I love babies as much as the next person — possibly more — but even I was sort of disappointed to learn the eagle video wasn’t for real:
It totally fooled me. I was talking once to a guy in the Upper Peninsula; we were talking about seeing a salmon that had chosen a nearby shoreline to wash up on, and the carrion-eaters that would soon carry it away. Raccoons. Eagles.
“I go walking on the ice in the winter with the dog” — a cairn terrier — “and sometimes those things circle around like they’re thinking about having him for lunch.” A cairn terrier weighs less than a six-year-old, but it’s always nice to have your worst fears confirmed.
But I guess this one is just a clever final exam in an art class. Still, en route to watching it, I did discover these driving dogs:
So that’s good. The only thing missing — not enough horn-honking. I always thought a world where dogs could drive would include a lot more honking.
It’s been almost a week since last Friday, and I’ve started to calm down, not tearing up unexpectedly, punching pillows, etc. But as the dust settles, it looks like I’m going to have to start fussin’ again, because I can’t get past something that now looks like a permanent part of the debate. That is, the pro-gun contention that “gun-free zones” are part of the problem.
I confess, I’d never been aware of it until 2004, when I spent some time in the Twin Cities and saw a big sign on the door to Minnesota Public Radio, advising the building was a gun-free zone. It was explained this was part of the new law, with lots of eye-rolling. OK, I get it: If you want to opt out of the state’s new yee-ha-freedom gun laws, you may invoke your other sacred right (private property) and do so. I stopped noticing them after about a day. And I assumed everyone else did, too.
The problem with carrying a gun, at least to me, is one of practicality. Those suckers are heavy. Holsters are big and clumsy, hot in warm seasons, impractical in all of them. There’s a reason cops are universally seen as lousy dressers; their sports jackets hang all wrong. I know a few people who pack heat in Detroit for reasons of their own, and they all opt for the time-honored Motor City holster — the glove compartment. Women have purses, but, again: Heavy. The slenderest, most compact ladies’ model Smith & Wesson would crowd out my wallet in even my roomiest bag, make reaching for the Tic Tacs problematic and eventually cut a rut in my shoulder.
So when we talk about gun-free zones, who are we talking about? Open carriers? Are there that many out there? You all live all over the country, so you tell me. One of my colleagues in Fort Wayne had a brother in Texas who wore a holster everywhere, all the time, but I don’t see it around here. (Of course, in Detroit, it’s wise to assume that every single person you meet is packing, which has resulted in our extremely civil, virtually violence-free metro area. But they don’t wear them on their hips, for the most part.)
If we’re not talking about open carry, how are gun-free zones enforced? No one asked to look in my bag when I was in Minnesota; it was all on the honor system. And because people who feel threatened enough to feel they must be armed at all times are unlikely to even approve of the idea of gun-free zones, much less follow the rules, I’ve just assumed the signs are like the old joke about wetting your pants in a navy-blue suit — a nice warm feeling no one notices.
Consequently, I have a hard time believing, as the current pro-gun talking point has it, that these mass murderers are choosing schools, movie theaters, malls, etc., because “they know no one will return fire.” I just don’e. It goes contrary to everything I know of crazy people, including the ones who believe this crap.
Which brings me to something I found via Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alan Jacobns in (yes) the American Conservative:
But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.
Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Moreover, the person who wishes to live this way, to maintain order at universal gunpoint, has an absolute trust in his own ability to use weapons wisely and well: he never for a moment asks whether he can be trusted with a gun. Of course he can! (But in literature we call this hubris.)
So here’s my bottom line: We can’t have a discussion, or whatever, until some participants stop lying. Let’s start with that one.
And let’s do some bloggage!
Steven Rattner on the coming conclusion of the GM rescue.
Finally, why I was at the camel farm Tuesday. Link will work after 8 a.m. EST.