Thursday, December 20, 2012

No PC Here

The cashier at the department store was obviously shocked.  She looked about to see if anyone had heard what I had said, hesitant to reply.  Eventually, certain she was out of earshot of any of her co-workers and other customers, she responded in almost a whisper.  I felt bad for her, but not for what I had intentionally uttered.

We live in a time when we are expected to always say and do what is considered politically correct.  Unfortunately, in my case, the do part is easier than the say.  It's not that everything that crosses my lips is intentional or well thought out, but in this instance, my remark to the cashier was deliberate and well-intentioned.

Even more unfortunate is that fact that she, as well as almost everyone in the retail world today, was instructed to never, under any circumstances, repeat the words I had spoken for fear of alienating someone.

Was what I said so terrible that she reacted as if some state secret had suddenly been revealed?  No.  Was she overreacting?  Maybe just a little, but it was her job after all.  And it was apparently the norm, since I have received similar reactions (maybe not as extreme) in other stores.

What did I say?  Just two words, that are considered today to be politically inappropriate: Merry Christmas.

I don't know about you, but I have seen no calendar with the words Happy Holidays printed on the date of December 25, nor do I expect to in the near future.  Beyond that, who knows.

I, never concerned about being PC, shall continue to say with sincerity Merry Christmas to one and all.

First It Was The Twinkie

It has been called one of the worst mass killings in United States history.  No fewer than 26 people, 20 of them innocent children, gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School, by a young man bearing not one, but at least three automatic or semi-automatic weapons.

The weapons didn't belong to him.  They were acquired and registered to his mother, who he killed before going to the school and unleashing his fury.  Why did he do it?  We'll never know for certain, since the gunman took his own life.  We are told that he suffered from Asperger's syndrome.  And there is some question as to whether or not he had been properly cared for.

But we do know one thing: politicians of all stripes have come out calling for at least a dialogue on the availability and ownership of semi-automatic assault weapons.  President Barack Obama was quoted as saying: "These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change."

That quote and others brought unintended consequences--a run on gun shops across the country by people apparently fearful that they would soon be unable to acquire these weapons.

I found it highly amusing when apparent adults stormed grocery stores and supermarkets in their quest to buy and horde all available Hostess Twinkies once the manufacturer of these little yellow cakes of sugar announced it was closing its doors.  I wondered at the time about the shelf life of these delectable items.  And I tried to recall if there had ever been a run on anything else.

But there is little amusement to be taken from the reports and sights of people buying items whose sole purpose is to kill people.

These assault weapons were not designed nor manufactured for the purpose of hunting game.  No, they are not meant to bring down Bambi's mother or dad or Brer Rabbit to put food on the table.  They serve one purpose and one purpose only: to defend against and/or kill an enemy.  In the hands of law enforcement and the military they are a valuable tool and should remain available to those sworn to protect and serve.

Some gun shop owners have reported people buying not one, but two or more of these weapons.  Why?  Have assault weapons now fallen into the same category as the Twinkie?

And the real concern here is whether or not these weapons remain with the properly licensed buyer.  Once the guns leave the shop, who is to say that they won't fall into the wrong hands, as was the case in Newtown.

Does the average citizen really need this sort of weapon?  Are we to interpret the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as saying the more arms we possess the better?  I think not to both questions.

I suggest that if not an outright ban on the sale and possession of these killing machines, then there ought to be a limit on the number a single individual can own.  This latest buying frenzy is nothing short of lunacy and needs to stop before there is another Sandy Hook, perhaps perpetrated by a mentally unstable copycat.