Automatic Culture

Okay so in the continuting gun debate, I see some say “No one needs an (automatic weapon/AR/Bushmaster/gun that shoots lots of bullets fast). I don’t think this argument makes sense either. No one needs a Ferrari when a Ford or Chevy would work just fine. No one needs a PS4 when a deck of cards or Monopoly still beats boredom just fine. No one needs a nail gun, or a power saw, when we still have hammers and hand saws, right?
 
1) We should be allowed to marvel at our own cleverness and invention as a species. In fact I think it should be encouraged. Marvel and wonder and excitement at things we’ve achieved, the things we can do is precious. Some people marvel at getting to shoot a gun (at a target) that has that kind of power. Some people marvel at speed and a sleek profile. Some people find appreciation in a tool that helps them work faster and harder. Some people marvel at excellent storylines and impressive graphics.
 
2) We live in a culture of excess, period. Not just Americans either. Throughout history our natures have always been to gather resources to lift ourselves up in importance from others. We all seek to fill that gouge called self esteem and you cannot even begin to count the number of times someone has hurt others for their own improvement, ego, or mental issue. I celebrate that we are living in a time where using others as a stepping stone to self improvement is ridiculed and abhored. (Yes, it still happens.) But “having expensive/powerful/intimidating Item X just because I can” is a deeply, deeply ingrained part of our nature and it simply is not going to be changed quickly or easily. We are all driven in some aspect of our lives to acquire things we don’t need to impress others, or to help ourselves in some ways. We know how Walmart treats its workers, and how the factories they source from treat their workers and we still buy there. We know how the factories in China and India and Indonesea treat their workers and we still buy our computers and iPhones manufactured there. Why is it okay to own a phone built on near slave labour, to live in a country built on slave labour, to eat at a fast food place where you know managers treat their employees like crap and don’t pay a living wage, but it’s not okay to own a certain weapon? There are a number of indulgences in our lives which can or do harm other people.
 
3) There is no gun ever manufactured, crafted, or assembled that magically makes someone become a mass murder when they touch it. That drive to kill, that broken part of a person that makes them cross the line exists before they get a gun. It would exist if they couldn’t get a gun. It would exists if guns never existed. We need to stop {blaming guns, villainizing guns, fearing guns, fetishizing guns} and recognize the HUMAN element in all this.
 
Guns are a means to an end. I firmly believe that These killers, without access to their weapons, would have instead spent a lifetime abusing and hurting people. One night of 50 deaths is horrifying, but is it more horrifying than a life time of purposefully targeting people with hate, systematic abuse, encouraging their deaths, suicides, beating children, etc? There are so many of us living with scars, some barely living, some of us are so broken we continue to punish ourselves when our abusers aren’t there to do it any more. I’m not saying death is worse than a lifetime broken from abuse. Nor am I saying the reverse. I’m just saying the hateful, the evil, who would cross that line into hurting others will do so one way or another. It’s a socilogical issue, not a gun issue.
 
We cannot legislate against hate. We can make it illegal to act upon, but we cannot make people stop thinking hatefully.
 
Except, maybe we can. Deep breath, Americans. Close your eyes for a moment and pretend that you can disagree with someone without hating them. Without them being stupid ignorant asses. Without needing to punish them for disagreeing with you. Imagine that people all come from different places, different experiences. A gun to one person might be a dangerous thing. A gun to another has saved their life, or the life of their pet or life stock. Has put food on the table. Led to a fun day at the range with their friends. Both sides are completely valid.
 
The “Save my guns” crowd is panicky and defensive. For a reason. The “Ban guns” crowd is angry and hurting and looking for extreme answers to stop extreme situations. For a reason. Everyone needs to take a step back. We need to grab our media, those in the government and private sectors with personal agendas masked as public welfare, and our own damn egos, tie them up and duct tape their mouth for some damn quiet and sit down and have a nice long discussion on how to make things better. We the people need to stop letting our emotions and outrage be whipped up into a frenzy because we wanna feel right and start looking at our neighbors for ideas and help to fix this.
 
Not only has every single shooter shown signs of their eventual behavior (prior arrests, claims of being radicalized, etc) but the system that is in place to prevent them from getting guns has failed because of HUMAN ERROR. Neighbors and relatives have bought them guns. Gun store owners have failed to do background checks. FBI examiners have failed to do police history checks. In one case criminal charges were never entered into the background of the person. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/03/us/how-mass-shooters-got-their-guns.html?_r=0)
 
Time and time again we are taking a stand on the wrong stuff. We let the media and the “rulers” teach us to point fingers and blame, to get defensive and angry, to explode online and in the meat world with righteous justice and mob mentality. We stop acting like civil people because we’re never going to make everyone happy anyway, someone is always going to criticize and attack us, no matter what.
 
How do you win, facing a culture like that? To begin with you stop making it about winning. You don’t get to make decisions for other people. You don’t need to be right. I am totally willing to be wrong if it means 1) I learn something 2) it opens up a discussion.
 
I posted it the other day, and I’ll say it again now. Stop looking for someone/something to blame. Instead look for someone to help.