It’s happened again. Because, of COURSE it happened again.
Every. Single. Goddamn. Time. Every time there’s a mass shooting in America, the same, tired, ridiculous arguments get trotted out. Congressmen and women who are bought, sold and paid for by the gun lobby offer “thoughts and prayers.”
What they actually are saying, and doing by their votes, is making it EASIER for mass shootings to happen. Because they pass laws making it simpler for people with mental illnesses to get guns. And they make sure suspected terrorists on the U.S. “no-fly list” can still get guns.
And the same, tired, ridiculous arguments get trotted out by the NRA, who continue to be the single most powerful force in American politics.
Nothing ever changes. Ever. It is the issue I feel strongest about that will take the longest to change, because we have weak, spineless leaders (in BOTH parties) who refuse to stop the massacring of fellow Americans.
Nothing happened, no laws were changed to protect Americans after CHILDREN WERE MURDERED in an elementary school in Connecticut in 2012. You think 59 adults (and counting) and hundreds of injured at a music concert in Las Vegas is going to change things?
Not a chance. I’m tired of being disgusted, tired of being outraged, tired of living in the type of country where our political leaders don’t seem to give one damn about protecting its citizens from fellow citizens wielding enormously dangerous weapons.
The Onion runs the same headline after every mass shooting that it first ran years ago: “No Way to Prevent This, Says only Nation where this Regularly Happens.”
I’m nauseous, once again, from yet another preventable and unspeakable tragedy.
Three pieces of media I want to share on the Las Vegas shooting. One, Jimmy Kimmel, who is becoming quite the eloquent statesman lately, with an emotional discussion of the massacre in his hometown.
— Two, an unbelievable piece of writing and reporting from the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, on two strangers, Kody Robertson and Michelle Vo (pictured above), who became fast friends at the music festival in Las Vegas, and the dedication of one to the other after the tragedy. One of the most heartbreaking and beautiful stories you’ll ever read.
— And three, Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,” bringing it home and speaking the truth. Again, this doesn’t have to happen. Except it keeps happening.
**Next up, a message of hope, or at least something uplifting. Chance the Rapper is someone who seems to keep cropping up everywhere these days; the Chicago native has become a major voice speaking out against the awful violence and murders that plague the Windy City. He’s a wildly talented writer and musician, and honestly seems like he’s trying hard to be positive, and uplifting.
Chance was on Stephen Colbert last week performing a new song he’d just written, but I just saw this the other day and thought it was outstanding. I hope you find it uplifting, too. (The song is called “First World Problems.”)
**And finally today, a few words about Tom Petty, a musician who I’d say ranks in my all-time Top 10 in terms of “number of times I’ve listened to his songs and instantly felt happy.”
I “discovered” this amazing musician in 1989, when his album “Full Moon Fever” came out and I first heard the song “Free Fallin'” on MTV. Within a few months I was going down to our local record and cassette store and trying to find as much as possible by Petty, this Floridian with the scratchy voice and the kick-ass guitar sound.
Soon I discovered classic songs like “American Girl,” “Refugee,” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
One of the best concerts I ever saw live was in 1996 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, when my best friend (and fellow Petty lover) Clay and I saw Petty and the Heartbreakers. We sang along, we danced, we may have inhaled a substance that rhymes with “farajuana,” and we just enjoyed watching a master musician at his craft.
Petty died way too young, on Monday, at age 66. But his musical legacy will live on.
Here, listen to “American Girl” and try not to sing along. It’s darn near impossible.