45 Gun

It Isn’t Just Guns or Mental Health

By George Mantor

“No one wins; it’s a war of man”. Neil Young.

In a strange sort of way, I agree with the hard-liners who insist that guns aren’t the problem, but for different reasons.  Back before America had 300 million guns, it had 200 million guns.  We didn’t just cross a threshold whereby scaling back to just 200 million would end gun violence.

We want every problem to come down to just one issue and then we fight over how to fix that.  For the trend toward increasing violence to be reversed, we have to change the way we live and it isn’t likely that many of us are willing to do that.

What I am about to say is going to make a lot of people very angry.

We need to take a step back and take a good hard look at who we have become and realize that we must become the change that we want to see in the world.  If we want the killing to stop we have to stop killing.

Ironically, gun sales have skyrocketed in the days since Sandy Hook.  I proposed some alternative ideas after the Aurora theater shootings. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-07-31/take-our-guns-over-our-dead-bodies

It’s really irrelevant.  With three hundred million of them already out there, and the power of the constitution favoring citizens’ rights to own them, as well as the right to be free from unreasonable searches, getting them back would be way bloodier than the carnage caused every few days by someone violating what, for most of us, is a taboo.

That is where the line is held on anti-social behavior.  Some things just aren’t done.  But, taboos can be eroded if they are violated repeatedly.

The taboo against doing violence to another no longer exists in America.

Are violent video games and violent movies to blame?  Sure, but not exclusively.  The subconscious mind makes no distinction between real images and scenes that are staged.  That is why people who go to scary movies, get scared even when they know it is only a movie.

Obviously, not everyone who is exposed to this form of “entertainment” becomes a murderer.  However, over-exposure to graphic violence causes the psyche to become calloused to it.

And, graphic images provide the how and what to do.  Before we can act, we have to be able to visualize the outcome and the sequence of events leading up to it.

Additionally, the taboo against murder has been eroded by American lust for dominance.  We built our prosperity conquering the indigenous people who already lived here; and having done that, we have taken to stirring up global conflict and selling the implements of war by which these conflicts are resolved…at great loss of civilian life.

The computer guy who works for the defense contractor, who lives in a nice house in the suburbs of Virginia with his two beautiful children, is just as responsible as voters who elect tough talking billionaires who can’t wait to get their fingers on the triggers.

Everyday in faraway countries children are murdered in the collateral damage of war. Where is the anguish over that?  Who is responsible for that?  Who will pay the price?

I believe in Karma.  I believe you reap what you sow.  I believe that the sins of the father shall be delivered upon his children and his children’s children, not because The Bible says so, but because it seems so logical.  I believe thou shalt not kill.  I believe we should beat swords into plow shares.  And, I believe that if we don’t start doing that, right fucking now, the dead bodies of little children will pile up like cord-wood.

We are at war.  Children are the unintended consequences of believing we can kill our way to a brighter global future.

Are we going to shutter the schools and the malls, cancel sporting events, and lock-down in our safe rooms?  Are we going to go everywhere in a flak jacket, toting an AK with the safety off?

Someone has proposed arming the teachers.  That is exactly the kind of thinking that got us here.  It is beyond laughable.

Parent Teacher Association meetings should be more interesting.  New teacher introductions might sound something like this:

“Everyone, everyone, this is our newest addition to the faculty here at Our Lady of Holy Peace, Becky Remington.  She is a recent graduate of The School of Education at St. John’s University and is a crack marksman who is fully checked out on all of the weapons currently in the school’s arsenal.  I’m told she has massive skills with a flamethrower.”

How much is a right thinking, sensitive man supposed to endure?

In 1969, I clipped a cartoon that had been syndicated by the Los Angeles Times.  It shows a ragged little boy and girl overlooking a missile silo and one asks, “Wonder why grownups always have enough money for killing and never enough for living?”

Twenty five years later I clipped an associated press photo that looked eerily similar to the cartoon.  The caption reads, “Not child’s play: Amela Moric (left), 10 and her cousin Amel, 8 run to avoid sniper fire as they cross a cemetery in Sarajevo. The children make the dangerous crossing daily on their way to Kosevo Hospital to seek food donations.”

