Thursday, December 14, 2017

14 December, 2012-14 December, 2017

Pile the bodies high at Newtown and Columbine.

Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Orlando
And pile them high at Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs.
Shovel them under and let me work.

Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

With apologies to Carl Sandburg

There is a danger to relying on bombs and bullets to keep the peace, whether domestically or internationally: sometimes they go off. The world has lived with nuclear deterrence since the start of the Cold War and as an astute reader knows (“The Limits of Safety” by Scott Sagan, “Command and Control” by Eric Schlosser), we had several pretty close shaves with disaster, either because a bear crawled over the fence at a US installation, someone mistook a prerecorded air raid drill for the real thing, or otherwise sane leaders like Khruschev and Kennedy stood, joined at the hip at the nuclear precipice, just to make a geopolitical point. Fortunately neither jumped. What worries me now is that I have far less faith in the likes of Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Kim Jong-Un to know when to hold them and when to throw them. Like, as in never throw them.

Likewise, on the domestic front, the recent Sturm und Drang on concealed carry reciprocity suggests we citizens rely on being perpetually armed and dangerous in order to ward off evil doers and neer do-wells. Like Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump playing with nuclear bombs, the average citizen lacks the training and experience and in some cases, probably the common sense to always do the right thing with a personal weapon. The fact that the House bill would appeal to the lowest common denominator in concealed carry reciprocity rather than impose bona fides is not a comforting thought. Its one thing to pull out the hand cannon or shotgun inside one’s own home as the door is being kicked down and that’s what Antonin Scalia and his merry men agreed to in Heller v District of Columbia. It’s in a little more of society’s interest to attach qualifiers when we are trusted to carry a deadly weapon in the public square. Its called a social contract. And we haven’t even discussed mass shootings or S. Chicago yet, although if you catch the significance of the title...

On the fifth anniversary of the Newtown Massacre, we need to think carefully about the role of armed deterrence. The grass may cover all and the 24/7 media coverage might dull our senses, but sooner or later that loud retort, either from small arms or from the re-entry vehicle of an ICBM, might get our attention. If we don’t deal with the underlying problems before that day, it will be too late. Or, to cut to the chase, if my house was a firetrap, I would clean up my house rather than buy a bunch more fire extinguishers.


Weer'd Beard said...

And here I thought you had a shred of class.

Sorry I was mistaken.

"Gun violence prevention"loses because it fails to prevent any violence of any kind, and often increases it.

Gun control loses because the people behind it are dishonest and without class.

Khal said...

If my house was a firetrap, I would clean my house, not buy more fire extinguishers.

Weer'd Beard said...

Your analogy appears to be stretched so thin that it makes no sense.