Gun debate: What would Mark Twain say?

Posted Online: April 26, 2013, 2:18 pm
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By Marlene Gantt
Mark Twain, real name, Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), was a famous humorist, satirist and scathing social commentator.

He is also well-known as an early riverboat pilot and author of 30 books including "Huckleberry Finn" and "Life on the Mississippi."

He often gave popular stand-up stage performances with much political satire.

For example, he once said, "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Many of his famous quotes exposed the absurdity of government policies.
Several weeks ago I decided to imagine what Twain might say about our current gun debate.

Ironically, I took my imaginary quotes from a notebook and compiled them on April 21, the anniversary of Twain's death 103 years ago. Feel free to add your own:

-- I never saw a gun I didn't like unless it was pointed at me.

-- Guns are for defending someone. Guns are not for offending someone.

-- Mass shootings are caused by people en masse. Why don't they spread out when the firing starts?

-- A mass murderer usually defends nothing; stands for nothing; believes nothing; sees nothing and when he kills himself he kills nothing. ( except evil)

u Mass murderers are usually not massive. Lacking stature they amass large arsenals.

-- The government couldn't stop bootlegging during prohibition. They can't stop illegal drugs. They can't stop illegal immigration. They can't stop spending. But, by golly, they're counting on stopping illegal guns.

-- In my day an assault weapon was a cannon.

-- If you only have seven rounds or so, you better be a pretty good shot if someone is chasing you.

-- The government might just start a war trying to collect illegal guns.

-- Seems to me the Congress with all this talk about banning guns is doing the gun manufacturers a favor. People often want what they are told they can't have. Shelves are becoming empty in gun stores. Guns are on back order. Gun sellers can't keep up with phone orders.

-- Congress must own stock in Smith & Wesson.

-- Congress wouldn't know an assault weapon from a musket.

-- Grandfather left me a gun and by golly I aim to keep it. Which I might have to do if the government comes to get it.

-- There are 250 million privately owned guns in the United States. I don't expect the gun owners to organize anytime soon.

-- What's a foiled attack? How can it be an attack if it was foiled?

-- The battle cry to move forward is generally sounded after a crisis is over. Well it pretty much depends on what's out in front.

-- If you're not worried about losing your gun to an intruder, a shotgun is as good as any.

-- During fires in schools everyone leaves. During a mass shooting they stay in locked rooms huddled together in a mass.

-- Since the Boston terrorist attack law enforcement will rewrite their manuals to include searching boats in people's yards.

-- Authorities interviewed Boston bomber suspect No. 1 in 2010 and reportedly found no "terrorism activity." That's because it hadn't occurred yet.

-- Twain really did say; "My seven-shooter had only one fault -- you couldn't hit anything with it."

-- You decide: "Authorities cannot be positive there aren't more explosives that haven't been found but the people of Boston are safe." -- Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis speaking to Fox News.

-- The worst school disaster in the history of the United States was the Bath School Disaster on May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Mich. An explosion was set by Andrew Kehoe, a 55-year-old school board treasurer, who was angry after his defeat in the spring 1926 election for township clerk.

-- He set a timed detonator to ignite hundreds of pounds of dynamite and incendiary pyrotol in the school. The explosion killed 38 elementary school children and six adults and injured at least 58 other people. He also murdered his wife. No guns were used.
Marlene Gantt of Port Byron is a former Rock Island school teacher.


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.

(More History)