Right, Right

I’m starting out crabby this morning. I haven’t had my coffee.

I just read an article about California’s right-to-die law. Before that, I read about fake news, sometimes called alt-news, and its spread after the Vegas murders of fifty-nine people at a concert. Before it, I read about the surge in gun sales and the rise in gun-manufacturers’ stock prices. Sales and stock prices go up because people fear that gun controls will be implemented.

The echoes of past debates about all this gains volume as new arguments. America enjoys the satisfaction of having the right to own guns. Americans have enough private weapons to provide eighty-eight of one hundred people with a weapon. But we know it’s not all of us who want to be able to shoot and kill other creatures.

That’s what’s interesting about the juxtaposition of these three stories. People, even with terminal conditions and in terrible pain, are often not afforded the right to kill themselves. It’s not their right. Our government owns that right. In a few places, it’s delegated to bureaucratic processes, but it’s mostly considered a no-no. Your life is too valuable for you to have that control. We’re going to make you hang on until your last breath.

But then, we have the weapons that can fire ten rounds a second, as the killer did in Vegas, or twenty-four rounds in ten seconds, as the Orlando killer did. And that’s your right to own. You don’t have the right to kill, unless you feel threatened, and your state has a defend-your-ground law. The interpretation of that has law has gotten broad. Police officers also have broad latitude, killing others if they feel threatened for themselves or the public. Wounding is less often an option. So here, the right to kill is widely distributed, for a variety of reasons. These reasons seem to trump the sanctity of life.

The last story was about freedom of the press, and the difficulty of coping with the spread of lies, known as false news, fake news, or alternate news, instead of being called bullshit, and lies, as it should be, because, well, rights. People fear that if we start calling bullshit on these things, then bullshit will occur. And as we dither about what to do, what to do, bullshit happens. With that bullshit, we struggle against tides of fears, change, doubt. Then the echoes of debate fade, until the next time.

Enough of this. I’m going to get my coffee and go read about the people complaining about athletes exercising their to protest during the propaganda portion of our sports events called playing the national anthem.

That’s not why wars were fought and soldiers gave their lives, you know. How dare people be so disrespect of their lives?


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