Friday, February 02, 2007

A Few Words on Molly Ivins

As everyone who keeps up with politics in general and Texas politics in particular knows, Texas leftist icon Molly Ivins died Sunday at the age of 62 from breast cancer. I remember reading her columns in my hometown paper once upon a time, and looking back on it, she always seemed to come off to me as Maureen Dowd from Houston. Which, to my mind, is something not to aspire to being. Anyway, being the self-professed gun nut that I am, I wondered exactly what she thought of firearms. I wasn't going to say anything here at first, but thanks to E.J. Dionne's excerpt of it in his Washington Post column reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, I found this column. I'm sure most of us won't find it surprising:

Guns. Everywhere Guns.

Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not antigun. I'm proknife. Consider the merits of the knife.

In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

As a civil libertarian, I, of course, support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson's heart that teenage drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channeling?

There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, that is, the armed forces, including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns—whether for target shooting, hunting, or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe)—should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England, a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace.
For years I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psychosexual hang-ups—always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand.

I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don't know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

You want protection? Get a dog.

Virtually all the anti-gun stereotypes and tired arguments promoted by the leftists and their ilk for the last 40-plus years -- the National Guard lie, "power hang-ups," "psychosexual hang-ups," you name it. (And I certainly beg to differ with the thought that Lady Liberty has "survived nicely" in merry olde England.) Molly Ivins applied this mean-spirited, foul, ignorant invective to pretty much any topic she wrote about. I keep thinking about how Jonah Goldberg described Maureen Dowd's columns in the wake of the 2004 presidential election:
...her op-ed page real estate hits your desk like a bucket of vomit with some Body Shop potpourri sprinkled across the surface.

I'd say that pretty much described Molly Ivins' scribblings to a tee. She was just another link in the long chain of people who have proved that education doesn't necessarily lead to intelligence or enlightenment, and how hateful, ignorant and mean-spirited you can get away with being when you couch your rhetoric in faux down-home "humor." I hate that she died the way she did, and I don't want to sound cruel and uncaring, but I shed no tears for her passing either.
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