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Thursday, 22 February 2007

Guns are like books

Counter I was recently directed (by mistake, apparently) to a book that is wildly popular with the gun culture. As a result, I'm now a full night behind on my sleep, but at least I wasn't (as was the husband of one very frustrated bride) just beginning my honeymoon at the time.

I can't recommend any other book to someone wanting to learn an insider's view of the gun culture of America--one that may well be unique to that country, although it appears modeled on that of Switzerland. But due to other elements of the plot, I won't be giving it any free publicity. Those who are able to find it and read it using the information in this blog would probably be able to without it.

I have minimally paraphrased (mostly by deletion) the following content from the book:

* * * * *

What if a government required every book, new and used, to bear a serial number?
What if it were a felony for any person to sell any book at a profit without first obtaining a federal license?
What if everyone (except government agents) who wanted to own a book under a certain size had to first pay a federal tax, get fingerprinted and photographed, and wait months for federal approval?
What if it were a felony for anyone (except government agents) to buy or sell books made out of anything other than a specifically approved grade of paper?
What if some states made it a felony (except for government agents) to buy more than one book a month, and banned outright (except to government agents) books with more than a certain number of pages?
What if it was a common occurrence for government agents to destroy someone's house, seize all his property, and imprison him for suspected violations of (or conspiracy to violate) these book control laws?
What if government agents planted noncompliant books in people's homes, shot their owners, or burned their houses down around them?
You may think this comparison is crazy, but like it or not, millions of intelligent, rational people think of guns in exactly the same way as books.
* * * *

I could add one more, based on what has actually happened to the author of this book:
What if the author of a book could be called into court based solely on the actions of someone who owned one of his books?

An officially licensed government employee taught me how to read a book.
An officially licensed government employee taught me how to use a handgun.

The government's subsequent involvement in how I have since put those skills to use has been similar in both cases, and I expect it to stay that way.

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