Johnny, Get Your “Guns”

No.  Not those guns.  This “Guns.”

Best-selling author, Stephen King, has waded into the messy discussion on gun violence and control.  He did so with a short, pointed and sometimes tersely written essay which looks to find a reasonable middle ground in the highly polarized debate.  King brings a unique perspective to the discussion, having pulled a book from circulation which may have influenced a couple of high school aged shooters.  He also has a background (similar to mine) of having grown up in a red state, while personally leaning to the left, so he’s able to bring a bit of balance to the discussion.

The book opens with a jarring account of the formulaic response to a shooting. The following pages take a look at both sides of the issue while King peppers it all with his keen insight.  He closes the book with a thorough review of three recommendations which he’d like to see implemented: background checks, limiting clip size, and banning assault weapons.

The standard response will be that these options would encroach on personal freedoms.  I’ll let former Poet Laureate Robert Frost answer that one.

“If society fits you comfortably enough, you call it freedom.

A few of my favorite lines from the essay:

On U.S. politics:

American politics has managed to catch itself in one of those fiendish Chinese finger pullers we used to buy in the dime store when we were kids, and as a result, two muscular and capable hands can do no work.

On the NRA:

The NRA doesn’t come right out and say the victims are also to blame for thinking they could live in America without a gun on their person or in their purse, but the implication is hard to miss.

On cowards:

Superhero movies and comic books teach a lesson that runs directly counter to the culture-of-violence idea: guns are for bad guys too cowardly to fight like men.

The Kindle Single is only a buck.  I implore you to dedicate the hour or so to reading it and to try to do so with an open mind.

Parting Thought

All of the recent talk brought an old song back to mind, or rather a video.  Metallica’s “One” utilizes scenes from the movie “Johnny Got His Gun,” which tells the tale of a soldier who returns from war limbless, faceless, deaf and mute, but with his mind fully intact.  A poignant reminder of the horrors of war and violence in general.

Here’s the Metallica video:

And the full movie for good measure:

Sunday Night Music Blogging: Society by Eddie Vedder

Tonight’s selection started out as a Friday night post, but I forgot to publish.  It seems serendipitous as today brings two starkly contrasted events which fit the song’s message. Today we suffered another horrifying attack as six people were killed at a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Curiosity rover touched down safely on Mars and will now begin its quest for signs of life.
We have two paths laid out in front of us.  One leads us forward with science and progress.  The other is a descent I’d rather not consider.  It’s your call.

Where do we go from here?

Today’s selection is a solo effort from Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder.   The video is embedded below the lyrics.  Please enjoy, but also take a little time to chew on it.

Society  (From the “Into the Wild” soundtrack)

It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed
with which we have agreed
You think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all you won’t be free
Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
When you want more than you have
You think you need
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
‘Cause when you have more than you think
You need more space
Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me
There’s those thinking more or less,
less is more
But if less is more how you’re keeping score?
Means for every point you make your level drops
Kinda like it’s starting from the top,
you can’t do that
Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, have mercy on me
I hope you’re not angry if I disagree
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me