There was another mass shooting of innocent people last week in the USA. This time in Oregon. I've been following the reactions in the news and on Facebook, and I am seeing some promising headway in the manner the topic is being discussed. It seems like common sense is prevailing, even among politicians. The whole conversation is being conducted from a starting point of common sense, not in the vacuum of paranoia and 2nd Amendment ranting that usually prevails.
Here are some ideas around guns that have been flying around my head lately:
1. The 2nd Amendment was created to protect the militias that were organized for the sole purpose of monitoring and intimidating slaves and keeping them from rebelling and escaping. This article in Truth-Out.org explains it in great detail:
This makes perfect sense. The wording of the 2nd Amendment was specifically changed from "Country" to "State" to give the southern states the right to organize, finance, and maintain the militias with which they kept slavery alive. Contrary to popular mythology, the 2nd Amendment was not drafted to enable Americans to arm themselves and fight against oppressive outside regimes like the British who might wish to colonize and oppress them. It was created for the express purpose of allowing states to maintain the inhumane system of slavery in existence, in turn keeping their entire economies afloat with free labor. In my opinion this is enough to shut down the whole 2nd Amendment argument once and for all. If we can make the courthouse in North Carolina take down the confederate flag in a show of solidarity with African Americans and a solid statement of commitment to reverse the tide of slavery and racism, then we can and must repeal the 2nd Amendment.
2. Almost every single one of the men (they are ALL male) who perpetrate these atrocious acts of mass murder are sexually frustrated single men who feel that they have been left behind by society. They have the exact same psychological profiles as the young middle eastern men who become suicide bombers with the jihadi promise of a phalanx of virgin brides upon martyrdom. The men who shoot up movie theaters and schools and army bases in the US have often left a very visible trail of frustration and disaffection on the various chat rooms they inhabit on the internet. They gravitate to online meeting places where men can vent their rage about their powerlessness in modern society. They usually have a clear pattern of failed attempts at achievement in employment and education. Most of all, they all feel that they've been shut out from the world of sex and love. They are horny, frustrated, and pissed off. They read and write postings in the cesspool of the lowest common denominator of hidden and disconnected thought, the internet. Their views get reflected and magnified and legitimized by others with the same sad trajectory. I am not describing any of this with any judgment, I feel compassion for these guys. Every living adolescent goes through this phase. To go from being a gawky, awkward pre-adolescent to being a sexually aware teenager, with all the desires and emotions that entails, is a nightmare for every living person. I was there once, all I thought about day and night was sex, i fell in love every two weeks, and I felt constantly depressed. Everyone has this phase, and the way we work through it, with the help of parents, friends, school, sports, social groups, churches, community, and any other instrument of support is the story of how we become who we are. So why are so many young men in America getting so stuck in this phase of development? I think there are a few main reasons.
Pornography is as available as air and water. Images of impossible sexual ideal are available to everyone who seeks them out. This reinforces the double idea that sex is always perfected by perfect people, and that you are not ever going to fuck these perfect people so don't even try. Instead of a sexual awakening based on reality and discovery and love, sexual discovery is cut off mid-stride by the impossible ideals of pornography.
3. The violent imagery and glorification of violence in our media culture is definitely one part of the problem. Everywhere we look, there are advertisements with guns in them for movies, TV shows and video games. The irresponsible and dull-witted people responsible for "content-creation" in our world today resort to the fetishistic image of the gun at every turn. Putting a gun in a movie is like putting a rock song in a scene. It is lazy and trite and shows that the narrative is too weak to keep the viewer's attention. Both are signs of unimaginative filmmaking at best. At worst, using a gun to spice up the action is contributing to the deluge of violent imagery that fuels alienated people's violent fantasies. A person who feels cut off from the world, spends all of his or her time online, and sees watches a parade of unrealistic killings all day long begins to believe that behavior is the norm. Video games train people to be desensitized to killing. Movies treat violence as a cool, sexy selling point. If your grasp on reality is tenuous because of a chemical imbalance or a deep-seated antipathy towards your fellow humans or both, feeding this shit into the mix will make you a killer. Not all the time, but at this point in our fucked up country, it happens about once a week.
Hilary Clinton has taken a real stand on the issue. She's ready to fight the NRA and the special interests who oppose sensible gun legislation. For that reason alone I will vote for her. If she or any other politician can take on the other two prongs of the problem, mental health and the violence of our culture, then we may stand a chance of creating a world that our kids can actually live in without fear of being gunned down like sheep.