Links: 24 Dec. 2012

(Since I mislabeled my previous links post a day too early, I’m labeling this one a day late to make sure the universe’s (or at least, this blog’s) math squares up.)

1. Literary insults (via Page-Turner at New Yorker.com).

2. Best Book Designs of 2012.

3. A survey of readers shows rural types  read less than urbanites or suburbanites. Seems about right.

4. Writers who don’t live in NYC. Sometimes I wonder how living in a city with an actual literary culture would’ve affected my writing. Since I live nowhere near any literary culture more vibrant than a community library  (though I have facetiously proposed to my writing students that we stage a poetry reading at the popular local venue of the bowling alley), I suspect that I’m less likely to feel an influence to write like my neighbor-writers do, so I’m more free to write about what I choose in the style that I choose. On the other hand, I also lack positive influence. But on the third hand, I’m not neutering my writing to appeal to a paying audience, but also, living where I do, I sometimes forget that there are other people besides myself who care about writing.

5. Key & Peele’s self-aware bully.

Some selections of writings about guns and school and guns in school follow. I am hesitant to post these, because I don’t want to make this blog too political, but I do appreciate the viewpoints these authors raise.

6. A writer points out, from her experience, that “much of gun-loving actually is [is] a passion for destruction veiled as protection.”

7. Adam Gopnik’s “The Simple Truth About Gun Control.”

8. “Should Teachers Carry Guns?”(Certainly not this teacher. I’m way too clumsy. And the few times I have fired my relatives’ guns, I’ve become anxious about holding that much destructive power in my own hand — Vonnegut’s “Deadeye Dick” came to mind. Also, a friend has said that he prefers a Taser for self-defense over a gun, because using a gun permanently changes the lives of both the shooter and the shootee.)

9. Jeffrey Toobin on the Second Amendment.

10. The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) allows people to bear arms, but it doesn’t seem to mention a right to bullets. And of course, if we look at that amendment with an Originalist framework, what the Framers knew as “Arms” were things that were single-shot, black-powder, heavy, and inaccurate. Anything more advanced than that would not be what the Framers intended, no?

3 responses to “Links: 24 Dec. 2012

  1. I am not an originalist, but when it comes to the Second Amendment, I wish the proponents of the originalist framework would apply their interpretative principles consistently and not only when it suits their personal agendas…

    • I agree with your point about personal agendas!

      My wife is an attorney — as you are, right? — and she was looking at the Second Amendment section of Akhil Reed Amar‘s book “The Bill of Rights,” and if I’m paraphrasing correctly what my wife read, the Framers wanted the populace to be armed so as to be able to fight back militarily against perceived federal tyranny. However, this feeling seems more fitting for people who had so recently fought a revolution than it does in our day. People able to militarily oppose the current federal government now would need to be able to own nuclear weapons, and that clearly doesn’t seem like a good idea. Just as the motives and fears of the people of 1790 are not the same as the motives and fears of the people of 2012, and so I don’t know why we should follow what they dictated, certainly not all the time. (I’m no legal scholar, of course, but it does seem sensible that anyone discussing this issue should be aware of the history and context surrounding the Second Amendment.)

  2. I agree with you. Scalia’s opinion in D.C. v. Heller is appalling and about as far away from originalism/textualism as possible. If you’re curious about Scalia’s shoddy legal principles, here’s an interesting post from Max Kennerly: http://www.litigationandtrial.com/2012/07/articles/series/special-comment/scalia-on-reading-law/ (where he says, “Scalia uses textualism when it works for his preferred result, then abandons it when it doesn’t.”).

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