Thank you for a wonderfully argued and utterly reasonable essay on guns in the new issue of Scene4 Magazine. Truly: hear, hear! I had five poems ("Five Easy Irish-Americans") in the April and May issues of Scene4, but I've written extensively on the issue of gunsand gun-control (or the lack thereof.) I was an infantry officer and served four years in the 25th Infantry Division circa the first Gulf War. It's not despite but precisely because of my familiarity with firearms that I think the ease of access to guns in America and our overall "gun culture" is absolute madness. Last September, I had a major essay,"Guns and the American," published in an online magazine called The Rumpus (it was favorably cited soon after by Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast.) I send along the link since I thought you might enjoy reading it (and to balance out some of the malicious mail that you'll probably get from the gun-nuts concerning your essay.) I hope you enjoy it.. And thank you for always-interesting essays in Scene4.
* * *
I greatly enjoyed your essay as well, grounded as it is in an experience that I don't have but which is crucial for those who would consider themselves would-be "regulated militia" types and think that they canhandle their guns without being handled by them (or at least handled by their fetishism about them). I also enjoyed (if that's the word) the comments that followed your piece. Many Americans don't seem to understand the purpose of government ingeneral and our government in particular and the crucial role they play ascitizens in making the government "work" (that is, to their advantage and notthe advantage of the rentier classes). Rather than making the trek along the path of the patient slog to build popular movements for socialjustice, many Americans have the apocalyptical mind-set that all will become betterin a blaze of glory. Perhaps it's a hangover from our Puritan ancestors orthe infection of Christian fundamentalism. But it is surely politically lazy. Thanks, again, for your comments.
* * *
Thank you for reading my essay and for your kind comments. I wrote the first section as a kind of curriculum vitae; I felt it was important toestablish my "credentials" in order to get the ears of people who are on theother side of the issue (or perhaps on the fence.) One thing that I really enjoyed in your article (and which ties in all too well with your spot-on observation about many Americans'"apocalyptical mind-set") is your critique of the people who feel that gun ownership is some kind of emergency measure in case our government turnstyrannical. As one of the commenters on my piece noted, these are the folks who have watched "Red Dawn" one too many times and think that bands of weekend hunters with sporting rifles are going to beat a regular army and its attendant, high-tech firepower/airpower. Your point that agovernment--our government--doesn't need to engage in combat in order to control the populace is the more realistic insight. Of course, the implications ofthat idea mean organizing, educating, and staying lucid in an ongoing fightfor social justice--all concepts that are pretty much anathema to the "gun-nuts" crowd. Thanks again for your essay and for your enjoyable reply. It's encouraging to know that, amidst the din of demagogues and outright crackpots,there are writers and thinkers out there such as yourself making their voicesheard.