Thinking Of Autonomous Weapons In ‘Systems’ Terms

A persistent confusion in thinking about weapons and their regulation is to insist on viewing weapons in isolation, and not as part of larger, socio-political-economic-legal-ethical systems. This confusion in the domain of gun control for instance, inspires the counter-slogan ‘guns don’t kill people; people kill people.’ Despite its glibness–and its misuse by the NRA–the sloganContinue reading “Thinking Of Autonomous Weapons In ‘Systems’ Terms”

‘Jokes’ About Country Music Fans’ Taste In Music Is All I Got For Now

Because–in the wake of Sandy Hook and Las Vegas–talking about gun control, gun regulation, background checks, mental health, institutional capture by the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party’s gun lobby, gun culture, toxic masculinity, American cultures of violence, racist understandings of ‘terrorism,’ white privilege, political hypocrisy, the rural-urban divide, and all of the rest seemsContinue reading “‘Jokes’ About Country Music Fans’ Taste In Music Is All I Got For Now”

The NRA On The Dallas Shooting

The National Rifle Association has issued the following statement in response to the shootings in Dallas: Today is a great day for the Second Amendment, that everlasting guarantee of our right to bear arms and take them up against a tyrannical government. For months and years now, we at the National Rifle Association have watchedContinue reading “The NRA On The Dallas Shooting”

Have Gun, Will Settle Dispute: The Dangerous, Alluring Temptation

I’ve seen fights, disputes, grow, fester, erupt into bouts of violence: disagreements become irrevocable, boundaries are crossed, and then, tempers flare. Punches and slaps are thrown, sometimes half-heartedly, sometimes in a desperate flurry, sometimes shirt collars are grabbed as the ‘fight’ turns into an ungainly grappling session with headholds and chokeholds that aim to incapacitate.Continue reading “Have Gun, Will Settle Dispute: The Dangerous, Alluring Temptation”

ISIS, America, ‘Failed States,’ And Gun Control

In the Orlando massacre, ISIS met, once again, the enemy it wanted: a society riven by a culture of violence, hyper-masculinity (and its inevitable attendant, homophobia), awash in guns, susceptible to fascist demagoguery, infected by a paranoid, self-destructive Islamophobia. That society’s lawmakers have passed over two hundred anti-LGBT bills in recent times; they also refuse toContinue reading “ISIS, America, ‘Failed States,’ And Gun Control”

India’s IIT Graduates Go Mainstream: Via Campus Shooting, The American Way

Graduates of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) are part of American life: professors, technology officers, and scientists at Ivy League universities, Silicon Valley start-ups, and industrial research and development laboratories.  But these are rarefied environs, exclusive precincts for the technocratic elite; the IIT graduate’s presence here places his cultural achievements in a fringeContinue reading “India’s IIT Graduates Go Mainstream: Via Campus Shooting, The American Way”

San Bernardino, Selective Surveillance, And The Paralyzed Gun ‘Debate’

Here are two related thoughts running around in my head since the San Bernardino massacre. On past occasions, whenever one of these quintessentially American mass shootings would be carried out, I would wonder about what could happen to jolt the gun-control ‘debate’ in this country out of its well-worn grooves. (The scare quotes are necessaryContinue reading “San Bernardino, Selective Surveillance, And The Paralyzed Gun ‘Debate’”

Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And Masculinity

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. There is a great deal of truth in this, er, truism. But having acknowledged that, one can then move on to ask: why do so many people kill people in the US? What are the factors at play in the network of actors and causes and effects thatContinue reading “Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And Masculinity”

The ‘Lone Killer’ And The Mentally Ill World

The invocation of mental illness and lamentations over ‘the state of the American mental health system’ are an inevitable accompaniment to news stories about lone white gunmen who carry out massacres. (c.f. Charleston massacre.)  With that in mind, the following wise remarks by Helen De Cruz are worth pondering: People are not just motivated byContinue reading “The ‘Lone Killer’ And The Mentally Ill World”

Black Lives Don’t Matter In Charleston

Gore Vidal once said that it was mighty convenient John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King had all been killed by loners, by curiously isolated killers, who just happened to not be part of a broader conspiracy. Same as it ever was. A lone gunman shot nine people in Charleston, South Carolina lastContinue reading “Black Lives Don’t Matter In Charleston”