Culture of Fear-Culture of Guns

Since the Newtown shootings  I’ve been wracking my brains trying to find a way to express my feelings about the incident. On Facebook, I was pretty angry and went on a rant, screaming about how even after such a tragedy, nothing would be done, so why give a shit? Or going so far as to tell gun owners to do me the courtesy of not pretending that they give a shit about the twenty children who were brazenly killed by yet another in a line of gun-loving nutjobs in this country.

A number of my friends confronted me for my ‘insensitive’ comments and general lack of sympathy, but instead of walking it back, I embraced my words and explained how I felt.

In the twelve years since the Columbine massacre, no stricter gun laws have been passed in this country, and the Bush administration was only too happy to let the Assault Weapons Ban expire. Since then, we have had mass shootings across the country, including the one in Arizona where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, and the Clackamas Mall shooting in Oregon- the SAME week that the Newtown shooting took place.

Every single time one of these mass killings took place, I kept thinking, “When are people gonna get sick of this shit so that something will be done about it?” For all of you gun enthusiasts out there, I ask you this question: When are you gonna draw your line in the sand? How many people have to die for your precious second amendment? Just give me a fucking number!

My first impulse was to scream that we needed to ban all guns, but after I gave it some thought, I realized that banning guns wouldn’t solve the problem. If anything, it would only make it worse. We have far too many idiots in this country that would die before giving up their detachable penis, and that’s really what a gun is.  If anyone tells you different, they’re an idiot and a liar.

Despite what all of the talking heads are saying, these shootings aren’t about the absence of God in schools, or the decline of our mental health services, or even about putting MORE guns on the streets, (which is the most MORONIC argument you can possibly make!) or even our lax gun laws- it’s about the culture of fear we have in this country.

It seems like from the moment we are born, we are taught to fear. As we grow, we are taught never to question, that daydreaming is a waste of time, and that it is better to conform rather than stand out. Most parents don’t take the time to explain to their children the ‘why ‘ of things; children get put in front of the TV to keep them quiet. In school, teachers are given strict curriculums to teach, with no room to let children develop at their own pace. In church, we are taught to fear God because he is ‘always watching’.

In only gets worse as teenagers because we either have to learn to conform to ‘fit in’ or be branded as outcasts for being ‘different’. Adulthood isn’t much better- people are so busy working or going to college that no one takes the time to think on or question everything they have been taught. We are constantly inundated with information- from the moment we wake up in the morning, to the moment we fall asleep. Our news broadcasts are constantly bombarding us with news about war, murder, intolerance, and hate.

So I ask you: is it any wonder that we have an overly armed populace?

If you own a gun, ask yourself why? For home defense? What are the odds of somebody breaking into your house or you becoming a victim of violence? In some cases, I would say yes.  You need a gun!  But do you need one with an extended clip? Or a semi-automatic rifle that fires thirty rounds per second? Come on, now…. You’re just being paranoid.

I’ve been around for forty years on this Earth, and I’ve never felt the need to use a gun or own one, and I’ve gotten along just fine. And you wanna know why? Two reasons: I don’t let my fears override my common sense, and I never put myself in a situation where I need a weapon to pull me out of it. That’s really all it takes. It may seem simplistic to you, but it’s worked out just fine for me.

I’ll be upfront with you: I’m anti-gun. If every firearm vanished tomorrow, I would jump for joy. But I also know that’s an impossible fantasy. All I want is for the government to enact some sensible gun laws, something that we can all agree on and live with. That’s all I’m asking. We don’t need extended clips and assault weapons on the streets, and neither do you.

It’s time to let go of all the fear that has been built up in the last ten years. There’s no bogeyman, no terrorist sleeper-cells in the neighborhood, and no one under your bed waiting to kill you in your sleep.

Every single shooting that has happened is because we let it happen. It’s because we allow deranged people access to guns, because we don’t get unstable people the help they need when they need it, and because we’re scared of our own shadows. It isn’t just one thing, it’s everything. It has to end.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Newtown massacre, it’s that we have to take responsibility for the actions that have brought us to where we are now. If we refuse to acknowledge the problem as we have so many times before, then we will end up with losses more devastating than the lives of our children. .

The cost will be our very souls.

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Posted by on December 20, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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19 Responses to Culture of Fear-Culture of Guns

  1. Bill Formby

    December 20, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Greg, one thing you may also want to consider. I am not trying to be insensitive here but the country has gone absolutely nuts over the killing of the the 26 people, including the twenty children at Newtown, CT last week. I mean no offense to anyone, but where has the outrage been for the rest of the year. I mean, yes we had the Aurora, CO incident also, but using last years stats those numbers are not even a blip on the radar of the murders that occurred by firearms this past year. Yes, last week was tragic but most likely there at least another group of more than 500 children under 8 years of age that were also murdered with no national outrage. It seems that we have to have a group killing to bring any attention to the fact that murder is rampant in this country. On average there is a person murdered every 35 – 40 minutes in America and 3/4 of them are killed by firearms, but no one seems to make a fuss over it unless there happens to be at least 3 or more at the same time or it is some one important that gets killed. Last year there were more than 12,600 murders, 75% by firearms, but no outrage until it was a group of people and then the outrage when there were 20 children. Maybe we need to be outraged a little more often, say, every 35 – 40 minutes.

    • Carol Maietta views

      December 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

      I think what makes it more outrageous is the number of innocent lives taken at one time, as you said. And, the fact of where it occurred…in such an unlikely location. And, as if it wasn’t bad enough, the proximity to the holidays makes it even worse.

