Donald Trump isn’t happy about guns.
And not because he wants to destroy the second amendment — quite the opposite.
The day he decided to run Republican, he echoed the fallacious arguments adopted by most of that party’s elected elite. No one will take away Americans’ right to bear arms, Trump bellows, not on his watch.
Sadly, unconscionably, too many Americans who haven’t read the words of the Constitution (and it’s not fine print) miss the mark on the second amendment.
Watch the news any night of the week and the truth about guns is graphically clear. We’re not witnessing the rise of a militia fighting for truth and justice. We’re not witnessing an ideological battle waged against despots. We’re watching man’s heart of darkness in action, the very human impulses the Constitution was designed to check.
Donald Trump’s disdain for guns isn’t ideological, certainly not this week. This week, the king of media is angry because his air time has been monopolized by too many gun-related stories.
The killing of six cops in Dallas last Thursday and the killing of three more cops yesterday in Baton Rouge is the big news, not Trump’s pick for vice president, not the convention that starts today.
Of course, the coverage will return to all-things-Trump as soon as Melania takes the stage and we settle into the latest segment of reality TV’s political show.
Smartly, Donald Trump is positioning himself as the law-and-order candidate. His desire to build a wall (built on fallacious reasoning) is to keep criminals out. His desire to beef-up racial profiling is to protect American citizens.
His newfound advocacy of so-called second amendment rights is to play to his base, which resides in places that still buy into the false glory of Hollywood’s version of the American West where macho men quick-drawed against insults, where the rule of law was taken into one’s own hands.
Of course, that image is also fallacious.
The Western ethos borders anarchy, puts the individual above community law. Cowboy movies end with a lone man riding into the sunset, not a group holding hands on horseback.
Here’s the rub: If Trump and his Republican friends are going to plug into this law-and-order vision of America, why can’t they embrace their vision completely, or at least as readily as they embrace campaign funds funneled to them by the NRA?
Ohio is an open carry state. Basically, that means, you can show the state your sidearm, or, to put it bluntly, you can let those around you know not to mess.
To be fair, Ohio’s rules say you can’t open-carry in a liquor establishment (guns and booze don’t mix), or near a school (that’s nice), or while driving unless you have a special permit to blow away the person who cut you off.
Otherwise, Ohioans can fill out the paper work and carry away.
Ohio’s rules, founded on false second-amendment logic, seem to be the party’s ideal.
But as we see time and time again in politics, and especially in the Republican Party, which does everything it can to solidify the separation of classes, the value of a rich man’s life and/or a politically-connected man’s life, is greater than the rest of our lives.
Hypocritically, no guns will be allowed near the Republican convention.
If Trump had the kind of guts he pretends he has, if the politicians attending this week’s convention walked the walk for themselves instead of talking the talk for others, there would be a unified call to bring guns into Quicken Loans Arena.
Trump keeps saying that if the victims in the San Bernardino attack had been carrying weapons, there would have been far fewer casualties. Great.
If he truly believes that, and if he truly believes terrorists can strike at any moment and strike in places that garner media attention (something Trump knows well), why not allow all the law-abiding convention-goers to carry weapons and ward off a potential attack?
Isn’t the Republican convention a prime target for Islamic extremists? Don’t those Mexican criminals want to take down the future builders of that beautiful wall that will keep them out of our land of plenty?
Like all bullies, like all kids who grow up rich and insulated, like all men who have lost their edge from dining too well, the Republican elite who pound their chests about second-amendment rights have weak hearts. The only guns they want around them are secret-service guns, guns that will protect their well-being.
Guns for the masses? Sure, as long as the masses stay far away.
NRA money? Sure, as long as the right to sell arms remains beyond the royal moat, a gold-lined ditch built by the rich and protected and connected.
That’s the real Republican wall. The divider isn’t between America and Mexico. It’s between the haves and have-nots.
Tonight, there will be no quick-draws allowed at Quicken Arena. The Hypocrites in the house will stay safe.
Adam Berlin is the author of "Both Members of the Club" (winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize), "The Number of Missing,” "Belmondo Style" (winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award), and “Headlock." He teaches writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and co-edits "J Journal: New Writing on Justice" (AdamBerlin.com). For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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