21. Gulf Coast Phantoms

Hurricanes come to town by throwing one arm up over the southern horizon and then another and then the whole old ghost drags itself through town, wet with other people’s despair.

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Women and Guns

So, a gun nut sent me this article about a gun-shop owner (gun shop-owner?) whose pictures of women and guns has drawn controversy in another Nashville. I had my eyes in mid-roll before I even clicked, sure that this was going to be some outrage over women in bikinis with guns. And believe me, you can pose in a bikini with a gun and you can put up posters of a girl in a bikini with a gun, but you cannot make me not roll my eyes at it. Yes, we all get it. If only you guys buy this gun, you can get a girl this hot. No you can’t! Girls that hot only want to date someone as cute as me. Stop bugging them.

But the “controversial” poster isn’t a picture of a scantily clad woman who wants to be my future girlfriend. It’s a woman in a camouflage tank top and a long skirt, looking not like “Ooo, buy this gun and I will think you’re a bad ass,” but “Buy this gun and be as big a bad ass as I am.” I know the gun shop owner makes noises like, of course, he’s trying to objectify women, god damn it! But I’m pretty convinced that’s not how the actual image is working.  I think that poster is directed at women, trying to make us imagine ourselves as buyers of (expensive) guns.

It’s kind of interesting, when you think about it, that the segment of the population who would most benefit from a tool that would give us an advantage in situations where we are at obvious disadvantage, is both not the main market for said tool and the part of the population most reluctant to use it.  I know women whose lives are directly threatened by abusive exes, who flat out refuse to even consider getting a gun, as if they don’t quite believe they have the right to meet a deadly threat with deadly force (or worse, maybe they think some other Prince Charming is going to come and rescue them). (And don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame anyone or think there’s anything wrong with considering a gun and then deciding “no.” I’m specifically talking about women whose lives are at risk who won’t even consider it.)

So, yes, speaking of domestic violence, the “controversy.”

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate, and it’s not an image that downtown Nashville should be portraying,” said Dawn White, a Nashville resident.

In an Oct. 12 email sent to Commissioner Danny Tyson, White stated her main concern was that the gun store is located across from a domestic violence shelter. She further stated that “… the gun shop and the bar in the downtown area are black eyes for the quaintness of the downtown area,” and that it should not belong downtown, regardless if the posters are up or not.

“Sure, the right to bear arms is an individual choice,” White said. “But that’s not a choice I’m willing to agree with.”

Did you catch that?  White says the gun story is located across from a domestic violence shelter. Now, I know, your first thought is “Oh my god, but couldn’t an abusive spouse get drunk, buy a gun, and shoot the abused spouse at the shelter?!” But take a step back from that just a second.

What kind of person reveals the location of a domestic violence shelter in order to “protect” women?

The locations of domestic violence shelters are usually kept off of most people’s radars. You don’t go around telling folks “Oh, hey, if you’re looking for your kids, who you beat regularly, your wife’s got them stashed in the house across from the gun shop. You know, the one with the pictures of women in the windows.”

The reason it’s called a “shelter” is because it’s supposed to shelter the abused from any more abuse. Telling abusers where to find them kind of defeats that purpose.

But even if White doesn’t have the brains god gave a turkey, I’m surprised that the newspaper would run what amounts essentially to directions to the shelter.

Random Things

1. Zombie James K. Polk.  I’m sorry, but this has made my whole day.  I want a t-shirt of zombie James. K. Polk. Being a zombie has made Polk infinitely more interesting to me today than he was to me yesterday.

2. This is funny both because it’s funny and for reasons I’d rather not get into.

3.  Is there a way I can RSS just Amy Hertz‘s stuff at HuffPo? I feel like I should have more intelligent things to say about what she’s saying, but I don’t, yet.

4.  I did get to thinking about the Vanderbilt MFA program at the Southern Festival of Books. Imagine a parallel book publishing MA in which the students acquired, developed, distributed, and marketed the first books of people in the MFA program? In a perfect world, they could get students to design the books as well. All they’d need is some good guiding hands, but what a great learning experience for everyone.  And it seems like the contracts could be worked in a way so that if a major house wanted to buy rights, the Vanderbilt House’s contracts could be worded to make sure it could happen.  If you’re good enough to get into Vanderbilt’s MFA program, why shouldn’t your first book be guaranteed publication by the place that believed in you enough to take you in?

Suggested Political Mash-Up

You know what would be fun? To get State Representative Susan Lynn talking about her 10th Amendment support and her efforts to keep the Feds out of State business and then ask her about 287(g).

As for 287(g) and the events of last night, I just have this to say: If you cannot face the people most affected by a decision you make and explain your reasons for making your decision, even if it will be wildly unpopular with them, it tells both you and those people something–that you know you’re doing the wrong thing.

If you know you’re doing the wrong thing and do it anyway?

Well, then that’s that, isn’t it?