Saturday, December 22, 2012

Various & Sundry: Maximum Guns

As you can tell, since Sandy Hook, the issue of guns has been on my mind. Here are a few more things I've seen that I thought were illuminating, thought-provoking, helpful, or hopeful in the swirl of information.

Let me start here so it doesn't get buried: In the "but what can we do?" category, the most helpful thing I've found this week is the Children's Defense Fund's document Protect Children, Not Guns. It was written earlier this year, and is an issue they have been working on a long time, so it wasn't a rush-to-find-an-answer kind of a thing. I also like that they had calls to action for all of us, not just "them."

Knowing that you can examine any non-profit's 990 tax form, I thought I'd take a look at the NRA's, and found this post examining their finances for 2010, the year in which Wayne LaPierre, president of the NRA, made $835,469 (plus another $125K and change in "other compensation"). It's a fascinating document to dig into. You know who's on the board of directors? Grover Norquist.

If you are wondering, "How did we get to this place?", Terry Gross's interview with Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, tracing the history of the rise of the assault-style weapon for the civilian market, may be something you want to listen to, or read the transcript. The information is disturbingly fascinating, and presented in a very matter-of-fact way.

Also looking at history, Tony Horwitz notes the similarities between the gun lobby and the slavery lobby of the 18th century. And blogger Nancy Kho found similar parallels after seeing the movie Lincoln on the day of the Sandy Hook shootings.

Lance Mannion had two posts that resonated with me. The first is the satirical Dear Gun Nuts, Uncle Sam needs you! The second, Against any grand unifying  theories explaining Sandy Hook, is one he says he's not happy with and will add to later. His summary in the comments is this: "I think rather than trying to explain anything and everything in reference to broad social issues, we'll learn more if we focus on the individual stories of the killers themselves and we're better off asking not what causes violence in general but what would have stopped this particular killer well before he got to killing people." But everything we're posting and thinking right now is a work in progress, it seems to me.

In the thought-provoking category, Mike the Mad Biologist writes that Nothing in Movement Conservatism Makes Sense Except in the Light of Creationism: The Second-Amendment Edition, which shows similar ways of thinking about gun rights and creationism, the same resentment about anyone who wants to "take them away," or not take their logic seriously. It's worth reading for the "oh" of understanding.

I'm assuming you've read Adam Gopnik's article in the New Yorker about the Simple Truth about Gun Control. I'm just not sure it will convince anyone who isn't already convinced. But it just seems to damn obvious. As tweeter Mary Matthews said, "The 'right' says to limit IN ANY WAY an American's right to drive a racecar down a suburban road at 150 mph infringes on their freedom."

After all of this, I don't know about you, but I needed to see a picture of baby hedgehogs. Here you go.

Peace be with you.

No comments: