Speaking at an event in Greenville, South Carolina about last Thursday’s Oregon shooting, Bush said “Look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Nine people were slaughtered. Ten wounded.
Stuff indeed . . . happens.
Now it may be disingenuous to take Bush’s quote out of context. He did, after all, precede this comment by mentioning as governor of a large U.S. state he dealt with tragedies like this all the time and that . . . well . . . stuff happens. So maybe we can be fair and extrapolate that he wasn’t necessarily referring to the Oregon shootings as the kind of stuff that happens but that ALL MASS KILLINGS can be considered stuff that happens.
His natural response to our natural response is that he was taken out of context and he still stands by what he said.
Good for him.
Stuff indeed happens.
And a man should stand by the things he says.
But what if it’s the thought that counts?
What if there was a man who has spent millions of dollars in an attempt to become the leader of the free world and his response to the 30,000 annual gun deaths of his constituents is it’s just the kind of stuff that happens?
Has that ever been the kind of stuff that happens?
In 1948 Preston Tucker designed and began to produce a post-war sedan with safety in mind. A lower center of gravity, headlights that rotated with the steering wheel, and seat-belts. Terrified that safety features might suggest that their own cars were unsafe, the Big 3 (Ford, Chrysler, GM) colluded to create negative press campaigns and set up a false indictment of fraud which compelled the Security and Exchange Commission to take Tucker to court. He was acquitted, but his company was caput.
100,000 people were dying each year in low speed collisions, but that was just stuff happening.
And besides . . . it was the driver’s fault.
It would be 17 years before another man, Ralph Nader, took up the fight against the Big 3 with his exposé of the Chevy Corvair, Unsafe at Any Speed. The Big 3 harassed him mercilessly, he sued them, he won, and used their money to build a network for consumer protection, which is not only responsible for seat-belts and air bags, but can also take credit for the The Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
Not bad for a guy who’s not willing to let stuff just happen.
Granted, Nader’s Green Party Campaign in 2000 may have been culpable in handing the Presidency to George Bush, but there so much blame going around that one that I’ve run out of fingers to point.
Like we might also point out the polling fraud that was going around in Florida at the time.
Wait . . . who was the Governor of Florida at the time?
If you don’t know . . . the answer might surprise you.
Polling fraud is also the kind of stuff that just happens.
The correlation between the Chevy Corvair and an AK-47 might feel a bit forced. Road rage is in fact a mental health issue, and guns don’t kill people, people do, and as a writer, I don’t have any good answers (though here’s Matt Terzi’s great article on expanding the role of the 2nd Amendment).
But the point is . . . stuff does happen.
It happens all the time.
But stuff happens for a reason. And all those reasons have a cause. And all those causes can be addressed. Some of them can even be dealt with.
The point is that lives can be saved. Even if it requires becoming a social misfit and losing an election.
Who wouldn’t agree to lose an election to give one of those dead students back to their grieving parents?
Stuff happens. But it doesn’t have to happen.
And I’ll stand by that even if it’s taken out of context.