No, I didn’t buy a gun at the gun show. I didn’t even go due to weather, visitors and caregiving responsibilities.
This short essay is only to point out something that should be readily apparent to most but seems ignored in the battle between the pro-gun and anti-gun segments of the population and it points to a primary human failing regarding doing the easy and palliative thing vice the harder and longer lasting thing.
Gun violence is not a disease; it is a symptom of the much more pervasive disease of violence itself. We don’t want people killing people especially with guns but as a society we allow thousands of on-line and virtual reality games where points are scored for killing people and destroying property. Violent video games are nothing short of indoctrination to violence. With 24/7 news coverage telling us of murders thousands of miles away we are bombarded with a constant report of violence. We have become so inured to violence as part of our culture we no longer see the numbers of violent acts coming out of places like Chicago where every weekend ends with an average of 30 shootings and five to ten deaths. This is Chicago, a city which has the most stringent of gun laws yet there continue to be those who believe stricter gun laws will end the violence. It’s like a doctor saying take more aspirin to a patient who has cancer. They believe that if all guns are gone then violence will cease just as they believe that if you quit burning fossils fuels the climate won’t change. Again this is a case of taking the easy way out, a case of treating the symptoms of a much graver disease that, like other untreated deadly illnesses, will eventually kill our society.
Cain didn’t have a gun when he killed his brother, would Samson have killed more or fewer Philistines if he had a semi-automatic rifle than the jaw bone of an ass? If they had not had access to rifles, pistols and grenades would the Turks not have killed the Armenians; the Nazis the Jews; Stalin his own Russians; the Hutus the Tutsi’s? The answer is all of this violence would have happened anyway. Remember the treaty of Versailles said the Germans could never rearm. Guess where the Germans built their tank and aircraft factories in the 1920’s. That’s right, Soviet Russia. When you make laws you know you can’t enforce it only encourages people to ignore other laws that should be enforced.
Violence has been part of human nature since Cain killed Abel and probably well before that. People exert physical authority over others and will use whatever means they think will allow them to do so. In many cases it isn’t the actual shooting but the thought that if you don’t do what you’re told you’ll be the next shot. It’s the old carrot and stick routine only here the carrot is not getting shot vice getting shot. Even comedy has, for centuries, relied on violence. Revist the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers or any of the successful vaudeville slapstick comedy teams. We laugh at others misfortunes.
Now, we give games to children wherein points are accumulated for death and destruction of property. If the child fails at the game he needs to only push the restart button. When you allow children to blur the virtual world into the real world and believe that life and property have points values in their games and if you fail at the game you can just push restart; when you devote entire cable TV channels to the deconstruction of violent acts, the more violent the better; when you create movies and TV shows that skew the roles of police and require some form of gun play on every episode but you call for the end of gun violence you are either delusional or you have a political power motive of further controlling people.
We need to act to cure the disease of violence. Taking away guns from people who do not commit violent acts with them isn’t the answer. The answer also doesn’t lie in taking away guns from people who do commit violent acts with them for, just as with the war on drugs, we’ve discovered we aren’t going to be able to do that. If we could Chicago and New York (as of this weekend) would be much safer places than they are. No, the answer is to quit glorifying violence in our society. Yes, that is a much more difficult undertaking and one that will require decades, but it is the only answer. Yes, we need to reform our policing practices but that will come with crafting methods to deescalate the anger and division that gives rise to violence. Don’t expect the politicians to be leaders in this area for they feed on the very divisions and violence in our society. The way we can begin to deal with this issue is with the individual, that’s right, you, the individual living a life of respect and taking personal responsibility for the decisions you make and the actions you take. If each and every could be taught to do this violence would drop dramatically, gun death, knife deaths, beating deaths, and even domestic violence would drop. The real solution is simple in concept but difficult in practice. Treat others as you would be treated.
I agree with most if not all of what you have written. Regarding the depiction of violent acts in video games and video (broadcast TV, cable TV, streaming services), toning this down is a seemingly insurmountable task. It’s entertainment and Americans love to be entertained. Violence on TV has been prevalent since its earliest days. One of the most popular series when I was growing up was Gunsmoke, which was on the air from the mid 50s until the early 70s. I’ve seen where folks have counted the number of people killed by the main character and ostensible hero (Marshall Matt Dillon) during the show’s run and have estimated his body count between 300 and 400! And that’s just the killing done with a gun by the main character. Add to that the gun play and other acts of violence present in nearly every episode (the show was called Gunsmoke for a reason) and it’s obvious we were entertained by a whole lotta killin’.