The constant message of violence begets more violence; an ancient law works against limiting availability of assault weapons…

I guess in this era of constant visual communication 24 hours a day often involving gun violence, be it acts of terrorism, wars, or mental cases going berserk with all-to-available military-style rapid-fire assault rifles, we just have to expect things like the incident Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport in which apparently a lone gunman stormed into the terminal and killed a TSA agent and wounded several other people.

Not enough details in yet, at least not that I have read, but it seems he had some beef with the government or the TSA in particular. He had also reportedly sent a suicide note. He may have been using the technique they call “suicide by police”, in other words doing something to provoke the police into shooting him.

Well of course it is not directly the fault of the haters who continue to spew out their overblown rhetoric on our airwaves, that is not entirely, but this has to be in the mix. I mean I went through maybe half my life with things like this just not happening, or at least not as frequently. But now it has come to a head.

And just yesterday, I think, I was driving down the road listening to the car radio and unfortunately I did not turn the dial in time and took in some right-wing talk show and of course it was all about how Obamacare was ruining the nation and all of our freedoms were being taken away. The one caller talking at the time said, not to seriously, just kind of rhetorically, that the answer was to leave the country (usually they’re telling someone else to leave). But I’ve heard others suggest open rebellion on the radio — just because they don’t like a particular law or maybe a political philosophy or the ethnicity of the president.

It’s fashionable in some circles now not just to oppose something but to oppose it with much venom, with an attitude of no compromise. And if you have a problem in your life — it’s the government. Mentally deranged people I imagine don’t filter out the subtleties, if there are any, in the discourse of social struggles — for them there is no nuance. Things are bad so go after the bad (the government). Kill it.

As someone who once worked as a journalist, I would never suggest we limit the dissemination of information, and people have to know the danger they face out there. But sadly, I imagine these troubled people see those images and identify with other gunmen and they see the entertainment media also, which glorifies violence, and decide themselves to go out in what they see as a blaze of glory.

I have not travelled by air in at least a decade but I hear and see all the hassle people have to go through in the name of security. And yet, a man just walks into the terminal and starts shooting. Apparently he was concealing his firearm in a bag before he took it out and started shooting, hauntingly, as the case was in the recent Washington D.C. Naval Yard where several people were killed.

It is a dangerous world.

I doubt the intent of the Second Amendment enacted in the 18th Century was to allow mentally deranged people, or anyone else for that matter, from strolling through public places letting loose bullets in rapid fire (of course there were no automatic weapons back then). But one of the reasons we are so vulnerable is because that amendment stands in the way of curbing the availability of automatic weapons, or at least it is used to prevent controls.

But if the majority of the electorate was not moved sufficiently by the murder of a class full of little school children (and some adults) less than a year ago in Connecticut, also as the result of a mentally-deranged person with an automatic weapon, I doubt the death of an airport security person will make a difference.

Yeah, it’s a dangerous world.

P.s.

The Second Amendment notwithstanding, it seems to me there could be more stringent enforcement against owning and carrying military style assault rifles. This would not prevent all such tragedies of course, but it would seem it would have to help and it would seem that a responsible society should take such action. I believe the Second Amendment was more to address the need to maintain a citizen army rather than one controlled by an all-powerful federal executive to be used against the the people. And I believe not all those who prepared and ratified the Bill of Rights were in agreement as to its exact meaning, so as often is the case in such situations, the one-sentence amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written in an ambiguous manner, mentioning a well-regulated militia in the first part of the sentence and then the rights of the citizenry in a dependent clause, somehow linking them together, not simply saying every man has a right to carry a gun period. And of course back then no one would have thought there could be such a thing as an automatic weapon as we have today, and I am sure they could not have comprehended a kind of society we live in today.

I will note, however, that my instant (not necessarily reliable) research indicates that the most current position by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Second Amendment is that indeed each citizen has a right to have a gun(s), separate from any connection with the military of militia. But it also holds that the government can regulate firearms in some fashion. And that of course, I admit, is about as clear as mud.

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