Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.
I've heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal. We'd see what Mr. Colt could do for women.
-- Cherie Priest
Globally-Unique, "Potentially Dangerous" Political Alternatives
According to some believable sources, nearly half of all civilian guns in the entire world are in the United States of America, which offers an inspiration to give a closer look at it as a world phenomenon -- if not also something odd in the mentality of American folks.
As a matter of fact, out of 195 countries on this planet only in three of them are civilians granted a constitutional permit for firearms -- the US, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Now, something instantly comes to mind as an argument against the popular explanation for that massive civilian armament -- like somehow "protecting them from a possible foreign or domestic oppression".
Really? For we are not hearing from global news anything about all those gun-less westernized societies suffering from any form of oppression. Although, truth be told, "oppression" may be somewhat tricky word, since it's not a secret in most of the so called "free world" that democracy is merely a "tranquilizing front" behind which those richest and their political puppets are doing whatever they please.
The concept of "opposing parties" is just another aspect of it, if we are to believe the famed scholar Noam Chomsky, who says that there is only one -- business party -- merely branching into its two aspects, Republican and Democrat.
Thus we could talk about different forms of "oppression" -- of course, if we had not already bought the illusion of our "freedom". Then it would raise the question pertinent to our topic at hand:
How do Americans figure that their hand guns and AK-47 assault rifles would be a match to that very hypothetical oppressive, even if a fascist rule -- if it ever came to that need to defend themselves from it?
Let's see what would be a strategy. The scenario coming to mind is a sort of pathetically humorous -- with a bunch of overweight dads and grandpas with their pistols against one of the mightiest militaries in the world.
Of course, we are talking about hypotheticals, and yet, they are making it sound like a very realistic possibility while explaining that need to be armed.
O.K., so that would be only a part of that boogieman story, but there is more to it, as we are about to see.
Finance is the gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.
-- Mario Puzo
Sparta the Greatest
What next comes to mind is that old adage -- albeit not necessarily universally correct -- "Like father, Like Son". Playing with symbolisms, why not see "father" as the government and "son" as "Us-the-People".
Well, whether it has become obvious by now or not, for quite a number of years, rather say some "decades", America has been turning into a modern day Sparta -- a warring nation. Sorry folks, here I don't mean you-the people, but the Big Daddy the government.
I have repeated it elsewhere, that nations never hate other nations without their governments instigating and propagating that hate. But it's always the sons of that nation who get killed in crazy political wars, not the sons of political officials who started them. During the hottest times of the infamous Cold War, no Russian farmer had any ambition to occupy an American farm -- and the same is true these days. But it took some smart manipulative asses to invent a "Commie Russia" and an "Imperialist America".
Then the Soviet block fell apart, and now the government needed a new enemy to keep the people's insecurities high -- so that they cling to the Big Daddy for protection and forgive Daddy's shortcomings.
Terrorism came handy, while people were defending themselves against the self-appointed global "policeman". Untold numbers of civilians were bombed, and still are as "casualties of war against terrorism". The legacy of Edward Bernays, the father of mass-manipulation, applied in business and political propaganda, had to find new and new applications.
So that some nations overnight became "enemies of American freedoms", while the Big Buck was merely spreading its influence for new markets. Over 75 military bases had to be installed globally to "protect American sovereignty". And China became an "enemy" -- not because they really care about "American freedoms", but because they became a serious competitor on the global market.
And people not only bought it -- but imitated Big Daddy's official paranoia by making guns a "normal household item".
Just like ancient Spartans who kept their arms at home in a constant readiness -- with their kings making up all kinds of "sinister forces" plotting to kick their proud asses. And paranoia was strong enough to overshadow the fact of the kings' ambitions to spread their influence and to fill their royal sacks with gold pieces.
Could we make a little conversion in our heads -- by seeing a black, sticky liquid instead of the yellow metallic crap?
O.K. you don't have to thank me for this mini-lecture in ancient history, which so brings to mind its political equivalents in this modern times, reminding of that old adage:
"History teaches us only one thing -- that it never taught us anything".
I have a very strict gun control policy. If there is a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
-- Clint Eastwood
Just Another Emotional Crutch to Lean On?
What we are buying into our household has three possible purposes:
1) to be functional
2) to be decorative
3) to make someone pissed and jealous.
For the life in me, I can't see in which category we could squeeze buying a gun. Maybe a new category of "just in case" should be added to the three above. A plunger is O.K., for "just in case" that toilet can't accommodate a big family that's full of it. Or a flashlight, for "just in case" of an electrical storm hitting a nearby transformer.
But in-case-of-what do we buy a gun? Who are we kidding anyway? Most of those who would potentially be after our asses are almost as a rule more experienced and proficient at attacking than most of us are experienced and proficient at defending.
Indeed, as statistics are showing, even a skinny kid can seriously hurt you if desperate for his drug money. And that gun on top of your closet, unloaded for kids' protection, is bound to help you just like your wife's beach hat hiding it from the eyes of kids.
I am not kidding either. I don't read about any instances where someone's gun came handy in all those cases of street mugging, rapes, home invasions, dog attacks...you name it.
I am well aware how ingrained are guns in the American culture, so I am not going too ambitious with the following suggestion -- but maybe we should start seeing those guns as just another form of socially accepted emotional crutches lessening our insecurities in this dog-eat-dog world.
Along with smoking, alcohol, drugs, over-eating, hoarding means of survival, promiscuous sex and porno...anything on the existing list of things that somehow make us artificially happier and more ready to face the world.
Indeed, stresses of life may be overwhelming. Some experiments with rats placed in an overcrowded environment showed them display massive symptoms ranging from discomfort to arrogance. So, every little emotional crutch helps when we have to face our boss, freeway traffic, or mother-in-law coming for dinner.
