For anyone who doesn’t already know of it, I would like to introduce this link:   http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

For anyone who would rather not look, I would like to reveal these headline statistics:

The total number of gun-related incidents in 2016 (i.e. last six months)      25, 296

The total number of deaths                                                                                               6,495

The total number of injuries                                                                                            13,392

Deaths of children below the age of twelve                                                                        277

 

I am a foreigner, of course.  I can’t be expected to understand why every American should have the constitutional right to own a firearm, in case his national government attacks him, or whatever.  I don’t particularly want to achieve that depth of understanding, because to me that would mean the pursuit of a disturbingly jaundiced path of reasoning with only one very dark destination.  I have never wanted the right to kill.   The thought that I could kill a child appals me.

I do clearly understand that the NRA represents commercial interests whose trade is in death.  I do see that this organisation sanctions the totally inappropriate sale of automatic weapons to private individuals for no other reason than the added profit a more expensive weapon can produce. 

This, too, I understand.  The perpetrators of these horrendous crimes are almost exclusively male.  There is some barbaric instinct lurking in the hairy back corners of the primeval mind that triggers whenever a young male feels worsted, whether it be merely by someone arrogantly dismissing them, or flashing past them in a faster car, or more profoundly by stirring religious fervour in some way.  The resultant disproportionate fury will always be part of our nature, it cannot ever be entirely eliminated, but how it manifests itself can be controlled.  Knives are bad, but they are merciful when compared to a gun.

Sadly, it seems that the squatting toads of Congress are equally immovable.  The NRA ensures their position.  Therefore, the pressure to make things change must come from below; and, as it seems to me, the pressure has to come from women.   The same selfless determination that gave women the vote back in that heady century of change when all things of today began, now has to be devoted to gun control.

Now you’re going to think I’m mad.  I probably am.

Long, long ago a Greek playwright wrote a comedy called Lysistrata.  Aristophanes’ plot concerned women tired of the constant warfare waged by their men-folk and forced change by locking themselves in the Acropolis and refusing them sex.  

Ridiculous?   Okay.  

Effective?  Well, maybe.

But think how a change in social attitudes has brought about the ostracism of smoking as a social habit?   See how the culture of physical fitness and diet is beginning to attack obesity?  These small cudgels can be wielded so effectively in a media-aware society, and it is always encouraging to see their force used for good.

If women could persuade themselves to actively oppose the possession of arms – if the firearm were consigned to the garage, if it was uncivilized, not to say primitive, to be seen bearing a weapon – if the considerable talents of cartoonists could be unleashed upon the spotty punk with the weapon so much larger than his natural appendage, public perceptions would alter. 

Social pressure, whether ostracism, ridicule, or contempt; or more physical deprivation:  “Until you get rid of that gun you’re cooking your own food”, seems to me not just the best, but the only way to go.    But there, I’m just an outsider.  I don’t understand why it was so necessary to deprive 6500 people of life before they had the chance to live it.

Just think:  a little down the line the USA might have produced the Great President; the saviour of the western world – might have, if some deluded teen hadn’t shot him dead in 2016.

Maybe Aristophanes had a point?

18 Comments

  1. As an American, I am just as angry, baffled, and appalled. I can’t justify the way the Second Amendment is now interpreted, but, of course, historically it’s all King George’s fault. Our colonists knew how oppressive government could be and wanted to be sure they could form militias to fight off another oppressive government abusing its power. But I believe, as most sane Americans believe, that it was not intended to give anyone a right to own an automatic weapon or to have an absolute right to own any gun without adequate licensing and regulation.

    But there are fools here as everywhere, and there is money to be made in selling guns, and there you have it.

    As for women being a fighting force for gun control, we already are. I belong to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. My daughter is on the board of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. Thousands and thousands of people, many who are women, are trying to turn the tide.

    But I actually think it’s a group with a more recent successful battle for rights that will help spur the next stage of this change in US attitude and law—the LGBT community. They are rightfully anguished and outraged by what happened in Orlando and are now mobilized to fight this fight as well. Perhaps together we can all bring sanity to the US.

    Seeing what happened to Jo Cox in England, however, makes me realize that even in a country with gun control laws that make sense, awful things can happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Any protest is valuable, any voice that shouts for change will be heard; but I actually think direct action is the only solution to this one – alienation is the factor that could tilt the scale. The whole concept of the Second Amendment is a fiction in modern society – the idea that any group could form a militia without getting heavily sat upon by authority just doesn’t hold water anymore.
      We’re not immune over here, by any means. But it is extremely difficult to obtain a gun in UK unless it is a sporting gun (which are usually stored disassembled and strictly licenced) or you are a farmer/gamekeeper etc.. As I understand it Jo Cox’s killer actually built his own gun, or possibly made use of an antique weapon. The full story has yet to emerge.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I absolutely agree with you. I’d like to see all guns banned everywhere. But I will accept even some small changes to make US society less dangerous. There are too many people here who somehow believe owning a gun keeps them safe. It’s insane and stupid, but we are a democracy, and people make stupid decisions.