Unfortunately, I now have a third image to add to this somber display. It is the picture of a boy and girl standing outside Sandy Hook that shows the little boy with his hands covering his mouth in the classic look of horror.

When does it end?

We aren’t going to solve violence with more violence.

This is the war on terror come home to roost.  Have you ever been more terrified?

We must change our culture and our very way of living.  Eliminate the death penalty; it  doesn’t work.  Besides, most of these guys kill themselves or die in a hail of bullets.

It is one thing for someone who is evil or enraged to take a life, but it is something entirely different for a group of rational, detached third parties to the crime to sit in a room, take a sip on their Starbucks and muse, “I say we fry the bastard.”

The death penalty only validates murder, it doesn’t discourage it.

End all of our wars.  Nothing says go out and get a gun and shoot someone like glorifying our imperial ambitions and waging wars for reasons no one understands.  If we want the killing to stop, we have to stop killing for profit, punishment, and power.

Reign in the growing epidemic of police brutality and excessive, often needlessly deadly force.

Two nights ago, in my quiet little town, a young man with Down syndrome was about to step into his parent’s bakery when he was accosted by a local sheriff’s deputy and severely beaten while his sisters begged the officer to stop.

“10News was there as Sheriff’s Department Captain, Joe Rodi, visited the family to apologize.

“We made a mistake here,” he told 10News.

Capt. Rodi said deputies were looking for a man in the area, possibly involved in a domestic violence dispute, when they came across Antonio Martinez.

“As the gentleman walked by, he covered his head with the hood of his sweatshirt,” said Rodi. “Trying to conceal his identity.”

“He pepper sprayed him,” Rodi said. “When that wasn’t effective, he hit him with a baton, which put him on the ground, and then a couple more strikes to get his hands free. So they could hand cuff him.”

“Why the use of force?,” asked 10News reporter Jennifer Jensen.

“Once he tried to contact the guy again he didn’t know who he was, he didn’t know if he was involved in that domestic violence,” Rodi said.

Just so you know, pulling up your hoodie on a chilly, winter night in my town is reason enough to receive a near fatal beating.  Behave accordingly when you are near the bakery, those doughnuts make it a hot-bed for perp searches and close investigation.

We don’t wait around for facts or trials.  That is why our cops carry batons.

Stop the war on drugs.  No one in their right mind believes this will ever work, but we keep on doing it, and like every war, a lot of children die.  If it were legal, there would be no profit.  With no profit, there would be no cartels corrupting everything.

There would be no need for so many prisons.  We have the world’s highest incarceration rate, and it isn’t even close.  Gulag America is not a good environment for peace, love and understanding.

Doesn’t anyone find it ironic that we talk about America and how free it is, and yet, we have the highest percentage of citizens behind bars of the most restricted countries in the world?   Maybe Bobby Magee was right and freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Double down on the war on poverty.  We can afford for all Americans to have better lives.  We just have to spend their money on them instead of wars, banks, and munitions’ makers and the prison industrial complex.

Punish the leaders of organized crime, white collar or not.  Our obviously two-tiered justice system makes a mockery of the concept of justice for the little guy.  In criminal court, the prosecution wins ninety five percent of the time, and civil justice goes to the highest bidder.

That inequality is behind much of the violence we are seeing now.  When one realizes that the system is rigged, that hypocrisy is rampant, and the only real societal opposition to crime is reserved for those who get caught, crime really does pay.

We are no longer the America of our grandfathers.  We have looked the other way when we encountered suffering.   In 2001, world-wide, on average, 29,000 children died of preventable causes each day.

We have 47 million people trying to eat on $4 a day.

We have 1.6 million homeless children in America.  That is 1 out of every 45.

Where does a pathetic legacy like that go home to roost?  Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and God forbid, someday a church, a mall, a theater, a day care, a hospital, or a crowded transit center near you.

If we want a less violent world for our children, we have to put an end to the use of violence as a tool for implementing one world order and citizen control.