from his estranged wife’s death in a carrnwreck vcars before.rnComplicating all this are the Mc-rnCaskill sisters, Mariah and I.exa. Mariah,rnthe elder, is a snccessfnl globe-trottingrnphotojournalist. She is middle-aged, divorced,rnbut still retains a wild, red-hairedrnbcanty that can “cloud men’s minds.”rnMariah talks the reluctant Mitch intornpermitting her to photograph the willingrnLvle’s last days for a newspaper photo series.rnLexa McCaskill, Mitch’s live-inrncompanion, patienth’ awaits the passingrnof his mid-life difficulHcs so that they canrnget on with their lives.rnl l i e central theme oi Mountain Timernis the baby boomer gcncrahon’s reactionrnto two inescapable f;icts: the passing ofrntheir parents, the reali.stic and hardworkingrnWorld War II generation, and theirrnrelations with their own children, thernalienated products of divorce, mindle,sslyrngroping their way through a seeminglyrnnihilistic turn-of-thc-millennium hightechrnconsumer socictv’. Mitch spends arnlot of time eontemplahng his dying fatherrnand his own out-of-reach kids, for whichrnHie idealism he acquired during his eoming-rnof-age in the 1960’s doesn’t seem tornbe of much help.rnSignnmd Freud wrote that the mostrnpoignant day in a man’s life is the day ofrnthe death of his father. When Lyle final-rny passes on in his sleep, Mitch sees Hierncent as antielimactic and is merelyrnnumbed. He, Lexa, and Mariah set outrnon a backpacking trip into die stunningrnRock- Moimtain Front backcountry ofrnthe Bob Marshall Wilderness, with diernidea of honoring Fylc’s wish to have hisrnashes scattered —and the ritual photographedrnby the journalistic voveurrnMariah —atop the (fictional) PhantomrnWoman Peak. In 19^9, the 18-year-oldrnljle had helped build the PhantomrnWoman fire tower while employed byrnthe Depression-era Cixilian Coiiser-rnation Corps, in the course of whichrnhe met — unbeknownst to him —thernrenowned conscrvafionist Bob Marshallrn(about whose lcgendar’ tramps in thernNorthern Rockies Mitch is researching arnpiece). On that summer day in 1939,rnBob Marshall almost broke a leg on anrnimnailed step on the tower; in 1996,rnMitch Ro/.ier docs so after a row withrnLexa and the professionally mindedrnMariah ocr changing his mind aboutrnthe asli-scattering ceremony, becausern”Mv father never cared a whoop aboutrnam- of this [the Bob Marshall Wilderness)rn. . . i le wanted it carved up intornnionev. Just never quite managed to figurernout how.” Mitch’s broken leg forcesrnLexa to hike out for help, leaving Mitchrnand Mariah to a contrived love affair inrnthe fire tower cabin: a forced and predictablerndevice designed to make for arnhappy ending when Mitch and Lexa reuniternin Seattle at the novel’s conclusion.rnIvan l^oig should know better.rnHe docs know his Rocky Mountains,rnand he paints his landscapes well. Hernknows his ranchers and Iluttcrites too,rnand has a sharp ear for the nuances of colloquialrnMontana .speech. But as the critie-rnpoet Randall Jarrell once observed, “Arnnovel is a long narrative with somethingrnwrong with it.” Mountain Time is at oncerna bcauhful and a flawed Hiing.rnRill Cmke writes from Cody, Wyoming.rnDamn Lies—rnor Statisticsrnby David B. KopelrnMore Guns, Less Crime:rnUnderstanding Crime andrnGun Control Lawsrnhy]ohnR.l/)tt,]r.rnChicago: Univertiit^’ of Chicago Press;rn22S pp.’, $23.00rnThe most important book ever publishedrnabout firearms policy is JohnrnLott’s superb More Cuns, Less Crime:rnUnderstanding Crime and Cim ControlrnLaws. No other firearms book has reshajiedrnthe political debate so profonndhrnor its author been subjected to such a determinedrncampaign of lies and libels.rnI’lie intensity of the campaign againstrnLott is a powerful confirmation of hisrnbook’s importance and one reason why itrnshould be read b’ everyone who caresrnabout firearms policy, which is literally arnmatter of life or deafii: Lobbj’ists who arerntr)’iiig to prevent die public from discoveringrnJohn Lott’s research are indirccfiyrnresponsible for the deaths of hundreds ofrninnocent peo]Dlc ever’ year.rn’Ihroughout the 19th century, “thernright to keep and bear arms” meant exacriyrnwhat it said: The right to carr’ a gunrnwas protected just as finnly as die right tornown a gun. Some states, parfienlariv inrnthe South, enforced laws against carryingrnhandguns concealed, but the right tornopen carry was almost universally respected.rnBy the 1970’s, however, thernright to carr’ had been restricted in mostrnjurisdictions. America was well on thernway to treating guns like cigarettes: permissiblernin private but completelyrnbanned from public spaces.rnIn 1988, however, Florida —thanks tornthe energetic support of the FloridarnChiefs of Police Association and UnifiedrnSportsmen of Florida — initiated a nationalrntrend by enacting a “shall issue”rnhandgun permit law, allowing any adultrnwho has a clean record and has takenrnsafct}’ training to obtain a permit to earr)’rna concealed handgun for protection.rnNow, 29 states have a law^ similar to Florida’s,rnwhile Vermont and Idaho (outsidernof Boise) require no peniiit.rnBefore John Lott came along, a few researchersrn(myself included) had studiedrnthe effects of diese laws. Clayton Cramerrnand I (in the Tennessee Law Review) hadrnanalyzed changes in murder rates inrn”shall issue” .states compared to nafionalrntrends and found tentafive evidence diatrnmurder rates fell after enactment of “shallrnissue” laws. David McDowall (in thernjournal of Criminal Law and Criminology)rnhad anabzed murder rates in fiverncounties and reported that they rose.rnThese efforts, nevertheless, proved far inferiorrnto I .ott’s.rnJohn Lott has blown all the previousrnresearch awa’: His vork amounts to thernmost thorough criminological study everrnperformed. Lott collected data fromrnevery one of the 3,054 counties in thernUnited States over an 18-year periodrnand, in contrast to the Kopel and McDowallrnhomicide-oiih studies, examinedrnchanges in the rates of nine differentrnt’pcs of crime. I Ic also accounted for dierneffects of dozens of other variables, ineludingrnvariations in arrest rates, in thernage and racial composifion of a eount’srnpopulation, in nafional crime rates, andrnin changes made to gun-control laws, includingrnthe adopfion of waifing periods,rnfjott’s findings show diat concealed carryrnlaws significanth reduce violent crime.rnOn average, the murder rate falls by tenrnpercent, Hiat of rape by three percent,rnand aggravated assault by six percent.rnWhile crime begins to fall off immediately,rndie benefits of concealed handgunrnlaws take about three ‘ears to make themselvesrnfully felt. This is not surprising: Inrnmost states, a flood of applieafions occursrnin the first few weeks the law is on thernDFCEMBER 1999/.31rnrnrn