THE BLOG
04/19/2013 08:38 am ET Updated Jun 19, 2013

The Legacy of Watertown

As I write this, law enforcement agencies are searching Watertown, Massachusetts door-to-door, looking for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing who is apparently Chechnyan. His brother, the other suspect, is already dead.

My first thought was, "How proud John Cornyn must be that these guys seemed to have no problem getting the firearms they used to kill an MIT campus policeman, rob a 7-Eleven, carjack an SUV, and shoot it out with local police. Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas, felt obliged to take to the Senate floor yesterday to castigate the president for calling the Senate's performance shameful when it turned down background checks for gun purchases.

Didn't we just see an American Jihadi talking on YouTube about how easy it is to get guns in this country? I admit that I have no idea as to how these miscreants got their guns, but I am willing to say without reservation that there's something seriously wrong in a country where private citizens own 300,000,000 guns and are still bitching that their 2nd Amendment rights are being threatened.

I'm a gun owner. I went through eight weeks of background checks for which I had to pay. I had to supply a number of references. I was fingerprinted. My guns were registered. I have no problem with any of this. Then I turned on CSPAN and watched Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, and supposedly a Harvard-trained attorney, dispensing garbage about slippery slopes and how background checks will lead to a gun Gestapo that will hound gun owners at every opportunity. Four woman senators voted against background checks. Are they, all mothers so able to detach from Sandy Hook? What were they thinking? Other senators talked about the Constitutional right to sell guns to family members. Really? It sort of made me conjure up images of members of the family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre selling each other shotguns because it's their Constitutional right.

I would not want to give the impression that politics is more important or immediate than the horrible tragedies of Boston, and the slaying of one police officer and wounding of another. However, if there was ever a moment that demanded striking while the iron is hot, this is it. Senator Diane Feinstein had it right by trying again with an assault weapons ban. Friends of mine tell me that the AR-15 assault rifle is a terrific weapon for hunting, but some of the most successful hunters I know have never used anything other than low-capacity bolt action rifles, and bows and arrows.

A mail order house from which I buy ammunition (I have to supply copies of my driver's license and firearms card whenever I do so) recently mailed me a catalogue featuring 100-round drums that fit all sorts of weapons. It was in obvious response to the impending Senate gun debate. "Get 'em before they're banned," was the obvious implication.

If home defense is so important that it needs military weapons, does Cornyn's home have sandbag barricades at the front door? Are all his windows bulletproof? Does he drive around in an MRAP? I would be the first to agree that it's okay to keep a handgun or shotgun for home defense, but we're either going to go back to the Dodge City days, or we're going to try our best to restore sanity to the national dialogue, and trust our local and federal governments to handle at least some of the law enforcement. By the way, I hate paying taxes as much as the next man. The solution is not to disappear into the woods and become a paramilitary.

I'm not smart enough to figure out what to do about firearms legislation. This isn't about whether guns are like cars, because most people really need cars, and very few people really need guns. This nation was born in an aberrant manner, the first to ever break away from its colonial ruler. The result was a rough, independent society that needed to continue to defend itself. Guns in every home made sense two-and-a-half centuries ago. It makes less sense now, but it is the law of the land. Nonetheless, every portion of the Constitution is modified by laws that show that times change. There are gun laws of various types, and yet, no one is trying to take away everyone's guns. Can no sanity, no moderation, be brought to this debate? Does the American Jihadi in the video have to have the last laugh?