Home / General / “As Charles Manson Once Argued, Personality Cults Are Completely Harmless.”

“As Charles Manson Once Argued, Personality Cults Are Completely Harmless.”


Glenn Reynolds got off to a pretty good start yesterday. But never think he can’t top himself:

“After a shooting spree,” author William Burroughs once said, “they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” Burroughs continued: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

Wait, what?

author William Burroughs

Ah, yes, William Burroughs:

Their life in Mexico City was not especially happy. One September afternoon in 1951, they began to drink with friends. Eventually, Mr. Burroughs, who was quite drunk, took a handgun out of his travel bag and told his wife, ”It’s time for our William Tell act.” There never had been a William Tell act, but his wife laughed and put a water glass on her head. Mr. Burroughs fired the gun. The bullet entered her brain through her forehead, killing her instantly.

It’s the gun nut/misogynist exacta! In fairness, in addition to Burroughs he adds some scholarly heft by citing Mary Rosh. He has evidence that gun control doesn’t work! A survey proves it! Admittedly, he didn’t get a grant for it, and he doesn’t have any of the data, and nobody can remember having conducted it, and the results can’t be replicated by anyone else, but trust me, it’s all central to his point.

I suppose it goes without saying, but the argument Reynolds goes on to make after citing his favorite wife-killer is transparently specious. Yes, it’s true that “gun-free zones” in a context in which guns are otherwise widely available are of limited utility (although eliminating them would be overwhelmingly likely to make things even worse.) Limiting the widespread availability of guns and regulating those guns possessed by private citizens more tightly, on the other hand, does demonstrably reduce deaths from gun violence. You know, 5-year-olds getting killed, getting drunk and shooting your wife as a gag, those kind of trivialities. 50% of Guns and Ammo if you go thorough our Amazon Associates account!

UPDATE: After linking the ridiculous Reynolds column under review, Ann Althouse asks us to consider one of the real potential villains here. You know, Nancy Lanza:

Why did Adam, after killing his mother, travel to the school where she worked? Shouldn’t some suspicion fall on the mother? She looks like a victim, but could she and her son have been operating together?

Just for myself, if I was going to speculate that a murder victim was in fact a collaborator in the mass killing of elementary schoolchildren, I might want some evidence, perhaps even a remotely plausible theory, something like that there. But your mileage might vary.

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