Let’s Look at Pictures! Inaugural Edition

What a crappy, crappy week. Screwed up meds. New diagnoses to deal with. Scrambled brains that leave me with the concentration of a 3-year-old. Not to mention the fact that our universities are turning out liars at the graduate level, Wisconsin is trying to kill the tenure system, and the Duggar child abuse scandal keeps getting worse and worse. (If you’re interested in commentary about the situation without all the salacious details, try this article from boston.com.) Sometimes the world just seems like a shit platter, and when that happens day in and day out for months and months, it takes its toll. So instead of stoking the flames of my Inner Outrage by ranting until I’m ready to start gnawing throats out with my teeth like some Internet-addicted cyberzombie, I decided to post some pictures.

Ah, that’s much better, isn’t it? I developed a vast appreciation for snails after reading Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s fabulous memoir The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Not only does it delve into details about a snail’s existence that I never would have thought to wonder about, it’s also a profound and accurate account of the way catastrophic illness sweeps into your life and upends everything.

So now I’ve just sent my brain on a mini-expedition to consider the simplicity of a snail’s world and to remember a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I feel more emotionally stable already!

Let’s try something else. Ever google your own name?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. I google both my real name and my fickle name constantly. A couple of days ago, because I was feeling adventurous, I decided to google-search for images and not just web pages. And what a treasure trove of amazing mish-mashery I found! Most of the hits had absolutely (and refreshingly) nothing to do with me, but sometimes–like a Tarot reading–they seemed to be speaking to issues burbling around under the surface of my awareness.

Take this post on Pandora’s box by blogger Tabatha Yeatts. We  all know the story of Pandora: first woman in the world opens a box and releases all the world’s evils. Usually, the story is interpreted as yet another in the long line of myths trying to justify why women are treated as inferiors. Yeatts, however, doesn’t focus on the story as much as she gives us a collection of Pandoras–women of many times, traditions, and attitudes. (All very European, however, and all with the usual Caucasian belief that the universe was forged around their concerns.)

What I love about looking at Yeatts’s visual list is that the women remind me of me: pale, pathetic, bedraggled me. Me in my blue nightgown sitting at my laptop, thinking I can just check my four email accounts and maybe my Twitter feed, and then off to bed I’ll go!

when really I know I’m going to stay up all night and imbibe from the stream of electric horrors rushing by, even as I keep telling myself I need to stop,

until eventually I’m hunched over my box of infinite outrage and won’t let anyone else keep me from it.

Yup, this is me, all right. Quite apropos, Google. I should have realized you’d know me so well, since we’ve spent so many hours of my life together.

Also apropos that you (and Yeatts) would know the perfect way to soothe the indignation-weary soul in the digital age.

Thanks, universe. I absolutely needed that.

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Tooting My Own Horn: I Got a Piece Published on the BREVITY Blog!

Did I ever tell you about a guy named Dinty W. Moore, who edits an amazing journal called Brevity? Did I ever tell you what a class act he is, along with being an amazing writer and editor? Did I ever link to his Amazon author page and tell you that his memoir Between Panic and Desire is one of the most inspiring pieces of creative nonfiction I’ve ever read, especially for the sheer amount of possibilities his work opens up in the ways we can tell true stories?

Well, now I’m humbled to report that Dinty chose a mini-essay of mine to feature on Brevity’s wonderful blog. Thanks so very, very much, Dinty, for giving me the opportunity to be part of your publication.

(Of course, if I divulge which of the posts on the Brevity blog is mine, then all you Fickle Readers out there will learn my Super-Secret Identity. Oh, what the hell? The post is here. Enjoy!)

Story, via the Body

 

Narrative should be sensitive to the ways in which telling a story, believing a story, seeing yourself in a story—all that depends on an ability that can be hard to maintain when your body is changing, brain fogged, pain deep

 

–Zach Savich,  “Body Map: Memoirs of the Sick

Well said, Zach.  Couldn’t agree more.

Reading Elliot Rodger, Part 2: Memoir and the Credibility Problem

I feel like crap today.  Not just because I’m getting the rancid cold that’s been festering in my house for weeks.  No, it’s because there’s been yet another mass shooting, this time at Seattle Pacific University.  You readers out there probably know all the details by now.  The basic story is the same.  Yesterday afternoon, I was wondering if writing about Elliot Rodger, trying to dig through his psyche and look at our responses to his words, was really a worthwhile thing.  But here we are again.  Seriously, folks, we need to talk about gun violence every damn day.  Otherwise, the dead bodies are just gonna keep piling up, and I really don’t relish the thought of my country turning into an apocalyptic war zone over something as stupid as Wayne LaPierre and his cronies.

