Our Decline into Barbarism: Guns
In Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022, a disgruntled teenage civilian with an assault rifle and more than 1600 rounds of ammo killed 19 students and two teachers. Over the course of seventy-seven minutes, children in third- and fourth-grade classrooms were slaughtered while the approximately 400 police officers there did what they do best: “loudly enforce their authority while spinning their wheels.” Later, the world saw more than a dozen police officers fleeing the hallway’s gunfire as the kids were being ruthlessly slaughtered just steps away. Not the best of times.
Uvalde was the 249th mass shooting in America this year, according to their definitions, when “four or more people” are killed with a privately owned gun. While many hold the opinion that this is just the cost of having the right to bear arms in such a populated nation as ours and that there are “people to spare,” such awful callousness would make Jesus turn over in his grave. Because if that is the case, we are no better than the worst autocrats, tyrants, or religious fanatics in recorded history.
Our country has traditionally been proud of its weapons. We first utilized them to subjugate and then supplant the native people whose territory we now occupy. Later, we utilized our guns to defend the farm and supply food from the abundance that nature at that time had to offer. The colonial powers that were after the country we now regard as being ours then rose up, took up arms, and were defeated. We engaged in a number of minor conflicts that were no less expensive for the combatants than the two global wars. Our second amendment, whose authors could not have foreseen the madness of the present situation, codified the freedom to bear arms. Everyman would have been allowed to acquire a single-shot musket at that time, so our predecessors would never have given a farmer a cannon.
Throughout the 1950s, boys in rural America regularly walked to school carrying their lunch.
They had 22 rifles or shotguns, and as they entered the school, they leant them against the structure. Nobody gave it much thought. On the way, they would go I go I go rabbit or pheasant hunting. Each and every one of them would never have thought to bring such guns inside. Today’s society is different. Nothing is done with common sense. Nowadays, slick marketers sell kids electronic games that allow them to kill a lot of people every day. You can now see a murder on TV every few minutes by just changing channels. Anyone who believes this has no impact on a formative mind is deluded.
In the society we live in, advertising is worshipped. And that psychology, a social science with a history of cooperating with advertising, has long supported advertising by helping it create meticulously created distortions that are then utilized to take advantage of our wants and needs every day of our lives, 24/7. And today, when the children of the most recent mass massacre are still being buried, we see on TV dishonest politicians flashing assault rifles in front of the cameras to collect votes. We should fly our flag with the words “Short-term profit” and “Anything for a Dollar” immediately underneath it, next to a large cross and a Renaissance image of God giving his “Wink of Approval.”
The necessity for all those weapons stems from the fact that there is a real and present threat that, in the event that an autocrat steals democracy and takes power, he would have to be overthrown by an armed uprising. Recent events have demonstrated how likely that scenario is to occur. However, when an autocrat takes power, a nation is transformed into a two-class society, with the oppressed. You can imagine who would benefit from sending millions of people to camps or killing them outright, because autocrats cannot rule alone.
The argument that “only criminals would have firearms” if guns were illegal is another, although this one is actually opposed to all laws. Tell that to the Australian people, who don’t experience the mass shootings we do because they believe in their government and whose gun restrictions are effective. Coincidentally, because of their high vaccination rates and belief that “they did not have the right to risk their fellow countrymen,” Australians had a very low COVID death rate during the most recent outbreak.
I like to believe that calmer heads will prevail and that our own oligarchs, the billionaires, will see it in their common interest to keep our system stable as well as to keep their wealth. If not, there is always the option of relocating to Russia. Our educational system must be jealously guarded and must not be compromised by any one faith. On that, the founding fathers were unambiguous. To escape such oppression, they established this country. When moral authorities were in charge, they demonstrated a long history of using the strategy of “the ends justifies the means.” We must jealously maintain education because it is the only tangible defense we have against the rise of dictatorship.
We can only hope and pray that some common sense and social responsibility will show. The number of guns in this nation has surpassed the number of people. How many are sufficient? What additional effects will the fact that we already appear to be fools to the rest of the world have? Beyond that, the rest of the world does not respect us, despite their dread of our military strength. When will we start to lose regard for ourselves?
The United States need not be a hopeless cause for individuals who live in a reality based on facts. We do not need to return to the nirvana of the fundamentalists, when everything was “fine” as long as the “right people” got their say. People still have the ability to speak up, and if enough of them do so, they can influence positive change. Through an extraction-based economy, Earth’s inhabitants, including those in our country, have produced existential dangers that, at best, could consign our descendants to a withered existence and, at worst, could endanger their survival. The past implies that supernatural intervention might not occur. It will be up to the brightest and best among us to come up with innovative answers to this conundrum while large segments of the public adhere to the spiritualism of the dark ages. For the remainder of us, It will be our responsibility to play a role, to put up our best effort to be good neighbors, good citizens of the globe, and to care for one another while eschewing extreme tribalism and selfishness. Two billion people on Earth are starving while our religious fanatics are pushing to ban birth control. Our experts tell us that 99% of all the creatures that ever roamed this earth have gone extinct. If we don’t want our time on earth to end, we must behave appropriately. Those were H. G. In the words of Wells, “Human history increasingly becomes a race between catastrophe and education.”