Culture

American Suicide: Packed

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr., born May 31, 1930, is an American film actor, director, producer, composer, and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide. | Photo: | Clint Eastwood, Actor, Icon, Sexy, Tough, Republican, Mean, Gun,

(Un)happiness is a warm gun

In the well-remembered/regarded Eastwood film 'Unforgiven' the opening scenes depict wild-eyed saddle tramps riding into some arid territorial town or another, first securing their horses---themselves rather deadly in potential---then, their other even deadlier companions, their shooting irons with the local constabulary or Sheriff/Marshall (as in U.S., meaning the Constitution was rather in effect, ahem).

This scenario was hardly fictional for much of the Old West, despite filmdom's dumbing down for titillating effect the practical ways and means of naked survival of any semblance of civilization imposed there upon natives who, 'savagely', possessed no such lead-dispensers before our uninvited arrival. Something about 'Manifest Destiny', now, perhaps manifestly destined for self-destruction.

Notable in this setting is the inconvenient fact that many of these hamlets where sensible 'aw shucks' values like public safety were sensibly enforced found their geography such that they were not yet even part of the Union, and subject strictly to its founding document's precise purview (notwithstanding circuit-riding federal judges who rolled into town on occasion): these towns were in Territories, not yet States.

Yet, while drunken and/or disorderly self-styled cowpokes are virtually absent from today's scene (outside of certain federal grazing lands in Nevada, ever more schoolyards and the occasional place of worship, ahem) and nary a musket-carrying Redcoat may be seen outside some lame recreated battle Americans hardly even know about, much less, recall, America is well-packed with those who are lawfully (?) packing.

Enter the NRA in or about 1876, right about that sensible period aforementioned. You know the rest, it reads like some moribund medical text recounting the sequelae of a morbid dis-ease, this one a national epidemic. These dis-ease packing types have subsumed a kind of one-sided suicide pact signed in blood and making the unsigned among us moving targets of hair-brained owners of hair-trigger paranoia enough to compete with Mad Max Gibson at a rabbinical convention in Israel.

This despite a great immigrant and cherished social force of nature named John Lennon was prescient about his new home when he sang ruefully about 'Mother Superior' jumping the gun, and the sardonically sung dissonant lyrics associated with that: "....happiness is a warm gun....the man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors on his hobnail boots lying with his eyes while his hands are busy working overtime.....when I hold you in my arms and feel my finger on your trigger I know no one can do me no harm,...."

Phew; everything harmful (to the rest of us), and anything but pleasingly lyrical (Lennon's ironic genius, aside).

It's well-known that Lennon (and his Beatles band mates) admired the midwestern musician/poet Bob Dylan---'hobnail boots' but one allusive proof; it's therefore fitting to recall that despite the plaintive pleas of those same Sheriffs (of today), innocent victims choosing only to freely associate (see: the same parchment featuring that misconstrued 2nd Amendment thingy) and, yes, children trying to safely learn, the (common sense, folk wisdom) "...answer is blowin in the wind."

America, your Constitution is not a suicide pact (see: Justice Robert Jackson's famous phrase in an opinion about the 1st Amendment); as Ross Perot, no one lacking in common sense, once posited: "Can we agree on this?!"

The 'this' is, well, this: In a nation where we all agree with the sign of the times---'No shoes, no shirt, no service'---why cannot our 'Welcome to the City of X' signage contain a truly meaningful greeting: 'Check Any Weapons with the Sheriff & Truly Enjoy Your Stay'.

Your inalienable right to life (the 'liberty, & the pursuit of happiness' part of your declared independence rather pale in its absence) may be the right to (be) 'bare' OF (others' deadly) arms. Otherwise, consider yourselves one of the unforgiven.

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Updated May 10, 2017 9:56 AM EDT | More details

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