Guns and bombs

Here’s a snarky skull-scratcher headline from the Huffington Post (April 15)—“Gun Control Vote Will Be a Nail-Biter.”

Really? A nail-biter? Goddammit, aren't we having to work way too hard to get that goddamn gun show loophole closed? Polls consistently show that at least 80 percent of us—not 53 percent or 61 percent, but 80—want this dangerous loophole closed and closed tight. If that figure is even remotely accurate, the Republican senators from even the most gun-crazed states (Oklahoma, Alabama, Idaho) could vote “yes” and not lose their cushy jobs in Washington. Our own Dean Heller? As of this morning, Deano's still on the fence. Hasn't made up his mind on this one. OK, Deano. We're watching. Are you gonna be a tool of the NRA? Or an actual servant doing the will of the people?

While we sweat, scream and scrape for every one of the 60 votes needed to close the gun show loophole (how's that nifty little filibuster compromise working for you now, Harry?), I remind you that the Brits, back in '97 after a horror called the Dunblane Massacre (16 dead kids, one dead teacher, one dead madman), went ahead and banned handguns. They didn't screw around with token gestures like improving the background checks. They just banned the guns. And here we are, being told that any bill to control assault weapons or to restrict magazine size is DOA, that these bills don't have a prayer in our Senate and House.

All we want right now is a lame-ass token gesture. It appears even that is too much for our Congress to muster.

Speaking of madness, as I write, two bombs just blew off in Boston at the finish line of the famed Marathon. Early reports indicate death and gore are in play (three dead, over 170 injured, some with missing limbs). Once again, mid-April proves to be a very good time to (1) be on your toes, and (2) put on your crash helmet.

April 19, 1993: The federal government, mostly agents of the Department of ATF, put a move on the compound of the Branch Davidians religious group in Waco, Texas. It's quite a heavy-handed move. The compound is burned to the ground, and the group's 82 members, including 17 children, are killed.

April 19, 1995: Two years later, Tim McVeigh drives his fertilizer car bomb up to the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 168 people die.

April 20, 1999: In Colorado, the nightmare at Columbine High School takes place, with teen gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killing 15, including themselves.

And now, this thing in Boston. These events aren't totally random. McVeigh chose his date because he was pissed about Waco. The Columbine killers' choice of April 20 is less certain. Today's perps were probably gunning for the Marathon. But the ultimate message is this—stuff goes down and blows up in mid-April, for whatever reason. Beware the Ides of April.