Scott Cawelti

About Scott Cawelti -

Scott Cawelti was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He taught writing, film, and literature at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) from 1968-2008, and has written regular opinion columns and reviews for the Waterloo / Cedar Falls Courier since the late 1970s.  He played for years in a folk duo with Robert James Waller and still regularly performs as a singer/guitarist/songwriter. Scott continues to teach as an adjunct instructor at UNI.

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  • Moving Beyond Hope

    • Posted on Dec 19, 2012 by Scott Cawelti
    This will be published Sunday morning, December 23, in the Waterloo Courier, barring any serious weather delays.  Gun control, or lack thereof, is hardly a topic for getting anyone in the Christmas spirit, but it seemed to leap out at me as I thought about how much we all depend upon hope instead of action.  Hope is not enough.  

    And I do like this one-line refutation of the most famous NRA slogan:  When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns:  When guns are outlawed, fewer citizens will become outlaws.  


    Guns make outlaws--the vast majority of gun deaths are caused by ordinary people with access to guns and the sudden will (for whatever reason) to use them.  
      
    *************************

                Guns everywhere.  Rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, assault weapons.  They’re blazing away in America, not only in real schools and malls and theaters, but also in fantasy blockbuster movies and video games. 

    Show me an action-adventure movie and I’ll show you enough guns being bandied about and fired to frighten a combat veteran.

                Call it gun porn, turn-ons for American gun addicts.    

    The real guns are well supplied with ammo.   The Connecticut killer carried hundreds of rounds in high-capacity clips for his assault rifle and would have fired them all had he not heard sirens.   

    Pro-gun slogans blare from window stickers across the land:  “The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.”  Or “Gun control means hitting what you aim at,” and everyone’s favorite: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” 

    I’d amend that to “When guns are outlawed, fewer citizens will become outlaws.”  That’s the reality. 

                It’s not “outlaws” who commit most gun crime.  It’s everyday Americans who purchase, steal, or otherwise find legal guns and begin shooting—at family, at strangers, at themselves.

                Yet we still love our guns, and this year is setting a record for gun sales, thanks to paranoid fantasies pushed by the National Rifle Association.  Obama has increased gun owners’ rights, not decreased them.     

    There are eighty-nine guns for every 100 Americans, as compared to six for every 100 citizens of England and Wales. (See the Guardian, “Gun Crime Statistics by U.S. State.”)  

    Logically enough, having so many killing machines have led to killings.  

                “According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010, 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms, more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined.” (Google “Guns in America, A Statistical Look.”) 

    Outlaws didn’t kill all those people, but certainly killing those people created outlaws.

    Granted, new gun laws or enforcing existing gun laws may not have prevented the Connecticut massacre, though his assault weapon might have been banned, and his high-capacity clips.    

    But we do have speed limits, even though they don’t prevent all citizens from speeding.  Laws governing speed keep speeders to a minimum, thanks to licensing and fines. 

                 Gun fanatics take “A well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment to mean “Anyone who wants a gun.”   Thanks largely to the NRA’s fantasy-based pro-gun stance, even low-level gun regulations will be difficult to pass. They never met a gun they didn’t like, or a gun-regulation law they liked.

                As Mayor Blumberg pointed out on “Meet the Press” recently, the NRA’s rabid defense of guns cannot be defended.    Their lobbying looks more like pandering to a base of gun addicts rather than a call to reasonable regulations that would satisfy most gun-owner needs while cutting down gun violence.   

                We could place armed and trained guards everywhere—locked, loaded, and armored. You can’t do this without raising taxes and creating another division of Homeland Security.  Is that what we want?    

                Or we might outlaw manufacturing most ammo. This is a creative long-term solution, though probably unworkable, since homemade ammo would flood the market. Amateur cartridges would be dangerous, not to mention easy to manufacture or import.   

                Ultimately, we need to move toward common sense regulations that work in other countries.  People who want to buy and use guns need licensing and training, and must prove they’re capable of keeping their guns secure and safe.  Guns need to be registered and licensed like cars and narcotics.  At least.

                If we could hope ourselves into a better world, we should all be hoping for a sudden influx of reason and reality that would keep guns legal and safe.

                Unfortunately hope by itself merely makes for temporary good feelings.  We need political vision, leadership, citizen support, and powerful evidence-based arguments set forth in serious public debates leading to some consensus.  All in the face of very little hope, thanks to our politicians’ fear of the fanatical elements within the NRA.   

                Merely hoping for a better world means living with occasional public shootings of innocent people by gun-wielding killers—anywhere, everywhere, at any time.

                It’s time to move beyond hope.          




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  • WANTED: PEOPLE WHO KNEW MARK LOUVIERE

    • Posted on Dec 06, 2012 by Scott Cawelti

    12-6-2012

    WANTED: people who worked with, knew, and have ideas and thoughts about DR. MARK LOUVIERE. 

    He was a Waterloo physician, a general practioner, who worked in NE Iowa as a healer.   Now he is in prison, having pled guilty to possession of methamphetamines with intent to deliver—and it’s a long sentence.  

    Dr. Louviere has given me tentative permission to research his background, so I’d like to set up interviews with anyone who is willing to share their stories and observations about his life and times.  

    My plan is to write his story as nonfiction—an accurate biography of his life as a doctor and now as a convicted felon.  

    Contact me at  cawelti@forbin.net or s.cawelti@uni.edu 

    Either will reach me, or you can reply to this blog as a comment.  Please do help; this project can only be as good as its sources.     

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