Jimmy Breslin is a New York journalist. He was on BookNotes, promoting something he had written about Damon Runyan. At some point, he had a few things to say about handguns.
BRESLIN: I was thinking of that with the guns. We’ve got an enormous amount of empty hands in the city of New York — poor people with empty hands — and there is a whole lot of guns coming in and those empty hands pick them up. Now, we’ve been saying just a tiny, stupid, little thing. I never understood the argument. How can you have a semi-automatic weapon, period. I mean, what are they for? … Now, I’m thinking of that this morning when they hear this gun they used in Killeen, Texas. What did he kill — 22 — with a gun?
… What reason is there for a gun — a handgun? I mean, he gets it to kill somebody with, that’s all. There’s no other reason. I don’t know why they make them. They make them to kill people with.
We just lost that guy Hastings. There was bartender, a fellow by the name of Hastings, in the city of New York. He fought at Guadalcanal and Okinawa as a Marine. Pretty good. Been around a little action, I’d say, right? He did 20 years as a New York City policeman and a detective. The day he left the job he turned in all his guns and said, “I never want to look at one of them again. I know exactly what they are. I don’t like them. Goodbye.” He was tending bar the other night in the Garden Grove, which is one of those neighborhood places that generations of working people have known in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens, and he walks out at 3 in the morning carrying some Chinese food, no gun — gave those things up, hates them — and a guy thought it was the receipts from the bar and shot him in the head with a gun. Now, if Hastings, who was around guns at Guadalcanal, doesn’t like them, what are we doing making them today so somebody can walk up and shoot him in the head? We lost a magnificent human being that way. I think that that’s politics, and I think that’s where I would write quite a bit of politics. For anybody that doesn’t vote to stop the manufacture of guns, well, he’s just contributing to murder. That’s all there is to it. I think that’s political now.
Later in the chat, there was this exchange with interviewer Brian Lamb. LAMB: When are you absolutely the happiest? BRESLIN: You’re not put on this earth to be happy. You’re really not. Now you laugh — you’ll find that’s true before we’re through. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. The spell check suggestion for Breslin is Breadline.