1. It’s Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
2. It’s Flag Day. On this day in 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the 13-star version of the flag we use today.
3. Of course, by order of President Obama, flags that can be have been lowered to half-staff to commemorate the 49 people gunned down early Sunday at a nightclub in Orlando. I’m not sure if this is the first of the 240 anniversaries of the flag’s adoption that it’s been flown at half-staff.
But I’m sure it’s not the first time the flag has been lowered to commemorate a mass shooting. In fact, it seems to happen all the goddamn time.
As Trevor Noah pointed out on the Daily Show last night, President Obama has given 16 briefings following mass shooting events during his 7 years and 5 months in office. He’s only given 12 state dinners for visiting leaders.
Noah was one of the late-night comics, including Samantha Bee on TBS and John Oliver on HBO, who gave somber-with-a-touch-of-bite opening remarks on their show. Their general message was the same as the President’s, asking if these shootings are an indication of the kind of country we want to be.
4. But the only thing different about Orlando is the nature of the target.
And let’s face facts – this country let 26 children and teachers die in an elementary school classroom without doing a whole lot to change the ease in which sick people get semi-automatic weapons.
What’s another 49 people, most of them Hispanic and gay. Whose fatal flaw was having a good time on a weekend?
5. When I thought over the past week about issues, I was trying to think what to me is No. 1 in this campaign. And folks, it’s the same one it’s been since I was 10, the year after President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas.
It’s gun control. It’s the ease in which people – some of them mentally ill – can get weapons.
It is crazy to me that there are people who believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects the right to weapons that killed scores of people in minutes.
It is crazy to me that every time you go out in public, every time you’re on a highway with guys driving like maniacs, every time you’re sitting at home minding your business, you need to be aware of the possibility that someone nearby has a gun that they might feel inclined to use for whatever purpose.
6. So is Orlando the tipping point? Is the sheer number of those killed enough to get some sort of change that killing elementary school kids in Connecticut or office party attendees in California or moviegoers in Colorado couldn’t affect?
I am really skeptical. There will be hand-wringing for days. Memorials. Thoughts and prayers.
But the strategy of those who believe guns are part of the natural order of life, like breathing and eating, is to wait it out. That’s what they’ll do – a perverse variation of the North Carolina four-corner defense in basketball in which you try to run out the clock. And in a week or 10 days, we’ll give up trying again.
I’m wracking my brain for ways to change that. A boycott of some kind. Some social campaign that would force the gun nitwits to go along.
I’m stumped. For now. But I won’t stop trying.