Guns according to John Irving

Gun control will not happen in his lifetime said John Irving to the mass that had gathered on the floor in front of him and cameras snapped ceaselessly. This was his opinion of Obama’s attempts at guncontrol legislation.

He also said, in his opinion, it would take more than the death of small children to change a gun culture that is far older than he.

The brutal truth, and it’s rare to hear it framed so bluntly.

Though disappointed at the failure of the bill said Irving rather pessimistically, it was nevertheless the duty of politicians to pursue this change.

Having squeezed my way into the audience at Akateeminen Kirjakauppa yesterday to watch the author of “the Hotel New Hampshire” – a book I purloined from my father's bookshelf when I was far to young to be reading it and which has thus coloured my enjoyment of his work - I was pleased to find more than book-plugging but some insight into a man who has embedded politics and social observation into his work.

Irving was in Helsinki to promote "Mina Olen Monta" the Finnish translation of “In One Person.” His new book talks of sexuality and sexual identity and the impact of AIDS in the US. He talked about his own experiences of living in New York in the 80s at the height of the epidemic, “I discovered at the time that I had other gay friends who I never knew were gay,” he said. In short, he learned of their sexuality as they were dying.

(Isn’t it a point for Zambians to consider?)

Especially when discussing sexual rights and especially homophobia, I have to confess to many times losing faith. How often do I say “Well, what’s the point?” at another act of injustice, at listening to friends be homophobic or sexist, watching politicians bully and swindle the electorate for financial gain?

I suppose we do have to accept that not only may change not occur in our lifetime, but that we are embroiled in a battle against anti-human rights cultures that have existed for as long as mankind - however, that must never stop us.

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