Henry Rollins: What Happened in Vegas Will Not Stay in Vegas

Henry Rollins: What Happened in Vegas Will Not Stay in Vegas
Danny Liao

While comrade Trump tossed rolls of paper towels to people in Puerto Rico (“I was having fun, they were having fun”) and said to the fake news reporters gathered, “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” he has actually been getting things done. Things that could have devastating impact on millions of Americans.

Trump has nominated a reported 17 circuit judges and 39 district court judges. He has a lot more seats to fill and it looks as if he’s moving on it. Apparently the Republicans’ refusal to confirm President Obama’s nominations created the large number of vacancies. Well played.

These appointees come down hard against marriage equality, LGBT rights and women’s reproductive health choices. These are the people who will be making important decisions long after Trump and his family of amateur grifters have moved on to more appetizing marks. There’s not a lot you can do about it. As much as you might want to move forward, in the name of all things decent, there are people with a lot of power who think we have gone far enough — too far, actually.

I’ve been trying to figure out Trump’s motivation to nominate such earth-scorchers to judgeships. It’s become a strange new hobby for millions of people, to play armchair analyst in an attempt to understand which of the actions Trump takes are in his control and which ones are the manifestations of whatever very real condition ails him. Trump doesn’t strike me as an overt homophobe, although his misogyny is permanently on display. Perhaps he’s simply playing to America’s most notable minority, his base.

As time passes, Trump more and more seems less and less connected to the GOP or to the job of president. He’s just getting on Twitter, saying really weird and troubling things that are light-years from rational. On Puerto Rico, which Trump still seems to regard as a different country, he recently tweeted:

“Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!”

Forget that it’s his job; his massive self-absorption is striking. What he’s done? He made a visit to Puerto Rico, compared the damage done to the island to “a real catastrophe like Katrina” and then left in self-imagined triumph and later complained he wasn’t given enough attaboys.

It’s telling that, even after so many days, there is hardly anything being said by the president or any members of the GOP about the attack in Las Vegas. By remaining, for the most part, either silent or “It’s too soon to talk about this,” as if they’re the guardians of decorum, they have shown you exactly where they’re at. They’re telling you who they are and who they’re sticking up for. I think the smart money is on believing them. At least John Thune, senator from South Dakota, laid it out to NBC’s Hallie Jackson:

“I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions, to protect themselves. And in situations like that, you know, try and stay safe. As somebody said — get small.”

Well chosen words spread over three brief sentences. The first you can take as a weapon ad. Thune’s a busy man; he can’t take you to the gun store. Chances are, you’re not all that far from one; you’ll have to get yourself over there. This is, after all, about your self-protection, so no dilly-dallying. It’s not like Thune, the recipient of at least $852,000 in contributions from the NRA, who opposed background checks for gun sales after Sandy Hook, is going to suggest anything else.

Next, if you happen to find yourself at, say, a rock concert with a man shooting magazine after magazine of bullets in your general area, or in other “situations like that,” people should “try and stay safe.” Hold on, I’m writing this down. Try ... and ... stay ... what was it? Oh, that’s right, “safe.” Thanks for that!

He read it somewhere — can’t put his finger on the author — but “get small.” From what Thune suggests, it’s time to gear up, be ready to get shot at and live fractionally. In Thune’s world, what happened in Las Vegas is unfortunate but, hey, what can you do?

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The bump fire stock, a part of Stephen Paddock’s arsenal, is a testament to American ingenuity. It’s as much a modification to your weapon as adding a scope. It doesn’t modify what a semi-automatic weapon actually does. The weapon is still a single-round-per-trigger-pull machine, so the weapon never leaves semi-automatic status. The device just facilitates faster pulls of the trigger.

A ban on the device would be just that. To put a law like that on the books, with Republican majorities everywhere you look, high on NRA donations, in a country whose people famously push back on anything they’re told they can’t do, banning the bump stock will be nearly impossible.

Why does any gun owner need an addition to their weapon to fire rounds with greater speed? I went online and watched videos of men explaining how the bump fire stock works and then using it. They said it was fun. So, there’s at least one answer. Fun.

I went to the sites of gun dealers and every one of them was sold out of bump fire stocks.

Sadly, what Sen. Thune said is true. I took The Grateful Dead’s advice years ago from their song “U.S. Blues”: “Gimme five, I’m still alive/Ain’t no luck, I learned to duck.”

Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.


More from the mind of Henry Rollins:
Make America Filthy, Hungry, Broke and Stupid Again
Ask Yourself What Side of History You Want to Be on
Don't Let the Trump Show Distract You From What's Really Going On

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