Tag Archives: Gun rights

Peacenik Ranting

So I was innocently enjoying a professional development event in my town’s civic center this noontime when I heard from a tablemate, who’d recently checked her twitter, that there was a bomb threat at the courthouse across the street.


But to which I couldn’t muster much more than a weary “I hope I can get out of the parking lot.” (I could.)

Rant 1: Don’t call watered-down legislation that won the support of a clear majority of the legislature (and a massive majority of the electorate) a failure. Call the system a failure.

Rant 2: We live in a culture of violence. Sometimes that violence is aesthetically glorified—like in movies and video games—and sometimes it causes nationwide terror—like in Boston, Newtown, Aurora, etc etc etc etc etc.

But if it’s a cultural, system-wide problem, then how can we possibly arrive at a solution? Certainly reasonable gun control may help stall, if not reverse, the gravity.

If weaponry in general were not depicted as such an endemic part of masculinity, of patriotism, of power.

If weaponry were regarded as culturally neutral as, say, pharmaceuticals, wine, or children’s toys. That is to say, if they were regulated with dispassionate reason based on data rather than feverish corporate lobbying disguised as grassroots human “rights” activism.

Here‘s Adam Gopnik elegantly (and boldly) connecting our aesthetics of violence with our actual lived experience of violent, shattering events. Contra liberal doctrine against “censorship.”

The reason we don’t want our kids—or our teen-agers, or ourselves for that matter—lost in violent imagery, whatever the beauty of the pixelated townscape, is not because of something that they will cause but because of what they are right now. It’s not what they might do it’s who they are in the act of becoming. Fictive or not, violent images increase the sum total of violence in the world. If we believe that we, as Edmund Burke said, should hate violence and love liberty, then we can’t hate violence and still make it part of our idea of pleasure.

If I spent 10 years of my professional and personal life devoted to the principle that our culture affects—changes–our lived, historical experience (which is one way to describe the work of a literary scholar), why can’t I say out loud, as a liberal, that this shit matters. That all our movies and films that center, drooling, on killing MATTER. These images and stories change us.

And perhaps they have changed us back into the kind of culture we were before we developed a civil society, when the rule of law began replacing feudal systems of social regulation.

Maybe “civil society” was always a fiction, given our long history with extra-legal systemic violence (ahem lynching, ahem rape, ahem domestic violence, ahem “stand your ground” laws, ahem stop-n-frisk).

So I’m willing to condemn Tarantino’s (or the Law and Order franchise, or like any drama on TV that isn’t Mad Men) bloodlust as bad for our society, sure, though they’d still sell enough tickets and ads to drown out any plaintive peacenik self-righteousness on WordPress.

But I’m still going to laugh at the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.

Sorry. I just am.

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Morning Titter



Your quick hit of salacious but relevant political humor. In honor of Hickenlooper signing into law some common sense regulations of our you-know-whats.

funny gun thing

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Mr. Tiny Sips Takes a Big Ol’ Gulp

Today’s big news is that snowboarding may no longer be cool.

Sometimes heads of state are racist. Even when they say they’re not.

And Mr. Incremental Pragmatism closed his eyes, pinched his nose shut, and cannonballed into the deep waters of Big Politics. Without a floatie.

Continue reading

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Jill Lepore on Conceal/Carry Laws

I reread my April post on Jill Lepore’s fantastic article about the history of gun control legislation.

Given my pre-occupation, since the Aurora shootings, with gun control legislation, I wanted to re-post what she wrote about the possibility of a vigilante society:

Gun-rights advocates say that the answer is more guns: things would have gone better, they suggest, if the faculty at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Chardon High School had been armed. That is the logic of the concealed-carry movement; that is how armed citizens have come to be patrolling the streets. That is not how civilians live.

When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left.

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