Richard Lutz ponders the state of the States.
Off to a family event, sunny skies in DC, a trip or two, and the inevitable TV pictures of grief, shock and endless debates on the airwaves about guns, guns, guns.
I was explaining, after the Charleston massacre, how I learned how to shoot a. 22 rifle at the age of eleven.
It was a part of my kid-dom, part of the childhood I grew out of. It was at a boys camp and along with sailing, baseball and athletics, it was part of my summer week. The rifle instructor was Guy, from Arizona. He resembled singer Tom Waits, tall, languid, always smoking a butt, funny. He knew how to get our attention. And it was all about about safety, safety, safety.
And in rural America, with miles of endless horizons, it is also part of others’ lives too. America hunts, with deer herds even invading the suburbs. Culls are normal during the hunting season.
As a child, it was part of the autumn to see cars heading south from the mountains, beeping their horns, with a deer strapped to the front as they drove home. Bear season was a bit different with great tales (maybe even true) of a wounded and grumpy bear coming to growling life in the back of a station wagon, the driver escaping the vehicle and finishing off the kill through the roof.
But of course Charleston is different. Guns are easily accessible to deranged, hate-filled killers. The gun lobby is powerful and can swing votes, especially in the rural areas. It uses grimly twisted logic to back its ideology.
Today, the churchgoers in Charleston will hold their Sunday service. President`Obama will inevitably say something. Someone pointed out he has seen 14 gun massacres during his seven years in the White House. Fourteen times he has had to painfully ask: “Why is the United States so taken with murderous arms?”
Good question. No easy answer.