Friday, December 18, 2009

Of Lousy Shots, and No Books on the Streets of Laredo

My Christmas spirit is wavering as a result of defective strands of Christmas tree lights and time that is marching too quickly toward the holiday for which I am woefully unprepared. Thus, today we will not discuss anything Christmassy, and will instead ponder two things that crawled out of my blog fodder file this morning, groaning for attention.

First is an article published last Monday in Slate magazine that addresses a question we have all asked at one time or another: "Why do Rappers Hold their Guns Sideways?" I think the real answer to the question is, "Because they're incompetent, showboating dumbasses," but there's actually more to it than that. One suggestion is that it comes from Hollywood, with some directors preferring the side grip "...because it makes it easier to see both the weapon and the actor's face in a tight camera shot." Hmmm...okay. Regardless, it's very hard to use the top-mounted sight on a handgun that is turned sideways. Not that this matters much to the average street criminal who is interested mainly in intimidation and doesn't particularly care who or what he hits. There's more to this story, including an analysis of how gravity affects shell ejection, and how the recoil of some powerful weapons led soldiers to hold them sideways to spread their bullets horizontally rather than vertically...but you can read about that yourself. I'll just stick with my original explanation.

The second article is rather sad, although it probably would go over the heads of most rappers, who appear to be functionally illiterate anyhow. According to this article, the only bookstore in Laredo, Texas, is closing, which will leave Laredo as the largest US city without a bookstore...the nearest place to buy books will be in San Antonio, 150 miles away. I can't imagine living in a place with no bookstore, even if there is a public library. In a county with a functional illiteracy rate of nearly 50% and a city in which fewer than one in five residents has a college degree, the lack of a bookstore sends a poor message about the value of reading and education.

But fear not! The article goes on to note that there was a proposal to build a snowboarding park in Laredo. I suppose a snowboarding park would at least give illiterate people something to do.

Guns or books? Snowboarding or books?

I know what my choice is.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

No bookshop? I went to Google to check and Laredo seems to have a population of over 200,000're right, its sad.

Leslie David said...

They can post signs at the snowboard park that no one will be able to read. I can't imagine being without a bookstore or access to books--my year in Korea with the Stars & Stripes bookstore was scary enough--I had friends in the US mailing me books that I wanted to read.

Mike said...

How soon before the library closes too?