Review:The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of Firearms

The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of FirearmsThe Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poignant, thoughtful, and surprisingly balanced, which isn’t something you see very often with a topic as divisive as guns. Author Iain Overton travels around the world to understand the gun from the many, many different people whose lives it has affected: victims, killers, traders, creators, hunters, enthusiasts, and doctors. He doesn’t hold anything back; if the best way to understand hunting is to be a hunter, he goes out and does that. His expression of remorse and regret after killing an animal on a hunting trip in Africa was particularly emotional and heartfelt.

This is a book I would absolutely recommend to people who want to dive into the discussion about firearms and their place in the world. Overton doesn’t hold back on any aspect; he acknowledges that guns are power incarnate and that shooting them can feel very, very fun. He acknowledges that they can be collected and can be valuable and historical. But he also faces what they do to people, what they do to bodies and lives. And the result of his experiences are a decidedly less sanguine feeling about them as a whole, even as he understands them.

Unfortunately, Overton’s experiences tell us that guns aren’t going away. Not soon, maybe not ever (or if they do, it’s only because something more powerful replaced them). Nevertheless, understanding them can help come to terms with their role in shaping our world and for that reason alone, this is a book I think you should read.

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Really, Mark, What Did You Think Was Going To Happen Here?

Mark Kessler is the chief of police in the small Pennsylvania town of Gilberton. He achieved national attention by posting reasonable and thought provoking discussions on YouTube about what he perceives as the erosion of Second Amendment rights.

No, wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Let’s try this again.

Mark Kessler was the chief of police until he decided to make an Internet Tough Guy video that was little more than a profanity-laden rant against “libtards.” He then proceeds to fire a lot of guns at things. Because nothing indicates “responsible public servant” and “reasonable political discussion” like shooting guns in a YouTube video and swearing a lot.

Because his actions brought shame on his one-officer department, he was forced to ask himself to resign due to conduct unbecoming of a police officer. He was later heard to be shouting at himself and angrily slammed his badge down on his own desk before storming out of the building, only to return a moment later to file the paperwork to terminate himself.

The cute part is how in his videos, he thinks anybody who’s upset with him is upset because he uses profanity, which is fucking hilarious. Here’s the truth, Police Chief Kessler, we libtards out there aren’t worried about your fucking language. Honestly, we’re not even worried about you, because:

a. You’re making a great case for why mentally unstable individuals should not be allowed to have guns . . . or be employed by as police . . . or be allowed to be chief of police . . . or be allowed to have a computer . . . or be allowed to have an Internet connection . . . or be allowed to have access to YouTube and a camera.

b. You get to be the poster boy for your side of the gun control argument now.

Congratulations! Because, you know, there’s nothing I’m more afraid of than a terrifyingly-angry man with a camera, a command of the word “fuck”, and a lot of guns.

Oh wait. Actually . . .

There’s one thing I’m more afraid of. If I’m honest with myself, this is what I consider to be a real fucking nightmare scenario for supporters of gun control: a person who argues against gun control with a reasonable presentation of his position, statistical evidence supporting his claim, and convincing rhetorical skill outlining his argument. Thinking about that guy? That’s the shit that keeps me up at night.

Fortunately for me, Kessler’s videos have gained hundreds of thousands of views, which means that the poor guys who are out there making reasonable arguments on his behalf are getting ignored.

Well done, sir. Well done.

Thoughts On Yesterday

For the moment, there’s nothing else of substance to be said about the gun control battle. The lines have been drawn in the sand; the first blows have been exchanged. Our side lost this round, but there will be others. The overwhelmingly sad fact is that as long as things remain as they are, we’re never going to run out of tragedies that will add fuel to the fire of this debate. That’s not the same thing as hoping for more violence. Rather, it is the sad realization that until something changes, this is how things are going to be until we finally have enough people saying, “we tried it your way. Now let’s try it ours.

For now, though, all the good zings have been zung. In my opinion, Gabby Gifford’s scathing editorial was the most poignant. I tried to find an editorial from the gun rights side of things; the best I could do was John Cornyn’s criticism of President Obama’s speech yesterday. Hardly a fair comparison, I admit, but then, this wasn’t exactly a fair fight.

I did look at a few conservative news sites to see what else might be out there, but the first article on the Drudge Report was NRA: “Obama  ‘bit off more than he could chew, an article so vile and callous that I wouldn’t dare choose this to be the representation of the other side. It’s too fucking cruel. My first thought was that it was actually just very cold satire and part of me still hopes that’s the case.

So the other side gets Cornyn to sum up the day, because while he may not be the most eloquent representation, at least he doesn’t come across having been spawned in the darkest depths of some writhing abyss. Banality or pure evil; those seem to be the choices here.