I recently returned from a one-month visit to the United States. My family and I slept in five different states and visited a couple of others. Naturally, I was observing the differences between the US and Italy and between the US of today and what I remember from the last visit two years ago.
By far what stuck me most was the obesity. It's noticeably increased over the years. It occurred to me it cannot be explained by the super-sizes of everything from water bottles to hamburgers. I had thought that was it, but now I wonder if even the decent food is contaminated with so much antibiotics and chemicals and genetically modified material that the poor people don't stand a chance.
The second most impressive thing I noticed was the almost total absence of guns. Every day I scanned the people for who might be carrying concealed. There were very few, which could be easily determined due to the summertime dress code. I realize some of those folks might have had a gun in the glove compartment of the car and certainly some had guns at home, but the overall impression was that gun ownership is not the commonplace way of life we often hear from the gun-rights crowd.
In the early days of my stay, which was the end of June, the Fast and Furious scandal was in the news. That's when Holder was held in contempt. In one of the reports, it was mentioned that the actual events took place under Bush. I was shocked. I'd never heard that little factoid before, which makes sense since I had gotten almost all my information about the story on sites like The Truth About Guns and The Sipsey Street Irregulars. Reading those blogs, it was obvious to me they were attempting to distort the story into something more than a simple sting operation gone bad, but the fact that they'd so calculatedly avoided ever mentioning that the gun-running incidents actually predated the Obama reign confirms my opinion of their less-than-honest intentions.
One extremely enjoyable thing about my vacation was the almost total disconnect from e-mail and blogs that I arranged for myself. I checked in from time to time, but I really benefited from the restful and relaxing life style the disconnect allowed me during those weeks. I feel rejuvenated. I feel optimistic about the future of gun control. I had a chance to step back and see just how fringe-like and fanatical the gun-rights folks are. One day I watched a 20-minute info-commercial starring Wayne La Pierre in which he hit all the talking points for which he's famous. It was to drum up NRA memberships. I thought he's the one fighting a losing battle. In spite of the apathy and lack of resources on the gun-control side, common sense and reason will prevail.