Over the past few weeks – especially on Facebook, where I spend more time typing responses to the posts of others than in actual writing, I suspect – there has been the charge that more Americans are killed every year by hammers than assault rifles, or even guns in general. And then will come the question, in heated words so charged that you can practically feel the breath of the poster on your face:

“Why don’t we ban hammers? Huh? Huh?”

And when you fall into the trap of explaining that, well, while hammers can be used for many different purposes, guns can be used pretty much only for one, the plaintive roar comes up again:

“Why don’t we ban hammers? Huh? Huh?”


Well, the next time an anti-hammerite comes at you with that particular line of reasoning (and one uses “reasoning” in its broadest and kindest terms here), consider this:

The belief that the much-loved hammer is the deadliest of all weapons of all is distorted from FBI crime statistics for 2011. A lazy reading of these figures would reinforce one’s cherished belief that the maligned, unloved gun is actually not nearly as responsible for homicides in this great country of ours than . . . hammers.

Well, not quite so, Pacified Reader. The original self-congratulatory website this story comes from (and which I won’t reveal, but its name rhymes with night and fart) only takes into account one sort of gun – rifles – and conveniently leaves out other sorts of gun deaths.

And as for the infamous “Death by Hammer” mantra we have been hearing so much of? Well, it would be true, if you also counted as a hammer . . .

. . . baseballs bats, tire irons, Nun-chucks, bricks, shoes, crowbars, beer bottles, lamps, billy clubs, Rosetta Stones, frying pans, poles, shovels, cinder blocks, irons, keyboards, books or anything else one might use to brutally attack someone.

So no, you still have more of a chance of being killed by a gun anywhere in this country than anything else. But why take my word for it? Or the word of any right-wing blog which may attempt to manipulate you? Here are the FBI statistics:



One of the blunt objects above was sort of a joke. Did you spot it?


Under the Knife: Same Song, Second Verse

Tomorrow morning I go in to have this damn mesh from last year’s hernia surgery repaired, a fact which is giving me joy upon joy. This is the third time I’ve had bright shiny blades dancing in the air around my nether regions, and frankly, I’m just too old for this crap.

Then again, the pain I have been experiencing is on a more exquisite level than anything I recall from last year, so I just want to get this done. The idea of anesthesia gives me some pause, however, since I took so long to rouse from my surgery last year.

Still, I’m assuming that I did.

After midnight – nothing to eat or drink! That means that about three o’clock in the morning I’ll be looking at that cat bowl in the bathroom, thinking, well, just a few laps of water couldn’t hurt, could it?



Spending time with Travis McGee

Well, at least if I can expect to be laid up for for next few days I can put my time to good use by finishing my rereading of The Long Lavender Look, by the great John D. MacDonald.

One of the novels in the Travis McGee series, it is every bit as good as it was when I read it way back so many years ago. If you haven’t discovered these great detective stories, written by the man who also wrote the novel The Executioners (filmed twice as Cape Fear) they are well worth your time.

There have been two movies based on the McGee series that have been produced – Darker Than Amber, which stars Rod Taylor, is pretty damned good, and a pilot for a TV series, simply entitled Travis McGee, starring Mister Sam Elliot, which sort of combines two novels.

Though it has the great Elliot as McGee, the movie itself is no great shakes. But the books? Ah . . .

Supposedly a film version of The Deep Blue Goodbye, to star Leonardo DiCaprio, is in the works. I’d pay a dollar for that.


Quote of the Day

“In these days of widespread illiteracy, functional illiteracy . . . anything that keeps people stupid is a felony.” – Harlan Ellison