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Tag Archives | guns

you mean “gun appreciation day” isn’t a joke from The Onion?

So today, in the United States, it’s Gun Appreciation Day.

Yep, that’s right folks. I hope you got a card for your gun, maybe one of those nice bouquets they have down at the Stop-n-Shop? My gun is partial to those big orange Gerbera daisies, but maybe yours is more of a lilies-and-babies-breath sort of firearm?  And of course, don’t forget the chocolates: maybe something with a little zing to it, a little pop in the chocolate sweetness?

Gosh, Gun Appreciation Day arrived so fast, didn’t it? I bet all the good restaurants are going to be booked already, dang it, which means someone is going to be all with the hurt feelings this evening that we’re not going somewhere special for “his” day.  Better make that flowers, chocolates, and a nice single-malt. I mean, what goes better with bullets than whiskey, amiright?

You know what I got as an extra treat for my gun? A little fuzzy wrap, like what people get for their dogs in the winter, as if dogs needed more protection than their own fur. I think Gun is really going to like that, especially in this cold weather.

According to the GAD website, we’re supposed to get ourselves down to the local gun shop with our constitutions, and guns, and signs that say “hands off my gun,” but you know, I’ll be damned if I can find my copy of the constitution! I’m sure I can get a copy somewhere, right? Like the gun store? Because there’s that whole “well-regulated” thing, which Gun and I aren’t ever quite clear about. I’m hoping the NRA will be sponsoring a “get to know the Constitution” booth down at the shop.

It’s hard being away from home on these special holidays; there’s just not a similar crowd here. I mean, sure, there are guns, but to get your hands on those super-groovy mega bullet clips, you have to, you know, get involved in something, like a movement or a rebellion or like the military. Which I have to say, I’ve been watching the news, and being part of those things? They seem really unhygienic. And uncomfortable–even sort of dangerous.But you know how it is outside the United States–people have no idea of what’s appropriate, at all.

So just wanted to say happy Gun Appreciation Day to everyone. Don’t let the celebration of Martin Luther King day tomorrow get in the way of you showing your gun some love, okay?  Heck, even the monkey in this picture is giving the gun some love. And if it’s good enough for a monkey, then it should be good enough for all of us, amiright?

monkey-hugging-a-gun-600x450source

 

Continue Reading · on January 19, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, Kids, Politics, ranting

maybe THIS murder will change things?

I wasn’t going to write anything about Trayvon Martin. His murder happened a long way away, and the newspapers here in Abu Dhabi are filled with plenty of stories of murder and mayhem (Syria, anyone?). Plus, you know, he’s African American and the murder happened in Florida, and so really, who am I, as a white woman in the Middle East, to weigh in on the terrible thing that happened to him and his family? Isn’t that the way the logic goes? That if it doesn’t directly relate to our lives, we don’t get involved?

Maybe I could say, as Mom-101 did so persuasively, that I’m a mom and so one mother’s pain is also my own.  Or maybe I could say that I’m a mom who wants her sons to grow up without fear of someone thinking they look “suspicious” (my kids have darker-than-white skin and shiny black hair.  They don’t look African American but I suppose you could think they look vaguely Arabic. And you know that all Arabs are terrorists, right?)  Charles M. Blow, in the Times, writes about his fear of his own children ending up like Trayvon…I suppose that all parents worry that something terrible will happen to their children, but for some parents, that worry is more real than others.

Here’s the thing: it seems to me that as long as our country refuses to moderate its insatiable appetite for guns,  all our children are at risk.

Because beyond the simple heart-breaking fact that Trayvon is someone’s son is the fact that his death is–again–about our country’s love affair with guns and vigilante-ism, about our insistence that “they” (whoever they are at the moment) are dangerous and that “we” are always on the verge of being attacked.