On to the topic at hand:

Another thing that really bugs me about the Elliot Rodger “Manifesto” (and I’m always going to put that term in quotes when I talk about Rodger’s long written goodbye; see Part 1 from yesterday) is that for the first week or so after the Isla Vista murders, news outlets all over the Internet were citing him at length for every question anyone might have had about the event.  Why did he do what he did?  Well, it says right there in black and white: girls wouldn’t sleep with him.  How did he pull off such an awful crime?  Here’s a handy timeline.  Why did he really do it?  There are more answers out there than you’d ever have time to read.  He was a misogynist!  A racist!  An elitist! Mentally ill!  Autistic!  (Except maybe not.)  He was a self-hating bi-racial man!  He might have been gay!  He was trying to gain respect from white men!  He was immersed in nerd culture!  I mean Hollywood culture!  And on and on.  Many of these articles quote huge chunks of Rodger’s document as evidence on What Actually Happened and Why, but very few have added any caveats that a) Rodger may not be a reliable source, and b) even if Rodger didn’t purposefully lie about anything, the memories he relates are all going to be colored by his final frame of mind.  (A notable exception is this recent NYT article, which states, “The obsessively detailed self-published account of his life inevitably raises questions of how much was real and how much was hopelessly distorted by the filter of illness.”)  One of the big problems with memoir as a genre is that memory is far more fragile and susceptible to revision than people want to acknowledge.  Literature and writing students all over the country grapple with the problem of uncovering the past using the faulty equipment of the human mind.  These days, memoirists often explore how “my truth” and other kinds of truth interact, how close subjective versions of reality come to actual reality or if there’s an actual reality out there to be found.  But for the most part, the genre of memoir puts its author in a position of authority because memoir requires a first-hand witness to piece together an event or historical period.  This is the way things went down, says the memoir writer.  I know because I was there.

I’m happy to see that a day after I wrote my post criticizing the media’s use of the word “manifesto” to refer to Rodger’s writing, the LA Times posted an op-ed by Matthew Fleischer calling Rodger’s work a memoir and pointing out the importance of reading it.  Clearly, great minds think alike.  Others, however, were out there, too, using the memoir label for Rodger’s work; the first writer on the ball seems to have been Dennis Lynch of the International Business Times, although Lynch calls Rodger’s document a “memoir-manifesto” and doesn’t say anything about the reliability of Rodger’s perspective.  (I should say, too, that I haven’t taken in much of the TV coverage of the shootings, so I can’t vouch for whether, in the constant chatter of the 24-hour news cycle, anyone bothered to mention the issue of Rodger’s credibility.  I’m a cynic, so I’m guessing not.)  I’m concerned, though, that even if we start changing our language–saying “memoir” instead of “manifesto”–without an awareness of the memoir’s conventions and failings, we’re still going to place too much importance on the story itself and continue to ignore the issues that might lurk beneath it.

Let’s look at Fleischer’s op-ed, for example.  Fleischer writes about how his opinion of Rodger changed once he’d read Rodger’s narrative:

The language is clear and precise, the misery palpable. Rodger was no crank philosopher. Instead, he was a memoirist, able to describe the details of his sad, lonely world with surprising candor. In the process, his story touches on almost every corner of American society — race, class, gender, divorce, sex, bullying, entitlement and empty materialism.

Fleischer doesn’t downplay the many noxious attitudes and beliefs that others have criticized Rodger for.  The commentator does, however, point out that picking and choosing excerpts from a 137-page text gives a fairly lopsided view of what Rodger’s experience was.  Fleischer observes that Rodger’s “racial contempt is thinly veiled posturing to cover up the self-loathing of his own ethnic identity.”  He was (and here Fleischer uses the killer’s own words) “half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with…. I had to make every effort to rectify this. I had to adapt.”  Rodger, says Fleischer, was bullied “on a regular basis,” got picked on when he and his mother lived in an apartment (instead of a house, that is), and “rarely, if ever, had a social interaction that wasn’t facilitated by his parents.”

