When you hurt another person, you never know how much it pains. Since I was shot, everything is such a dream to me. I don’t know what anything is about. Like, I don’t know whether I’m alive or whether I died. I wasn’t afraid before. And having been dead once, I shouldn’t feel fear. But I am afraid. I don’t understand why. Andy Warhol after he was shot and seriously wounded in 1968.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787.
There’s a saying in the theater that if a play opens with a gun over the mantle, the gun must go off before the final curtain. Warhol suggests that lethal potential: with no one gripping it, this gun seems to be firing itself, its double image suggesting the “kick” of recoil.
But the viewer stands just to the side of where it’s aimed. You can appreciate its lethal allure without being threatened directly by it. And you can understand how the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies both fetishize the object of their disagreement. The former treat guns as totems to ward off danger or totalitarianisms, the latter regard them as taboo objects whose mere presence invites evil. Chris Potter, managing editor, The Pittsburgh City Paper, “Point of View Labeling Project,” The Andy Warhol Museum, 1999.
I stood up in a social studies class—the teacher wanted a discussion—and said I could never kill anyone or condone anyone who did kill anyone. But that I could on some level, understand these kids in Colorado, the killers [reference to school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado where 12 students were shot by two classmates]. Because day after day, slight after slight, exclusion after exclusion, you can learn how to hate . . . After class I was called to the principal’s office and told that I had to agree to undergo five sessions of counseling or be expelled from school, as I had expressed ‘sympathy’ with the killers in Colorado and the school had to be able to explain itself if I ‘acted out.’ In other words, for speaking freely, and to cover their ass, I was not only branded a weird geek, but a potential killer, that will sure help deal with violence in America. Jay in the Southeast, Slashdot.org.