Culture vulture

Photo Illustration by C. Owsley Rain

Gun control reconsidered
Leafing through the Chronicle the other day, Culture Vulture paused to read an article in which Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at a National Rifle Association convention, berated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for being in favor of gun control. Mr. Cheney was quoted as saying, “John Kerry’s approach to the Second Amendment has been to regulate, regulate and regulate some more.”

Particularly offensive to the Republican gun-touter is Kerry’s stance on banning the sale of military-style assault weapons to civilians. But, according to a statement issued by Kerry’s campaign in response to Cheney’s speech, “John Kerry used assault weapons in the military, so he understands that they’re not meant for hunting dove or deer”

As a formerly avid hunter and target shooter, Culture Vulture is both familiar with and respectful of the power of firearms. We readily acknowledge that few tools have been as instrumental in the development of Western civilization as the gun. Much of United States history is written with blood spilled by bullets.

We would go so far as to say that the continued reverence for firearm ownership is not entirely misplaced. But if only criminals and conservative Christians with death fetishes own guns, the balance of power is thrown out of whack. Having two armed camps in diametrical opposition to each other ensconced in your own back yard is not conducive to sound sleep.

So Culture Vulture poses a question: What if all the liberal do-gooders and tree-huggers in the country organized a grassroots movement to buy as many guns and as much ammunition as they could afford, and then trained themselves in the safe and proper use of same?

Do-gooders Armed with Guns (D.A.W.G.) might have quite a sociological impact, even if all the organization did was publicize its own existence.

Back to the garden
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the gun lies the hoe, or any other gardening tool. I suppose the Rototiller my father-in-law gave us is the equivalent of a Tommy gun: brutal but quite effective and fun to operate if you don’t mind the shaking and the noise. Churning up several hundred square feet of soil for the garden becomes the work of an hour instead of two or three days of back-rending spade work.

A recent round of backyard tilling turned up a rusty remnant of what appears to be an ornate, wrought-iron trivet, along with several chunks of bright-orange brick and a couple of pieces of broken crockery.

I could walk around my yard with a gun for years and not find any such fascinating bits of the property’s past.

Songs to grow your garden

1. The Rutles, “Let’s Be Natural”

2. Michael White, “Fatima’s Garden”

3. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, “Heliotrope”

4. Meat Puppets, “Chemical Garden”

5. XTC, “Season Cycle”