Our nation’s defining characteristic is rebellion. We don’t take kindly to people “in power” telling us how to live our lives. So when statists in the Democratic or Republican parties tell us how to live our lives, we balk.
School attacks in Parkland and Pennsylvania, in addition to constant inner-city drug violence, express a troubled American society. Unlike many European nations with less gun crime, we are a vast, multi-ethnic country with a tapestry of shifting beliefs, cultures and subcultures. Conflict is inherent to this diversity.
OUR LOVE OF FIGHTING
Core to long-term American philosophy is our love of fighting. We fought to found our nation, protect trade routes, early empire building, and even for other nations in desperate need of salvation. We’re so addicted to fighting, we conduct proxy wars (Vietnam), or fight for Syria while actually just helping NATO secure oil rights.
Americans love to fight. We fight our politicians, we fight each other, we fight aliens on video games, we fight teenagers who eat Tide Pods. We love fighting. We have Wars on Drugs, Wars on Obesity, Wars on Poverty. We can’t discuss helping something without labelling it a “fight.” This constant dissent of authority shocks foreigners, who are taught to, if not trust, at least obey all authority. Americans don’t “do” authority so well.
So when politicians speak of disarming citizens, they reveal a severe disconnect with American psychology, even if the Americans, themselves, don’t often understand why they dislike the idea of being disarmed.
OUR NECESSARY RIGHTS
The Bill of Rights first protects our speech. The second right — to bear arms — is necessary to protect the first. If you cannot defend yourself from those who would silence you, possibly by violent force, you have no ability to secure your rights of free speech, or any other rights.
Public shootings like Parkland and Columbine are, without question, tragic. It’s terrible they occur, but the abuse of a right by a microscopic few does not justify removing it for the many. Even the shooters, in their twisted worlds, are living out the core American psychology of conflict.
THE NEED FOR REBELLIOUSNESS
Because statism believes in the superiority of a system and systemic decision makers, those who believe in it support the pacification of individuals. Passive citizens make the system’s job easier, but not all citizens are content to be passive. Violent individuals, bent on exerting their will by force, will always exist. Pacifying the masses only makes them sheep to the wolves.
Rather than attempting to pacify citizens, our lives and circumstances, Americans would do better to work with our love of fighting — no, not by starting another “War on Violence.” (Highly oxymoronic, that.) We should fight by empowering each individual to bring that fight, individually, to a world in desperate need of strength, inspiration and self discipline. By encouraging men and women to be strong for each other in times of desperate need, bravery to sit next to the weird kid in class, to stop to help those stranded by the side of the road, to help those in the inner city get out … that’s a fight we should encourage.
But that fight doesn’t come by taking away our strength, but by pouring it into each and every person, and then empowering them to fight, themselves.
DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS
A vicious sickness invades our national psyche, however. It permeates our conversations, workplaces and homes. This sickness is a fear of responsibility and the costs entailed. Instead of recognizing guns as tools, we empower them with an aura of evil.
“Don’t let your kids near guns!” “Lock up the Tide Pods!” “Video games make my son a homo!”
We can’t blame people for their lack of responsibility — not the parents for failing to raise engaged children, violent children for their crimes, nor teens who eat soap. We have to blame “the objects.” We blame guns, video games and Tide Pods. It’s not my fault my kid believes he’s a transspecies kitty duck, it’s all the FaceSpace and Instawittergram!
This sickness is a flight from reason and logic. If we don’t blame our children shooting up schools with guns, we’d have to blame ourselves! We can’t do that, because we refuse to face our own demons. If we can’t face ours, it certainly can’t be our kid’s fault when they don’t face theirs in a healthy manner.
Until we learn to fight ourselves, to overcome our own demons, we can pacify and disarm our children from their guns, their Tide Pods, their dinnerware to our hearts’ content. The real sickness is the disconnect from the real world and the agony it causes ourselves and generations who come after us.
RISK OFFERS THE WAY
No one likes real risk. Who wants to lose everything they have? And yet, risk is one of the few things that keeps us grounded. I don’t support gun violence by or on children, nor do I support gang violence across our country, but by a willingness to live in a world where such violence is possible, we keep everyone in a state of awareness and evolution.
Physics expresses that: a force remains constant until acted upon by another. Were we to pacify ourselves of all danger, we would halt human and social evolution. Europe suffers this right now. Americans don’t have to suffer the same fate. We can fight public shootings by first arming our children with the ability to think for themselves, to assess how others feel, to mitigate such violence by taking personal responsibility for themselves and those around them. No greater achievement can be found than by helping a person become a better person.
Disarming average people, physically or mentally, provides anything but satisfaction to those who hate responsibility.
Risk, inherent to change and as natural as sunlight, is invaluable to our growth as a species. We must embrace risk and stop attempting to legislate it out of our lives. We must teach our children to embrace its strengths and minimize its impact through a growth of sound judgement skills, something we find lacking with every successive generation.
We must embrace the benefits and costs of risk as a society. From that foundation we can truly begin to assess the realities plaguing our country and do what Americans have proven best out since our founding: