Skip to main content

Dark Age Now

Yesterday, Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association gave his organization's prescription for solving the epidemic of gun violence in this country. As you no doubt know, Wayne's idea is recruiting armed guards for all of the nation's schools. Now, with an exaggerated attempt towards fairness, 40% of this nation's high school's have at least a part-time presence of armed guards or school resource officers. The NRA's proposal would go far beyond that, however, calling for retired military personnel and police officers at all schools, around the clock. I saw the figure of $80,000 to fund a full-time security professional for the 40+ hours necessary to watch out for armed shooters.

"The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," is probably the one quote destined live beyond this poorly received press event.

I'll say one thing for the utterance above, it has the virtue of simplicity. Mind-numbing, infuriating, bib-wearing simplicity. Like all absolutists, the great intellects of the NRA have trouble thinking through the implications of their ideas or even the short-comings. As one blogger pointed out there are any number of examples of bad guys with guns proceeding unstopped during a massacre, even when confronted with a good guy with a gun: a school officer exchanged fire with one of the shooters at Columbine. Then let's turn to the other big news story on the national scene this week: the failure of the Republicans to deal with the Fiscal Cliff. Where does Wayne think the money for armed guards for every school in the country is going to come from?

Let's not even grace this as a rhetorical question. The point of the NRA presser was never to contribute in a meaningful conversation on gun control. At best Friday was the airing of collective delusions, at worst it's a variation on NRA's successful blueprint on combatting meaningful reform for the past two decades. Take no responsibility for the situation, blame everyone else, throw some crazy idea, like chum out into the water, to provoke the sound and fury of debate. Sit back while status quo reasserts itself.

But I'd like to advance one more reaction I haven't seen anywhere else. The NRA's proposal should be taken as a serious policy initiative from the pro-Dark Ages faction of our society. During the Roman Empire's long decline, the frontier was increasingly left to its own devices. The Roman Army degerated into collections of mercenaries and local warlords. The equipment and training left behind Rome's retreat became the power centers of the Visigoth, Hun, and Frankish feudalism. When you cast a central authority as the enemy and work tirelessly to militarize the fringes of civilization, you cannot be on the side of light and understanding. The NRA is an agent of chaos, disorder, and barbarism.



But at least they have shown a remarkable consistency in their vision. Stand-your-ground and concealed weapons laws and now ranks of mercenaries in school buildings; this is a vision of a society atomized into paranoid armed camps. You have to wonder what this country would be like if the amount of money devoted to destroying society was spent instead on reconstructing it.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

In Defense of Brevity

As a writer of short speculative fiction, I am also a reader. I was a reader first and my love of the genre leads me to want to write short fiction. I think one of the most important things a writer can do is read contemporary's work. If nothing else, you're likely to be entertained - there's a great amount of stupendous short fiction available out there for exactly nothing. But it also tends to helps to develop craft. 
Long-time readers of this blog know I write up recommendations of a few short stories each month I really enjoyed. "Sic Semper, Sic Semper, Sic Semper by Carl Wiens" was my favorite story of the year. The first line of this story pretty much sums it up: "The time traveler set up a studio apartment in Abraham Lincoln’s skull in the frozen moment before Booth’s bullet burst through and rewired history," but I also enjoyed "The Girl Who Escaped from Hell" By Rahul Kanakia and "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies," by Brooke Bol…

What I Watched in 2016

For my second year-end post, I'd like to talk about movies. There are five movies that stuck with me this year, perhaps not the five best movies, but certainly good ones that meant something to me. From my limited perspective as a routine movie-goer the gap between blockbuster movies and "quality films" continues to grow each year. Are these even in the same genre anymore? While certainly the basic technology employed by movies and films is the same (except when it isn't) the point of films seems to be diverging. The point of a movie like Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is to serve as the vehicle for cathartic spectacle while the point of my favorite movie is something closer to communication - the passing on of knowledge to the audience. In principle, I enjoy both modes but I wish they would cross-pollinate a bit more. It is the rare movie, (The Lord of Rings Trilogy, Star Wars, and Interstellar come to mind) that seems to want to do both: to create a grand…

"The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY" is now available!

My new story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," is now available in the current issue of the Electric Spec magazine. I'm very proud that this story is getting published at Electic Spec for the simple reason I've been reading the magazine for years, dreaming of the day I might get a story published there. Well, it's finally happened.

The story of "Yuru-chara" is pretty simple: a young girl wakes up to discover that her old virtual friend, a seven-foot-tall yellow monster named Tama Bell, has come to life. While navigating through waves of other virtual creatures released through a world-wide hack, the young heroine tries to come to grips with her responsibility to her forgotten friend and the losses inherent to growing up.

I hope that you enjoy my story and that you give the other stories a try. They're awesome!

Thank you for your continued support.