Monday, March 3, 2008

Tony Manfred, the Anti-Geek

This post over at the Cornell Daily Sun has me shaking my head, literally and figuratively.

Tony Manfred, writer of The Absurdity Exhibition, offers up his latest, There Goes My Gun (all emphasis mine):

Usually I don’t bother with comic books due to an overriding suspicion that everyone associated with comic books is a gigantic nerd, but now that Captain America packs heat I have to delve into the gag-inducing world of tighty-whiteys and moldy retainers to stand against guns.
I usually don't rag on someone's appearance, but this guy won't be mistaken for Brad Pitt any time soon. Maybe Toby McGuire on a good day. Glass houses, Tony. Glass houses.

Ok, cheap shot out of the way, young Tony here doesn't like guns and doesn't think they should be allowed on campus:
Despite its embarrassing lameness, this Captain America saga has some relevance to Cornell as the Student Assembly is considering a resolution that would allow licensed gun owners to carry their arms on campus. The passage of this resolution would effectively transform the student body into the new Captain America — armed and paranoid and ready to pump some nutty grad student full of lead in the name of justice.
That's some powerful Ming-the-Merciless guns you write about, Tony. Transforming an entire student body? Wow, I'm sure glad these guns haven't been made available to the public. Think of the carnage.

Of course, that's not what me meant, I'm sure. He does know the entire student body can't yet qualify for a carry permit in his state, yes? He did do some research, didn't he? Didn't he?

I have to give Tony props for one of the best "Wild West" references I've read in a long time:
In a recent Sun report, S.A. director of elections, Sun columnist and cowboy hat enthusiast Mark Coombs ’08 said, “he hoped the resolution would be approached ‘intellectually and seriously.’”
Very clever, actually. Kinda Jon Stewart-ish. Then, we learn:
I’ve never even shot a gun that didn’t fire foam discs. I was raised by anti-gun parents who took me to the Million Mom March and obviously my first impression represents an anti-gun position. How can I envision a world where everyone is happy and safe and packing heat if I’ve been brainwashed by California liberals to be anti-gun?
Good question. He then puts his thinking cap on, albeit briefly:
It seems the campus would be markedly safer in the event of an attempted massacre in the mold of Virginia Tech or Northern Illinois. The murderous psychopath would be gunned down after getting off just a handful of rounds, thus saving lives.
So very true. Too bad you couldn't take that tiny extra step:
But this seems to be the only circumstance in which this resolution would make the campus safer. For all those days when psycho-killers aren’t enacting a planned, suicidal massacre the campus would be littered with dozens of unnecessary guns. A peaceful place with dozens of loaded guns is less safe than a peaceful place with zero guns. No matter your position in the gun debate, whether you’re as conservative as that smutty coke-whore Ann Coulter or as liberal as the overweight hippies at the Million Mom March, you have to agree with that.
Well, of course I won't agree with that, because it's stupid. There are more risks, both on and off campus, than psycho shooters. There are muggers, rapists, black/white/gay/straight supremacists, loose dogs, and other dangerous animals. It's the real world out there, and it can be a scary place.
This argument seems to be one of risk-reward. Does the risk of having dozens of live guns on campus, and the massive fear and paranoia of unarmed students that goes along with that, outweigh the reward of shrinking the pile of body bags to a size that’s hardly newsworthy?
Live guns? How anthropomorphic. And what's with the "paranoia"? You might see a drooling looney behind every holster, but, I assure you, you are in the minority. You see, most people who have carry permits go through great lengths to ensure their gun does not present itself in public. They are painfully aware of people like you and do not in any way want to alarm you and your ilk. Please read this post to gain a better understanding of a permit holders mindset. This should be required reading to anyone wanting to rail against permit holders.
The answer to this question must be that the risk isn’t worth the reward. A campus with guns is a dangerous campus at every moment of every day of every year. A campus without guns is a safer campus with the lone exception of a Virginia Tech situation — a situation that has never happened on this campus and is remarkably rare.
Like I said above, it's much more than a VT situation. If you think otherwise, request campus police reports for the last six months to a year. Also check with your local police for off-campus incidents involving students. The insular world you now inhabit will one day go bye-bye, it's only a question of when.

This resolution certainly won’t pass, but its presentation as a solution to on-campus gun violence says something about our society. It represents a society that’s too proud to accept the reality that on-campus violence is something we are either going to have to live with or sacrifice our liberty, safety and peace of mind to contain.

Yes, violence is something you have to live with, but what alternatives do you offer? None. I guess you'll just take your bullet like a big boy when the psycho strikes. Or the mugger, or the rapist. Just give them what they want, and they'll go away, right?
We are na├»ve in our thinking; we are the panicking obsessive compulsive who tears down the house because there’s a coffee stain on the rug; we are the delusional snickering president who decides the cure for a hopeless dying war is more war. We are Captain America 2.0 — lame and self-conscious in a goofy red, white and blue suit, clutching our gun tight and panting the heavy pants of a paranoid not-so-super hero.

That word you use, liberty. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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