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No. 1-1
mockridge
mockridge

As the police laid hands on the man, they all gasped again, and a commanding voice from the wings shouted, “STOP!” A woman came striding on stage, crossed to the place where the man was being held and declared, “Unhand that man!” According to the superscript she was the Mayor. Then, as the cops let go of the man, the Mayor began to sing, “This man is innocent! Oh, how can you say otherwise? A simple immigrant… seeking asylum, he fled persecution. A man’s whole life cannot be judged because he may have picked up a gun, one time, and happened, by chance, to kill someone. Is he a smuggler?” “NO!” shouts the chorus. “… a rapist?” “NO!” shouts the chorus. “… a criminal?” The chorus hesitates. “Is he?” she demands, while looking threateningly at them. There is some mumbling in the crowd. She explains the man’s plight in song: “This man, who has crossed our border seeking only to escape violence…picks up a gun and kills a young woman—who is out strolling around with her parents on a lovely sunny afternoon—who among us might not have, at one time or another, done the same thing?” “Your Honor,” breaks in a soprano sorta from the right side of the stage, “In some towns, that may be deemed unacceptable behavior.” “PAH!” she thunders in response, as the big drums roll. “Are WE not better than that?!” There is a lot of mumbling, “We are. We are. We are…” The chorus surrounds the soprano and, looking fairly threatening, they chant: “How can you say that this poor man, fleeing oppression, seeking asylum, is a criminal?” He sings counterpoint, “Are you saying that if you enter a country illegally, and you shoot and kill a citizen of that country, that’s cool?” (He’s just asking. Their way of thinking is apparently new to him.) As he asks the same question over and over and over, the chorus answers in the very same words every time, without variance, and it breaks out into one of those glorious maelstroms of operatic confusion with everybody singing their own thoughts in steadily increasing volume and rapidly escalating mindlessness. This goes on for what feels like 20 minutes. “We understand that these things sometimes happen.” The chorus eventually sings. They go on to ask: “Is he really a criminal simply because he may have allegedly, inadvertently, accidentally, supposedly, murdered someone?” About the time a French guy—horizontally striped shirt, beret, and a baguette under one arm—steps out from the crowd, I rose from my seat and started making my way to the aisle. As I strode toward the exit, I heard him singing, in a pleasantly-fractured English, “We must ask ourselves what we have done to cause this poor man to pick up a gun, to shoot and kill this woman, on such a fine day.”

from: WHY GOD GAVE US GUNS