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Commandments won't keep kids from killing kids

June 24, 1999

I'm opposed to gun control in all forms, because social scientists have proved conclusively that people shooting each other sells newspapers and I think we can all agree that my financial well-being comes ahead of some hapless grocery shopper who happens to get caught in the crossfire of some soured Florida Avenue drug deal.

Saving lives is all well and good, but it doesn't put any money in the ole 401k mutual fund, if you know what I'm saying.

Besides, to me the only people more annoying than the anti-gun control zealots are the pro-gun control zealots. Both groups are pretty miserable. It's sort of like Walker Percy wrote about religion, where the nonbelievers frequently give a person greater fits than the believers.

I may not like it, but I can at least understand a person who has a belief wanting me to believe in the same thing. But when a person doesn't believe in something and gets pushy wanting me not to believe as he doesn't believe - well, the whole concept of that just gets a little too abstract.

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Speaking of abstract, gun fan or not, you have to like Congress' response to the so-called problem of violence in schools: Introduce a bill that would allow schools to post the Ten Commandments in the hallways.

OK, here's the scenario. You are sitting in a closed room across the desk from a crazed teenager with a gun. You can do one of two things:

a. Take away his gun, or

b. Staple a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall.

I think any rational, unbiased person would tell you that in the heat of the moment it would be far preferable to take away the gun, because the teenager might just roll the Ten Commandments into a paper rope and strangle you with them.

This removes any doubt that Congress has its priorities all screwed up. Because first you would have to teach the little public-school monsters to read, THEN you would post the Ten Commandments. And after you have gotten them to read the commandments you still have to get them to obey the commandments. I mean, I myself have read the commandments and I, I - so, how 'bout those Orioles?

I'm not saying the Ten Commandments are a bad thing, they're kind of a long study, is all. And when an insane kid follows a Tech 9 into the algebra classroom - well, what if he's still hung up on the part about covet and hasn't graduated on to kill?

I would also ask of the members of Congress who are voting for the Ten Commandments solution, how many of them have the Ten Commandments posted in their own homes? Not that it would do any good. Their version would start out "Thou shalt have no other God above special interest PAC money" and go downhill from there.

Besides, any time a government or government surrogate gets its hands on something good, they mess it up. How long do you think it would be before the schools began tacking on commandments of their own?

After all, the Bill of Rights started out with a nice, round, hard-to-improve-upon 10 amendments. It wasn't any time at all before they were using the Bill of Rights for all sorts of craziness, like banning beer and giving women the vote.

And if there's one entity you don't want tampering with God's word, I would think it would be the public school system.

In my view, teachers are autocratic enough without any authoritative ballast from a higher power - and I'm not talking about the vice principal. Unless I miss my guess, the poor kids would find themselves looking up at a document that would include Commandment XXVII, clause A, subsection 2, whereby, thou shalt not construct projectiles of contents pertaining, but not limited to, notebook paper insofar as it is wadded into a spheroidal shape and laden with aquatic substances including, but not limited to, spit.

Schools and commandments. Talk about a combination that makes you want to pull out a gun.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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