December 15, 2012

Nuts

The gun nuts are sort of right: it's not about the easy availability of assault weapons — it's about that and a toxic culture of infinite entitlement, the elevation of responsibility-free belligerence, agression, and violence as ways to get that entitlement, and a culture that absolutely celebrates and glorifies guns (is there a Hollywood blockbuster or best-selling video game that doesn't have at least one gun or weapon as a hero or main character? In San Francisco yesterday morning I was passed by two SF Muni buses with large ads on the side featuring a grinning Arnie toting a huge multi-barreled machine gun as part of the pre-release marketing for yet another “comedy” featuring guns).

The more people die from gun violence, the more the gun nuts say we need more guns. The gun nuts' standard response is that this sort of event shows that everyone should be armed (including the children, I presume). That's a classic arms race setup, where death rates will spiral upwards as pre-emptive attacks become common (who shoots first wins), and people shoot randomly at anyone during an attack (or perceived attack) because, since everyone will be toting a gun, it's impossible to tell who's the original perp. It's a smaller-scale, personalised, version of the consensual totalitarian future I've foreseen elsewhere.

And surely, a gunman out to avenge some slight or whatever like yesterday (or a mentally-ill person — maybe not always the same thing…) just isn't going to care (or at least think too much) about whether they're killed in the attack — the point is to kill; survival is beyond the point. And with modern assault weapons, you could easily kill dozens before you're taken out of action yourself.

As a headline here said yesterday, "If This Doesn't Change the Gun Debate, We're Doomed". We're doomed (duh!). I'd use the offensive old phrase "dialogue of the deaf" if it weren't really more like a huge bunch of voices in the wilderness vs. a determined onslaught of ideologues shouting “la la la — I can't hear you!” at the top of their voices with their gun barrels stuck in their ears.

A million years ago I proposed that guns should be universally available in this country… to women only. I was half joking, but sometimes I think it's the only way out of this — which is another way of saying, given the current dominant politics and culture(s) here, there's simply no way out. It's only going to get worse.

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