erik lundegaard

A Song for Today: Our Song

The news is bad from Newtown, Conn., as we all know. I don't have words. But here's a song: “Our Song” by Joe Henry. This is the chorus, written near the end of the George W. Bush years:

This was my country
This was my song
Somewhere in the middle there
Though it started badly and it's ending wrong

This was my country
This frightful and this angry land
But it's my right if the worst of it might still
Somehow make me a better man

A lot of commentary about the tragedy in the usual places. Good. There should be commentary. There should be anger. There should be yelling. One of the better things I read came from a reader on Andrew Sullivan's site, who wrote:

Guns don't kill people - people do. By the same token, planes don't kill people - people flying them into buildings do. And yet, I recall that we immediately and decisively worked to keep deranged people from gaining possession of planes when a handful of those people used them as tools of mass murder; indeed, we made it much more difficult for the overwhelming majority of peaceful, law-abiding citizens to board a plane.

Maybe I'm missing something, but this strikes me as a good metaphor to get both sides talking. We're not interested in outlawing guns any more than we are in outlawing planes. We just have to make sure they don't keep winding up in the hands of nutjobs. Are you with us or against us?

Gun control advocates (including me) may be past that point, though. There's a lot of anger out there now. This feels like it may be a turning point in the debate: a moment so awful that the need to fucking do something already overwhelmed the general desire to shrug and move on and let the NRA have its way.

Let's hope. Let's hope this stops being our song.

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Posted at 04:11 PM on Fri. Dec 14, 2012 in category Music  


Alex Bradbury wrote:

I'd like to think this was a turning point for gun control efforts, but I've thought that about each and every massacre like this over the past decade or two. And it doesn't help that even many well-meaning folks want to focus on issues like mental health and “our violent culture.” OK, this isn't just about guns. Mental health issues and our violent culture are indeed problems. But guns are the problem we have the most power to regulate, so let's fix that first. Then on to the bigger and more complex issues. The guy in China who stabbed 22 kids the other day was mentally ill. But guess what? None of his victims died.

Comment posted on Sat. Dec 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
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