GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 8, 2013

Fishtown Local: Be careful what you ask for

Fishtown Local
Gordon Baird

---- — I don’t get it. Isn’t this what they wanted? Why are these folks so upset or surprised?

I’m talking about this gun violence story in Texas — about the sheriffs and prosecutors being gunned down by gun-toting, gun-brandishing, gun-carrying Texans bent on retribution.

Isn’t this exactly what the NRA has pressured the country’s lawmakers for? Concealed carry, guns on campus, in churches, in the supermarket, in school parking lots, gas stations, in bars, at parties, wherever alcohol is served, in traffic — and if they demand to bring them into your own office, you can’t stop them, right?

That’s what the NRA wants, lobbies for and wins. They have stamped out any forms of identifying gun ownership or tracking guns, they have tied law enforcements’ hands across the country from tracing guns efficiently. They have neutered national efforts to stop “straw buyers” from selling guns to criminals or the mentally unstable.

If you beat up and threaten your wife or kids and they take out a restraining order against you, you still don’t have to give up your guns. Ka-pow! The NRA will protect your Second Amendment right to threaten and menace anyone you want: Ka-ching! There’s 250 millions guns sold, and still counting!

Isn’t this exactly what they signed us up for? Arm all the school teachers, arm all the judges, prosecutors, fast food cooks, movie house ushers — heck, let’s arm the ministers and priests, and don’t forget the altar boys. It’s the Wild West all right and the NRA wants to bring it right into your state, too. If there’s a little collateral damage, well, that’s part of the responsibility of freedom to shoot whenever and wherever you want.

So why are they so surprised?

Now to the hideous pipeline rupture in Arkansas. Last week, nearly 4000 barrels of oil (200,000 gallons) right into the streets, rivers and water supplies of a random civilian neighborhood where the pipeline just gave way and the gushing began.

Why not? The pipeline was 65 years old. Again, isn’t what they signed up for?

Arkansas is one of the states fighting the hardest for the Keystone XL pipeline project to bring the tar sands oil right though the state. Except that tar sand oil is ten times more toxic and dangerous to the water systems and aquifers. Even Nebraska said no. But not Arkansas. This is what they wanted — “Give us more pipeline!”

The fact that entire neighborhoods have been evacuated and homeowners wiped out hasn’t fazed the energy companies who own the pipelines. Hey, spills happen, right?

So I’m not getting why these folks are upset. It’s what these state Legislatures fight for, posture for, lobby for, donate to, politic about, and threaten to secede over.

It’s what guys like Texas Gov. Rick Perry call real freedom — freedom to brandish any gun anywhere and, apparently, the freedom to shoot, be shot, pollute or be polluted anywhere. And yes, the NRA wants to bring this to every state.

Please, leave us out of it. We’re upset enough just watching you be free.

Gordon Baird is a local actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine, and producer of the community access TV show “Gloucester Chicken Shack.”