Guns

March 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Posted in war and violence | 2 Comments
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Perhaps you expect that this post will be about the Parkland shooting. Or about the NRA. Or the shocking! shocking! failure of Congress to do one blessed thing about gun control. Again.

But it’s not.

Instead, what I’m going to share with you today is one of my happiest childhood memories. It was back before 1952, so before I was five years old, when my beloved grandfather, Jim Dodds, gave me a double gun holster set that he had won at a country fair. I can still see the guns and the holster. I loved them. And I wore them as I watched very many cowboy and Indian movies and tv shows during my childhood: the Lone Ranger and Tonto; Davy Crockett; Daniel Boone; Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. And all those fabulous John Wayne flicks. I can even still hear  a number of the songs that they played in the movies and films: “Davy, Davy Crockett,King fo the Wild Frontier,” and the William Tell Overture at the beginning of the Lone Ranger.

I’d also like to share with you something that three different sports commentators said while my esteemed companion and I were watching Big East basketball on the tv a while back–after Parkland. The first one was talking about a successful shot of the ball by a guy from Creighton University. What he said was that the player had been “locked and loaded.” Then a commentator at the beginning of the next game spoke on two different occasions about “Villanova’s weaponry.” Then the final comment, later in the game, was that one of the players had been “cocked.”

Finally, a forty-nine year old (probably white) man who was being interviewed about gun control on NPR  said that young people today are much more thoughtless and violent in their use of guns than his generation was. His generation only used guns for hunting, but today, the young just shoot people.

If any of this interests you–if you’re looking for a more nuanced discussion of the shooting crisis in this country than those that blame the whole thing on the NRA, or on thoughtless teenagers–I recommend that you read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s new book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.* I plan to post a review of it here before long, but you may want to get your perspective expanded even before then. Hint: Dunbar-Ortiz argues compellingly that guns have been at the heart of American culture since long before the Second Amendment was formulated. Background checks probably aren’t going to solve the problem.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=loaded+a+disarming+history+of+the+second+amendment&sprefix=Loaded%2Cstripbooks%2C118&crid=WDBKQNNLYXGE

 

 

 

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2 Comments »

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  1. Let me know if she updates Richard Slotkin’s work. Here’s a link to a review of one of his books. He was leaving graduate school in 1965 as I was entering and had a book contract and a job. Very impressive to our department chair. I didn’t know how different a short era later would be.

    https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1974/07/07/93277815.html?action=click&contentCollection=Archives&module=LedeAsset&region=ArchiveBody&pgtype=article&pageNumber=219

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  2. I look forward to your review, Marian. I agree with your assessment of the place of guns in the American culture. My husband and I enjoy watching old movies and I am seeing them with a different perspective now–I marvel at how many of them include gun violence. I thought it was just a “modern” thing–but no. And I can relate to your story about growing up with cowboy shows and your beloved gun and holster. Since we are the exact same age I will say that I, too, watched those same shows. We were not allowed to have guns (actually, we couldn’t afford most toys) so my brothers, my male cousins who lived upstairs from us, and I were so coveting guns we “built” our own out of blocks of wood that we scrounged from our fathers’ carpentry projects. But, I grew up to view guns very differently and am hoping that this motivated group of young students are able to accomplish what our generation was unable to do–pass sensible gun regulations. I support them in every way.

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