Guns & Noses

 

 The latest flap and kerfuffle in DC is Governmental Weapons Legislation – a topic dividing our nation.  So much is being said and written about gun control that I feel the need to weigh in.  Here’s what I think…

Stop blaming the tool for the errors of the craftsman.  Allow me to clarify.  Guns are tools.  They are made to kill things.  They are very efficient tools especially when you consider their evolution from inception to today.  As these tools evolved the efficiency increased exponentially.  It’s like the pneumatic nail gun that saves carpenters so much effort by spitting nails into stuff.  When the nail gun secures the hand or foot of the user to a board, we don’t blame the tool; we blame the user’s carelessness.  Likewise, when the plumber creates a leak we don’t blame the pipe, we blame the craftsman.  Why do we blame the gun for the misguided use of the owner?  It’s like blaming a pencil for spelling errors.

If we are truly interested in solving social problems like mass-murder should we not look to the root cause rather than looking to the tool for reasons?  Shouldn’t we look at why people use violence as a first recourse rather than other non-violent solutions?  Why is our society so violent?

I’m going to take this to an extreme to make a point.

When our leaders outlaw all guns, what’s next?  People kill each other in creative ways all the time.  We use rocks, sticks, pipes, hammers, ice picks, and various other implements at hand (including our hands) to do the job.  Will we outlaw them as well to stop these senseless killings?  We have perfected the art of war.  We have perfected killing.  We rationalize this action by invoking god, or national security, even national pride.  We have machines that do this work for us.  We create new “safe” ways of dispatching our enemy’s long distance.  So when the guns are gone, where will we look for our next solution?  What will we outlaw to protect ourselves from each other?  Shortly after the murders in Connecticut an Asian man killed 13 children with a knife.  Will we go after knives next?  Can you see that we need to stop blaming the tools and start looking for the solutions to the real problem?  Can you see how ludicrous this really is?

Our society is based on violence.  We are inundated with news of the latest travesty or assault on our sensibilities.  Our news organizations (actually, they are entertainment more than news) bombard us with the most sensational and violent acts surreptitiously warning us that this will happen to us if we’re not careful.  They provide video coverage from the scene to dramatize and sensationalize the violence.   We sit safely at home and worry about when this will happen to us.  The intent is fear.  They want us to be afraid and they want us to tune in for the next violent installment.  We sit in the Coliseum – our homes and watch the carnage. We are voyeurs!

I have a friend that owns a gun store – a legal enterprise.  He follows the rules and laws to the letter.  He sells everything he receives.  He is quite grateful to our current administration for this proposed weapons ban.  His business is up almost 400% from last year.  His almost daily shipments are sold out the next day.  This fear of violence and our fear of losing our weapons created a rush on anything available from assault rifles to hand guns, but especially any automatic weapon, including machine guns.  He told me that is if they had wings because the fly out of the store so quickly.

Our government is based on violence.  We wage war on everything from poverty to drugs.  It is this combative nature to secure our interest on these pursuits.  How long have we waged war on drugs?  Are we winning?  What about poverty?  Are we winning that one, too?  What about the Democratization of the Middle East?  Our war there is going so very well, isn’t it?  Are we winning the hearts and minds of these people through our effective use of violence?  No one ever really wins a war, but we press on.  When was the last time someone tried to force you into an action?  How receptive were you to this strong-arm tactic?  Your immediate response is to fight against it and do the exact opposite.  Look at your children as an example…  When you demand that they take action their immediate response is to do the opposite.  Then they fight to the end to not follow through on that demand.  We are exactly the same…  When the government warns that they will ban guns, we run out to purchase guns…  Do you really need an automatic weapon?  Not really, but your first response it to procure one…

Our language and programs are based on violence.  Again, we wage war on everything as if there is a conquest.  Do we really mean that we will kill everyone that stands in the way?  Are we seriously waging a war or is this just an intentional choice of language to intensify and rationalize our actions to encourage us to win?  What is the real goal here?  Are our leaders using the term “WAR” as a powerful tool to incite us to action or to justify their actions?  We preach about the war on sin and engage as god’s warriors in battle for salvation.  Will we soon start killing sinners and those that don’t worship our god?  The Islamic Fundamentalists are engaged at this level.  When will we join in?  The Inquisition was another very successful endeavor.  Countless Jews and other Non-Christian people were tortured and killed in the name of catholic conversion for salvation.

