“If nothing was done after Newtown, nothing will be done after Las Vegas.”
So predicted BBC network anchor Katty Kay to Charlie Rose on PBS last week, days before the latest ballistic butcher shop, a Baptist church near San Antonio.
Newtown is the Connecticut hamlet where a deranged young man mowed down 26 teachers and little kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. He did so after killing his mother who paid the ultimate price for having a household full of unsecured mass murder implements.
The irony of ironies, at the deadline (pardon the expression), the Tejas body count is exactly 26 muerto.
I am most revolted by weaklings who assert that all of this is somehow “God’s will,” an attitude reminiscent of 1990 Texas Republican gubernatorial nominee Clayton Williams who once echoed mercurial Indiana/Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight. Both likened rape to bad weather: “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”
Late, great columnist Molly Ivins noted that Williams was really running for state cowboy. (Fortunately, he was trounced by the late, great Ann Richards.)
In many respects, cowboys illustrate the American sickness. We are a barely-adolescent nation still enamored of playing cowboys and Indians with our six-shooters.
Created by 19th Century pulp fiction and turned into pseudo-fact by Hollywood, the cowboy myth afflicts us today and will for the foreseeable future.
Cowboy mythology has been perverted to sell Americans just about anything, from cancer to crash-prone vehicles. Cowboy hats with upturned brims? A creation of Hollywood directors needing to see actors’ eyes, the better to market mass-produced products by claiming that buying them makes you a rebel who breaks the rules. Baah.
We glorify the Teddy Roosevelt cliché of rugged individualism when America is actually a textbook case of teamwork. A culture reinforcing every male as an island of his own wonderfulness results in the macho mamas’ boys banana republics that plague western societies from Italy to Mexico to Tierra del Fuego.
Slicing and dicing gun atrocities clouds the big picture: Guns make it too damned easy to kill ourselves and/or others. Countless millions of jobs depend on weaponry, one helluva powerful lobby.
We are armorers to the world, often arming and funding all sides of endless and endlessly profitable shooting wars.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
It’s God’s will.
WRITING BEAUTIFULLY. In his (ahem) slightly fictionalized autobiography “I Want to Quit Winners,” Harolds Club founder Harold Smith, Sr., wrote of being so wary of robbery back in the Reno of the 1930s that he carried a gun at work.
One of his alumni has just published a memoir of the old days. Barbara Riff Davis has written “Craps and the Showgirl.” (LeRue Press 2017)
It’s available at Grassroots Books on Gentry Way, west of Reno Toyota.
Start with the pictures. Ms. Davis in her international showgirl days was movie star material. Hereabouts, she was also famous as the spouse of longtime Elks Club manager Rick Burgess.
Proving that she is not afraid to associate with those of questionable reputation, she has reprinted (with permission) my column about the implosion of Harolds Club. (Tribune 12-26-1999, see Barbwire.US/)
You can find more at her website, ShowGirlPublishing.com where she writes “The book is a true story about a little-crippled girl who grew up to be a showgirl. Not just that, it is full of rare adventures – all true that I think you will enjoy. I am writing two other books and I hope to hear from lots of folks soon.”
I’ve been trying to locate the local Harolds alumni network which may feel free to contact me.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com/ E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.