I am not an American, I am not even sure what does it mean to be an “American”. Does a passport count or do you have to be christian, but no act like one? Will you be excluded just because you love and respect the Great Spirit or Gaia or because you speak Chinese? I do not know. Will that stop me from expressing some thoughts on the subject? You bet it won’t. You see, being an “outsider” can put you in an advantageous position, from where you can observe things from a distance, away from the shouting and shooting of the crowd, and from a distance different patterns emerge.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
One sentence, cherished and curse by many. Written by people, not a forgetful god, who allegedly failed to include the abolition of slavery in the Constitution of the States of America.
Who likes it? The National Rifle Association, a gun lobby group that misinterprets and uses the Constitution to perpetuate an inhumane industry. Of course te NRA will only want to see the last part of the quote, which is quite old and strangely worded, just like the prophecies of the Oracle at Delphi. Not as old as the Bible, but perhaps just as outdated. Yes, I said it. Holy books, pieces of papers may bear messages which are relevant when and where they are written or published, but in an ever-changing world they quickly lose their significance. Because they are laws, not principles. It is impossible and silly eve to try to make a law to cover every aspect of our lives. As Ricky Gervais said the Bible is strangely silent when it comes to dealing with modern day “sins”, such as video piracy. Perhaps because those holy books are useful in a certain age and a certain location, such as thousands of years ago in the desert.
So maybe the founding fathers (men only, since women had no right to participate in politics back then) who were slave owners, as it was pointed out by Dave Chapelle, were more worried about independence from England and the risk the poor people presented, than putting a semi-automatic rifle into the hands of the untrained and undisciplined masses. They laid down some “unalienable” rights, which were “god given” and had to be amended more than a dozen times, when the people realised it is wrong to keep other people in chains, just because they look different. This seemed to have slipped the mind of Roosevelt when he ordered the internment of Japanese American citizens in 1942. George Carlin is the one to thank, for not letting us forget this.
Of course Wayne (LaPierre) with his funny family name loves his guns and loves the greens from the gun manufacturing companies, so he will only ever talk about the right to bear arms. Wayne of course does not talk about people having big brown furry arms with claws, but spending money on machine tools discharging high speed projectiles capable of causing substantial amount of harm to living beings. Those who argue that guns do not cause death, but people who pull the trigger will have hard time living with the consequences as soon as their loved ones start dying from gun inflicted injuries.
“A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt” (George Carlin)
There is a certain amount of fear of the police in the USA. Let’s put on our blue uniforms and think about a simple traffic related vehicle stop as police officers. You are driving around in your police cruiser and you decide to stop a vehicle for going through a red light or a stop sign. In your mind there will be a big alarm bell going off “the driver may be armed”. As a police officer you have to think about your safety a whole lot more. You as a police officer are trained and paid to go into dangerous situations. Unfortunately a “routine” vehicle stop in the USA is a potentially dangerous situation. Since anybody can be armed. So police officers have to do certain things to make sure they can go home to their families and friends when they finish their shifts.
So that is a society armed to the teeth or potentially armed to the teeth. A society battling with inequality, where a very few live in high castles while other, including war veterans, live and die on the streets. This society then hires a bunch of members of society and gives them some training and potentially deadly weapons, to carry out a dangerous duty, to protect and serve and to keep the peace. Perhaps the stress of expecting everybody to be armed is getting to us. Perhaps this stops us from growing as a society.
This is when members of the community come together and do something. The Bloods and the Crips brokered a peace deal in the 90’s. Sure it did not last forever, but now Snoop Dogg and The Game went to meet the mayor and the police chief of Los Angeles and started something new. This is the solution, continually come up with new ways to be peaceful, instead of continuing to develop new weapons and new ways to market them. Perhaps we already have too many statue honouring the “glorious” dead soldiers, now we need to build monuments to honour peaceful people.
There is fear of the corrupt government, because they among other things, wants to “disarm citizens”. The government is always doing something which will upset people. There are people who did not vote for that government, there are people who voted for, but now feel betrayed by that government and there are people who always hope for the government to fix thing, so they do not have to. You may not belong to any of these groups. You may have other reasons not to trust the government. So do something about it. Start your own peace movement. Maybe it is being at peace with yourself. No one can take that away from you and it is very hard to put a tax on.
Somebody asked Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was a very peaceful man for quite some time, what should one do if one is peaceful but somebody attacked him or her. K said it depends on how long one has been peaceful for. At first you will still revert back to the reptilian brain’s flight or fight response, but once your peace reached a certain strength even death cannot force you out of it. If I am peaceful your gun cannot change that. I am not that peaceful yet. I am practising, moment by moment. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I keep going back to peace, because that is where I want to live.
Apart from the above: Why does anyone need a semi-automatic rifle at home? Is one even enough? How much ammunition is enough? Is it a good idea to have the Bible next to a shotgun? It is thick, it might come handy as an improvised body armour.
But seriously, put more comedians like Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Dave Chapelle, Ricky Gervais, Russell Brand on the school curriculum, take a deep breath and stop watching Fox News, because all they talk about is war, killing, depression, recession. Instead talk to and care about your own neighbourhood and the humans and animals around you!