Fear

“Guns are not legal in the United States and its territories.”

These are the only words from political leaders that will make a difference for the American addiction to guns.

This country has incredible problems with addiction in general, but the most lethal addiction, which fuels not only our sick gun culture but the opioid crisis, the debt crisis, White nationalism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, sexualism and our entire capitalism based economy is the American addiction to fear.  It began with the European colonial fear of indigenous people and infected every aspect of life here from that point forward.  Fear is the origin of America’s original sins.

The moral correction that must take place must be a total cultural reorientation to fear.  Faith leaders have a role to play here, but too often we are the problem, providing a veil of moral justification to some of the worst fears in our society.  The real leaders are young people, born into a global, multi-cultural tiny/vast world where their most distant neighbor is only a few clicks or swipes of technology away.  And who, because of their proximity and immersion in a diverse world, recognize the sickness of irrational unfounded fear and are demanding change. We must listen.  We don’t speak this language…we need young people as interpreters in order to understand.  We must hand over the reigns, because clearly, we, the establishment, are not doing anything right.

Gun

A gun is not a substitute for impotence
It is not a surrogate for masculinity.
A gun is not a tool to stand your ground
It is not self-defense.
A gun is a gun.

A gun is not a metaphor,
It is not an algorithm
There is nothing conceptual about a gun.
A gun is a gun.

A gun is not a political position
It is not an amendment
Nor is a gun the Constitution.
A gun is not a platform
Nor is it a reason to be in office.
A gun is a gun.

A gun is not a theory
It is not a thought project
There is nothing that thinks in a gun.
A gun is a gun.

A gun is not an identity
It is not a personality
A gun is not capable of love.
A gun has no emotion
A gun carries no guilt.
A gun is a gun.

A gun is made to do one thing
A gun kills.
A gun is death.
A gun is made to kill when connected
To a human mind and a human heart.
A gun has no chance to carry out its mission
Without living human flesh attached.
Ironic…
A gun comes alive in the hands of people
So that it can take life from the very same.

It is in our power to control everything about a gun,
Including the very existence of guns.
We are in charge, not guns.
A gun is a gun.

People make guns,
People sell guns,
People profit from guns,
People use guns.
People don’t make guns lethal,
Guns make people lethal.
People without guns
Can’t use guns to kill
Or profit from death.

Simple.

Why do we give guns a chance?
There is nothing noble or patriotic
Or justifiable or lucky about what a gun does.
A gun kills.
Why does the “American Dream”
Have to include the nightmare capacity to kill?
A gun is a gun.
A gun kills.
A gun can only kill,
As long as we give guns a chance.

A gun is a gun.

ALD

Not Just a Can of Paint

I will keep this short…

There is a global pandemic…Covid-19
…also anti-black racism
…also violence against women
…also fear and isolation of disabilities.

…and more.

The United States faces its own unique epidemic…gun entitlement
…also militarized (hyper-masculinized) concepts of policing
…also health and wellness that is the national equivalent of cotton in the early 1800s.
…also an economy that relies on poverty
…and a distrust of knowledge and information.

…and more.

Together, these make for a powerfully toxic stew.  We cannot fix one, without fixing the others.  We cannot have a response for one, without a response for the others.  More police will not fix the spike in gun violence.  Fewer guns will not de-militarize policing.  Ending violence against women will not un-enslave millions from health care that wants to keep them sick and without access.  Fixing healthcare alone will not end the assault that men and the government wage physically and culturally on women’s bodies.  We have to be willing to look holistically at strategies to untangle the whole knot.

…the solutions to social discord and sickness and violence and fear is not as simple as a can of paint or choosing not to wear a mask out of self determination.

Watching a woman attempt to paint over the Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez, CA (a city I know well from my time in the Bay Area) it became crystal clear to me that we have become a culture of people who believe that we can act as solo agents with a can of paint and erase things we don’t like or don’t understand. We are both lazy while being resentful of being told what to do.  This is also why wearing a mask to prevent the spread of covid-19 is political. This is the real challenge we face in this time; the solutions to social discord and sickness and violence and fear is not as simple as a can of paint or choosing not to wear a mask out of self determination.  What is required is more intimate, more interconnected and much more time and energy consuming. What is more, the solutions cannot come from a place of rage.  The solutions we seek, have to come from a sense of shared humanity that honors difference and different perspectives, because we collectively and individually value the way our own difference is mutually respected by others.

Human beings have incredible capacity, to learn, to understand, to grow, to evolve.  It is time for us to reclaim these capabilities before we forget that we have them altogether.

-ALD

05xp-unrest-mural-pix-articleLarge
…a can of paint. (Martinez, CA)

 

Please also read this important information from Everytown for Gun Safety about the connection between gun sales, gun violence, our response to covid-19 and public health: Gun Violence and COVID-19