Sunday, December 23, 2012

Today's MOMENT OF ZEN 12/23/12

Words and photo by F LoBuono

The debate rages on. As it should. The issue is not resolved. If you will allow this assault on Shakespeare, it's comes down to a matter of to have guns, or not to have guns. In light of the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the focus (too long missing, IMHO) is once again on our so-called rights as Americans to bear arms (The 2nd Amendment). I used the term so-called not as mockery of our rights as citizens but, rather, to call attention to the fact that the 2nd Amendment is certainly open to a broad interpretation.

With this in mind, those who favor gun ownership as a right for all Americans feel that if we leveled the playing field by arming responsible citizens, that tragedy may have been prevented, if not at least mitigated. For arguments sake, let's say these people are more guns. Those opposed fear having more guns on the street is like throwing gas on a raging fire. Let's say these people are no guns.

Now, you may ask "and where do you lie, Frankie"? Well, for me, if it were possible, I would have no guns. However, I believe that genie is out of the bottle and it's unrealistic to assume that guns can actually be eliminated from our culture, and, therefore, our society. So, we can begin with less guns and, hopefully, build from there. To get to a destination, you must begin from somewhere.

So, where do we begin? For me, it always begins in the mind. I ask, "what is the impetus behind the action". In this case, I feel like I know what it is: fear. People are living in fear - so much so that they feel the only solution is to arm themselves. But, then I ask, "why"? Why are people so fearful and, then, why do they feel that they must use a weapon as the means to conquer their fear? I keep coming back to the same answer; our culture has become one that worships violence as the ultimate answer to our most pressing needs. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but is not our society absolutely deluged with images that promote our heroes (both men and, now, women) as using violence as THEY means to their ends? Need I list the movies? Need I list the TV programs? Need I list the video games? Need I go on? It's as obvious as the freakin' huge Italian nose on my face - we have become desensitized to violence. Therefore, we don't see it for the horror that violence, in all it's forms, truly is. Fear rules the day.

So, how do we break this seemingly endless cycle? Well, it really comes down to fear. We must ask ourselves as a society, but, more importantly, as individuals, "what am I afraid of"? "Why am I afraid"? And, "why do I feel that a gun will alleviate that fear"? I have asked myself these questions and have MY answer: I am not afraid and REFUSE  to live in fear. I am defiant and part of that defiance is a pledge of non-violence, in ALL it's forms. I have nothing to hide. I have nothing of great value to steal. Therefore, I have nothing to fear. Without fear I have no need for a weapon. Besides, I have one; they're called my wits. Some would ask, "but what about your life? "They could take your life"! Yes, that's true. And I have no death wish. But, still, would that change anything? Really change anything? No. It would be my fate and I would not have lived in fear - ever. FDR said it best: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

The statistics that I have read seem to reject the idea that gun ownership actually protects the individual that owns one or the home he wishes to protect. In fact, from what I have read, it increases the chances of that very weapon to be used against him! And, when you consider the chances that your home will actually be invaded (the chances are minuscule), is it worth the risk of keeping a loaded firearm in the house?  So, ultimately,what's the point?

Perhaps, a better idea may be to eliminate the fear in your life but removing as much violence from your lives as possible. And it's easier than you think. Don't play violent video games. Don't allow your children to play violent video games. Don't watch violent movies or TV shows. Don't allow your children to either. Stop glorifying those who use violence as a means to an end - any end! I've taken even great actors like Denzel Washington to task for taking on violent movie roles just because they can! At first, I was going to see Quentin Tarantino's new film, Django. I was told that it's violent but it's "fun". Well, it's not "fun" to me anymore. I won't be going. It's time to reject violence IN ALL IT'S FORMS.

