Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 16, 2013

The House of Burgess: ‘Is this the real life?’

Insanity holds court in wake of tragedy

In the days and weeks after the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where 28 human beings were slaughtered by firearms, we as a nation held a serious, adult debate about the future of guns in America.

Of course, I’m kidding. Actually, the country lost its collective mind.

If the gun debate the country is currently embroiled in were a movie genre, several of the more popular viewpoints could be accurately filed under the “fantasy” heading. Magical realism as a concept seems to play heavily into some people’s viewpoints on gun control. And all this hysteria means profits to some, including companies like Amendment II, Bullet Blocker and BulletProofMe.com.

“Since the tragedy, there’s even been a surge in demand for little-known products that can literally bullet-proof children,” reported CNN’s Miguel Marquez. “From backpack inserts to bullet-resistant toddler pants, parents are going to extremes to keep their kids from becoming statistics.”

Other flights of fancy play to a more offensive, rather than a defensive, mindset. On Jan. 9, James Yeager, the CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee-based company specializing in weapons and tactical training, posted a video on the company’s website in response to the (untrue) idea that Vice President Joseph Biden would encourage the use of executive orders to re-ban assault rifles. To describe his demeanor as “unhinged” would be putting it lightly.

“I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot,” he said into the camera. “I’m not putting up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. And I need all you patriots to start thinking about what you’re going to do, load your … mags, make sure your rifle’s clean, pack a backpack with some food in it and get ready to fight. … I’m not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”

Fantastical thinking isn’t just relegated to those with an economic incentive to keep all manner of firepower accessible. It has apparently also infected certain corners of academia. James Tracy, a tenured associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, publicly wondered on his personal blog, The Memory Hole, if the massacre even happened at all.

“While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described,” he wrote on Dec. 24.

After positing that Dr. H. Wayne Carver, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, and others might have been replaced by paid actors, Tracy further questioned whether President Barack Obama himself may have orchestrated the incident.

“Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic — and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’s political platform,” he wrote.

A tragedy like Newtown necessarily sends everyone’s emotions into overdrive. How could it not? But while we’re all letting our imaginations run wild, the body count, sadly, keeps climbing. Slate Magazine and the Twitter feed @GunDeaths have been keeping a running tally of all the firearms-related deaths in the country since Newtown. As of this writing, their unofficial count sits at 812. And according to the latest data compiled by the Violence Policy Center, you are now more likely to die from a gunshot would than an automobile accident in 10 states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and, yes, Indiana. The report outlines 735 gun deaths in Indiana in 2009, compared to 715 motor vehicle deaths.

Those are facts. This is reality. You are dreaming if you think you’re going to emerge victorious in a shootout with the federal government. (Do you have unmanned drones, tanks or battleships at your disposal like the military does? I didn’t think so.) You are dreaming if you think Obama himself is responsible for violent attacks like Newtown. You are dreaming if you think that bullet-resistant toddler pants are going to save your child’s life. Wake up. We’ve got a real problem here.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robaburg.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • DAVE BANGERT: Indiana's new chief justice and court's 'mom question' Two years ago, as Loretta Rush ascended from Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge to the state’s Supreme Court, I dropped this line in a column celebrating someone who had earned her place.“Across the state, the headline will be: ‘[Mitch] Daniels Choose

    August 14, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: POTUS promises of transparency fail to materialize The United States system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convinc

    August 14, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: RIP Robin Williams

    I was re-watching the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” Monday when I heard my phone buzz. After the credits had rolled, I looked at the screen and found myself shocked.It was a news alert that Robin Williams had died that morning at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' is a Hoosier inspiration

    Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton dese

    August 13, 2014

  • DAVE BANGERT: Rokita, illegal immigration, Ebola outbreak and context At first listen last Monday, there was something so unsavory about our congressman, Todd Rokita, whipping up two full-fledged crises — Central American children at the U.S. southern border and the African scourge of Ebola — into one pungent sound bit

    August 12, 2014

  • DAN COATS: Let's give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing emails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with ce

    August 12, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Pitchforks and pikes in our summer of discontent Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us. On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or congresswoman, and then they go ba

    August 11, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Enough reminders to forget It began with a simple phone call to my friend, Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my very successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a

    August 11, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Outsourced jobs, health crises in foreign lands The other week, my Internet was giving me trouble. I called the support number, and — to my surprise — I spoke to a representative who sounded as American as apple pie. It turned out the technical problem was an oversight on my end and fixed quickly.

    August 10, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Dodging corporate taxes Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication — the accounting ledger. It should be unsurprising that the early traders of Mesopotamia used a corporat

    August 10, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller