Last week a surprising amount of wind was expended by the commentators on gun control, and in our nation's capital the Americans for Democratic Action turned out a battalion of tidy demonstrators picketing for gun control even before our indomitable president had spent 24 hours in the hospital. On television, Richard Valeriani and Tom Brokaw interviewed the head of the National Rifle Association so savagely that the thing equaled many a prime-time spectacular for sheer violence. Gun control! -- it was about the only matter that the liberals could discuss with their old fearlessness. After that they just reverted to their now characteristic maunderings about "senseless violence," "the sickness of our society," the hopelessness of it all. Tears flowed in Scarsdale.
Actually, the violence is not all that senseless and the society is not all that sick. Though there are doubtless elements in our society that are far from wholesome, violent crime is perfectly comprehensible to those of us who believe mankind capable of evil, irrationality and stupidity. If the liberal commentators were allowed to think such scabrous thoughts, they might not be in such a funk and they might not see the problem of violence in America as being so hopeless.
I say it is time for the commentators to make a break with the ancient myths and to allow their minds to range freely. If they did, they would see that the liberals themselves are probably not serious about gun control. Anyone with a brain knows that some kind of gun control would to some degree lessen violence, but there are from 55 million to 60 million handguns floating around the republic. Imagine the huge amount of police work that would be necessary to collect them. Would the liberals allow this? Would they allow the form of gun control that would be most effective in preventing last week's violence -- namely, the frisking of suspicious characters? Who doubts that had John Hinckley been roughed up in a frisk before the president left the Washington Hilton, pious civil libertarians would be irked and eager to point out the unlikelihood that a pathetic boy like Hinckley was a threat to society?
If the commentators were to break with their ancient myths, they might have gone beyond gun control last week and raised questions about whether the reforms applied to our FBI have made it more difficult to monitor the barbarous doings of clearly subversive groups like the Nazis. They might have discussed the need for empowering our police to act more vigorously, to undertake more undercover operations against suspected criminals, to search dangerous looking suspects, to return safety to our streets. They might have discussed the chief justice's thoughtful address to the American Bar Association this past February, wherein he urged swift and certain justice for violent crime and sensible limits on the appeal process. The television commentators might even have looked in the mirror and pondered the possible influence that television and film violence has on the marginal types in their audience.
Yet most of our commentators simply have not been freed from the pieties of their faith. Now they are again gloomy, anxious and maundering about the senselessness and the helplessness of their condition. I too was a little low last week. But then i began hearing of our incomparable president.
In an era awash with pessimism and self-pity, this spirited man would not flinch. Upon being assured that the government was "running normally," he rejoined, "What makes you think I'd be happy about that?" Let us not look darkly into our beer, Liberals, take heart and join in the celebration of this colossal man.