Phil Spector – a sad tale

Music legend Phil Spector was convicted yesterday of murder – as you may know – when what is said to have been a game of Russian Roulette (how did that ever become a ‘game’?) claimed a woman’s life. She was the sixth such woman that we know of on whom Spector inflicted this behavior over a period of years. We’ll probably never know the full truth of what happened five years and one mistrial ago.

It’s tempting to make all sorts of comments about media has-beens with strange behaviors around much younger women. Or we could explore those fantasies of frightening themselves and others, power trips and so on, that Spector seems to have enjoyed.

And that would be to miss a vital point – that Spector and others like him, wrestling with psycho-dramas of anger and sexuality, have easy access to guns in this culture.

Perhaps in Europe, where guns are far more restricted, he’d still have been dangerous, but he wouldn’t have been able to blow off someone’s head on a whim, and so probably would have just been obnoxious rather than deadly.

The man with a gun thinks he’s living out the potent hero archetype, where the simple truth is he just has the money, and the freedom from restriction, to get a deadly weapon and bring it into his own personal emotional swirl. There it acts as a stage prop to ramp up his confusions.

The unstable, the anxious, and the paranoid are problematic enough as it is, but allowing them easy access to guns just doesn’t seem sensible. It’s like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers and then expecting them not to get into trouble.

If we are to reach peace as a civilized nation we are going to have to address this issue – and others like it – with care and compassion; and quoting a political document written in 1776 may not provide the answers we need.