National Rifle Addiction

Winter is back here to stay it seems. Our yard looks like a gigantic merengue, the trees are frosted and I’m bundled up with hat and gloves. The gunmetal water of Howe Sound looks cold but when the clouds part to let the sun through, it’s winter wonderland, if you don’t have to drive, that is.

Campbell was already seated at our usual table, scanning the Globe and Mail. As soon as I sat down he pointed with his index finger to an article in the paper,. “Did you hear the speech from that teen Emma Gonzales addressing the gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale? It was just two days after a crazed school mate killed 17 of her fellow students in Parkland, Florida. He pulled a fire alarm and then fired point blank into the exiting students with his AR 15 that he bought at a gunshop. He was too young to buy a beer but no problem to buy a military style assault rifle including the accessories to make it fully automatic as well as all the ammo he wanted.”

“I haven’t heard the speech yet but Clare has. She was all fired up about this young woman and the eloquence and passion of her speech. I guess she really put it to the lawmakers who accepted donations from the NRA.”

“Yes, she really did; pointed out that Trump himself accepted 30 million and then she divided that by the gun victims in 2018 so far. It came to $ 5’800. That’s how much a life is apparently worth but as the year goes on, that figure will go down. And what did the lawmakers do in response to this latest tragedy? They sent thoughts and prayers.”

I could only shake my head at the cowardly and senseless mindset that would make anybody support such a destructive and insane gun policy. “Can money really buy somebody’s reason, common sense and conscience?” I asked, knowing the answer already.

Camp just gave me a look that was louder than words. “They always quote the 2nd amendment , like it was one of the ten commandments. The law was meant to arm the populace, so they could overthrow a despotic government if the need arose. That was long before automatic weapons. I think they still used muskets and long rifles when the amendment was passed in 1791.”

“Sounds like they missed their chance though, instead of the government, they’re killing each other,” I said. “Kids killing kids. What for? An amendment?”      “Trump told a group of the survivors from Parkland, that were invited to the White House, that he wants to arm the teachers. Said that attacks would end with more militarized education institutions and by wearing concealed weapons.”

“Does he know that over 75% of all teachers from kindergarten to high school are women and where should they conceal their Berettas and Colts?” And does he think all teachers are gun experts or NRA supporters?”

Vicky arrived with a couple of fresh pints, pointing at the blue sky peaking through the clouds. “Just look at that beautiful blue,” she said, making both of us turn around. “It’s not words that makes the view beautiful, it just is. You two always worry about things out of your control. Like the weather or the price of beer.”

“Vicky has a point Camp. We spend half our life planning the future and worrying about the past and the other half checking the internet for what we’ve missed,” I said. “We’re all so scattered and confused.”

“Speak about yourself. I’m trying to make a living selling books and advocating for changes to improve our little town. Not all of us have the luxury of leisure like you and the time to get bored. By the way did you watch any of the Olympics? I can’t believe it’s already eight years since the Vancouver games.”

“We watched Tessa and Scott ice-dance their way into everyone’s heart and to Olympic gold , and we saw the women’s hockey team lose a heartbreaker to the US in a shootout. They should have both won the gold.”

“I watched some of the highlights but I always liked the cultural vignettes. Imagine, I didn’t even remember that it snowed in Korea. Come to think of it, you used to love to ski, didn’t you.”

“Yeah, I gave it up after a couple of bad falls but you’re right Camp, I should get involved in something useful. I’m thinking about taking a course in brewing and distilling. With all these new craft breweries springing up there must be opportunities.”

“Now you’re thinking with an alert mind.,” Camp said, “and the benefits could be rewarding.”

I’m not sure if he was having me on but I let it go. Better to quit while I was ahead.

“Check out the eagle over there,” Camp said and we both watched the majestic bird circle overhead, his aim unwavering and focused.


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