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

Repeal and Replace

brown and gray rifles lined up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Too often the power of the US Constitution has not come from what it actually says but rather from the underlying perspectives and assumptions that were made by its 18th Century authors:

  • White men are superior to all other beings.
  • Women are invisible and subject to the whim of (free white) men.
  • Blacks are not fully human.
  • Indians are savage and only marginally redeemable.
  • Human sexuality is Biblical before it is biological.
  • Poverty is a failure of human will.

Assumptions like this come from the perspectives of “founding fathers” who wished to enshrine in government their priorities and goals based on their specific world view.  Any investigation of the United States Constitution offers a great deal to question and interrogate.  Part of that interrogation must also acknowledge that the Constitution is not entirely hopeless.  In it, we have an instrument of government that has a built-in capacity for the “do-over.”  We have the tools to fix things and do things right. 13th & 14th Amendments, 19th Amendment, 21st Amendment, etc.  It is essential that we now take advantage of this feature and move to repeal and replace…the 2nd Amendment.

We are currently living in a world where it takes only 30 seconds to kill 8 people.  When the 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791, a standard rifle such as the Brown Bess could only fire six rounds in a minute when fired by a professional.  The first standing army was established that same year (to quell Indian revolts) and only white men could legally possess arms.  The 2nd Amendment secured access to the lethal power of guns in the 18th Century as a “right” for a specific purpose, time and a limited population.  But today it has become the foundation for extreme ideology that is toxic and publicly lethal on a mass scale.

With the incredible advances in weaponry both for hunting and for warfare, any rational being can recognize the necessity to revisit the laws governing the ability to carry and use deadly force. Outside of the contentious question about whether there should be deadly force in the hands of civilians in the first place, what if we were able to have an amendment that used language such as this:

All people within the United States, have the right to personal defense by means of reasonable force so as to limit the threat to personal injury.  Equal are the rights of all persons to exist without the threat of lethal force to their personal death or injury, either by accident, exposure to circumstances or perceived threat to others.

A modern 2nd Amendment will recognize that weaponry for hunting and survival (though I may personally disagree with it) is a way of sustainable life for many people in this nation.  It will also acknowledge the right one has to defend themselves if they are properly trained and vetted to respond to threat.  But it will also recognize that easy access to military grade weapons has created a national health and public safety crisis that is fueled by ideological perversions that leave all of us unsafe.

Legislators and language in our government that defend death by suicide, mass shootings, domestic violence and race hatred creates an environment where these tragedies are not just tolerated but expected.  This is counter to everything the US Constitution stands for.  We must rethink the 2nd Amendment…repeal and replace.  We deserve to be much more than the land of the feared and the home of the dead.