Still Disgusted

On hearing the news, I had to ask myself yet again, how many more fucking times does this need to happen? Omaha, Virginia Tech, and now this (with plenty of other less publicized shootings in between). Not only can the NRA go fuck itself for blocking sane gun control legislation, the Democrats can fuck themselves sideways for running away from the issue like the useless cowards that they are.

posted by Werner Herzog’s Bear at 6:25 PM

Yesterday was the anniversary of Chicago’s ‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’ on February 14, 1929, and today is the anniversary of the attempted assassination of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the killing of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak on February 15, 1933. These events led to one of the few gun control laws still on the books, the National Firearms Act of 1934. Our recent gun violence should also lead us to take action.

Today, as we grieve with the victims and families of this latest mass shooting, I call on college and university presidents across America to join with us in demanding that the presidential candidates – as well as the U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush – support meaningful action to prevent gun violence. Much more needs to be done to help make our schools and communities safer.

Statement Of Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke, On Northern Illinois University Shootings, February 15, 2008

I’ve been looking around in my usual haunts over the last few days in order to see if there’s going to be a response to the murders at NIU. Maybe folks are trying to be cautious and not take advantage of tragedy by using it for publicity, but so far the reaction has been remarkably low-key, if not invisible. Herzog’s Bear got it just right, I think.

This is the complete post but it’s worth a visit to the site to see the comments. One of the most striking argues that the problem is not too many guns but not enough guns. I heard something similar on Fox the other day. The idea is that these incidents could be prevented if we allowed people to carry concealed weapons.

The irrationality of that argument makes it almost impossible to refute, like trying to convince someone that they were not abducted by aliens. Even worse is the idea that we need these weapons as insurance against our own government. Insurgents, as recent history has shown, don’t need cheap handguns to fight.

In any case, even if we did have to fight our own government we would be silly to mount a violent campaign when a non-violent war would be so much more effective. Maybe one way to counter this silly self-defense notion is to read more about what happens when Americans do take up arms against their own government.

Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman,” is Cathy Wilkerson’s remarkable memoir that tells this very story. It’s easy to forget that this romance of violent resistance was once a central story in progressive circles, just as it is a central story now in mainstream right wing circles. Wilkerson might be telling the right cautionary tale for our times.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn’t want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so.

I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com.

I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that ‘at’ symbol] writinginthewild.com

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