I understand that this is a BIG issue that involves mental health as well. But part of addressing that mental health is the acknowledgement that we have become a violent society that breeds these type of calamities. We see evidence of the decay all too frequently. We can be part of the problem by increasing our level of violence (i.e. adding MORE guns to the mix). Or, we can be part of the solution but rejecting violence (and guns!). Besides, the answers are all around us - especially at this time of the year. I am not RELIGIOUS but I believe that I have always heard the message: THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. Yes, my friends, only love can conquer hate. And that's only hippie drivel if you don't believe it. I (religious iconoclast that I proudly am). believe. I am not afraid. Will you join me?


  1. I, for one, have never had any problems with my children playing video games of any kind that were violent My elder child was into sports Lacrosse and track, my younger child built things with legos, then moved on to building cities on the computer. I never had any fear nor felt the need to eliminate or remove anything violent in their lives...there wasn't much. Well, Megan was pretty lethal with a Lacrosse stick in her hands, Jack Barnacle even said so - and he was her coach and a lawyer. That was in High School. Neither one watched television very much growing up. It's just something we never did. Even when I was young most of our days were spent outside, on the beach or just playing outside. Perhaps in the cities children watch more television because of the lack of an outdoors environment. I can't imagine anyone truly 'glorifying' this anyone that uses 'violence as a means to an end' as you say. Oh sure people say things in the heat of the moment, but I don't really think or believe they mean it. We're all terribly saddened beyond belief by this and by all these acts that have perpetrated on these children and Teachers that were just going about their day. Enough...We need enact a Ban on all types of Assault Weapons that can so much wreak so much harm upon so many innocent people. This type of weapon has no place in a peaceable society. Make no mistake - It's a Weapon of War. Our Government needs to Enact a Law that would make it Illegal to own one. Allow Law Abiding American Citizens to own a gun, but put an end to this senseless slaughter of innocent people.

    We need to address people mental illness better than we currently do, Jail is not the solution. They receive no treatment while incarcerated. Sign Petitions on Banning Assault Weapons, write your State Senators Representatives, US Senators and US Representatives.

    There's a great deal of work to be done. The list is long. I know America can do better than we have. How many more people have to die. As Samuel L. Jackson would say;'Wake The Fuck Up.'

  2. Joe N, you're so right. I completely agree with you. I said the same to thing to Frank. Former Law Enforcement, Military, any type of security that has been trained to use weaponry will have guns, and know how to use them. I've seen so many people with complete disregard of muzzle direction, how they hold a weapon, even pointing a weapon at a person in jest, like a idiot. Frank made the comment;'What does anyone need an AR 15 for 'except to kill people - lots of them'. That comment would directly apply to those that have had the experience of using this type of weaponry in combat and 'think' it would be useful. Like the article (not included here) stated it would be useful to those that otherwise 'lacked' hunting skills to expertly hit their target - like a coyote on the 1st shot. (May I ask - Who goes hunting coyotes with assault rifles? & More Importantly WHERE! - I'll let the Game Warden know!) Ireplied;'What's the matter with practice at a target range Boys? The hunters I know get their deer on their 1st shot, like my sister in law, or Joe McCole, an EMT/P on the BathFD.'

    I DO THINK THE US CONGRESS SHOULD BAN ALL ASSAULT WEAPONS - With No Exceptions. Let American Law Abiding Citizens keep their Single Shot Weapons. We should sign the petitions going around. Hey - some people will sign them, some won't. I've signed four petitions, and I've sent four letters off to my State Senators, State Representatives, US Senators & US Representatives. I also think that our Law Enforcement Officers should be proficient with their weapons. That should be a requirement. Lets face it - some of them are real Barney Fifes. How many times do you hear of Officers stopping anyone they're after at with one shot? Almost never. There have been a few officers that have shot the gun out of the felon's hand. Those officers are few and far between. Those shots have been executed by a marksman. We should expect more, we're paying therm enough. Do you know who the biggest employer is in most of the our States? The State. As Samuel L. Jackson would say...'WTFU'

  3. I understand the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, it wasn't written for Assault Weapons. Please read it and more importantly - understand how it is suppose to be interpreted. It's one of our rights as American Citizens.