It’s the first honest-to-God weekend that I’ve had in a while.  I had work through the weekend over most of January and February, and before that was sick with what felt like the flu.

I woke up New Year’s Day with a mystery rash, on top of otherwise feeling rotten.  (No, not drunk.  I had gone to bed around 8 p.m., and woke up briefly around midnight to watch the ball drop on television.)  Feeling a little panicked, I went to the hospital.

Did you have chicken pox?” the doctor asked.

“Yeah… when I was six,” I answered.

The rash was apparently shingles, left over from 50 years ago.  The doctor prescribed some pills that, as far as I could tell, did exactly nothing.  The rash faded, very slowly, and I got better under my own power, drinking lots of orange juice, and tea instead of coffee.

Six weeks later, I got a note from my insurance company: the hospital had charged about $3000 for my little jaunt, of which I will have to pay $1000.

*          *          *

More recently, a troubled young man shot up a high school in Florida, killing 17.  Another nut with a gun: it’s the kind of event that seems to be happening more frequently, and the usual response from the media and politicians is for more gun control.

I have to disagree.

I’ll grant that, among the things that government can do, gun control is relatively simple.  But what about controlling the nut: the troubled young man behind the trigger?

School shootings appear to be almost exclusively limited to the United States, in the past 20 years or so.  Somehow, other places in the world seem to do an adequate job of nut control.  We did, too, in the past.  What changed?

To be sure, nut control, unlike gun control, can’t be done by fiat. It’s the responsibility of parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and anyone encountering a troubled young person in need of help.

But there’s more than that.  I’m coming to believe that something—likely more than one something—in our way of bringing up young people is causing young men to become nihilist exterminators.

Why not young women?  (All the school shootings I’m aware of have been perpetrated by males.)

That may be a clue.

*          *          *

My son, who has a more liberal outlook than I do, was mumbling something the other day about the National Rifle Association (NRA).  In the wake of the Florida shooting, the NRA has been denounced as an agent of the gun manufacturers, who are simply interested in selling more product.

Perhaps they are.  They are certainly lobbyists, seeking to influence the government to advance their agenda.

But their agenda is the Second Amendment, which states plainly, ‘the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’  The Founders included the Second Amendment for some very good reasons, and it’s not something to cast aside lightly.

I live in New York City and I don’t own a gun: I don’t feel a practical need for one, and it’s too much trouble (so much for ‘shall not be infringed’) to acquire and keep a gun in my home.  But I reserve the right to arm myself, should I find it necessary, and if I can’t do so legally, I’ll move.

For that reason, I’m considering joining the NRA, even though I normally don’t think much of lobbyists.  The next time my son mumbles something about the NRA, I could show him my membership card and say, “Do you mean… me?”

And as far as the Second Amendment, I’d rather see an honest debate about repealing it than yet another measure nibbling around the edges.  If you believe that guns are a public health menace and should be banned on those grounds, and that the Second Amendment’s time has passed, stand up and say so.

3 thoughts on “Illness/Shooting/Rights”

  1. First off, glad you feel better. I had a nasty bout of chicken pox when I was 11 where I was off school for a month and many of my grades dropped from A’s to B’s (yeah first world problems). I worry having shingles because anyone who had pox has a great chance of getting shingles. Now they have a vaccine for it I think.

    I really have mixed feelings on guns because we do have a problem. However, here’s the reality and if people want guns they will get them illegally. I used to live across the street from a guy selling guns to Chicago gang members. Chicago has a strict gun rule yet has a lot of crime, why is that? There are many reasons but one is the whole fatherless child issue. There are many children growing up born to a single unwed poor mother and they often join gangs for a family. This is rarely spoken about. Yes I support background checks and all of that, and that will help but not erase the issue. Also, we need to invest in mental health. Many of these students were bullied, or had untreated mental illness.

    1. Why not young women?

      Women do not pick “powerful” ways to commit a crime or a murder.

      Poison seems to be the choice or a less violent way to eradicate somebody.

      Suffocation seems to be another mode of murder.

      I have not heard of a female serial killer, either. Remember those? We don’t seem to attract them , or “breed” them, anymore.

      We get mass shooters now.:(

      Women seem to be stalkers, more than anything, I think. Does anybody here remember Lisa Nowak, the astronaut that stalked a former male romantic interest? All she had on her person was pepper spay and some other miscellany; there was a gun that was a BB gun…but certainly not a pistol or rifle.

      During a check of the parking lot, an officer followed Nowak and
      watched her throw away a bag containing the wig and a BB gun. They
      also found a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing,
      rubber gloves, $600 in cash, love letters all in bags and in her
      car, the police said.

  2. There is a shingles vaccine, but doctors don’t like to give them to you until you are fifty. I think that there are at least two, and one might require two shots a certain length of time apart.

    I was an NRA member. I quit over their fundraising phone calls, which were at least once every two weeks, starting about two months into my membership, This is a BIG downside of joining the NRA. They aren’t happy with just a membership fee. Because you have a business relationship with them, they don’t have to respect the do not call list, and they are not very responsive to requests from a member not to be called. The magazines aren’t bad. There’s one geared to hunting rifles and another for military-grade weapons. Membership benefits will be fewer in terms of discounts granted to members because many of their corporate sponsors quit over the Parkland shooting under public pressure.

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