"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, May 6, 2007

"Gunism" and Other Views

Here's psychiatrist and Harvard prof Robert Jay Lifton on "Gunism": But while there will always be mentally ill people, a few of whom are violent, it is our gun-centered cultural disease that converts mental illness into massacre.

Ariel Dorfman: Spend time with the literature, the books, the learning, which could not save your tormentor, lost as he was in his ferocious loneliness. Use the wonders of your own intelligence and the rivers of your empathy to become, each of you, the sort of humans who ride into the world determined to create conditions where fewer of your fellows have to face the daily possibility of premature death descending upon them.

At The Chronicle of Higher Education.

It's amazing to many of us that gun control is still received with hostility. No less prominent an idiot than Newt Gingrich has suggested that more guns, not fewer, are the solution. I would add, not just tighter controls, but diminished firepower. A .22 "varmint" rifle, such as I once used to shoot varmints (in my case, rats that were living in the crawl space) would do a whole lot less damage than a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Perhaps a .22 is the largest caliber weapon one should be allowed without special permits and extensive background checking.

2 comments:

John Baker said...

I love the Robert Jay quote. Got any more like that?

Zen of Writing said...

I'm sure he has. Very difficult to see the sickness in one's culture from inside it. Violence is so pervasive, we just accept it. I don't think the arguments -- personal responsibility vs. social responsibility -- are the point. The point is, such violence shouldn't be happening, and there are ways to prevent it. Such as not starting and justifying greed-based wars, because if your country can kill thousands out of greed, surely it isn't so bad to kill a few dozen out of disillusionment.