Skip to main content

Speaking Up for Gun Control: The Easy Way

Walking through a housewares shop today, I saw a blender called "Magic Bullet." In the wake of the many articles published after the Virginia Tech killings, I've been paying more attention to our everyday speech. Gun references abound.

"Hit me with your best shot. Fire away." Have a double-shot of Starbucks expresso. Go to a photography shoot. Is your old car shot? Drink Coors, the Silver Bullet, or buy a Silver Bullet Comic Book. Buy a Bullet Skateboard, or update your computer with Bulletproof Software. Perhaps, you're gunning for your next promotion; you've discovered a sure-fire way to succeed. Or, your economic state may force you to live in a "shotgun shack." We place design "bullets" at the end of articles or use bullet-point lists in our MS Word or WordPerfect documents. When it's time to do something important, we say, it's time to "bite the bullet."

Take our everyday expressions a step further, and we go into the land beyond bullets. "She's dying to go out with him. That outfit is killer. His solution is dead-on. Eat this chocolate; it's to die for." In fact, in our current lexicon, you'll find desserts, clothes, movies, and beaches to die for, among a host of other things.

Still, the scariest expression to me is "the magic bullet." What is magic about a piece of metal that plows through flesh and bone? What magic is there in an invention that makes it possible for one person to wound or kill many others? Aside from being the trade name of a popular kitchen blender, we use the term magic bullet (and silver bullet) a lot. On thescientist.com, an article entitled "Redefining the Search for the Magic Bullet" begins: "Rather than a single pain treatment, effective relief may require an arsenal." We even use bullets to describe, of all things, health care.

What's in a word? Truth lives in our words,
like it or not, face it or not.
Sticks and stones break only bones.
Words can break everything else.

Before you tell someone that the party you went to was the bomb / la bomba, that you're dying to meet Cameron Díaz, or that you're going to shoot someone's picture ( you can always take or make a photograph instead), think twice. CNN/US President Jon Klein changes channels if CNN is on the television when his young daughter or son walks in the room. We can also turn off our daily expressions that incorporate violent metaphors. No legislation or politicking necessary.

How can we expect guns to disappear from our children's schools, our neighborhoods, our daily lives, if we can't stop talking about them, if we don't stop using gun language to describe what is fun, healthy, and even magic? I understand the reasoning behind our forefathers' inclusion of the "right to bear arms" in our Constitution. I also understand that we can and should use our freedom of speech to forbear arms when it makes sense to do so.




Text copyright 2007, Ysabel de la Rosa

Photos:
Magic Bullet Blender at buythebullet.com
Bullet holes, Photo by BlindSquirrelPhoto
Bullets on "Right to Bear Arms" by Alptraum both from istockphoto

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:


The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your mother...you don't need to open it... you know tha…