Friday, March 8, 2013

Lunatics of Georgia, Unite!

I love being from Georgia. This is because Georgia lawmakers are a never-ending and rich source of amusement, living as they do in an alternate reality of their own devising. Where else, I ask, would you have discovered a serious legislative consideration of something called the Traveling Electric Chair? And yet this was a serious proposal at back when I was a reporter at the Atlanta Journal Constitution; the idea was to put the state's execution apparatus into a van and hold executions around the state at the site of the crime. I mean, why not? They make extension cords, don't they? (To be fair, this wasn't a new idea, just an old idea resurrected; states in the South used to do something like this all the time.) It was while this proposal was being debated that the AJC ran two of my favorite newspaper headlines of all time: "Traveling Electric Chair Clears House" was one, followed the next day by "Traveling Electric Chair Passes Senate Panel." No, I am not making this up. No, there is no record of how fast the traveling electric chair was going at the time.

Oh, but that was decades ago, you protest; things have gotten better. No, they have not! Georgia legislators, in their finite wisdom, are now considering a law that would allow people who are mentally ill to carry firearms. In light of massacres at Newton and Virginia Tech, both perpetrated by people whose mental states should have prevented them from getting anywhere near a gun and yet who found it appalling easy to do so, Georgia legislators decide that the answer is: loosen the few pathetic restrictions on gun ownership that we have now! More Marshal Dillon wannabes packing heat! As Mao Tse-tung might have said if he'd been a member of the NRA, Let a thousand bullets zoom! 

This is of course lunacy--yet as a potential beneficiary of this law (I am a certifiably crazy person who has been hospitalized for a mental illness, and I often visit the relatives in Georgia), there is a part of me that says, Right on! For one thing, crime statistics show that mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators of it. And in Georgia, they clearly have reason to fear not just the criminals who routinely prey on them, but also the inmates who are running the asylum they call the Georgia General Assembly. It's an arms race, people! Allons, enfants de la patrie! --target practice starts at eight.

1 comment:

  1. I have an idea-instead of limiting GUN ownership per see, let's limit AMMUNITION ownership.

    Makes perfect sense, really-if the guns have nothing to explode out of the barrels, then they are nothing more than decorative clubs. If people want to use them as shilleaghs, fine-let them. My ten thousand dollar shotgun against your el cheapo much shorter and much lighter MK-10-mmmm, now things might be coming back to a more equal playing field.

    Plus-it would give the kids something to play with. Wouldn't that be nice?