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June 12, 2016

Regrettable Impulses, the Orlando Pulse Killings, and the Second Amendment

For a long time in my life, I was an air traffic controller. When I'd see a news flash of a fatal crash, my first impulse was to ignore the reported details - because they're so often wrong. Generally my second impulse was (and remains) to think, I hope it wasn't a controller's fault. Let it be weather, or mechanical failure, but please don't let it be a controller's fault.

It's not an enlightened response. I've reflected on it over the years and it doesn't speak well of me, yet it remains my innate response. I'd hate for one of us to have killed people, and I'd hate to be the SOB that has to live with it. For instance, USAir 1493, who a controller cleared to land on top of another airplane that the controller had told to park in position on the runway but never cleared for takeoff, with a loss of 35 lives.

When I heard the news of the Orlando Pulse killings, and heard the body count roll from 20 to 50, my first thought was: what terrible thing to happen during Pride Week

My second impulse was: Oh no, what the idiots are going to do with this to call attention to their own agendas and themselves. And it didn't take long:

There's a lot of regrettable impulses.

There's no need for personal semi-automatic weapons in America. They didn't exist when the 2nd Amendment was written. If we want to scrupulously uphold the 2nd Amendment, we should not pass laws infringing the public's right to bear muzzle-loaded, black-powder, long rifles.


Iron City said...

Isn't the reason airplane accidents get so much ink is they can be spectacular for pictures and revolting descriptions? Not that many people are killed or injured in them (though that is small comfort if you are involved in one).

So a nut ball with a semiautomatic long gun shoots and kills 49 people and the usual suspects go on a tear about banning "assault weapons", whatever they are, when that same day on average using 2014 data 61 occupants of motor vehicles would be killed in wrecks. Another 15 or so pedestrians and bicyclists get it to, though the bicyclists mostly deserve it. That doesn't make the 49 victims in Orlando any less dead or value them less as humans because I suspect every one of the 61 killed on the road last Sunday am were just as human and had just as much human worth. Where are their candles and ribbons and 24/7 coverage. There isn't any, much, maybe a cross or wreath along the roadside. Personal opinion these things should only be there if the emergency services or passers by wrapped the dead in their poncho and buried them where they fell.

And Monday another 61 got it on the road, and today too. Where is the memorial service and national debate? Nowhere. But based on past form that is what will happen after Orlando. Hand wringing, yelling, newsprint and electrons deployed in wholesale quantities and in the end just what we got after Columbine, Sandy Hook, San Bernadino and everywhere else.

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