Jim Lucas, out beyond the tracks

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John Krull

By John Krull | For The Times-Post

Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, must think his fellow Americans really, really, really covet his guns.

He suggests that we want to take them away from him so much that we might be willing to sacrifice the lives of our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our friends, our family, ourselves and … even our children.

Yes, even our children.

That’s what Lucas was saying when he posted on Facebook a few days ago that the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, might have been “a false flag” operation.

He amplified that point with Jack Sells, a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com.

Lucas said of the Uvalde massacre that “a false flag was allowed to happen to use that as an excuse to come after our gun rights.” He also said it was possible that the federal government orchestrated the murders of 19 schoolchildren and two educators in the Texas town.

Give yourself a moment to consider the completely bonkers nature of Lucas’s speculation.

While you’re doing that, please remember that Lucas, whose political ideology is far to the right of Genghis Khan’s, in every other circumstance argues that the federal government is the most inept and incompetent enterprise on the face of the Earth.

To hear Lucas tell it, the federal government can’t function in any meaningful way. It can’t deliver basic services or perform its essential functions.

The government is, to his eyes, a sorry, sorry thing. Except, it seems, when it comes to Lucas and his beloved guns.

Then, the federal government suddenly becomes an omnipotent and malevolent force, one capable of unearthly discipline while exercising a vast secret conspiracy aimed only at taking guns away from Jim Lucas and his friends.

My grandfather, himself a southern Indiana boy, had a saying that seems to capture moments such as this one and guys like Lucas.

“That fellow is out there where the trains don’t run, isn’t he?” Grandpa would say.

Yes, Grandpa, he is.

Part of the disconnect Lucas and his gun cronies have with the rational world is that they seem to believe the rest of us spend as much time thinking about firearms as they do. They seem to think that guns are the same sort of fetish for us as they are for them.

They aren’t.

For most Americans, guns are just inanimate objects. If firearms didn’t have a distressing capacity for killing human beings in large numbers, we wouldn’t give them any more thought than we do lawn ornaments or trash cans.

But they do have a distressing capacity for killing human beings — more than 40,000 in this country per year, in fact. More Americans now die yearly in gun-related incidents than in automobile accidents.

This puts the United States in a dubious position. We lead the world in gun-related deaths by a wide margin.That’s because Lucas and his crew have kept the U.S. awash in guns.

The most conservative estimates say there are at least 300 million privately owned firearms in the United States. The most accepted studies say there are around 400 million — and some analyses peg the number even higher.

Included in that number are around 20 million AR-15 style rifles, which have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters.

Lucas and his cohort have contended for years that the more guns we have, the safer we will be.If that were the case, the United States — which has less than 5% of the world’s population and more than 50% of the world’s guns — would be the safest place on earth.

Instead, we Americans are 20 times likelier to be killed by a gun than citizens elsewhere in the world.

Because the facts don’t support his fervor for firearms, Lucas is left to fulminate that the otherwise incompetent federal government might be conspiring with exquisite precision to kill schoolchildren.

And that we’re just letting it happen.

All because we covet his guns.

Yup, that’s where he is. Out there. Where the trains don’t run.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the views of Franklin College. Send comments to [email protected]

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