America The Current Situation

Useful tribal knowledge for a mass shooting era

Keyboards on a wall display at a pawn shop under a “KORG” banner.
Keyboards at Little River Pawn, Little River, South Carolina.

Chad Baker posted this bit of advice on Facebook back in 2018, and I became aware of it yesterday thanks to Tim Tate:

Apparently this tribal knowledge has not been passed down.

If someone at school is bullying you, go to any pawn shop (there’s one in every town) DO NOT GO TO THE RIFLE WALL, TURN AROUND and go to the OTHER wall, and buy one of these:

An electric bass guitar with a price tag.

Or, if your preference is towards keyboards, something like this:

Joey deVilla’s collection of electronic keyboards and accordions.

You can purchase one at any age. There is no background check. They are cheap. There is no waiting period. You can open carry them anywhere.

Take it home. Practice. Talk to other dorks that wear the same shirts you do. Start a band. Get loud. Scream about how rotten it is that everyone is against you and no one will sleep with you. Get it all out.


A family in Austin, Texas posing with “80% of their gun collection” laid out on their large back deck.
“Joel, 44, and Lynne, 43, in Austin, Texas, with their children and 80 per cent of their gun collection.” From a series of photos by Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti, who traveled the U.S. taking photos of Americans and their guns. See Tony Pierce’s Facebook post for more from the series.

Now don’t get me wrong: guns are cool and fun to fire (my great-uncle’s company is the Philippines’ biggest Winchester importer), but too many people in the U.S. have either made it the god they worship, or at least a core part of their identity. And as a result, the guns come out whenever they feel threatened, or even just slighted — as a response to bullying, the bogus “Great Replacement,” or even when a fellow movie-goer throws popcorn at them.

Infographic: The Social brain and Music, showing the mental health benefits of playing and listening to music
Tap to view at full size.

The old canard that hardcore misinterpreters of the Second Amendment like to pull out after every shooting is “We don’t have a gun problem, we have a mental health problem” (and while mental health does play a role, science — and Sciencepoint out that the issue actually is an over-proliferation of guns).

But let’s assume that it’s just a mental health issue. Want a fix? Get more people to pick up musical instruments instead of guns. We have lots of research and evidence showing the cognitive and emotional benefits of listening and playing music, and lots of research on the deleterious effects of guns and “gun thinking.”

Anitra Pavka and Joey deVilla at their wedding, with Joey playing accordion.

Pick up an instrument. Master a skill that will pay off in so many ways, from dexterity to improved brain function to confidence discipline and time management to creativity to making friends.

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