All of these observations are true, according to Rodger’s story.  Yet, just as cherry-picking inflammatory comments doesn’t sum up Rodger’s entire perspective, uncritically repeating the tale of his “sad, lonely world” doesn’t take into account the many ways that this story, written by someone who calls himself “a good liar,” manipulates the reader into sympathizing with him.  I have no doubt that Rodger was the victim of bullying, but the fact that in the 12 pages that cover the time period (eighth, ninth, and the beginning of tenth grade) that he says he was bullied, he devotes only 13 paragraphs–about a page and a half–to bullying.  The incidents of bullying, mainly name-calling and shoving, are vaguely described, unlike, say, his anecdotes about playing World of Warcraft with friends (and yes, he did have friends) at a favorite cybercafe or the horrors of going on an eight-week vacation to Morocco with his stepmother and a “whelping baby” (his new half-brother, Jazz).  He specifically says, near the end of eighth grade, that one of the reasons he was bullied was because he was picking fights with other kids.  Why?  To get attention, and because “it felt good to be confident enough to pick fights with the popular kids.”  Unlike some bullying victims, his parents were sensitive to the treatment he was receiving from his peers at school, and when he spent a terrible first week at a public school in tenth grade they immediately withdrew him and sent him somewhere else.  Also, the incident Rodger claims as “the worst” of when he was bullied?  Listening to a recording of a boy having sex with his girlfriend after Rodger himself questioned the boy’s claims that he was sexually active.  (Unlike the rest of his torment by his peers, this moment is described in minute detail.)

So what does this tell us?  To me, it says that maybe the bullying wasn’t as significant a part of his life as he says it was.  I was the target of bullies for a long time in grade school, and I know how painful and damaging the experience can be, even when you’re not being physically abused or assaulted by bullies (and there are many stories out there of people who suffered physical scars from bullying along with emotional ones).  True, Rodger could just be omitting parts of his story that he found embarrassing or believed would demean him.  But if that’s true, what else might he have omitted?  Could he have left certain events out of his story because they didn’t make him seem like a poor, defenseless creature, utterly devoid of blame?  And why, when he states that he had food dumped on him on the first day of ninth grade and later had to wait till the halls were clear so he could walk to class without being harassed–why does he feel that the worst thing a bully ever did to him was force him to listen to teens having (real or simulated) sex?  To me, that right there suggests that Rodger’s biggest problem with his peers had to do with his aversion to sex and women, and that the rest of the bullying stuff was thrown in because people naturally feel sorry for bullying targets, and he wanted his story to garner him as much sympathy as he could get.

Other parts of his narrative are starting to look a bit more questionable, or at least more complicated, now that family, friends, schoolteachers, and others in the Isla Vista community have begun speaking to the press.  This week, a New York Times article discusses the difficulties Rodger had connecting with people, his parents’ struggles to help him, and his problem behavior (panic attacks, lack of communication) at school and in friends’ homes.  In an interview with ABC, Chris Rugg, one of Rodger’s roommates says that Rodger would regularly avoid conversations and turn down invitations to go out.  Yet Rodger says of his time in college, “I was always an outcast, even among people I knew.”  During the year he lived with Rugg, Rodger’s opinion of his roommates is clear: “Of course, I had no desire to be friends with them, because they had absolutely nothing to offer.”

The bottom line here is that, just as we don’t want to portray Rodger as some monstrous, hyper-political manifesto writer, we also don’t want to romanticize him as a long-suffering, helpless memoirist who could only make the world understand the extent of his emotional damage through his writing.  Both of these representations of Rodger distract us from trying to approach the messy reality of his life, and ironically both play into the self-image he tried to project. He strove to appear as a god-like bogeyman, so people would tremble in fear of him.  At the same time, he wanted to be a victim, so no one would blame him or hold him accountable for the problems he created.  I don’t like the feeling that Elliot Rodger is playing us, playing me, the same way he played everyone around him throughout his life.  I want to pick away at the myth he built, so we can all see who the little boy was under the monster mask and stop him from terrorizing us one second more.

Coming soon: Let’s find out who you REALLY are…

Reading Elliot Rodger, Part I: Why “Manifesto”?

Hey, all you fickle readers out there!  Remember how I joined in the outrage posse against Seth Abramson, the poet who tried to re-form Elliot Rodger’s hate-filled words into art?  Well, now I have an uncomfortable confession to make: I read Elliot Rodger’s “manifesto.”  All 137 pages, single spaced in tiny font.  And I discovered Rodger’s words, ugly and disgusting and batshit crazy as they are, might have a little bit of worth behind them after all.

