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He begins his more-guns-are-needed response to the massacre in Connecticut by quoting William Burroughs:

“After a shooting spree,” author William Burroughs once said, “they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” Burroughs continued: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

William Burroughs was a madman who killed his wife with a gun.

Thank you, Glenn Reynolds, for championing the thought of William Burroughs. And for helping to keep guns in the hands of madmen like him. I await your next column on the wit and wisdom of Timothy McVeigh.


UD thanks a reader for linking her to this remarkable piece of writing.


Here’s something humane and non-insidious on the subject, written after the Virginia Tech massacre.

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5 Responses to “Glenn Reynolds Reaches a New Low.”

  1. JND Says:

    Argumentum ad hominem?

  2. TAFKAU Says:

    There’s nothing so frustrating as listening to Americans debate the Second Amendment to their Constitution, particularly in the aftermath of some horrible shooting. The loudest voices are invariably the most thoughtless. And anyone who even attempts to bring some nuance to the conversation will barely be heard over the din.

    On the one side, you have people who somehow interpret “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” as nothing more than a statement chartering the National Guard. On the other, you have those who insist that the only amendment that actually uses the phrase “well-regulated” is not even subject to the sort of limits that we routinely place on all of our other constitutional rights. I mean, seriously, just try to square the plain language of the Fourth Amendment with the experience of negotiating the modern U.S. airport.

    In the quiet middle are those of us who think, “Come on, this shouldn’t be so hard. Of course, you’re entitled to weapons to protect your home and property. Of course, nobody needs multiple assault rifles and hundred-round magazines to accomplish that goal.” (And it always amazes me how we pretend to take seriously those loonies who believe that Second Amendment is all about overthrowing the government, if need be. First, no it isn’t. And second, as someone once said, ask David Koresh how well that works out.)

    We negotiate compromises on every other constitutional right. Free speech?: not if you want to yell “fire” at the megaplex. Search and seizure?: not if you want to evade a drunk driving check point. Cruel and unusual punishment?: not if you kill someone in Texas. People debate these restrictions, of course, but somehow they manage to do so without reference to cold, dead fingers.

    Unfortunately, even this unfathomable tragedy won’t change America’s stupidest conversation. There will always be those who see every firearm as a murder machine and every armed citizen as a gun nut. There will also be those whose unfulfilled sense of manhood, or fear of the other, or both, compels them to rage against the totalitarian apocalypse every time a politician says something sensible about the need to rein in the country’s private arsenals. And, this being the United States, you also have those who profit from the arms race spreading fear and renting politicians.

    And somewhere right now in America, some twisted individual is eyeing his parents’ weapons stash and planning the next atrocity.

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    TAFKAU: Thank you for that comment. Your last thing, about “some twisted individual,” reminds me that I’ve thought a lot, in the last few hours, about how remarkably “profilable” these guys are. Always guys, of course. Always. And almost always very young – teens to late twenties. And almost always flagrantly nuts for years, or at least for months.

    Read the background articles on the latest demented rifleman and weep.

    His mother, despite his obviously very dangerous madness, decides to keep him home and help him herself. What a horrendous decision. Where were the doctors or other family members who might have had him committed? No father was in the house (divorce); his only sibling says he has long been estranged from his brother. No shit. I wonder when the father last saw him.

    I’d take issue only with one thing you wrote in that last paragraph – “his parents’ weapons stash.” From Columbine on down, they don’t need to look to the old folks. It’s easy in this country for lunatics – even barely out of diapers lunatics – to amass military-grade arsenals all their own.


    Hold on.

    The official says a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found in the school after the massacre Friday… [They also found a fourth weapon – haven’t said yet what kind that one is.] … The weapons were registered to his slain mother.

    So here are our possibilities. We can believe that this woman, called a pillar of her safe affluent community by many who have been interviewed, purchased for herself a Glock, a Sig Sauer, and a Bushmaster rifle. Just a little something in case someone threatening comes to the door.

    Or we can accept the obvious sickening truth. Just as this woman, from “twisted” (to use your word) love, kept this person in the house and in the community, so she bought weapons for him.


    Update: My bad. See this post.

  4. Alan Allport Says:

    What’s most depressing is that we know already how this will play out over the next week. The media, eager to service the Americans taste for ghoulish sentimentality, will saturate us with images of dead children. The ‘search for answers’ will begin. Some pious douchebag will blame it all on The Gays (that role is traditionally taken by Pat Robertson, but Huckabee seems to have beaten him to the punch this time). A few politicians will mumble something vaguely about Measures Needed To Be Taken. Then the NRA will reemerge and terrify them all back into their senses. People will start talking about The Hobbit and the fiscal cliff again. Weapons sales will increase, all the same, because as every red-blooded American knows, the Kenyan Muslim Communist in the White House is just itching to take away their guns.

    Look, this is not complicated. America possesses no monopoly on angry, violent people. What it does possess – what makes it truly exceptional – is an arsenal of guns in circulation that makes it far, far easier for its angry, violent people to arm themselves. In a sense, the complaints about new gun purchasing laws are right: there are 300 million guns in the United States already, 17 percent of them semi-automatics. Trying to restrict sales of new weapons is too pathetic even to be called a half-measure. The only way to make it truly difficult for disturbed young men like Lanza to get hold of guns would be to shrink that existing arsenal, and we all know that the chance of that happening is precisely zero. Because America doesn’t just have a predilection for guns; it has an infatuation, shared by no other place in the world. This isn’t about freedom, and it’s not about safety; it’s about morbid obsession.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Alan: I too think the penchant for ghoulish sentimentality is worth watching. It’s one of the many ways people deny the savagery and suffering of events like these. It’s a variant of sickening best-sellers like The Lovely Bones.

    It hurts a lot to get cut down in this way; and surely some of the children suffered for some time before they lost enough blood to die. It must have been like a battlefield in that kindergarten room, or like Babi Yar, with wails coming from some of the children as they died, in a bleeding heap, along with the already dead.

    But I’m sure, as you say, that America will find a way to kitsch this event up in such a way as to tamp down any anger we might feel about it. Sorry, E.J.

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