Okay, I had wanted to not get political here, but sometimes it’s hard to stay mum. I’m anti-gun-control, by the way. I’m pro-common-sense and pro-Constitution. So I’m pro-not-being-handled by misinformation.
It’s very hard to look at people being victimized and not feel outrage and empathy on their behalf. And politicians, I’m sorry to say, capitalize in these very tragedies to exploit our emotional state with their narrative. Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough first-hand experience, these days, with either firearms or deadly force encounters to understand the truth from the fiction. Most people today gain their firearms experience from television and movies. Those are fantasy, for the most part. And you can pretty easily dismiss as nonsense most of what you see in television and movies as “not based in reality.”
I would say it takes about 3-5 years of firearms training for a civilian to start being aware of truth versus fiction in deadly force encounters. This includes multiple 5-day training schools, perhaps some weekend competition, ongoing local training, and ongoing affiliation with other “gun people.” It takes a fair amount of time to undo the bullshit factor we all inherit from Hollywood, and from untrained family and friends. When you get your own concealed carry license, you begin to understand that a lot of what you hear in the media is partisan bullshit. It’s designed to mold (manipulate) your opinion according to an external agenda. It’s not designed to inform you at all. So during this 3-5 years, you’re actually beginning to make sense of the national conversation about guns and gun control. It’s been going on from a long time, long before our lifetimes, and it’s hard for us to make sense of it if we’re just coming from the outside.
First, I’ll say this gun conversation is not a conversation. It’s an argument. It’s a heated argument. People are very divided on it, so there’s not a lot of open-mindedness that is apparent. When you try and have an open-minded conversation, where reason rules, it oftentimes fails. That’s just not the norm. And the hugely partisan political nature of this argument doesn’t help at all.
Second, the conversation isn’t really about guns or violence in America. If you listen carefully, you can get this yourself. For example, the mass shootings that take place happen, for the most part, in “gun free zones.” Basically, the people who do the mass shootings (and I refuse to learn their names), are disturbed individuals who want the world to feel their pain. They choose gun-free zones specifically because they know ahead of time that they want a high body-count. So gun-free zones are tailor-made for their purposes. So, if you examine the so-called conversation about mass shootings, why does this point rarely come up? Why do you not hear about those stories where some good person with a gun stopped an attacker before the body count got very high? And how is it that law-abiding weapons permit holders, who are able to pass a background check and who have no arrest record, become vilified after each and every one of these mass shootings? Shouldn’t you be a little suspicious that the story is being spun for you? Why does the story not enter into a discussion about mental health in America? Why does it head straight into gun control, which tends to target law-abiding citizens rather than known criminals?
Perhaps a note of explanation is warranted here. Gun control targets law-abiding citizens, not criminals. Criminals never did obtain their guns through legal channels. They bypass legal channels altogether. Gun control measures focus on the legal acquisition of firearms and bypasses illegal channels. So gun control doesn’t protect you from criminals with guns. It “protects” you, as a law-abiding citizen, from getting a gun yourself.
Third, gun control is about people control. It’s part of a “progressive” political agenda that has been underway for well over a century. The second amendment is a huge obstacle to this agenda. The agenda’s main objective is to transfer political power from being diversely spread through out the American populace to being centralized in the hands of political elites. The agenda is about changing how the country is governed. That’s what’s behind the gun control conversation/argument. One side believes the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are a wise foundation for political sovereignty. The other side believes it’s naive to think humans can govern themselves. Let the “experts” handle it. Trouble is, the “experts” aren’t very expert after all. Turns out they’re human too.
Basically, political elites don’t think we’re capable of governing ourselves. They believe we must be handled. And there’s large precedent for this, since we’re handled successfully at nearly every turn nowadays. There are large segments of our society who believe, at this point in time, that it’s the government’s job to take care of them. They believe that it’s not their responsibility to take care of themselves. This belief makes them ripe for being manipulated and falling face first into this progressive/liberal agenda.
The Constitution was highly controversial when it was adopted, and it’s been that way ever since. At its heart, its message is about the ideal of human self-control and the willingness to grow and be accountable to what recovery programs call “your high power.” However you define that. The Constitution is about a sort of “divine spark” in human beings that requires freedom to grow. It requires the basic human protections identified in the Bill of Rights in order to flourish. To protect these rights, government must be held back, it must be limited. The checks and balances specified in the Constitution are the safeguards that prevent the government from growing into an all-controlling nightmare. The framers of the Constitution recognized this dark potential and aimed at something better for this fresh new government.
But this approach is messy. First, the very people who are attracted to political office are usually some sort of narcissistic control freaks who love to hear themselves talk and who love an audience. They truly believe they are smarter than you and I are. They’re often the very last people who are selflessly devoted to the common good. The Constitution specified ways to prevent them from consolidating power by competing with each other and protecting their own self-interest. Second, the most responsible, self-governed people don’t really need government. Government spends most of its time dealing with people who struggle with making it on their own. If everyone, for example, were as powerful as a multi-national corporation, there would be no victims of corporate abuse. But many of us just want to lead a simple life doing that “pursuit of happiness” thing that may or may not involve getting financially rich or politically powerful. In short, we are not control freaks. We just want to lead a peaceful life.
So this decision about who tells us what to do is really what’s going on behind the whole gun control argument/conversation. Are we too stupid to take care of ourselves? (Some people apparently are.) Or are we responsible enough to deserve the liberties in the Bill of Rights? (Which the Constitution says are rights, not liberties.) Are those liberties rights or liberties? Another conversation.
These are heady questions. But realize that you’re not going to get an objective conversation about them when the camera crew is standing in front of a pile of dead victims from the latest mass shooter. That’s as pure an example of us “being handled” as ever existed.
If you’re not trained in deadly force, if the term “deadly force” is repugnant to you, that simply means you have a lot of homework to do to catch up to the gun control conversation. It means that the darker aspects of human nature, which the law has had to deal with all the way back to the first century AD, and before, is something you haven’t really given much thought to. It means that, probably, you have learned about violence from movies and television rather than from self-discovery.
I will say that, from my perspective, violence is almost always the wrong answer to any question. However, in those rare instances when violence is not the wrong answer, immediate and decisive violence is usually the only workable answer. When someone else escalates a confrontation to deadly force, your decision is reduced to survival alone. Your options are to die or survive. And after he kills you, the chances are good that he will use violence on someone else after you are dead.
That’s what I’ve learned from my own self-defense training. And there’s a whole lot of psychological inquiry and personal evolving that goes along with that training. Because, as humans, we’re hard-wired for love and connection with each other. We don’t do well when we lose connection with each other. When we do feel connected and understood together, we are much more resilient as human beings. We tend to be much happier. I believe emotionally intimate personal connection is a requirement for happiness.
So, if you’ve read this far, I hope you can begin to see that maybe the gun control conversation is not really about gun control. Gun control is a smokescreen that conceals a far larger conversation in our culture.
The hidden conversation is about collective and personal responsibility. It’s about self-governance and personal growth.
The underpinnings of America are based in rational inquiry and actual conversation rather than partisan arguments. In fact, I will say that any argument that attempts to bypass your best judgment is probably an attempt to manipulate you. And there’s a lot of that going around these days. America was founded on the idea that if we try and stay rational and have empathy for each other, we could pull off this idea of self-governing. If we don’t work together, we’ll eventually lose the liberties that our forefathers strove to create and protect.