Who’s the next victim on gun violence roulette wheel?

Some advice to clear up any confusion you might have over recent events in the land of the red, white and blue: Assume that everyone is armed and dangerous.

That includes my furtive neighbors, the grumpy mail carrier, the impatient patrons in the queue at Walmart and the overworked clerks, the road rage guy tailgating me on the freeway and, last but not least, the 6-year-old hanging on the monkey bars at my nearby elementary school.

Fortunately, I have only been shot at once. One would think that it would have occurred on the South Side of Chicago, where I grew up, but my American rite of passage happened in the mountains of southwestern Colorado.

A drunk cowboy was crouched behind a pickup truck with his equally inebriated girlfriend. He took a couple of shots with his rifle in my direction, although he might have been shooting at my dog. Thankfully, his aim was off. For a moment my anger at someone trying to kill my dog overcame my survival instinct. I began running toward him screaming my favorite obscenities, but then I thought better of it. He eventually drove off. I never saw him again.

When my adrenaline subsisted, I could hardly stop shaking. What just happened?

That was decades ago, before assault-style weapons became the weapon du jour of my fellow countrymen thanks to the efforts of the National Rifle Association, the lobbyist for the weapons industry and supplier of blood money for our spineless lawmakers.

The aftermath of the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, in which 11 innocents died, follows the usual pattern of “thoughts and prayers,” pleas for common-sense gun laws and the usual pretzel logic of why those laws would unfairly infringe on our Second Amendment right to own military-style, human-killing machines.


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