Friday, March 22, 2013

Let's Talk about TJ (with apologies to Lionel Shriver)

I actually find it incredulous that Americans are fiercely debating gun control with the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the Republican party defending their constitutional right to "bear arms". Maybe when disgruntled Native Americans were circling your wagons (after the whites had broken another one of countless treaties they never honoured - but that's another story) or the British Redcoats were charging your Revolutionary ranks or when Billy the Kid was about to plug you in the saloon you could offer a valid reason for bearing arms, but it is 2013 and no one needs to bear arms unless they have nefarious intent. Seriously, does anyone hunt deer with an assault rifle?

And so the disaffected individuals in American society like TJ Lane (pictured above) keep shooting innocent people. Most often these shooting victims are children or teenagers who will never live to realise their personal potential. Who knows? The discoverer of a cure for cancer could be one of these students gunned down, their lives cruelly and meaninglessly cut short.

How many parents have to be bereaved, how many sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends...the connections we make spread far and wide. Remember the wise, wise words of John Donne:

"Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee."


Alas, it seems farcical that any civilised society could squabble over powerful anti-human weaponry while its citizens are being slaughtered by psychopaths like TJ Lane and his ilk, but in the "Land of the Free" it seems that you are free to develop a mental illness or a loner's grudge and go and slaughter innocent people who never did you any harm.

And as American society has grown more urban, technological, disparate in income and social status, and socially more isolating, the number of disaffected potential assassins has grown exponentially it would seem.

Anyone with a shred of decency and morality would recoil in disgust at what TJ Lane is quoted as saying in the article above: "The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory" as he gave a defiant finger to the grieving family members in court.

America, now is the time to come to your senses! Gun control is really gun out-of-control in the Home of the Brave and the terminally terrified.

If you haven't read We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, you should. In fact, every politician in the USA should be made to read it before they debate gun control.


  1. The urgency with which conservatives rely on rhetoric going back to 2nd amendment rights is both farcical and contemptible. You're so right to point out how anachronistic this argument it. But it persists and is as deeply rooted as the American Dream -- also a farce. A horrid thing, this tendency toward violence, and the constant justification we hear over and over from mainstream politicians and celebrity figures who insist it's part of being a true American. Could not agree more with your post. And your inclusion of Donne.

  2. Modernity, it seems to me, is always anachronistic. It either comes too early or not soon enough, depending on your affiliation. If we indict America and its gunslinging greatness (land of my soul), we must include its bible-thumping theocrats and their war against the devil.

    Americans are dreamers, optimists, and the country will find its way; but any enactment of an ideal -- be it the laws of heaven, or a utopia of free gold (with Miwok Indians buried beneath my childhood) -- any enforcement of a dream will lead to an abstraction of cruelty and violence.

    There are bullets in independence. Just as there's obesity in the abattoir. Or terror in precision bombing. Or the inevitable recruitment of children in a war against an abstraction (like "evil"). Worst of all, it's the children, so fresh to life, who offer the only mirror unblemished enough for us to distinguish the stains of our madness. But in looking in their eyes, we introduce them to our image. -Z

  3. Thank you both for your erudite comments.

  4. Thank you both for your erudite comments.