Mark Souder: Baseball, beer, bourbon and whine
Thursday, June 23, 2016 10:04 AM
FORT WAYNE – While I am more of a beer guy, or bourbon, Donald Trump has driven me to whine. If I’m not careful, between now and the fall election I could become sort of a political alcoholic filled with constant whine, whine, whine. But the only way to avoid the addiction is to totally abstain from politics, or at least have long dry stretches of Trump withdrawal while focusing on baseball.
Some days Trump makes me angry, as do Hillary and the President, but in today’s context of everyone being angry, mine hardly reaches that threshold anymore. When I raise my voice, my face slightly reddened, and make declarations, it sounds like Trump when he’s in a good mood. Or Hillary, when she’s whispering. At least the President just smirks.
To be considered angry today, you really have to haul out some big verbal guns. Or threaten to use a real gun. Speaking of liberal hysteria, they holler at Trump (correctly) for turning terrorism by an Arab American into an “I told you so,” yet every shooting becomes the same for liberals. Primarily another notch on their gun control ban advocacy belt.
If the guns are doing the shooting, why isn’t it happening evenly among all groups and in all locations? Why isn’t it different when cities like Chicago and Washington ban guns – I mean, it is different, they have more violent crime – but why if controlling the guns is the solution, does it not work?
I’m partly just whining. I’ve heard every variation of excuse. I understand that income, opportunity and education can help (at least theoretically) control violence. When will liberals acknowledge that two-parent families and moral goals – not perfection but the acknowledged point that there are moral standards we should try to achieve and are promoted – are at least as important as a college degree?
Do not liberals see that the more random violence, not to mention domestic violence, is directly correlated with the collapse of having moral standards as a goal? Moral relativity leads to, well, moral relativity.
We don’t even want to stress character education even with no specific Christian message because even “Western standards” are too exclusive and could suggest a Judeo-Christian framework. The risk is too high that people might think Jesus is behind it.
Indiana University President Myles Brand many years ago became enthusiastic when we discussed supporting character education for kids. He was excited about an example of teaching kids not to bang their car door into other people’s car doors. Now, I’m not for dinging other people’s cars – it actually leads me to whine – but that wasn’t precisely what I was focused upon.
But he and I stopped communicating after I said some rather pointed things about the Kinsey Institute being celebrated, bragged about, by IU. What’s with that? All sorts of coaches and presidents of universities are fired and shamed for having allowed abuse to happen on campus of the type at the core of Kinsey’s research.
Anyway, back to guns. I am not a violent person. I confess that I was sent home for giving Dickie Reed a black eye in second grade at Leo Elementary. He gave me one too, and I probably did hit first. If you are in a fight, and you are the little guy, you’d better hit first because otherwise you will be the only one with a black eye. (I know that isn’t in 2 Corinthians.)
And I did get removed from being a safety patrol officer in fifth grade for fighting, but there were no black eyes. My mom even told the story about my compassion when killing ants with a hammer. “Poor ant, I’m sorry but I’m going to smash you with this hammer” was what she overheard. But I don’t hunt. I don’t even own a gun.
My A+ rating from NRA was a constitutional and philosophical position, not a passionate gun owner position. I do not believe the way gun violence will be stopped is by banning guns. I remember visiting the largest Washington, D.C., juvenile detention center with Jerry Regier when he headed the Juvenile Justice Department. None of the young men in their late teens and early twenties thought they’d live to 25. When you asked them questions, their framework doesn’t match that of all the commentary babble.
Around that time Washington Post published an interview of a bunch of kids who had been convicted of violent gun crimes. None purchased their guns at gun shows. They got them on the street. Only one even got their gun from gun store. He had robbed it.
I was the point person in Congress on fighting the D.C. gun ban. Their bright idea was to limit crimes of passion by locking up the gun, disassembled, and with the bullets in another location. Actually passionate people were still murdering at record rates in Washington, but if a rapist or murderer entered your home, you had to find the key for the gun, assemble it, and then go unlock the bullets and load the gun. Assuming you were still alive.
I realize that some pro-gun people are as fanatical as those opposed to guns. Frankly, I find some of them theoretically scary. But I see little or nothing but efforts to restrict law-abiding citizens in proposals. Hardly any of those committing these tragic, horrible killings aren’t committing many crimes already. Gun limitations will be worthless until there is also a fundamental agreement that it is primarily about the people who pull the trigger.
Certainly terrorists are part of that character problem, and better screening is needed.
Mental health can be conveniently defined for political purposes but is worth discussion. But so is how to promote stronger families rather than undermining them, and how to strengthen community and religious institutions that are the critical intermediaries rather than consolidating more power in governments.
The conservative Republican opportunity could not be greater. Only we have Trump, who is at least as bad as Clinton. So back to baseball, beer, bourbon, and whine for me.
Souder is a former Republican congressman from Indiana.