Gun Control – Again
March 16, 2013
OK. First, there is below a video of some guy named Bill Whittle, who does something called “the virtual presidency,” where he addresses issues of current importance as if he were president. Then, below that is my “analysis” which was requested by a friend with whom I shared a street in Metuchen, New Jersey, when we were both much younger. Enjoy.
My take on Bill Whittle is that (a) he is rather cute and (b) he makes his case like any lawyer would make it, amassing all the "evidence" he can to support his position, which was arrived at independently of his or any evidence. This way of proceeding is all so common today that almost nobody notices it anymore. People use evidence not to arrive at conclusions but to support conclusions they have already arrived at.
I really don't care much about "gun control." I think such legislation is "feel good legislation," which also has the consequence of disguising from ourselves that we are a violent people, i.e., a people who buy into violence readily [and are encouraged in this "way" by those with the power]. Of course, Whittle's remarks have the same result: to disguise who we are by talking about guns as a "policy wonk" does. And because these policies are not addressed to the underlying issues, they are bound to fail, which is perfectly consistent with the wishes of our political class [by which I mean the establishment democrats and republicans, both our alleged "liberals" and "conservatives"] who don't mind and, in fact, are served by "failure." [Failure makes us, ordinary people, devalue or dismiss politics and, hence, the possibility of real political change. What we have is "the best we can do."]
One of my favored books is No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy. In it, a sensible sheriff, sheriff Bell, wonders about this country a lot. At one point he says something like: "Good people don't need to be governed. And bad people cannot be governed at all. At least, if they can, I ain't never heard of it."
From where I sit, we live in a world of illusions: E.g., some believing that guns cannot protect us or others believing that guns can protect us. Then we argue over these illusions as if they were real. Meanwhile, the real issues go unaddressed. Another example from No Country for Old Men. Sheriff Bell is talking with another sheriff about drugs. The other sheriff says something like: "Things are really bad. They is selling those drugs to school kids." Sheriff Bell says: "It's worse than that." Other sheriff: "How's that?" Bell: "School kids are buyin' 'em."
And, of course, the question is "Why?" That is, why are school kids buying those drugs? We know why the sellers are selling, profit. It's just business. But why are school kids - or wealthy and successful people - buying those drugs? This is a harder question to answer and, hence, "policy wonks" and politicians don't want to address it. [And perhaps we don't either as it makes us uncomfortable.]
We had guns at 37 Upland Ave. But we did not think of those guns as any kind of "statement" or that we were protecting ourselves from "tyranny" or from criminals. We used them to hunt. Today, on both sides of this alleged "divide," guns have been given a "status," a social status - either as harbingers of death or of protection - altogether unheard of then. Guns are guns is all. You have them or you don't. They might protect you or they might kill or injure you. That's it for me. This debate is, for me, a distraction, one that serves the reigning political class - it helps to keep it in power - without changing much at all. It is just another version of our politics of smoke and mirrors.