Our entertainment is based on violence.  We have violent contests to move a ball up and down a field to score points.  It’s called football where a war is waged on the front lines between the offense and the defense to destroy the adversary or deal them a crippling blow.  These men are called warriors and combatants.  IT’S A GAME, albeit a very violent one.  Ultimate Fighting Contests (UFC) where two men beat each other senseless in a cage.  This is nothing more that gladiatorial combat without the final kill… at least so far.  These men use specially acquired skills to disable their opponent or to gain submission from them.  It’s great fun watching two people pummel each other.  Our video games are the best example of violent entertainment.  As I watched the advertisements on TV during the Holiday week it became horrifyingly obvious that we are now teaching this violent behavior to our children.  They engage in this violence through a computer terminal safely distant yet completely involved in the carnage.  They kill dragons and monsters, or foreign armies, or terrorists, or mutants, or each other in the pursuit of entertainment.  Even the seemingly innocuous automobile racing games teach them the tactics of aggressive driving.    When violence is taught as the immediate solution in games, how can we expect our children to differentiate in real life?  These games blur the lines between fantasy and reality.  Is there any wonder why our schools and playgrounds are so rife with violence?  And, when physical violence fails, they used more clandestine avenues on the social networking sites.

Can you see the pattern?  If our society is based in violence how can we honestly blame the tool?  Shouldn’t we really be looking at ourselves and how we live to solve this problem?  If we teach and preach violence how can we honestly be surprised when someone looks to a violent solution as the first course of action?  We refuse to see that we create the monster and subsequently vilify him for rearing his ugly head.  We arm our citizens with violent solutions then blame their tools for the result.  We are surprised when someone reacts violently and refuse to recognize that we taught them how to do it!

The push right now is to eliminate automatic weapons with large capacity magazines.  These weapons were created to provide a more efficient way to dispatching an enemy.  In fact these are almost the perfect killing machines.  You point it, pull the trigger, and it kills anyone in the line of fire.  The purpose of these machines is to kill people.  They are not for sport, or hunting, or target shooting: they are for killing each other.  In my opinion they should never be in the public domain: But they are.  They are available to anyone with a connection and the money to acquire them.  The problem is that even though they may become illegal, they will still be available.  Again, look at our success against illegal drugs and poverty.  Our government is selling these weapons to foreign powers and drug cartels for profit.  We sell drones and aircraft to foreign countries and wonder why they use these tools for war.  Isn’t that why they were designed?  We armed the Mujahedin to fight the Russians.  These “freedom fighters” then turned against us with our own weapons.  Of course there were other driving factors for this, but the point is that we gave them the weapons they use against us.  We trained them how to use them and how to wage a more efficient war against the insurgents.  Looking at the recent results, we did a damn good job.

Our leadership is looking for the most obvious and popular situation to deflect our attention from the most important issues we face.  We are in a financial and fiscal quagmire.  They want to increase the debt ceiling again.  We borrow money to pay the interest on our debt.  They spend more than they collect.  We are in real trouble and no one has the balls to yell STOP.  It is all a sham to divert our attention from the real problems we face.  Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain…  We hired / elected them to work for us not against us.  Over the past 12 years Congress has done very little to secure the citizenry from financial and fiscal calamity.  In fact they have done everything possible to worsen the problem.  They act as if there is an endless supply of money and have no responsibility for their actions.  They are the only group that creates problems then denies culpability.  Is our government working for us or against us?  Keep their noses and attention on the tasks at hand.  There are bigger problems facing this country than gun control.  DO YOUR JOBS!  Congress’ job is to fix the problems they created and to create ways to prevent this happening again.

The leadership of the Roman Empire knew that by providing entertainment and food to the masses, they could continue to run the Empire without interference from the people.  “Give them blood and bread and they will be happy.”  The citizens didn’t care… they were entertained and fed.  We are no different than the Romans.  We are fed and given blood-sport for our entertainment yet we are amazed at the violence in our country completely ignoring the reality that we created the problem in the first place.  Rome’s problem was that they could not support the burgeoning debt.  A debt the created by supporting a lavish lifestyle for the Senators and Emperor, and those that would not work.  A debt they tried to satisfy through taxation, and could not resolve the problem.  A debt that eventually aided in the demise of the empire.

We publicly profess our abhorrence of violence, yet embrace it in private.  We ignore the signs of trouble because after all, it’s just a game, or movie, or TV program…  What harm can it do?

When you view the success of gun bans globally you will see that violence increases when the citizens are unarmed.  Sweden is a great example.  Guns are illegal there yet a single man killed 67 people with an assault rifle – an illegal assault rifle.  The laws didn’t stop him.  Will these new laws stop the carnage here?

I believe that responsible ownership of guns is acceptable and necessary; however, there is a responsibility that comes with any choice.  That’s where we need to concentrate our efforts.  We need to examine why we are so prone to violence and why we continue to teach our children the same lessons expecting a move toward peace.  This is the definition of insanity: Doing the same things expecting different results.  An old military motto was “Fighting for Peace.”  Is this a dichotomy or lunacy?

We face a crisis of monumental proportions and we all sit happily on the faux leather sofa in front of the Big Screen HDTV watching the world of violent entertainment, oblivious to the cataclysm approaching.

We need to rethink our approach and review our expected results.

Maybe we are just crazy…

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