In June, The Shinbone Star published Trump’s Support For Militarized Policing Can Get You Killed, in part lamenting the practice of American police departments’ use of 12-gauge pump shotguns as the final exclamation point in a crisis.
The comments were tangential to an inquiry into why Donald Trump is encouraging vacuous yahoos brandishing military grade weapons to act like fools. Is the greatest American chicken hawk that ever lived advocating publicly for class warfare in America?
Yours truly was drawn to the subject because in another century I was a Texas lawman. As I warmed to the subject in my Shinbone Star report, I revealed that “bigger guns always make scared people feel better. They certainly made me feel better when I was a peace officer. I carried three of them every day.”
I was not being facetious. One was my so-called riot gun, a sawed-off 12-gauge pump shotgun that was the final arbiter in armed disputes. There used to be a saying on the mean streets that rhymed with the sound made by racking a round of Double 00 buckshot into a 12-gauge pump.
“Clickety clack,” the saying went, “get back!”
Only raving maniacs continued waving their Saturday night specials after they heard that sound. Then the approbations against shitheads brandishing guns headed south. Gone were creeps with cheap and cheesy handguns, replaced by emboldened creeps with assault rifles that can stitch like a Singer sewing machine.
Upon publication of my report, I received perhaps 10 nastygrams from friends — along with a few new enemies — all asking whether I was bragging or complaining. Most were former cops and some are collegians and ancient anarchists. All of us own guns.
In fact, my story badly illustrated a sad reality afflicting all of America. The ultimate symbol of a century of municipal police authority has been replaced by weapons so lethal that somebody dying ugly is a distinct possibly whenever they are used. Law enforcement is now shaped by fear and loathing rather than with a modicum of respect.
In the ancient 1970s, a policeman flourishing a 12-gauge was the most daunting figure on the block. They were very rarely used and then only under extreme circumstances.
Today’s absurd gun laws assure that even children can outgun the police. An M-16 wannabe was openly used by a 17-year old punk who killed two people and maimed a third in Kenosha, Wis. last week. Before the slaughter, local cops applauded his presence and provided the kiddie killer and his militia buddies with high-fives and bottled water. After the shooter’s deadly deed, the same cops watched him walk away still fully armed. WTF?
The ultimate blame rests with Donald J. Trump, who for almost four years has inflamed gun-bearing, bigoted, law-enforcement loonies and their cronies with his race-baiting, women-hating, faux-Christian rhetoric.
Trump is intentionally creating dangerous schisms between races and classes to satisfy his perverted vision of liberty. He spewed his familiar venom last week during his 71-minute bloviation on the White House lawn, another sad example of Trump making America great again, again.
It is a huge lie to pretend that serene race relations were ever a common virtue in American society, or that before Trump, America’s disparate races enjoyed a touchy-feely love affair.
What Trump has done is chip away at the strides made by caring Americans to bring us together as a unified nation. Our society is obviously imperfect, but before the advent of Trump, many segments of society at least tried.
Police and their shotguns are a case in point. Before gun lunacy fueled the militarization of civilian police, shotguns were mandated because they provide massive close-range firepower with minimal collateral damage. They were all about inciting a paralyzing fear. Most of the time it worked and nobody died.
Nowadays, youngsters are carrying the same firepower that infantrymen in Vietnam and the Gulf wars depended upon. Unfortunate souls blocks away from an indiscriminate shooter can be killed with no more histrionics then the dull whack of an errant bullet passing through their brains.
The insanity is endemic. Last week, Missouri’s Republican legislators passed a bill reversing a long- standing law that prohibits people from giving firearms to children without parental permission. The nonsense started when Republican Gov. Mike Parsons sought to increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony as a sop to gun control. The Republican-led House revolted, passing a proposed bill to prevent Parsons from cracking down on criminals who commit gun crimes before handing their guns off to minors. The fate of the legislation remains to be seen.
Before open-carry became the law of the land, people walking the streets of America while carrying guns without a really good excuse went to jail. They could beat the rap, but they couldn’t beat the ride. It can be that way again.
In the old days before gun lunacy, police rookies soon discovered law enforcement was more about trying to keep husbands from beating their wives, breaking up street corner feuds, and generating lots of revenue by writing tickets. Nowadays, it’s more about engaging in shootouts with brazen criminals. In the olden days, most cops had to go to the movies if they wanted to experience the ferocity of gunplay.
Times have changed but people haven’t.
With few notable exceptions, the bullies and bigots have had the upper hand, propelled to violence by the vicious rhetoric of Trump and his ilk. It doesn’t have to be that way.
On Nov. 3, their choke hold on American values will be loosened if enough voters come together to set our country free.
The time for sanity is long past due.