Frightened people imagine attackers everywhere, which seems to be how George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s killer, looked at the world.  Zimmerman saw Trayvon as the boy was walking home from the convenience store, where he bought Skittles and iced tea; the gated community neighborhood was unfamiliar to Trayvon because he was visiting, spending some time with his father and his father’s fiancee.  Mr. Zimmerman, a volunteer for the neighborhood-watch patrol, saw Travyon walking home and thought he “looked suspicious.”  Now, in some places, “neighborhood watch” means folks strolling around the block chatting with their friends and picking up errant trash.  In this neighborhood, though, the volunteer had a concealed weapon and was cruising around in his SUV.

What made Trayvon look suspicious? I mean, Skittles are a pretty friendly looking candy, don’t you think? Well, apparently Trayvon was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood up. Up, of course, is a clear danger signal. I’m sure the color of Trayvon’s skin had nothing to do with Zimmerman’s concern.

Well, folks, we know how it ends. What with one thing and another (and in defiance of the police operator, who told Zimmerman to stay in the car until an officer arrived in the neighborhood), Zimmerman got out of his car, chased Trayvon, and then Trayvon was dead on the ground.  Zimmerman claims he shot the boy in self-defense, which when you kill someone in Florida can be an extenuating factor.

Self-defense? A 28 year old man with a gun against a 17 year old unarmed boy?

Zimmerman has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him.

The Republican nominees for President have not said a word about Trayvon. I guess they’re too busy discussing the best ways to keep women barefoot and pregnant.

Astonishingly, however, Obama hasn’t contacted Trayvon’s family either, which reveals (again) the minefield created when racial politics intersect the politics of gun control.

Trayvon–and all the other children who have been the victims of gun-related violence–deserve more than silence. What happened to Trayvon deserves to be screamed about, shouted about, twittered, tumblr’d, pinterested, and facebooked. He deserves more than his own hashtag (although he’s got one now); and his family deserves more than the police chief saying “the evidence doesn’t establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.”

If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, Trayvon would be alive. It’s as simple as that. I realize that I’m shouting into the howling wilderness, but I’ll say it anyway: with stricter gun laws, Columbine would have ended differently; Virginia Tech would have ended differently; and so would have that Florida evening in February.  Remember how after Columbine and Virginia Tech people were sure that this time, gun laws would become stricter?

Should we even bother to hope that Trayvon’s death might finally, finally stir people to speak out against the gun lobby?

I know they say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But you know what? It’s really hard to kill someone with a bag of Skittles and a hoodie sweatshirt.

 

Update: on Monday, the US Justice department opened a probe into Trayvon’s death. George Zimmerman still sleeps in his own bed, in the comfort of his own home.  Update unrelated to heart-breaking tragedy: yeah write is open for linkups, so click on through and follow the conversation.  Then come back on Wednesday to vote for your favorite posts.



Continue Reading · on March 18, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, Kids, Politics, ranting

Attention K-Mart Shoppers…

The Kmart at Astor Place has never managed to Tar-jay itself into ironic hipsterdom.  The fashion stylings of Jaclyn Smith just don’t quite cut the mustard, I guess, when  you can hike out to Target in Brooklyn or the Bronx and find equally cheap Mizrahi or McCartney or the hot youngster du jour.

Despite the lack of hipster fashions, I still love my Astor Place Kmart, where cynical, black-clad New Yorkers stumble around in suburbanly wide aisles:  mohawked holdovers from the late 1980s browse the cat food aisles; multiply pierced couples in matching skinny jeans and studded leather jackets debate which laundry detergent is best; downtown club kids cruising in for a few Red Bulls to tide them over drift past sensibly shod Orthodox women price-checking paper towels. We’re all here, cruising the aisles for whatever we need—and who knows, maybe a Selena Gomez sweatshirt is just the thing.

The other day I went in for laundry detergent (on special!) and then remembered that Caleb has outgrown most of his underpants, so I went upstairs to the sock-and-underwear section.  And that’s when I realized that perhaps the buyers for Kmart don’t realize who, exactly, is shopping at this store:

If you don’t like these light colored shirts (so great for spring, don’t you think?) perhaps you’d like something in New York black?

