|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?