10 March 2011


GUN FEVER. Gail Collins in the NYTimes reflects upon the surreal, Alice-in-Wonderland response of state and federal lawmakers to the Tucson mass shootings in her article School of Glock. A bill that would impose fines of up to $5 million on a doctor who asks a patient if he/she owns a gun. A bill requiring every adult citizen to purchase a firearm. Bills allowing guns in public libraries, on college campuses, in bars. Bills allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Anything and everything to appease the National Rifle Association, which is never appeased. As Collins points out, "virtually all of them seem to be based on the proposition that one of the really big problems we have in this country is a lack of weaponry.

"The core of the great national gun divide comes down to this -- on one side, people's sense of public safety goes up as the number of guns goes down. The other side responds to every gun tragedy by reflecting that this might have been averted if only more legally armed citizens had been on the scene.

"I am on the first side simply because I believe that in a time of crisis, there is no such thing as a good shot.

"'Police, on average, for every ten rounds fired, I think, actually strike something once or twice, and they are highly trained,' said Bill Bratton, the former New York City police commissioner.

"Concealed Carry on Campus envisions a female student being saved from an armed assailant by a freshman with a concealed carry permit. I see a well-intentioned kid with a pistol trying to intervene in a scary situation and accidentally shooting the victim.

"And, somehow, it'll all turn out to be the health care reform bill's fault."

There is much virtue in Collins' point of view. I grew up in the gun culture of rural Montana, and have owned firearms all my life. I have a healthy respect for any gun's potential for destruction, born of my experience in the Vietnam War, and as a civilian ambulance driver. When the landscape is full of people with guns, the world becomes a deadly place. My mistrust applies to those who carry firearms professionally -- the military and the police. I know my own level of skill and self-restraint. The only person I trust with a weapon is me.

KINETIC SCULPTURE. "Kinetic" referring to motion. Here is a delightful video showing the creative process in action, as the artist conceptualizes and builds intricate and ingenious kinetic wave sculptures. Enjoy.

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