Laura Washington. (Again)

Say Uncle is right on top of this. It used to be said, “Never pick an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Since the advent of the bit, the byte, and the pixel, this has become much less true. Still, Laura Washington is paid to produce her op-eds, and we “People of the Gun” have to respond and react on our own time and on our own dime. The “gun lobby” isn’t paying us (either that, or they’re in arrears for about twelve year’s worth of back pay to me.)

At any rate, she’s at it again, in another Chicago Sun-Times editorial calling for the election of a state representative who is running on a gun-control platform. As I have twice in the past, I sent her another email this morning:

Ms. Washington:

Since you declined to answer or even acknowledge the questions of my last email to you concerning your In These Times column “Let’s Pry Open Those Cold, Dead Hands,” I hold no hope that you will acknowledge this one. However, since I am one of those “People of the Gun” you blame Chicago’s violence on, and you’ve declared war against us, apparently, I feel required to continue to attempt diplomacy.

Your error on this topic is typical. You have mistaken two distinct cultures for only one. You are unable to distinguish between what has been called the “violent and predatory” culture from the “violent but protective” culture. You see only violence, and to you (and most urban residents) all violence is wrong, except (perhaps) violence done by uniformed officers of the State, and even there you are ambivalent.
Let me quote from a piece I read a long time ago that makes this point plainly:

Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men.

I will ask again the questions I raised in my previous email:

How will prying open the “cold, dead hands” or shoving “tougher gun policies” down the throats of the “People of the Gun” – people you yourself have identified as almost exclusively suburban and rural white males, have ANY effect on the behavior of young, urban, black males who are part of the culture of “violent and predatory”? And, again, don’t you think all those churches and those women could be far more effective at reducing the truly horrific carnage if they addressed their efforts directly at the young men in question, their sons and grandsons, nephews and neighbors, rather than at the suburban and rural white men who are not? Does this not hold true as well for the legislature?

Or are these questions simply too difficult for you to face, making blaming the guns and “The People of the Gun” much easier?

Tilting at windmills, but someone’s got to do it.

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