman Douglas and Uvalde. The school safety officer, the good guy with a gun, hid outside and did not engage the shooter. At Uvalde, when the police confronted the shooter, they retreated in fear of the fire from the shooter’s AR-15.
At Topps Friendly Markets, a Buffalo police officer working his second job as security for the store did confront the shooter. He was gunned down because he was outgunned, and the shooter was clad in body armor that his rounds couldn’t penetrate.
LaPierre’s words have nothing to do with stopping these mass shootings. They are all about the furtherance of the greed of the Senators and Congressional men and women he has under control through the hefty campaign contributions from the NRA.
Since Sandy Hook, the sales of AR-15s have risen steadily, along with opportunist shootings such as Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, Los Vegas, and Uvalde. The AR-15 was the weapon of choice in the racially motivated murders at Tops Friendly Markets and El Paso. Those individuals who were religiously intolerant took their intolerance out on the Jewish Synagogs in Pittsburgh and San Diego. Pulse Night Club in Flordia and Club Q in Colorado Springs were victims of individuals who didn’t like their lifestyle and made their point from the barrel of an AR-15.
With each of these horrific events, the eclectic words of LaPierre hang in the air like an odorous fart; the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But his words are a subterfuge masking the truth that is uncovered from a fictional show with fictional characters, but this rule of acquisition lays bare what we are truly dealing with: “the greatest problems in the world arise when one denies the power of greed,”
Greed on the part of gun manufacturers. The greed of our politicians who put their political ambitions ahead of the lives of their innocent constituents. Politicians attempt to hide their greed by offering their perfunctory “thoughts and prayers” to those families who lost someone to the senseless act.
Ten years have passed since Sandy Hook, and since that faithful event, we have witnessed increasing acts of violence perpetrated on the innocent. People going about their daily lives suddenly cut down because they were the easy targets of someone with mental health issues. Or they were viewed as a threat because of their skin color or sexual orientation, or they were of the Jewish faith.
There is no rational explanation for this violence. The thoughts and prayers of our political leaders don’t cut it any longer. It’s time for us to recognize the power of greed.
Dante wrote: Then a she-wolf appeared that was long and lean. She seemed to be consumed in her greediness, That had caused many folks to live in fear!
Funny how the verse in Dante’s Inferno is similar to the Ferengi 250th law of acquisition: “the greatest problems in the world arise when one denies the power of greed.”