me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Keeping and bearing arms

I haven't posted about the Arizona shootings until now because I don't know what to say. Yes, I'm pointing a finger at the vicious right-wing rhetoric, and Sarah Palin -- a truly toxic individual -- in particular. Crosshairs? "Don't retreat, reload?" "18 down, 2 to go?"

Sarah Palin, if I had the ability to send you to eternal hell this very minute, I'm not sure I could stop myself.

Yeah, I'm in favor of gun control and I'm as leftist-progressive-pinko-Commie as the next guy. Here's my problem: I can read the Second Amendment up, down, and sideways, I can read the learned commentary, I can stand on my head and spit wooden nickels and it still says the same thing.

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

That's what it SAYS. I'm a believer in trying to decipher what the founders meant as well as what they wrote, but in this case every explanation I've read that purports to explain how this wording means state militias and not personal firearms seems labored and extremely unlikely.

The reason we in this country manage to catch ourselves in our worst offenses and stagger back toward justice is that we have these documents as our rock-bottom foundation. The ridiculous partisan parsing of them never stands, in the end. We do amend them from time to time, after vast national debate; but can anyone really see an Amendment ever passing that restricts the Second?

I say this not out of support for the right of psychotics to waltz into discount stores and buy weapons. I say it from despair. I can see laws being passed, stop-gaps that will prevent true, unadultered, proven nuts from getting guns. But that doesn't keep an ocean of cheap handguns off the streets, and that's what's killing us. Countless volumes of poisonous rhetoric would still not have made this Arizona nut into a killer if he hadn't had a gun.

However, I'd be very, very nervous about any attempt to bypass the desires of the founders. Too many of us -- women, minorities, not to mention anyone who wants to be free to speak or assemble -- are too dependent on the attitude toward those texts as sacred and as timeless, to allow whoever happens to be in charge at any given moment to feel the rush of power that would come from messing with them.

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