Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WWPRD? What Would Paul Revere Do?

I looked at the header to the Jane Smiley essay, and the date caught my eye: It's the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride.

Paul Revere's Ride
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend,
"If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,
--One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

This seems to me to be the only reason for the second amendment, and that time has long since passed. In 1775, when we were without a standing army and didn't have a National Guard unit in every community, and we were under threat of attack by a foreign made sense. In this time? Not so much.

And don't you wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought about this bastardization of their lofty ideals? I'm pretty sure they weren't supporting the right of every unhinged college student to go on a killing spree at the university of his choice, or every bitter truck driver to shoot up a schoolroom full of little girls, or every angry husband to shoot his uppity wife.

Well...maybe that last one. The Founding Fathers weren't much into feminism.

When the Bush's first reaction was horror, followed closely by his reaffirmation of support for the right to bear arms, do you suppose he recognized for a moment the cause and effect of those two? That maybe without an extremely well-armed citizenry, these sorts of attacks wouldn't be happening? It's hard to imagine that this slightly-built young man from Virginia Tech would have roamed the campus clubbing 30 people to death without someone successfully intervening.

Like Homer Simpson said when he found out there would be a three day waiting period for his gun purchase, "But I'm angry now!"

Maybe in a time as hectic and stressful as ours, when tempers seem short and we're not much into impulse control...maybe universal gun ownership (whisper this part) is a bad idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sigh. On my side, I'm dealing w/the death of a client I've had for five years, and her husband, who has SCADS of guns, is a slightly unhinged (putting it mildly) vet w/PTSD, and is ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY at the docs who did not diagnose/treat/cure his wife. Scary shit, man . . . and so sad.