lookihaveopinions

Tag: firearms

Short story: “Suicide as a Sort of Present”

“Suicide as a Sort of Present,” by David Foster Wallace

Collected in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (May 28th, 1999, Little, Brown and Company); read by the author on YouTube; part of the story is excerpted here

Maybe 1500 words?

This is such a good story.

Of course Wallace’s death complicates (or rather, oversimplifies) the way we read it, and probably makes it horribly cruel to his family. All the same, it’s really good.

I’m pretty sure the suicide/present is the son’s, and I suspect he took others with him.

Advertisements

Unfuckingbelievable

“[The officer who shot Tamir Rice] had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun, and the speed with which the confrontation progressed would not give the officer time to focus on the weapon.”

—retired FBI agent Kimberly A. Crawford

No fucking shit, Sherlock! We all saw the speed at which the confrontation progressed. It progressed really fucking fast because the police officers, in their wisdom, chose to drive up to the boy really fucking fast and shoot him really fucking fast. As a matter of fact, there was no confrontation until the police drove up. The kid doesn’t even seem to notice them until they’re on top of him.

In the comments on the NPR article, I saw someone make a joke about how, if you want to take out a hit on someone, you can just call 911 and say, “I saw this old lady pointing a gun at people!” And then they have no information to suggest that her umbrella is anything but a disguised rifle, etc. But the fact is that Tamir Rice got shot because he was black. If he had been a white guy, the police would have tried to get more information and the confrontation would not have progressed quite so fast. That’s true regardless of whether some piece of shit ex-FBI agent thinks she can defend her cronies’ behavior, and regardless of how depraved the legal use of force has become in this country.

On fictional wish fulfillment and ethics

Cohen puts it more succinctly than I did.

While I have no idea how to feel about Zimmerman’s acquittal …

… I’m deeply disturbed by the failure of the Florida “stand your ground” law in Marissa Alexander’s case.

Even if she’s lying about her husband’s violent behavior, and about going back in the house to get a phone to call for help, it amazes me that a gunshot that hit nothing but plaster could get you twenty years. Twenty years. That’s Florida’s mandatory minimum sentence for firing a gun while committing a felony (aggravated assault in this case).

Mandatory-minimum sentencing laws seem to be another tedious variation on “zero-tolerance laws”—legislation presumably designed to be so mindless that even idiots can enforce it. In principle, mindlessness may be a virtue. If everyone always followed the same rote, plodding, by-the-numbers approach to enforcing the law, there would be no room for racial discrimination or other cognitive biases. The actual laws in question, however, seem to be invariably ludicrous.

Uh

“I just don’t trust statistics and facts all the time.”

—a police officer at Washington, DC’s Gun Registry Office, as quoted here