In the movie Miss Congeniality, the finalists in the beauty pageant are being asked the generic questions. Miss Rhode Island is asked, "Please describe your idea of a perfect date."
She replies, "April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold; all you need is a light jacket."
So what do you say we settle on that date as the perfect time to talk about gun control? People will have forgotten all about what happened in Las Vegas last weekend. And even though we probably will have had three or four more mass shootings between now and then, it will give Washington politicians a chance to play to their respective bases before they take the summer and fall off to run for re-election.
Look, I'm a realist...Boogie, woogie, woogie. I realize that nothing substantial will ever get done. It doesn't matter that 93 percent of Republicans(!) support expanded background checks. Most of the members of Congress have their scrotums and/or corresponding lady parts in a monetary vise with the National Rifle Association ready to turn the screws at the slightest hint of non-conformity.
I used to be a cockeyed optimist on this subject. I honestly thought that America would grow up someday and lose (or at least temper) its fetish for violence. I also thought that, eventually, we would get people in Congress who took their jobs and their oaths seriously. But we're heading in the other direction. It actually took me a long time to lose hope, but after some guy used a gun—the sole purpose of which was kill lots of human beings in a short period of time—to wipe out a classroom of first graders right before Christmas and Congress did dick, I knew then.
But maybe on April 25, somebody can stand up in Congress and ask the question, "Why do we allow the manufacture and sale of weapons that are only designed to kill lots of people? They're not good for hunting. They're not good for self-defense (unless you've tripped and fallen into a bad Steven Seagal movie—if you'll pardon the redundancy)."
Those guns aren't going to be banned, but maybe we can force gun stores to engage in Truth in Advertising. As in, "Hey, on sale we have the Massacre Special. Able to hold way more rounds than any rational human being would ever want or need. And, when using military-grade ammo, able to shoot the limbs off a fleeing concertgoer from the height of a 32nd-story window."
Sales would probably go up.
Can you imagine the guy who invented that artifact of evil when he dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates?
St. Peter: Tell me a little about yourself.
Bump Stock Inventing Piece of Crap: Well, I had a wife and kids. Drove a Lexus. Went to church on Sunday...unless the Cowboys were playing. Always bought Girl Scout cookies, and not just the Thin Mints.
St. Peter: What did you do for a living?
B.S.I.P.C.: I invented the Bump Stock.
St. Peter: Take your ass on down the road. And you'd better have sunscreen SPF 8,000,000. When you get there, say hi to Saddam Hussein, Wayne LaPierre, and Kellyanne Conway for me.
B.S.I.P.C.: Why is Kellyanne Conway there?
St. Peter: Well, all she ever did was lie, which is mostly just a venial sin, but she did it so much, she broke our counter, and it's a nightmare trying to get parts for that thing.
Over the past few years, thanks to my old, dearly departed friend Emil Franzi, I got to meet a lot of good, decent people who happened to own guns. It helped me to mature and kept me from casually slipping into stereotypes when any gun-related topic would come up. I'll try to keep that (and him) in mind as the debate boils onward, but it's not going to prevent me from calling B.S. when people revert to throwing out dumb-ass (and patently false) clichés as part of a pro-gun argument.
I've said lots of stupid things in my life. I once said (something to the effect of), "We got the Civil Rights Bill and the Voting Rights Act. Racism should all but disappear within a generation or two."
I also once said, "Wow, the Wildcats won the Pac-12 South. RichRod's program should be upper-echelon from now on."
But I have never said anything as stupid as, "More gun laws won't save lives."
Well yeah, they would. I can think of any number of low-key, common-sense laws that would have cut the Las Vegas death toll by 80 or 90 percent. No law would have prevented that guy from shooting out of the hotel window, but he shouldn't have been able to kill or maim 600 people. That's just not right.
During the 24-hour news onslaught that followed the shooting, I did come across two stats that are both oddly uplifting. Only about three American households in 10 actually have guns in them. That's down from over 50 percent in the 1970s and represents a profound societal shift. Then there's the fact that half of all guns are owned by just 3 percent of the households. People who are that hot for guns can't possibly find someone with whom to reproduce, so that may signal a coming generational shift.
Only 195 days until April 25.