Happiness is a Warm Gun

A student said to me recently, "Was living in America safe?" Not much flummoxes me, but I didn't know how to respond to that one. Safe? Compared to what? Am I going to leave my door unlocked, like Michael Moore's depiction of Canadians in Bowling for Columbine? Probably not. When I dug a little into the reasoning behind her question, I learned that she wanted to know more specifically if I was worried about being shot. I asked her if she was worried about air pollution. She said that she was. I asked her if she was worried about the Japanese economy. She said that she was. "Worrying about being shot in America," I said, "is the same thing." "But aren't guns scary?" You betcha. Which brings me back to the brilliant Bowling for Columbine, and Moore's argument in it. I think people will be drawn to the movie because of the gun issue, but the real crux of his position lies with the fear-mongering that goes on in the U.S. It's perpetuated by the plethora of news media, and it's perpetuated by politicians who are more interested in being re-relected than doing their damn jobs. While it's easy to point fingers, the real blame should be shouldered by we, the people. It's sort of obvious when you're in the States. How early in life are we told that we can't believe everything we read in the newspapers? Or see on the television? So now that you see young black men involved in shootings every night, you're suddenly going to believe that it's representative of the entire populace? It's human nature to be afraid; most recently in Japan everybody's been conditioned to be afraid of the economy. But the economy is still better than in the States, and the economy just doesn't kill people. Not like a handgun.


5 Responses to “Happiness is a Warm Gun”

  1. Dad on

    This adds new meaning to the phrase “I’m not sure where this is going”…literally, down and down. I can understand wanting to increase the size in inches (column inches, that is), but this is ridiculous. You may think your blog is only a vehicle for you to learn CSS design, but some of us actually find the content interesting. When formatting gets in the way, it’s time to rethink it.

    Also, this PermaLink stuff casts a permafrost. Useless. Also, one cannot select and copy within the column, thus making it difficult to disseminate your words of wisdom more widely.

    Maybe it’s time to give Microsoft a call…

  2. Dad on


    “Posted by Dad at February 22, 2003 08:23 AM” is not, strictly speaking accurate, since it is now 3:23 PM on February 21st, and February 22nd has not even happened here yet. It would look pretty weird if North Korea were to nuke us here later this evening and that dateline appeared.


  3. seth on

    Kerrist, you give dear ol’ Pa a plug on your site and he gets all uppity.

    Dad- As much as I appreciate the fact that you (and potentially others) are enjoying the content here, the time code is accurate for Japan. I’m not adjusting it for Pacific Standard or Jewish Standard or any other widely accepted time displacement system. Wherever I am, it’s *now*. For the foreseeable future, that’s Japan.

    Also, the CSS code for IE will get fixed as soon as I have a chance to tinker with it. Most likely Sunday night (Japan time, weisenheimers) but maybe Monday morning.

    Finally, PermaLink is quite useful. If you click on it and copy the link, you will be able to directly link to a specific post, instead of just the month the post appears in.

    Don’t be such a Luddite. I remember trying and failing to convince you to get an email account my sophomore year of high school.

  4. the snork maiden on

    Actually, you are wrong about the Japanese economy. They are in a LOT of trouble, and have been for the past 15 years, not nearly as bad as what is happening in the US. And they are not doing anything to fix it. You student is right to be worried.

  5. seth on

    It is true that things aren’t as good as they once were, and they’re not getting better, but the U.S. lost 2 million jobs in January.

    I’m not armed with statistics, but I was job-hunting in Boston for a long, long time and I’ve talked with people who are on the prowl for work here. It’s better here. The standard of living is higher, the wages are higher.

    In the long run, Japan may wind up worse off. There is a rigidity in their mindset which has probably hastened the worsening economic situation. But right, it certainly seems easier to get a job in Japan.

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