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Supreme Court: “Happiness is a warm gun’

by Ogi Overman

Looks like Charlton Heston’s cold, dead finger won’t have to be pried from around the trigger of his gun after all. The US Supreme Court saw to that in its landmark June 26 decision.

The high court used Washington DC’s strict gun-ownership regulations – which it overturned – to interpret that the Second Amendment right to bear arms refers to an individual’s right, not to the formation of a “well-regulated militia,” as the Constitution states. While this broad interpretation is not altogether unreasonable or unanticipated, its practical effect is undeniable: more handguns on the street, more violent crime, more public funds needed for more police and more prisons, more innocent bystanders killed. More preventable death.

Already the NRA lawyers are poring over other cities’ gun laws to see which may be ripe for the picking. San Francisco and Chicago will be first, with New York and LA likely to follow. Eventually every city that has tried to enact and enforce a sane and sensible policy to restrict handgun ownership will be susceptible. Dodge City here we come. Or as the late, great Lewis Grizzard would say, “Shoot low boys, they’re ridin’ Shetland ponies.”

As egregious as this ruling is to a guy like me who’s never felt the need to carry anything more menacing than a pocket knife, a couple of days after the ruling I received some equally depressing news. It came in the form of an e-mail that I normally would trash before opening, but for some odd reason didn’t. It was from this outfit that I vaguely remember, calling itself the Leadership Institute. Not any of a hundred different leadership institutes around the country that use modifiers, mind you, but T-H-E Leadership Institute. Harrumph.

Not surprising, given its pompous and pretentious moniker, this leadership institute exists for the purpose of recruiting and training college students to spread the conservative message through newspapers, media events, technology and campus clubs. It holds training seminars around the country and boasts a total of 1,031 “active and cooperating conservative student groups and publications” in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the e-mail, “These groups provide a counterweight to the dominance of the extreme left on most campuses.”

It didn’t say if they wear brown shirts or not.

The troublesome aspect of all this is not that groups of this nature exist, but that they’re stealing our thunder. They’re taking a page from the book we lefty radicals wrote in the ’60s and turning it on us. And that, brothers and sisters, pisses me off.

The case in point was a demonstration outside the Supreme Court building on the day they handed down their kill-at-will ruling. Here was a group of no more than a dozen or so college-age kids holding up handmade signs with slogans – actually, it hurts to admit, some of them quite clever – who completely dominated the day’s media coverage. According to the e-mail, the group was pictured in no fewer than 19 major dailies, including the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as at least 15 websites such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel.

Meanwhile, the gun control group, which had smaller, professionally printed signs showing only their logo, got zero press coverage.

Even as we all know, the demonstration and counter-demonstration had no effect on the court’s ruling, dadgummit, it’s the principle of the thing. Where were the hippies, the radicals, the tree-hugging activists, the folks who turned demonstrations into an art form? What happened to the Doobie Brothers’ refrain, “Takin’ It To The Streets”? As I’ve asked a thousand times during the Bush cabal’s reign of fear-mongering, where’s the outrage?

Although the Democrats have sadly and with cowardice conceded the gun control issue, there still ought to be enough folks out there who feel that the price in blood is too steep for our obsession with gun ownership. The facts are on our side – that two out of three of the million Americans killed in firearm-related incidents since 1962 were shot with handguns; that 86 percent of firearm-related crimes involve the use of a handgun; that the immediate medical cost of gun-related injuries is over $4 billion annually and the long-term economic cost over $20 billion; that the US death-rate from firearms is 13.7 per 100,000, while England’s is 0.4 per 100,000; that there are an estimated 65 million handguns in America. And on and on.

Where in the Constitution does it define the right to bear arms as the right of every man, woman and child to pack a Saturday Night Special… you know, just in case?

Surely, if the little indoctrinated, post-pubescent right-wingers can come up with “If guns kill people do pens misspell words?” we can trump them with “People without guns injure people – guns kill them.”

Ogi may be reached at ogiman100@yahoo.com and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. Fridays and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m. Sundays.

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