Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kids With Guns

I went to a gun store for the first time yesterday. One of my roommates just got his concealed weapons permit, so he had to find a store to get his gun shipped to.

I don't know how I feel about all this. 

At first I thought, 
"hm, I've never had a friend packing heat before." 
and then I thought
"maybe I have, and I just didn't know it."

Let me give you an opinion. It doesn't matter your political, philosophical, or spiritual leaning. When you see a gun, you will be drawn to it, and you will want to shoot it.

We talked about this in my Antrho class. I think I mentioned it to you earlier. The discussion came from a chapter from Latour's "Pandora's Hope":

     "'Gun's kill people' is a slogan of those who try to control the unrestricted sale of guns. To which the        National Rifle Association replies with another slogan, 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people.' The first slogan is materialist: the gun acts by virtue of material components irreducible to the social qualities of the gunman. On account of the gun the law-abiding citizen, a good guy, becomes dangerous. The NRA meanwhile, offers (amusingly enough, given it's political views) a sociological version more often associated with the Left: that the gun does nothing in itself or by virtue of its material components. The gun is a tool, a medium, a neutral carrier of human will. If the gunman is a good guy, the gun will be used wisely and will kill only when appropriate. If the gunman is a crook or a lunatic, then, with no change in the gun itself, a killing that would in any case occur will be (simply) carried out more efficiently. What does the gun add to the shooting? In the materialist account, everything: an innocent citizen becomes a criminal by virtue of a gun in her hand. The gun enables, of course, but also instructs, directs, even pulls the trigger - and who, with a knife in her hand, has not wanted at some time to stab someone or something? Each artifact has a script, it's potential to take hold of passerby and force them to play roles in its story. By contrast, the sociological version of the NRA renders the gun a  neutral carrier of will that adds nothing to the action, playing the role of a passive conductor, through which good and evil are equally able to flow."

Latour continues, showing how both stances are full of fallacies and assume too much. His third philosophical stance is this:

   "You are different with a gun in your hand; the gun is different with you holding it. You are another subject because you hold the gun; the gun is another object because it has entered into a relationship with you...A good citizen becomes a criminal [in countries where gun possession is illegal], a bad guys becomes a worse guy; a silent gun becomes a fired gun, a new gun becomes a used gun, a sporting gun becomes a weapon... They become 'someone, something' else."

So, take that for what it's worth.

They had a lot of guns at the gun store. All sorts. And they are expensive, did you know that? Like $700 for a good one, I guess. They even had a little one that clipped onto a belt buckles, kind of like this:

I felt out of place because I wasn't wearing camo... or a baseball cap.... and I was the only girl there. The people inside the store were just about the friendliest I had ever met. They had posters on the wall that you use for target practice. One of them was of a guy dressed as an Islamic militant. I calculated 65% more racism in the car drive home, just from being in that store for 15 minutes.

I shot a gun once. I think it was a rifle? I was on a ranch by the vermillion cliffs. The gun wasn't easy to shoot, at least for me, so I gave up quick. 

I think of all those movies where guns are some of the main characters: Crash, Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrman's), Babel, American Beauty, Brick.  They are not happy flicks. Even the gun in "A Christmas Story" is a villain. 

I don't know the point I'm trying to make. But here is a music video as a sign-off. Toodles!

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