Editor's note: The following contains song lyrics that some might find offensive.
At a local gallery on Sunday, just yesterday as I write, I saw a painting of a hand gun, and image surrounded by the words of the song "Rewind" by Nas:
Sign up for NCR's Copy Desk Daily, and we'll email you recommended news and opinion articles each weekday.
The bullet goes back in the gun
The bullet hole's closin' this chest of a nigga
Now he back to square one
Screamin', "shoot don't please"
At the time, I didn't know they were song lyrics. Standing there in UrbArts, I read it transfixed by the longing in the words to take the bullet back. There are plenty of things I've wanted to take back, and plenty of bullets shot in St. Louis that I wished, helplessly, could return into the gun. I looked at the painting and imagined the people who have fired guns and then wished the bullets back. I took a photo of the painting and then one with the painter, Brooklyn. He gave me permission to publish the photo in the blog I intended to write.
Now, as I write, 58 people are dead from bullets fired in Los Vegas; 500 are injured.
In the culture we have created for ourselves in the United States, to think a deed is to have permission to do it. We have no ties that bind, no cultural contract strong enough to constrain those who are mentally ill or angry or drugged or impassioned with ideology. The brakes are off.