Happiness is a Warm Book About Guns: Intellectual Self-Defense

Categories: OC Bookly
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I began writing this on Friday, hours after NRA loon-in-chief Wayne LaPierre offered his predictably over-the-top defense of gun nuts, pimps and apologists for the weapons industry. Hard to imagine the cognitive dissonance required of somebody who can stick to his, yes, guns in the face of Sandy Hook and all the rest of the murders. Or not. He's paid well, and has quite the operation. When I called the NRA a week ago to thank them for their terrific work getting weapons into the hands of so many Americans, I was put on hold first and heard not a recording of how "people kill people" but that President Obama is giving away our national sovereignty to one-world government! The NRA's ambitions are clearly more than most "liberal media" and government has dared call them out on. Not Mr. Bib! Your unshy opponent of an armed citizen Bircher mafia here offers modest bookish self-defense for challenging the power of the murderous corporate gun thugs.

Since Friday I've been pleased, heartened, encouraged at the reasonable and appropriate anger and humane resistance to the gun lobby. Some of the commercial mainstream media seems, for once, to be willing to diagnose LaPierre's anti-social psychopathology, perhaps because he so elegantly flaunted it at his weird press conference. Lawrence O'Donnell did a righteous piece on his "The Last Word," notable and powerful and brave and comprehensive. Because although even a moderate Republican can see there's a problem of a big fat violent bully on the block, it seems to take more dead children to start somebody, anybody with a microphone and a camera to just go for it.  

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Didn't shoot back swiftly
By way of more mental case study, I offer the following.  How serendipitous is it that the same morning LaPierre offered his absurd proposal to place armed vigilantes in front of schools and blamed symbolic movie and video game violence, the mostly pro-gun rightists who red-baited him agreed that they might indeed accept Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State? Huh?  Not one employee of the 
"liberal media" has asked McCain and Graham how they could now possibly accept the traitorous Kerry who they so successfully Swift Boated, and put him in charge of the swift ship of state.  The best thing Kerry ever did was the Winter Soldier campaign and work to stop the US War against the people of Southeast Asia and work with Viet Nam Vets Against the War.  But, no they made up some nonsense about him not challenging their doomed imperialist war but for being a coward!  Apparently cognitive dissonance is contagious.  Remember it is the same incredibly curious and courageous reporters who missed the really big story, that Senatorial candidate Obama, presumably a Kenyan Muslim radical Black anti-imperialist Christian Marxist disciple of Reverend Wright all along, became a threat to America's security and well-being only when he decided to run for Prez.  

So, yes, I am thrilled by the excellent New York Times editorial taking on the gun kooks and have appreciated the telling of the history of our psychic and political molestation and intimidation at the hands of the NRA by some terrific guests on Pacifica and NPR (more on that below). This morning I remind myself, too, of Bertholt Brecht's great line "Hungry man, reach for the book. It is the a weapon."  And I'd refer readers of this militantly pro-gun control (make that handgun abolition!) blog to start weaponizing their minds with three terrific books by having a look at the review I composed a year ago over at Tom Lutz's Los Angeles Review of Books.  In it I very much
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Unsafeway in AZ
 recommend Chapman University writer-professor Tom Zoellner's excellent if perhaps too-restrained case study of the truly strange state of Arizona and its cultural and political hard-on for gun violence, A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us About the Grand Canyon State in Life in America. 

Zoellner makes the mistake of being fair and objective, and although a professional journalist, must have struggled hard to frame humanely and honestly the profiles he offers of victims and  what I would call victimizers. His investigation is sad and heartfelt as it is also a kind of autobiography. He was raised in the Grand Canyon State, worked for Giffords, perhaps even loved her. The book offers a largeness of spirit and empathy which, frankly, seems heartbreakingly, uselessly hopeful in tone after the latest predictable massacre.  Imagine that. But it is urgent and accurate in its telling of the history of guns, as promised.
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8 comments
notipugo
notipugo

While the police  are good at investigating crimes and apprehending criminals, they can do little to protect law-abiding citizens against robberies, assaults and murders.  Gun sales are soaring because responsible people want to be able to protect their families, against the kind of violence that the police are useless at preventing. 

gary747
gary747

If you think about it, there is a reason mass shootings occur where the victims are innocent, unarmed and unprotected. I feel pretty safe at gun shows, in "right-to-carry" states, and in Sheriff Stations. I face more danger driving my car on LA freeways than I do from mass shooters. While there is no Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing my right to drive a car, I gladly face that danger daily, even knowing that many will die that day in their vehicle.

