Amy Davidson, The New Yorker online, yesterday (excerpt is last 2 paragraphs)
We have heard a good deal from the N.R.A. in the last couple of months about how a gun defends a home. Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice-president and increasingly unhinged public face, has been out talking about how everyone needs a gun to be prepared for a coming time of financial crisis and natural disaster. South Africa and the United States are distinct countries with different gun cultures, but people are not so different. The array of objects within arm’s reach can turn a moment of rage to something worse in any country. A gun in the house makes it more likely that domestic violence will lead to murder. (The Times has a story this morning about how living with guns has also been connected to dying by suicide.) Oscar Pistorius’s gun did not keep Reeva Steenkamp safe. Living in a house with many guns did not keep Kasandra Perkins safe when Jovan Belcher, the father of her child, shot her and then himself.
There is much to admire in the confidence that made Pistorius believe that he could challenge world running federations, and make them let him run. There was a clarity there, and inspiration, and the right kind of pride. (This morning, someone reportedly took a Nike ad with the line “I am the bullet in the chamber” off of his Web site.) There will be plenty of talk, too, about what brings athletes to both the highest levels of sports and to a place of domestic tragedy—publicity, pressure, even the unsettling question of performance-enhancing drugs and their psychological effects. That discussion is worth having. But what matters even more is what can happen in any home, in any room, with a man and a woman and a gun.
Unemployment? Yes, 2 or 3 percent of the working-age population has dropped out of the labor force, but the headline unemployment rate is 5 percent. Wages? They've been stagnant since the turn of the century, but the average family still makes close to $70,000, more than nearly any other country in the world. Health care? Our system is a mess, but 90 percent of the country has insurance coverage. Dissatisfaction with the system? According to Gallup, even among those with incomes under $30,000, only 27 percent are dissatisfied with their personal lives. Like it or not, you don't build a revolution on top of an economy like this. Period.