By Allen David
What is it, exactly, that makes Christmas so holy . . . or in the case we’re going to talk about here, so holey? Fact is, the holiness of Christmas resonates quite differently—which is to say, very personally—among the millions of people throughout the world who celebrate it as the pivot point of Christianity. Yep, no matter how massively religion may be organized, its core spiritual experience remains an intimate thing. That’s why so many people in Murrieta are being caught by surprise today as they hear how City Councilmember Henry Ramos used the middle of Tuesday night’s council meeting to suddenly go public with his particular set of reasons that Christmas is such a holy (holey?) season—especially when he turned out to be celebrating the holes made by bullets. That’s what’s got Ramos excited as this Christmas approaches. “Yesterday I purchased his-and-her firearms for my wife and myself,” Ramos rejoiced, bearing personal witness to his acquisition of the weaponry during the portion of the city council meeting set aside for “governing body announcements,” then testifying about what it took to tap into this increased firepower. “Actually I just wanted a new gun,” Ramos acknowledged, “but I figured the best way to coax my wife into allowing me to buy a gun during the Christmastime season was to get her her own firearm.” Granted, it was an excellent tactic, so much less conspicuous than if Ramos had extracted his wife’s permission to get a new gun by, say, holding one of his other guns to her head. Yet it’s difficult to know what to make of the wider issue raised when Ramos used his status as a secular public official to introduce his opinions on the holiness of a religious tradition. Some people say it reveals a man who is callous or cruel . . . or howzabout brain-dead clueless? Consider that he delivered his remarks in the wake of the Yuletidal wave of blood that’s been gushing from the Christmas holiness created by the bullets that killed 26 people (20 of them children) in a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Consider that the council had already dedicated its opening prayer to the shooting victims and that the slaughter was mentioned several more times during the meeting—including when Murrieta Police Chief Mike Baray and Fire Chief Matt Shobert delivered reports about how the city deals with security at schools. Consider that President Obama is pushing for stricter gun laws, that the National Rifle Association wants an armed guard in every American school. After all that, consider how the hell Henry Ramos could possibly have come up with any justifiable reason for inflicting his own flimsy experience to underscore the holiness that has perforated this Christmas season. Duhhh! We get it, Hank. How about telling us something we don’t already know?
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20
Laura Williams of Rancho Cucamonga, a wife, a mother of three, a working woman with a resume that reads like On The Road and a career path that looks like an EKG, today celebrates birthday number . . . 46? Impossible! Who took my baby sister?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21
So on second thought—that thought being the one in which we remember he owns guns—perhaps we were a little hard on Henry Ramos. Turns out that the street-corner sermon he delivered at the Murrieta City Council meeting did feature a few things we did not already know. Like, Ramos didn’t specifically mention the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. And Ramos made no reference to all the resulting calls for more gun control. And it’s not as if there wasn’t some new information to be gleaned from his double-barreled endorsement of the .357 Magnum as a Christmas present—it’s the gun Ramos got his wife. Already the status of the sweet piece is rising in the gift-giving pantheon, perhaps to someday occupy a place next to gold, frankincense and myrrh; the perfect stocking-stuffer for the Prince of Peace in every family . . . notwithstanding that Ramos’s wife has never used a gun before. Ramos promises to give her the proper training at a local shooting range, except that there are no gun ranges in Murrieta—and, lo, the hawk-eyed angel of political opportunity was suddenly with him, and unto Ramos was born this day an identifiable issue with traction. “I was mortified to hear that there are no shooting ranges within the city of Murrieta,” he said. Ramos was soon asking his colleagues to consider changing Murrieta’s city code to make it easier to open a gun range.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22
Meanwhile, anybody up for circulating a petition to recall Ramos?
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23
Today is 12 years since the day I proposed marriage to a woman, who accepted, prompting me to call it the happiest day of my life . . . for about seven weeks actually, until precisely night before Valentine’s Day—when she suddenly broke off the engagement, leaving me for a just-out-of-prison gangbanger named Casper. By September, she had married him. By December he was back in prison. That’s what you call a bad patch of life—and an even worse idea for a script.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 24
Santa Claus sets out on his annual one-night, worldwide mission to deliver gifts to every deserving person on earth, most of whom set out snacks for the old man to improve their chances of being in the “deserving” category. They’re not doing the guy any favors. Based on some very conservative statistical estimates and mathematical calculations, by the time he gets home Santa has packed on 72,756 pounds.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 25