Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I've always felt queasy in the presence of guns. It's their single-mindedness. Some machines have a consoling superfluity. Cars seem to be more than just machines for rolling down the road; good cameras do more than just take pictures. But, with the exception of the finest English shotguns, guns are just killing machines. I also don't understand going out into the countryside to shoot things. I feel it's a terrible failure of the imagination, like taking a television set on a hike. The wilderness is complete and self-justifying; all we are required to do is look at it. Many Americans value guns in ways that, occasionally, I have begun to understand, but, on the whole, I don't. Last night I saw a man say that, if the students at Virginia Tech had been armed, then the slaughter there would have been avoided. If Hamadryas Baboons had nuclear weapons, said E.O.Wilson, the world would end in a few days. If students, with all their un(in)formed passions, had guns, then every campus would be a slaughterhouse.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:43 am