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David Fitzsimmons, Tucson’s most beloved ink-stained wretch.

I talked to my son, the sophomore, when he came home from school the day after the mass shooting at the Florida high school.

“Did your teachers talk about the shooting today?”


“Really? No one at the school talked about it?”

He pull out his earbuds. “My friends and I talked about it.”

“Really? What was their opinion?”

“We’re all afraid of getting shot.” He’s a big kid. His friends tower over me. With a school shooting every 60 hours, it’s on their minds.

“A group of my friends and I reported a kid last week to the assistant principal. For postings. He replied to a comment on his post he could kill half the people at his old school.”

There are three school resource officers on the campus. It’s ringed with a security fence.

“I’m glad you reported it.”

“They’re handling it.”

And the fear spreads and more guns are sold.

My other son, a 22-year old Pima student who waits tables, stopped by Thursday to hang out with me on my porch. “I’ve thought about getting a gun.”

“What?” I didn’t tell him I’ve thought about it as well. My hate mail is unnerving.

My son says, “A small one. For protection. Guns are everywhere. I don’t want to die because some random guy with a …”

“Get safety training. Gun locks. A gun safe.” The Master Sergeant taught me well.

He was deadly serious. “It’s scary out there. I’ve seen guys threaten each other with guns.” Differences once settled with fists are now settled with guns.

“You’ve seen that?”

“Yeah! Did you see the kid’s video from inside the classroom? Can you imagine how terrified those kids were? For more than an entire hour! As shots were ringing out! Waiting to die?”

His mom, a teacher, had once been in a lockdown at her school because of an active-shooter situation. I have felt the terror of not knowing.

He shook his head. “I don’t want to be killed by some idiot.”

Before he left, we remembered when he worked at the doughnut shop, and every time an open-carry guy would come in, he and the customers would hold their breaths until he left. You never know.

And the fear spreads and more guns are sold. When our children are gunned down, the value of gun stocks go up. And our politicians lay down and take their hush money. And we wait for the next mass casualty shooting.

The AR-15 I fired at the FBI Academy range in Phoenix a couple of decades ago was the same kind of assault weapon authorities say Nikolas Cruz used to kill those kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week.

My FBI handler pointed to the target. I aimed, took a breath, and pulled the trigger. There was no resistance. I leaned into the recoil. My weapon obliterated the target. I was a God hurling bolts of fire. Destroyer of worlds. Adrenaline surged inside my chest. The power was intoxicating. And sickening. I was sickened by the sole purpose of its beautiful design: Slaughter.

Adam Lanza would use one to massacre the Sandy Hook children, the babies who were forsaken by every ice-cold grownup in the halls of Congress for 30 coins of NRA silver. That’s when we learned our children were not safe, that no politician was going to protect them. And the fear spread and more guns were sold.

This week I posted the following question on my Facebook page: ”Tell me again why I need to be able to buy a combat weapon with a monster clip.”

Here are some the comments:

“Sometimes you just need to shoot 600 people a minute.”

“Because you’re a coward afraid of your shadow?”

“To kill your fellow citizens more efficiently.”

“Same reason you buy a Porsche. You’re compensating for something.”

“Grizzly Bears.”

“So we can protect ourselves from a tyrannical government.”

Bingo. That’s the one. The irrational belief that a sinister deep-state government that is incapable of doing anything right will one day round up all 300 million of our guns. This implausible apocalyptic vision of gun confiscation is promoted to rationalize the sale of weapons of war to civilians.

Protect us from the tyranny of fear.

Fearful politicians shrug their shoulders as our children are massacred in their classrooms with these terrifying combat weapons. Again and again. And the fear spreads and more guns are sold.

“Tell me again why I need to be able to buy a combat weapon with a monster clip.” The best answer I got to my Facebook question was the last post on the thread.

“You don’t.”

Contact editorial cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at