13 05 2018

the original founders of a certain modern arms manufacturing company…..

When you get right down to it, a firearm is, indeed, an extension of the human arm. With the aid of a very small fire–the explosion of the gunpowder in the bullet–it enables a person to throw a very small rock, aka a bullet, much faster and farther than would be possible manually. The result is that a rock so small that it would be unlikely to do any damage if thrown by hand can seriously wound or kill a person, or any other animal that it hits.

The great-great……great granddaddy of the AR-15

I thought it would be interesting to translate current concerns about firearms into equivalent statements about stones. Here’s what I came up with, followed by some commentary.

Remember—The Constitution supports your right to keep, carry, and throw stones!

The best way to stop a bad guy from throwing stones is for good guys to carry stones and be ready to throw them.

School teachers should have a drawer full of stones and know how to throw them, in case some kid starts throwing stones.

Whether you are considered a mass murderer or a war hero depends entirely on the circumstances under which you throw stones.

Don’t let the stone control crowd cut your rocks off!

Remember, your Constitutional right to keep and bear stones is protected by the NRA (Neolithic Rock Association).

The first three statements are similar enough that I’m going to comment on them all together. What would it say about society if some percentage of the people in it only felt safe if they were carrying around a bag of rocks, out of fear that somebody else who was carrying a bag of rocks would just randomly start throwing rocks at them?

featured at the very first NRA convention…..

It would be a fearful society, and that is, indeed, what we have. A great many people feel that they have little control over important aspects of their lives, and, rather than recognize the real source of their problem–the corporate elite that oppresses us all–they project their fears onto the people around them, who are actually just as oppressed as they are.

The fourth statement comes from a different perspective. “Whether you are considered a mass murderer or a war hero depends entirely on the circumstances under which you throw stones.” Yep. Bash in the heads of the people in the cave in the next valley over, and you are a war hero. Throw rocks at your own tribe? Shame on you!

The final statement–Don’t let the stone control crowd cut your rocks off!–speaks to a deeper level of what’s going on even now. Projectile weapons and masculinity are, um, intimately connected. One firearms manufacturer recently ran an ad campaign telling men that, by buying its product, they could “get their man card back.” The ad campaign was cancelled when their product was used in a school shooting.

My parents were both World War II veterans who came out of their experience as staunch pacifists who would not buy me even so much as a BB gun, but I was fascinated by the violence of that war and read adult books about it, both histories and novels, before I was even in my teens. Among the “fiction” I read was Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead” (I was hoping for more about the “naked” part.) and Leon Uris’s “Battle Cry.” In both of these novels, which are lightly fictionalized memoirs of their authors’ experiences in the war, there are scenes in which characters are chastised for calling their rifle a “gun,” and are forced to hold their rifles over their heads with one hand while they grab their crotches with the other, while singing “This is my rifle/This is my gun/This is for fighting/This is for fun.”

This sense of threatened masculinity is another aspect of  the fear factor. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: While there is no good reason for firearms to be as widely available as they are, merely attempting to control them without dealing with the underlying reasons why people think they need them will not solve the problem.

These instructions may come in handy sooner than we’d like to think.

In closing, I’d like to say that the first play on what NRA stands for that I came up with was “Neanderthal Rock Association,” but trash-talking our “kissing cousins”, the Neanderthals,  seems to me to be a form of racism, possibly a kind of racism that has a great deal to do with why we, and not they, became the dominant, and now the only,  hominid species on the planet. Full disclosure: I had my DNA tested, and discovered that I have a higher-than-normal percentage of Neanderthal genes in my template. Maybe that’s why all this Homo sapiens stuff–social dominance games, corporate capitalism, and war–don’t make much sense to me. For that matter, to name ourselves “sapiens,” which means “wise” in Latin, seems like a dangerous level of hubris at this point. “Clever,” yes. “Wise”? Let’s hope.

music: Grateful Dead, “Throwing Stones” (two different videos–first a “home-made,” second from the Grateful Dead film “So Far”)




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