They’re not good, mind you.  Not enjoyable, either.  After an hour of absorbing his little fable, I found myself wanting to reach simultaneously back in time and into one of his now-ubiquitous selfies and rip the preening smile off his face with my fingernails.  Still, the overall document is worth reading, if only for the fact that we need to start staring down our violent bogeymen, these first-world children who become rage-addled killers.  Last time, we had Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook; his self-imposed silence turned discussion into speculation and brought out voices always scrambling to fill an information gap with conspiracy theories.  This time, though, we have a wellspring of data, practically an oil derrick: documents and posts and videos from a man who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop himself from hurling bilious diatribes into the public sphere.  I can understand that many don’t want to give this guy one iota of extra publicity, much less a platform on which other crazy assholes can climb.  Still, I think it’s important to investigate the Rodger material for any useful hints it might yield on anything–mental illness, violent tendencies, susceptibility to prejudice, whatever’s there to add to our knowledge base.  Elliot Rodger lived his final days as a 22-year-old unemployed college student who barely attended classes, had no ambitions or skills, and regularly picked fights with people who triggered his pathological rage.  Leaving behind a trail of documentation might be the best thing that could have come out of such an appalling, wasteful life.  And I’m afraid, at the very least, we’re already getting the “manifesto” wrong.

First of all, I should say that I’ve decided not to provide links to any of the sites where Rodger’s full document appears.  Call me hypocritical, but I have serious reservations about the fact that this manuscript was uploaded, even by reputable outlets like the New York Times, without any attempt to protect the privacy of or even pixillate the names of Rodger’s schoolmates, friends, crushes, acquaintances, or “enemies.”  This has already resulted in pictures, particularly of the young women Rodger mentions, popping up all over the Internet and articles implying that one woman was the root of Rodger’s misogyny–all because she supposedly teased him when she was ten years old.

I should also say that I absolutely believe we, as a country, should be having the discussions that Rodger’s actions ignited.  We should have started talking about racism, elitism, misogyny and violence against women long before Rodger went on his rampage. I’m a little concerned, though, that we’re letting our initial horror at his snarl of toxic beliefs drive us away from the bigger picture that’s buried in the tamer sections, or indeed in the overarching structure, of Rodger’s long narrative.  News outlets and commentators have been so intent on emphasizing the ugly and sensationalistic that now a small portion of Rodger’s statement has been ripped out of context and is roaming freely on the Internet, to be regurgitated and reconfigured in as many ways as we like.  That, plus the fact that we now live in a “Too Long; Didn’t Read” culture could lead to misreadings and misuses of Rodger’s language, where the subtler evils of his message may slip by while audiences are busy reacting to the more obvious malignancies of his hate speech.

For instance, the term “manifesto”: why are we calling Rodger’s long written statement that?  Manifestos are philosophical treatises, outward-focused documents that pick apart the status quo in society in order to promote new systems of thought or public policy.  What Rodger wrote and subsequently emailed (by varying reports) to about one or two dozen people, including his parents, does not fall into this category.  By my count (and yes, I went through the file and counted up paragraphs that contained generalized statements, universalized concepts, or rabble-rousing rhetoric), Rodger spends only about 4 pages, or 3% of his piece, laying out any sort of broad statement about his pet cause, the immorality of women and of human sexuality.  (Most of this material shows up in the final 2 and half pages, which he dubs the “Epilogue.”)  The other 97% follows the basic format of a narrative or chronicle, dividing his life up into eras (complete with melodramatic headings like “A Blissful Beginning,” “The Last Period of Contentment,” and “Stuck in the Void”) and subdividing it into individual years from age 6 on.  (His earlier years, “0 to 5,” appear in a mercifully abbreviated lump.)  Not surprisingly, this narrative structure supports narrative content–his “proof” of why he did what he did is told in reminiscences dripping with nostalgia.  Nowhere does the term “manifesto” even appear in the text.  The official title of his piece is “My Twisted World The Story of Elliot Rodger by Elliot Rodger.”  Story is the word he uses, not declaration or argument.

