A guy in Florida shoots another guy for texting in a movie theater during the previews, before the main attraction. Evidently it bothered the alleged shooter so much that he felt compelled to pull his hardware and allegedly plug the other guy. The NRA would, of course, suggest that if everyone in the movie house had been armed and ready, the shooter wouldn’t have shot or at least would have been plugged himself soon thereafter — thereby preventing him from ever plugging another inconsiderate texter, probably. Hard to argue with that, if you’re dull normal or below.
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Now the other side of the coin is that, if everyone had been armed, half of them might have been sympathetic to the texter who was allegedly texting his daughter’s babysitter, maybe on a matter of urgency. Meanwhile the other half might have sided with the alleged shooter, that is just “up to here” with rude texters in public places like darkened movie houses. Then it could have turned into the “Gunfight at the Not So OK Movie House in Florida.”
Then a kid in New Mexico, 12 brings a shotgun to school and shoots fellow students, a girl and a boy. One is in stable condition and the other is still in critical condition, last I heard. Now if everyone at the school had been armed, of course, things might have turned out differently. The kids might have got the drop on him before he could fire. The custodian might have pulled his hogleg and unloaded on the kid when he came into the hallway, or the campus security person, (think volunteer parent yard duty) might have drawn down and blown the kid away before he even got to the hallway. There would have been an extensive investigation, but then there’s going to be one anyway, just fewer people involved. If that had indeed happened, it would have been a sad and tragic ending to the story. As it is, it’s a sad and tragic non-ending to the story.
My brother the conservative asked me the other day whether I thought the N.S.A. leaker Edward Snowden was a traitor or a hero-patriot.
“Good question!” I said. “It’s one I’ve thought about, and I just don’t have an answer that feels right,” I admitted.
He didn’t either which makes it a very interesting question, and issue. No matter what, I think the guy did it the wrong way. Initially, I thought, well he’s a bad guy for spilling all those beans. Then I thought, those were beans that needed to be spilled, so he’s not a bad guy at all. Then I thought, well it’s not good for our country to get caught with our hands in all those cookie jars. Then I thought, it’s not good to have our hands in all those cookie jars — and getting caught is a reasonable price to be paid for it.
Then I re-thought all of those thoughts and more, and I still don’t have an answer that feels right. But, I’m beginning to lean toward “hero-patriot-scoundrel.” I’m afraid it will take a generation of philosophers, psychiatrists, sociologists and then some to find the needle in that haystack. But, it is a kind of bipartisan issue in that neither side really knows what to do with it.
And speaking of bipartisan stuff, how about that “omnibus budget” thing the House of Representatives passed this week? It was 359-67, according to what I read. Now it goes to the Senate, by today, if I’m not mistaken. I honestly don’t know how they actually did it. Must be something wrong. Colorado water in the House drinking fountains? Kumbaya playing on the elevator Muzak?
But our very own Tom McClintock kept consistency alive and well. One of the 67 no votes, he sent me a copy of the speech he made to the House prior to the vote. I’m on his special e-mail address list, so I get all of his press releases, maybe most of you do too, but I like to think it’s special to me. I’ve met and interviewed him a couple of times. He’s a nice guy as arch-Conservatives go.
Tom didn’t like the part where they gave a billion for the Head Start program, basically said it wasn’t proven to be effective. He also didn’t like giving a raise to the disabled vets without giving one to other vets, which I kind of agree with. But then he went off on some tangents about frivolous spending in general that I’m not even sure I understood, which isn’t all that unusual when I read Tom’s special e-mails to me. The bottom line is, however, this is a district that has some right smart people in it, people I don’t necessarily agree with always, if ever, and I’m not sure we’re being represented as comprehensively as we ought to be. There’s more nuance at play than Tom seems to acknowledge and maybe more, dare I say it, need for compromise?
I had a bunch of other thoughts as well, but I think I’m about thought-out for now.
p.s. I found out Wednesday that Managing Editor Patrick Ibarra is a Seattle Seahawks fan. Being from Washington that’s not out of line. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool 49ers fan of course but I’m picking up a pattern here of me being sideways with my boss. Next time: If there is a next time, some other thoughts.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.