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In an 'honest world,' guns are tools, not obsessions page 2


Date published: 1/25/2013

By Jonas Beals

continued

And that's perhaps the most brilliant lyrical turn in Van Zandt's storied songwriting career: This is something that even honest people--especially honest people--feel. There are many types of intimidation, but very few that cause a visceral, emotional reaction on sight. That's the sort of threat that guns bring to the good people of the honest world. As for Lefty--a character who appears to be less than honest and may have killed Pancho for money--well, Pancho's gun didn't seem to be a factor for him.

Maybe that's Van Zandt's point--that guns, when worn to intimidate, rarely intimidate the bad guys. Instead, it's just a sad threat perpetrated on the honest people of the world by someone intent on self-destruction.

There is a reason outcasts and mentally unstable people turn to guns as a weapon of choice. They aren't only effective at ending life, they are symbolically threatening to honest and innocent people before the first shot is fired. Guns are instant empowerment for anyone feeling overwhelmed by life.

I may be hopeful, but I'm not naive. For some people, a gun is more than a tool to get food. It is a symbol of intimidation and a declaration of power.

Beware those compelled to arm themselves with the symbols of intimidation and power. You wouldn't want them in your duck blind and, like Pancho, they have a tendency to bite the dust, leaving little sympathy behind.

Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036
Email: jbeals@freelancestar.com


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