Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Not Hopeful, But I'll Keep Dreaming

Have you ever paused to think about how much the world has changed in the 43 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated?

We've put men on the moon, cut the cords on telephones and eliminated the need to hop in car and go to the library in order to look up obscure facts.

Many of us carry in our pockets computers whose equivalent power would have taken a room to fill in 1968.

So why is it just as easy now for a mentally deranged person to go out and buy a gun as it was in 1968?   

Never mind. I think I know the answer. And if I'm around another 43 years and live to be 103, I have a feeling that it will just as easy then as it is now for the unbalanced to walk into a Walmart plop down their money and walk out with a firearm.

That's a shame because the Jared Lee Loughners and John Hinckleys aren't as few and far between as we'd like to think. I'm in New York City as I write this and believe me there's somebody on every corner who's mumbling something about the demons that are tormenting them, the man keeping them down or the end of the world being near.

You can't build enough mental hospitals to treat this population nor can you hire enough therapists and social workers to counsel them.

Even if we created a "Minority Report" type world where we could arrest people for what they are merely thinking we know voters here in Santa Barbara County wouldn't want to pay for a jail to house all of those folks.

If we don't want to build more prisons and mental hospitals, let's at least make it harder to get guns.

If Dr. King were alive today, what would he find more surprising: The progress we've made in space exploration? The fact that we have a black man as President? Or, the lack of progress on gun control?