George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That’s where we have come to in our national gun debate.
When Wyatt Earp was the deputy sheriff of Tombstone, Ariz., more than 100 years ago, the law barred people from carrying firearms in public. Folks were required to check their weapons at the sheriff's office or the Grand Hotel, and if they didn't, they were thrown in jail or fined or both.
It was an effort to both control and reduce violence, and it worked. Yet there still was no dearth of violence, even in a time without violent video games and movies.
Now we seem to be having a “Back to the Future” flashback.
If you read and listen to National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, everyone needs to be armed. In truth, the logic and rationality of the Second Amendment has been lost in gun zealotry.
If everyone were armed, the NRA argues, violence would be abated. In fact, the total opposite is true.
LaPierre has no respect for any other position. It's his way or the highway. He can bully our elected representatives and he knows it. I watch him — eyes blazing, rhetoric rigid, uncompromising. He is a true gun fanatic.
In my opinion, I wouldn't trust him with the remote control to my television. The Founding Fathers built this country on compromise — checks and balances — and would have been appalled by his ideological, dogmatic positions.
As a society, we have opprobrium for bigotry, but not for zealotry, regardless of who it hurts.
Common sense should open everyone's eyes to the possible scenarios. Look how many shots were fired by police during the tragedy in Boston and in shootouts in New York City. More than 90 percent of those shots likely missed their targets.
If everyone is armed, what's the logical conclusion? Gunfight at the OK Corral, a very scary thought.
Moreover, what would the collateral damage be? Arm 100 people and have them shooting at a suspect in a theater and the carnage would be greater, not less.
Still, it could lead to a new TV reality show, "Collateral Damage." Not only could you watch the show, you might see it in your own neighborhood. Absurd? It's actually being advocated.
Last week’s Senate vote against background checks is an example of our elected representatives letting America down. Why? Because they were bullied by the NRA.
But we live in democracy that, while fractious at times, usually gets to the right solution. And the way to deal with those bullies is with social media.
Mark Kelly — former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ husband — has a bully pulpit. He should create a political action committee, collect 20 million to 25 million names and ask each person to contribute no more than $2. With those resources, he could
support candidates who would sponsor and support common-sense background checks and gun legislation.
There is strength in numbers, and this would show our elected representatives how the American people feel. How can sensible background checks be wrong when 90 percent of Americans, including law-enforcement officials, want them?
We can take away someone’s license if he or she gets a DUI but we cannot have sensible background checks? How truly sad. The “Demi-cants” almost passed that bill, but the “Republi-wonts” got their way.
We lost this battle, but let's win the war. Otherwise, coming to a neighborhood near you will be "Gunfight on 42nd Street."
Where is Wyatt Earp when you really need him?
Fred Rosen is the creator and founding CEO of Ticketmaster.
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