Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The right to be a dick-head

This was the title of an article I submitted to The New Yorker after the attempted assassination of U.S. Governor Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. The article was praised but not published, and the magazine mistook me for a man. Never mind.

The French President François Hollande is surrounded by heads of state; Paris; January 11, 2015.

The recent shooting in Paris has reminded me of this shooting, though one hardly needs to go back that far to cases where men with guns have attempted or succeeded in assassinating progressive public figures, to prove some damn point or other. It all amounts to: 'My gun-dick is bigger than yours', in my opinion. You don't prove anything with a gun, merely that you're a dick-head. And our collective refusal to do what we can to politicise and reduce gun violence continues to sanction and support men's sense of right to be gun-wielding dick-heads.

Giffords' took a stance against guns, and her assailant didn't like it, nor did he like the fact that she was a woman, only the third woman ever to be elected to Congress in Arizona's history. Her predecessor and successor were/are both male. He put a gun to her head in broad daylight and pulled the trigger. He was at liberty to do so because of the right to bear arms in the U.S. and the gun-lobby that supports this right unimpeded (though Obama did try). He then shot at the crowd of people gathered to hear Gifford speak, killing six in total, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge.

The dick-heads in Paris were at liberty to shoot and kill twelve, again in broad daylight, largely because gun manufacturers in the West, the biggest dick-heads with guns, sell them the weapons and ammunition to do so for the sake of huge violence and killing-dependant profits. The wider politics in each incident are practically a side issue. Dick-heads with guns will always find a reason to kill if money is at stake.

One dick-head, one gun, six people killed; two dick-heads, two guns, twelve people killed, and many more injured in both cases. The maths is simple.

Dick-heads with guns kill and always will, as long as dick-heads and guns unite.


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