Kendall Stanley: Madness in the south Kendall P. Stanley 

Gun Rights

How apropos that a bill in Congress would name the AR-14 semi-automatic rifle the national gun, and not because it is the weapon of choice for mass shooters. It’s because we have to protect the Second Amendment!

Yes, folks, our wonderful representatives of the people are more concerned with the Second Amendment than they are in keeping kids from being killed in schools.

After the death of three students and three employees of Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School in Nashville, the standard story lines of gun rights apologists came into being — we are praying, it was a lone sick individual, there’s nothing we can do, ad nauseum.

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Reports that the shooter was transgender has produced a flurry of anti-trans commentaries and threats, some seeking a “purge” of transgender people in our midst.

U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, says there’s nothing the 535 elected officials in the House and Senate can do to reduce gun violence and gun deaths.

“We’re not gonna fix it,” Congressman Burchett said on the steps of the Capitol on March 27.

“I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly,” he said in response to Monday’s school mass shooting in Nashville, where three 9-year olds and three adults were shot to death by a shooter with two AR-15 style assault rifles and a handgun.

Instead of Congress enacting stricter gun laws, background checks, and a ban on assault weapons, Congressman Burchett said, “you’ve got to change people’s hearts,” as he called for a Christian revival.

“As a Christian, we talk about the church. I’ve said this many times, I think we really need a revival in this country.”

Monday’s shooting at the Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School was the 130th mass shooting this year in America, bringing the death toll from all gun violence across all causes to 9,989, including 403 children 17 or younger, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Congressman Burchett is a member of the far-right Republican Study Committee, which has strong ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), according to published reports. He also is a representative from Tennessee, apparently not caring what happens in his state.

Unbelievably, the shooting happened the same day The Washington Post started a series of articles on how the AR-15 came to be an American icon, pushed by the gun manufacturers on its way to becoming the weapon of choice for deranged killers.

The series also looked at the impact of the ammunition used in an AR-style rifle (the bullet pulverizes everything in its path), how police officers are now getting ARs for their patrol cars but they still feel they are outgunned, whether or not large ammo clips should be outlawed and what AR owners really think. If you want plenty of great reporting on the issue, go to

And so it’s all prayers and concern for the victims’ families, neither of which, it should be noted, is worth the breath used to utter it.

So the message is this — we don’t care about the kids, the Second Amendment is everything.

How sad.

A great month indeed

I’m not much for watching sports on television, especially the professional sports.

There are exceptions, of course. Who can resist the call of The Masters, played at golf’s ultimate course, Augusta National. Or resist the call to the post of the Triple Crown.

College football isn’t of interest, other than the Michigan-Michigan State game, or either school if they are out to knock Ohio State off the playing field.

The Super Bowl? Of modest to no interest. The Grand Slam of tennis? Ditto.

Come March, however, and I’m watching the brackets of the men’s and women’s basketball tournament. It’s called March Madness for a reason.

To say there were close games this year is an understatement, resulting in a Final Four in which none of the number one seeded teams are playing.

Overall number one seed Alabama was ousted by San Diego State, who played Florida Atlantic in one Final Four Matchup. On the other side of the ledger UConn and Miami had at it, with UConn riding the hottest wave into the matchup.

As I write this early because of production deadlines I have no idea who the national champ is. One thing is certain, however, there was a lot of great basketball leading up to that victory.

Now on to the Masters and Kentucky Derby!

— Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the News-Review. He can be contacted at The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily of the Petoskey News-Review or its employees. 

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