You’re right. It’s no good to be promoting drinking, particularly since some of these t-shirts are clearly sized for kids. We wouldn’t want that, would we? Maybe something with a message that’s more about community, connection, and friendship?

And my personal favorite:

I can totally see the guys in the Cooper Union math department wearing these.

I mean, do you think anyone in K-mart, or even a twenty-block radius of K-mart, knows that there is a hunting season, much less when it begins and ends?

Somewhere in K-Mart’s middle management is a merchandise buyer (perhaps now unemployed) who somehow, inexplicably, confused Astor Place with Wasilla.

hey! another post of mine is up at technorati!

Continue Reading · on March 14, 2011 in NaBloPoMo, NYC, shopping

An MLK Day Wish

Here’s proof that my six year old may be smarter than many members of Congress:

Wouldn’t that be great? If people could stop selling guns instead of just observing a moment of silence as they did today, outside a gun show in Tucson? What good, exactly, is a moment of silence? I mean, it’s nice and all, but ultimately? Do we need Glocks to “keep this country free,” and all that?

To go with his dream, Caleb drew a before and after picture:

Do you notice that after the shooting has been X’ed out, there’s sunshine?

Continue Reading · on January 16, 2011 in Children, Politics

Will no one rid me of these wretched districts?

Once upon a time, there was a king who wanted to have more freedom than the church would allow. In fact, a certain clergy man had become quite powerful in his own right and was challenging the king’s authority, but the king could not, outright, do anything.  At one point, exasperated beyond control, the king is thought to have said “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest” and within a week or so, four of his knights had ridden to Canterbury and killed the meddlesome priest, right in the nave of the cathedral.

Thomas Becket became a martyr, which wasn’t quite what Henry II had planned; in fact, Henry had to do significant penance for the murder—a murder in which he took no direct part.

I doubt that Sarah Palin knows the story of Thomas Becket, or Henry II, or has read much Shakespeare. But what she and her minions—her versions of Henry’s over zealous knights—should perhaps realize is that rhetoric matters.  Sarah doesn’t seem to have much respect for language (“refudiate,” anyone?) or for “book learning,” so maybe she and her peeps had no concern about the ripple effect of putting targets over various congressional districts, on her now infamous “take back the 20” map.  Perhaps the language on her website isn’t meant to inflame, despite using words like “fire,” and “take aim” and “hold them accountable;” or her assertion that the mid-term elections are just the “first salvo in a fight.”

In fact, I hope she is that ignorant, that she is genuinely shocked shocked that anyone would take her language as a license to hunt down and kill public representatives. I hope she’s that ignorant because if she’s not, there is no limit to the depth of her cynicism and malice.

And maybe it is all just an unhappy coincidence; maybe the man with the gun had no political motive (or maybe he was trying to prove himself to Sarah out of love, ala Mark David Chapman).  Maybe this Arizona shooter was just another in a long line of lunatics with guns. God knows that making it easy for lunatics to get their hands on weaponry has a long tradition in this country–similar to the long tradition we have of demagogues who know how to fuel the flame of an unsteady fringe.

But as long as lunatics have ready access to guns, and as long as public figures use the rhetoric of violence to express disagreement, then what, really, can we expect?

Henry II initially insisted that he had no part in Becket’s murder but eventually he walked barefoot into Canterbury, knelt in front of the cathedral, and allowed himself to be flogged by the monks.

Not that I’m recommending a return to public flogging.  I’m just saying that’s what Henry did.

Words have power.  That’s why one of the first things a dictator does, upon wresting control of a country, is to get rid of all those pesky writers who might criticize the government.

For Palin (and Glenn Beck and all the other foaming-mouth fomenters) to assume that her words aren’t fueling a violent fire, if not in Arizona then elsewhere—maybe in your congressional district, maybe in mine—then she’s fooling herself and trying to fool us.

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Continue Reading · on January 8, 2011 in Politics

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