Gun Safety

At 12 years old, Diego Duran was too young to go out partying on
New Years Eve, so he went out into the yard of his Ruskin, Florida
home with his parents to watch the fireworks. His mother saw him
slump to the ground, with blood coming out of his nose and mouth. He
was rushed to the hospital where it was determined that he had been
struck in the head by a .45 caliber bullet. Police believe it had
been fired into the air in celebration by someone as far as a mile
away. Diego has undergone several brain surgeries and is now
recovering at home. The gunman has never been identified.

Hannah Kelley, 20, was attending the service conducted by her
father at Grace Connection Church in Pinellas County, Florida last
Sunday. After the ceremony, Moises Zambrana, who handles the sound
system for the church, took Dustin Bueller and another man into a
closet. Bueller, who was dating Hannah Kelley, was interested in
buying a gun, and Moises wanted to show him his 9 mm Ruger. He
ejected the clip and, while “demonstrating the safety features,”
accidentally fired the gun through the closet wall, striking Hannah
Kelley in the head. Zambrana, who is licensed to carry a concealed
handgun, stated he did not know there was a bullet in the chamber. At
this moment Hannah Kelley is in critical condition in the hospital.
No charges have been filed.

I am a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate. I own several
guns, some left to me by my father, who drummed gun safety into me as
soon as I was old enough to hold one. I would never challenge any
law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms. I do, however, have a gun
safety tip for those of you who, like Mr. Zambrana and the unknown
New Year’s reveler, are not on the short list for a Mensa invitation.

If you think it sounds like fun to celebrate by firing your gun
into the air; if you think, even after attending the required gun
safety class for a concealed carry permit, that ejecting the clip of
an automatic renders it safe, then perhaps owning a gun is not the
best choice for you. But if you do insist on exercising your 2nd
Amendment rights, then by all means go ahead and buy a gun. Save your
money, though, and only buy one bullet. Load it in the gun, lie down
in the bathtub, and use it on yourself. You will make guns safer for
everyone, you morons.

Make 2012 a Better Year

In the humanitarian spirit of trying to help people not look like
morons, I offer this friendly observation. There is simply no way to
look cool while:

  • Riding a Segway. Yes, I know it’s a marvelous invention, but
    face it: you look like a dork.

  • Pushing your dog in a baby carriage. This is even worse if
    you dress the dog up.

  • Riding in the back of a pickup truck. Even if the truck has
    built-in seats like the Subaru Baja (actually this might be worse.
    Who would buy such a thing?)

  • Playing air guitar. Especially if you are with a group
    listening to music and you’re the only one doing it. And if your
    eyes are closed and your mouth is open, you’re pathetic.

And while we’re on the subject of things people should stop doing,
how about if we abandon the clinking of glasses after a toast, at
least when you’re with more than three people? That interminable
reaching across the table to make sure you’ve “clinked” with
every loser in the group is beyond annoying. Raise your glass, smile
at everyone and say “Cheers,” and then drink the damn thing.

Just trying to help.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Eli and Charlie Sisters are notorious hired killers, working out of Oregon City for a man known as the Commodore in the 1850s. They are dispatched to California to kill a man named Hermann Warm. Eli, the narrator, dissatisfied with his new horse and disgruntled over Charlie’s role as “lead man” on the mission, begins to question not only their task, about which he knows little, but about the violent life he is leading. He envies the placid life of a storekeeper, and falls in love repeatedly. On their journey south they encounter a variety of odd characters and savage conflicts that increase Eli’s discomfort, without shaking his unwavering loyalty to his brother. As they near their goal and learn more about the reason for their assignment, even Charlie begins to waver, leading to an unexpected and ultimately poignant climax.

I do not read many Western novels, but this one caught my attention and grabbed me with the first paragraph. The language, the characters, the humor and the tall tale itself kept me fascinated from beginning to end. This is Patrick deWitt’s second novel; I will now have to find his first, Ablutions: Notes for a Novel. DeWitt is a seriously talented writer.