Then on top of this demanding life that's throwing us daily in the den with lions, we get inspired by our government to go for that heightened sense of "power" -- so we buy guns, assault rifles, some even buying tanks from military surplus and forming a "militia" -- for "just in case".
All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.
-- Daniel Boone
If Stress Kills -- Aren't Guns Just Contributing to It?
During my frequent walks at huge shopping malls, especially popular at these Canadian winter months, I tend to entertain myself by casually observing faces of the passers-by. O.K., with some young and good looking chick I may not stay at the face -- you know, at this age of 76 I have to replenish my testosterone blood serum, and any inspiration helps.
But then, not every of those faces will raise my testosterone levels. Not because some folks are downright ugly, but because many of them have that facial expression of a "tight readiness for the worst". Honestly, they look like life has been doing to them nothing but continually hitting them from all sides, so that the very presence of the crowd feels like life-threatening.
That would include those macho-types with stern faces which you just can't imagine smiling -- like the whole life is a battlefield and they have to win one battle at a time, still sweating from the last one.
I have just described -- albeit in a caricature form -- those folks who need guns. Hey dudes, we were not born with a tattooed guaranty on our tiny asses for a life-long safety. Guns or not, anything can kill you, from a microscopic bug to a sixteen wheeler humping your little Toyota on a freeway.
What kind of life is it anyway, to constantly be in a state of readiness? Ever heard about "stress being #1 killer in the world"?
Some time back at our last visit to the Californian branch of family, someone displeased by my calm and relaxed reading a book in psychology said: "I am not a psychologist, I am John Wayne with guns".
Now, since any idiot and wimp can buy a gun these days, that didn't sound much like bragging to me.
By the way, beside being a John Wayne with guns, he is also a fellow whose chronic self-inflicted stresses probably contributed to a cancer, which he luckily beat. Which made one difference between him and his gun-waving idol John Wayne, who really died from a cancer, not at Alamo from bullets of the Generalissimo Santa Anna.
A man with a briefcase can steal millions more than a man with a gun.
-- Don Henley
Well, to Each Their Own
Certain kinds of articles need something that would sound like a disclaimer, and to some eyes this could be one of them.
So, for my finishing words, let me assure you that I have absolutely nothing against the American folks. Actually, I find them quite interesting people -- just with this unusual feature of mentality when it comes to obsession with guns.
Since I am not a normative dude, I don't really care what others choose for themselves, while no one needs my approval or blessing for what they do. Just like I don't need theirs.
Although, I wish I knew what all those gun owners see as their reasons for having them -- and I mean reasons which 192 other societies don't have. You know what I mean? Really, what makes America such a uniquely dangerous place to live -- while Americans will readily call it "the best place on earth"?
Is the word "freedom" somewhere in all that? Someone married for a number of years knows that he had a "freedom" to terminate that marriage the day after the wedding bells stopped making it the "best day of his life".
But the simple question would have to be asked about any possible rationale behind using that "freedom". Likewise, if those Fathers of Constitution granted those ranchers to wear a gun for protection from rattle snakes, coyotes, and thieves -- how does that freedom translate into these modern times gun craze?
What's the rationale for having a gun these days?
Well, some things that people do -- individually or collectively -- are bound to stay unexplained, or just swept under that all-covering rug of our "human imperfection". One way or another, it makes appropriate ending this post with the old maxim:
"To each their own".
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© 2020 Val Karas
Val Karas (author) from Canada on November 20, 2020:
John -- My only encounter with firearms was during my military service where I acted as a drill sergeant. That's where you develop a different respect for guns than as a gun owner doing some target practicing once in a while.
We were trained to kill and destroy, and despite my deep disgust for it -- I earned myself a medal after doing well in all disciplines which were: rifle (no scope) and machine-gun, at day and at night, and throwing hand grenade 25 meters away into a 2 square meters target. That type of grenade exploded 4 seconds after being activated, so I still found time to aim towards the target.
But, all that being half century old memory now, I admit, being a pacifist, I hated the whole damn thing. Can't understand how anybody can develop a passion for guns.
Thank you for your interesting comment, my friend, you put a friendly smile on my face describing the situation of keeping that unloaded gun and ammo in different bags. That story added something to my argument about futility of having a gun.
But again, and I can't emphasize it enough -- let everyone do as they want, just because I don't like guns is not to set any standards of normalcy.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 20, 2020:
Val, let me shake your hand my friend. You state so eloquently what many fear to utter, and if they do all hell rains down from on high (sounds like something Tom Hanks may have said in a movie.) I am from one of those other 192 societies so I totally get your points.
I have been on this Earth 63 years and never been threatened or felt fearful that I may have to defend myself against someone with a gun, and that is such a nice feeling.
I recall once when I worked as a payroll officer for the Railway Department some 40 years ago, (long before the Port Arthur massacre which brought in strict gun control in this country) myself and a colleague had to walk to the bank to collect the payroll. We had two canvas sacks. I carried one containing an unloaded revolver, and my friend the other containing the bullets, for protection in case we were held up or threatened. Can you imagine that scenario? Neither of us had ever used a handgun. If someone threatened us I had to remove the gun from the sack, he had to retrieve the bullets, hand them to me so I could load the gun..meanwhile asking the attacker to please be patient while we did so. Sounds like a comedy sketch, right.
Needless to say (or fortunately) we were never threatened or held up. I would have been more likely to use the gun as a club and hit an attacker on the head...or just hand over the money.
The best thing about this article as with any about gun control, it will probably go viral, so well done. All the best my friend.