In several recent blogs I have started conversations about guns and violence ... two themes that are very important to me as a peace activist and as a father.
Conceal Carry seems like a bad idea to me ... Evidently one can conceal quite a few weapons to go by the recent theater shooting. The knee-jerk reaction/theory that had there been more guns flashing in Colorado, so many would NOT have died, begs the question: What if there had been no guns at all?
The nuclear arms race proves that more weapons with more killing power does not produce peace. Maybe the new generation has forgotten what most of us finally acknowledged relative to nukes and ultimate weapons (remember the Star Wars program?). Some will say, "Well no one used nukes,"(after we demonstrated them on two cities). "Big guns DO bring peace ... "
The fact is, however, that the second half of last century continued to be one of horrible wars, genocides, state terrorism and invasions. The nukes only brought us to the edge of annihilation ... and we came very very close. Gun promoters and enthusiasts often point out that guns do not kill people, people kill people.
This is an interesting point and it has an amount of merit. One thought I have often had in response to this argument is, "Yes, guns are just what people make to kill people with." Anyone who would rather be in a movie theater being threatened my a man with a 100 mag assault weapon than in one with a man brandishing a knife, should have their head checked. Anyone who believes the two situations are comparable, as each has a would-be murderer in the room, should review the personal stories by survivors of .
Assault weapons and even Glocks with big clips are weapons of mass destruction ... on a personal level. The killing potential of a weapon is what makes one "superior" to another and I will take sticks and stones to bullets any day. The seed of truth in the point gun-lovers make, mentioned above, is that there is a mind behind most gun fatalities (excluding the accidental deaths) and I certainly agree on this point.
Killing is in the mind first.
Christ, among others, told us this when he said that if you hate another person you have already broken the commandment, "thou shalt not kill," a commandment, by the way, that had no clauses following it. Killing happens first in the mind. When I read about this shooting, beyond the nearly useless amount of empathy I have for the survivors, and the sadness that thinking about the individual victims described in news stories, I am saddened also for our culture ... We are a culture of killers, to be frank.
The U.S. has no monopoly on killing so those among you who think I am anti-American for pointing out our militancy miss the point. I believe in peace and know that you can not create peace from violence or from the threat of the same. History proves this again and again. Over two hundred million dead from wars and conflicts in the twentieth century clearly make the case that no peace came from more weapons. This is enough people to make a belt around the planet, laying them head to toe, over six times! Violence prompts vengeanceance, fear, hatred ... not to mention suffering and death, but it does not bring peace.
The reason physical violence can never bring peace is to be found in the truth that killing is in the mind. More violence provokes more anger ... more mind killing. With a mindset of killing, condoning vengeance and accepting violence as a necessary and vital part of what it is to be human, the "war" is perpetuated in our minds and is easily provoked. Carrying this ember of war in our minds and hearts, protecting it, ensuring it always glows, we are ever ready to have it fanned by the next crisis that arises, the next orator who can whip up our anger and fear, the next excuse for venting our discontent. War is in our minds.
To move towards peace, to move towards a culture where six year old girls or presidents are not slaughtered in theaters, we have to get to the origin of war, to the place where designs for war (and designs for Smith and Wessons) are born. We have to look at our fear, personally and nationally. We have to look at the anger we hold towards our enemies (our brothers and sisters).
We need leaders who can address these issues courageously ... honestly assessing the state of affairs in this culture of violence. It is not coincidental that stories from survivors mentioned that often they could not distinguish between the real gunfire and the gunfire in the movie playing ... We have raised the intake of violent images to a great height, spending millions to see spectacles of violence like the Dark Knight Rises .... We bring our children to see highly graphic images of slaughter and tell them it is entertainment. We are addicted to war and as with any addiction, breaking it will first require dealing with the psychological reasons, the thoughtsand emotions, that led us to this state of severe imbalance.