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at the movies 4


The story about the 71-year-old Tampa citizen who shot a man dead for texting during the previews of a movie on a Monday afternoon is no longer breaking news. It’s been replaced by the shooter at the mall in suburban Maryland, and no doubt in a week that will be replaced by a story about a gun-toting citizen walking into a school. But for now, I’ll stick with the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that were provoked by the matinee gun-toting citizen.

You know, if he’d shot the movie screen out of fury for the insane assault of the violent-spewed previews, and mind-numbing commercials that drone on for thirty minutes before we get to see the film we had the privilege of paying $16 to see, I would have gotten it – albeit with outrage that he had a gun in his pocket.

But that wasn’t the case. The gun toter was mad at the audience member because he was checking in to see how his 22-month daughter was faring while the previews were blasting. And even if this man had been texting his bookie during the movie, and threw popcorn, laws that permit one to rely on a gun to solve one’s annoyances are a problem we, as a society, face. Why do state legislatures permit the carte-blanche purchase of a device that shoots someone dead at the slightest affront to their personal space?

I get it. The electees are following their constituents’ wishes. The Florida voters made it legal to walk around carrying a gun. I guess they see no difference between a gun and a cellphone; both are necessary accessories. But why consciously choose to hand over the right to own a device that can kill over cell phone use to just anyone? Does it boil down to the NRA’s successful brainwashing campaign that the Second Amendment guarantees an unfettered Constitutional right to buy a gun and wear it anywhere?

There are laws concerning the consumption of toxic chemicals, the age you can purchase liquor, and buckling up before driving. They are on the books to cut down on unnecessary death. But when it comes to killing on a personal whim, there is a massive outcry that says “hands off,” and this mass keeps growing in power – screaming “Don’t mess with my Second Amendment rights,” as if Second Amendment rights are the equivalent of one’s genitals.

It’s nuts. It’s scary. And it’s going to get worse as this country moves closer and closer to a vigilante society. The NRA keeps rolling along – a centrifugal force that, with its well-orchestrated PR campaign, and ever-expanding donor dollars, seems to gain power with each shooting incident. There are no 50 shades of gray in the NRA. When Dick Metcalfe, a die-hard NRA supporter, and life-time pro-gun advocate, wrote an article in Guns & Ammo magazine that firearms regulations did not infringe on one’s Constitutional rights, he was freezed out of the organization and painted a traitor to the cause. To the NRA “regulation,” is a four-letter word. For the rest of us, let’s hope we are not at the mall on the same day that someone, carrying a gun in his pocket, is having a hissing fit.