At some point we Americans are going to have to address the peculiar gun fetish that marks the national character. Between the NRA and the entertainment industry, we have way too much fascination with firearms and destruction for our own good. When citizens aren’t being entertained by gunplay on TV and the movies, more than a few citizens are out shooting at other citizens or the police, invading foreign countries with guns, cheering bloodlust at National Rifle Association rallies, giving heartfelt testimonials to our devotion to the 2nd amendment, watching reality television programming about gunsmiths and their frothy zeal for firepower, daring people to wrench our guns from our cold dead hands, equipping our municipal law enforcement with militaristic firepower, selling armaments all over the world, and training our young soldiers to be ever more effective in the killing arts. Obviously soldiers have to kill effectively, but do we put enough energy into avoiding battle with smarter foreign policy and thus making fewer veterans?
All of the bravado about our national ability to kill with pinpoint accuracy from anywhere a drone can fly has the effect of normalizing or sanitizing the act of killing. Firearms and conflict are big business and presently politicians who stand up to these interests are unelectable. Is this really a desirable consequence of the market- to allow gun violence to thrive as a side effect of the arms industry and laissez faire legitimized by the 2nd amendment? Perhaps the US constitution is inadequate to provide for the conduct of civilized society with it’s 18th century publication date. Why do constitutional guarantees like due process only apply to citizens? How is it “OK” to have a Gitmo? Who is this great nation that has extraordinary rendition?
Gun control really comes down to urge control. These pitiful, fearful people who have armed themselves to the teeth in their basements aren’t going to lose their guns anytime soon. Hell no. There isn’t an ounce of political courage in the entire continent to cause that to happen. Instead, we are likely to tighten the civil arms race as the rigor mortis of paranoia stiffens our imaginations against new ways to conduct civilized society.
We need to consider that gun bravado of all sorts is substantially a form of violence bravado and is a disfigurement. Mature peace loving adults should reject gun and other violence as entertainment and as a normal fact of life. More to the point, we should challenge Obama and Romney to identify exactly how they will act to turn gun violence around in this country. Greater law enforcement is not the answer, nor is the imposition of more severe punishment. We have to find a way for people to make money waging peace. Right now, there is too much profit in armanment and conflict.
We cannot allow the Aurora shooting to become normalized by a quiet passing into the murky depths of history. We, all of us, should push back against this disfigurement on our civilization. One mass killing is one too many. I’ll be volunteering with campaign work monday to put better elected officials in office. What will you be doing to turn this around?