Two earthshaking things happened in Washington last week. We Washingtonians are finally going to get a baseball team, and the House of Representatives voted we could have any kind of gun we want.
This doesn't mean we can go to a ballgame and shoot somebody, but it means if we are going to have baseball, the House felt it should repeal the antigun legislation that has been on the books in Washington for 30 years.
This is what happened: The National Rifle Association, in its infinite wisdom, made the District a battleground for the Second Amendment. It argued that a D.C. citizen, even if he had no say on weapons (the House has veto power on anything that happens in the District), should not be deprived of what the rest of the country now has.
The NRA sent out e-mails and checks to congressional candidates from Indiana to Alaska, so once again we could bear arms -- any arms we desire.
Members of Congress, in their infinite wisdom, at least a majority of them, are beholden to the NRA, especially during an election year.
Where do Washingtonians stand on the issue? There are various opinions.
One I heard was, "If my neighbor owns a gun, I have to own one. He might use it on my dog, so I'll use mine on his."
Another D.C. resident said, "We need semiautomatics in Washington to kill grizzly bears."
I have three children and they have been asking for guns every Christmas. Now I can buy one from a District store and not have to go to a gun show in Maryland.
A friend told me, "I feel safer knowing my wife has a .45 Luger under her pillow. Now that's what I call homeland security."
One gentleman from Georgetown was miffed by the House action.
"They should have asked us if we wanted to repeal the antigun act. Instead they shot from the hip. I'm a taxpayer, too. Shouldn't I have a say about the crime in this town?"
I pointed out that Washington is a ward of the states -- all 50, and if Congress wants us to bear arms, we damn well better bear them.
Not all the people I talked to were aware of what Congress had done.
Another said, "Even Bush believes I should have a gun. I live only blocks from the White House, but he cares about all of us. Without his support, the NRA would have a much tougher battle on its hands."
I know the rest of the country doesn't care whether we are armed -- any more than it cares if we have a baseball team.
I have been at many games where the fans yelled, "Kill the ump!" But they don't really mean it -- except for Eddie S. Every time the umpire shouts "Out!" Eddie means it.
I must admit that I don't own a gun. For one thing, it's too expensive. For another, I don't enjoy shooting cans in my back yard. And for a third, if I had a gun and lost my temper, I might commit a crime of passion.
Will I buy one now? Yes, if it means keeping up with the Joneses. (I heard someone saw them at a rifle range the other day.)
These days Washington is divided between the haves and have-nots. The haves have Uzi automatics they carry in guitar cases. The have-nots hide their handguns under their shirts.
Congress couldn't care less about guns in the District, and the NRA couldn't care more.
(c) 2004, Tribune Media Services