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  2. I don’t know why, Fredrick… I tend not to comment on gun issues because I got slammed a couple of years ago on another blog by a gun-totin’ gun-lover! LOL – It wasn’t nice. I read in the news this morning that a pro-gun woman shot her two daughters to death and this just seems ‘normal’ for the US now 😦

    We live on a farm (in Australia) and have guns, but I hate the things and have never touched them (I can’t anyway because I don’t have a license and they’re locked away). We need them here because of the razor-back pigs and wild dogs. Every time someone gets shot in the US. particularly with a semi-automatic we just shake our heads. I don’t know why they need them (they say for hunting, but they must be pretty bad shots).

    If Americans want to use their archaic constitutional right to own a firearm – they should also have to use the archaic guns that were around when the constitution was written (muskets). If people kill people and not guns (as they say) then the musket should cut the death and injury rate by about 90%.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand that there are situations where guns are necessary – here in UK it is legal for a farmer to own a shotgun, and it is an essential tool of pest control. I also agree with the idea that ownership should be restricted to muskets. It’s hard to be spontaneous with a muzzle loader!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In an effort to be objective (and non-emotional), part of the American love of guns is in our roots. The 2nd Amendment was important enough back when the country was founded to be included as a difficult-to-change part of the Constitution. That tells a lot about the American psyche.

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    1. Personally. I cannot avoid an emotional response, and nor, I suspect, can most Americans. So many wasted lives, so much grief, so much pain! And upheld in the name of a constitutional amendment that would never have been intended to apply to semi-automatic weapons. Technology robs us of choice, does it not, if we do not allow the emotive argument in the good cause to prevail from time to time?
      As I have said, I look at this from a distance, but it seems to me the fabric of the law is wrong and needs to be changed, if that is all that stands in the way. Maybe the US could persuade Jean-Claude Juncker to advise you. He seems expert at trashing outdated laws, as well as current ones. Plus, he is likely to need a new job soon.

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  4. Great argument. I love the proposition that women should spearhead the cry for change. Gun ownership is an epidemic. The discussion which I recently heard went as follows; criminals own and use guns therefore we, the non-criminal element, police and citizens, need them for self protection. The criminals likewise say that they need guns to overcome their victims.
    In Honduras, (murder capital of the world) where the police and guards on every corner have the most awful weapons strapped to their bodies. no two civilian men are permitted to ride a motorcycle together because the passenger could hold a gun and use it. I understand that arrest or being shot is immediate if this law is broken. By the way the gun toting law all look so young – I can imagine their being very trigger happy.
    One problem which you didn’t address is the glorification of guns through movies, especially Hollywood movies. I abhor movie violence where people get shot, almost at random, with not even a pause to face what a terrible thing it is even to the ‘baddies’, the “goodies’ of course only get minor skin wounds!
    Women to the rescue – withhold sex, it wouldn’t take long!

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    1. You make good points. I just understood, for example, why Tom Cruise always manages to come through unscathed – being small, he is very difficult to hit. I derive a certain dark amusement from that obligatory arming scene which features in all American action movies. The one where the hero opens the trunk of a car and reveals enough weaponry to win the third world war all by himself, then proceeds to drape it about his body as if the presence of so much firepower honours him in some way. I actually believe gun violence in movies is far more dangerous than pornography – or perhaps is pornography, come to think of it.

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      1. Peter (Grandfathersky) wrote a few days ago about accepted beliefs. Just because something ‘is’ and has been since people can remember, as part of their belief system, it does not make it balanced or even ‘true’. Question everything…because the universal truth is not necessarily what we accept as true. I have lived in parts of the world where life is so cheap that people have been shot for a watch. What makes folk so fearful that they feel safer with violence as the answer?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well said! I net a guy at work today, says he’s cancelled all plans to relocate to America. According to him, citizens going about their everyday business with a gun is a scary sight. I think so too.

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    1. Yes, I think to the outsider, USA is a very scary country right now. The trouble that we outsiders have, perhaps, is in conceiving the sheer size of the North American continent. There are as many variations within that vast geographic expanse as there are between, say, Britain and Greece. Gun-toting Texas is a world away from green and rainy Seattle, or placid Rhode Island. There has to be safety somewhere!

      Liked by 1 person

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