Sometime ago I ran across the following quotation from Andy Rooney: “I wish there was something we could all take to cure us of stupidity.” Actually, Rooney had a lot to say about stupidity.
For example, he said, “Stupid people should have to wear signs that just say, ‘I’m Stupid.’ That way you wouldn’t rely on them, would you? You wouldn’t ask them anything. It would be like, ‘Excuse me…oops…never mind, didn’t see your sign.'”
I knew I would have occasion to use Mr. Rooney’s words. He has been dead since November 4, 2011, so I’m sure he won’t mind. He passed away less than five weeks after his last 60 Minutes appearance.
Rooney will be remembered among the greats of irony, satire and humor like Will Rogers, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker and David Rakoff.
Stupidity. A fascinating word. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, it means “not intelligent or clever, slow at learning or understanding things.” You cannot imagine how many times I have been called “stupid,” or one of its synonyms…but not for any of its approved dictionary definitions. They come mostly from folks who do not agree with or like my opinion-editorial pieces in our local newspaper.
I once wrote: “The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written with muskets in mind.” The Second Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. My statement was absolutely correct, but someone stupidly responded, “Be wary of those who try to distort history in their arguments to take away constitutional rights our forefathers died to give us.”
Stupid! I neither tried to “distort history,” nor “take away constitutional rights our forefathers died to give us.” If the forefather died by gunfire, the gun was a cannon or a musket, “a large caliber gun with a long barrel formerly used by infantry, now replaced by a [single shot] rifle….” It was certainly NOT an automatic or semi-automatic after the fashion of today’s AR-15, AK-47 or Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump Shotgun!
Stupid! A musket was not the sort of weapon that one could walk into a church and, in a matter of minutes, wipe out most of a congregation. It definitely was not a revolver of the type used to murder eight folks engaged in a Charleston, South Carolina prayer meeting.
Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He did NOT use a musket! He definitely did not use any gun our forefathers had in mind. “A large quantity of unused ammunition as recovered inside the school along with three semi-automatic firearms found with Lanza: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun, and a 9mm SIG Saner P226 handgun. Outside the school, an Izhmash Saiga-12 shotgun was found in the car Lanza had driven.”
In my opinion, it is sheer stupidity to interpret the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution to include and approve of the kinds of weapons that are being used in the twenty-first century to, on a fairly regular basis, slaughter innocent American citizens.
If you think it is fine to own and use these kinds of weapons for nefarious purposes, please do all of us a favor and wear a sign with STUPID printed on it in bold caps so we intelligent and understanding folks can avoid you like the plague!
[Milt Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He is a regular contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch op-ed section and lives with his wife Deborah in Ashland, Kentucky.]