As the Supreme Court ruled, the 2nd Amendment DOES guarantee an individual right to own firearms, but you don't need to take their word for it. Consider a new amendment: A well-educated electorate, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books, shall not be infringed.

Does that say that only educated people, or people who vote, can keep and read books? Of course not. In terms of firearms, it means we all have a duty to keep and bear arms so that we, the free people of this country, can and will fight back against insane, inane, and evil people who attempt to kill our children, disrupt our security, or destroy our way of life.

JackGrimshaw
JackGrimshaw

To drive a vehicle, legally, in any state in the U.S., you need a state-issued driver's license and vehicle registration. To own a firearm of any kind in any state, you should be required to have a state-issued license and all the weapons you own registered. Get caught in possession without a license, or with an unregistered weapon, you should face serious prison time. Second offence, mandatory 10 years. Commit a crime while carrying a weapon, the index finger of your shooting hand is amputated. Doesn't solve the problem of nutbags with guns, but would be a solid first step on the problem of scumbags with guns ...

dianelefer
dianelefer

Thank  you, as always, Mr. Bibb. I thought I'd posted this comment! Well, let me try again, apologies if this is a duplicate. Let's see if I can remember what I said.

You remind me I have been guilty of trying to pacify and show respect for "responsible gun owners." I suppose there are a few and I guess I know some responsible hunters, but most of the gun owners I've known personally have been anything but responsible. The guys in Denver who got good and drunk before heading out to the woods to shoot their weapons. The best friend of my former brother-in-law who, on a first date with me and after a couple of glasses of wine, took out a revolver and wanted to play Russian roulette. I could go on. Americans treat guns as toys. "Responsible" adults keep guns in their homes and then we have all the so-called accidents, the shooting deaths of family members and neighbors--many of them little children--and I do not consider these deaths accidental. What the hell is wrong with us?

dianelefer
dianelefer

@notipugo People who keep guns at home for their own protection end up being on the wrong end of the barrel. If I keep a gun responsibly-- with triggerlock, in a secure place where children can't find it -- I won't have time to get it if someone enters the house. If I wake to find someone standing over me in my bedroom, my legally purchased gun is useless unless it's loaded and under my pillow--hardly recommended by any sane person.

gary747
gary747

@JackGrimshaw Your suggestion should be applied all the way.  If you get caught driving without a drivers license or without vehicle registration, you should face serious prison time.  The numbers show that we are at a much greater risk from others driving cars than we are from mass shooters.  Besides, there is no Constitutional Right to own a car.  If you do happen to experience the small chance occassion of being in a building with a scumbag with a gun, you should be able to carry a weapon for your own and others defense.  Should be your choice.  Do you really feel safer not having access to your own gun in that situation?

gary747
gary747

@dianelefer  Hi Diane:  I'm going to use your own words (kind of) to make another conclusion:

"You remind me I have been guilty of trying to pacify and show respect for "responsible car owners." I suppose there are a few and I guess I know some responsible drivers, but most of the car owners I've known personally have been anything but responsible. The guys in Denver (or any other city, every day) who got good and drunk before heading out to the freeway to drive their cars. The best friend of my former brother-in-law who, on a first date with me (prom, dinner, whatever) and after a couple of glasses of wine, drove through the nighrborhood at 70 mph. I could go on. Americans treat cars as toys."

It's not the cars, nor your access to them, that kills.  It has more to do with power, and it's a whole lot more about some folks inability manage that power.

dianelefer
dianelefer

@gary747 @dianelefer  I don't disagree with you, Gary. But the fact that too many folks can't manage that lethal power is why we need regulation and control when it comes to that power. It seems whenever I speak of regulating guns, someone points out that alcohol or cars or you name it are just as lethal. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has made a great difference in our society, to a large extent changing the culture and driving (no pun intended) greater enforcement. My point here is that just because there are many ways to kill someone does not mean we absolve firearms. And actually, I agree with Wayne LaPierre about violent video games. But the fact that these virtual realities that promote violence are part of the problem does not make the guns that are used in real life blameless.

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