John Booth (or: The Middle Name Makes Us Feel Better)

April 14th, 2012

John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln 147 years ago today, and a spate of gun violence has been sweeping the nation.

 

John Booth shot Abraham Lincoln 147 years ago today,

A killer like Jared Loughner, Mark Chapman, Lee Oswald, and James Ray.

 

Why do I leave out the usual middle names

That signal the derangement on which society such killings blames?

 

We’re taught to think of them as crazy, isolated incidents, an exception,

And the idea that regulating guns might help an insidious misconception.

 

But what if it’s not true what they teach us in school

And these “isolated incidents” are really the rule?

 

What if they’re not an aberration,

But the natural result of a gun-crazed nation?

 

How many more have to die

Before we start to ask “why”?

 

How much more blood must be spilled?

How many more people must be killed?

 

It’s a high price to pay

To avoid crossing the NRA.

 

So should we try to do something to make things better,

Or just add the middle name to make ourselves feel better?

***

Here’s Rachel’s 4/13/12 report on the spate of gun violence that has been blanketing the country.

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