David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz would lose a kick-fight with my daughter, but he could pull a trigger.
|Jared Loughner: tough-guy and patriot|
Any spaghetti-limbed, weak-kneed, addle-pated idiot can pull a trigger.
As my birth nation digests yet another vile serving of violent hate crime, everyone's looking for a single cause, yet the silence about the relevance of the second amendment if deafening. Drafted when the US was an oppressed colony of a greedy, bullying empire, the second amendment to the constitution grew from this context of armed resistance to foreign occupation. That context has utterly changed, but hanging onto the guns acts as a kind of feedback loop, where the deadly implements re-instill the paranoia that caused their adoption 200+ years ago.
|It's not the word of God, folks. It was written by guys who owned slaves and used buckets for toilets.|
The on-going presence of these 'tools' shapes us. Discuss.
A gun is not just different IN DEGREE from knife or a club. It is different IN KIND. Someone with a knife or a club 5 feet away from you cannot seriously hurt you. You can run from them, but not from a bullet. A bullet changes the dynamics of violent interaction. With another implement, say a knife, your hand and arm have to register the crunch and squelch of flesh and sinew and bone. Ever tried to cut a whole, raw chicken into pieces? With, say, a club, your hand and arm have to register the thud and splintering sensation. There are strong evolutionary inhibitors to these sensations when another human is on the end of them, close enough to gasp their breath in your face, close enough for you to see their eyes roll back in their sockets. Killing with bare hands or held implements is hard work, too. It takes time and persistent effort. Guns are the A.D.D.'s best friend: quick, gestural, detached.
|Careful: this thing's loaded|
If the kids at Columbine had come to school armed with baseball bats, most, if not all, of the victims would be alive today, and having their own families. Discuss.
The solution posited by gun-totin' types goes like this (sung to the tune of "Dixie"): "Oh, I wish the kids in the school had guns, too, they coulda fired back and yell "yahoo", Fire away! Fire away! Fire away, NRA!"
I kid you not. The patriotic answer is to arm everyone, cause if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. (Which might make them easier to spot, but well...). Suppose congresswoman Gifford, and all the victims (including the 9-year old girl), and for that matter each and everyone at that rally had been packing heat when Loughner started shooting. Yes, Loughner would probably be dead, but in that miasma of panic and confusion, how do you tell which of all the armed people around you are not accomplices, and therefore require a round or two in the face? Result: bloody anarchy for a few minutes and many corpses.
A handgun is a tool with only one purpose, and if you say 'target-shooting' you are an idiot. What do you think the targets are proxies for? The concealability of the handgun is but further evidence of cowardice. Did Loughner--or anyone EVER--mosey down the street with a deer rifle in plain sight? No. Why? That would be advertising your intentions, which is to produce the weapon when no one expects it, hence the cowardice. Only a handgun will do the trick.
|"Dr. Freud! Calling Dr. Freud!"|
Have you ever held one? I have--Glocks, Colts, S&W's, and even a WW1 Webley--and each and every one of them felt--what is the word for it?--sexy in the hand. The tool is crafted to grip easily, is molded to the shape of a human hand, and feels like a powerful extension of yourself. That sensation embiggens the smallest man effortlessly. This is their principle attraction, and it's hard not to see psycho-sexual implications for men in holding an empowering tool in your hand. Which leads me to the entirely plausible conclusion that hand-gun-play is for the sexually frustrated or disempowered male. "What a stud I am! Blam! Blam! Ba-blam!"
My Dad was a relatively sweet and peaceful man who had succumbed to the cultural paranoia of gun ownership. He did not hunt. He did not sport shoot. Yet he owned three firearms, two of which were concealable: a Mauser automatic, and a S&W 'Saturday Night Special' six-shooter. He also bought a pump action 30-0-6 shotgun from a fellow at the plant. These were to 'defend the house' in case would-be burglars came a-callin'. The fact that we, having nothing, would not have been high on anyone's burgling list did not come into the equation.
When he was showing his new bargain shotgun purchase off to my sister one day, he casually pointed it at the ceiling as though tracking a doomed duck through a marshland. And blew a hole in the ceiling you could fit a basketball through. Seems the safety was not on.
|That'll buff out...|
It was a testament to his DIY skills that he got up into the loft and patched and painted the hole before Mom got home, which would mean hell-to-pay. You'd never know it was there. It is also a testament to my sister's discretion that I only found out a few years ago. She had been sworn to secrecy. But had my sister's sweet, beloved face been in the way that day, well...that would be the sort of thing a family never gets over and poisons generations yet unborn with guilt, remorse, shame, and terror.
So--now the paranoid patriot's nightmare: mobilize the national guard and confiscate every last one of the wretched, seductive, lethal things, and melt them down, and turn them into a wind-farm. Just a thought.
Repeal or significantly change this vile, out-dated, contemptible statute, before any more 9-year-old kids get holes blown through their chests.
|Present on the fateful day due to an interest in, of all things, politics.|
Postscript: for visualized data on gun crime in the USA go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state