The problem with the debate on guns is that one side has a lot of guns and likes to use them. The poison-laced letters recently sent to President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg are only the latest example in the on-going assault: “If you take my guns, you…will get shot in the face.” Actually, the truth is there is no debate. A debate involves structure and logic, not threats and yelling, “It is my god-given right!” (It isn’t.) The irony of their argument – do I even need to point this out? – is that it’s the gun owners themselves who are getting killed.
5-year-old shoots 2-year-old sister with toy rifle.
4,362 gun-related deaths since the massacre in Newtown. 4,362 people. Dead. How many hundreds of thousands to come? The lobbyists and legislators have to realize that for a society to survive, the violence must be taken out of the argument. Don’t they?
“We must change.” So pronounced President Obama at a memorial service on Sunday for the families of victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He is right. There is no doubting that. We are an extremely violent species with an unconscionable past. And we must change that. But can we? Is there really any way to do this? My money is against. The fourth stage of accepting the oncoming apocalypse is a day on which depression, reflection and loneliness dominate. This is supposed to be a long period of sad reflection, but you’ve only got the day. You realize the true magnitude of your loss, and you isolate yourself on purpose. William Basinki’s The Disintegration Loops is ideal for this state of mind. Created in Brooklyn on 9/11, these CDs document the disintegration of sound on reel-to-reel tapes. There are five CDs in all, but Disintegration Loop 5 is 52 minutes well worth trying. Michaelangelo Frammartino’s Quattro Volte evokes a similar feeling; it is a film with a disintegrating narrative of sorts, using an old shepherd, a baby goat, a tree and smoke, in that order. It’s a remarkable film for contemplation. Jose Saramago’s Blindness is far more harrowing, starting with a plague of white blindness that gets worse and worse and worse. It is next to impossible to put down. President Obama concluded his speech with the following: “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” What are you prepared to do? Genuinely. What? It’s something to think about and act upon. We must change.