The worst country western show I have ever seen was Jason Aldean. It was at the USANA Amphitheater a couple of summers ago. The weather was hot and muggy, the sound was too loud, and Aldean was easily 20-pounds heavier than me. I know what I look like—about 260-gallons of wet laundry squeezed into a child’s sleeping bag—I expect professional entertainers to look better.
In addition, the beer was too expensive, the music stunk and we were only there because my boss gave us VIP seating. I was miserable but the audience loved every second of it. They roared when he said, “Welcome, Utah!” They cheered when he mentioned Salt Lake City (for the record, the amphitheater is in West Valley City). They cried when he sang a melancholy song and chanted his name throughout the show.
And I hated every moment of it. The best moment of the show is when we decided to leave early. But for those folks who love Aldean, it was a night to remember.
Aldean and company fell out of mind until early this morning when my cell phone was sending tens of push notifications of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. My brother, Patrick, and his family are the remaining Raskins still living in Las Vegas. I quickly called him and was relieved that they were safe. In that 15-second window before I connected with him, every horrible thought entered my mind.
It’s selfish to admit but once I heard from Patrick, I calmed down immediately. He wasn’t able to. He was bracing himself before heading off to work. He knew people who went to the concert. And now he knows people who died there.
There seems to be a mass shooting every day. I’m callused by it because it happens in places I don’t live or not from: Orlando, Dallas, Chicago, Columbia and Cincinnati. But I’m from Las Vegas. It’s my hometown. I know the ins-and-outs of the city. My siblings grew up there. Patrick has lived there for over 30 years. My first friends are from Nevada and so are my oldest.
I’ve spent all morning searching Facebook and Twitter looking for people I know who were there or worse. I’ve only seen two and they were able to escape. But who hasn’t been able to check in and say they’re alright?
People from Las Vegas are the toughest around. I know. I’ve seen it my entire life. But this attack wasn’t against Las Vegas, it was targeted at festival attendees at a country western show. They came from around the country and they did what you’d expect when tragedy struck: they acted. Stories are coming out that people rushed to cover the wounded, fingers plugging up wounds, cars on the street picking up those fleeing. First responders, police and emergency services acted immediately to rescue the victims. Hospitals are flooded but nursing students from UNLV are rushing to help.
58 people are dead and the number will probably rise, but we’re still debating gun control in America.
From Sandy Hook to Charleston to Virginia Tech to Las Vegas, innocent people have been robbed of every future because there is no limit to who can buy a gun. Think of the craziest, dipshit neighbor in your community and that individual can have a semi-automatic weapon faster than you getting through a TSA checkpoint. But when legislatures mention real gun reform, short-sighted cowardly thugs hide behind the Second Amendment.
Let’s be clear: The Second Amendment sucks.
It’s a quarter of a millennium old, written to protect farmers from Indians, French trappers and disgruntled Brits, who might also have a musket that fires half of the time. We can interpret every other Amendment but the one regarding boomsticks is off-limits? That’s ridiculous. I’d argue the “security of a free state” starts with responsible gun owners and not whack jobs modifying AR-15s into full automatic assault rifles.
Show me where guns are mentioned in the Second Amendment. You’re probably going to latch on to the word “Arms” but isn’t that up for interpretation? Arms, at best, is a colloquial term from the 1790s. People who believe they should be able to buy any gun are wrong. They are simply wrong to believe that for a safe and sane society they can purchase any implement of death without being held to community standards.
And remember, the Founding Fathers made a lot of mistakes. If you believe the three-fifth compromise was pushed by slave owners in the South, you’d be wrong. Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 was written to make sure blacks were not counted equally as whites in determining appointment of representatives. You think blacks are 3/5 of whites today? Look at the 13–15 Amendments and you’d be wrong.
There’s an adage about planting trees. They say the two best times to plant a tree was 20 years ago and today. We should have fixed gun control in this country after Sandy Hook. We didn’t. Let’s not wait another 20 years.