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A Final Walk with Jim Brady

When we remember Jim Brady, most of us recall this horrible 1981 semiotic from history.  Jim had been shot in the head — with a Röhm RG-14 .22 caliber blue steel revolver — and left for dead by John Hinckley, Jr. who was actually trying to assassinate president Ronald Reagan. Hinckley squeezed off six shots in under three seconds before the Secret Service were able to subdue him.

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The Incarcerating Gun

When a gun is held up in contempt for the rule of law, the result is everyone in the reach of the bullet is incarcerated.  Bullets instead of minds set international policy:

One of the great weaknesses in the modern Middle East explaining much of the chronic violence and political thuggery of the past half-century is that the rule of the gun is stronger than the rule of law. Three separate developments now taking place in different parts of the Arab world might have real consequences for the region’s future: the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment against the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir; the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) approved this week by the Iraqi Parliament, under which the United States must withdraw its forces by the end of 2011; and the mixed Lebanese-international tribunal that will try those accused of killing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other public figures.

If we ever hope to become more than our weakest impulses, we will have to overcome our preference for violence and our need for a bloody end.