The American nightmare

Mandalay Bay, pictured from the walkway into the neighboring Luxor.

If Charlie Manson checked into the Safari tomorrow morning, nobody would hassle him as long as he tipped big.Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”

If we learned anything at all from the good doctor, it’s that anyone can bring anything at any time into a Vegas hotel room.

I’ve been doing it for years. Big black rolling suitcase with a big black messenger bag strapped to its handle, a camera bag, a 25-liter backpack, even a cooler. I always thought if anything drew a floorwalker’s eye, it would be the cooler.

“Sir, you’ll need to return that to your vehicle. We have beverages for sale in the resort.”

But nope. Not a peep. Not at the Luxor, anyway. And I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and speculate that Mandalay Bay doesn’t hassle Charlie either.

Regulars here know I own firearms, but nevertheless believe the Second Amendment was in dire need of a copy editor. And I’ll leave it to another Charlie, the invaluable Mr. Pierce, to bring the heat regarding our national acceptance of blood sacrifice on the constitutional altar.

But I will note that while eyes pop at massacres like the one in Vegas, their lids droop at the day-to-day body count in places like Albuquerque, where we are on pace to exceed last year’s 61 homicides, up from 56 the previous year and the highest number in two decades.

So I’ll encourage you to pester your legislators to consider both the cascade of blood and the steady drip, drip, drip. Urge them to do more than send thoughts and prayers, which have proven remarkably ineffective against the gun lobby. Remember that elections matter (we have one here tomorrow).

And cling to hope while remembering another quote from Thompson, a man with his own firearms fetish:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

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16 Responses to “The American nightmare”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Yeah. That’ll teach me to wake up to the clock radio. I was dumbfounded.

    Spot on as far as the nation noticing mass shootings while glossing over the Daily Carnage. I get Father Pfleger’s Daily Gunfire Report out of the Windy City. No one seems to give a flying fuck about the day to day shootings as those happen to those…ahem….other people on the wrong side of the tracks. Well, except for the domestic violence stuff, which New Mexico is trying to lead the nation in statistics.

    Mass shootings are another issue and that’s where normally oblivious middle class folks suddenly are grabbing their nuts in fear. Mass shooters strike in normal places and unpredictably. Well, I’m not sure Vegas is normal, but probably no more abnormal than San Bernadino, Aurora, Columbine, UT Austin, West Webster, Newtown, Honolulu, etc., etc…..

    I got the usual tweets about banning ARs and high cap magazines. I’m sympathetic but cynical for a couple reasons. One, its been decades since those horses left the barn and two, its getting way too easy to use additive manufacturing to print your own high capacity magazine on a 3-D printer.

    Its not pretty.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herself laid it on me from the bathroom as I was cracking open one eye and scratching the Turk’s ears. Fine way to start the day. Maybe not.

      Ten days earlier and this dude could have taken out the cream of the bicycle industry, and me too, instead of a bunch of folks enjoying a country-music extravaganza.

      • geekonabike Says:

        Yeah but in that case the car driving public would have given the shooter a pass.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Or even a medal.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Kinda creepy to think about that, eh PO’G? I walked past the concert site 2 or 3 times during Interbike.
        Australians got sick of this carnage a few years ago and fixed it – but I guess Americans would rather be “free”?
        I’d like to be free of fear of being shot by kooks armed with machine guns, but that kind of freedom’s not so important – so I’ll be getting the hell out of here asap.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I have zero confidence in Congress doing anything about the carnage. They can’t even meet their basic responsibilities. As Thompson implied, they are a group of used car salesmen. I prefer the term con men and women. Lead by the head con man.

    it is time for the assault weapon and large capacity magazine ban to return. It passed the court test before, it is not unconstitutional. It is a start. To do less is based an lame excuse. Giving up what ever pleasure owning one may bring is a small price to pay to make all of us safer. The sound of full automatic fire on the videos of the shooting was unmistakable. I have heard it before, and it wasn’t in fucking Las Vegas. It is easily accomplished by simple modification of any assault rifle, or by buying a legal toy for the man that has everything. Come on patriots, you know you want one. What utter bullshit.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, Pat, can’t say as I place a lot of faith in our elected “representatives” myself. I’m tired, too, after a long drive to Bibleburg and back to say adios to The House Back East® and visit with our former tenant Judy in her new digs. So I don’t have the energy to work up a really good rant.

