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Background check bill could pass if Dean Heller could read

by: DocJess

Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 06:27:05 AM EDT


Today the Senate will vote on background checks. And it looks like the measure will fail. Full details here, including the whip counts.

I understand that we have become a country where lots of people don't read books. Yes, really, half of all Americans read fewer than 6 books last year. From Pew:

All told, those book readers consumed a mean (average) of 15 books in the previous 12 months and a median (midpoint) of 6 books — in other words, half had read fewer than six and half had read more than six. That breaks down as follows:

  • 7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months
  • 14% had read 2-3 books in that time block
  • 12% had read 4-5 books in that time block
  • 15% had read 6-10 books in that time block
  • 13% had read 11-20 books in that time block
  • 14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

That same Pew study looks at e-book readers. Another set of studies indicate that people don't accomplish long term retention from e-readers the way they do from paper books. Fascinating.

I believe reading matters. Dean Heller (R-NV) for example, is voting against background checks because he fears the bill will result in a national gun register, even though the bill clearly states that such a registry won't happen. The background check bill could pass if Dean Heller could read. His one vote is the difference between passage and failure.

I bring up reading with respect to the amount of violence in this country because I think there's a parallel between being violent and not reading. It's not just that elected reps don't read the legislation they're voting on, it's also that reading makes one smarter, more contemplative, less violent. Seriously - when is the last time you heard that a legitimate intellectual shot someone? Or blew up part of Boston?

If people read more books, they might read about history. Think Santayana

There is something about holding a book in your hands, under a tree, engrossed in a story, or fascinated by science, or being so enraptured by something historical that it actually feels as if you are there. 

But people don't read. And when they don't read, there are a lot of other things that go with that state of being. They often don't think things through. They don't understand how to critically evaluate data, therefore lacking the ability to separate propaganda and pablum from truth and reality.

And so we end up where we are today: possibly the most violent lawful society ever known. Crazy people shooting other people every day. And IED killing innocent folks a block from the oldest library in America. Could the solution be as simple as teaching people to read, and then finding a way to get them to read? 

DocJess :: Background check bill could pass if Dean Heller could read

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Plenty of perpetrators of mass violence read a lot (0.00 / 0)
Many violent people who commit terrible mass murder read a lot. Think the Unabomber. Or the Virginia Tech shooter. Or most of the school-shooter types, for that matter.

I think people reading more is a good thing, but it doesn't seem to do anything to stop mass killers.


What did the unabomber read? (0.00 / 0)
I know he wrote a lot, but perhaps I'm missing something. And as always, willing to admit when I'm wrong.


[ Parent ]
When I was a kid... (0.00 / 0)
My best friend's mom went on a game show and won, amoungst other things, a complete collection of Shakespeare, leather bound. All through junior high and high school, I asked if I could read them. She kept saying not until I went to college.

One college break, I saw her and asked if I could read some of the books while I was home. She said no.

When I got out of college, I offered to buy the set.

Turns out, not a spine had ever been cracked. She liked how they looked on the shelf. Thought they made her husband and herself look intelligent.

About a year ago, I offered to buy the set. The spines STILL haven't been cracked, but it looks like I'm getting them in her will.

Just saying....owning isn't reading...


[ Parent ]
Sure, but... (0.00 / 0)
...Kaczynski didn't take all those books out with him to a cabin in the middle of nowhere without electricity or running water because he thought they'd look good on the shelf...I don't think he had (or wanted) too many visitors there! And his writings make it pretty clear he'd read many of them.

[ Parent ]
no library near you? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
your point? just being a jerk, or is there a point? pretty sure Doc has read at least as much as you have. (0.00 / 0)
i own about 3000 books and have read most of them, and am pretty sure Doc is better read than i am, too.

[ Parent ]


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