April 07, 2007

No Art For The Children

Michelle Malkin has a post up on anti-gun folks trying to stop a statue of a decorated sailor killed in combat (h/t Bitter).

The gist is that a statue (a bronze sculpture to be precise) of Danny P. Dietz, Gunner's Mate Second Class, united States Navy is to be dedicated on July 4th this year in a park in Littleton, Colorado. The statue has Petty Officer Dietz holding a rifle (well an M16A4 but for the sake of discussion...) & because it has that evil implement thee are a few folks who are demanding that the statue not be placed in a park where children can see it.

Yep; they are protesting over a sculpture that has the image of a firearm.

I'm sure they'd object to the USMC War Memorial in Rosslyn, Va. But just for the helluvit I'm wondering if this statue or this statue were bought by Littleton & placed in the park would they be objecting to it as well because of the "message" it sends to the children? I mean a naked man & all... & the latter link (which truth be told is my favorite of the two) has a naked man with a sword! & I wonder how they'd feel about The Lovers by Walter Richie? (Not that Lady with Kittens isn't cool or anything...) Or would they be opposed to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle since she used actual firearms to create her art?

Now I admit that the pro-gun folks (including me) have been turned off by some statues. The one in front of the UN Headquarters building in Hell North NYC comes to mind (it's the 5th picture down from the top). But I think it's a bit different to express displeasure with a piece of art designed to project a direct political sentiment than it is to demand the removal of a statue where a common instrument included in the sculpture is taken by some to be a political statement

Still using the logic implied by the anti-gun/anti-statue-of-a-gun folks then this statue of King Leonidas should not be viewed by children unless accompanied by an adult to explain the evils of the sword. After all, considering the headstart that swords had (they've been around for roughly 4,000+ years) on firearms I'd wager that swords have killed more people than firearms have.

"...'A statue of a soldier holding a child would send a better message,' said Calvin Freehling, a Vietnam veteran from Indianola, Neb., who e-mailed The Denver Post. 'An automatic weapon doesn't signify protection. It signifies violence. I'm 64 years old now, and I'm tired of violence." (emphasis mine)

That's from this Denver Post article (quoted by Malkin in her post). He obviously never read "(I)t's most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can" as he doesn't understand the difference between predatory violence & protective violence.

Luckily someone else int he article does. From the same article Mrs. Dietz (Danny's widow) offers a counter:

"It's a parent's job, including these parents who are protesting, to teach their children the difference between two thugs who murder their classmates and a soldier who died fighting for their freedom..."

I've never been a big fan of visual art, although I know a little about it from having dated two artists & having dozens in my circles back when I was a musician. I'm also not a fan of public funds going to such endeavors. Money for this type of thing should be raised privately & any public money should be used to better the quality of care that living but wounded soldiers receive or to settle obligations to the deceased's family. I'm not sure of public funds or private are being used but that's another topic altogether.

What is important is that the justification for the objections to the statue has a broader effect (if realized) than most would think. It's not just that these people don't want to see actual guns but any representation of a gun is offensive to them. & why? Aside from their tender feelings they've been pretty open about it - they don't want children to see an image of a gun without a parent to explain how those tools are the embodiment of evil.

This is a war of cultures as much as anything else & they don't want the next generation influenced by the gun culture. So they'll raise hell over a statue meant to commemorate a fallen sailor in his hometown because it has a symbol of something they abhor: the means of self determination.

That's the root of things; they do not wish for kids to see a firearm as a positive or even neutral device because that might lead to the kids being more open to the theories behind their use. & that would lead to an increased number of people who valued the individual over the collective.

Art work has, through the ages, inspired controversy & protest & caused all manner of offense. This is not the first time that a piece of art has been used as a battleground in the war between the collective & the individual nor will it be the last. But it does highlight some of the favorite tactics of the collectivists as well as exposing their reasoning.

Sadly though what the statue intended to do has been lost a bit in the arguments for & against (more so in the arguments against). Danny Dietz seemed to be a brave sailor who died as honorably as anyone could expect. Here's the Navy Cross citation for Petty Officer Dietz.

Posted by Publicola at April 7, 2007 07:18 PM | TrackBack

I wonder what they think of the minutemen?

Posted by: BobG at April 8, 2007 10:13 AM