Iím starting this column on Oct. 1, the first day of the federal government shutdown. So by the time the column appears, Oct. 10, the impasse in Washington may have been patched up. Also, the thoughts Iím about to write may have even less validity than they do as I write them today. But Iím still going to record whatís on my mind at this juncture.
FIREARM PURCHASE. I donít own a gun, and never have. I havenít harbored strong feelings on either side of the gun ownership debate, because I know too many gun and anti-gun advocates who are equally intelligent and trustworthy. But today I feel myself tilting toward buying a handgun, learning how to use it, and keeping it handy in my home and as I go about my outside errands.
My feelings stem from a growing Ė and, I hope, unjustified Ė suspicion that the day may come when huge numbers of Americans, of all persuasions, take to the streets in search of someone (and maybe anyone) to shoot. They would shoot out of rage, out of fear, or just out of the hope that the shootings would somehow mow down some of the scoundrels who have brought this proud nation to its knees, or close to it.
If or when such anarchy arrives, I think Iíll want to have a firearm close at hand to defend myself against whoever breaks down my door. One handgun, or even several, probably wonít be enough to turn back the enraged, bloodthirsty marauders who will fill our streets. But at least Iíll have the short-lived satisfaction that I went down fighting, instead of passively awaiting my fate.
This morning, within hours of the shutdownís beginnings, angry veterans broke open the fences that prevented them from visiting a WWII memorial site in Washington.
Could this be a harbinger of what may happen on a grander scale if our alleged leaders in Washington donít soon stop the national disintegration that is taking place? I hope not, because violence has seldom been a solution to any major problem.
A final argument for my buying a firearm is this admittedly superficial reason: If most of my friends and neighbors are packing heat, why shouldnít I?
MOVING TO NEW ZEALAND. As much as I love my country, I canít help asking myself, at times, where on earth I could go that would be a refuge from the turmoil that keeps spilling out of Wolf Blitzerís yap every time I switch on CNN. Iíve heard that Fiji and Bora Bora, in the South Pacific, are idyllic spots. Someone once told me that Sweden is a lovely place to live if you like blonde women and donít mind the cold. Costa Rica has attracted many American retirees in recent years. The nation that sticks in my mind, however, is New Zealand. Iím not sure why, unless itís the location of the place, far away from much of civilizationís troubles.
The flaw in all of those getaway fantasies, of course, is that thereís nowhere on earth in 2013 where you completely escape from todayís looming threats. Over the past 50 years, or less, the finances and economics of the 194 nations of the globe have become more closely tied up with each other. To a frightening degree, we are all co-dependent for food, energy sources, scarce metals for computer products, military support, consumer spending and other important things. We are in the grip of globalism, and now thereís no safe place to run to.
THE SAVIOR ON A WHITE HORSE. In the history of nations, governments have occasionally fallen into such confusion and disrepair that the panic-stricken citizenry has cried out for salvation from any direction. Such times are tailor-made for someone on a white horse who promises to ride to the rescue and set things straight, even at the risk of eventually making things worse. Napoleon Bonaparte comes to mind, as does Adolph Hitler. They saved the day, but led their countrymen down the road to ruin.†In the 1950s Sen. Joseph McCarthyís anti-communist crusade caused millions of frightened Americans to cry out, ďSave us, Joe!Ē
I donít think the USA is ripe today for a white-horse savior, but that could quickly change. Later this month, if our geniuses in Washington manage to default on paying the bills the government owes, it could trigger the collapse of our economic system and that of many other nations. If that should happen, neither a handgun nor a plane ticket to New Zealand will save any of us.
A centuries-old Chinese curse says, ďMay you live in interesting times.Ē Letís hope we soon see the arrival of worldwide boredom.