Red Ryder Air Rifle

James Holmes has appeared for his preliminary hearing yesterday and today regarding charges that stem from alleged involvement in the Colorado shooting at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

These kinds of gun atrocities have not, and have largely never been, committed by the typically vilified criminal element of our inner city gangs or drug communities. They are committed almost exclusively by white, middle and lower-middle class, student-aged young people, suffering some mental illness.

So putting more guns nearer to this demographic, to wit, guns in schools or carried by teachers, exacerbates, not cures, the risk. At the same time, it also makes gun regulation less effective since so many times possession, in these circumstances, is secondarily or tertiarily obtained. Because of my strong constitutional, rather than personal, view on gun possession, I have been hesitant regarding gun control. And, notwithstanding the horror, they are, as a statistical matter, improbable, and represent, all other things together, less violence than society has historically borne. But precisely for the relative violence free lives we live, these sort of concentrated incidents of massacre are all the more impossible for our increasingly non-violent expectations/psyche to handle. And, because the safety we enjoy is at least in part the product of collusion — our collective agreement to obey the rule of law — the better we “collude” the more easy and effective is any one individual’s ability to break from that agreement and open fire on a group of people unarmed and psychologically unexpectant. This is a gun access problem. We can either try to make them less scarce or go wild west. There isn’t a happy medium.

A last constitutional note. Just because I’ve read the Federalist Papers too many times, I still respect the theoretical idea, upon which our own Declaration of Independence is grounded, that a government can make itself so illegitimate as to implicate its citizenry’s right to take up arms against it. It’s happening in Syria right now. And, of course, it is impossible to exercise such a right against an illegitimate sovereign if you yourself have been, as a matter of that same sovereign’s rule, disallowed weapon possession. This is why the Second Amendment exists. But, we are at a point, notwithstanding all manner of action packed one-man-army cinema, that even heavy assault rifles in the hands of citizens will be of only a minor annoyance to a government that can turn back in on itself the most sophisticated missile based and tactically trained military in the world. I’m not sure, therefore, that the Declaration’s notion in this regard can endure as a modern day justification for private gun possession as so many would cry. If our government has the will and political capital to beat us up, there aren’t enough assault rifles in West Virginia and my home state, South Carolina, to even put an eye out.

james holmes

Today’s blong is a retread from the original.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s blong here:

Dark Night