Something’s Wrong in the State of Denver

The malaprop above is curtesy of Kelly Bundy, the dimwitted teenager from Married With Children. And I think it, sadly, is representative of the modern malaise we find ourselves in. We know something is deeply wrong, yet we struggle to adequately put the right words to it, or describe it such that the light of the world will illuminate the way out of our present darkness.

I’m not terribly hopeful.

We are in the midst of an orgy of murder on all sides, from the usual cast of narcissistic loners, aggrieved agitators, “loved ones,” and over-zealous members of our public safety system. (Despite what the entertainment industry depicts, deaths associated with criminal activity like robbery and sexual assault are nowhere near the percentage of murders and suicides.) Into this dives the media with their look-but-don’t-look mélange of too much visual excitation and too little usable information. Answers? Fuhgeddaboudit!

It was sunny this morning. Really quite nice.

Which got me thinking: it’s too bad we abandoned being adults. Too much work. Too much responsibility. Too few pats-on-the-back. Now we have adulting, a pale substitute, and a host of problems that are resolvable, but won’t be due to a lack of effort by the “competent authorities” we’ve elected. Instead, we have actors. It’s one thing when it’s on some unctuous movie or TV show—which anymore are one and the same—it’s another when the health and well-being of the country is on the line. Everything is entertainment, look at me, look at me theatrics for the purposes of base arousement and fund raising. Yet they are there because we voted them in. Mirror, mirror.

It’s nice out, though. I think I mentioned that.

Since police killing are in the news, let’s take a peek. If we were adults, we’d recognize that public safety, as currently constructed, leaves a lot to be desired. The public is armed to the teeth; the police have been militarized; prisons are big expensive warehouses, and we kill ourselves and each other with a vigor found nowhere else in the world. Gun are fetishized toys waved around by half-wits and brandished by anarchists, insurrectionists, and 6-years-olds at school. Can’t beat that. The public fears the police; the police fear the public; nowhere is safe. For all the MAGA talk, I don’t hear anyone intoning the old bromide that firearms are to be respected and kept safe. Running around with an open firearm was deeply frowned upon and labeled you a goddamned idiot. Not anymore. And no self-respecting actor seems to mind. Pissed off? That’s what guns are for.

It’s a beautiful morning. The sun feels so good on my face. A great way to start the day.

Of course not everyone with a gun is, as we used to say, a nut. Most of us are careful with with our firearms, recognizing that a lot of bad can happen if you’re not. But too often they’re a means to settle a grievance. Like all the time, everyday. And it used to be a joke to “shoot first and ask questions later,” but if every encounter by the police might end in their being shot…well, why take the chance. This then applies to being pulled over for the proverbial broken taillight. Am I to be the next breathless 30 seconds on the evening news: This just in… Everyday.

A new day.

We could try to ban guns—won’t happen, we love the things. Besides, there are too many. We could enact more laws, but there are plenty of laws on the books. Plug the loopholes? Sure, why not? Ask the actors, sorry, our legislators, aka our politicians, to do their jobs? Good luck with that. The ones that care don’t have the support of those that don’t. Thoughts and prayers are all they have to offer. That and how there’s nothing we can do. Besides, it wouldn’t play well on TV: poor rating and all that. Better to stick to bromides and nonsense.

Is there anything?

My suggestion, which isn’t unique, is to recognize the role of responsible behavior. And yes, I know how that sounds, but so long as we elect actors who are more interested in the sound of their own voices, expecting them to do something, the longer we’ll be stuck in the nightmare. It’s simple: guns are not toys. Be responsible. Society should demand that all gun owners be responsible for the storage and use of their weapons. No exceptions. Gun owners should stand up and demand that anyone with a firearm be responsible. Along with that, we should demand that we behave like adults. Elect adults, not spineless personalities. We’re not five anymore. But that assumes anyone in the media would listen to us.

Really? That’s what you’ve got? Sorry, I lost my head.

On to public safety.

The police shouldn’t fear the public. The public shouldn’t fear the police. Public safety is supposed to be a joint effort between all of us. If we fear each other what’s the point? Dead cops and dead civilians don’t save any of us. It’s simply more lives to grieve. The answers are there if we’re willing to sit down, work out something better, and act. Turn off the bad actors and the dilettantes and the liars. Accept that we’re not all the same, but want the same basic things, one of which is going to the store and not worrying about it being the last thing you ever do because of someone acting out his perceived grievances.

I’ll freely admit this is me whining. I do what I can. I don’t keep a loaded gun lying around. The one I have I keep safe. I try to vote in reasonable persons. And I accept that there’s nothing that will save me if someone decides to murder me as I shop at Home Depot. It is the way it is.


The sun rises everyday, and will for the foreseeable future. Nothing says we have to be a part of that. The earth isn’t going to save us. It may laugh at us, though. It is always up to us.

©2023 David William Pearce

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