So why should we care that CNN is putting on its usual hyperbolic show in which Wolf Blitzer et. al. refer to Elliot Rodger’s “manifesto”?  Because words matter, and names and terms matter even more.  The relentless barrage of media figures hammering away at the existence of a “manifesto” written by Rodger associates him with an otherness, intellectualism, and political dogmatism that seem both threatening and immutable.  He’s in the ranks of Karl Marx and Ted Kaczynski now, the media seem to be saying.  Rodger’s a ruthless, godless force of nature, just like he was in real life.  Never mind that the causes of Rodger’s maliciousness were far more mundane.  (More on this later.)  Never mind that conservatives have already started using Rodger as an example of why we should simply give up on trying to prevent mass shootings, presumably so that no debate can begin on the possibility of gun control legislation.  No, the manifesto writer fits tidily into our familiar concept of the lunatic who destroys on a large scale, and so the media use it, regardless of the fact that Rodger himself wanted people to view him this way.  We owe it to ourselves not to accept this manipulation of the public mind.

To be continued…

 

A Break for Good Writing

Another brilliant flash essay from Brevity: “Too Soon” by Joan Wilking.  We absolutely need more literature about loss and aging (says me, who’s fast approaching oldtimerhood).  Wilking’s prose captures an amazing amount of personal history (from several characters) in only a few paragraphs.  And her prose is gorgeous.

Her bio says this is her first nonfiction publication.  Best Envy, Joan.  Best Envy.

(If you’re interested, some further commentary from Wilking is here.)

Dear God: Please Let California Start the Cascade

My God is the God of Stories.  That may sound blasphemous, or snarky, or stupid, but I assure you it’s not.  Stories are vastly important to human lives.  Stories take raw experience and reveal patterns, form meaning, and communicate realities across wide cultural landscapes, even when the receivers aren’t equipped to understand everything that’s being conveyed.  (The plural, stories, is important, too.  In the same way that there’s never just one teller, there can never be just one Story.)  And I’m not talking only about fictional stories–fairy tales and myths and novels and the like.  We’re always making so-called “real life” into some sort of narrative, be it political or religious or cultural.  We not only want to know what happened at any given historical point in time, we want the background and the fallout, too.  We want our stories whole.

That said, I’d like to make a personal plea to the God of Stories to start sending those of us here in the States some better endings to our narratives about gun violence.  Seriously, God of Stories.  Stronger, more meaningful endings.  We need them desperately, and we need them now.

Here’s a story I only found out about last winter, when a Canadian friend posted a remembrance on his Facebook feed.  Yes, I know, the link is for a Wikipedia entry, and yes, I also know that Wikipedia is not exactly a fount of unfailing accuracy.  Still, at this point in its life cycle, Wikipedia has gotten reliable enough that if you want a quick snapshot of some thing or person or event, you can skim over the Wikipedia entry and then find links to more reputable sources where the anonymous Wikieditors researched (or, in many cases, lifted) their material.  Also, on the Internet, if you’re searching the real world for narrative structure, Wikipedia can’t be beat.  Have a look at the first three paragraphs on the Montreal Massacre (the story at the link) and notice how much information you get on the subject, particularly if you’ve not up on your Canadian history.  I’ll paraphrase here:

On December 6, 1989, Marc Lepine walked onto the campus of the École Polytechnique in Montreal and, with a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle, entered an engineering classroom, separated the men and women, and proceeded to shoot the group of women, nine in all.  He then left the classroom and shot four men and 15 more women until he shot and killed himself.  Throughout the rampage and in his suicide note, he presented himself as an anti-feminist crusader and claimed that feminists “ruined his life.” Fourteen died at Lepine’s hands, all of them women.  After the attack, many Canadians argued about the true meaning of the incident and why it had occurred.  In addition (according to Wikipedia), “the incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada.”

Nicely crafted, isn’t it?  The narrative, I mean.  Madman hates women and wants to kill them.  Madman goes to a university and kills and injures over two dozen people with a legally purchased gun.  The horror of the event leads the country’s lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws.  A beginning, middle, and–most importantly–a solid, sober, meaningful end.

