It looks like the new fad in America — at least for white men (and boys) — is to take your guns and rifles to the store to scare a bunch of folks or kill a bunch of folks.
Once someone is stocking up on ammo and body armor while ranting in online forums about the evils of Jews, Hispanics, blacks, the IRS, cops or whomever, there’s not much you can do for them. They’ve already fallen off the deep end.
So, we can debate whether an AK-47 is protected by the Second Amendment. We can debate whether the Second Amendment is about well-regulated militias or personal gun ownership. We can debate whether something is an assault rifle, an assault-style rifle or none of the above. We can debate whether firing off a few hundred rounds in a safe setting is healthy or the sign of deep-seated psychological issues. And we can debate whether it’s more fair to hunt deer with a rifle or crossbow — or whether it’s fair to hunt them at all.
The one inarguable thing about deer-hunting, though, is that it’s clearly more effective to hunt them with a 2007 Pontiac. If I still deer-hunted, instead of camouflage, I’d dress up like a car and make loud rumbling sounds. Apparently, no deer is afraid of that. But one whiff of a human in a deer stand, and they’re spooked.
One thing’s for sure about the gun debate, though, is that nothing’s really going to change anytime soon. It’s hard to get much of anything done these days with only two major political parties. They’ll ride out the rage and nibble around the issue with some tiny sliver of a law that doesn’t make anyone too angry and doesn’t make a real difference.
But the one thing we can all do a better job of is to stop demonizing folks. We should follow once-vocal First Lady Melania Trump’s advice to “Be Best” and not engage in cyberbullying. Or former First Lady Michelle Obama’s mantra of “When they go low, we go high.” Hmm, maybe we should have a Michelle-Melania ticket in 2020. (Really, can it be worse than the other options?)
Particularly bothersome to me is the hatred fomented toward Hispanics, especially the poorest and those who are doing jobs very few of us are willing to do. Some enter the U.S. illegally just so they can slave away in the heat for a little bit of money in fields, cleaning hotel rooms, mowing grass, roofing in 100-degree heat and, as we just saw in Mississippi, working in food processing plants. I find it difficult to hate somebody who is slaving away at a hard job for low pay and risking legal action all for trying to make a better life for their family.
From Joe Biden to Donald Trump, politicians are keen on saying that we need more Ph.D. immigrants and highly skilled folks coming to the U.S. Um, wouldn’t those folks, as decent as they might be, actually be stealing good jobs? I’d think you want more folks coming to do the jobs we aren’t willing to do, not the jobs we covet or already have.
I suspect many of the folks who hate these immigrants from Central America have never been to Central America. They haven’t witnessed the beautiful, generous nature of these folks despite living in poverty. I have friends in Nicaragua who fought for the Sandinistas and now love Americans. They are some of the nicest folks I know. And if you visit these places, the culture shock you’re going to experience is when you come back to the U.S. and realize that despite the luxuries we have, we’re much meaner and more rude than we should be.
I suspect many of the haters have listened to politicians, talk radio and folks like Fox News leverage a tragedy like the Kate Steinle killing as anecdotal evidence that illegal immigrants are dangerous when the empirical data shows that illegal immigrants actually commit major crimes at lower rates than we native folks.
So, if you’re for a wall, that’s fine. Let’s talk about it. But if you’re for a wall because you hate brown people, then shut up. And, please, stay out of Wal-Mart. #BeBest
UPDATE: And then this happened. CNN’s Chris Cuomo was dining with his family when he got accosted with an anti-Italian slur — “Fredo” — and snapped. Whether he should have or not is debatable, but even folks like Sean Hannity came to his defense last night, only to have his president hurl the same slur this morning. I guess it’s taking some longer than others to get on the #BeBest train: