Graphic: Scott Latham

Well, at least we still have Bud Kennedy.

He’s one Star-Telegram columnist who isn’t afraid to say the right thing. Unlike the rest of the paper. Starting at the top.

On the matter of gun control –– yes, it’s popped up again; yes, there’s been another mass shooting –– the editorial board couldn’t be any more wishy-washy. And gross. In “It’s on all of us to ensure mass shootings aren’t the new normal” (Nov 11, 2017), the board starts with a capital-B-Basic question: “How can we stop repeating an act that has no rightful place in this country?”


Easy, right? Even if you plug your ears, squeeze your eyes shut, and say “lalalanananalala” every day all day to avoid news of yet another mass shooting on American soil –– and there’s one every day now –– you still probably know the answer: full background checks, lifetime ban for violent offenders, permanent ban on assault weapons. It’s really that simple.

Not to the Star-T.

“We need our leaders to lead us in engaging in a constructive dialogue,” the board writes, their collective pen oozing with icky flattery. “We should participate in that dialogue, respectfully. We must understand competing perspectives.”

“Competing perspectives”? What’s the argument against full background checks? Who thinks preventing a deadly weapon from falling into the hands of someone with a background to check is a bad idea? And what’s the other rhetorical side of –– this oughta be good –– the continued sale of AR-15s, especially since they and other guns of mass destruction have done so much damage over the years?

The respectful bit, we can get behind. The rest? We’d rather argue the sky’s red with a quarter-cup of fish food than have to explain to Johnny Murica that, no, you can’t have your precious manhood extender now –– you’ve got to wait a whole day or two, poor baby –– and, no, you can no longer buy an AR-15 because no one on the planet who isn’t a soldier needs one in the first G.D. place.

The Second Amendment, which protects the right of people to keep and bear arms, was adopted in 1791. Back then, rifles were muskets and had a one-round capacity. A good soldier could fire two or three shots a minute. Today’s semiautomatic rifles can peel off about 100 rounds or more in the same amount of time. These instruments are made for one thing and one thing only: snuffing out lives fast.

Knowing how hard journalists work, and how little they’re paid and valued, we can sympathize with the board’s prevaricating tone. Part of a daily paper’s mission involves offering quiet contemplation during times of chaos and tragedy, and maybe the board misjudged equivocal for reflective.

We also know that right-wing trolls are a bitch, but if they have you second-guessing your ability to lead –– and that’s what good newspapers should do: lead –– they’ve already won. And that’s not something you want keeping you awake at night five years from now. Or every night from now.

Your turn, Bud.

Or should we call on Dale?