When's the last time you thought of "¢ nothing.

Imagine white space. A quiet place. A blank spot on a map, where creative muses daydream in cloud hammocks, waiting for an open mind. It's the home of good ideas, inspiration and peace. It's a button that turns off the world so we can hear the quiet, still voice of God.

It's also like Mark Twain's quote: Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Maybe we're afraid of it. Someone might see us doing nothing and wonder if we're sick or lazy. Everyone is supposed to brag about being crazy busy.

Not Always Better

I admit I'm good at nothing. I know a little bit about it. And I've learned that there are times there is nothing I can do, when it's the only answer. Yet everyone runs in circles around it, hurrying to do something "” anything "” just to look important.

I don't think it was always this way. I like to believe that once upon a time it was OK to admit nothing would work. It was OK to confess that we knew nothing and nothing could be done.

Maybe it's the unceasing yammering media, insisting on urgent solutions and emergency opinions, riding off in the wrong direction in a dust cloud of panic, hell-bent to demand answers that are hopelessly wrong.

And they are always the same: "There oughta be a law "¢" So we get another new law and lose one more acre of liberty.

What if we just stop, take a deep breath and vote for "None of the above?"

What if the next time a celebrity or politician spouts head-slapping idiocy, we politely look the other way as we should for any social embarrassment?

What if instead of throwing a trillion dollars away on bailouts, stimulus, bank rescues and billion-dollar crutches for crippled corporations, we just do nothing? Would we be worse off?

What if we did nothing to our tax laws for 10 or 20 years? What if we looked at healthcare, banking, so-called climate change and all the other federal regulations that could wallpaper Nebraska and said to Congress: "Stop. We have plenty of rules. Unless you have a regulation to erase regulations, go away and do nothing."

Privacy, Sympathy, Prayers

One of my favorite jazz artists, Pat Metheny, knows the power of nothing. On discs such as Way Up, he builds a traffic jam of sound then suddenly breaks into "¢ silence. Then, quietly, slowly, he starts from nothing and returns with soft notes that paint elegant beauty, the sound of floating serenity.

Deep down, we all yearn for that.

So, now that the shouting has stopped, what if the next time some crazy-evil nut-job shoots helpless people, we do "¢ nothing. No political posturing. No harsh close-ups of distraught, grieving families. No talking heads prattling ignorance before the bodies cool. What if we just quietly mourn and give the families privacy, dignity, sympathy and prayers.

I know, that's ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as the political vandalism perpetrated so that self-important fools with histrionic good intentions can "do something" that won't change anything.

Let's face it: There's a tragic price for the freedom we love, and we'd rather pay it than censor those Tarantino violence-porn movies, ban blood-spattered video games or detain dangerously insane people who wander the streets. The media won't even confess their own guilt in making celebrities of shooters who commit horrific crimes for media attention.

Instead, they take aim at guns like a fat man blaming his fork.

No Defense

Gun control can't stop mass murder. Yet politicians raise the cry, and the media choir sings along with threats to ban guns and ammo. The result: Wal-Mart sells out of guns and gun shows are mobbed.

Anyone who is not blinded by ideological glaucoma can see it's not working.

Studies show that "gun free" zones are killing zones. But one armed citizen can stop a mass killer. As concealed-carry laws and gun ownership increase, gun crimes decline. It's common sense. People who can defend themselves usually do. Criminals may be stupid, but not suicidal. They prefer unarmed victims.

As Wormwood would write to Screwtape: "Our biggest asset is the gun control crowd. Their misguided efforts put more guns on the streets and make sure victims are unarmed and defenseless."

Spelling Out the Facts

One day a local police officer came to the newspaper where I worked to patiently explain firearms to reporters and editors. Few attended. The certainty of ignorance is a powerful drug.

He patiently explained that an "assault" weapon only looks like a military rifle, the way a spoiler makes a family sedan look like a race car. But no matter how fierce it looks, it's still a semiautomatic (not automatic), just a common Toyota Camry of firearms. It all comes down to who's behind the wheel.

Full automatics have been regulated since Hoover's dam was a leaky faucet. Yet the media stubbornly, deliberately pretend that scary-looking guns are more powerful and more deadly. They are not.

A revolver can fire about as fast as a semi-automatic and is less likely to jam. A pump shotgun can be far more deadly. The cop explained all this and more. And the next time there was a sensational gun story, the same old "assault weapons" hysteria was back, harder to cure than mental malaria.

We also are told that guns are easy to get. Not true. I tried to buy a shotgun this year at a gun show. The FBI blocked my purchase, offering no reason. It happens a lot. Three days later, I was cleared "”after filling out multiple pages of registration. But all the paperwork, background checks and regulations can't stop the next deranged shooter.

Admit Evil Exists

I guess some people would rather pass more laws than admit that evil exists and sometimes there is nothing we can do.

The same week those kids were killed in Newtown, Conn., there was a similar story from China: A lunatic stabbed 23 school kids. All the gun control laws in China couldn't stop him. Maybe they will ban knives and clubs.

Long, Sad History

When I was editor of a weekly newspaper in Bath, Mich., one of the first things I did was look up the story that put Bath on the map in 1927. A school board member who had lost an election planted dynamite at a country schoolhouse and blew up 38 children and seven adults, then detonated his truck packed with nails and shrapnel and killed himself.

Maybe there was a crusade for "dynamite control" after that. But it didn't stop Timothy McVeigh from using fertilizer to kill hundreds; it didn't stop the 9/11 terrorists who used jets to kill thousands.

Trying to battle evil with lies and ignorance is as stupid as trying to protect people by disarming them.

It's worse than doing nothing.

So next time, let's try more than just a moment of silence.