Note: I wrote this a week or so ago, but didn't get around to posting it with Marie's birthday week/weekend/month-long celebrations. Since then, there was another school shooting in Colorado, and several episodes of gun violence here in New Mexico, likely with many other gun-related tragedies across the nation. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season, we miss you all down in New Mexico and will surely write an update about Marie's birthday, Christmas in Santa Fe, our latest shenanigans, and who are we kidding, probably some kitty photos very soon! (Also as I was posting this, I found out NM is now the 17th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage! WOOHOO! Very touching to see the reaction in my office.) Anyway.
It's been a year since the mass shooting in Newtown. That event sparked an anger in me that I haven't felt in my adult life. Something about Newtown was different than all the other mass shootings, at least for me.
I readily admit that I got caught up in the flurry of gun control media. I signed petitions, started my own, seething in private and in public at Americans' codependent fear and love of the gun.
In the months since, I haven't forgotten. American gun culture is something that I think about on a daily basis. I think, before Newtown, I absent-mindedly accepted guns as a mainstay of American culture. After Newtown, I began to truly see how far guns have permeated the daily lives of so many people.
Guns to me represent the laziest kind of resistance to authority, a power grab that ignores the solution and contributes to the problem. The terrible irony is to consider the NRA's political influence as felt by John Morse and other politicians in Colorado now out of a job in the name of decreasing public safety. Not to mention the folks in positions of political power on the national stage, pretending to represent those paranoid of a powerful, influential federal government, when they themselves comprise it.
I think I do understand why some people feel that they need guns. They feel threatened directly, indirectly, currently, or in the future. Gun violence is not a disease, it is a symptom. Or rather, a band-aid for a bullet wound, to use an unfortunately common metaphor. The bullet wound in this case being economic hardship, domestic and gang violence, substance abuse, mental health, and other factors that create fear and distrust. What can we do in the wake of Newtown to stem the tide of those epidemics?
I believe that gun-owners (for any reason other than hunting) possess a mental fear. This mental fear, I believe, is symptomatic of a greater irrational distrust, and a departure from the social contract that a citizen of society invariably finds their self in. I believe that the factions of society with this collective mental fear are responsible for enabling gun violence, and disabling the ability of civilized society to peacefully solve endemic problems.
I believe most everyone wants the same thing: safety, peace of mind, freedom from fear. Gun advocates hide behind their weapons in a selfish pursuit of these virtues, breeding paranoia and distrust. A true tragedy of the commons.
The above virtues are consistently squandered on the victims of both ends of the gun - those hit with bullets, and those who buy bullets.