Brickner: A cheerful heart in a dark time
Brickner writes, "One proverb says, 'A merry heart does good like a medicine.' With so much darkness – Ukraine, hate speech, violence, and even the threat of the end of our democracy – we need it."
I recently found myself joining my husband in watching the Netflix movie “Interceptor.” It stars Elsa Pataky, from the “Fast and Furious” franchise. It’s a ridiculous movie, featuring Chris Hemsworth (Pataky’s husband) in a cameo. Absurd but stupid fun.
We need that. The laughter. One proverb says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” With so much darkness – Ukraine, hate speech, violence, and even the threat of the end of our democracy – we need it.
But the absurd is sometimes only laughable as black comedy. Laughter paired with pain. We see this in the ever-wilder responses to gun violence.
After Buffalo and Uvalde, we forget Occam’s Razor: the philosophical idea that the simplest explanation or solution is the best one. As someone might say, “It’s the guns, silly” – or stronger language. Rather than reasonable solutions, we hear distractions, along with a depressing poll of Republicans that says we just have to get used to mass shootings.
Here are some of the explanations I hear, in no particular order:
- Uvalde and Buffalo were just “false flag” operations. So these 18-year-olds just wanted to ban guns. Gun control advocates making a point.
- It’s a mental health problem, says Texas Gov. Abbott, just after slashing the mental health budget.
- We need to harden the schools so there’s only one entrance, and require buzzing to enter. So, what about Buffalo – will you harden a grocery store? Maybe Hornbacher’s or Cash Wise should buzz in customers, one by one. Or shopping malls. Outdoor concerts?
- We need to post a security guard or police officer at each school. Um, weren’t there plenty of police outside the school after?
- We need to go back to God, said one congresswoman. Or get rid of video games and violent movies. O.K., so why are we No. 1, by a long shot, in mass killings? Far more than, say, the United Kingdom where only 5% of Brits regularly attend church? And don’t they have violent games and movies? Is this what we call “American Exceptionalism”?
- Maybe we should just have more guns, like teachers in Ohio are now allowed. Teachers who cannot be trusted with books are now locked and loaded. What could go wrong?
- One politician blamed abortion while a Trump-endorsed Arizona candidate simply blames Blacks. Remember Occam’s Razor.
- Others defend assault weapons as necessary to kill prairie dogs, foxes and feral pigs. What kind of hunter needs to blast a prairie dog with an AR-15? Rambo?
- Somehow an 18-year-old cannot buy a drink, but he can buy an AR-15.
I appreciate the passion of someone like actor Matthew McConaughey who seeks a balance: Second Amendment rights with responsibilities. I hope for change, but on the Wednesday I write this, little change seems evident.
So, I’ll find ways to laugh, even as I seek to fight; not as a “good guy with a gun” but through words and through the ballot box, even against a senator, like our own Kevin Cramer who says he’d be tossed out of office if he sought measures for gun responsibility. My husband says, “At least he’s honest.” I’ll find moments to laugh. It’s better than alcohol.
Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.