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    Thursday, April 18, 2024

    In the wake of KC, are potential UConn parades prudent?

    In roughly six weeks, the next major national sporting events conclude: The crowning of men’s and women’s college basketball champions, the annual late-winter rhythms of the sports calendar with which we are intimately familiar in Connecticut.

    It also leaves our state in a potentially precarious state. Specifically: Is it prudent, given the recent events in Kansas City, to continue the tradition of a parade through downtown Hartford if the UConn men and/or women win the national championship?

    I ask because Connecticut might have the first decision to make about victory parades in the post-Kansas City era. Two men were charged with murder in last week’s incident after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade that left one person dead and roughly two dozen others injured.

    According to published reports, the two men did not arrive at the parade intending to shoot anyone. The guns came out after they began to argue. Seems a scenario that could happen anywhere now, given that societal instability is inflating like a bounce house.

    Some might still question whether such incidents could happen here. Connecticut doesn’t appear to be as gun giddy as Kansas City, where it has been reported that “celebratory gunfire” — people shooting guns into the air — happens frequently to commemorate big occasions.

    Turns out that celebratory gunfire once killed an 11-year-old girl, Blair Shanahan Lane, on July 4, 2011. Despite ensuing legislation (Blair’s Law) to prohibit celebratory gunfire, published reports say the Kansas City Police Department’s ShotSpotter technology recorded 130 rounds after the Chiefs won the AFC championship a few weeks ago.

    Attempts to reach U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy for comments were unsuccessful. Murphy, passionate about the proliferation of guns in our country, is traveling on a congressional delegation trip in Turkey this week, according to press liaison Ally Livingston. I’m interested in the senator’s opinion as to whether UConn parade(s) would be prudent.

    Is there a right answer here? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more sensible to have a championship celebration at Rentschler Field, where 40,000-plus could still enjoy the moment, but would all pass through metal detectors and be subject to other security procedures upon entry. Foolproof? Hardly. But probably better for peace of mind purposes than the downtown parade route.

    Or maybe not having the parade simply cowers to the baser angels of our nature.

    Of course, I’m not sure it’s possible to rationally discuss this. No other topic succeeds at rambling off topic faster than guns, where the extremists on both sides have launched a coup d’etat on the rest of our sensibilities. You are either in one of two camps: All guns are bad or you can recite the Second Amendment from memory.

    They’re both wrong, of course. But is the truth audible above the roar?

    All guns aren’t bad. There are a gazillion honest, decent, responsible gun owners who are trained, comply with safety precautions and enjoy the range, club or hunting. As is their right. I can tell you that one day I spent on the range a few years back was quite fun.

    Then there’s the Second Amendment crowd, which is heavier on rhetoric than historical context. What I’m about to relate comes from a reader, who articulates it better than I can:

    “At the time the Second Amendment was ratified, the armed ‘well-regulated militia’ was primarily quartered in their homes,” the reader wrote. “The militia was a citizen army and the militiamen were expected to provide their own weapons and equipment. That’s the real limiting intention of the Second Amendment, regulated only by the government.

    “One would have to believe that James Madison was an 18th Century Village Idiot, who wanted everyone in the country to be heavily armed, at a time when there were still many Tory loyalists around, who would use such weapons to launch a counter rebellion. Furthermore, those who enlist in today's modern ‘well regulated’ security forces do not provide their own arms, but are instead provided with them and trained in the proper battlefield use of them.”

    Translation: We have evolved from the days of the “well-regulated militia.” How much is really “relegated” at all anymore?

    Which returns us to that perilous piece of real estate, east of the rock and west of the hard place.

    To parade or not to parade? I get that it’s hardly a guarantee that either UConn team wins. But it’s been known to happen. Like 16 times. And we’ll have a decision to make if No. 17, 18 (or both) happen.

    I admit that I’m torn. I’d hate to deny the legions a chance to salute the Huskies in our traditional ways. But it sure feels as though the proliferation of guns rises in direct proportion to the proliferation of unglued Americans. And it only takes one.

    Are we ready for a rational discussion yet?

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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