Shawn Huber tries to understand the lure of firearms. Here’s a nugget.
What we get out of guns doesn’t get enough airtime, but it comes to my mind every time there’s another mass shooting like the one in Oregon, followed by another fruitless national fight. Years after I left what President Barack Obama once famously called the “guns and religion” belt of Pennsylvania, an astute Los Angeles psychologist put it to me this way: Yes, the right to carry a gun is a civil liberty, constitutionally protected. But whatever their other uses, firearms also are a lot like liquor and pornography and tobacco.
“Guns,” he said bluntly, “are a vice.”
Unlike speech, or assembly, or voting or other liberties in the Constitution, guns are for killing. That gives people, even nice people, a sense of power, a rush.
The hunt for politeness marches on.
Luke Burns, 16, an Exeter Union High School student, was hunting with family and friends just before 8 a.m. near Horse Meadow when he wandered in front of hunters. He was hidden behind some brush when another hunter fired and struck the boy in the torso.
And, in more news of the polite . . . .
Mike Kelly tries to understand Chris Cristie’s bizarre game of “Have Cake, Eat It Too,” even as New Jersey’s bridges and highways crumble into rubble.
SOMETIMES it seems Governor Christie is playing a weirdly politicized version of the old children’s game of Twister. His latest twist is that he has apparently developed a new position on the state gasoline tax.
Christie says he would consider raising it – a major shift in political gears from his previously firm promises as governor not to raise any taxes whatsoever and his even more expansive pledge this summer as a Republican presidential candidate to never raise taxes at all – never, ever. But this latest twist by the governor-who-would-be-president comes with another twist.
At The Boston Review, Richard White reviews two books that attempt to trace the myth that the United States is “a Christian nation,” despite the blunt statements of the Founders to the contrary. Here’s a bit about the most recent incarnation of that myth; follow the link to read the rest.
In the 1930s and early 1940s, worried about a decade of political losses and their own deep unpopularity, a group of conservative industrialists—as conservative rich are wont to do—began to grow anxious about American values. They came up with the idea of freedom under God, which was a kind of Christian libertarianism that emphasized a religious understanding of the Fourth of July and America’s founding. Realizing their own limits as spokespeople for freedom under God, they recruited—largely but not entirely—Protestant clergy, the most notable being Abraham Vereide and eventually Billy Graham. The goal was to argue for individualism and individual salvation and against claims of a larger public good. They wanted to restore self-reliance and oppose unions and welfare. Just as the first advocates of Christian America had sought to intertwine republicanism and Christianity, the advocates of this new version sought to intertwine capitalism and Christianity.