Sometimes if you say a thing often enough, it is widely perceived as truth. (Example: Kale tastes good.)
Last week at a news conference following Florida's latest big shooting — this time, at a Fort Myers nightclub where young people had gathered for a summer bash — Gov. Rick Scott brushed off the matter of whether it's time to take a look at our gun laws.
"I support the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment has never shot anybody," the governor said. "Evil does this."
Despite the violence that does not seem to stop, we have political leaders who refuse to hear a word about gun control, either because of personal belief or in fear of the swift, sure retribution of the all-powerful National Rifle Association. Maybe for some it's both.
That day, Scott went with a slight variation on a classic mantra we often hear, the go-to defense, whether the latest shooting victims were schoolchildren or police officers or people praying in a church:
Guns don't kill people, the saying goes, people kill people.
Even given the grim subject matter, it borders on silliness, this image of guns jumping up and firing of their own accord without human hands attached.
You wonder how that particular logic follows in the all-too-familiar scenario when a child finds a gun left behind by a grownup, a gun stuffed under a sofa cushion, hidden in a drawer or forgotten in a coat pocket. The kid picks up the gun and fires, because that's what guns do. And sometimes there are monstrous and irretrievable consequences.
So are those children the evil to which the governor refers?
Here's another argument you hear a lot when we try to talk about both sense and guns:
Cars kill lots of people. Why not ban them, too?
The short answer being that a car was created for a purpose other than to shoot or kill.
Here in Florida, we seem to have a perennial push in Tallahassee to become a state in which it is legal for people to carry their guns out in the open — despite the fact that many in law enforcement have called this a recipe for chaos.
The best defense for a bad guy with a gun, the homily goes, is a good guy with a gun. So let's have more armed good guys out there.
Except this works only in movies and cartoons.
Good and bad guys rarely wear distinctive uniforms like NFL players to tell you which team they are on — not even name tags — to help police arriving at a potentially explosive crime scene tell them apart in an instant. Real life is more real than that.
On one thing, at least, maybe the governor, the NRA and I can agree:
Evil people with guns are responsible for these mass shootings that seem to be happening so often we barely have time to sort through the headlines before the next one hits. Two teenagers dead and at least 18 injured in Fort Myers. Forty-nine people gunned down and dozens more wounded at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
But here's what's also pretty much a constant: guns, and people who should not have them, and laws that have done little to stop this.
Sue Carlton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.