I still believe Peace is possible. But not with that ‘Peacekeeper’ in your belt and fear in your heart.

Gunning Down America

I used to be a news junkie. The accompanying commentary interested and informed me. But, I’m done.

Between journalistic political opinions and conjecture and minute-to-minute coverage of ‘blood on the streets,’ I can’t bear to tune in anymore. What am I missing? That another black male was needlessly killed by police officers? That another movie theatre, classroom, church or nightclub massacre ‘broke out’?

I’m fed up with violence punctuating our sentences and pouring across our screens. I’m ashamed of it. I am outraged it continues unabated. I’m dumbstruck that our elected representatives remain deaf to the sound of gunfire ruining our communities, ending innocent lives.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Those words ring in my ears, recited by otherwise intelligent and discerning friends. But the logic just doesn’t work: e. coli doesn’t kill people; accidentally eating trace amounts of animal poop does, nooses don’t kill people; it’s the drop. Blah, blah, blah.

How about this? Can we agree ‘people who use guns to kill people are particularly effective’? Strangling, poisoning, and stabbing take a back seat. Most other methods of inflicting lethal violence require far more nerve, intent and skill than firing a loaded gun.

I’m fed up with excuses for our culture’s gunning each other down. I support my compatriots examining when gun sales make sense and to whom, but first, let’s get rid of non-starters.

Our Constitutional language and very real Colonial fears were appropriate in 1776. The 21st Century chances that the scenario of a removed sovereign controlling our lives is less likely than our colonizing Mars. Let’s get current.

At the same time, can anyone in 2016 be surprised that America’s citizens of color or non-Christian faith may feel they are being unfairly treated by a foreign power? Aren’t they?

When middle-aged white men, cloistered in Washington, D.C., ignorant or deniers of racial, gender and creed inequities, try to preserve their archaic authority over women, people of color and other faiths, it turns us all into enemies of their domination. Why they are the first to shout down gun controls astounds me. It shows just how out of touch they are.

Back to gun proliferation. Single user arms as protocol for achieving real, reaching power are simply no longer relevant. We’re past that. Today’s military artillery divisions don’t march in formation into the fray. The ‘fray’ has completely changed. Wars are geopolitical economic and information battles. It’s all about natural and man-made resource acquisition and management. Serious warriors employ a keystroke, nowadays, no AK-47s needed.

Guerilla warfare (insurgents, “terrorists” and haters) and peacekeeping missions realistically use guns as a last resort. Let’s remember, police are supposed to be peacekeepers. Shooting any civilian is supposed to be a last resort. The majority of peacekeepers (and insurgents, for that matter) know and practice this standard. The relatively few Bad Apples can do no end of harm when armed. As we see. Every day.

The ‘American hunter’ paradigm easily excludes handguns, semi-automatic long guns and high powered bows, none very ‘sporting’, but let’s not even ‘go there’ when considering civic gun controls.

Most of the above are licensed, trained and accountable shooters. “Trained” by and “accountable” to whom needs review, but at least we look at these concerns openly, seeking safer guns, rules, material and social mechanisms.

Revolvers, pistols, automatic and semi-automatic hand guns. Their purpose, design, function, and performance are solely to easily and effectively cause bodily harm to another. That’s what they are for. It’s simply the primary reason anyone has one or more hand guns. Collectors? Okay. But if your guns are accompanied by bullets, your collection is armory, not artifact.

So Why? Why do we have and refuse to give up our hand guns? Self-defense, right? Against whom? Who are you so hell-bent on shooting? Bad Guys? Anyone who threatens you? Whatever scares you? Limited to your home? What about your yard? Car? Neighborhood? Town? Anyone who might mean you harm?

I’m a middle-aged white woman. Do you have any friggin’ idea how many times I’ve been threatened, afraid or angered in my life? The neighborhood gang who wouldn’t return my soccer ball? The employer who repeatedly sexually harassed me? The husband who drove drunk with my babies in his car? The neighbor’s dog who growled menacingly at me? The waiter who cut up my credit card my first night on a holiday?

My hormones and psyche have raged up and down for over thirty years. Sometimes, otherwise well-meaning people mess with me. Do you really want me armed?

The gun lobby and manufacturers do. They claim they are sorry it’s come to this, but every responsible member of the public really needs at least one “steel security blanket.” To my mind, a society of people self-soothing with SIG Sauer® SP2022® Centerfire Pros does not bode well.

Yet the gun purchasing population grows and grows. More people. More discord. More fear. More guns. More sales. Who benefits from all these guns, so available, so well-designed for inflicting quick, mass trauma? Certainly not the buyers. For buyers, guns are pacifiers, recreational equipment (target shooting), collection items.

The gun makers and sellers benefit from ours becoming a gun culture. And their profits are through the roof. One industry! One!

Remember horse-drawn buggies? Butter churners? The village smithy? How about whale oil?

Our needs change. Our ideas and ethics change. Industries adapt.

No. Getting a gun should be harder, more involved and regulated than getting a job, driving a car, voting and organizing a parade. There’s plenty of elected representatives throwing obstacles in our way of doing all those thigs. But when it comes to arming ourselves, hands off? C’mon.

It is past time to support the intention behind our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Our forefathers were trying to craft a starting place for a better nation. They called out the terror tactics of their times. They codified the practice of civil disobedience against unjust rule. Our forefathers were Protesters of what was wrong, promoting their best ideas of possible cures.

Real patriots of the United States of America should and must do the same. Our votes do count, our phone calls, e-mails, marches, and sit ins do count. How we spend our dollars counts.

We have, above all other rights, guaranteed under the rule of law, the right to craft safer rules, better justice and more thorough equality. We have the right to restrict gun sales, to legislate against corporate interests that prove themselves harmful to our society. We have the right to challenge the status quo and demand legal justice.

I still believe Peace is possible. But not with that ‘Peacekeeper’ in your belt and fear in your heart.

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