“How’s your Lenten commitment to practice more restraint going?”

“You tell me.”

“Huh?”

“Well I’m having a real hard time restraining myself from judging the NRA and the hypocrite politicians who refuse to support a ban on assault rifles and support gun control in general.”

“The high school shooting in Florida?”

“Duh. After every mass shooting I hope it will be different. Maybe this will be the massacre of innocents that finally gets state legislatures and congress to pass laws to prevent the next one.”

“Umm.”

“But it doesn’t look like it’s coming this time either.”

“Nope. I think you’re right.”

“It’s the same old crap; that it’s a “mental health problem.” Within hours after the carnage they put out the idiotic “spin” that the shooting could have been prevented with better mental health screening.”

“Yeah, I saw that. It is pretty simplistic. Like it’s an either/or. I don’t know why it can’t be a both/and: that we need increased mental health funding and an assault rifle ban.”

“It’s just total and absolute, illogical, simplistic crap! Crap that reflects the NRA’s crude, one-dimensional slogan: ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’”

“Well …. that is true … if you think about it.”

“Think about it? THINK ABOUT IT??? Okay, let’s try it out on some other things. How about we remove speed limits in school zones. Want to drive through at 70 mph at 3 p.m. when the kids are getting out? No problem: “Cars don’t kill people. People kill people.”

“I don’t think that’s a good analogy.”

“No? Well how about this one: Let’s pass a law to remove the restriction on drinking and driving: “Alcohol doesn’t kill people. People kill people.”

“But, unlike driving laws, the right to bear arms is protected by the constitution.”

“Okay. So let’s talk about the 2nd Amendment and bearing arms. How about ‘Grenades don’t kill people. People kill people.’ Or ‘Rocket launchers don’t kill people. People kill people.’”

“That’s just silly.”

“Silly? Aren’t grenades and rocket launchers designed to kill human beings just like assault rifles?”

“So, I guess you’re probably a liberal, huh?”

“Now you’re reflecting another fallacy. This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. It’s a health and safety issue. It doesn’t make any difference if I’m black/white, old /young, Christian/Muslim, believer/atheist, Democrat/Republican, a liberal or a conservative! Bullets don’t discriminate. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHAT OR WHO I AM!”

“Calm down. You’re spitting. I was just offering that it seems like the conservative Republican controlled congress are the ones who mostly resist changing the gun laws while liberals are for it.”

“You got that right about the congress. We can’t even get them to vote in the most simple of reforms, like universal background checks and 30-day waiting periods — despite wide-spread support across the country.”

“I think there’s also support for better mental health services.”

“Yeah, among the people. But, once again, the hypocrite politicians say this and, at the same time, cut funding to provide more services. Case in point: After the latest carnage, Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, said that more funding for mental health is needed. But he neglected to mention that, under his watch, per-capita spending on mental health in Florida has fallen to 50th in the nation.”

“There is some good news. The teenagers’ “Never Again” movement is calling attention to the truth.”

“Yeah, I saw that they’re speaking out, marching and staging lie-ins.”

“They’re bringing the old tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, to reality by crying out the truth about the social hypocrisy and collective denial put forth by President Trump, congress and the NRA.”

“Speaking of President Trump, what about his suggestion that we arm teachers and school staff?”

“Another brilliant idea from the ‘Tweeter in Chief’. One, which, as is most times the case, he did not check out with professionals in the field. Law enforcement officials and education experts say it’s a really bad idea.”

“Yeah, I guess if we did that, it might start looking like we’d returned to the Old West.”

“In your dreams. Historical research shows that the ‘Old West’ wasn’t as dangerous as things are here already (unless you consider what we did to the Plains Indians). As for teachers, my wife’s been one for 35 years. We’re both increasingly nervous when she leaves for work each morning, active shooter training notwithstanding. We need gun control.”

“Well, LaPierre, Chief of the NRA said that the people who want gun control are the “elites” who don’t care enough to protect the schoolchildren. They just want to eliminate our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedom.”

“WHO THE HELL ARE THE “ELITES”! LAPIERRE IS JUST A MAN — WHO CONTROLS A LOT OF POLITICIANS WITH MONEY — SPOUTING FABRICATION!”

“Whoa, now. You’re going way off your Lenten restraint thing again.”

“Yeah, well … mea culpa. What I’m trying to say is that it’s completely false; propaganda, plain and simple. Lies. He’s following the lead of a couple of historical figures who used the same approach to very effectively sway national opinion.”

“Yeah, who?”

“One who said, ‘All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.’ And the other held forth, ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.’ I know you’ve heard of them.”

“Oh yeah, who are they?”

“Hermann Goring and Adolph Hitler.”

— J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and eulogist. He also operates Knoll Training & Consulting in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or jtknoll@swbell.net