Another mass shooting, another tide of anger in media and FB, some emotional posts, memes, Jim Jeffries’ stand up routine and a host of solutions and targets proposed – gun control, mental health, video games, even arming the teachers.
However, I think most of the discussion is missing the larger, historical context. Controversial views follow.
Let’s start with the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution. Actually, let’s start even earlier, the US constitution itself – a terrible document to run a country by. Did you know that when the original constitution said “All men are created equal”, it specifically meant only white men with property and this property included black people, white women, land, animals and trees? Decades of blood, tears and sweat by black people and women got them (a partial) entry into the phrase “All men are created equal”. This tells us another thing about the US constitution – it has changed and can be changed again. The word amendment might also give us a clue.
Despite all this however, I think the 2nd amendment makes sense! (dun dun dun….before you start replying to this post, please take a breath and continue to read). While the text is open to interpretations (and everyone from the Supreme Court to keyboard jockeys are continuously interpreting it), I believe it is asserting people’s right to bear arms and fight the Government if it decides to become tyrannical. If at this point you find yourself saying…Bah! that’s never going to happen, I have to say that your knowledge of history has either come from school textbooks, or even worse, mainstream media where history is a series of “problems resolved” or good defeating evil rather than a continuous inquiry or argument. They usually don’t teach, for example, the assault and genocide of Native American People and stealing of their land that started with Christopher Columbus has NEVER stopped and continues to this day! Maybe, we should ask them (or the Jews or the tribal people in India) if they think a government can turn rogue anytime or not. Unfortunately, it happens in the best of conditions and the current conditions in US can hardly be described as the best of them, just look at the president.
Another argument I hear against it is that people with semi-automatics can never withstand the US military arsenal of automated drones and smart bombs. This is usually accompanied by pictures of fat people holding guns versus the SWAT team operations. While this may be true and the memes are hilarious, think for a minute about how morally bankrupt this argument is. Because the other side has more powerful weapons, you should just give up yours and wave a white flag. Let’s try this idea in another context – because the British military was so superior, the Indian people (from India) should have never fought for their independence and just allowed the British to rule India forever (or the black people or woman suffragists in the US).
If ever the US Government turns rogue, the current mass shootings will seem like a walk in the park and however bad, the resistance will still be better armed than unarmed.
But that doesn’t mean that mass shootings aren’t a real problem – the suffering of the victims and their closed ones is real and hard to imagine.
Gun regulation, however, is a band-aid solution that ignores the bigger picture.
First, when people argue for gun regulation, they are only arguing it for one set of citizens – the common people and ignoring the other set – the police and the military. The police routinely kill people domestically and what can I say about the US military! The death and devastation caused from the US wars is widespread and unparalleled. Just in Iraq since 2003, at least a million people have been killed. This includes the indiscriminate bombings on schools, hospitals and killing children, women innocent bystanders (termed “collateral damage”). That’s just one country since 2003. US has and is currently waging many other wars directly or indirectly. It has around 800 US military bases in 70 countries, is the only country to have used nuclear weapons (and North Korea and Iran are the problems?), spends more on “Defense” (actually Offense) than the next 13 countries combined, is the largest supplier of weapons around the world and routinely blocks UN treaties that try to regulate the flow of arms. And who is the largest single organization contributing to Climate Change?
Are they trying to bomb these countries to install democracy there? Nope, that statement is as ridiculous as it sounds. Are you “supporting your troops” because they are “protecting your freedoms”? Nope, I feel more safe and free in Bali than Los Angeles and no one is going from Bali all around the world bombing other countries. The right question is not if you support your troops but do you support your Government’s foreign policy. Are they killing the terrorists? Nope, they are in fact, creating more terrorists through blowback. All these are meaningless platitudes. Then why? They are doing it on behalf of the corporations in order to ensure a steady supply of “natural resources” (people, living forests, animals and lands) to turn into cheap consumer goods that are the foundation of the American way of life. People who fight back to defend their lives and their land are killed, labelled terrorists and no one notices since the media is also controlled by the corporations.
So it’s time for some self-reflection. Do you want to continue the aggression and devastation all around the world and continue your way of life? If yes, know that the domestic mass shootings are simply chickens coming home to roost or in other words,“collateral damage”. The US aggression outside is deeply interlinked to the mass shootings inside its borders – literally, ideologically and ethically. Like it is for humans so it is for countries – you cannot pursue a violent and brutal policy towards others and stay peaceful on the inside.