Vail Daily column: The whole story

Butch Mazzuca
Valley Voices
Butch Mazzuca
Butch Mazzuca |

In today’s highly charged political environment how often do we really hear the whole story about anything?

We certainly didn’t hear it about Benghazi until well after the event; and even today, we still don’t know who ordered the stand-down that kept our Navy Seals and Marines from attempting a rescue. And as a result, four Americans including our ambassador are dead.

“If you like your plan you can keep your plan, and if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Remember that? Yup, another example of not being given the whole story. But thanks to Jonathan Gruber, a paid technical advisor to the Obama administration, visitor to the Oval Office and one of the primary architects of Obamacare, we now know there was purposeful deception on the part of the Affordable Care Act’s proponents in getting the law passed.

As of this writing, there are at least seven Gruber videos in which Gruber mocks the “stupidity” of American voters and boasts of the Obama administration’s ability to take advantage of it. Had Americans been given the whole story in 2008 it’s doubtful the Affordable Health Care Act would have become law.

Gay marriage is a fact of life, but neither side in this debate has told us the whole story in arguing their respective positions. I think it was Bill O’Reilly who argued “If we condone gay marriage, where will it stop? What will happen when someone decides they want to marry their dog or have a three-way marriage?”

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I suspect O’Reilly was being facetious regarding man’s best friend, but he raises a legitimate point regarding polygamy. The notion of comparing gay marriage with polygamy will drive gay marriage proponents to drink, but this perspective does have merit.

Traditional marriage is defined as the union between two people of opposite gender. And it’s the gender requirement that gay marriage proponents insist is little more than arbitrary prejudice. If they are correct, shouldn’t it reasonably follow that the number component should be arbitrary as well?

Some say the polygamy argument is a diversion because homosexuality and polygamy are entirely different animals — it’s like comparing your house cat with a tiger. As the argument goes, polygamy is an activity, while homosexuality is a state of being governed by human emotion.

But for a moment let’s eliminate the number factor and presuppose a situation where three gay women (or men) are all deeply in love with each other. On what grounds could the proponents of gay marriage argue that heartfelt human emotion cannot also exist among three people?

Our society considers polygamy abhorrent while it is becoming more accepting of gay marriage. However, I find it interesting that I could not unearth a single society in history that sanctioned gay marriage until the late 20th century, but was able to pinpoint dozens of societies that permitted (and still permit) polygamy.

The horrific massacres at Columbine, Newtown and Sandy Hook are indelibly etched into our psyches. And as sure as night follows day, these bloodbaths rightfully precipitate debate over the issue of gun control. When one of these tragedies occurs, the mainstream media goes apoplectic, the far left demands draconian gun laws and repeal of the Second Amendment, while the NRA hauls out statistics to prove that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

However, while the partisans scream at each other Americans never seem to get the whole story. In an article written several years ago, Charles Krauthammer outlined the three components to the gun debate that are worth considering.

The first component is the weapon. Congress enacted an assault weapons ban 20 years ago. Unfortunately, that ban left a loophole exempting almost 1,000 different types of weapons (of the 1.5 million then in circulation) not to mention the hundreds of other weapons that could be made legal with minor modifications.

What many may not realize is that the staggering numbers of guns out there make it virtually impossible to craft an effective gun control law unless or until all guns are confiscated from the citizenry and the Second Amendment is repealed — and what do you think are the chances of that happening?

Next, the killers — gun control laws are made for sane people, and sane people don’t unload three magazines in a classroom. While an extremely minute percentage of the mentally ill commit mass murders, the Fifth Amendment prohibits us from preemptive measures. Said differently, even if someone is mentally ill, they cannot be put away unless or until they actually commit the crime, and by then it’s too late.

And lastly, there’s the culture — we live in a society where entertainment from movies to video games are sodden with gratuitous violence. And while psychiatrists and psychologists debate the impact movies and games have on society, I refuse to believe that young people are immune from their influence.

Debate would be so much more productive if only both sides were willing to tell the whole story.

Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at

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