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 Sunday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad will carry all who wish to attend the Chicago convention for half fare — that is, full fare to Chicago and return free.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Hardy Hetter, for several years yardmaster in the Burlington Railroad yards in Rock Island and Moline, was transferred to Beardstown. He was succeeded here by J.E. Albrecht.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Corn was estimated at 50 percent of the normal crop in Rock Island County by Crop Correspondent Thomas Campbell.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Robert Carroll, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Farr Carroll, of near Aledo, won the grand championship of the Mercer County baby beef show with "Fat Stuff."
1964 -- 50 years ago: About 250 persons attended the first in a series of horse shows at the Hillandale Stables off Knoxville Road near Milan on Saturday afternoon and evening.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Ground was broken this morning for the $4.5 million Rock Valley Business Park near Rock Valley Plaza, Rock Island. The first building is 17,000 square feet for offices and a warehouse and should be completed by Dec. 1.

(More History)