American Family Gun(s): Why?

The latest mass murder nightmare in America is provoking much needed discussion about a very serious problem. As is often the case, key points will be avoided in that discussion, especially as it is indulged in by national leaders and their corporate stenographers in media.

The usual suspects in this gun lobby vs. gun control debate have valid points to make, but they are similar to those in any national argument of a political or economic nature; they deal with two sides of a coin without daring to question the existence of the coin. We argue over whether heads are better than tails or vice versa , treating the coin itself as some form of universal deity over which there should be no question, concern or thought. In this fashion, we are provoked (?) to wonder whether taxes should be raised on a minority of wealthy people or government services should be cut for the majority, assuming that the system within which this argument takes place is natural and beyond any concern for citizens of an alleged democracy.

The subject of fantastic wealth accruing to a tiny minority while poverty expands among a group fast approaching a plurality in the supposedly richest and most democratic society in history is left out of the discussion. In the same tradition, Americans will tear each other apart, insult reason and morality and denigrate the very idea of a social debate of substance in the matter of whether there is a constitutional right to own a gun to protect home, body, soul, family pets, jewelry, or stamp collections, and never wonder why there is no constitutional right to a home, a job, health care and other serious necessities of life.

Those of us who find no need to own a gun will trash those who do, and neither side will question their citizenship duties as members of the most violent nation in world history, committing murder and mayhem all over the globe while waving the flag of democracy and freedom. We will insist, under the direction of our consciousness controllers and their servant mind managers, that individuals are responsible for whatever is wrong with all of us collectively. Of course we are not supposed to be a society or a collective unless we are at war killing foreigners, shopping, or united in grieving over crimes committed by individuals.

A case can be made, sometimes strongly, for idiocy and irrationality on the part of gun lovers, but there can also be an easy target for those lovers when they comment on the gun haters’ seeming admiration for a system that brings us, or at least many of us, creature comforts not possible without domination of others and profits trickling down to us from cheap labor and exploitation, however much we individualize it as only certain companies and certain business leaders. Naturally, none among those individually bad companies and people are the ones we rely on for our lives of relative comfort. So it is easy for each side in these debates to feel righteous, correct and beyond criticism. That’s what keeps the system going and what we need to confront and deal with, unless we wish to see the continuing weapons use in other places and in our midst, the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem, and economic downfall which will ultimately include all of us and not just one or another segmented minority forced into mental belief in being different from everyone else.

While our personal obsession with guns has declined over the years, from half the homes in the country armed now down to only (?) a third, the number of weapons we own has increased. The Gun Market expands every time there is a mass murder as those homemakers rush to buy even more weapons before a supposed ban is instituted. What is important to remember is that these loyal, patriotic and freedom loving citizens are allegedly protecting themselves not from foreign invaders or outer space attack but from other Americans. According to this view, you never know when some nut case will break down your doors and assault your family, given the wide open, murderous and lawless society we live in. And it isn’t far from the reality experienced by millions of Americans, though they hardly rely on legally purchased weapons to suffer from or participate in the bloodbath that finds more than 100 people murdered every month via gun violence.

Of course we kill three times that number in our vehicles – as gun lobbyists will point out – but it is rare for a person to consciously wish to die or inflict death on others via driving, however often that is the outcome of a ride to work, shop or school. Nevertheless, despite legends, myths and outright lies about the great saviors of freedom that armed Americans have become, guns are primarily used to commit suicide and murder innocent people, with the few cases of actually interfering with or stopping a crime being broadcast all over the internet, and most of those turning out to be urban legends only believable to those who need – sometimes desperately so – crisis intervention and adult management in their lives.

Yes, of course, a ninety-seven-year-old woman killed thirteen terrorists who threatened her home, and yes, of course, a three-year-old boy used his father’s gun to kill the monster about to rape his mother. Sure. But these myths and fables only feed into a national disorder which probably follows from historic origins of armed settlers needing to protect themselves from the people on whose land they were settling. But to actually believe we need personal armed protection in the 21st century, with police departments, armies, navies, air forces, drones, rockets, missiles and a network of eavesdropping spies supposedly protecting us from the menace of evil, should pose the question:

What the hell are we Americans scared of?

Answer: Other Americans.

And that is the problem whose solution will not simply involve refraining from killing one another because we are so fearful of one another, but facing what it is we fear, and why? It is easy to dismiss gun ownership as an aspect of PRS (Penis Replacement Syndrome) and there may be some cases that involve just that, along with very loud auto engines and other socially induced signs of personal machismo. But women own and practice gun use – the mother of the mass murderer in Connecticut suffered death at the hands of her son using her own weapons – and along with rural customs and honest hobbyists there are target shooters and others whose only purpose in having a gun is for the hunt, sport, or collection value. Silly? Then what is ownership of pets, to a non-pet critic? Or wearing cosmetics, to those who find the practice sexist and demeaning? While pet ownership and makeup use hardly seem as dangerous as weapons, a detractor could make a case for skin, respiratory, hygienic, and environmental disorders connected to those socially induced and privately provoked profit making market ventures. The point is not what individuals practice personally under socially induced pressure, but the power of that pressure and who or what truly profits most from it, and who or what absorbs the social loss for those private profits.

If we can get a little closer to confronting that problem as a result of the latest atrocity in America, we may get closer to ending the atrocities we commit in other places and arrive at a democratic standard that brings safety and well being to all of us and not just some of us. That would be a worthwhile public debate.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print in the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.