Sunday, January 9, 2011


In my recent article entitled Shot stupidly for truffles [display], I evoked the banal subject of rural people here in France who own shotguns. Over the last week, I've returned to the interesting challenge of writing an autobiographical document tracing my personal itinerary since my initial contacts with computer programming, as an adolescent in Australia, up to my present infatuation with the vast domain of DNA. (This is the document that used to be called Digital Me. It now bears a nicer title, which I'm keeping private for the moment, while retaining the former title as its public code name.) In the context of my childhood ramblings, I well remember the everyday phenomenon of guns. My father had the habit of shooting rabbits with a rifle every now and again, while my uncles used a shotgun to kill ducks in their swamp. That was all there was to it at Waterview. The last bushrangers had disappeared a century earlier, and I have no personal recollections of anybody in my adolescent context ever using a gun as an offensive weapon.

In the USA, the relationship with firearms appears to be quite different to anything I've ever experienced in Australia or France. It's utterly unbelievable that, in March 2010, a website associated with Sarah Palin could react to the Democrats' legislation on health care by publishing the following map, in which weaponry crosshairs indicate places where Palin's political accomplices felt that action was needed.

Then Palin expressed herself on Twitter in an even more explicit style:

Commonsense Conservatives & Lovers of America:
Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!

In the case of the guy who has just shot a Democratic personality in Arizona, I sense already that smart lawyers will certainly end up demonstrating that he was demented, and that his act had nothing to do with political hatred. Nevertheless, certain folk in God's Own Country have weird and dangerous ways of expressing themselves "politically".

BREAKING NEWS: A positive vision of the USA reappears rapidly through the murky stuff. Admire the reassuring professional style of this Tucson surgeon:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is married to the US astronaut Mark Kelly.

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