Now, on to the content of the story.  For those of you who live in the U.S.: does anything about this narrative strike you as familiar?  Maybe it’s the fact that this past week, a woman-hating madman with a legally purchased gun (oops, no–he had three) went to an area near UC Santa Barbara and shot 16 people before he killed himself.  Maybe the separation of males and females in a classroom reminds you of what Wikipedia calls the Amish School Shooting, when a truck driver named Charles Roberts walked into a one-room Amish schoolhouse, dismissed the boys and adults, including a pregnant woman, and tied up and shot the remaining ten girls, aged 6 to 13, before shooting himself.  Maybe the description of Lepine’s legally acquired semi-automatic weapon reminds you of the shootings at Sandy Hook, where in December 2012 Adam Lanza took his mother’s legally acquired semi-automatic Bushmaster to a local elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 adults (all women, and not including his mother, whom he shot before he left home) before shooting himself in the head with a legally owned semi-automatic pistol.

Maybe, however, you’re like me and you get stuck on that first sentence in the third paragraph that someone on Wikipedia wrote about the Montreal Massacre: “The incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada.”

So far, nothing like this statement has been added to any of the Wikipedia entries describing any recent mass shooting in the U.S.  Yes, there have been changes in the law, the most notable being those enacted after Seung-Hui Cho shot a total of 49 people on Virginia Tech’s campus. (Note, however, this Washington post article, which states that since the shootings “it is gun rights, not gun restrictions, that have grown stronger” in Virginia.)  Other tweaks took place in Connecticut and a few other states after Sandy Hook (again, see the WP article).  In Pennsylvania, the Amish were apparently so forgiving of the shooter and his family that their amazing act of kindness rendered any new gun regulations unnecessary (or, at least, that’s how the Wikipedia entry makes it seem).  But nothing on the scale of the 1995 Firearms Act in Canada has occurred in response to any of the recent gun massacres in the U.S.

Notice that I’ve only mentioned four U.S. gun massacres, three of which aren’t even called “massacres” on Wikipedia (they’re “shootings” or “killings” instead).  Notice that I haven’t yet brought up Aurora, Colorado.  Or Columbine. Or the two separate shootings at Fort Hood.  Wikipedia even observes that the “Amish school shooting” in Nickel Mines “was the third school shooting in the United States in less than a week, the others being the Platte Canyon High School shooting on September 27, 2006 and Weston High School shooting on September 29.” Who even remembers Platte Canyon or Weston High, apart from the victims and their families?  (Actually, I remember Platte Canyon, although not by name.  It was a case of another woman-hating madman going into a classroom and separating out the female students from the male.  Only one of the female students was shot and killed; the rest were raped by the gunman.)  Do I have to count up the number of dead and injured in these mass shootings and ask why 28 Canadian women and men are worth more reasonable limits on the sale and use of guns than all the U.S. victims put together?  Do I have to start counting up all the “small” gun massacres, where one or two or three are killed, and wonder why no action has been taken to prevent other deaths like theirs, which were just as painful and just as senseless?

You may be thinking that I’m one of these “wacko gun control nuts” who has no respect for responsible, law-abiding gun owners.  Bullshit.  Growing up, I spent every Sunday in my mother’s hometown in the mountains, a town full of hunters and other responsible gun owners.  My cousin is a state policeman.  My grandfather was a hunter and a World War II veteran.  If you think I don’t know and respect responsible gun owners, you’re effectively spitting on the memory of my grandfather, one of the kindest, bravest, and most generous men who was ever, even briefly, a part of my life.  So no, I don’t disrespect responsible gun owners or, for that matter, responsible gun ownership.  But I also believe that the vast majority of responsible gun owners in this country favor responsible gun legislation.  The only people who oppose it, really, are the NRA and their cohort of gun manufacturers (some of which are foreign, or so I’ve heard) who prey on the paranoia of a small group of people so that they can continue to collect money from unfettered gun buying.

The NRA wants you to think the story of their “gun rights” crusade is all about patriotism.  Nope.  It’s about money–your money being funneled into their pockets.

So my prayer to the God of Stories is that California and the tragedy in Isla Vista will finally begin the country’s move toward responsible gun laws.  Since the U.S. Congress is basically useless, I figure changes in gun legislation will have to happen the way the fight for gay marriage has unfolded, state by state.  I’m thinking that an ugly, misogyny-fueled mass murder will carry some weight, especially in a state like California, which almost certainly has the appropriate density of the wealthy and the progressive.  The words of Chris Martinez’s father, Richard, who said of the NRA, “They talk about their rights.  What about Chris’s right to live?” will surely resonate and will prove difficult for the NRA to spin.

Surely.  Certainly.  Finally.  To put it bluntly, God of Stories, I’ve got the ending for this tragedy worked out for you.  The details are all there.  Please, please, please, this time just run with it.