RNC 2016 Bans Tennis Balls—but Assault Rifles Are OK

Don’t think about bringing a canned ham or a padlock to the Cleveland convention. But assault weapons? No problem there.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Today, in Baton Rouge, another three police officers were tragically murdered, while three others were injured in yet another mass shooting victimizing American peace officers. Once again, the armed attack was preceded by someone open-carrying an assault weapon.

This, barely over a week after we lost five police officers in Dallas, who were targeted for assassination; a policewoman was injured in Tennessee; a St. Louis, MO cop was gravely injured after being "ambushed" at a traffic stop; and officers in Georgia were also reportedly attacked. I haven't even mentioned civilians senselessly murdered, accidental shootings or suicides by gun.

Houston ... and Portland and Charlotte and fill in the blank of a locale near you, we have a serious problem. This isn't just going away folks, something you can ignore or sweep under the carpet. I think we can safely say that our abject neglect of this obvious crisis for a decade now has put us in a state of emergency, whether we wish to admit it or not. As The New York Daily News ran on its cover about 50 mass shootings ago, all the way back in December 2015, "God isn't fixing this."

Clearly, the Cleveland Patrolman's Association has recognized this fact, taking the rather incredible yet understandable step of publicly asking Governor John Kasich for a temporary suspension of open carry around the Republican National Convention. To which Governor Kasich responded (probably correctly), he lacks the power.

But maybe, just maybe, a governor and legislature who've done the NRA's bidding by passing legislation allowing guns in bars, could treat the potential for out-of-control violence in one of their major urban centers with the seriousness it deserves, and convene an emergency session of the legislature to protect the lives of police officers and other citizens of the Buckeye State? Those, I might add, that they've unnecessarily placed in harm's way with their incredible lack of good faith and common sense in the past.

Seriously, how the hell have we come to this point of absurdity? How have we allowed a bunch of profiteers, political cowards and paranoid bunker-dwellers determine policy by intuition or checkered imagination? How can we continue to ignore the fact that allowing assault weapons—or weapons of war—to be openly carried, as the Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, made clear after the madness that took place there, only puts police officers and others in the vicinity in much more danger.

You ever see those police drills in movies where a cardboard cutout pops up and they have to decide whether to shoot or not by whether the potential assailant is carrying a weapon? See how that might cause a problem here?

This is not debatable, in any case, as there’s a thing—It’s called science. There is another thing called research. Even though the NRA has fought to block its funding by our government, knowing that in this debate applying facts to their bullshit is like shining klieg lights on a vampire. It’s been done and always shows the same thing, when not conducted by people named Mary Rosh.

You'll wanna know, however, about the 72 things that are banned from being carried outside the arena so that everyone there will remain safe. I don't get paid by the word, but what the hell, I think sharing at least some of this list is necessary. If only to show just how truly inane we've allowed our laws to become, because of men and women like Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence. And Senators who probably don't want you to know what they've been up to, like Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida.

So without further ado, if you're planning on heading to the convention to hang outside, you should remember you’re banned from bringing such innately dangerous objects as tennis balls (you could have a serve like Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, after all), sound amplification equipment, umbrellas with metal tips, padlocks, sleeping bags, gas masks, ornaments (you never know when that kid from ‘Home Alone’ might show up), ceramic vessels, bicycle locking devices, tents, coolers, lasers (sharks with lasers?), canned goods, shovels, light bulbs, aerosol cans, ropes longer than six feet, non-plastic containers, ice chests, mattresses and of course bb guns, paintball guns and water guns.

Any of that stuff would be too dangerous. Actual, real bullet-firing guns, like AR-15s and .50 caliber, shoulder fired, semi-automatic sniper rifles? Totes cool.

When you get to the point where it is impossible to invent anything more satirical than the truth, and this is causing Americans to die in steady numbers and is not being addressed by elected leaders of an entire political party (The Republicans) and some exceptions in the other, we either need some serious changes or it's probably time for some civil disobedience of the kind we haven't seen much of since the 60s.

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The ball's in our leaders' court. Not the tennis ball, mind you, as that would be too dangerous.