Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A Child and His Lawnmower

I got into two separate online debates with gun enthusiasts in the comments sections this week. The first was in an article on ProPublica about a guy who is trying to study gun violence. My point was:

... to me, killing people is wrong, and guns are far more likely to be used in crimes, suicides, or accidents than in self-defense. If you feel so unsafe that you can't go to Starbucks without packing heat, the answer isn't more guns.

The second was in an NPR article about a shooting at a FedEx facility in Georgia.  Several people noted that this was a gun-free zone, to which I commented sarcastically that clearly the answer to gun violence is always more guns. 

I'm not uniformly anti-gun. I'm anti-gun for my family, but I understand that the 2nd amendment guarantees Americans the right to bear arms, and that most gun owners are responsible and hopefully not nut jobs who are preparing for the race war when Obama tries to put everyone in FEMA death camps (if you think I'm joking, look up "preppers").  There are even a few pro-gun commenters who point out some of the mistakes and errors in the gun control crowd's arguments (i.e. not knowing an assault rifle from a shotgun). And they aren't wrong when they say that many more people are accidentally killed by cars than accidentally killed by guns. For the most part, however, the pro-gun commenters in any online article about guns, no matter how moderate and reasonable, scream and howl about how they can't protect themselves unless they have a mini nuke in their back yard and are allowed to have a bead on people with their AK-47 AT ALL TIMES.

The answer to the gun problem in America is not more guns. It is not to make it so that everyone everywhere at all times can be fully strapped. It's ironic that the gun lobby makes fun of how gun control advocates "sensationalize" mass shootings to call for stricter gun regulations, while using those same mass shootings as evidence that we need looser gun laws so everyone can be "safe." And that statistic the NRA loves to throw around that 2.5 million defensive gun uses by citizens? It's based on extrapolating a 225 person survey from 20 years ago.  In other words, utter bullshit.

But enough ranting. All this gun talk has me thinking of two songs that address the matter. The first is the Dead Kennedys "A Child and His Lawnmower," from the Not So Quiet In the Western Front Maximum Rock n Roll Comp and their Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death collection. It's a short blast from their hardcore phase, and the lyrics describe the kind of weird news story that singer Jello Biafra used to collect for his Fuck Facts collages. 

"Some clown in Sacramento was dragged into court
He shot his lawnmower
It disobeyed
It wouldn't start
Might makes right
It's the American Way
Judge fined him 50 dollars
And sent him on his way"

It was the chorus that has stuck with me to my adulthood:

"You know some people
Don't take no shit
Maybe if they did
They'd have half a brain left"

It's a similar sentiment from what Ice Cube raps at the end of "Dead Homiez"

"So I take everything slow
Go with the flow
Shut my muthafuckin' mouth if I don't know"

As I got older I realized it was a variation both on the Christian idea of turning the other cheek, and the Buddhist idea of being generous with people and not giving in to hate and anger. There's also an element of that business maxim "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The point isn't to be passive and let people walk all over you, but that if you constantly walk around with your dick out looking for a fight, you'll probably find one. And not live that long or happy an existence,

Secondly, there's the video to El-P's "Deep Space 9mm." When every people salivate over concealed carry laws and call for armed guards in schools, I imagine that this is the future they want.

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