Boys and the Second Amendment

There are two stories floating out there in the media-sphere that should be connected but are not, for reasons that I don’t fully understand. First is the open-secret videos of Mike Rice bullying young players at Rutgers. I call it an open-secret video because I don’t think it’s a secret that coaches often act this way. We had a coach in Junior High, his name was Johnson, I think, who was infamous for throwing things at us when he was unhappy.

This is the sort of thing that young boys quickly come to see as more or less normal. I think we ought to be thinking about this open-secret as we watch the ongoing debate over gun safety. Or, rather, as we watch a small minority of (mostly) white (mostly) men, funded by the gun industry, successfully derail yet another attempt to create reasonable legislation that might prevent the sort of mass killing that happened in Newtown last November.

The NRA is a bully of a lobby group, forcing its freakish agenda on all of us and Adam Lanza was surely pushed around, like all of us were. Unlike most of us, he needed medical help he never got. (Keep shrinking the government and the Adams of the world will never have help.) The gun lobby people, and the hyper-competitive, angry coaches are all part of a violent culture that sees violence as a part of the everyday routines of life.

Capitalism, red in tooth and claw. You wear the gun on your belt when you go to the store; if those boys won’t perform, scream and toss something at them until they do. We were all raised this way and now the coaches are teaching the boys these same lessons and the NRA is showing us what an entire society organized around violence and guns would look like. Every man and boy for himself and everyone armed and ready to fire.

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 I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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