Saturday, July 21, 2012

sympathy for the human heart

I have a lot of sympathy for the human heart, but I don't always sympathize with the heart's sympathies.

For example, sniffing the edges of the Roman Catholic Church, I am deeply sympathetic to the love of God that individuals can express ... the yearning to be happy and safe and at peace. It is as if there were no other option for me ... I just open up like a ripe watermelon dropped from a third-story window.

And yet simultaneously, I simply cannot understand why and how anyone could credit a Vatican dogma. It's not that I feel critical -- actually I would like to be able to see it from that point of view. It's more like the inability to understand how anyone could like anchovies ... how could you let anyone feed you such a line of guff? And I'm not even thinking of the Vatican sex abuses and complicities. Even when times were less roiled with heinous scandals ... how could anyone eat an anchovie? Obviously this is my failing... which does not mean I plan to rush out and become a Vatican cheerleader or choke down anchovies.

Tom Sullivan embraces family members
after his son, Alex, 27, was shot dead
during a premier showing of "The
Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.,
July 20, 2012.

In Aurora, Colorado, a gunman went to a midnight premier of the latest Batman movie Friday, stood in front of the audience and opened up, killing 12 and injuring 58. The horror stopped otherwise sanguine politicians in their tracks ... this was real and no time for conniving bullshit. "Pray for the dead. Pray for their families" -- there's a safe-sex, no-one-can-fault-you, how-sensitive approach. This was no time to get into a conversation about gun control, a touchy subject from wherever anyone stands.

In a week or two, no one will remember Aurora and attempts to plumb the hows and whys will fall into a bottomless pit of silence.

But as the issue of gun control danced lightly in my mind, I came upon a jolting revelation.

The usual shouting match about gun control waves the banner of the 2nd Amendment and then suggests that "when guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns."

The revelation was that the outlaws didn't worry me as much as the government that currently runs the country... the government that whittles away civil liberties day by day and week by week; the government that creates the Department of Homeland Security and then allows forcible requests for cell phone information from providers; the government that takes the word "terror" and uses it as a club with which to instill fear in its citizens ... a fear that produces ever more guns.

My jolting revelation was that any bedrock trust I once may have felt for the government has been chipped and chiseled away not just by red-white-and-blue illiterates but also by those who likewise want to get re-elected and are willing to allow the nation and its spirit to pay the price.

The jolting revelation was that some part of me would like to have a gun -- not to protect myself from night-time burglars or rapacious drug cartels, but to defend my family and friends from those who cloak their intentions in 'goodness' and 'national welfare' and whatever other high-minded p.r. they can come up with ... ravaging other lands 'on behalf' of our own and the like. These are people who have the capacity to scare me ... the ones who flog goodness even as they raise banners of oppression. These are seriously perverted individuals -- as seriously perverted in their ways as the Vatican can be in its. Not unusual, perhaps, but perverted.

And all this jolted me because I don't want to feel that way. I would prefer to trust... even if just a little bit ... even if enough not to feel that owning a gun might not be a bad idea.

The massacre in Aurora, Colorado, will be forgotten in short order. Someone will be elected president of this devolving country. Drug cartels, street gangs, elected officials and the Vatican will ply their trades.

I have great sympathy for the human heart, but I don't always sympathize with the heart's sympathies ... my own included.

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