Enough is Enough

Columbine. Blacksburg. Newtown. Parkland.

The list, incomplete as it is, likely will go on.

We shouldn’t  accept that.

How have we gotten here? How do otherwise well-meaning people get so riled up that they feel compelled to defend their rights, even as people just like them are burying their children?

I don’t question their belief. But their sense of appropriate commentary at this time seems, to be polite, almost entirely lacking.

And while I won’t question that they deeply hold their beliefs, I feel compelled to address some of them,  based solely on the comments I have read across the web and social media.

Stated simply, the facts do not support those beliefs.

Some of my friends who defend gun ownership note that responsible gun owners comply with existing regulations. The say, repeatedly, that criminals, or illegal aliens, or the mentally ill, or any member of any group that can be identified as different from their responsible cohort, will get guns anyway, as if this removes any need to place any restrictions on gun sales.

My friends, you can’t shoot someone dead if you can’t get your hands on a gun.

Some of my friends who defend gun ownership cite the Second Amendment and maintain they are taking a principled stand in favor of strict construction of the Constitution. They say the Second Amendment flatly states that their right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.

This is so. Yet it is not absolutely so. A strict reading is not inconsistent with regulation. And, strictly speaking, there is no mention at all of ammunition, which could conceivably be regulated with impunity.

My friends, the right to swing my fist (or have unfettered access to guns) ends where the other man’s nose (or threat to his life) begins.

Some of my friends who defend gun ownership maintain it is a personal safety issue, that they are protecting themselves and their families from violent crime. That they believe this to be true is inarguable. Yet it hardly is. Violent crime is more likely to be encountered by  poor, urban African-American males and rural whites than among solid middle class citizens of the suburbs.

My friends, the world is scary enough without inventing fears, divorced from reality, that require guns for protection.

My beliefs are far more libertarian than those held by most people so I do not easily argue the need to regulate guns. For decades now we have experimented with expanding gun ownership, asserting that more guns will bring more security, and removing sensible restrictions and limits on who may buy what type of weapon.

My friends, we owe it to ourselves, our children and the children of our friends and neighbors, to admit that experiment has failed and try something different.

Otherwise, the list will continue to grow.



The Girl You Want

“What’s in a name?,” the Bard rightly asked.

It’s a question I’ve been pondering once again as I’ve become obsessed with another: Could pop music even exist without songs simply titled by a girl’s name?

There’s no reason they’re required, though. The number of songs about a generic girl dwarfs the Continue reading

Life is In a Spin

Nella Larsen

Fifteen or so years ago I found myself on Main Street in downtown Flushing, NY at midday. The sidewalks were filled with crowds, some jostling their way between errands, some in search of lunch.

It’s an experience I can recommend because Flushing, which in my childhood had Jewish and Italian enclaves, is nowadays more than 50% Asian. To be in a crowd and be Continue reading

Rat in a Drain Ditch

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Robert C. O’Brien, illustrations by Zena Bernstein

One of the great things about being a parent is revisiting the books you loved when you were a kid. I tell myself  I’m trying to decide whether a given title is age appropriate, but that’s just a rationalization.

The truth is, it’s a blast.

There are plenty of book that cross our threshold bearing Continue reading

Nobody Wants to Hear Him

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It
Richard V. Reeves

You would think, by now, that I’d have learned my lesson . Should I really be surprised when, upon close reading, an author turns out to be engaged in the great game of careerism?

Last July, in writing about a David Brooks column, I mentioned the book pictured nearby, promising to get to Continue reading

In the Largest State of the Union

Tracks Across Alaska: A Dog Sled Journey
Alastair Scott

Obsessive is not a word I typically use to describe myself. Mrs. AHC, though, has been known to voice the belief that,  despite my demonstrated entropic tendencies, I suffer from OCD.

Settling that disagreement will have to wait, at least until I finish talking about the latest Alaska volume to cross my path. You may recall that venturing to Alaska has been a Continue reading

These are the Fables

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
J.K. Rowling

Sometimes the commercial aspects of publishing are more apparent than others. Take the book shown at right. In many ways it’s Exhibit A in making the case that publishers–and authors–will do whatever they can to extract every ounce of profit from a property.

It’s a classic marketing problem. With a successful franchise, people want more of the same. Publishers Continue reading