Thursday, April 07, 2016

Thanks, but I’d just as soon stay home. Forever.

I am not a cruise person to begin with, so it’s not the type of vacation I’d be drawn to. The only cruises that appeal to me in the least are the European river tours. That I could get into, given that there’s always some scenery available, other than the wake of your ocean liner. And you get to make a stop every day. Plus those stops would be in places I’d want to see. I.e., they’re in Europe.

So, no, despite the fact that it’s in Europe, cruise trumps location, so I wouldn’t be interested in the 2016 Freedom Cruise to begin with.

Nor am I a gun person.

I’m not a rabid anti-gunner. If people want to own guns – and keep those guns out of the hands of, say, toddlers who might accidentally shoot mom in the back, as happened in Florida last month – let ‘em.

I’m not a rabid anti-hunter, either. If people want to gun down Bambi’s mother, well, I eat meat and wear leather, so I don’t have a deer haunch to stand on. I’m not wild about the “big game hunters” who use machine guns to kill penned in endangered species. But let the hunters hunt. (Don’t forget the day-glo vest.)

Although I’m not a rabid anti-hunter, I’m just as happy to live in a non-open carry state. (I just looked it up and, from what I understand – which may not be correct – there’s no law explicitly against open carry here, but your local law enforcement can lift your license if you indulge.) When I’ve seen people in open carry states packing heat, it doesn’t make me feel safer. If makes me feel in danger.

Anyway, between the cruise and the guns, I will have to say that nothing says “vacation from hell” like the upcoming cruise along the Danube for NRA donors who pony up at least $1K a year to be part of the organization’s Ring of Freedom.

The cruise doesn’t come cheap: a bit under $5K per person double occupancy, and a bit under $9K for the loners.

The real enticement of the cruise, however, is not just sporting down the Blue Danube among your fellow gun and cruise aficionados. There’s the ultimate come-on:

Aboard for policy discussions and private receptions will be the NRA’s top official, Wayne LaPierre; Oliver North of Iran-Contra notoriety; former Republican House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista; Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese III; and Dr. Ben Carson, who until recently was seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Source: Bloomberg)

Admittedly, I wouldn’t be sneering down my gun-site if the cast were Katrina vanden Heuvel of Nation, Daniel Ellsburg, Martin O’Malley, George Clooney, and Ben and/or Jerry. I still wouldn’t want to be there, but I wouldn’t be shuddering at the thought.

But “relaxing on cigar and bourbon nights” with Wayne LaPierre? Getting my hair trimmed while Callista Gingrich is getting her pelt bleached and lacquered? Dozing off while listening to Gentle Ben Carson drone one? Being anywhere within spitting distance of Oliver North? I really never thought I’d live to see that day when I’d say that I wouldn’t mind being in the buffet line with Ed Meese.

But mostly, just shoot me. Or, since I wouldn’t want to put that offer on the table, maybe just wake me when this particular nightmare is over. (Second prize, two trips on the Freedom Cruise.) One thing it does have going for it:

Strict European gun laws would, under almost all circumstances, prevent guests from carrying firearms.

Good thing. Make that very good thing. You never know when cigar and bourbon night can get out of hand.

No comments: