January 16, 2011


In response to one of my earlier blog posts, I had brief, but fruitful discussions with two of my closest friends, both of whom own guns and both of whom are members of gun sports clubs, which - to you readers in America - is not the same as belonging to a gun club in your country. Both are excellent shots, both treat their weapons with respect, both had to go through a rigorous process to get their gun license, something that is non-existent in America.

Both told me that it is not so much the issue of gun ownership in itself, but rather the issue of who owns guns. It is an argument made in a different context with the Arizona shooter, and can be summarised with the following "how can an apparently insane man get a gun this easily?"

I am not going to go down the road of involuntary commitment and watch your neighbor very fucking carefully, because I come from a country that has done both of that in the past, thank you very much, and with disastrous consequences of society as a whole.

But still, the argument put forth by my friends does merit some thinking. I have known one of them since we were little toddlers, which makes this a friendship that has outlasted the number of a great many marriages on this planet. And I trust him to have a gun. And so do I trust my other friend to have his guns.


Because both do see it as a sport, and neither is like this girl here, who I fear is exemplary of the attitude towards guns in the United States, or at least one of the main attitudes. This is a story by the Washington Post, and I could deconstruct it the way I did the Guardian article, but it is a Sunday morning, and I don't wish to spend the next six hours on this, so I stick with pointing out the obvious, okay?
At the "Crossroads of the West" gun show Saturday, University of Arizona junior Kiely Katz opened her plaid Burberry shoulder bag, took out a wallet shaped like a Japanese animated cat and plunked down her credit card for a $549 Glock 31 semiautomatic handgun. 

For Katz, who already owned a Remington 870 shotgun and a Wesson .38 caliber snub-nosed revolver she sometimes carries around town, buying the Glock was a natural progression. She has been target shooting since she was 15, after being introduced to the sport by her stepfather in Westchester, N.Y.

"It is a very strong gun," Katz, who is 5 feet 4 and 125 pounds, said of the Glock in an interview. "I'm a little scared. It's definitely a lot harder than my .38."

A few months back, a man with a gun robbed a fast-food restaurant that was two doors from a Starbucks where an armed Katz was buying coffee.

"Everyone was freaking out, in a panic," she said. "But I was pretty - you know, I felt like if something had come up, if something had happened, I would have shot through my pocketbook" at the gunman.
Just one paragraph later, the same delusional girl who claims that she would have fired through her pocket book (why didn't she do a citizen's arrest, then? Eh? Anybody? Bueller? If the whole point of arming everybody is to prevent crime by giving every lawful citizen a gun, wouldn't this armed robber have been caught? Oh, that's right. We don't really give a damn if it happens to somebody else, two doors down the road...) that it is too easy to get a gun, if you are delusional.
Of the Tucson shooter, Katz added: "I feel like maybe there should be more of a psychological evaluation done before you get a gun. But honestly, let's face facts: It wasn't political; the guy was just insane." 
Oh, wait... this is the same girl who simply "opened her plaid Burberry shoulder bag, took out a wallet shaped like a Japanese animated cat and plunked down her credit card for a $549 Glock 31 semiautomatic handgun."

Now, some people (this is, by the way, what is called pre-emptive argumentation, often seen and abused at Fox News, where "some people" is a means of expressing your own opinion without owning up to the responsibility of stating it) may claim that I am being unfair in the way I took those paragraphs about Katz from a larger news story/reportage.

And there would be some truth to that, if there was a structure in that article that would make a broader point, that would argue and counter-argue things (hence me stating at the beginning that I could deconstruct it), but there isn't. It is the same reaction as it ever was.

Let me summarize it thusly: We of course should be able to get our guns with a simple credit card purchase, because we are the "good people", and the shootings were unfortunate, life is tough.

Underneath all the current celebratory mourning that is going on in America, this is the mood, this is the view by the majority of them. An insular, selfish view that states, essentially, "well, it doesn't apply to me, because..."

Can you say it with me?

"... I am exceptional".

Now, I am not here to tell you to trust me.

I don't want your trust.

Nor do I particularly care about your trust.

What I do want?

I want you to think. Every time you read a newspaper article, every time you turn on the television, I want you to think. Why is this story chosen? Who decided to run with it? What is the thrust of the story? Where are the sources?

And in the end, who benefits?

In this case, under the veneer of "we are merely reporting on a gun show", the beneficiary is this man.
"The events at the Safeway store were tragic and unprecedented, but they weren't about lawful gun ownership," said Bob Templeton, the president of Crossroads. "It was about a mentally ill person who gained access to a firearm he shouldn't have." 
Never mind that the shooter did obtain his gun legally. Never mind that the events at the Safeway store were not unprecedented, and no, this is not me making an argument, this is a verifiable fact, and Rachel Maddow made that point on her show, and I will make it here.

A gun rampage in the United States of America is not "unfathomable", it is not "unprecedented", it is, however, a regular occurence that normally gets very little airtime, when it doesn't concern celebrities or is on such a massive scale that it is played like a live sports event.
Although the timing of the Tucson gun show was "unfortunate," he said, organizers decided after speaking with county officials and the dealers that the show should go on. They held a moment of silence and Templeton told the crowd: "As we contemplate the tragic events of a week ago, our hearts go out to the people impacted." 
And again. Unprecedented? Ask the people of Columbine, Colorado, where the NRA did their little gathering just in the wake of the infamous Columbine shootings. Unfortunate? No. Not really. Because the show must go on.

And the guns are there for show.

And it goes on.