let me try to do something on guns. the entries below, contrary to how people have responded online and off, do not defend gun rights. they only insist that you not run to the most automatic and partisan interpretation, because this interpretation abandons the event itself and enters into a realm of abstractions. the political polzarization in this country is just absurd, and there is nothing, nothing, that everyone won't just feed into a pre-existing interpretation machine that they themselves had nothing to do with designing: everyone just reciting the same lines, like barbiies with a pull cord. it gives you the illusion you understand something or could do something about it. some people are almost explicit about this. gail collins, for example, says 'this is all about guns,' which is silly; it's about all sorts of things including guns. then she says, just as explicitly as possible, "We have to make ourselves better. Otherwise, the story from Connecticut is too unspeakable to bear." first of all, banning guns doesn't make anyone any better. and second, the event is - it is - too unspeakable to bear. it is too unspeakable to bear. that is why gail collins takes less than a second to figure out what it's all about and prescribe a quick symptomatic cure. you have to rush through that process as superficially as possible, to deal with your own emotional response. collins just almost says that straight up.
every time something like this happens - particularly after virginia tech and this one - i think to myself that i am wrong to oppose gun control. my problem is that i can't support it compatibly with the rest of my political philosophy. i understand that this is actually a problem for my political philosophy. i will just note, however, that the other position is that only state agents should be armed, and i think if you look historically you might reach the conclusion that that would not necessarily be a formula for reducing violent death. but when someone can grab his mom's assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammo and walk into a school, you just have to think that this is absurd. you can say that the weapon is not the thing: e.g. that guy in china stabbed 22 children a couple of days before newtown. but note: none of those children died. all the children died at newtown, each riddled with multiple gunshot wounds. at any rate, at least at moments like this, i do not know what to say about gun control, and i do not intend to avail myself of the usual knee-jerk arguments against it.
i myself have never owned a firearm and i don't intend to. and i'll tell you what: i can't really in good conscience or consistency advocate, for example, a ban on assault rifles, but if y'all manage to move in that direction, i won't even blog against you.