I also think that it would be nice if everybody would decide not to be naughty.
And, that if everybody also decided to be nice, and not be naughty: that would be nice.
Judging by the last few thousand years of human history, that's not gonna happen any time soon.
On Thursday, November 5, 2009, last week, Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot quite a number of people. Just over a dozen died, more than twice that number were injured.
That wasn't nice.
It wasn't nice that someone shot Hasan, either: but under the circumstances, I think I won't complain too much about that bit of "gun violence."
Major Hasan and the Usual SuspectsSo, "obviously:"
- The Ay-rabs are to blame
- Them Muslins are to blame
- Guns are to blame
Blaming guns, though - and blaming those people over there who own guns - seems to be a cherished belief among the self-described 'better sort' in America.
Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago:
"Everyday in society someone is being killed unfortunately. America loves guns. We love guns to a point that we see the devastation on a daily basis. And you don't blame a group. You don't blame a society, an immigrant community because of the actions of one group -- you can't -- one individual, you cannot say that."'Everybody knows' that guns make people kill other people.
Lots of Guns, But No Bodies on the StreetSometimes, what 'everybody knows' isn't so. Kids used to bring hunting rifles to school routinely in the small town where I live. We don't do that now, since our leaders have made new rules about those nasty guns (rifles, actually - but never mind that). The point is, with all those firearms in and around the school, nobody got shot.
A skunk was blown up, but that's another story. And involved explosives, not firearms. ("A Woodpile, a Skunk, and Dynamite: Remembering the Good Old Days," Through One Dad's Eye (December 15, 2007))
The point is, I don't think that the residents of this small central Minnesota town are intrinsically better, more intelligent, more reasonable, and more reliable than everybody else. At least, I hope not. And, although the school is now nicely gun-free, quite a few of us own guns. And we don't shoot each other.
Guns, Hoplophobia, and All ThatMayor Daley's statement depends on an assumption: "We love guns to a point that we see the devastation on a daily basis." The assumption seems to be that, if those nasty guns weren't around, people would be nice.
Okay, let's say that America's leaders decide that everybody should be nice, and not own those nasty guns.
People - those of us who aren't making a living by dreaming up rules for the rest of us to live by, anyway - are fairly bright. Even those who make a living by breaking the rules are often bright enough to not get caught for a while.
So I think it isn't entirely unreasonable to suppose that if our leaders dream up a rule about nobody being allowed to own or carry a gun: people who routinely follow the rules, like soldiers, will follow that rule, too. And people who routinely don't follow the rules: won't.
Never heard the word "hoplophobia?" I'm not surprised.
" 'Hoplophobia (n) - mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons.' 1"The dominant culture of America feels that guns are dangerous things, and are to be feared and shunned. And see nothing odd about that. Why should they? Everybody they know feels the same way, and they often read in the best newspapers and magazines that they're right.
(December 23, 2007)
I agree that guns are dangerous, and that not everybody should use one. I also think that cars are dangerous. As well as lawn mowers, ladders and buckets.
For that matter, computers are dangerous. But that's another topic. (June 27, 2008)
Being Nice, Being RealI think it would have been nice if, as Major Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, someone had
- Perceived that the Major was feeling a need
- Opened a dialog with Nidal Malik Hasan
- Formed an encounter group from among the survivors
Of course, if he was a nice person he probably wouldn't have opened fire in the first place.
Maybe the problem isn't guns. Maybe the problem is that sometimes people decide to be naughty.
- "Major Nidal Malik Hasan 'Psychotic'"? 'Paranoid'? 'Schizoid'?! and This is on NPR?!"
(November 12, 2009)
- "Major Nidal Malik Hasan, Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, and Common Sense"
(November 11, 2009)
- "Getting Called an Islamophobe, Saving Lives"
(November 10, 2009)
- "Berserk Killer Psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan, Islam, and Getting a Grip"
(November 8, 2009)
- "Major Nidal Malik Hasan, "Allah Akbar," American History and Common Sense"
(November 6, 2009)
- "Fort Hood Shooting: 'It Was a Ay-Rab!'"
(November 5, 2009)
- "Somalia, America, Assumptions, Terrorists and the Press"
(October 7, 2009)
- "Who Needs Facts? Cultural Assumptions and Politics"
(July 24, 2009)
- "The 90% Solution: American Guns, Mexican Raids, and Common Sense"
(April 2, 2009)
- "The Subway Project and 'Why Islam?' - Terrorists in the Subways! Or, Not"
(July 23, 2008)
- "Pro-Islamic Ads Coming to New York City Subways: There's a Real Danger Here, of Becoming Informed"
(July 21, 2008)
- "DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People"
(June 27, 2008)
- Dangerous technology isn't
- Always a weapon
- Bad by itself
- Dangerous technology isn't
- "A Xenophobic Remark by a Gun-Toting Religious Small Town Person"
(April 12, 2008)
- "EEEK! Guns! Hoplophobia and Foreign Policy"
(December 23, 2007)
- "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT"
Transcript, CNN (November 11, 2009 )
- "Surprise! Disarming victims ends badly"
Other Views, Chicago Sun-Times (November 11, 2009)
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