At the beginning of the week, my internet connection wasn’t working well and, later in the week, I started spending my time doing some reading about freedom of speech, so I don’t have much in the line of interesting links. The one thing I would link to got quite a bit of attention on its own and, if you’re an American, you’re probably already aware of it. That would be Wayne LaPierre’s hysterical rant on the Daily Caller website. (ht Tytalus)
Until today, I’ve remained silent on the subject of guns. However, Wayne LaPierre would like to impose on me a lifestyle I do not want. I lived in South Brooklyn, an area where a townhouse sells for between one and a half million dollars to three and a half million. I didn’t move there because I wanted to live like a survivalist in Montana. I moved there because I like to go to the theater and the opera. I used to go visit the galleries regularly. The local library was aimed at kids, but the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is one of the best in the country. I went out dancing and listened to live popular music every weekend. I didn’t move to a city where the biggest struggle is paying the rent by accident. I wanted to be there.
But apparently “live and let live” is no longer a good enough credo for Mr. LaPierre and his minions. He says he wants to “fight.” He’d better watch what he wishes for. I value my elegant, refined lifestyle and if you try to take it away from me, you’ll get your fight. Or, to put it in terms Mr. LaPierre can understand, you’ll have to pry this lifestyle from my cold dead hands. I am not buying a gun, Mr. LaPierre.
With that said, I want to suggest an approach that goes beyond simply passing laws. Much more in line with my own values of self-determination based on education and information, I would like to suggest that we start a series of public service announcements aimed at reducing the prevalence of gun ownership. Guns are dangerous items and if you don’t have a concrete reason to have one, maybe you shouldn’t. Let’s counter the myth of self-defense. Maybe you need a locksmith, not a gun.
We’ve seen PSAs about the dangers of drug use, about cigarettes. I even remember being told not to play with matches and I can remember when the strike strip was put on the other side of the book with a little warning, “close before striking.” Would it be too much to have a public service announcement informing people about the benefits of storing their ammunition and their guns in a separate location and other advertisements that help people make informed decisions whichever way the legislation goes.
When reading LaPierre’s article, I was incredibly puzzled over his weird obsession with New York City’s wealthy Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg. For the record, I was still living in New York City during the last mayoral election and I didn’t vote for Bloomberg. He is far too conservative for me. During repeated natural disasters he has failed to show sensible leadership. Progressives and liberals have regularly opposed many of his policies, so the failure of local government to respond to Hurricane Sandy effectively in New York City was not caused by liberals. When looking for some objective sources for information on gun safety, I came across the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. The research center is part of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bloomberg is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and gives a lot of money to the school. The NRA has fought to keep Americans dumb and ignorant about guns by preventing federal money from being spent to study virtually anything having to do with gun violence. So I guess that’s why they hate Bloomberg so very much. He’s opposed to ignorance. Apparently, if you really want to incur the wrath of the NRA, you won’t promote broad gun bans. You’ll promote information.
One last note. If you’re really worried about the collapse of civilization, the silliest thing you could do is send your money to a lobbying organization. In the apocalyptic scenario LaPierre conjures up, Supreme Court appointments won’t matter much.
Now, if you pardon me, I would like to master a piece by Shostakovich before the zombie apocalypse ends my life.