Poppin' 'n' droppin' 

"The federal government has no business keeping lists of law-abiding Americans in their federal computers."

-- Wayne LaPierre, CEO, National Rifle Association and dangerous wacko

They most certainly do not, ol' buddy, and I hope God or the Y2K problem purges your name from the Social Security and Medicaid rolls right quick. What this right-wing maniac is talking about, of course, is the new National Instant Check System.

This frightening threat to our rights and freedoms (see, I can talk just like an NRA official) requires store owners to call in and check to see if any prospective gun buyer might be, say, a convicted serial killer who used firearms to dispatch his victims.

If so, and if the customer is drooling heavily, the counter help are supposed to deny the sale, though there is nothing, so far as I know, to prevent them from politely inquiring as to whether a friend or, perhaps, potential victim might buy it for them.

Imagine that! Can you imagine a worse threat to our freedom than trying to find out whether someone who wants to buy a machine designed to kill humans might be a convicted criminal?! Not only that, the new system, when things got rolling a few weeks ago, had bugs. It was hopelessly slow. Sometimes, that first day, a person who decided to buy a death weapon on impulse had to wait more than a half-hour.

How horrible is that? Well, just suppose the graduate student who is charged with killing the Wayne State professor had decided to buy the handgun on his way down to class. What if the computers were backed up? He might not have arrived in time, and may have had to wait till next semester to kill his professor.

Fortunately, the real power in this nation is looking out for you. The National Rifle Association is asking the courts for a speedy hearing to overturn this horrible law and "destroy all records of the system." Making any inquiries into the background of a potential gun owner, the NRA feels, is "a gross intrusion into the private lives of lawful-minded citizens." The lily-livered peaceniks behind that law have to be stopped.

Don't despair. The NRA won't give up.

They won't cease fighting for our right to kill until we create a world where every maniac, every would-be Oswald, Ray, Chapman and Hinckley can walk in anywhere, flash a wad, and buy an assault weapon without a single question being asked, because guns are the essence of what being a citizen is all about. Think about it: Lloyd Todd, a Detroit policeman, remains in critical condition, evidently with severe brain damage. His partner, Shawn Bandy, is dirt-napping. Both took AK-47 bullets to the head after they began following a van police believe was used in a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme.

That slaying made huge headlines. Two men were arrested last week after a standoff in a house in Pennsylvania. They will, if convicted, be hustled off to the pen, probably for the rest of their lives, where, as is well documented, it will cost more each year to keep them warehoused than it would to send them to Harvard University.

Yet in all the orgy of coverage, not once, not anywhere, did I see anyone raise the question of just what the slime who kidnapped a woman and murdered a policeman were doing with AK-47s, the military assault weapon of choice in the communist world?

Nobody asked that because the media have been conditioned to believe raising such questions is hopeless. Nobody could do anything when they killed JFK, RFK, Martin, winged Reagan. It's even worse now. The National Rifle Association and its gun lobby effectively controls the Congress of the United States on this, completely, utterly.

We pay an enormous price for our worship of the gun cult; the 1,464 children under age 15 killed by firearms in 1993; the millions and millions spent to take care of those thousands hopelessly mutilated in body and mind by bullets.

Thousands more kids have had bullets penetrate their craniums since then.

Some of these were actually shot by parents who thought they heard an intruder. Some were shot by playmates, after the kiddies found daddy's guns.

This is unfortunate, of course, but we evidently feel this is a small price to pay. We have seen the enemy, smelled his gunpowder and yes, friends, he is most definitely us.

We are indeed one nation, indivisible, with ammo and powder for all.

Notes on the Wayne State shooting: Details are sketchy, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty (except when accused of sexual misbehavior), but it appears that a frustrated Ph.D. student blew an engineering professor away during a test last Thursday night.

Dismay and anguish gripped the entire campus; it was particularly bad among students in my classes, after they discovered I had survived. This was understandable. What baffles me is how many people, some of them intelligent, have asked "Well, are you going to be afraid to be down there at night now?"

Which is silly. I have taught night classes for six years at Wayne, without even being bothered by a mouse. This shooting really had nothing to do with Detroit. This was, for whatever reason, a relationship gone wrong. Had the class been at Wayne's Farmington Hills extension center, that's probably where it would have happened. 

More by Jack Lessenberry

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