Gun Nation: An Absence of Culture

If there’s anything to be said about the United States is that it’s a slave to the rhythm of ‘the great chain’. That is to say, we ebb and flow to the tune of corporations and the agendas of those in the position to regulate talking points. The greatest talking point in the heartland of today’s America is gun control or lack thereof, to be precise.

We have the open carry nuts in Texas who like to take their weapon of choice to their local eatery and proceed to flaunt it in front of ‘civilians’ who are merely trying to enjoy whatever processed meal they ordered. And the local treehouse militias who march through such dangerous locales as Target, Home Depot and Walgreens, the nation is surely safe and sound from whatever dirt ball wants to shatter the peace that has settled over the sleepy towns of white bread ‘Merica.

But wait! There are still shootings happening and now it’s even a gamble to be a kindergartner trying to make it as the lead tree in his or her upcoming spring play. How can this be, there are lots and lots of good guys with guns patrolling every bath and tile aisle to the cushy appendages of Long John Silver’s seafaring cuisine. Well the answer you may find has a little something to do with us as a nation.

You see ladies and gentlemen the constitution was written a long long time ago in an unmolested ozone layer far far away. The founders of this country who we’ll refer to as the framers, didn’t like the idea of your regular Joe the plumber being able to go out and vote because that was surely dangerous and would negate the whole intricate process of electing officials. They also didn’t like the idea of itchy fingered rednecks being able to just unload their blunderbuss into whatever squeak or twig snap they happened to hear outside. But unfortunately the south existed then too, and the founders knew that to get this kinda thing passed they had to make some concessions to their eccentric cousins down on the Bayou. One of these turned out to be the second amendment, which was created to appease those southern slave owners who were petrified at the thought of any of their ’employees’ getting the notion of revolution in their heads, because you know they’re complainers and never satisfied. So the northern framers conceded the notion and *poof* out came the second amendment which promised the constitutional right to keep a well regulated militia! Which for better or worse (the answers the latter) has evolved to take the form of camouflage hat wearing hill people who regularly patrol the congested lines at department stores and 2-star restaurants.

Ahh but you’re no dummy, you’ve figured out a sure fire argument to shut up ol’ blithering Maverick. “But cars kill people too! And knives do too! Why not ban those as well, if you’re so keen on taking our guns!”

You’re right of course, I must’ve overlooked that but I counter you with the following wisdom; You see the difference between guns and cars is that cars weren’t made with the intended purpose to ‘kill’. Guns as per their design, are engineered to kill. Same with knives. The thing about knives is unlike guns, they don’t have a powerful lobby to buy legislators, governors, judges, etc. with campaign contributions so they can enrich themselves with blood-stained arms dealer money.

Think about this: The day that the Sandy Hook shooting massacre happened there was a stabbing spree in China where a man stabbed 23 people, none of whom died. Knives aren’t nearly as deadly as guns and can’t kill nearly as fast or at a distance like guns can.

The thing that you gun nuts can’t understand is that this culture soapbox that you stand so mightily on doesn’t have a lot in the way of culture, it’s mostly about the guns at the end of the day. A lot of it has to do with you being insecure about yourself and the need to have a cold metal grip and finger on the trigger at all times to feel like the ‘big strong man’ you aren’t without your steel blankie. Or maybe you’re an avid ‘wildlife enthusiast’ whose enthusiasm for killing and maiming Bambi and all his little buddies is the only thing that keeps you from testing your skills out on the rest of the American populace. In any event you’re fucked in the head, and I mean that in the most brutally honest manner possible.

It’s this infantile reliance on firearms and an irrational hatred of any government that suggests reform (that’s expensive shit!) that causes the rest of the developed world to shake their heads at their cousins on the other side of the pond. Even Canada has figured out that gun regulation and background checks are necessary and all they do is play hockey! It’s bad enough that the world has deemed creating a national healthcare system a top priority while we shuffle our feet over in Congress and hold up signs that say ‘hands off my medicare Obama!’, but really, we’re gonna do the same with keeping ourselves safe? The mind boggles.

So at the end of the day, it’s apparent that if given the choice between the bodies of children piling up because of a lack of initiative to fix things and doing something to regulate or even give an inch in the favor of common sense, most of the right-wing America couldn’t care less.

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One thought on “Gun Nation: An Absence of Culture

  1. While I did enjoy reading this (although, maybe not for the reasons you’d appreciate) and I do think your thoughts are fairly well put together (ie. It was a very fluid read), I have to say that your rhetoric is pretty one-sided and, frankly, ignorant. On multiple occasions you not only belittle your audience and those you criticize, but you also utilize the same strategies and rhetorical devices that you so condemn. You’re a smart guy and are better than that. I would suggest coming up with a less self-righteous and elitist strategy if you truly want to engage others on these important issues.

    But enough criticism.

    First, I’d like to know where you learned that the framers were making a concession to the South with the Second Amendment. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but many of the framers were, in fact, from the South. Many of them also wanted to ensure that the nation’s citizens were protected from their own government, other nations, and various threats in the unfamiliar wilderness. These men were mostly afraid of a tyrannical government, like the one that they had been at war with for over seven years. We can clearly see this based on the formation of the Constitution (which wasn’t even created until almost 5 years after we truly gained our independence), the emotion and reasoning in the Declaration of Independence, and the intricate structures and checks-and-balances of the new government. They wanted to create the perfect system to prevent future tyranny and the Second Amendment would necessarily be a part of that system. So I’m curious where you are getting this.

