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My Treatise On Gun Culture In The USA

Viewed 130 times 2017-10-6 10:53 |Personal category:Quote Me|System category:Life

The 'gun culture' in the USA evolved at a time when people still followed a natural history of human/animal violence - the only difference being that guns were introduced. Previously, when someone had a beef with someone else in society, they went and confronted that person directly if they wanted to they could get justice peacefully. If not they would sort it out violently, but still between themselves or closely so. They could be challenged to a physical combat (as animals do). Weaker persons usually came off worse and otherwise had to put up with a bit of injustice. Guns were a sort of 'equalizers' when they came along - duels were fought, lives were lost. This was still considered a step up in 'civilized' behaviour - giving the physically weak a more level playing field. Such personal score settling continued for a long time in the USA and such challenges and physical contests and duels were outlawed as a presumed comprehensive legal system was put in place. Humans fancied themselves being better and more civilized than animals.

People with grievances now had to deal indirectly through a third party and not with each other. In the old days, the conflict usually involved only the relevant parties or willing participants. Now there is a host of departments and authorities and bureaucracy. There were probably a few crazy, insane people in the old days too, who would attack any random person in a fit of rage. They were usually put down before they could cause too much damage, though I bet historically there were many mass victims too.

Now, we have gone a bit 'too civilized for our own good' perhaps. We have taken away the option and predominant culture of people seeking direct resolution with those they are aggrieved with, in a legal manner. Though we have put in place courts, rules and law-enforcement, it may not bring sufficient resolution to some who have a grievance with nameless, faceless people or institutions. Even if they have a person they directly have a beef with, they cannot seem to get a satisfactory resolution or be able to deal with that person directly. If they feel the system has let them down and it happens over a period of time, some of them might turn into sociopaths/psychopaths if they do not learn to accept some inherent unfairness in life. With the system not being perfect they can get access to guns or weapons and now kill random strangers as a result of their twisted logic. Making law abiding citizens more helpless in the face of such is surely not a way to go.

I have developed more respect for the old-fashioned, animal, 'uncivilized' way of conflict resolution over this modern way of mass shootings. This is on a personal level. On a societal or national level too, in the old days, armies fought each other and people accepted the verdict and the rule of the victor. These days, we bomb innocent, un-involved civilians as a natural, acceptable strategy and still think we are advancing as a civilization!! Strange. One seems to feel nostalgia for the 'good old days' when there were personal fights in the streets to resolve issues!!

It is impossible to restart with a 'No Guns' policy in the USA and many countries for many valid reasons - there will always be 'Some Guns' left and mostly in the hands of the crooked than in the hands of the law-abiding if they went about a mass confiscation policy. My views on this strongly support the constitutional rights in the USA to bear arms. The best of their culture and spirit is compatible with it. Their gun culture spawned their sophisticated, friendly and businesslike approach and social manners. It developed people's respect for an individual in their areas of strength, not just physical. It lessened their aggressiveness and developed a culture of seeking dialogue, compromise and a deal to move forward since, once the bullets start to fly, no one knows where the next one could come from. I believe this is a bit unique among all other human cultures. It is the basis of the strength of the USA in many fields.
 It is a reason for their successes and a contributor to their failures -not the main reason. Their failures are in maintaining a fairness in their culture and social, moral collapse,driven by greed in SOME, not all.

No easy way back or forward. Personally, I think more need to accept a little bit of unfairness in life - made up by a lot more display of kindness and love towards each other, from at least a few people in each life. We need to connect and interact more for that.

Copyright (c) KIyer 2017
All rights reserved

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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