Ron Cunningham: Lost cause

Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 7, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.

Every day at the office I drink from a black coffee cup emblazoned with gold lettering: "National Rifle Association," around an eagle perched atop crossed long guns.

It was given to me one evening in 1993, when I talked to the local chapter of the NRA, in the cafeteria at Gainesville High School, of all places.

What I remember most vividly about the encounter was a question from one of the members, to the effect of: How did I expect to get back to my car safely?

It wasn't a threat. He simply didn't understand how anybody could expect to go anywhere unmolested without carrying a gun for self-defense.

Anyway, I kept the cup, and I still use it. It keeps me humble, and reminds me of my favorite line from one of my favorite movies: "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

To wit; "The lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for."

I've been pretty much in the lost cause business for years: Free the Ocklawaha, build the Hogtown Greenway, unify city and county governments, abolish the death penalty. I could go on and on. But gun control is surely the king of lost causes.

Some of our longtime readers may remember one of The Sun's recurring editorial themes, "Gunshine State," which was basically a recurring summation of the latest shooting incidents in Florida.

A kid finds his dad's .38 in the sock drawer and kills sis. A Saturday Night Special blows up in someone's hand. Mom comes home one night and is mistaken for a burglar.

Looking back, those were truly more innocent times.

Before the state passed a License to Kill (I'm sorry, Stand Your Ground) law.

Before it was illegal for pediatricians to utter the G-word to parents of their young patients.

Before commissioners were threatened with prosecution for the "crime" of banning guns at city hall.

Before the re-election of a black president with no gun-control record to speak of could set off a veritable orgy of gun sales.

Before mass shootings at theaters and shopping malls and military bases and schools and churches and workplaces began to occur with mind-numbing regularity.

Before a respected sportscaster, Bob Costas, could set off waves of indignation for daring to suggest that a mentally disturbed NFL player and his girlfriend might still be alive today but for the player's obsession with guns.

Speaking of which, did you hear what Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, told USA TODAY about Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher shooting his live-in lover Kasandra Perkins?

"The one thing missing in that equation is that woman owning a gun so she could have saved her life from that murderer."

That's right. It was her own fault for not shooting him before he could shoot her.

So don't worry about Obama seizing your guns. We've so saturated the American landscape with such an astounding variety of lethal weaponry that there's really no taking them all back.

No, we're all safe from the deadly threat of gun control. America has gone gun crazy.

A lost cause.

But God bless the Mr. Smiths out there who keep on fighting that battle.

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