by Fred Reed
Recently by Fred Reed: Dulce et Decorum
Today I’m going to explain why gun-control is not only entirely reasonable but also certain to be effective. Only the ignorant can deny this.
First, some orientation. Cement-headed NRA types need to recognize, and state manfully, that the illegalization of guns is in fact perfectly practical. History has shown this repeatedly. When the government outlaws something that huge numbers of people very much want, the outlawed items immediately disappear from society. This has been shown countless times.
So with guns. They are small, easily smuggled, of high value to criminals and will be of higher value when only criminals have them, so it is virtually certain that they will vanish when the government says so.
Mexico, where I live, has stringent laws against guns, which have proved at least a partial success. Criminals have AKs, RPGs, and grenades, while nobody else has anything. That’s a partial success, isn’t it?
While I am in favor of illegalizing guns and thus ending crime, I think the principle should be democratically applied. Let us begin by disarming the Pentagon. If this seems unreasonable, ask yourself: who kills more children in a month, Ritalin-addled little boys in America, or the US Air Force in every Moslem country it has heard of? All I ask is an honest body count. I will accept your numbers.
But let’s ask the question which, being critical, ain’t asked. I suppose it makes no sense to confuse ourselves with the essentials of things. Anyway, why have American school boys, who in my rural Virginia high-school of 1964 were armed to the eyeballs with deer guns and varmint rifles, and never shot anybody intentionally or accidentally, or had the idea pass through their whirring libido-crazed minds, if any – suddenly start shooting their friends in school? Why now?
We who wended our strange ways through the Sixties know that lengthy use of psychoactive stimulants produces…wild ideas and worse behavior. For example, Ritalin, the first drug I ever tried, in Istanbul – or dex, or…lots of others…produces crashes as we called them, ferocious depressions accompanied by inability to sleep, anger, and irrationality. We’re talking serious psychosis in a bottle. I’ve known speed freaks consistently to ignore stop lights, not bothering to look to either side. And what do they give little boys bored with schools run by intellectual termites?
But let’s look at the question from a different angle. This column is a repository of perfect understanding of everything, and occasionally likes to let a bit of wisdom dribble forth. Herewith a dribble.:
The problem is that we don’t have anything worthwhile to do.
Used to be, almost everybody worked on farms, because they wanted to eat. Being males, the males killed each other, neighboring tribes, and all reachable nationalities, but they generally did not murder their own children – though anyone who has been a parent can understand the temptation. People were too busy making stuff that mattered – food, clothes, roofs.
Then farming got automated, so people started making other things that were sensible. Refrigerators. Penicillin. Actual glass for windows. Electricity.
As time went by, nearly everything people really had any use for got made, mostly by automation. This meant two things. First, consumerism became essential to keep the economy going. Nobody much needed designer water, or Farrumcoochie boots, or SUVs, or McMansions with enough space for a large colony of Barbary apes. Which typically they contained. These things were kinda fun, like Corvettes and iPads and whoopee cushions, but hardly vital. Mostly nobody would have thought of buying them if not beaten about the head and shoulders with advertising campaigns subtle as a sock full of hog kidneys.
The second part of the bog of consumerism was that all of this deplorable nonsense was rolling off automated assembly lines. Consequently, people didn’t have anything to do that needed doing or that wouldn’t have been better not done. Yet they still wanted to eat. Two solutions offered: The Democratic, which was to give everybody everything he wanted as an entitlement, and the Republican, which was to have people work their lives away in meaningless jobs that allowed them to buy the unnecessary things advertising told them they wanted. This required the creation of huge numbers of meaningless jobs. Of course, it was politically wiser not to describe them just this way.
An obvious and expandable source of unwork was the government. Conservatives always say that they don’t like big government, but their choice is to pay federal drones to occupy offices pointlessly or else to fire them and put them on obvious welfare. Being decayed Calvinists, conservatives choose the former.
Consider this seriously. The United States has no military enemies, or only those of its own manufacture. Suppose it simply fired the entire force. Whole towns would die overnight with the bases that they support, the troops would go on unemployment, and the vast discreet industries that make unnecessary weapons would unemploy uncounted families.
For that matter, do you really believe that the Department of Education, Commerce, HUD, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs do anything worth doing? But we can’t just fire them because there is nothing for them to do other than the nothing that they are already doing.
But even government couldn’t supply the demand for JAI (Job-Appearing Indolence). However, the inexhaustible fertility of the American uneconomy welled up to fill the gap. Nail parlors popped up. Bureaucracies in public schools grew to outnumber the students. Enormous school systems in places like DC and Detroit hired educrats like the sands of the sea who taught nothing to anyone, reasonably enough since they didn’t know anything.
Universities decided that all children needed to go to college, though a maximum of fifteen percent had the intelligence or the desire. This produced a mother lode of Job-Appearing Indolence as professors of low grade churned out grammatically frightening attempts at research whose chief virtue was that no one read it.
So, panting,, we come to murder as economic flywheel.
Suburbia contains a lot of unpleasantly nice people, in particular effeminate men and bored housewives with a Mussolini complex, who want power, money, and something to fill the empty hours. Enter psychotherapy. This is quietly a very big industry. Anybody who is mildly unhappy – and who wouldn’t be, working in a pointless unjob? – is urged to Seek Professional Help. The Helpess – they are usually but not always female – will establish a vaguely sadomasochist relationship with you in which you, or your teenage daughter, will be forced to reveal the most intimate and embarrassing details of her inner head. The Helpess will then prescribe at least one and perhaps several forms of suburban soma – Prozac, Depakote, Welbutrin, Ritalin – which frequently have unpredictable but document ably awful effects on brain chemistry. These drugs are heavily – heavily – promoted by Big Pharma, which is the supply arm of the business of compulsory doping of American children, just as Lockheed-Martin is the supply arm of the Pentagon’s burning of Asian children. There’s money in this, boys and girls. Lots of it. Especially in ADD, anorexia, and bulimia, which didn’t exist until the Helpesses needed them to be in the DSM-IV so insurance companies would pay for treating them. (Stray thought: Why were at least half of the childless women in their – tick-tick-tick – thirties I dated in Washington taking some happy-pill or other?)
But enough. I´ve got a bright idea. (I told you we do bright ideas here.) In a country in which everyone has access to machetes, ice picks, guns, and straight razors, let’s keep putting little boys on half-understood psychotropics, Ritalin, expose all of them to crystal. Big Pharma is too important to die. Kids don’t seem to be.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be, Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle, Au Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet Nam, and A Grand Adventure: Wisdom’s Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about Mexico. Visit his blog.