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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