Apparantly, I missed this interesting look at guns from last weekends Washington Post. It starts out with these three paragraphs:
Americans may have a love affair with guns, but we are surprisingly squeamish about the sight of them in public. When a group of gun lovers wore their pieces openly in a Virginia restaurant last month, police were summoned. Surely it must be illegal. But it wasn't. The impulse to arrest them, even if contrary to state law, says a lot about our basic feelings toward such things. Guns, in public, make us uncomfortable.
Especially big ones. People with ominous-looking, large guns flashed back into American consciousness this week. On the streets of New York, dark-clad police with serious firepower patrolled outside the city's financial landmarks. The same could be seen in Washington. And with the Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr declaring an end to a shaky truce with U.S. forces, the young men of his Mahdi Army were out in force, assault rifles at the ready.
Newspaper images of these two unrelated events combined to make the world feel yet more gun-saturated. Knowing intellectually that the world is filled with guns is one thing. Experiencing it as a fact of daily life is another. Americans who travel abroad know the disconcerting frisson of arrival in a foreign land where uniformed teenagers with automatic weapons patrol airports and train stations. America, the quintessential "gun culture," takes for granted a symbolic low visibility of its military on the home front.
And it concludes with this thought:
If we are to live for the foreseeable future with big guns as part of our basic iconography, we must grow more comfortable with them in public spaces. The gun can't remain a discomfiting object at the same time that political leaders use them as part of their display of vigilance every time the terror level ticks up. We need a new image of ourselves, as Americans, that incorporates and increases the comfort level with the big gun as public tool.
In between, writer Philip Kennicott has a rather interesting take on the role of guns in the world. Read the whole thing, its fairly even handed for the otherwise left wing Post.
Thanks to the Virginia Citizen Defense League for picking it up in their weekly alert.