Trigger warning: Today, we enter Room 237 at the Overlook Hotel. There is a 100% chance that this column will irritate certain readers. If you think that the Former Guy was the greatest President in American history, tear up this page, mutter some curses and buy a copy of “Guns & Glory.” You ain’t gonna like the rest of the column. I will wait while the room empties out. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Everybody out of the pool?
Remember in Stanley Kubrick’s movie version of Stephen King’s “The Shining” when Mr. Halloran is talking with Danny about what happened in the Overlook Hotel? If you don’t recall, not to worry. I will mansplain it to you. Danny is a little boy who has moved to the Overlook Hotel, where his father is going to spend the winter as the caretaker for the empty resort. Danny has the supernatural ability to ‘shine,’ which lets him see events that happened in the past. Danny correctly intuits there is something bad about the Overlook. The hotel cook, Mr. Halloran, tells Danny that a lot of things happened at the Overlook, and not all of them were good. Danny asks, “What happened in Room 237?” Halloran says, “Nothing happened in Room 237. But you ain’t got no business going in there anyway. So, stay out! Stay out!” Naturally, Danny ends up in Room 237.
The year of our Lord 2022 is the chronological equivalent of Room 237. This year we are all in Room 237. A lot of stuff happened in 2022. As Mr. Halloran said, not all of it was good. Instead of one of my usual ridiculous columns about cheese caves or Putin’s digestive production, today we will stare at mass shootings and the Supreme Court's decision on abortion. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
These topics have no common ground between opposing parties. They tend to offend. This column was written the same day of the Highland Park mass shooting. Accordingly, I am cranky about gun violence while producing this stain on western literature. By the time this doggerel hits the streets, there will probably have been yet another mass murdering. They seem to be rolling in about every 10 days. It is difficult to keep track of the latest fresh horror without a program. Mass shootings prove once again that crocodile tears, thoughts and prayers are not a defense against a moron with a grudge and an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
Mass shootings claim elementary students, parade watchers, church goers and grocery shoppers. The mythical good guy with a gun doesn’t stop the slaughters. They keep happening. At Uvalde, a whole passel of good guys with guns stood in a school hallway while a moron with a gun killed kids and their teachers. If the cops are afraid to go against a moron with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, arming Beaver’s teacher Miss Landers at Mayfield Elementary with a pistol ain’t gonna stop said armed moron.
The argument that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is a catchy bumper sticker, but it’s wrong. The slogan’s premise is the gun just lays there and does not hurt anyone. It is not the innocent gun’s fault. Big Tobacco could make the same argument about cigarettes. A pack of cigarettes just lays there and does not hurt anyone. But when someone picks up the pack and starts smoking, the innocent little cigarettes kill people. When a moron picks up a gun and starts shooting, the guns kill people.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing abortion as a federal constitutional right. This delighted the anti-abortion folks and angered the pro-choice side. For the foreseeable future, all Supreme Court decisions will be based on simple arithmetic: six is greater than three. The religious beliefs of the Court’s six are that abortion is murder. Other people disagree. We have entered the wonderful world of living in a theocracy. When religion becomes law, there will be a bad moon rising. Trouble is on the way.
Guy A says: “My religion says I can’t do that.” Guy B responds: “OK.” Then Guy A says: “My religion says you can’t do that.” Guy B replies, “Buzz off.” (Dialogue cleaned up). When Religion A tells nonbelievers in Religion A, they must follow Religion A’s beliefs we are in Shiite versus Sunni territory. Any readers left? Are you mad yet? The six can change any rules to suit their politically and theologically correct thoughts. Math rules. Unlike when Jimi Hendrix sang: “Now if six turned out to be nine/ I don’t mind, I don’t mind.” Lots of people gonna mind while the six change all the rules.
So, what have we learned today? Math conquers all. Six is more than three. The current Supreme Court can overturn any precedent it chooses. It’s always too soon to talk about gun control. Apologies for this rant. This column tries to avoid doom scrolling. Get your bad news elsewhere. My ability to ignore reality faltered briefly, resulting in today’s fuss. Goodbye to Room 237. A return to ridiculous
topics next time.