      I hear you about the every 35 to 40 minutes…but, this was 20 children in one minute. So, although you are trying to be rational, this is an irrational event that really can’t be rationalized with data and stats.

  2. greg gonzalez

    December 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Bill- I don’t disagree with you in the slightest. In fact, anytime anybody is killed by a senseless act of gun violence, I get pissed off. When the Newtown massacre happened, I actually went on my facebook page and went on a rant about all the messages of sympathy and sorrow. It made me want tp throw up. I was like, “Where was your anger and calls to action when Columbine happened?” That’s where this shit began and should have ended. Everyone’s anger is twelve years too late.

    • bitcodavid

      December 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Greg, Columbine was far from the first of these incidents. I recall one from the early ’60s in Texas. The one that made the term “clock-tower sniper” a household phrase. The Boomtown Rats did a very funny yet oddly prophetic song about the little girl who “didn’t like Mondays,” back in the New Wave era.

      I too am anti-gun and I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, more so than the gun issue, I agree with you about the fear issue. We are a culture of fear and that is the root of most of our problems, from the so called war on drugs that wrongfully incarcerates 30,000 of us and keeps a much larger number in a permanent criminal class, to the so called war on terror which has turned us into a nation of torturers and fascists.

      But I still maintain that the root cause of these mass murder incidents is our broken mental health system. A system that the Right has been working tirelessly on dismantling, since Reagan. What we need – at least along side of a sensible gun control policy – is a method of finding these people and providing them, free of cost and stigma, a safe and reliable means of getting the care they need. Harris and Klebold, Jason Holmes and Adam Lanza weren’t born as they became – they were made. They were made by a society that scorns the different and preys upon the weak. They were made by a society that taught their parents to deny what was right in front of their very eyes, and offered them no place to seek refuge.

      When a computer breaks, we don’t hesitate to fix it. When your car gets a flat you change the tire. But when your kid tells you he wants to shoot the whole day down you laugh it off and send him to school. You never think to check and see if Daddy’s service auto isn’t in his backpack. And you wouldn’t dream of calling a doctor.

      • bitcodavid

        December 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        Oops. Did I say 30,000? I meant 330,000.

        • greg gonzalez

          December 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

          Bitcodavid- I know that Columbine wasn’t the first mass killing, but up until then, it was the most high-profile one. I’m just tired of the same cycle here: Mass killing- people grieve- fingers are pointed- NRA rolls into town and defends their second amendment rights- people get bored/move onto something else- NOTHING CHANGES. It’s ridiculous. I’m not even asking for major changes, just sensible ones that regulate the sale of guns and a new ban on assault weapons. That’s it. I don’t think I’m making unreasonable demands.

          • bitcodavid

            December 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

            I get it. And I’m in complete agreement. It’s just that last line in your otherwise very cogent argument touched a nerve. I’m reminded of the opening scene to “2001 – A Space Odyssey.” The apes are all grunting around, having a time for themselves, when the obelisk lands. One ape picks up a femur bone and bops the other ape on the head. The caption reads, “Civilization is born.” We’ve been killing each other – and everything else – for a long time.

  3. Randel

    December 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Greg, you are getting closer to the deeper issue and I’ll take it a step further. The majority of these mass murderers are white males under 30. Can we address that pattern? The weapon of choice for the vast majority of these mass murderers since 2004 has been a semi automatic, high capacity, military style weapon. Are we making it too easy or at least contributing to the “slippery slope” of a mental break involving these weapons by allowing them to be uncontrolled? These are just a few of the questions that your writing has provoked. Thank you for that.

    • Bill Formby

      December 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

      I have to smile just a bit Randel. In a comment to another post on this issue I made a point that these mass shootings weren’t being carried out by the brothers from the hoods. If they were you would probably be seeing fences bu it around the projects. But, it is the white middle class with their uptight problems doing and no one knows what to do. As Pogo says, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

      • greg gonzalez

        December 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        I’ll repeat the same blanket statement I made on Facebook:

        “NOTE TO ALL ‘MENTALLY DISTURBED PSYCHOTICS’: In the interest of public safety, if you’re going to go on a shooting spree, can you at least confine your activities to NRA conventions, gun shows, KKK rallies, and Westboro Baptist Church protests? The rest of us will sleep sounder, thank you very much!”

        I hope that helps. =P

        • bitcodavid

          December 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          “Like” 🙂

          • greg gonzalez

            December 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm

            Forgive me for not saying it earlier, but thank you, Randel!

      • Randel

        December 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Bill and Greg, take a look at who is most adamantly opposing gun legislation discussion and the makeup of the NRA rank and file. It’s the same group who think that they need to protect their stuff from the coming hoards. That is the part of the gun discussion that we keep avoiding and will likely never have in the main stream media although the PBS Special; After Newtown, did touch on it both in pictures and through actuarial science. It’s a start.

  4. RickRay

    December 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Changing the gun laws is a lot like people saying that climate change is not happening. Until, they’re drowning in their beach homes on the coasts of the U.S., the NRA will still deny that guns need to be controlled even when nutjobs are out shooting the NRA reps.

  5. greg gonzalez

    December 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Somebody pop a cap in Wayne LaPierre’s butt-cheek and let’s see how he feels about gun control, then. Lousy prick!

    • greg gonzalez

      December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I was kidding with that last comment. Sort of.

      • bitcodavid

        December 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

        Wink wink nudge nudge.

        • greg gonzalez

          December 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm

          MMA and I do not condone any acts of gun violence against Mr. LaPierre in any way, shape or form. Please do not take that joke seriously.

  6. greg gonzalez

    December 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    But having said that, if you happen to be driving and see him crossing the street, feel free to ‘accidentally’ hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. 😉