The Evening Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Pretty much everyone knows who Jeff Foxworthy is. Well, anyone over the age of 25 does, anyway.
For those who are unaware, Foxworthy is the southern comedian who is most famous for his “You might be a redneck” routine. Some of his funniest quotes include things like:
- If you’ve ever had to climb a water tower with a can of paint to protect your sister’s honor, you might be a redneck;
- If your wife has ever had to tell you “honey, come get this transmission out of the tub so I can take a bath,” you might be a redneck;
- If you have ever discovered a missing automobile while mowing your front lawn, you might be a redneck.
Get it? Pretty funny stuff, especially for those of us out here in flyover country for whom some of those jokes remind us of certain cousins or uncles.
So what’s all of this Jeff Foxworthy stuff got to do with politics, you ask? Well, bear with me while I explain.
President Trump is taking heat today from his “conservative” flank for this morning’s announcement by one of his spokespeople that he would be in favor of beefing up the federal background checks for gun purchases in the wake of last week’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Any mention of working on anything having to do with more gun control laws invariably brings out immediate counter-fire from the protectors of the 2nd Amendment, and normally I find myself agreeing with them.
Gun control laws are notoriously ineffective – all one has to do to see the truth in that is to recognize that Chicago, a city with perhaps the most restrictive gun control laws in America, also is the murder capital of the country. And in most mass shooting situations, we see that no beefing up of anything to do with gun control laws would have done anything to prevent the killings.
Where Parkland’s concerned, though, I find myself agreeing with the President – the fact that this kid with such a long history of violent behavior, mental illness and attention from the local authorities was able to walk into a gun store and pass a federal background check is a huge red flag. The fact that none of the kid’s long list of dangerous, threatening behavior shows up in any background check – including the fact that local police had been called to the kid’s home an astonishing 39 times over the previous 4 years – is a problem that could stand to be corrected.
In order to make this understandable to most Americans, I suggest the President hire Jeff Foxworthy to put it into a new comedy routine. Only, instead of “you might be a redneck,” the punchline should be “you don’t get to buy a gun in America.”
Here are some examples of what the routine could contain:
- If you have a long list of violence and threats of violence on your school record, you don’t get to buy a gun in America;
- If your violence and threats of violence at school became so severe that you were actually kicked out of that school, you don’t get to buy a gun in America;
- If you have a history of mental illness that includes having been institutionalized and prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, you don’t get to buy a gun in America;
- If you have a documented history of torturing animals, you don’t get to buy a gun in America;
- If the local authorities have been called to your home even one time – much less 39 damn times – to prevent you from harming your parents, siblings or any other human being on earth including your own self, you don’t get to buy a gun in America;
- If you have ever been reported to any law enforcement agency for posting violent or terroristic threats on any social media platform, you don’t get to buy a gun in America.
It isn’t really funny – nothing to do with this tragic event is funny at all – but it does sum things up in terms even Chris Cuomo or Jeff Flake or Maxine Waters might understand.
Many have jumped all over the FBI – myself included – for its abject failure to do anything about the warnings it had received in September and January about the guy who committed the Parkland killings, and that criticism is richly deserved. But it is not the fault of the FBI that the shooter was able to pass a background check, because there was nothing in its system that would have raised any flags.
Everything I listed above represents a potential reporting event if we had a law that required such reporting. Unfortunately, current law does not require any of those events listed above – not even the amazing 39 times local police had to go out to the guy’s home to stop him from harming someone – in a way that would raise a flag in an FBI background check for the purchase of a semi-automatic rifle or any other firearm.
So, don’t tell me that no changes to the law would have prevented these killings. The simple reporting requirements listed above would have indeed prevented this guy from buying the semi-automatic rifle he used to murder 15 school children and 2 adults. A further requirement in a new law that law enforcement officials – local, not the FBI since we obviously cannot trust the FBI to do its duty anymore – follow up with and question any such person who is attempting to buy a firearm might have given the guy enough second thoughts to choose another path. Maybe.
This is not hard, and it should not even be controversial in a sane society. But of course, our society is completely insane, so I have no doubt I’ll be attacked mercilessly for making these suggestions.
Whatever. Let the pummeling begin.
That is all.
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