Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" part 2

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" part 2

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hearing now about yet another shooting incident made me think about a scene in the book that I didn’t write about earlier. It takes place in the Dallas Cowboys locker room. The Bravo soldiers are being taken through, introduced to the players. Billy, through whose eyes we experience the book’s action, sees the players as so massive that they appear to be almost another species.  In fact, he thinks the war in Iraq could be won quickly and easily if only the NFL players were sent to fight there.

But what I was thinking about this afternoon was the moment when the players begin asking about the guns Bravo uses in Iraq. They want to know in detail about the guns and the injuries each type of weapon could cause. The Bravo guys, more familiar with this information than they want to be, are taken aback, don’t know what to make of this intense interest, and finally, just edge away.

Like so many moments in the book this rings true as piece of Americana. There are people in this country who don’t want to live around easily-available, easily used weapons and those who are think guns should be even more widely available.  The problem is that the two groups live intermingled.  

I’m sure that around dinner tables tonight are people who firmly believe that if only they had been at the Washington Naval Yard today with a gun, things would have gone differently. I am in the camp of those who believe that if only no one at the Washington Naval Yard had had a gun today, more people would be sitting around their dinner tables tonight. 

There’s an old theater adage that if there a gun appears in the first act, it will go off by the end of the play. 

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