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A blog about "displaced thoughts on misplaced literatures." Matthew Cheney is a writer and teacher who lives in New Hampshire. His work has been published by English Journal, Strange Horizons, Failbetter.com, Ideomancer, Pindeldyboz, Rain Taxi, Locus, The Internet Review of Science Fiction and SF Site, among other places.
1. Utopia and Guns, Again

My post from last year on "Utopia and the Gun Culture" has gotten some attention in the wake of the horrifying shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

Most of what I have to say about guns, I said there. Here, I'll mainly link to a few recent writngs of interest and add a bit of comment at the end.

First, if you're curious to know more about the labyrinthine federal and state laws regarding firearms, the ATF has guides to federal (PDF) and state laws. (For a general overview, there's Wikipedia: federal, state.)

Here's a perfect example of useless utopian thinking: "A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths". Such articles are a waste of time.

For more on the deep issues and why utopian thinking is a waste of time, see Timothy Burke's post "Don't Bring Policy to a Culture Fight".

For a good exploration/demonstration of the difficulties of drawing any useful conclusions from statistics about guns, crime, and violence, see the discussion at Ta-Nehsisi Coates's blog on this post.

For an example of at least an attempt at some conversation without too much stereotyping, name-calling, and knee-jerking, see the comments on this Daily Kos post.


The New York Times has been running a bunch of op-eds about guns and gun control. The best one I've read is "A Way Out of the Gun Stalemate" by Jack Healy. I don't think there's a lot of chance of getting any of the ideas there brought to reality any time soon, but most seem to me to be good ones to work toward. I especially like this idea:

Gun-control supporters need higher-precision instruments than the federal assault weapons ban in their arsenal if they want legislators to discuss and debate their proposals instead of dismissing them. A law requiring membership in a shooting range or a gun club for bulk purchases of ammunition or extended magazines would be a reasonable start.
Lots of people have been aghast at the amount of ammo James Holmes stockpiled. I wasn't. I have friends, some of them not even self-proclaimed gun nuts, who have far more than that. Competitive shooters in particular will buy in bulk whenever possible, because not only can ammo prices be hugely variable, availability can be a problem: there are plenty of times when certain calibres are virtually unobtainable. If you're a regular shooter and find a deal on a bunch of ammo, you stockpile. It's neither paranoid nor nutty; it's practical.

But Jack Healy's proposed law requiring membership in a club or with a shooting range is brilliant because it means most of the people who would want to responsibly buy in bulk could do so, and it discourages the sort of people who want to hide their activities or who are especially anti-social. We know that James Holmes applied to a shooting range and th

1 Comments on Utopia and Guns, Again, last added: 7/30/2012
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