    Second, I would like to talk on your point about the stabbing that occurred on the same day as Sandy Hook. Yes, guns are far more effective than knives in terms of the level of damage possible and the efficiency at producing such damage (I can’t really argue against you there, nor would I). But that is beside the point. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Many people were hurt regardless of the weapon of choice. The point that I think stands out far more when comparing and analyzing these two events is not the weaponry, but rather something the two gentlemen have in common. Both perpetrators were mentally unstable. When given the choice to commit extreme violence, they chose to do so, regardless of what regulations were stopping them. China has incredibly strict gun laws. Despite any existing laws at the time that could have prevented this, Adam Lanza stole his mother’s firearms and was able to commit the atrocities that he did (many people forget that the real owner of the gun acquired them legally). So the point I would take away from this is two-fold; (1) that mental health is a far more influential factor in these events and needs, appropriately, far more attention, and (2) just because a law or regulation exists does not mean everyone will follow them.

    That is not to say that laws and regulations shouldn’t be in place to help prevent these kinds of disasters. But I would argue that the regulations would be far more effective if they involved mental health. Our mental health system in general is outdated, ineffective, and, frankly, quite disturbing. In New York alone, funding has been severely cut, hospitals have been closing left and right, and many of these patients are returning to the streets. I don’t think many people realize how terrible the system is. A little anecdote… My grandmother suffered for her entire adult life (nearly 70 years) from severe schizophrenia. I remember visiting her as a kid and being afraid on some levels. I wouldn’t know how she would react, what mood she would be in, etc. She was very fidgety and the slightest things seemed to irritate her. I remember one day in particular at her old hospital. This grumpy, older man wheeled my grandma into the visiting area. She had recently developed a cold, so she needed a breathing device. The man set up the device and put the nosepiece on her (you know, the ones with the plastic tubing that goes over the ears and across the face). Anyways, he wasn’t very helpful, nor was he kind, because he was being very forceful and ignoring my grandmother’s discomfort. I realize he has his own story and maybe his day wasn’t going that well. But you don’t treat a human being like that, especially when you are entrusted with their wellbeing. Anyways, later on and after other such stories, my mother and two aunts decided that they would find a new hospital for her. They did, but it was closed about a year after she moved in. This was happening all over the place. Luckily, they were able to find a great hospital for her that had an amazing, caring staff and she spent the rest of her days there.

    Other patients weren’t so lucky. While she was unfortunate in terms of the hand she was dealt in life, she was very fortunate to have a loving family that helped her find and stay where she needed to be. However, many of the mentally ill are on the streets and not cared for. They don’t have the support they need and are often abandoned by their own families. With a system that is unable to help them, they are often forced into criminal activity. Add weapons into the mix, and these crimes escalate quickly.

    My point is you can’t take away the weapons and expect violent crimes not to happen. But you can help lower the rate at which they do happen by addressing the real issues. I agree regulations to background checks need to happen. But the system needs to get better. More importantly, I think our mental health system needs to improve. Not only will this help improve the lives of those that depend on it, it will also help prevent massacres. Simply putting a blanket ban on assault weapons won’t be effective. Not only are you impeding the rights of others, you aren’t attacking the real issue. When someone justifies going on rampages, whether it’s with a knife, a gun, a car, etc., they most likely have something wrong with them. This type of behavior is abnormal and unacceptable. Yet it still happens.

    I want to note that there should be a distinction between ‘violent crime’ and ‘mass shootings.’ Mass shootings are violent crimes, but violent crimes aren’t necessarily mass shootings. Things like gang violence, homicides, murders, etc. will likely not see much of a difference due to mental health reforms, so they need consideration as well in this whole debate. Things like criminal history, gang violence, etc. should be (and often are) a part of the background checks.

    Third, I’m unsure as to why you think there is a lack of culture in the gun world. That seems like a very misinformed and ignorant opinion. You say these “gun nuts” are insecure with themselves. What is wrong with wanting to protect yourself, your family, your property, or the people around you? You say they, and I’ll paraphrase here, need guns “to feel like the ‘big strong [men]’” they are not? I don’t know what your experience with guns (or weapons in general for that matter) is, but I can tell you from experience that, sure, you do get this sense of power with them. But anyone who respects the nature, usefulness, and beauty of guns is not dependent upon guns to feel secure. That feeling of “power” quickly goes away for them because they truly appreciate what the gun means and does, and not what the gun negatively connotes. You say they are wildlife enthusiasts that like to kill animals. We can go into the ethical side of this if you want, but hunters actually help animal populations and environments by controlling the population and preventing overcrowding. And again, not sure what your experience is, but there is this sense of oneness with your weapon and with nature when you hunt. You may call that primitive, but I think society lacks a sense of both nature and independence. Might help if we returned to more natural roots…

    You also say “in any event you’re fucked in the head, and I mean that in the most brutally honest manner possible.” I really don’t know what to say to this, except that you really know how to generalize and how not to fully grasp a situation. It’s frankly pretty hypocritical. I wish you would go into a bit more detail because I truly am curious how you came to that conclusion.

    I think that goes for your whole piece too. You use rhetoric to your advantage. But it’s the kind of bold, mud-slinging rhetoric that attacks rather than understands. It’s not very effective when trying to make the solid kinds of arguments that should elicit change. It riles people up and encourages people to act on emotion, something we do not need more of these days.

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