Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Sheep Look Up...

That was the title of John Brunner's grim SF apocalyptic version of a poisoned America, written in 1972. I was in college, more or less, when I first read it, and images from that book have stayed with me over the years. Interestingly enough, those 1970s' apocalyptic vision in sceince fiction blended seamlessly into what I was "studying" in school, largely by accident. Like many guys that age, I was being led around by the Little Head Hiding Behind the Zipper. My squeeze at the time, Glenda, figured out pretty quickly that there was a big advantage to having me write her class essays. I'd sailed though college on an inborn ability to write and a prodigious memory, which allowed me to avoid homework, grade drama and learning anything.

Since writing essays was so easy for me, Ms. Glenda reason, would I mind writing hers? And since the easy way for me to write those essays would eb to take the same classes as her, would I mind eschewing the physics, math and creative writing classes and take her classes instead? She was screaming hot, it was the early '70s and I was suffering from testosterone poisoning...what can I say?

Which is how I came to have minors in religion and psychology, specializing in the psychology of crowds and mass movements. At that time. both studies led back to the German experience in World War Two, which is a nice way to say back to the camps, and to a lesser extent Stalin and the first great Russian purges. One of the classes was with a visiting European professor of the "Death of God" school of theology. He had lost everything in the camps and it had — obviousoly — profoundly changed the nature of his faith. So I spent a couple of semesters studying genocides. "Peace, love and flowers," indeed! He was particualry obsessed with the Warsaw Uprising, where 23-year-old Mordecai Anielewicz and the Jewish, with only a handful of smuggled guns, held off the awful power of the German state for 63 days. "If they'd only had more guns..." the professor mused, which tripped a nasty discussion on gun control. After class, I asked the prof why he thought that, even in the face of history, the Jewish community in America was overwhelmingly liberal and overwhelmingly in favorite of rigid gun control.

"Because they're fools," the old European Jew said. "They think they're safe here, that the government will take care of them. They don''t believe that absolute trust in a government leads to ashes and lampshades. I pray I don't live long enough to see them realize their mistake."

So on that cheery note, it looks like the San Fran Handgun Ban is going to pass:
Support for ballot measures seeking to ban handguns and keep military recruiters out of public high schools and college campuses were leading with more than half of returns in Tuesday night.

With 65 percent of San Francisco precincts reporting, 64,676 people, or 57.3 percent, voted in favor of the proposed gun ban, while 48,112, or 42.7 percent, opposed it.

Proposition H would prohibit the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and make it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses.

Although law enforcement, security guards and others who require weapons for work are exempt from the measure, current handgun owners would have to surrender their firearms by April.
Ah yes, jackbooted thugs stage right. I would urge my brothers ans sisters in San Francisco to resist, but that's silly. They won't resist anymore than they didn't bother to vote. Well, members of the Pink Pistols might resist, because they already know how much protection the law really offers, even in a city that prides itself on being gay-friendly.

One wonders what the people who voted for this atrocity (which the NRA is challenging in court on Second Amendment grounds) thought happened in New Orleans, a major American city that went from civilization to anarchy in less than 48 hours?

Reminds me of one other comment from my old religion class, when a woman said something to the effect of..."but if nobody had guns..."

He silenced her with a wave of his hand. "The Nazis always have guns," he said quietly.


Anonymous said...

"One wonders what the people who voted for this atrocity (which the NRA is challenging in court on Second Amendment grounds) thought happened in New Orleans, a major American city that went from civilization to anarchy in less than 48 hours?"
Just one big 'quake away from a LOT of regret.........

Michael Bane said...

A big ole AMEN to that, Brother Brian!


Anonymous said...

I would be nice if all those that voted for the ban so identified themselves, their homes and work places-oh, this was done already? with gold what? And their property was taken by whom? And they were were taken where?

PS: Yes there were some fine ladies in college but to take the same classes? She had to be...


Michael Bane said...

This reminds me of an idea I had a few years back...I wanted to print up a batch of bright yellow stickers and yard signs like those from alarm companies that said:


We'd distribute those stickers and signs free to gun-free homes to be placed prominently on a front window or on the front lawn or, preferably, in both places. I said all this stuff on a radio show, and the announcer, possibly not the brightest Christmas tree bulb on the string, said, "That's crazy! That's like having a 'Rob Me First' sign on your house! Oh wait...I get it..."

RE: College squeeze...she was indeed spectacular, but I was indeed young and largely unmoored...besides, it was the '60s (which were really the early '70s). The world was in flames and I had just discovered per diem expenses for writing stories about it. I learned more tht had a lasting impact on my life from *her* classes than the physics and math classes, where I learned to intimately manipulate a slide rule. I still have that slide rule, BTW, as a reminder about the fleeting nature of *process.* I also still have, somewhere in my B&W photography portfolio, a single spectacular nude of Said Squeeze. Got me an "A" in Advanced Photography/Portraits...


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