The View from the North Shore

The surrounding greenery a proscenium to this view, from my feet upward: tan, green, cobalt, grey, white, sky blue. A rippling, sun-dappled sea offering the sudden flash of a tiny breaker dashing spray upon jagged rock. The horizon, azure, flat as a razor beneath pale roiling cloud where, momentarily, the partial arc of a rainbow appears as if projected on a blank screen. Later, fiery orange sunlight limns the cumulus tops then surrenders to dusk, when the cloudbank becomes a dark, morphing Rorschach test before an ever-deepening violet backdrop. At last the moon descends, its misty smile a hint of promise for tomorrow.

And directly before me, perched on a telephone pole, a solar-powered tsunami warning siren bisects the view day and night. So much for Paradise. What do we do if it goes off?

People, that siren sounded with the report of George Zimmerman’s gun. And the warning is unrelated to his acquittal because it is not about race relations–which can appear differently to the different groups regarding them. But there is nothing less ambiguous than a handgun.

Alarmingly, this is about the Second Amendment: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Forget, if you can, the whole range of mass shootings by unhinged lone wolves. These tragic incidents have more to do with mental illness than anything else. They are senseless, and for this reason alone remain mysterious to us for years. The Second Amendment is a mystery, at least in terms of its interpretation, but the first part of that famous sentence is clear. Each state has a right to maintain its own militia. But has this right, like trickle-down economics, somehow come to lodge itself with smaller entities? Such as homeowners associations? Is their militia a neighborhood watch?

It is immaterial whether George Zimmerman was an employee of a neighborhood organization or merely a volunteer. Is it similarly immaterial whether or not any neighborhood organization condoned or even knew of his being armed? Of course not. That, to my mind, is the central question. Either he was authorized to carry a gun, or he was not. True, he may in his capacity as a private citizen been licensed to carry one. This certainly would have helped him to “stand his ground.” Equally, there may even have been no real structure in place, and he may have been acting as a delusional neighborhood watch unto himself. I don’t know. Clearly, he saw himself as on duty. And it is as simple as this: because he was armed, a young man is dead. Do you think George Zimmerman was a lone wolf?

So the tsunami warning has sounded–hear it?–and people on both sides of the gun-control issue do exactly what all tidal zone residents would do–head for the high ground.

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