Other than hairballs, there are still some things that make me choke up. And most of the time those things are stupid. Such is the case of the U.S. and its policy on pistols, machine guns, explosives and cannons.
Getting those sorts of things is about as easy as stopping at McDonald’s. Someone once read me a report that said that Americans went on family trips to the supermarket to buy guns — one for the porky younger son, one for the older fatso. That’s just the thing. The Sunday outing used be going out for fast food; now it's buying guns. And why? Because they can, of course. It’s stupid.
But more stupid still is the interview that Robert Church, leader of the Springville Teen Shooting Academy, gave to the newspaper Público.* A lunatic — or a sick person — had just killed over 20** people at a movie theater, injured however many more, and all because he thought he was Batman’s archnemesis, the Joker. As it happens, “many young Americans, aged 12 to 20,” who attend the academy, were not concerned about the victims, nor even about protesting the silly law that allows people to buy guns as if they were candy at the nearby Wal-Mart. No. The article also says that this academy’s phones have been ringing off the hook for the past few days, because hundreds of people wanted to know whether the institution would face increased scrutiny from the authorities in the aftermath of the Colorado massacre. “Holmes’ crime doesn’t change a thing, least of all the perspective on the right to bear arms, which the American Constitution ensures,” is the answer of the academy’s leader. Well, isn’t that something. Then they come on TV to whine that this only happens in the U.S., and that they can’t figure out why.
But there’s more. This man — if you can call him that — is positive that his students won’t go postal and start shooting people just because it’s cool. And how is he so self-assured, you ask? The secret is in the diploma. “At the end of the course they receive a certificate.” Very well … what about after they received their diploma? Are these 12-year-old, gun-wielding child prodigies in any way monitored or followed up on? No. Well, isn’t that swell. … But then, what can one do to avoid these kinds of massacres?
Robert Church’s answer is that this is a silly question … evidently, because more people die due to car crashes. “If they haven’t outlawed cars, why should handguns, rifles or any other kind of firearm be banned?” That sure makes sense. Well, but is there no way to prevent mentally unbalanced people from getting their hands on firearms? For me this was his best answer: “When you go get your driver’s license, does anybody ask you if you’re crazy?” What an excellent comparison. Love it. Knowing that someone like this is teaching kids to shoot guns is spectacular. He says that education is the key. It’s like that very typical U.S. education: Kids are fatter than my mother when she was pregnant, and the Sunday fieldtrip is to KFC instead of McDonald’s. The key to a healthy life is education. “James, it’s not nice to shoot people!” But it’s fun. And one of the reasons people buy guns in the U.S. is “entertainment.”
*Editor’s Note: The interview was with the Portuguese language periodical Expresso: http://expresso.sapo.pt/quando-tira-a-carta-perguntam-lhe-se-e-maluco=f741762
**Editor’s Note: The actual number of deaths was 12, with 58 injured.