      The most depressing part of the whole deal, besides the senseless waste of human life, is that gun sales will skyrocket. They always do after one of these. It’s like investing in plague futures after the Red Death carries off most of your village.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Wow, did you sell the “House Back East?” I hope Judy is doing well.

        I’m not sure what a good rant does other than making me feel a little better. I appreciate having a safe place to do it. I truly don’t know what the attraction is to weapons of war. Now the NRA wants us to have silencers to protect our hearing. I badly need to go for a long ride.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        We sign the papers tomorrow, Pat. Official closing is this Friday. And yeah, Judy’s looking strong as always. Her new place has a view of the Garden of the Gods.

        She misses the House Back East®, of course. Says the new joint has “too many rules.”

  3. Sharon Says:

    I continue to think the only solution does not require the change of the right to buy guns. That might start a revolution. Also, I don’t believe there would be any way to get people to turn in their high capacity guns. Instead, the solution may be to allow liability to extend to the person/companywho sold it and the entity that manufactures it much like it is in every other industry. Legitimate hunting weapons and pistols without clips would be exempt. The people who currently have semi/automatic guns get to keep them and the value of their guns go sky high so they should be happy. The losers would be companies which manufacture weapons of mass destruction and young people who would want to buy one in the future. I’ve seen stories that indicate not many are being sold right now anyway. Then as people die, foundations and local governments could buy these guns and destroy them. Would have to think a bit about the 3D printers and how that would work. I’m not an expert on these weapons so I am sure my idea is a bit simplistic, but basically it’s not about taking away, but adding back the liability piece.

    • Herb Clevenger Says:

      Sharon is spot on. Setting up the pathway to make all parties financially at risk who provide firearms and the ancillary KILLING toys due to lawsuits has worked in other cases. We will never get our chicken-shit legislators off the money tit of the NRA. Sue the hell out of gun show promoters, gun dealers, target ranges, any and all who are in essence “aiding and abetting” murder. Sure once in court the cases will be adjudicated in favor of the gun happy folk. Yet they will have hefty, troublesome and time consuming lawyer bills to deal with even when winning. Donating money to your elected knuckleheads isn’t quite working. Maybe funding the most aggressive and viscous batch of lawyers under the sun is a better idea. Many Americans have no moral compass. But they sure do snap-to when a dollar bill is yanked from them.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    I heard the weapon’s report on the radio this morning and it was definitely full auto. Could have been an illegally modified rifle or “slide fire” or “bump fire” the last two which are inexplicably legal ways to make what amounts to a full auto weapon out of a semiauto version. I don’t understand why these mods are legal but they are. Chalk it up to lawyers being one step ahead of the BATF.

    I said a couple years ago “… if lunatics continue to use (assault rifles) to deliver high velocity carnage to schools, theaters, and fire departments, some sort of regulation is inevitable on public safety grounds (and is likely permissible under Heller). Constitutional issues aside, we let just about everyone drive (and some do a bad job of it, leading to more than 30,000 traffic deaths a year). We don’t let everybody drive a Freightliner…”

    Its long past time to put these fucking things back in their boxes. As much as I may like to play with adult toys, its not balanced by the cost to society. That will not solve all the problems, or perhaps even some. But it is a start.

  5. Carl Duellman Says:

    after sandy hook i’ve pretty much written off anything meaningful being done. such a sad day.

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Another sad thing is that we have had this discussion before.

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